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Magical Manipulation

From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Magical Manipulation (was e: help to stop manipulation...)
Date: Fri, 16 May 1997 20:13:06 -0800

nagasiva wrote:
> 49970516 AA1  Hail Satan!
> catherine yronwode :
> >...The problem...  is to help him see that he loves you, and to 
> >strengthen his decision-making skills, while not appearing to be the 
> >enemy of his beloved (and probably destructive and manipulative) 
> >mother.
> >...a few samples of the range of magical actions i know....
> >1) Curse her. For instance, burn a DUME candle on her or cross her or
> >sprinkle her house with Graveyard Dust.
> how does one "cross her" and how and why does this incur a curse?

Well, that is a question that deserves a really explicit get
comfortable and relax as you drift on back to 18th century America in
the days when African footprint magic was beginning to meld with
European folk magic to produce hoodoo....

For an introduction to African footprint magic, see my web page on Hot
Foot Powder. It is at

In short form: a great deal of African-American folk magic focuses on
the footprint as a token of the person one wishes to hurt or help. For
instance, one may dig up the footprint of a hated enemy with a silver
spoon and mix it with Graveyard Dust and throw the mixture in running
water to cause them to leave one alone. There are many dozens of spells
involving footprints, but that was a typical sample. 

Crossing, in its earliest and purest form, is a variant of footprint
magic. One mixes shreds of hemp rope and gum arabic and Guinea red
peppers (capsicum) together and lays them out in lines across a path
that the person to be crossed walks regularly. The material will stick
to his or her feet or shoes. The result should be restlessness, pain,
unease, and unceasing trouble for the person crossed, and he or she will
not know the cause because the spell is self-working -- that is, the
practitioner did not perform a curse and thereby leave a psychic trail
that could be followed back for a counter-attack. 

Note that because the wrong person might walk over the prepared ground,
it is possible to be crossed accidently. 

A person who is crossed, whether intentionally or acidentally, knows
that everything is going wrong but does not know why. There may be
suspicion as to who did it, but nothing can be proved. The person who is
crossed is said to "suffer from crossed conditions." White folks would
call this "having a string of bad luck." 

By the 1930s, with the urbanization of the Negro population and the
resultant paucity of dirt paths, footprint magic mutated a bit and other
forms of crossing -- still using the same name, but now accomplished by
means of oils or sachet powders -- were in favour. Double Cross Oil and
Crossing Powder were used for the purpose. 

The only cure for crossed conditions is to conduct some sort of
purification spell. Usually one consults a root doctor for this. The
oldest formula used "to clear away that evil mess" and "remove crossed
conditions" is so-called Chinese Wash, a floorwash formula made with
lemon grass and other herbs. (I do not know the origin of the name, but
it goes back to the late 19th century at least and is still in use
today.) The shoes and feet are washed with Chinese Wash, the paths to
the house washed or swept down with it, and so forth. If the crossed
conditions are of long standing or very intense, the floors and walls of
the home may also be washed. In the old days, the crossed person would
also take a seven-day ritual bath made with hyssop leaves, as per the
51st Psalm of the Bible, which says, "cleanse me with hyssop." 

By the 1940s, a specific urban formula for uncrossing, called Uncrossing
Oil was also sold. Like Chinese Wash, it contains lemon grass -- and it
also contains hyssop, presumeably to obviate the need for the seven-day
hyssop bath, although many people still take hyssop baths for spiritual
> >3) Break up their overly-symbiotic mother-son relationship. Burn a
> >Break-Up candle on her in both their names or use Cast Off Evil Oil 
> >or powder to separate them.
> when you say "burn a candle on her" here, you don't mean literally
> on her body, like while she's asleep do you?

Oh, no, no. To burn a candle on someone is an old "ebonics" term for
doing a job on them, working a curse on them, laying a blessing on them,
or such -- it simply  specifies that a candle will be used in the
cursing or blessing ritual. In the old days, only Jewish-style
offeratory candles were used; now many practitioners use Catholic-style
seven-day glass-encased candles instead. (For a more complete history of
the evolution of hoodoo candle magic, see my page on candle magic at .) 

Offeratory candles are inscribed with the name of the person to be
worked on; seven day glass-encased candles such as DUME, Break-Up, Love
Me, The Secret Desire of My Body, and the like have a convenient white
space on the silk-screened label where one may write a name or names
with a Sharpie marker. If a photo of the person to be worked on can be
gotten, this is placed beath the candle before lighting it. If not, the
person's name is written a certain number of times on parchment paper
with red ink and that is placed beneath the candle. (Hence the candle is
"burned on" the person.) 

A full-fledged candle ritual designed to harm someone would typically
use a black candle, plus anointing oils, herbs, and incense appropriate
to the curse (e.g. Double Cross Oil, Drive Away Oil, or Break-Up Oil)
and would probably take at least seven days to perform. If the person's
footprint could be gotten, it would also be used. At the climax of  a
typical candle ritual designed to curse someone, the picture or
parchment is burned in the candle flame and the ashes are mixed with the
footprint or with a substitute such as Hot Foot Powder or Graveyard Dust
and carried off to be thrown into running water or scattered at a

> thanks.
> tyagi

any time, pal!

catherine yronwode
The Lucky Mojo Curio Co.:

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