In times of crisis, people often turn to ancestral folk magic or “Conjure” to channel their own power and that of natural tools into positive outcomes. Most folk magic comes from non-affluent people whose focus was on protection, prosperity, relationships, and, at times, revenge. When we are in crisis, those places are where our own attentions often turn, so it is a proper and productive handshake.
Although “Conjure” is a term most often associated with HooDoo, it is a broad umbrella subject that also encompasses most of our folk magic systems such as Appalachian and Ozark magic, Pennsylvania Dutch Powwow, and Brujeria. Please note that in the case of Powwow, the “Dutch” assignment is a misattribution of “Deutsch,” which means “German.” This is not the magical practice of Holland. In Crossroads of Conjure, I explored the origins of Conjure in the Southern United States, including the common modalities and interwoven traditions throughout the systems.
Below, I have listed some of the universally accepted curios and tools used throughout Conjure to mitigate times of crisis. I truly home some will prove helpful to you. These are all tools I have used in my own practice with great success.
Where to get these items
Some of the items listed I have available in our Crossroads online shop if you are interested in purchasing them directly from a practicing Witch who processes them in an organic, respectful way. You will find a (link) note after each of the items we carry if you wish to order online. We carry nearly all of these in our brick and mortar store because they are so popular, but only some of them are available for mail order. Others you can find on Amazon, eBay, or in botanicas online and in person.
Trigger warning: This list includes mention of animal parts as amulets and curios which may upset people who are sensitive to this.
We will now speed date more than twenty-six different effective Conjure tools to use in times of crisis. A few have more than one entry because it felt wrong to leave out the additional ones.
A – ALLIGATOR FEET
Because of the grasping position they assume as they dry, alligator feet are used as an amulet for money drawing and success in gambling. Anoint them with whiskey, cologne, or Van Van oil to increase their money-drawing power. (link)
B – BUCKEYES
They look like testicles and are the Conjure amulet for male energy, testicular fortitude. Carry them for protection, healing (especially rheumatism and male virility), gambling luck, getting a job, “growing a pair,” and increasing sales in an existing business. (link)
B#2 – BRICK DUST
The actual dust mined from used red clay bricks (not dyed cement). We use brick dust for protection through the marking of boundaries. In our shop, we are fortunate enough to hand-mill brick dust from historical clay brick that are more than 100 years old. Scatter across doorways and under windowsill so that none who mean you harm may enter, whether they are from this world or between the worlds. (link)
B#3 – BLACK SALT
We use this product like brick dust, although it is a slightly lower level of protection. I use a combination of the two. Again, the purpose is protection through boundaries. The key ingredients in black salt are graveyard dirt, sea salt, and ashes from a Witch’s hearth and it is excellent for creating protective perimeters. (link)
C – COWRIE SHELLS
These shells are shaped like little yonis and as such, are the Conjure amulet for feminine energy, good luck, fertility in all things. The are the female compliment to buckeyes and carrying one of each balances the male and female energies. (link)
C#2 – CASCARILLA
This is ground-to-a-powder eggshells used for protection and purification. Use it like Black Salt or Brick Dust. You can also add a bit of water and pack it down into a paper condiment cup to make sacred, protective chalk. You can make this from your own eggshells provided you pull out the membranes and carefully wash the shells before grinding and grinding and grinding them down to a powder. (link)
D – DEVIL’S CLAW
Devil’s claw is the Harpagophytum plant, native to the Kalahari Desert in Africa. Carry it in a mojo bag or put it under your pillow for protection from evil. Also used in exorcisms. Note: Don’t exorcise demons unless you are trained to do so or all sorts of melee may ensue. (link)
D#2 – DEMON POD
This is a Japanese Water Chestnut used for heavy protection. We spray ours down with Fiery Wall of Protection spray. You can carry it in your pocket, wear it as a pendant, or hang it on your rear-view mirror as a car mojo. This is also called a bat pod. (link)
E – EYES
CAT’S EYE SHELLS
These protection power houses are each the operculum (foot-closure) of a sea-snail called a Turban Shell or Turbo. They are said to ward off “the evil eye,” and are used on jewelry and Mojo Bags to repel evil, for protection, and for uncrossing. (link)
PEACOCK FEATHER EYES
The all-seeing eye, used for having “eyes in the back of your head.” Put them in rooms you want to monitor or if you are so inclined, arrange them in your hair so that they face behind you.
F – FEATHERS (CHICKEN)
Chicken feathers, especially black ones, make great boundaries between you and someone from whom you wish to distance yourself. Got a troublesome neighbor? Push an odd number of black chicken feathers into the ground between you to create a boundary. Chickens are very territorial and you will find that more than a few Conjure tactics are build on the premise of “because chickens are assholes.”
G – GRAVEYARD DIRT
Use Graveyard Dirt for protection and to create endings and peaceful resolution to situations. Our Graveyard Dirt is harvested with permission every Samhain at midnight from a 19th century cemetery. Graveyard dirt takes on the qualities of the person in the grave. Traditionally, we pay for it with nine silver dimes buried where we take the dirt. Law Enforcement graveyard dirt comes from the grave of “a good and honest law enforcement officer” and is highly protective. Sprinkle it around your bed for a peaceful sleep. (link)
H – HAG STONES
These are ocean stones with hole worn into them from a combination of little critter shells and moving water. They are called “Hag Stones” because they are sacred to the Great Hag, the Cailleach, and invoke her Crone energy and Wisdom. It is said if you find a hag stone that has a “through and through” hole (meaning one that goes all the way through the stone), you can look through it to see beyond this world.
I – INCENSES FOR CONJURE
Aromatherapy creates mood and sets intention based on the type of incense you use. Whether it is stick, loose, cone, or any other, make sure you use incense made with natural ingredients to avoid the classic incense headache. (link)
J – JACK BALLS
Jack balls are made from mud or wax with herbs, oils, hair, nails, tiny stones or other components carefully worked and formed into a (lumpy) ball. We can attract or repel with Jack Balls. If we use them to attract (love, money, etc), we keep them with us. If we use them to banish, we form them and put our intention into them, then take them far from us and throw them as hard as we can away from us. Walk away without looking back.
K – KEYS (SKELETON)
We use keys in magic the same way we use them in the mundane world: to open and close doors as desired. Keys to lock or unlock a situation, depending on the intention of the user. This allows us to energetically open doors to opportunity, unlock truths, and find new homes. Likewise, keys can close and lock information and situations up tight.
L – LADY BUG BEADS
These teeny-weeny little seeds look like ladybugs and are from the Ormosia Coccinea or Huayruro plant, native to Peru. We carry or wear them often as beads, for good luck, prosperity, and abundance. We put them into Mojo Bags for the same purpose. (link)
L#2 – LODESTONES
Lodestones are natural magnets, also called “magnetite.” We use lodestones to attract what we want to us. There are red lodestones more receptive to attracting love energy and green lodestones that pull in money energy. Any will work, regardless of the color. The color is just a little energy boost. Keep your lodestone in a shell, small jar, or other container and “feed” it iron filings or magnetic sand every week or two. Talk to it and treat it as your magical ally. (link)
M – MOJO BAGS
Carry on your person, put on altar, bedside, inside your pillow, or in any other sacred place (bras usually carry them well). These are small cloth bags containing herbs, oils, tokens, stones, charms, and other items to lend power to the intent of the bag. Mojo Bags are dormant until you breathe life into them. If you wish to add items to the mojo bag, do so two at a time. (link)
N – NAILS (RUSTY, COFFIN)
These are called “Coffin Nails” not because they are pulled out of a coffin, but because it identifies a style of nail used in coffin making in the 1800s. They are square, made of iron, often well-rusted, and approximately 2.5″ long. Rusty nails are good for warding off what you do not want or sending away situations that are not to your advantage. May be used in Witch’s bottles or other protection devices. Great for nailing down what you want to stay put, magically speaking or setting up a protective grid at the four corners of property. Nails are also used for foot track magic. Drive a nail into the footprint of someone if you want them to stay with you or return to your house. (link)
O – OILS
We use special oil blends to anointing people, candles, or other things, and to feed Mojo Bags and Jacks. Essential oils are pure forms of oils carefully extracted from the source and are usually more expensive than oil blends. Oil blends usually have a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or jojoba with essential oils added in. When you order “fragrance oil,” you are not getting pure essential oil. In truth, oil blends, essential oils, and fragrance oils will all work toward your magical purposes. The more organic and closer to origin your oil blends or fragrance oils are, the stronger their energy signature will be. (link)
P – POPPETS
Poppets are used in remote magic when you are working to affect another person. The poppet represents the person on which you are working. Inside a poppet usually contains Spanish moss for the spirit of the poppet and possibly some other stuffing. Outside there should be a heart affixed in the usual place to remind the user the target is a human being. (link)
Q – QUARTZ CRYSTALS IN CONJURE
There was a time when Quartz Crystal was put into watches to regulate the energy so that the ticks happened exactly as they should. Quartz works the same way for our energetic systems by regulating our energy. Hold a quartz crystal in each hand and focus on sending your energy through them to stabilize and regulate your energy.
R – ROOSTER FEET
Yes, these are the actual dried feet of roosters. See “feathers” for the “chickens are assholes” reasoning. The nails of the dried rooster feet are often painted red for physical protection, black to banish unwanted influences, purple to provide protection on a spiritual level, and green for financial protection. Multi-colors combine purposes. Place on your altar or hang by your door. Scratching in such a way to leave a light mark on the skin brings the amulets protection to you. Rooster Feet with unpainted nails provide generalized protection.
S – SNAKE SHEDS
These are used to create transition as in to “shed one’s skin.” We put into transformative Witch’s Bottles, Mojo Bags, or to dress candles. I use them in altar arrangements for transformative rituals.
S#2 – SPRAYS
Sprays such as Florida Water, Fiery Wall of Protection, No More Monsters, and Seven African Powers provide cleansing, blessing, and protective properties that are usually pet-safe, people-safe, and fabric safe. They are great to use if you cannot use sage smoke to cleanse the energy of an area, such as at work or around a person who has pulmonary challenges. (link)
Sea Salt is used to define boundaries or as a purifying element to in many Conjure recipes. I put it and a few crushed eggshells in the mother bottle of my Fiery Wall of Protection spray.
T – TONKA BEANS
These beans are sweetly scented and draw in romantic love and an appreciation for the sweetness of life. Carry them in your pocket or slip into a gris-gris or mojo bag to bring love and joy to your life. (link)
U – UNCROSSING BATH, OTHER CONJURE BATHS
Bath magic steeps you in the essence of herbs, oils, and energy used when making the product. Ritual bath products are bath mixtures filled with herbs, different salts, and oils that support the goal. We put ours into a muslin bag so you can use them like a teabag in your bath. Run hot water in the tub, throw in the tea bag, let it steep for a bit, then fill the tub and get in to soak in the magic. If you do not have yours contained in a bag, make sure you strain them out before draining your bath. (link)
V – VELAS
“Velas” are candles and we use tea lights, votives, tapers, and glass prayer candles that burn for 3-5 days. The porous nature of candles allows them to easily absorb energy to later release. You can burn all at once or a little at a time. Focus your attention into the candle, anoint it with sympathetic oils, and sit with your candles for a while as they burn rather than just lighting them and walking away. Don’t make them do all the heavy lifting on their own. (link)
W – WASHES & WATERS FOR CONJURE
4 Thieves Vinegar and Chinese Wash are a one-two punch to disinfect, both mundanely and spiritually, and empower a home or sacred space. We used this pairing aggressively at our shop and at our home, followed by a sprinkling of brick dust and black salt over the threshold. This makes certain the environment is positive, joyful, and empowering and that only those intended to enter could do so.
Four Thieves Vinegar finds the balance point in your home and returns the energy inside it to a natural rhythm. It stills chaos, eliminates stress and drama, and washes away negativity and bad luck. Use it to clean and bless thresholds, stairs, walls, doors, and door frames.
Chinese Wash removes crossings/curses, banishing bad luck, and purifies an area. Chinese Wash blesses, empowers, and opens doors for good luck to find you. Use 2-3 Tablespoons in your cleaning water or use straight on a clean sponge to wipe down your thresholds, stairs, walls, doors, and door frames.
Florida Water has an alcohol base, so there is no actual H2O water involved with the creating of this wonderful liquid. It does, however, include ridiculous amounts of citrus and flower essence oils. When Florida Water is applied, any remaining alcohol scent immediately evaporates leaving a long-lasting floral-citrus scent. You can use Florida Water in your bath, for anointing, or as cologne.
Holy Water – To make Holy Water, we collect rainwater in a copper dish, then expose it to the sunlight and moonlight while it is blessed and infused with elemental silver and Palo Santo. Holy Water is used for anointing, clearing, and empowering.
X – CROSSROADS DIRT
Use Crossroads Dirt to move easily between the worlds (a crossroads is at once every place and no place) and to make decisions. The use of Crossroads Dirt allows you to create your crossroads for magical work anywhere. Make a plus sign on the ground with your Crossroads Dirt, then sit in the crosshairs and say, “The past is behind me and my future is yet unwritten. I have choices to the left, to the right, and in front of me. How should I proceed?” Meditate for a while in that space and if the answer does not present immediately, it will in the next few days or in your dream time. (link)
Y – YOUR BODY LEAVINGS
These identify YOU and attach you to a magical work. If you want a signature on your work, use body fluids, skin, fingernails, toenails, or hair. If you want to target someone else, use their body leavings. For hair, make sure you have the root, which has the DNA components.
Z – ZOOLOGICAL PARTS, BONES, ETC
Animal parts instill the energy of the animal into the magical work. Many Witches I know have a “recovery kit” in their car’s trunk to collect and transport parts of departed animals that they find. In Conjure, we can use bones, feathers, antlers, skin, talons, or dried animals to convey desired attributes of the animal, bird, reptile, etc. Please check your local regulations regarding the collection and especially the sale of animal parts.
In this challenging time, anything that helps raise the vibration and lift our mood is what I consider an essential tool. I hope these give you some ideas for how to use different common and not-so-common items to shift the energy around you.