To some, the belief in charms is a curious affair. But the widespread and persistent faith in the supernatural is a human tendency – it is a means of explaining the inexplicable as well as a means of organizing our experiences in the world in a way that is meaningful. As long as humans have had the ability for abstract thought they have attributed mystical powers to simple objects, transforming the most insignificant rock into a never-failing amulet.
It is a human experience we all share – being confronted with negative people, places and things. Naturally, we seek to prevent such confrontations and exposures, but nothing short of living in a bubble would alleviate the risks. The making of charms, amulets and talismans as objects of protection is not limited to the uneducated – their use can be found across cultures and across socioeconomic lines. Our grandmothers held the utmost confidence in talismans and fetishes as much as they believed in the tried and true efficacy of their home remedies.
Here are a few Hoodoo charms that have been reported to be effective wards against evil and negativity:
- A Marie Laveaux charm to ward off bad luck consisted of a rabbit’s foot, gold ore (probably pyrite) and a magnet wrapped in a piece of chamois cloth and tied shut. This was carried on the person for protection and repelling negativity.
- A pocket Bible or Book of Psalms held in the bra or a front shirt pocket is said to ward off negativity and evil spirits.
- A bottle fix to repel evil and negativity consists of coarse white sand, large red ants, and 9 nails and pins placed in a bottle and covered with a bit of urine from everyone in the home and placed under the front steps is believed to be effective.
- A knife, bow and arrow, and hatchet placed above the door are said to cut evil.
- To remove a conjure, place 9 needles, 9 brass pins, 9 hairs from the head of the afflicted into a bottle or jar, cover with their urine and close. Set it behind the fireplace and when the bottle bursts, the conjure will be broken.
- White mustard seeds wrapped in a red flannel bag and attached to the back of the front door are believed to prevent negative energy from entering the home.
- Planting holly in the front garden is said to discourage evil spirits from entering the home.
- Spreading red brick dust across thresholds (i.e. doors and windows) is said to prevent evil and negativity from entering.
- Sprinkling grits on the front porch is said to keep bad spirits away.
- Take a sack of salt and draw a cross on it while saying “In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”. Place the sack under the front porch for an effective ward. Pour some out in the form of a cross on your front porch and moisten with Holy Water for an effective ward.
- Black salt sprinkled on the front steps and then swept away is said to cause any negative energy to likewise be swept away.
And as a little bit of lagniappe, here are a couple of simple works to prevent and reverse curse and negative conjury.
Dragon’s Blood Floor Wash
This floor wash is used to drive away negative energy, banish evil spirits, and eliminate anger directed at you. It also creates a barrier of protection.
••1 cup dragon’s blood powder
••1 cup High John the Conqueror root
••1 cup quinta maldicion herb
••1 cup kosher rock salt
••1 cup espanta muerto herb
Start by scrubbing the back of the house, making your way out to the front step to drive away evil spirits, anger, or general negative energy. It is best to start before dawn. Throw the remaining water to the east at or before sunrise.
Curse Reversal Spell
Set a black and white double action reversal candle on a mirror, white side down (butt the white side and carve the black to a point, revealing the wick). Make a circle of powdered crab shells going counterclockwise around the candle. Recite Psalm 48. It is said that your enemy will be seized with fear, terror, and anxiety and will never attempt to harm you again. Place the ritual remains in a brown paper bag and leave at a crossroads.
Alvarado, D. (2011). The Voodoo Hoodoo Spellbook. Weiser Books: San Fransisco.
Morgan, D.L.. (1886) Charms and Charm-Medicines. Catholic World, pp. 322-336.