By Malcolm Lidbury (aka Pink pasty) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Recipes: Goofer Dust

When talking to some witches, you may hear them refer to Goofer Dust or to Goofering a person. These terms come from the Hoodoo practices of the Southern United States. The traditions behind Goofering are believed to have come from Africa when the slaves brought their traditional religions with them after being stolen from their homes in centuries past and relocated to the Southern states. Some witches you meet will try to say that Goofer Dust is the same as Graveyard Dirt, however, this is false. Yes, Goofer Dust starts with a base of Graveyard Dirt, to be sure, but it also has other ingredients added which determine how it is to be used. It is the additions of these other ingredients and the intent poured into the concoction while it is created that converts Graveyard Dirt to Goofer Dust. Just as adding intent and salt to a jar of collected water changes the plain water to Holy Water.

Goofer Dust is a handy tool for some witches. It is often found in occult stores or online in pre-packaged bottles or packets. The only problem is that many of the types of so-called Goofer Dusts sold online are not true Goofer Dusts. They are commercially created fakes, which are passed off to unknowing buyers as the real thing, when they are anything but the real thing. Some people and groups sell a variety of crushed herbs, others use herbs mixed with colored sawdust, while some others are selling tinted talcum powders and claiming that they have magickal properties. Liars abound where money is concerned.

True Goofer Dust is best made by the witch who plans to use it. It may also be purchased from someone the witch knows that they can trust to be honest about the ingredients. This is necessary, in order to insure it is the real thing and as potent as necessary for the types of controlling and/or baneful magick the concoction is used for in spells.

Classic Goofer Dust Recipe:

  • Graveyard Dirt
  • Sulfur
  • Dried and ground venomous snake skin

Possible Herbal Additions:

  • Echinops for crossing and hexing enemies
  • Hemlock for paralyzing negative situations
  • Hydrangea for binding enemies
  • Knotweed for Binding and controlling the magick of others and cursing enemies
  • Morning Glory for binding enemies
  • Nettle for returning a hex to another
  • Paprika for crossing an enemy
  • Solomon’s Seal Root for binding the magick and spell work of others
  • Wormwood for crossing and hexing enemies
  • Yerba Mate for ending relationships

I would suggest that if you are going to create your own Goofer Dust, that you ensure that you know enough about venomous snakes and their shed skins, to recognize the real thing when it is offered to you. Remember, many snakes, which are not venomous, have evolved to look very similar to ones that are for their own protection in nature against predators. If you cannot trust yourself to recognize the difference, then by all means, use a trusted source, as this is a crucial ingredient in the base of the Goofer Dust recipe.

Once you have all the ingredients, you need to grind them together and store them in an airtight container, a small glass jar would be best. Mark it clearly as Goofer Dust. Just as with War Water and a few other dangerous items, Goofer Dust is one of those magickal items that you certainly do not want to use in error!

Be certain to cleanse the work area thoroughly after creating the Goofer Dust. Clean any tools used, the altar and/or preparation areas, even the outside of the container to make certain it is all contained where it should be for your own safety.

Some witches will choose never to use Goofer Dust out of fear, but for those who do choose to use it, it is a powerful tool and handy to have around.

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Witchery: Graveyard Dirt

Many times, when witches first start studying, they will run up against spells that call for oddly named ingredients. Graveyard Dirt is one of those ingredients that typically earn a raised eyebrow the first time a new witch sees it. It can be used by itself, as an ingredient in Goofer Dust, or in combination with poppets or other magickal items to serve the needs of the individual witch.

In the past, some people, typically ones who have never studied Hoodoo or natural Rootwork, especially some witches of the Wiccan variety speak against it, some have even written articles stating that a certain herb or mixture of herbs can take the place of actual Graveyard Dirt. This is blatantly untrue. When a recipe calls for Graveyard Dirt, you need to use actual Graveyard Dirt. There is no appropriate substitution for it, regardless of what others may try to tell you.

Graveyard Dirt is not that hard to collect, as long as you follow the proper procedures. It is a simple matter of finding a graveyard and choosing a grave to collect the dirt from while being respectful and giving offerings and payment. This is crucial as you are thereby honoring the spirit whose grave you have chosen. Consider it as recompense for their working on your behalf. Not following these rules may cause side effects to your spells. One effect may be as simple as the spell failing to work. One effect may be the spell backfiring on the casting witch. Another may be as complex as the spirit working actively against you in a variety of ways, should the spirit decide you were rude or offensive when taking dirt from their resting place. Anything in between is possible as well, so choose wisely and always be respectful of the deceased.

Be certain to check local ordinances about the best times to visit the graveyard. Some graveyards are closed to the public during certain hours and it may be hard to explain what you are doing if stopped during restricted hours by a grounds-keeper or officer of the law. If your area typically has ordinances against digging in cemeteries, you may bring a potted plant or potted flowers to “plant” as a portion of your offerings. In most areas, no one will think twice if they see someone “planting” a gift on a grave.

If you are planning to use the Graveyard Dirt for beneficial or protective spells, it may be preferable to choose to use dirt from the grave of a loved one. If you want to use the Graveyard Dirt for malicious reasons or for retaliation, then you may choose to use the dirt from a loved one’s grave who would work on your behalf or even the dirt of a stranger’s grave. If your loved one was very protective, it can aid the spell, if using the dirt of a stranger, research the issue, or use your senses and intuition to guide you to the proper grave to meet your needs.

First, before you begin, make certain that you are justified in the use of the Graveyard Dirt. After all, Graveyard Dirt magick is not simply using the dirt, it is used to employ the spirit of the one buried for your purposes. If the spell is petty or if the need is inconsequential, the spirit may be offended if called to action for such a spell.

Second, if you plan to use the grave of a stranger, take the time to research if there is a specific stranger’s grave that would be best for your purposes. Such as, if avenging yourself for a specific crime committed against you, search out someone whose spirit may have been a victim of that particular crime prior to their death.

Third, explain what you intend to use the dirt for to the spirit of the person in detail so that they know what you intend. If they object, you will know. You may feel queasy, uneasy, or downright jumpy. You may even hear a “no” in your mind if the spirit wants to be perfectly clear. This can let you know they are not willing. If they do not communicate negatively with you, you may proceed. If the spirit does not want to cooperate in the spell, you will know you need to choose a different grave.

Fourth, make certain to bring monetary recompense and gifts for the one whose grave you plan to use. If the person was known to you, bring something you know they would enjoy, flowers, chocolate, a favorite treat, hard liquor, wine, etc. If the person is unknown, use your best judgment. Also, bring coins, typically bringing 13 copper pennies, silver coins, etc. is acceptable for most spirits.

Fifth, be certain to remove the sod first and set it aside. This includes any weeds and grass, from the area of the grave where you plan to collect the dirt. Using your hands only, scoop aside the top few inches of dirt, after that you may collect the dirt a few inches down into the grave. Fill a small bag with dirt from the grave. (Snack sized or sandwich sized Ziplocs are ideal for this as you can write the name of the deceased on the bag for specificity.) Add your gifts to the hole, then, bury them by refilling the hole with the soil you removed and re-top the area with the clot(s) of sod you removed first.

If you are seeking love or protection, claim the Graveyard Dirt from over the heart area. If you plan to use the Graveyard Dirt to seek wealth, arcane connection to the spirit, or knowledge, take it from the area near the head of the grave. If you plan to use the Graveyard Dirt to bring ill or curse another, take it from the foot area of the grave.

Finally, be certain to thank the spirit for their dirt and for agreeing to work with you in your magickal endeavors. Be specific in how thankful you are for their assistance and let them know that you are honored by their assistance and that you respect them for their assistance.

Graveyard Dirt is a useful addition to every magickal cabinet and may be collected ahead of time for most benevolent uses. For malicious uses, I would suggest waiting until the Graveyard Dirt is actually needed before collecting it. There are many, varied uses for carrying a small bit of Graveyard Dirt with you or for creating a spell using Graveyard Dirt to work your magick.

  • Carry Graveyard Dirt from a parent or other loved one’s grave as protection
  • Graveyard Dirt may be used to connect with the spirit of the one lost
  • Graveyard Dirt from a doctor’s grave used in a spell to assist with healing
  • Use Graveyard Dirt from a young child’s grave to help protect other children
  • Graveyard Dirt from a murdered person used in spells to bring harm to those who have harmed you or your loved one’s
  • Use Graveyard Dirt to create Goofer Dust
  • Use Graveyard Dirt and personal items or physical representations placed in a poppet to control the effect on the target of the spell
  • Use Graveyard Dirt from a lover, spouse to bring a new love to you
  • Use Graveyard Dirt from a wealthy person’s grave to draw riches to you

As with any spells, the will of the witch and the purpose behind their magick will guide the needs of the spell. Spells crafted to use Graveyard Dirt are ancient by their very nature, Hoodoo practitioners, Rootworkers and witches have been using them for ages.