“The fire roars, the flames leaping and reaching to the darkened sky. A woman, dances barefoot, within a ring of white powder. Her hair streaming, her eyes focused on something, Unseen, as she gyrates around and around. Twisting, twirling, turning. She tosses a handful of powder onto the fire. It spits and sizzles, sending up a roar of flame and a plume of fragrant smoke. As she whispers to the night, dancing to an Unheard beat, she scatters a handful of dust to the wind…”
A few people have asked me about part of the little statement that I have about myself over on the side of this blog. “A scatterer of dusts, a grinder of bones, a blender of powders, and a collector of dirts…” And since working with powders and dirt makes up quite a bit of my personal Witchery, I think it’s time to write a little something about it…
I’ve always worked with dirt, it’s just ‘my thing‘. All Witches find ‘their thing’ sooner or later… And I’ve got to say, I love getting down and dirty! Collecting and working with different types of dirt, and blending up powders and incense, pushes all of my ‘magic buttons’. Different recipes and uses have been filling my Grimoires for many years. Near enough everything I do has a particular dirt, or powder associated with it. To tell you about them all would be enough to keep this blog going for quite some time. So I’m going to chose a few and write about them.
Dirt: – Soil collected from various places. Used in ritual, offerings and incense. To work with the spirits of the land, the dead, or guardians of the place from which the soil was collected.
“Earth, being dried soil taken from holy Shrines of Working, consists of varying proportions of Clay, Loam, Sand, and organic matter. It bears within its mass the telluric resonance of the place from which it came, together with the endemic living host of beast and plant. Thus it maintains links with its own ancient history, and serves as the basis for powders sacred unto the land-gods and local genii”
~ Viridarium Umbris, Daniel A. Schulke”
I was working with dirt long before I read Viridarium Umbris, but Schulke puts why I love working with dirt into words poetically and beautifully…
Crossroad Dirt: This is usually where I would perform most of my ‘close to home’ Witchery back in England, a dancer at the crossroads indeed. I use Crossroad Dirt for communication with the spirits and deities of the Crossroad, if I am unable to get to one. My Horned Lord, is extremely and intricately linked with the Crossroads in my own UPG. Not all Crossroad Dirt will be used for the same thing, each Crossroad will have it’s own spirits and guardians, and hence they will dictate what an appropriate use for a certain dirt is. The dirt collected from the site above, has been used in workings involving decisions that needed to be made, used in incense, etc for offerings to Crossroad entities.
Graveyard Dirt: Dirt collected from graveyards, cemeteries and burial sites, which I spoke about in detail on a post last year.
Forest Dirt: I will be writing about the ritual of collection for Forest Dirt in Part 2 of this post. But for now let me say again, that each separate collection will have it’s own feel. I use this broadly for rituals involving the wild wood, contact with local land-gods and genii, etc.
Each specimen of dirt has it’s own uses in rite and ritual, according to how, where, and when it is collected. One forest dirt will differ from a dirt collected in another, or even different locales within one huge forest. Dirt from one sacred site is going to be totally different to that of another.
Dusts & Powders: Used in ritual, as is, for making sigils, given as offerings, scattered for numerous reasons, used on the body, in charm bags/bottles, etc. Or added to water, fire for suffumigation, or used as incense, or added to incense…
Snake Dust: This dust is a relatively recent addition to my Grimoire, my friend Papa Toad Bone sent me some ‘Snake Jerky’ for a offertory insence I was blending up last year, as well as some Rattlesnake skin. This was ground down and turned into a dust. I use this in offerings to Cernunnos, I’m needing more ‘Snake Jerky’, as I have plans for this in the near future…
Dust of Boundaries: To be used to protect from outside influences, and to denote a boundary. All depending on where I’m using this dust, the recipe will be slightly different. But the main bulk of this dust is a finely ground mixture of Holly leaves, numerous and various thorns, rowan wood, my own dried blood, and blessed salt. Added with various protection herbs and a pinch of dirt collected from the place, if I have worked there before. This is to gain the aid of the the land-gods and local genii.
Dust of Protection/Banishing: To protect, or banish unwanted spirits. Finely ground Thistle Root, Blackthorn, Ground thorns, Cinquefoil, Rosemary, pinch of Dust of Juniper and Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis) root.
Dust of Juniper: The twigs, wood, leaves and berries dried into ‘raisin’ and ground into a powder, used for blessing, clearing and cleaning. For healing and protection. To be used as-is, or added to other incense. I burn this before ritual and during ‘Sainings’. Can also be added to bath water.
Dust of Love: Working from the inspiration of a medieval love powder, I blend equal parts of dried Periwinkle, Cinquefoil, Vervain and Rose Petals. A pinch of this can be added to wine, which is left to steep for a good few hours before being strained. This makes a lovely wine for celebrations of love, or for Bealtuinn. It can also be sown into bags, or scattered beneath the mattress, to charm a bed lovers share together. It can be added to talcum powder to wear on your body. It can also be used to dust love letters, or burn on charcoal as part of an incense, or used to dress candles during love rites and rituals.
Dust of Blessing: Rose, Heather, Lavender and a pinch of Dust of Juniper. Use as a fume, or to scatter. To rub onto what it is you want blessed. You get the picture, I’m sure.
The next two recipes change quite a bit, as it all depends on what I have on hand. The main component for the sigil powders I make, is naturally harvested chalk. There are some absolutely beautiful chalk cliffs and gorges throughout England, and there is one special place that I can harvest both the red and white chalk I need for my sigil powders on the same beach. The cliffs of Hunstanton in Norfolk. Obviously I am unable to harvest directly from that beach too often, so I usually just double up on flour for my white, and double up on the ingredients I use in my red…
White Sigil Powder: Ground bone, white flour, white Hunstanton chalk, Oak or White Willow Bark. I’ve used white sand (the most stunning white sand from the shore of Loch Affric), ground white eggshells, dried wild Rose petals, and Marsh Mallow root.
Red Sigil Powder: I usually use a mixture of ground dried red Rose petals, ground Dragon’s Blood, powdered Sandalwood, and harvested red Hunstanton Chalk.
I’d love to hear your ideas on some substitutes for Sandalwood (not really happy with using Sandalwood, but in a pinch when nothing else is available I will) and the chalk I can’t get my hands on!
Keeps your eyes out for part 2…