Sunday, November 21, 2010
Graveyard Etiquette and Dirt!
“Hecate Prytania, you saffron clad one among the tombs, I ask permission to enter the gates of this graveyard. I seek your blessings and safe passage.”
Wait for a sign of Her permission to enter. Before you enter the gate announce your gift of 9 wine soaked dimes and a bulb of garlic. Shake the dimes up in their container so She may hear them before you empty them onto the ground. There are many different traditions that talk about using pennies as entrance tokens, there are those that talk about using dimes, some specifically talk about Mercury head dimes other talk about a specific number of pennies or dimes. I prefer the modern dime with the torch on the back. I like the connection that implies to Hecate and Her torches. I use the number nine because it is the number of all triple goddesses: (by the power of three times three.)
Take the bulb of garlic to either a triple crossroad in the graveyard or a tree you feel call. Some practitioners feel it is appropriate to entice the Goddess to let you in with a gift. However, my intuition tells me that Hecate may be insulted with something She may view as a bribe, so I wait permission to enter then give Her my gift regardless of the answer.
When leaving the graveyard there are traditions that view turning your back upon the mighty dead as not only rude, but foolish. Not all of the mighty dead are benevolent and would leap at a chance to cause havoc and mischief in your life if given the excuse. So before you walk out the gate face the dead and back out of the gate three steps. Bow to the mighty dead and say:
“Thank you to the mighty dead who have shown me hospitality in their home. Merry Meet and Merry Part.”
Bow to the mighty dead and leave the graveyard gate without looking back.
When researching graveyard dirt I found a whole bunch of people selling it (????), some of the formulas for sale had absolutely no dirt in it. I found mullein, patchouli and a few other herbs powdered and mixed together. None of this felt right so I had to go and ask a few of my elders to help me sift out the crap. My intuitions were confirmed by both my elders and this statement I tripped over:
Against a few modern white authors claiming that “graveyard dirt” is a secret code for mullein herb, we have evidence that the folklorist Harry M. Hyatt interviewed hundreds of black people in the late 1930s who told him the proper ways they knew to collect and pay for graveyard dirt — and NONE of them mentioned mullein.
Take the dirt from the seventh grave from the gates, they told him, or from the third grave on the left, or from any grave; make sure you get it from the grave of a murderer, from the grave of a baby, or from the grave of someone who loved you; collect it at the foot of the grave, the head of the grave, from the head and foot both, from over the corpse’s heart; pay for it with a dime, with three pennies, with a measure of rum, with a measure of whiskey; dig it with a silver spoon, dig it by hand only and use no tools — their instructions vary, but they ALL are speaking quite frankly of literal graveyard dirt — some even calling it “that old yellow graveyard clay.”
There are as many ways to buy graveyard dirt as there are cultures. So my intuition tells me that I should be sure that I do things that are congruent to my own beliefs while respecting the tradition of graveyard etiquette: be polite, because you are in someone else’s ‘house’, pay for what you take, leave an offering to the patron deity, in my case, Hecate Prytania presides.
For me it makes sense to take dirt from one of four places on the grave: the head, the heart, the feet, and the groin.
Head: to deal with thought forms, gossip, protection, liars
Heart all matters of the heart positive and negative
Feet: safe travel, make someone go away, wealth ( I associate this with the Italian tradition of old shoes being thrown at a wedding for wealth of the couple)
Groin: sex offenders ( payment here is higher due to the nature of root chakra energy and it being the base of all beings… nine pennies face up)
I know I have not listed all matters. I do not want to get too specific because a lot of this is intuitive and common sense based. Our ancestors were practical people after all. If it didn’t work, they didn’t use it.
For common use graveyard dirt, the gate is a good place to but it from, but because you are dealing with the Goddess herself here and not an individual from the yard, a higher price is called for. I use nine pennies here as I would for groin dirt. Now as much as there is rules for where to take the dirt from there are also rules about who to buy it from. The first rule is always ask permission and know who you are dealing with.
Teenager (11-19): to cause inattentiveness or irresponsibility in your target or to kindle sexual attraction
Child (2-10): great for appearing innocent, developing friendships, or obtaining necessities ( best to get this from a poor child rather than one who ate from a silver spoon)
Baby: when you need someone to cast a blind eye to what you are up to, insuring that someone remains dependant on you, or when you need to appear indispensable
Adulterer: to create a love triangle or breaking up a relationship ( esp helpful if you know the relatonship is toxic)
Doctor: to either cause or heal illness
Insane: to bring on madness in your target, remember that the person you are dealing with may not be coherent enough to understand your request and you may not get the desired affect you expected.
Magical Practitioner: virtually everything
Pet: Protection and loyalty
The Abused: to assist in removing one from an abusive relationship.
The Murdered: to right an injustice or to seek revenge.
Murderer or Serial Killer: do not use his dirt unless it is your intent to cause grave harm to your target. I would reserve this only in the most dire need and even still I would hesitate. You may not get the desired result you wish, in fact, you may unleash Hell.
Nun or Priest: spiritual protection and to convey the sense of innocent goodness to the outside world.
Soldier: soldiers are trained to follow orders think on their feet, be strong and courageous. Therefore this dirt is good for just about anything, but you would be wise to understand what this soldier believed in and his/ her causes so that you do not get worked against.
Lawyer/ judges: winning a court case, to protect your rights and dealing with injustices.
Housewife: to ensure domestic tranquility or protection of the hearth and home. May also be used to create discord and chaos in your target’s home.
These are all suggestions I have been able to glean from the online materials I have found. I don’t think anything is truly set in stone as all magick under the realm of Hecate tends to be liminal anyway. Use your intuition and good common sense. I have heard that it is best to buy dirt from someone who knew and loved you in life, but not all of us have that luxury, so be certain of who you are dealing with is not only willing to help you but capable. Meditating and having a conversation with the passed one is necessary before you do any work with them.