Category:The Dead and the Graveyard

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Hoodoo and conjure root doctors often go to the graveyard to perform spells for clients.

The spirits of the dead, either as spirit contacts within the Spiritualist Tradition or as embodied in their graveyard dirt, can be very helpful to rootworkers both in the performance of spiritual work as well as casting spells. As with crossroads work, working with the dead is a form of spirit work that includes a broad range of altar work and prayer as well as magical spell casting in which root doctors may contact or seek the aid of spirits and spirit Guides for the aid of their clients.

The spirits of those who have passed possess certain gifts and abilities, and within African diasporic ancestral traditions, it is an axiom that ancestors and other spirits of the dead can produce quick and effective results for clients in such diverse areas of work as love spells, protection spells, money drawing spells, and spells to bind or control enemies.

Conjure doctors who assist clients may perform graveyard work in matters of career success, personal power, mastery, wisdom, love drawing, romance, marriage, fidelity, reconciliation, money, business, luck, protection, safe travel, cleansing, uncrossing, road opening, court cases, legal matters, spirituality, blessings, Blessing, Cleansing, Healing, crossing, jinxing, or cursing. In addition, when rootworkers take on jobs for clients, they may send the clients talismans or herbal or mineral remedies for their use, which may have been prepared in a graveyard and/or include graveyard dirt.


Contact by Spiritual Mediums

Root doctors who are spirit mediums may establish beneficial ongoing contact with certain spirits of the dead, and may work at their grave sites on a regular basis
A variety of American cemeteries and graveyards
Graveyards often contain statuary and inscribed stones to memorialize the dead
Offerings of coins left in front of a row of human skulls at the Sedlec Ossuary in Hora Sedlec, Czechoslovakia
Some root doctors choose to work with the graveyard dirt of soldier-spirits because soldiers are considered to be willing to follow orders
In Thailand tombs take the form of grassy earthen mounds; on Ching Ming Jie or Tomb Sweeping Day family members bring offerings of food, drink, incense, and joss paper to their ancestors at Jing Gung Cemetery in Chonburi Thailand ; photo by Ztudiototo

One way to contact the dead is to engage the services of a spirit medium, especially one who works within the Spiritualist tradition or is Spiritualist by religious affiliation.

The spirit medium will attempt to establish rapport or contact with the departed, and will relay messages to the client, often offering advice, warnings, consolation, or information that will help the client overcome challenges in daily life.

Spirit mediums who contact the dead on behalf of clients, either in the context of the Spiritual Church Movement or as private workers, may additionally utilize graveyard dirt as a touchstone or magical link to the spirits of the dead who are most important to their clients.

Graveyard Rituals

Graveyard dirt may be selected by the root doctor based on factors such as a spirit's relationship with the rootworker or with the client, the special gifts and abilities the dead had in life, or powers attained by the dead through how they crossed.

Hoodoo practitioners approach work with graveyard spirits -- and the collecting of graveyard dirt for such spell casting -- as contract work which requires payment. Traditional hoodoo offerings that are placed on or in the grave include coins and alcohol.

In some cases, graveyard contact may be sought in the hope of receiving helpful talents that a particular spirit may provide. One such spirit is that of Marie Laveau, a 19th century practitioner in New Orleans whose assistance is sought by some who wish to embark upon a career as a professional rootworker. In this case, the above-ground tomb of Marie Laveau is not dug under for dirt, but X-marks are made on the tomb to connect with the spirit of Marie Laveau.

If the graveyard spirit is also an ancestor, the offerings may be more personal and may include tobacco, candy, flowers, food, and other goods deemed appropriate to the particular spirit.

Ancestor work may also be performed at home, on a specially dedicated ancestor altar, using ancestral graveyard dirt previously collected at a cemetery.

Ghosts, Haints, and Revenants

Popular belief defines a "ghost" as the soul or spirit of a dead person who can appear to humans. Ghosts are said to come into existence at the moment of death, retaining the decedent’s memories and personality. They are thought to be trapped on earth, unable to enter the spiritual realm as they should, for reasons usually related to vengeance, justice, or death trauma, or as a punishment for an evil life. widely believed to be composed of airy or misty material, and are often depicted as wearing shrouds. Sometimes, though, they are described as appearing as solid, tangible people, complete with the wounds that killed them.

Others believe that ghosts, at least some of them, are remanent. Remanence is a term borrowed from materials science, which describes the phenomenon of residual magnetism or energy remaining in an object that has been subjected to a magnetic field. The original magnetic field goes away, but magnetism remains in the lodestone or man-made magnet. Remenance is also a term found in dowsing, where it describes the energy that can be sensed where an underground stream or a mineral had been, but has subsequently been redirected or moved. Similarly, spiritual workers may apply this term to apparitions which appear briefly, performing repeated actions which may recall a traumatic death, or even a fragment of daily life; they are a "mark" left on the environment, not an entire personality.

Another common belief is that ghosts are spirits who have died and not passed over to the next world; they are trapped at the site of a traumatic death or other soul-marking event. Others are said to be the spirits of people who were not given a proper burial after they died.

How Conjure Doctors Work for Clients at a Graveyard

Many rootworkers go to graves to perform spells on behalf of a client or to buy graveyard dirt on the client's behalf. Properly bought and paid-for graveyard dirt may also be purchased through reputable establishments for use in conjure spell casting. Some magic spells performed on an altar, such as mirror boxes and other spells of jinx breaking, uncrossing, and reversing are customarily finished by ceremonial burial in a graveyard.

Work that root doctors perform on behalf of clients that involve the spirits of the dead range from gathering graveyard dirt to use in altar work at home, taking work to be buried at the graveyard, as well as more elaborate rites performed at the graveyard itself with the intent of getting the spirits of the dead to work on behalf of the conjure doctor.

The Graveyard in Various Cultures

  • Ancient Greek beliefs about ghosts evolved over time. In early Greek civilization, it was said that ghosts went to the underworld immediately after death, and could be called back to prophesy, give advice, or participate in annual memorial feasts. However, by the 5th century BCE, the Greeks experienced ghosts as frightening beings who could work for good or evil and cemeteries were places to avoid.
  • In medieval Europe, ghosts could be demons or the souls of the dead. This is why the custom arose — and still exists — of demanding the ghost’s business in the name of Jesus Christ. A demon would flee; a departed soul would explain his mission.
  • Medieval European Catholic monasteries not infrequently contain ossuaries where the bones of the dead are arranged in orderly and even decorative arrays.
  • Spiritualism is a belief and a series of religions in which mediumistic contact with the dead may form part of regular practice and worship services.
  • The indigenous religions of various tribes in pre-conquest Mexico included yearly feast-days and offerings for the dead, and after the Spanish imposition of Catholic religious traditions from Europe, these were merged into a uniquely Mexican festival called |Dia Del Los Muertos or the Day of the Dead
  • Among the Hindus of India, where it is more customary to cremate the dead than to bury them, the Hindu deities associated with the charnel grounds are Shiva and Kali.
  • In Jewish and Yiddish folk magic traditions, mental illness, personality changes, and intense distress can also be attributed to the evil influences of dybbuks, who may be demons, but also can be the souls of the dead who were wicked in life and who have either escaped the fiery realm of Gehenna or have resisted entering its gates, and therefore wander the earth in search of living human victims to whom they cling, imparting confused thoughts, delusions, irrational fears, extreme anxiety, depression, or even suicidal ideation.
  • Ching Ming Jie ("Tomb Sweeping Festival" or "Tomb Sweeping Day" is a Taoist memorial day on which people visit the burial sites of their ancestors. There are two ways to count it on the calendar: it is the 104th day after the Winter Solstice, or the 15th day after the Spring Equinox. In secular terms, this means that it takes place on April 4th, 5th, or 6th in any given year. The tombs and graves are swept, and offerings are presented to the deceased, but participants do not cook, and only cold dishes are served. (Read More ...)
  • In Europe and much of North America, to see a ghost is often considered an omen of an upcoming death. It may presage the demise of a family member ... or even of the one who saw the vision.


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See Also


  • How Hoodoo Root Doctors Cast Spells in the Graveyard

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