How to use Anointing Oils, Condition Oils, Conjure Oils, Dressing Oils, Formula Oils, Hoodoo Oils, Ritual Oils, and other Magical Purpose Oils
Because I make and sell a number of Hoodoo Formula Condition Oils on this site, I wanted put out a little info on what these are and how they are used. This write-up briefly (very briefly) touches on the history of magical oil use, some of the types of oils and terminology, and describes some of the common ways these oils are used in hoodoo spell work. Although some of this covers general information on magical oils, the info on terminology and specific ways to use these oils are based on my background of work within the hoodoo rootwork tradition.
Brief History of Magical Oils
The use of roots, herbs, and essential oils in magico-religious rituals extend back to ancient, pre-Biblical, Egypt, China, Mesopotamia, and the Middle East. With a little more digging and surfing the net it's fairly easy to find historical texts documenting the use of magical oils in every culture since the beginning of time. Oils have always been a highly treasured component of magical work and if you want to harness the power of a botanical, essential oils are the most concentrated and most powerful form of this botanical, and as such, have many magical uses.
For an example of this, one need not go any further than the Bible to see that magical oils have been used for magical and spiritual purposes since ancient times. The use of oil for spiritual purposes is clearly illustrated in the Bible passages of Exodus, along with giving formulas for creating magical oil and incense:
Exodus 30:22 Moreover the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying,
Exodus 30:23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
Exodus 30:24 and of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin:
Exodus 30:25 and thou shalt make an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be a holy anointing oil.
Exodus 30:26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
Exodus 30:27 And the table and all of his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
Shifting our focus to modern times, we see an increased availability of herbs and essential oils making it easier to purchase or create your own oils. Within the magical oil market, there are wide differences in price, quality, and manufacturing practices. In the old days, rootworkers, or the corner pharmacist, created Condition Oils based on time tested formula recipes. These rootworkers and pharmacists made small batches of the spiritual Condition Oils using real herbs, roots, and minerals. In the southern states, many neighborhood pharmacists created and sold these oils in the old-time drugstores. These types of formula oils became more available for purchase in the 1930's, via mail-order catalogues.
As time went on, larger manufacturing companies saw an opportunity to make money with the spiritual clients and the 1970's saw an influx of cheaply made, artificial oils containing harmful byproducts (like Phthalate chemicals) flood the botanicas and occult shops.
Due to a number of factors, there has been a resurgence of magical and spiritual practices over the past couple decades. Many of the cheaply made, artificial oils are still being sold, but in recent times, there are a few of us practitioners out there making magical oils the old fashioned way, in small batches, using real quality ingredients, and using traditional formulas.
Types of Oils/ Terminology:
Anointing Oils: These refer to oils that are applied to your body or to someone else's body. These oils are usually the sort that are intended to enhance their condition in a physical, emotional, or spiritual way. Examples of these types of oils are: Astral Travel Oil, Healing Oil, and Open 3rd Eye Oil.
Dressing Oils: These are the oils most often used for applying to inanimate objects, such as: Candles, Petition Papers, Mojo Bags, Doll Babies, and Floor Washes. Examples of these types of oils are: Boss Fix, Crown of Success, and Fast Luck. Although these types of oils are usually thought of as Dressing Oils, there is a lot of overlap. Many people will use Crown of Success Oil to dress a candle, as well as to anoint themselves. And there are many that will use Boss Fix Oil on a candle and also deploy it on an object that is set up for the target of their spell to come into contact with- as a means of influencing them.
Condition Oils: This is very much a hoodoo term as I don't believe I've seen it anywhere else. The term Condition Oil refers to all of the hoodoo Anointing and Dressing Oils that are created and used in hoodoo. As mentioned before, it relates to how these formulas were created to treat the condition that the client was seeking help with. In the past, hoodoo rootworkers were referred to as "Two Headed Doctors."
Formula Oils: This term is used the same way that the term Condition Oil is used, except you are being a little more specific, as the term "Formula Oil" indicates that the Condition Oil is one that is made according to a Rootworker's or Two Headed Doctor's proprietary formula.
Hoodoo & Conjure Oils: This refers to the types of oils created in hoodoo by knowledgeable workers and are used in the practice of hoodoo and conjure.
Ritual Oils: This refers to any type of oil used in ceremony or rite in which a series of prescribed actions are followed. Many of the oils listed on this site can sometimes be used in a ritual manner, such as when performing an Uncrossing Ritual or a prescribed House Cleansing or House Blessing.
Using Magical Oils:
Of all of our senses, the human sense of smell remains the most mysterious. The olfactory system resides near an area known as the reptilian brain, the most ancient and least understood part of our brain. The sense of smell is our most primal sense and carries direct connections to the intangibles, such as our instincts, emotions, and memories. It is a sense that we share with the animal and spirit realms. The sense of smell may be our most powerful and tangible way of connecting to the power of magical energy. Essential oils and blends of traditional formula oils are often the most potent way of accessing the magical power contained there.
For me, the golden rule of magical oil use is : Formula Condition Oils can be used on whatever or whoever it is that you are seeking to affect!
How to Use Hoodoo Condition Oils:
How to Dress Candles
Before dressing the candle, many people like to carve the name or names of the target of their spell and/or will also carve a brief spiritual petition (room permitting) to set the focus of their work. Move on to dressing your candle after this.
There are many ways to dress and prepare a magical candle. If the candle is not encased, or if it is a pull-out candle, a good way to proceed is to put a few drops of the Condition Oil being used onto your fingers and coat the candle with it. The most common technique for this is the UP or Down technique.
If your intentions are to draw someone or something to you, such as a love interest, money, or opportunities, then you would start at the bottom of the candle (furthest away from the wick) and rub upward as you dress the candle, as this symbolizes that you are bringing something toward you.
If your intention is to drive someone or something away from you, such as a troublesome person, debt, or bad habits, then you would start at the top of the candle (nearest the wick) and rub downward, or away from yourself- symbolizing that you are sending something away from yourself.
One you have your candle oiled up you can sprinkle or roll your candle in crushed or powder herb/s that correlate to the type of work you are doing, or you can use a formulated hoodoo powder, that can be sprinkled on, or blown onto the candle.
If you are dressing a glass encased vigil candle then you will need to have some sort of a tool to poke a hole or holes into the top of the candle such as an awl, a long nail, or a shish kebob skewer. Some people will only poke one hole but some people prefer to poke the number of holes that enhance the work they are doing. In hoodoo odd numbers are often used. The numbers 3, 5, 7, 9, and 13. The number 3 is a generally a good number associated with generation. The number 5 is probably most associated with a quincunx (looks like a 5 spot on dice) to "fix" your intention or work. The number 7 , a highly lucky number, is use to draw something or someone to you. The number 9 is used to control another person or a situation. And the number 13 is used frequently for cleansing or clearing any bad work that has been placed on you.
The number I use the most frequently is 3 - spiritually symbolizing the generating of my work or intent. But poke whatever number of holes work best for you. I clear away the excess wax and then drizzle a little of my chosen oil into the holes, as I circle the top of the candle. I go around the top of the candle again with my index finger so that it is evenly spread.
Don't leave too much oil at the top of the candle because it will drown your wick. Take a paper towel and blot away the excess if you need to. There should only be a nice, even thinly coated candle top. Now add a pinch or powder or powdered herbs around the top of the candle. You might also add a bit of magnetic sand if you are trying to attract someone or something. Go lightly, a little goes a long way.
How to Create and Dress Name Papers, Prayer Papers & Petition Papers
Name Papers, Prayer Papers and/or Petition Papers are frequently used in hoodoo by placing them beneath a prepared candle or in a personalized mojo bag. All name, petition, or prayer papers serve as a type of amulet and can include: names, sigils, drawings, general prayers, and/or specifically worded requests or petitions. Any of these may be used in a variety of ways, such as being carried on the person, or even ingested. Among the many ways these papers can be carried, is in a person's pocket, sewn into their clothing, carried in a mojo bag, or worn inside a shoe. Prayers and petitions can also be dipped in water, and then the water is consumed. (Do not put any Condition Oil on anything that will be consumed.)
One powerful way to dress your Name Paper or Petition Paper is to place a bit of a Condition Oil (one that correlates to your condition/ intent) on your index finger and then dot the paper on it's four corners and also one in the center, like a 5 spot on dice. Like this:
This is known as a quincunx and is believed to "fix" your desires into the paper. You may want to add a bit of powder, and or powdered herbs to the paper- not too much though, you still need to be able to fold it up.
Next, when folding your Name Paper or Petition Paper, if you are wanting to draw someone or something to you- then fold the paper toward you. If you are trying to remove, or drive someone or something away from you, then fold the paper going away from you.
There are many, many ways and reasons that someone would create one of these papers. It can be a powerful aspect in Candle Magic to place a Petition Paper or a Name Paper beneath a prepared candle- I'm sure the saying of "Burning a candle on his name" comes from this practice.
Other uses of a Name Paper or Petition Paper can be anything from carrying one in your pocket for a job interview, to placing one in your shoe to "step on" or crush an opponent that you are facing in Court. One can see how a well crafted Name or Petition Paper could prove useful when going to a test, or a competition, or for good luck in matters of Love, Money, or Protection.
Name Papers are used in ways similar to Prayer Papers and Petition Papers except a person or person's name/s are used. If the client that the paper is being done for wishes to gain control over another person, the target's name is written a number of chosen times (traditionally an odd number, usually: 3,7, 9, or 13) in list form, like this:
You will then turn the paper and "cross and cover" (like a tic-tac-toe grid) the target person's name with the client's name. This symbolizes control over the target of the spell. This Name Paper can also have a petition added to it. One common way is to circle the Name Petition with a brief petition. It is customary to write out this type of petition by not lifting your pen as you go all the way around. This adds focus and power to the intent- you can dot those I's, and cross those T's afterwards! It should end up looking like this:
To do a simple Petition Paper write out a briefly stated petition (traditionally an odd number of times- 3, 7, 9, or 13). And then turn your paper to "cross and cover" the petition with the client's name. That the client's name is written over the petition symbolizes their control over the situation. It should end up looking like this:
Other situations or conditions may call for a variation in the creation of a paper, especially in matters of the heart. Common variations frequently have to do with either bringing two people together, or breaking two people apart.
When the desired outcome is to bring two people together, you may want to write out two different name papers, one paper for the client and one paper for the target of the spell. Then cross and cover each name paper with a petition worded to draw them together. Write the petition the same number of times. Dress each paper with quincunx using a Condition Oil that correlates to your intent such as Come to Me, Love Me, or Lover Come Back Oil. Blow or sprinkle a bit of powdered herbs, add a bit of lodestone grit and then place the papers so that they are facing each other. To make this or any other work more powerful, add the person's photo or any personal item. By personal items I mean anything that contains their essence or DNA. This a piece of hair, fingernail, etc- you may have to get creative- but worth it. You may want to place your papers under a prepared Vigil Candle or into a mojo bag.
When the desired outcome is to break two people apart, get your paper and draw a real or imagined line down the middle of the paper. On one side of the paper write the client's name the chosen number of times, and on the other side, write the target person's name the chosen number of times. You will then want to cross and cover each side with different petitions. An example is to cross and cover your Client's side with the petition: "Stay Strong" and then to cross and cover the Target's side with "Leave Town." You could dress your paper with Break Up Oil or Chain Breaker Oil. After this, cut the paper in half, right down the middle. You could place the Client's "Stay Strong" paper beneath a candle or in a mojo bag you have prepared for them, and you could burn the Target's "Leave Town" paper or throw it into running water like a river or a stream to be carried away (or if dealing with a very bad or troublesome person- flush it down the toilet!)
How to Dress Mojo Bags
Mojo Bags are an amulet created in hoodoo practice by a conjure or hoodoo rootworker for a specific person and for a specific condition or desired outcome and traditionally consists of a cloth bag (often red flannel) that contains one or more magical items. These items are usually traditional roots, herbs, and mineral matter. Much of the practice of creating mojo bag amulets has African roots but we also find many other cultural influences involved in the practice, especially: Native American, Germanic, Hispanic, Western European, and Jewish. Some folks believe that the term mojo is a corruption of the word magic. Other sources believe that the word mojo is derived from the West African word "mojuba" meaning a prayer and many have come to know mojos as a "prayer in a bag" or a "spell in a bag".
Other names used for mojo bag are: a mojo hand, a trick bag, a jomo, gris-gris, or a toby. Many examples of this can be seen in the interviews from the 1930's documented by Harry M. Hyatt in his enormous 5 volume compilation of work titled: Hoodoo-Conjuration-Witchcraft-Rootwork. This is especially covered on in Volume One.
After a mojo bag amulet has been created it is brought to life. How it is brought to life depends upon the practitioner. Some may smoke the bag and contents, others may breathe into the bag, and certain prayers and petitions might be used. During this process of preparation the mojo is "fixed" and tied securely shut. The mojo is then "dressed" or "fed" with a liquid. Examples of liquids that have been dressed or used to dress or feed a mojo bag are Florida Water, Hoyt's Cologne, Whiskey, and of course- a properly prepared Condition Oil.
The reason a mojo bag is fed by dressing it is because it is no longer considered to be just a bag of items, the mojo bag is believed to be alive with spirit! It needs to be fed to keep it working strong for you.
There are probably many ways to dress and feed your mojo bag, but the way that I do it is by placing a bit of Condition Oil on my fingers and then touching the oil to the bag in a quincunx, or a 5 spot pattern. By using this magical pattern I am fixing the power within my mojo and feeding it to keep it strong and working for me. I like to repeat this action usually once a week.
How to Dress Doll Babies aka Poppets
Along with all of the wonderful and awful things that can be done to a doll baby or a poppet (which is a proxy of the target of your spell and what many people commonly identify these days as a "voodoo doll"). These can be dressed or anointed (depending on how you look at it) with a Condition Oil just like candles, petitions and mojo bags are. You can love it up with a Fire of Love Oil, or do a lot of hurt with things like a Crossing Oil, or a Shut Your Mouth Oil, and some pins and needles. I like to use the same quincunx pattern to dress a doll baby- hands, feet, and heart or head- depending on what I'm wanting to affect.
Anoint Yourself or Another Person
The Condition Oils most often used for anointing oneself, or another person, are usually those that are for affecting yourself directly and to generate positive results such as Chain Breaker Oil, Healing Oil, and Open 3rd Eye Oil.
Opportunities for anointing and influencing another person exists all around you. Examples of this could be something along the lines of anointing the head or hands of a family member with Crown of Success Oil, Steady Work Oil, Wise King Solomon Oil, or High John the Conqueror Oil before they set out to go to a job interview. Or when a romantic opportunity presents itself, you may want to anoint yourself with Bewitching Oil or Come to Me Oil, or add a few drops of a similar Condition Oil into your massage oil before rubbing that special person's shoulders.
Use in a Spiritual Bath
Hoodoo Condition Oil can be added to your bath salts, or directly to the bath, for many, many conditions. Some bathing principles to remember are:
When bathing to draw in good luck and positive conditions: bathe from the feet upward, stroking your body in upward motions from the feet working upward to the head while praying or stating your petition.
When bathing to remove or cast out negative conditions: go opposite, and bathe from the head (or neck if you don't want to get your hair wet) downwards, stroking your body in downward motions while praying for the removal of negative conditions.
This type of bathing is not for physical cleansing. Your body should be already clean when you begin a Spiritual Bath. What you are doing in a Spiritual bath is changing your very vibration or aura by using the essences contained in the Condition Oil. This is why you air dry afterwards- you don't want to towel off what you just placed there.
Spiritual Bathing is more powerful when prayers or petitions are stated while performing it. The most powerful way is to speak from the heart, having a conversation with God. Another powerful way is by the recitation of Psalms. There is a specific Psalm that can be recited for just about any condition or problem that a person can encounter. The recitation of Psalms comes to us from ancient Kabalistic practices, where it was believed that each Psalm contained ancient "seed sounds" that once uttered would fulfill the petitioner's desire.
An example of this is the recitation of Psalm 51:7 where it states "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I will be whiter than snow", during an Uncrossing Ritual.
Use in a Floor Wash
Hoodoo Condition Oils can be added to just about any of your household cleaners to Cleanse and draw Blessings and Protection to your home.
Many folks like to do this when moving into a new place, or when trying to get rid of any residual negative energy or low lying entities. A negative imprint can be left from heated arguments or other unpleasant occurrences. Some people tell me they will do an annual or a semi-annual Cleansing and go through the home using a specially created floor wash, or by making one of their own by adding traditional Condition Oils to the wash. Often Condition Oils like Van Van Oil, Cleanse & Clear Oil are used for this type of work.
When performing a ritual cleansing of the home due to lingering negative energy, or a suspect entity, it is most traditional to start cleaning from the back of the house on the top floor and then to work your way down, washing the floors and wiping down the walls, the doorways, and the window frame areas. Clean moving from back to front and from top to bottom as you move through the house until your cleansing culminates at the front doorway, where you will keep cleansing outward and away from your front step. Take your bucket of used wash water and toss it into the running water of a river or stream so that the negative energy can be taken away, or else toss it into a crossroad intersection where it will be safely disbursed to the four quarters, or else the water is thrown toward the West and the setting sun- to diminish and take away. After disposal, walk away and don't look back
Afterwards, go around the home and dress the doorways and window ledges with Condition Oils, such as: Blessing Oil, Peaceful Home Oil, or Fiery Wall of Protection Oil, paying special attention to the front, main entrance. Light a Blessing Candle to burn while you do this, setting it in a central location of the home.
Other Ways to Use Condition Oils:
I'll leave you now with a few last suggestions-
A few drops of oil can be added to Oil Lamps. This works much the same as in Candle Magic. The use of an Oil Lamp was used by old-time rootworkers that were conducting a much longer, ongoing type of spiritual work. Many rootworkers today still employ the use of an oil lamps.
Condition Oils can also be used to cleanse and dress your office, your place of work, or your business in the same way that you would with your home.
Magical Seals and Sigils can be dressed to increase their power.
They can be used to dress documents, letters, or photos in conjunction with spell work.
Condition Oils can be added to the clothes wash, or final rinse of your own clothes, or to that of another person's that you seek to discreetly influence.
A drop or two can be added to the incense that you burn.
And of course, many of these Condition Oils have a pleasing scent and can be worn on the body as an empowering or protective perfume.