Protection from Random Dead
It’s never a good thing to have random dead spirits hanging around you. It may seem cool to others, but random dead spirits mostly have a desire to feed on your energy and magick. And if these are dead spirits of violent or mentally ill people, then all the worse as they tend to be dangerous and unpredictable. Being able to tell what type of spirit is around you is not always easy, even for seasoned worker. Spirits can be tricky in concealing their identities and can blend into the shadows or even into one another. Therefore, it’s best when planning a trip to the cemetery to protect yourself from attracting the attention of a potential “friend”.
There are many methods of protection, so use the ones most known and comfortable to you. Here are a few things I’ve found effective. Use a protection oil (a blend that can be used directly on the skin) on your hands, back of the neck, top of the head, in the bellybutton (seriously, most people ignore that spot, but it’s a major opening into one’s body/spirit), underarms, crooks of elbows and knees, and bottom of feet. Cascarilla is sometimes used in place of the oil. Wear protective jewelry. Carry a protective amulet or talisman or gris-gris. Tie a red string around your waist (next to your skin, inside your clothing). Carry salt with you to throw over your shoulder (without looking back) as you leave the cemetery, as salt drives away the dead.
Some people will not speak to anyone else after leaving the cemetery until they arrive at their next destination and cross over a protected threshold, usually the person’s house but it can also be a church. This is so their voices are not recognized by anything from the cemetery and so they don’t provide any openings for spirits to enter through. While inside the cemetery, you might be under the protection of the guardian you honored, however, once you leave, you’re on your own.
If you perform an especially strong or malicious working while in the cemetery, chances are you’ve gotten the attention of many more spirits than you probably want to. One method of keeping these spirits from following you home is to remove your outer-most layer of clothing, turning it inside-out, and putting it back on. This is very difficult to do without drawing attention to yourself unless you are doing this in a remote cemetery at night. It’s illegal to be in most cemeteries after dark or passed their public hours, however, if you’re planning a work that calls for such extreme protection, I hope you’ve found a cemetery that will allow you the freedom and privacy for not only the protection but for the work as well.
Properly collected grave dirt can be used for a variety of works, but most commonly it is used for dark purposes. Drawing on the magickal laws of contagion and “like attracts like”, grave dirt brings forth its immediate connection with death, the dead, and the underworld. If the dirt is from an actual grave, as opposed to dirt from the cemetery grounds, it also can also call upon the properties of the gate or veil between life and death, as every grave is potentially a portal into the Underworld. There are sources that list either ground mullein or patchouli as substitutions for grave dirt, but these sources are absolutely WRONG. There is no substitute for grave dirt. It must be, exactly as its name implies, dirt from a grave, or at least from inside a cemetery. Most likely, these incorrect assumptions were the musings of squeamish practitioners, for whom I have no tolerance. Mullein and patchouli can both facilitate magickal connections with the cemetery if, like any other herb, they are actually found growing within one, but that is still not a substitute for actual grave dirt. If one is going into a cemetery to collect herbs, then why not just collect dirt, as well? There are herbs and trees that have Underworld and Death associations, but none of them are used in the same manner as grave dirt as far as I’m aware.
Properly collecting grave dirt can be simple or complicated, depending on your intentions. The first set of actions that place into motion the ritualistic collection of grave dirt is discussed above in properly honoring the guardian of the cemetery upon entering. This makes sure that no one in the cemetery sees you as a thief or an easy target. Next, go to either the grave you intend to collect from or the area of the cemetery grounds. If you are collecting not from a grave but the cemetery grounds, it’s very simple. Kneel down, knock three times on the ground, and state, mentally or aloud, your intention. It can be as general as “I am collecting this dirt for any future magickal workings that call upon the virtues of the cemetery,” or it can very specific. The important thing is to state some intention, magickally charging the material, otherwise you just have dirt. Collect the dirt, and place three coins into the hole, covering them with any loose dirt as well as hiding as much as possible all traces of your actions (fallen leaves from nearby help with this).
To collect from a grave, do as above, but at the end add an offering for the person whose grave it is, such as a small amount of whiskey or rum or Florida Water. Collecting from a grave can get complex. Sometimes we collect from a grave for its “portal to the Underworld” properties, and sometimes we collect to either capture the essence of the type or person buried there, such as a murderer or insane person, or to try to call upon the actual spirit of the person. The latter is much more difficult and rarely successful. Research often has to be done, as well as a preliminary trip to the cemetery to locate the grave prior to any working (more so for actual workings, rather than grave dirt collection).