"Red Brick Dust: This is actual powdered red brick dust, believed by many, especially in Missouri and Louisiana, to have protective magical qualities. It is also reputed by some to draw money and business. Lay a line down at the doorway for protection from your enemies, or to draw customers to your place of business.
Hot Foot Powder: used in African American hoodoo folk magic to drive unwanted people away. It is a mixture of herbs and minerals, virtually always including cayenne pepper, and usually other ingredients such as sulfur, black pepper, graveyard dirt, bluestone, gunpowder or salt.
Graveyard Dirt: There are basically three ways that Graveyard Dirt is employed in hoodoo: in spells of protection, in enemy tricks, and in coercive love spells . Despite its inclusion in such harmful formulas, graveyard dirt is not evil per se, and it has uses all its own that reflect its venerable stature in the African religious practice of ancestor veneration.
In African-derived magic such as hoodoo and Obeah, graveyard dirt is an important "magical link" (in the Crowleyan sense of that term), because of the powerful cultural beliefs centered around the role of the dead in rituals of invocation. This was and remains especially true in the Kongo, from whence most African-American slaves came, and in West Africa, where most Afro-Caribbean slaves came.
(You may find veneration of ancestors rather misleadingly called "ancestor worship" by earlier Western scholars, and you will often see it referred to in that way in books published in English prior to the 1990s, but American and European scholars have recently come around to using the more accurate African term "ancestor veneration," due to their contact with Africans who have entered academia and gotten on the internet .. and still practice ancestor veneration.)
In Palo Mayombe, a mostly Cuban and Brazilian survival of Kongo religio-magical practgice somewhat admixed with Catholicism, the dirt from graves is kept in a "prenda" on an altar.
In hoodoo, as in African magic and in Palo, graveyard dirt can be used for good or for ill. There are several well-known love-spells that utilize graveyard dirt, and just as many spells to hold someone down or restrain them in some way (what British people might call a "binding spell".
In hoodoo, the ritual of collecting graveyard dirt -- by the practitioner him- or herself -- is called BUYING graveyard dirt. The usual payment in the US, since the 19th century at least, has been a silver dime, preferably a Mercury dime (this brings up thoughts about that earlier thread about Mercury / Hermes / Eshu / Nbumba Nzila / Eleggua). Customs vary, but generally the dime is offered to the dead in the entire graveyard or to the specific spirit from whose grave one will dig the dirt.
If one wished to do harm, one might buy the dirt of someone who "died badly" -- before their time, through execution, or so forth, because their spirit, once invoked, would be inclined to perform evil deeds with little compunction. If one wished to bring about love, one might buy the dirt from someone who loved one in life (a relative or a deceased spouse, for instance) because their spirit, once invoked, would be inclined to help one achieve lasting love. Some workers prefer dirt from a baby's grave, because they say that the spirit thus invoked is malleable and biddable; but others say it is too weak, being young, and will not prove as effective as dirt from the grave of an adult.
This practice of the individual buying dirt from a graveyard led early on in hoodoo to the root worker / herbalist buying the dirt and then re-selling it. No stigma is attached to this practice, but the re-seller may be questioned closely as to whether the dirt was properly "bought and paid for." I have ads in old catalogues in my collection dating back to the 1920s in which graveyard dirt was offered for sale to the African-American community, so this is not a recent phenomenon. -- like most of the merchantile aspects of hoodoo, it arose as urbanization made the personal gathering of symbolic ingredients difficult to achieve. The price of graveyard dirt is usually nominal -- it's dirt cheap.
Neo-pagan authors such as Scott Cunningham have written that graveyard dirt is "just code" for certain herbs, such as mullein, but this is easily proven untrue by simply asking the average root-worker. In the African-American community (if not the Wiccan community) graveyard dirt is dirt from a grave that's been ritually "bought and paid for." ~ Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by Catherine Yronwode
Differences between Voodoo and Hoodoo
Hoodoo and Voodoo are often mistaken for one another. Some believe that the terms may have a common etymology. Simply put, Voodoo is a religion, whereas Hoodoo is a group of magical practices.
The ancient African religion of Vodoun is an established religion with its ancient roots in West Africa. Its modern form is practiced across West Africa in the countries now known as Benin, Togo, and Burkina Faso, among others. In Haiti, Cuba, and other Caribbean islands, the worship of the Vodoun gods (called lwa or loas) is practiced in a syncretic form that has been greatly modified by contact with Catholicism. The Voodoo of Haiti and Louisiana Voodoo are better known to many English speakers; similar practices among Spanish speakers in Cuba are called Santeria.
Hoodoo shows obvious and evident links to the practices and beliefs of African folk magico-religious culture. The Hoodoo practiced in the U.S. by the enslaved Africans was brought from West and Central Africa, specifically, the area that is now known as the Congo and Angola, Togo, Nigeria and other West African regions. ~ wikipedia