An Enemy Trick to Cause Confusion or Breakup (Hyatt)

This is an enemy trick that uses an onion as a container spell, to cause your enemy’s mind to be confused (to “run them crazy”) or to break up a couple. The informant was Miss Ida Bates of New Orleans, recorded in Vol. 2, p. 1659.

You get one dirt dauber’s nest tube and powder it. Get a red onion – you’ll need to load it with materials, so you might want to cut it in half and remove a couple of layers from the center, or cut the top off and scoop out some of the inside, though the informant does not detail the cutting or stuffing. Inside the onion you put your target name(s) — presumably on a name-paper —  and add bluestone (use laundry bluing, the anil balls or the bluing squares), cayenne pepper, and a good pinch of the dirt-dauber nest. If you want to break up a couple, put their names on separate pieces of paper and stick those in there. The informant doesn’t specify, but if you have cut the onion in half, you’ll need to stick it back together; it would be ok to use thread or string to tie it shut. If you just took the top off and scooped some inside it, then you can just set the “cap” back on top. Then, the informant says, “And [put] the onion under the dirt dauber. And just the way that wasp hums, wanders around, circles around, that’s just the way those people mind will be.” She doesn’t specify exactly how to do this, but you could put it in a box or cup and cover it with the rest of the dirt dauber nest powder, or you could bury it and cover it with the dirt dauber nest. (That’s what I would do.)

This is an enemy trick – the informant says this is for a person “you want to be evil against” — so you need to do proper spiritual cleansing after performing this trick.

on sulphur, cayenne, and other “irritants” in hoodoo

I see this come up occasionally, and I thought I'd repost something I posted on a hoodoo list not all that long ago, in response to someone expressing curiosity over why someone would use sulphur or cayenne in a love spell.  To their way of thinking, sulphur and cayenne are part of the crossing/hexing/icky family of herbs and minerals, from which you see them make occasional forays into uncrossing and protection work, and would thus "make more sense" as part of a breakup spell rather than a love spell.

Here was my response:

I'll tell you my theory on it, which you're free to reject 🙂  Where I grew up in Cajun cooking land, you think of cayenne as an irritant first, and then think of different ways to use irritants. One way to use irritants is to heat things up – a little cayenne can be a good thing.  Think of old uses of Spanish Fly – an irritant for an aphrodisiac – or those herbal patches with capsicum in them that my Kung Fu instructor used to give us for healing.  I think of cayenne in the same category as ginger and even cinnamon (only a hell of a lot more irritating).  Then obviously irritants can be used to heat things up for less pleasurable or benevolent things as well (causing fuss and discord, running somebody crazy).

So I would think of it less like "cayenne is for breaking people up" and instead like "cayenne is for heating things up" and go from there in terms of thinking about how to use it.   Is this making sense? I think this is the same way that sulphur can be used in attracting business, even though most folks think of it as a "drive away" or "cause trouble" ingredient.  It's not always, though.  I have a bunch of recipes for business scrubs from Mobile, AL, New Orleans, and areas around and between, that call for sulphur, to raise up attention and get a good crowd at an event or sidewalk sale or barbecue, and at least one "draw a lover" recipe that calls for sulphur, cayenne, and salt.  Now, sulphur, cayenne and salt seem like a good "get the hell away from me" recipe, but at least on the Gulf Coast that same recipe has been used to get somebody to come back.  I believe the principle is that a little irritant can be used to heat things up in a good way, given the larger context of whatever other work you have going on.