Two new soaps – well, new sizes.

A large, 5 ounce bar of Spiritual Cleansing soap, and a HUGE 6.5 ounce bar of Rosemary Protection soap.  Because you can NEVER have too much of either. The small blue bar is Blue Soap, another spiritual cleansing formula – those are two ounce bars to give you the idea of the sizes.

The large square Protection bars are huge.  Crazy huge.  I LOVE this soap.  The large oval bars are pretty darned big too.  We are going to keep making the two-ounce bars as well, though, since even though I think you can’t have too much of this soap, the smaller sizes are pretty darned convenient.

And there’s a whisper that our new line of vodoun loa soaps will be in testing phase soon… I am so freakin’ excited about these that I am about to burst.  No bursting, and no gratuitous bathing – must finish readings….. but these are going to be *gorgeous* ritual soaps, works of art…

two new soaps

Blue Soap
– a spiritual cleansing and uncrossing soap, adapted from my liquid "Blue Bath" spiritual bath.  The ingredients and thus the scent are the same.  If you haven’t tried that one, it’s a simple but powerful formula made with real Florida Water and laundry bluing among other old-school conjure ingredients.

Rosemary Protection Soap – a protection soap that also happens to be great for your complexion.  It contains herbs and essential oils valued in conjure for their protective qualities, both of the person and of the home, and valued in the beauty industry for their skin purifying and cleansing qualities.  This is a wonderfully scented soap that is excellent for your skin in addition to having protective qualities in the hoodoo tradition (though of course I can’t make any supernatural claims and sell this soap as a curio only).  Suitable for use by anyone of any gender, many of these ingredients do double-duty in conjure formulas for female power and mastery, as well as for peaceful home work.

Lor has outdone herself with these, the Rosemary Protection soap especially.  It’s simply gorgeous and she’s nailed a multi-purpose hoodoo formula that is simultaneously indulgent. 

Black Destroyer Oil

A client writes to ask how to use Black Destroyer Oil.

Black Destroyer formulas are designed to help people clear serious messes out of their lives, protect their homes, and stop curses, evil, and resentment dead in their tracks.

Basically, you can use it for long distance candle work, to dress candles or images; to dress items you are using in protection work or things you want to protect; and you can dilute it in mineral oil and use it as a sprinkle on messes that people have laid for you (like if you find powders in your yard), stuff like that.

When I’m dealing with somebody who is aiming stuff at me, I like to dress a candle with Black Destroyer, set their photo in a low, wide dish, set the candle on top of the photo, and then fill the dish with a dash of Black Destroyer and a lot of vinegar.  (This works best with wider candles like small pillars, votives, and 7 knob candles, rather than the kind you have to put in a candle holder. You want to stick it right on top of their photo, and you need the candle to be able to hold it down.)  You can add whatever herbs and stuff you want, appropriate to your case.  Then let the candle burn down ’til the flame reaches the liquid.  Don’t do this unless you’ll be right there to keep an eye on it though.

I find Black Destroyer to be an excellent “first aid” application when under attack, and often it kills the hell out of stuff without you having to do a whole lot more, though of course this depends on who is throwing for you and what they are using to do it. But I keep Black Destroyer Oil in the glove compartment of my car, along with Fiery Wall of Protection powder, my Safe Travel mojo, a Mag-Lite, a box of Band-Aids, a map, a Gerber multi-tool, a tampon, and a protein bar.  Never leave home without it!

If Fiery Wall of Protection is the better-known and slightly spicy go-to formula, the Flaming Shield of the Angels that keeps your enemy at a safe distance from you, then Black Destroyer is the lesser known and slightly pungent Greased Pig of Cunning Evasion that makes your enemy trip in a puddle and splash pig crap into his own face. – Karma Zain

As of August 2020, you can get Black Destroyer Oil at my website Seraphin Station.


sneaky bath tricks

I was corresponding with a friend today about how to get somebody to do spiritual bathing when they will pretty much only use regular soaps, and not those perfumey, strongly scented botanica soap bars.  I was giving her my Bath and Body Works cheats, and figured I’d share them here too.  I give these as gifts when anything else would raise suspicion, and I travel with them if my usual stuff is too bulky or messy to travel with.

Lemongrass Sage for clearing old messes, making good decisions, uplifting and cleansing, study aid
Coconut Lime Verbena for Legba and opening the way
Bergamot Coriander for mastery, "I can," sticking power, prevention of illness/headache
Ylang Ylang and Myrrh for sex appeal/seduction
Orange Ginger for energy, strength, happiness/mood booster
White Clover for protection and uncrossing
Saffron and Fig for love, affection, friendship
Cedarwood and Spice for love/lust, especially to keep a lover around
Eucalyptus Spearmint for protection and jinx breaking

One of the great things about hoodoo is that you can buy citronella tealights and Lemon Pinesol at the dollar store, pray over them, and have fabulous results at a fraction of the cost you’d spend at a botanica for cleansing, uncrossing, or protection work.  Remember, happy hoodooers, it doesn’t have to be expensive and complicated to work.

a set of reader questions

A reader asks for ways to get rid of enemies, aside from the trusty old hotfoot formulas (of which there are more than you can shake a stick at). 

Some folks say that you should say the 48th Psalm every Monday facing sunrise, adding these words: "In de Name of de Father, Son an’ Holy Ghost, my enemies dat workin’ against me, seekin’ after my soul, shall come down." If you want these enemies to stay far away, mention that in the heartfelt prayer you say before the closing bit. 

Now St. Michael the Archangel is probably my favorite for protection work, but I know not everybody is into saints and angels.  But if you are in trouble, St. Michael is a good one to have on your side, so don’t dismiss him outright – give him a chance!  If enemies are bothering you in your neighborhood or place of work, hang a flannel packet full of Guinea Grains, with a holy card or medal of St. Michael attached, over your doors.  If they are at a distance, write their names and place the paper under the foot of his statue, or just light a novena candle to him and pray for protection.  Nahnee, the Boss of Algiers, one of my favorite old-school Hyatt informants, said you should write your enemy’s name on the back of St. Michael’s picture, turn the picture so it’s facing the wall, and set a red light while praying for St. Michael to take charge.

Another Hyatt informant from the same neighborhood says you should get a little sword and dress it with oil of clove and oil of cinammon and keep it in your pocket.  Hold onto when you speak to your enemy, and speak sternly and with self confidence.  You should have a red light set at home when you do this, too, ideally.

There are some container spells that don’t always involve typical hotfoot ingredients in which the enemy is basically bottled up (or coconuted up, or mirror-boxed up) and thrown onto railroad tracks or in a moving river to get them away from you.  A lot of them do involve hotfooting ingredients; there’s a definite crossover.  Some involve "drive ’em crazy" type of ingredients too.  I have seen lemons used for something similar, lemons and coconuts, which are filled with restlessness-inducing ingredients and sent away from the worker or petitioner.

couple of things

Veritable metric assload of new saints’ cards and medals on ebay – finally got around to posting them.

A reader writes to ask what protection charms, baths, whatever I personally use.

Well, it depends.  In general, I am usually wearing a bracelet, which might be the one I made out of rattlesnake vertebra and African sand-cast glass beads with eye-spots painted on.  Or might be a patron saint bracelet, such as OL of Czestochowa or St. Benedict.  I often have a gau charm pendant on, containing various and sundry, depending on what’s up.  And in my day bag I carry two flannel bags everywhere i go — one contains a number of items, such as a black cat bone from my very first black cat in 1990 and other stuff that is none of your business.  The other contains some items associated with the loa Ayizan; these itesms were used in a particular ritual earlier this year involving three — count them, three – bishops, seven candles, some graveyard dirt, a few tears, and 48 hours of altered consciousness.  That’s all I’m saying.  I have a few chicken foot charms in my house and a huge turkey foot charm hanging from my car’s rearview mirror, along with a small black glass rosary and a set of Kali mala beads custom made for me which were used in a 40 day nyasa protection rite.  The yantra made during that rite hangs in my bedroom.

Obviously when things are wonky, I adjust my stuff, my baths, my cleansings, and my environment accordingly.  I have been known to sleep with a bowl of dissolved Fiery Wall salts under my bed, to clean and dress various parts of my home or the whole darned thing, and to perform various cleansings and rituals when necessary.  A few years ago, I had a Live Things in You scare, during which I made up a batch of incense designed to kill anything malignant aimed at me within a three state radius.  It worked, too, but even the neighbors were complaining about the smell.  

For more minor ickiness, I call on St. Michael a lot.  But Legba guards my door, and Dantor my bedroom, and that is usually quite enough.  I take regular cleansing baths, especially when I’m making a batch of Goofer Dust or hanging around with   people who are energy suckers and don’t know it.

Oh, the list goes on.

So what are YOUR favorite protection rites/rituals/items?

on chicken foot charms, now and then

I keep running into statements like this online, ref. Chicken Foot charms: “Used in hoodoo, voodoo, and ceremonial magick for centuries for love, luck and protection.”

Bullshit.  That’s just utter bullshit.

I’ve been avoiding posting this for some time now, because I’m just going to have my research ripped off and posted somewhere else without proper attribution, but what do you do.  I figure it’s best for the facts to be out there instead of a bunch of speculation.

There is precisely no evidence for chicken foot charms being used in Western ceremonial magick that I have been able to find, and I am much more than passingly familiar with Western hermetic traditions, medieval and modern.  So that right there renders the above statement bullshit.

Now, about the voodoo and hoodoo.  Even if you delete the bit about ceremonial magick, the above statement is still problematic.  I take particular issue with the “love and luck” aspects of it.  I’m not trying to say you can’t make a chicken foot charm for whatever you darned well please — you go right ahead, and more power to you — but don’t make centuries-old claims for practices and expect people who know what’s what to swallow that hook.

In 1920, Dr. Daniel Lindsey Thomas, an English professor who was the founder of the Kentucky branch of the American Folklore Society, published his collection of folklore recorded in Kentucky [1].  There is a section on “hoodoo,” which in this case is used as a verb sometimes with the same sense we would say “someone was crossed” or “someone was conjured,” which is to say that “to be hoodooed” is an undesirable thing.  So what you have here is a description of a mojo bag that is assembled with ingredients to do harm to another.  On page 284, the belief reads:

3845. A hoodoo bag is a red flannel bag about six by four
inches in size, containing a pinch of salt, a pod of
red pepper, a rabbit’s foot, a chicken spur, and
some ashes. It must be “made in dead o’ night widout a spec’ o’ light.”

It is perfectly reasonable to assume that this belief related to the spur from a chicken’s foot predates the recording of this recipe.

On the same page, a belief about frizzly roosters is recorded:

3851. Negroes keep chickens with the feathers turned
back the wrong way, to keep away the hoodoos…

Now, I know keeping a frizzly chicken is not the same as making a protection charm with a chicken foot; my point is not that there is One Right Way to do stuff, nor that tricks and recipes don’t change over time in response to human life and locales changing.  But what we’re seeing here are records of beliefs about using part of a chicken foot to do harm to another, and about the ability of chickens to scratch up enemy tricks laid in the yard when someone is trying to harm to you. The latter especially is well-known and widespread. But anybody who can find me a source for using them for love or money that is older than twenty years old that furthermore doesn’t originate in New Orleans gets a free chicken foot.

Chicken feet are used in Santeria, too, from some reports – I’m not a follower of this religion and I don’t know if the reports I read and heard are accurate or not, but that is one contemporary usage.  They may or may not be used for love or money; my sense is that they aren’t, but are instead used in protective and combative work on the rare occasions that they are not simply a byproduct of ritual sacrifice.  If they are used at all (feel free to chime in if you know more about Santeria than I do!) it doesn’t seem to be for love or money.  Also, as you may have noticed if you have been paying attention, Santeria is not hoodoo is not voodoo is not ceremonial magick, so again, my “bullshit” label still sticks.

I have read a report of someone finding a dried chicken foot hanging from a tree in Spain within the last ten years; this was reported in the popular press.  Since love and luck charms are most often kept in the proximity of the person they’re made for or a target of that person, rather than on a tree on public property, my sense here is again that its use is protective or even aggressive (assuming it’s not a stunt pulled by a teenager to scare a neighbor.  I mean, at the end of the day, severed chicken feet are pretty creepy looking). but even if you wanted to make some serious stretches, this is hardly evidence to support any claims about “centuries” or “love and money” or hoodoo, voodoo, or ceremonial magick.

I have heard reports that chicken feet are used in Jamaica to protect from duppies.  I heard this from some random person at a party in the 2000s.  The nearest I’ve been able to find is a mention of chicken feet used for this purpose in a work of fiction, Anne Rivers’ 2001 novel Nora, Nora, set in Lytton, Georgia.  The teenage character Peyton has a chicken foot, and explains,

It’s got power, no matter how it looks….  Chickens are powerful carriers in vodun.  That’s what they call voodoo in Haiti.  The Cubans have got a slightly different pantheon, but the charms look almost the same.  This chicken foot will absolutely protect you from duppies and were-tigers.  That’s probably why you never see them in the South, all those chickens.

I have no idea how to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg, in this case — or, rather, which came first, fiction or folklore.  And I haven’t figured out why a were-tiger would be afraid of a chicken foot.  But in any case, we still have strikes against “centuries,” leaving aside the matter of a fairly unreliable narrator of a work of fiction.  You’ll have to ask Anne Rivers where she got her info.  My bet is, a website devoted to New Orleans voodoo.

Now, Google will point you to some websites selling chicken feet.  I’m one of those people who sells them on her website. I learned how to dry them and “fix” them in New Orleans, from a voodoo practitioner there (this would have been about 1994-ish? They enjoyed a period of popularity as car protection charms in New Orleans, most ). It may be “New World” voodoo in terms of dried feet done up as charms; I honestly don’t know “how far back” something like that goes. I know that my ritual creation of them is informed by lore about chickens being used to scratch up tricks in the yard. I know that from my childhood in Alabama, Louisiana, and Florida, there are folk traditions about them that I think are pretty common
around here. One was of the sort of protective variety — you could bury a chicken foot in the backyard to cure what my great grandmother called “cholera morbis,” which by the time I was a child was used as a deliberately fancy-sounding term for any number of minor childhood illnesses (it did *not* ever refer to actual cholera in this context; it was more akin to kissing the boo-boo to make it better, something you told children). I filed that one in the same mental folder as burying the apple for warts and similar tricks — you “put off” the bad stuff on the item, sometimes by rubbing it on the affected part, and then buried it. This was in Florida. Now I never saw any dried chicken feet in Florida, but my family did have a tradition of black chicken feathers, particularly whisks or fans made of them, to “clean up” around the house (and I always put black chicken feathers on the chicken foot charms I make and sell).

Now, I don’t know how much my Catholic great grandmother came up with for the sensation of it (because she loved to do parlor tricks — she would do seances and table rapping and mesmerize us and the lights would come up and we’d have ashes all over our faces or something equally shocking) and how much came from “around,” so I really can’t make any definitive statements, just tell you where I got the idea from. She did collect other feet and animal bits, including dried armadillo shells, one of which, with its tail curved around to make a basket handle, resided in her kitchen, and I can only pray we didn’t use it as a fruit basket or something, ’cause it turns out armadillos are germbags. and we still do this. We collect feet from various animals on back scratchers (alligator ones are easy to come by) and we have an elaborate family hazing ritual for new friends and significant others that involves pawing them with this dessicated foot and uttering a word that I can’t spell in English. (I know I sound facetious but I’m quite serious.  My ten year old daughter does this trick to people, my 90 year old grandmother is too dignified, but her mother taught the trick and she knows about it, and every single one of my first cousins, in six different states, knows the trick too and laughs really loud when someone sneaks up behind them to paw them with the dried foot.  We do it for fun but we got it from my great grandmother.) People who pass the “test” (can take it with a smile) are welcome in the house but they get years of ribbing if they don’t pass.  It’s also helpful, family-test wise, if you are prepared to share your momma’s name, where you went to school, and whether you can make a roux.

From the Louisiana branch came the less protective, more offensive type of beliefs — if you found severed chicken feet on your front step you had had something put on you (though truthfully, if you found any animal part on your front step it usually meant the same thing. This is the branch of the family that would never cop to any knowledge about how to DO any of this stuff, only how to have the traiteur come and clean it up if it resulted in trouble). That part of the family was also Catholic
until this generation; right now some have converted to Episcopalian due to marriage. I sell some of my chicken feet in this part of Louisiana as well, though these are the ones I don’t mojo up — there is a tradition of associating chickens and their parts with Mardi Gras “donations” to people who go around dressed up in burlap and stuff, and there is also a flamingo tradition associated with Mardi Gras in one area where I have family. Since flamingo feet aren’t really easy to come by, the occasional partygoer will buy a hot pink chicken foot decorated with dyed feathers and beads for Mardi Gras wear (this is around Baton Rouge and outlying areas).

I encountered a similar belief about chicken parts in central Alabama, though the parts were more often formerly belonging to cats (the area I was living in had a cat disappearance problem in the early 90s) and entrails seemed to be favored over feet. I don’t know what was backwoods lore and what had been imported by college students, but frankly it didn’t matter — having an animal part on your sidewalk or porch worked the head trick every time. I never encountered anything relating chicken feet to protection in central Alabama, only offensive stuff.

So that’s my back story on why I make chicken feet, and my speculation on where it might have come from.

Now, onto some contemporary chicken foot usages.  In an article by Katrien Jacobs, which you can read here, she interviews artist Barbara Groves.

Jacobs: So the success of the performance must have had something to do with those chicken feet. Can you explain that a bit more?

Groves: I grew up in Pass Christian, Mississipi, where from a young age onwards I came in contact with religious catholic mindsets and types of witchcraft and voodoo that seem to follow me around the world. Even when I moved here to Massachusetts, I remained aware of the hidden tradition of Christian culture, which is on the one hand very ornamental and festive yet morally very repressed. I see the signs of voodoo worship almost anywhere I go, and I see the chicken feet as symbol of rejuvenation and revival.

Absolutely fascinating.  However, it does nothing to weaken my original point.

One final bit of interest comes from a (never wildly popular) Libretto written by Francois M. Turenne De Pres in 1948, ostensibly based on Haitian folklore. [2]  One passage, in which the mother of a sick child frantically tries to think of ways to cure her baby, reads,

A dry chicken foot or the horn of a goat From the altar of sacrifice Will stop the death bell and make my baby well (55).

I don’t know about you, but this sounds like the author may have taken some liberties.  In any case, while this is the only reference I’ve ever seen to chicken feet for healing, exactly, we are still a far cry from love or money (assuming we may accept this as a legitimate piece of Haitian folk belief).  You will not, however, convince me that the chicken foot has been used in voodoo for centuries for love and luck.  At best, this character is talking about removing portions of sacrifices from the altars of some loa.  While I have my guess which altars those would be, assuming such a guess is even appropriate, my argument, I believe, still holds water.

As I say on the item listing for my chicken foot charms, the chicken foot is traditionally used in Southern rootwork and “New World Voodoo” (ie, New Orleans Voodoo) for protection with an undercurrent of “scratching back” against those people, entities, or energies that would harm you (not love or money, folks, sorry! Take the rootworker’s word for it!) and I create mine in the folk magic and rootwork traditions I was raised and trained in. My family is from Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana, and I live and work in the Southeast, the traditional heart of hoodoo. (I don’t mean to imply there are not other makers of Chicken Foot Charms making the real things down here in Gumbo Land, because there are, and I didn’t invent them. I’m merely pointing out that some wildly inaccurate information about these charms has recently been propagated, and I encourage you to do your research).

People, doubtless having read other seller’s listings for these, keep writing me to ask me to make one for abundance, or love.  Folks, I can customize your attached mojo bag for nearly any circumstance, including abundance or love, but *chicken feet charms are used for protection,* so it’s more of a “protection in love” or “protection of resources” type working if you use a chicken foot for it.  (They are actually appropriate for slightly more aggressive forms of magic, but I don’t perform that kind of work without prior consultation, and in some cases won’t  perform it at all, depending on what it is, so you would need to write me first if you want that done.)  I’m sorry to disappoint, but using a chicken foot for a plain old love spell is like using a hammer to open a bottle of Coke.  Sure, you can do it if you try, but that’s not what the tool was designed for, there are already better tools out there designed to do what you want to do, and using the appropriate tools means you get quicker and neater results (fewer shards of glass in your sip of Coca Cola, know what I mean?)

Happy hoodooing,

Karma Zain


Other tidbits I’ve gathered since I originally wrote the first draft of this “article” :

Chicken feet used in the films The Deep and Angelheart as general bad signs or ominous objects.

A chicken foot is used in a modern Ogoun nkisi, titled “AN INKISI TO PROTECT YOUNG BLACK MALES 20TH CENTURY AND BEYOND,” by artist Renee Stout (take a look – this is astonishing work).
Chicken feet are used for property protection (and, it seems, protection FROM followers of New Orleans Voodoo), in a story by Scott Fredrickson.  He writes,

I thought Marie Laveau was buried in this graveyard but found that not to be true. As I walked around looking for her grave, I stumbled across the local cemetery historian (alright, a homeless guy who knew the area and was taking some tourists on a tour). He asked me if I wanted to join his tour and I said I only wanted to find Maria Laveau’s grave. He told me she was not buried here and that this was a safe cemetery and that they “didn’t allow no voodoo in this cemetery.” He told the me he had previously gotten a bag of chicken feet from the butcher and lined them up at the two entrances to the cemetery. Since then, there has been no trouble for anyone visiting the cemetery – or so he said.

Nappy Roots member Big V apparently believes in the power of the chicken foot.  Why he wears it is not stated.

Notes on a chicken foot painting.  “Part of the conjure act in August Wilson’s first professional play Black Bart and the Sacred Hills; the chicken foot is symbolic of alternate systems of spirituality black people in the New World brought with them and created upon their arrival and commingling with other cultures.”

I don’t know exactly who this guy is, but his name is Rhondell and he was born in Kentucky.  He says, “In a certain area of the deep South, if a man came out of his house in the morning and saw two crossed chicken feet, feet cut off of a frying chicken, lying crossed on his door step or somewhere on his walkway to the street, the man would be in an utter state of panic because he knows that a black magician is practicing voodoo on him, and he feels that he has no chance because the black magician has marked him out. He is much like a member of the Mafia – he knows there’s a contract out on him.

And last but not least, here’s what cat yronwode has to say about black hens.



[1] Kentucky Superstitions.  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1920.

[2] Maia, a Libretto on Haitian Folklore
Francois M. Turenne De Pres
Phylon (1940-1956), Vol. 9, No. 1 (1st Qtr., 1948), pp. 50-57