Love magic in Appalachian Hoodoo

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If there’s one thing mountain folk enjoy, it’s being in love. How could one not fall in love among forests of honeysuckle, oak trees, fields of goldenrod and the babble of the creek down hill? These hills have known so much love, long before the white man met this soil.  By common sense, the mountain folk have many old sayings and tricks to attract love and keep it good.

The old folks had a traditional outlook on love, therefore most of the following circles around new love and keeping love. But sometimes a person likes to wander. And the grannies knew exactly how to keep him put and sat in one place.

Now, when a young person finds another that they wish to settle with, there’s a handful of charms and techniques they can pick from. The obvious and most common is to cook for them and spike it with either semen, menstrual blood, or urine. This is said to make them head over heels for you.

Another choice was to take two strips of clothing, one of yours and one of the other persons, and walk through the forest to find honeysuckle. They would pass three bushes until they came upon the fourth; at this bush they would tie the two strips of clothing with the vines. Don’t cut ’em off, just tie it to the bush using only the vines. Tie them there while saying, “knotted us, knotted we. Knotted now, forever be.” As the bush continues to grow so will the love and bond between the two lovers. Some people go back each year to check the bush, especially in times of trouble in love. If the bush has come undone at some point, they’ve either been worked against in order to fight and separate; or the love wasn’t meant to be. There’s tricks for figuring those messes out.

To guarantee a proposal from the man, the woman would carry a raccoon balcum wrapped with locks of the couples hair. And of course tied with red string.

You could also use an apple. During the harvest, make sure you get the second to last apple left. The last one was left on the tree so the devil won’t cause trouble. The woman would take the apple and cut it in half. She would take the seeds out and hollow out the core. Save the seeds for later. She would then load it with parsley, rosemary, strawberry leaves and the mans name. She’d put the halves together and bind it with that red string.

Over the course of five days, she would eat one seed early morning, before sunrise. While eating the seed, she would roll the apple towards her on a table or on the ground. This was said to get his tail over to you to bend on one knee. After the fifth day, she’d burry the apply in the front yard at sunrise.

Folks also used a “sugar bottle” to catch the eye of a lover. They’d use old medicine bottles or coke bottles (it’s gotta be glass). In it they’d put the name of a possible lover who may have eyes for you. With that they’d put sugar, cinnamon, honeysuckle flowers, rose petals and a bit of dirt from the front yard (to get him over there). The bottle is then capped and rolled from one corner of the room to the next, starting at the corner closest to the east and ending at the opposite side of the room. This is done from dark to full moon, at which point the bottle is either buried in the front yard or sat by the front door.

To attract a lover, make a sugar jar by putting rose petals, powdered sugar (because it gets EVERYWHERE), honey, flowers from the garden and a lock of your hair. Say your prayers over this jar every night for one moon cycle and burry it under your front door.

Now say that that boy don’t pay you no good attention, and he best starting seeing you. They would make an apple head doll. The head would be loaded with names, knots, cinnamon, flour, and rose petals and thorns. This was then named for the man to draw him to her. He can’t think of nobody, but. This doll was talked to you and kissed, even put to bed with you until he made the move. Once that happened, the doll was kept in an undergarment drawer until marriage. Once married, it was properly disposed of. Back then, it was taboo to have a divorce, so once you’s married, it was a done deal.

Now folks often wander off and mess with others. When this was discovered, the man or woman’s “nature” was tied totheir spouse, so they couldn’t find sexual pleasure with any others or wander off.

To tie a woman’s nature, you would get a red string that has been anointed with her “fluids” (I’ll leave it up to you about how to acquire that). This string is then knotted 9 times while saying her name and the petition on each one. This is then carried with the man, so when need be he can take it out and repeat his petition periodically. This string can also added to a sachet with kudzu root, walnut root, yellow dock root, moss, and whiskey salt to fixed their nature to you. This is to be tied up in a honeysuckle bush, just enough so the charm won’t fall. Make sure not to break the vines. As the vines grow, so will their inability to find pleasure elsewhere.

The same is done as above to fix a man’s nature, except the red string must be the same length as his member and soaked in his semen for three days (again, your choice on how to do that). The only difference is for the woman, the sachet must be a bag and for a man it is a packet.

If you think your nature has been fixed by a lover, get a silver dime (one before the year 1964, because you need the silver for this) and soak it in equal parts of salt water and whiskey with three caps of ammonia. Soak it for 13 days, beginning on the first day of the month. This is best if the first day  of the month falls during a waning moon.

This dime is then rubbed on the genitalia for 9 days, between the labias or on the left side of his member. The dime is then thrown into a river. Most folks here use the Nolachucky (thought to mean “Black swirling waters”, “Dangerous waters” etc.). Many folk have die in this river, so it is the place to “end” things or kill works out on you.

To keep a wandering lover home, take a piece of their undergarments and a railroad spike and nail it down in the back yard. You can also bind it up with red string around a yellow dock root, and hide it under the bed. We’re all about tying things. And duct taping things. We make due.

Now, this all of this is ,but a fraction of the mountain knowledge regarding love; but I’d say it’s enough to keep folks informed. Our roots may not swim in the bayous of Louisiana, but that don’t matter much. They are made strong, tough, resilient and sturdy by the red clay, wildfires, frost and thunderstorms that charge these mountains year after year. Our hands are worn in the summer by the earth and garden, and bit by the cold in the winter from foraging the dead lands and forests. Mountain folk know how to hold their own. I’ve said it once before, but that won’t be the last.

Far from it.


Author: Jake Richards

Jake (Dr. Henny) follows family practice as a Yarb Doctor and Conjure man in the Appalachian Folk Magic tradition. He follows the legacy of his mother (a seventh daughter), that left behind by his grandfather, a baptist preacher who was a blood stopper, wort doctor, and thrush doctor; his grandmother, who was a knowledgeable woman in these works before Alzheimer’s set in; his great, great grandfather who witched for water in Washington County and his great grandmother who taught and worked from her roost at the foot of Devil’s Nest Mountain. Jake is the author of Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia, available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. When he's not writing, blogging, reading the bones or trying for clients: he is either traveling, gardening, sewing, book binding, reading, or sculpting. For questions, readings, recommendations for future posts, interviews and the like, you are welcome to email him below:

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