Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jeudi: Root Work

I'm not quite sure why but, as Tuesday’s post seems to hint, I’ve become fascinated by lore surrounding brooms lately.  It may have to do with the fact that I am currently rereading Anne Llewellyn Barstow’s chillingly well written Witchcraze: A New History of the European Witch Hunts, which I cannot recommend enough.  On the other hand, it may just be the time of year.  Along with all that, I’m gearing up for the time of entertaining and parties, which will descend upon us in October and not let up until January.  This thought also brought brooms to mind, which may not be as surprising as it sounds.

I’ve mentioned before that my maternal grandmother had friends in the Roma community.  Roma are sometimes referred to as Gypsies and they have a long tradition of being excellent at spell craft.  Just like hoodoo root workers, Gypsies take a serious “keep it simple” approach to influencing their surroundings.  Both communities tended to be marginalized if not down right impoverished so they had to work with what they had on hand.  This held true for a situation familiar to anyone who has ever invited people into their home: unwanted guests.

According to Gran, the Roma she knew had an easy and effective way to get rid of guests who overstayed their welcome.  The hostess would simply excuse herself for a moment, take her household broom and sweep the front step while saying three times: From my home I bid (name of guest) will go, stay no more and may his/her/their return be slow.  The broom was then to be stood on its handle next to the front door.  The smart worker would not exit their home with their guest(s) or they might also be compelled to leave and not return for a while.  The broom could be taken in as soon as the guest was gone, or left at the door overnight to ensure a long while between return visits.

Hoodoo has similar but stronger remedies for unwanted visitors.  If you wish to keep a guest from ever returning to your home, throw a mixture of salt, black pepper and red pepper or black salt made by mixing salt and soot from your fireplace after them when the leave.  Sweep this throw all the way to the curb in the direction of your guest’s retreat and say as you do: (Name of guest), go away and never return to my home.   

A hoodoo trick to keep people out of your house, whether you know them or not, is to simply lay brooms across the doors leading into your home.  The belief is that anyone who steps over the broom without your invitation will be immediately stricken with such bad luck that they will injure themselves or wander in a daze right back out of the house.

Regardless of where or how we live, it is a virtual instinct in humans to want to protect our home and the people we love.  To that important end, it’s nice to have a few tricks up your sleeve; or in this case, in your pantry.  Bonne chance ~

Header:  Family Sitting on the Back Porch by Rico Tomaso via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

Good to know, Pauline... but I hope I never have to use those tricks.

Pauline said...

I agree, but knowledge is power. It's always good to have a trick or two up your sleeve :)