Saturday, February 18, 2012

Dirt Dauber Nests, War Water & Threshold Work

Dirt Dauber Nest
These "pipe" nests are built by a little dark brown to black wasp by collecting mud and then building tubes for laying its eggs, one egg per pipe. Spiders and other small bugs are paralyzed and sealed inside the pipes for the larvae to feed on when it hatches. 

In folk magic, these nests are used whole, broken, or powdered in hot foot workings, break-up spells, good luck hands, business/employment drawing blends, money drawing, and many, many more.

In Harry Middleton Hyatt's books, Hoodoo, Conjuration, Witchcraft & Rootwork, he lists several uses for dauber nests, including:

1.       Carrying around a bit of nest in your wallet or purse to draw money and luck (Vol. 2, p.1552)
2.       Adding it to a vinegar jar with a couple’s name paper (names written crossing each other, of course) and red pepper and beef gall in order to break them up (Vol. 2, p. 1513)
3.       Adding it to a Hot Foot working and placing it someone’s shoe to drive them off (Vol.2 , p. 1505)
4.       Mixing it with Graveyard Dirt and Sugar in order to help heal a marriage (the wasps are one of the few where the male wasp stays at the nest to guard it, thus ensuring that the “family” is safe and united, which is probably why the dauber is associated with a faithful marriage) (Vol. 2, p. 1325)
5.       Adding Dauber Nest to Graveyard Dirt and throwing it on train tracks to kill someone (there’s more to it than this, of course, but I’d rather not get too into that here) (Vol. 2, p. 1089)

Catherine Yronwode mentions many spells involving dauber nests in her book, some of these including spells to destroy an enemy, control a cheating/wandering husband, and bring more customers into a business. This latter spell involves mixing the nest with Grains of Paradise and sprinkling the powder around the business, in locations as high as possible, such as shelves, door sill edges, etc.

War Water
War Water, which is also commonly called "Mars Water" or "Iron Water", is simply water in which iron has been allowed to rust. The presence of iron in the water gives it a reddish-brown hue, looking a bit like blood even in some cases. Draja Mickaharic makes a good case for why iron’s presence in the water empowers it:

Iron is the metal of the planet Mars, the planet astrologers credit with ruling warfare and combat, as well as sex. Used either for defense or attack, war water is a strong carrier of the negative emotional energy used in magical battles.” (Century of Spells, p. 27).

The basic recipe involves putting cut iron of some type into a container, covering it with a bit of water, and letting it rust. There are plenty of variations, depending on the intent, or on who’s telling you how to make it. Judika Illes breaks down the formula by intent:

Protective War Water 
Iron nails (cut iron), ones that rust easily
Enough water to cover nails in a mason jar
Let rust for about 7-10 days (open periodically to allow oxidation)
Keep adding water as the rust builds
Strain and use as needed (but discard if bacteria form)

Malevolent War Water 
Thunderstorm water in a jar
Rusty nails, sulfur, and urine
(Encylopedia of 5000 Spells, p. 1080)

This formulation is essentially the same as the one found in Draja Mickaharic’s Century of Spells, calling for about 3/4 pound of cut iron nails in a 2 quart bottle. These are covered with tap water and allowed to rust. After the rust begins, more water is added, and the bottle is covered (though occasionally uncovered for rusting purposes).

The alternative recipe comes from the normally quite reputable Zora Neale Hurston’sHoodoo in America, in which she describes War Water as “Oil of Tar in water (filtered)” (p. 412). Oil of Tar is essentially a thick distillate of creosote or burned pine resin—which is carcinogenic and dangerous. A reasonable substitution for Oil of Tar would be turpentine, another pine distillate with slightly less caustic properties. However, almost every formulary I found other than Hurston’s had separate distinctions for War Water and a formula called “Tar Water,” which is much more like Hurston’s recipe and which is used to remove psychic sludge from one’s life. I would then conclude that Hurston recorded the Tar Water recipe as a War Water recipe in error, or quite possibly an editor inserted this formula without knowing the difference (which commonly happened to Hurston’s work).

There are also additional ingredients that you can add to the water to help “flavor” it for your magical purposes. One of the most common additions is Spanish moss, a dense vegetal beard which covers trees in the Deep South. Once it begins to rot in the liquid, it turns the mixture black and gives it a decaying scent. Adding sulphur or gunpowder would also give it a powerfully aggressive and dangerous vibe. The "Swamp Water" formula, by Stephanie Palm, takes Mississippi River water and turns it into War Water with these sorts of additions to it.

So, how do you use it? There are several methods for deploying War Water, depending on just what your final intent might be. For the basic rust-water formula for protective purposes, you can use it:

As an addition to a spiritual bath
As a wash for the outside of your home or business
As a sprinkle for any letters or papers you might be sending out to someone hostile to you (such as legal papers)
The most common use of War Water, however, is as a component of psychic warfare. Cat Yronwode says of it:

To use it, you shake a bottle up and hurl it at the doorstep of your enemy, where it should break, leaving a rusty, dangerously sharp mess for him or her to step in. When i was a young woman coming up in the East Bay in the 1960s, War Water was used by fractious root workers to declare occult war on each other. Since these folks were already at odds to the extent that they could not simply walk into each other’s yards and smash the glass bottle on the doorstep, they would make “drive by” attacks, rumbling through the residential streets of Oakland in the midnight hour and tossing bottles of War Water into the yards of their enemies, like occult Molotov cocktails. Ah, those were the days …” (“War Water” par. 4).

In Jim Haskins’ Voodoo & Hoodoo, he says that to use War Water you should “obtain the nest of a dirt dauber, break it apart and mix it with graveyard dirt. Put the mixture in a bottle with War Water and shake it up. Smash it on the person’s walkway” (p. 130).  Hurston does not mention smashing the bottle, but she does call for sprinkling it in front of an enemy’s house. She also provides a secondary method which requires that you “take a fresh black hen’s egg, make a hole big enough to get the egg out and take the names, pepper sauce and mustard and fill the egg up and soak it in War Water for nine days and throw it over the house, and it will cross the house and they will have to move away” (“Hoodoo in America,” p. 375).

As a final note, if you are considering starting a psychic war, Draja Mickaharic makes a good case for having sturdy defenses in place before beginning any attack:

If you are going to declare psychic war on someone you should mop your stairs, porch, doorway, and any outside surfaces of your home on which anything can be cast or thrown before you begin the war. This ensures that you will be protected when the other person’s inevitable counterattack comes. In most cases War Water will cause any spell which is placed on your doorstep to rebound instantly to the sender.” (Century of Spells, p. 28)

So that’s War Water and a few of its applications.Other inclinations for this water would be to use a railroad spike, coffin nails, and urine in a jar for defensive and protective magic, while perhaps using coffin nails, goofer dust, red pepper, sulphur/gunpowder, and Spanish moss for a more aggressive formula.

Threshold Work

Home Protection Blend

Sprinkle this on all exterior doorway entrances and all window sills.

SATOR Square

     S   A   T   O   R

     A   R   E   P   O

     T   E   N   E   T

     O  P   E   R   A

     R  O   T   A   S

Draw this on all sides of all exterior doorways, and all windowsills, also on the back of all mirrors (or invisibly on the front if you can't draw it on the back).

Red Brick Dust - spread along doorway entrances, steps up to the house, window sills, basically any opening into the home.

For extra-strength protection, apply any of the powdered forms in conjunction with the SATOR Square. This barrier will prohibit all negative from entering your home.

AzureGreen- Celebrating All Paths to the Divine

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