*It is important to note here that we make no difference between powders and dusts, as they are both referred to as polvo or polvos in Spanish.
Powders and dusts are one of the least understood and most overlooked concoctions in sorcery and magic. It seems we don’t know how or when to use them, but there are countless applications to them. In this article, we wish to address some of the usages attributed to dusts and powders and offer a practical example of how to use Incubus Powder, one of our last creations belonging to the Dark Aphrodisiac Series.
Whatever tradition you follow, we are certain you have heard about powders and dusts. They are finely ground materials of animal, vegetal, or mineral origin which are often used in spellwork and rituals. While magical oils or other liquids can leave stains and may damage some surfaces, powders and dusts offer a subtle yet versatile counterpart. Because subtlety and versatility are the strongest reasons behind choosing powders and dusts. They can be used in any context, they can be sprinkled on almost any surface, and they can be easily concealed.
While powders and dusts are present in almost all magical traditions, nowadays those of African and South American origin are regarded as the most popular: such is the case of the hoodoo Goofer Dust or Hot Foot Powder, concoctions employed in special hexing and protection rituals. According to some practitioners, the popularity of these powders and dusts could be attributed to their widespread usage in the communities that follow those folk magic traditions. However, we want to refer to the long history of the usage of powders in medieval alchemy, sorcery, and poison making.
Alchemy gave the usage of powders and dusts a whole different and transcendental dimension, as some powders represented the stages of matter. The word elixir, from the Arabic al-iksir, initially referred to the powders that made the philosophers’ stone, i.e. the completion of the magnum opus of the alchemist and the transmutation of metals. A red powder was said to turn minerals into gold, and a white powder was believed to turn materials into silver. The composition of alchemical powders would often include mercury, sulphur, or salt ammoniac.
In medieval and Early Modern sorcery, magic, and poison-making, toxic or noxious powders were said to be employed by individuals who wished to call upon demonic powers and bring misfortune to a community: damaging crops, or getting people or cattle sick. The making of those powders, composed of poisonous plants and other ingredients such as bat’s blood or even corpses, was instructed by the Devil, who spread the knowledge among his acolytes. But powders and dusts are also related to witchcraft and the praxis of ecstatic trance. In some Pyrenean witch trials, for instance, powders were seen as a substitute for the famous flying ointment used by some individuals to fly to the sabbat.
Dust to dust: how to incorporate powders and dusts to your practice
Powders and dusts are the minimal expressions of matter, thus they have the potential to evoke the powers of both initium and disintegration: they are the seed and they represent the dead. Below we offer a small list of ways to incorporate powders and dusts to your practice. The majority of methods to use powders can be found in several magic traditions which influence and affect one another, so it is really difficult to trace their origins.
- blown onto something or someone: this is a classic way of employing powders and dusts, although it is not very secretive. This is often employed by hoodoo practitioners and curanderos ‘medicine men’ for rites of protection and to eliminate hexes from their customers.
- dressing candles, papers, etc.: when we talk about dressing we refer to the action of sprinkling or covering an object in powder, often after having rubbed it with oil so it will stick better.
- protecting or delimitating spaces: this is a specially effective way of employing dusts and powders, as they can be used to draw magical frontiers and barriers (to delimitate a ritual space, to prevent potential enemies from entering our home, etc.).
- put inside sachets, mojo bags, fetishes or dolls: powders and dusts can be carried around inside sachets or mojo bags, they can enhance the powers of any talisman or amulet. Similarly, they can be used to feed or instil energy or magical power into fetishes and effigies.
- drawing sigils or patterns: powders and dusts can be used to draw sigils, magical symbols, and patterns of any kind. The stereotypical circle of salt that we now can see in any horror movie to scare off demons is surely a simplification of this usage.
Using the Incubus Powder
We have lately added the Incubus Powder at our store as part of the Dark Aphrodisiacs series. We decided to get our inspiration from entities so misunderstood as incubi and succubi to craft our powders, and there is a strong reason behind that. Incubi and succubi are popular parasitic entities that are often regarded as the cause of sleep paralysis and the origin of nightmares. Incubi, those of male nature which lay upon the sleeper, and succubi, those of female nature which lay underneath, use the sexual energy of their victims and abuse them while they dream.
The Incubus and Succubus Powders can be used as a way to call upon those entities and establish a relationship between them and the practitioner, but they can also be used as a means to become or to integrate the incubic or succubic energies. This is especially useful to those who want to exert revenge on abusers or those practitioners who feel particularly drained after interaction with certain individuals –i.e. psychical vampires.
The choice between the Incubus and Succubus Powders should not rely on the practitioner’s gender or sexual inclinations. Rather, it should be based on the kind of energy that the practitioner wishes to attain (or wishes to get rid of). The Incubus Powder exerts an aggressive, perhaps more phallic, attack on the target or the situation that the practitioner wishes to overcome, while the Succubus Powder helps the practitioner energetically drain the target/situation while preventing from being exposed.
Let’s look at a practical case.
X is particularly bothered by his work situation. X feels he is being used and abused: not paid enough, his colleagues use him and he has to put up with their work, as he is often regarded as a ‘good guy’. X just can’t say no. X has tried all kinds of protection spells; he has scared away all the potentially bad energies from the workspace and himself, etc. But the problem does not revolve around people wishing him evil, but in him not being able to draw barriers, and learning to say no.
In this case, X could use Incubus Powder to stop being treated as a punching bag by his colleagues. By sprinkling Incubus Powder on his work clothes, workspace, or on the tools he uses every day, X can potentially assume the role of the incubus and acquire some of its defining traits: more aggressive energy, perhaps learning to take advantage from situations of abuse.
We hope this brief article can help you see powders and dusts under a different light. Be sure to ask us for advice, and we will try to give you what we think is the most fitting solution or answer!