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Working Magic with Dirt

Soil & Earth

Dirt basically and it comes in many forms; some soil is light and sandy and others (like the stuff in my garden) is thick and clay like and any manner of types in between but essentially it is full of magic. Soil is obviously aligned with the element of earth but it holds a definite life force as it is jammed pack full of nutrients to feed the plants.

Earth is grounding and solid bringing stability and strength with it. It doesn’t matter if you are standing knee deep in mud at a festival or on concrete paving in a shopping centre, the earth is there beneath your feet. Soil, earth, dirt, mud, graveyard dirt and clay are all different forms with the same source.

Soil can be used in all sorts of magical workings and as always go with your intuition but I tend to use it for the following:

Magical properties: Fertility, nurturing, stabilising, grounding, manifestation, prosperity, employment, home, protection, rebirth.

Gender: Feminine.

Direction: North.

Elementals: Gnomes, dwarves, brownies.

Uses: Burying, planting, making mandalas and sigils.


Grounding is a very simple, yet effective method that you can use to connect to the earth’s energies, or other natural energy source like the sun, stars, moon etc. We can utilise these energies to give us strength and to calm our minds, so we are able to concentrate and focus. That way we are drawing energy from around us rather than depleting our own reserves which could end up making us feel tired and unwell.

We can also use a grounding method to release any build-up of energies that may have occurred during ritual or spell work for example.

Graveyard dirt

Graveyard dirt is exactly what it sounds like…it is dirt taken from a grave. Because of the source and by source, I mean dirt taken from the grave of a dead person it has a habit of being used in hexes and curses. Does that make graveyard dirt dark magic? I think it depends on which grave the dirt came from and who is wielding the spell. It will also depend on what your own beliefs are about dealing with or connecting with the dead. There is no doubt either way that graveyard dirt carries a huge amount of magical power.

Personally, I love the peace and tranquillity that most graveyards have and I like wandering around investigating. I have no qualms about collecting and using graveyard dirt although these days you do have to be careful that no one sees you collecting it because being arrested for desecrating a grave is not high on my agenda. But…and here is the important part for me, you must know a bit about who resides in the grave you collect the dirt from. Dirt from the grave of a thief or a murderer is going to be fairly toxic, dirt from a doctor or physician is going to have healing properties, dirt from the grave of a soldier or service person is going to carry warrior energy – be careful who you choose.

You can if you wish just scoop up a handful of dirt from within the cemetery or graveyard boundaries, not necessarily from a specific grave or even collecting dirt and dust from gravestones rather than digging in an actual grave. This is a personal choice, you must do what works for you.

Some folklore suggests that ‘real’ graveyard dirt must be taken from just above the actual coffin and some state that three scoops must be collected; one from over the head, one from over the heart and one from below the feet of the body. Personally, I am not going to go to those lengths because that would definitely get me a night in the cells.

If all you need is a handful of graveyard dirt then you can just scoop it up and carefully pop it in a bag, if you need more you could take a pot plant to the grave and take home the earth that you dig out to put the plant in. I would suggest that you only do this on a relative or friend’s grave – to avoid upsetting other people.

I like to get to know the spirit within the grave first, make a connection and ask permission and I also like to leave an offering. I think it is only good manners because basically you are disturbing their peace. Coins or libations are traditional gifts in exchange for graveyard dirt.

So, what is graveyard dirt used for other than hexing? Well it actually has very strong protection properties.

Protection dirt: To protect your child as they leave your home pop a small amount of graveyard dirt on the back of your left hand then as the child turns to go out the door throw the dirt over their head to bring in protection.

Success spell: Using nine handfuls of graveyard dirt mix them with salt, pepper and sulphur then burn some of it on charcoal. As it burns visualise the success and goals that you wish to achieve. Repeat as and when necessary as the power within this mixture lasts for a long time.


To watch a replay of my talk, click the link:

Taken from Kitchen Witchcraft: The Element of Earth by Rachel Patterson

Soil image from Unsplash


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