Everything you need to know about lodestones and their use within the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition: from their science and history through to baptising and working them.
What is a Lodestone?
Lodestones in Hoodoo
Baptising a Lodestone
The Care and Feeding of Lodestones
Bathing and Cleaning Lodestones
Working Lodestones for Money
Working Lodestones for Love
Lodestones and Other Spiritual Supplies
Lodestones For Sale!
Lodestones and Spirits
Lodestones, Not Honey Jars
Supplies Mentioned In This Article
Lodestones are a naturally occurring form of iron oxide which is magnetic. It is one of the few minerals known to have magnetic properties. The oxide itself, Magnetite, is a common iron ore and is usually processed into steel. Lodestones, however, exhibit all the properties of a magnet and are less common. They have been used for millenia for both mundane and magical purposes, primarily for navigation.
Here’s field biologist and science teacher Brian Erickson explaining:
Lodestones are used in the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition to attract and draw things. This takes advantage of the magnetic properties of the lodestone. Lodestones are used to bring in luck, money, and love. For luck and money, they are used singly. For love, they are used in matched pairs.
Lodestones are named, worked, fed, cared for, and treated exactly as you would a living thing: because in hoodoo, that is exactly what a lodestone is considered to be. If they are treated well and worked correctly, lodestones can bring in a great deal of good fortune.
Lodestones have been used for a long time in hoodoo, they are a longstanding and very traditional curio. They have survived the numerous changes and evolutions of the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition with their function and methods of use largely unchanged, and they aren’t going away any time soon.
The very first thing that needs to be done once a lodestone is acquired is to baptise it. A lodestone needs a name, it needs something to respond to when you call on it to work. Its name will depend on two things: its intended function, and its gender.
Lodestones come in male and female form. Male lodestones are pointier, somewhat tetrahedroid in shape. Female lodestones are flatter, smoother, and more cuboid in shape.
The main uses for lodestones are to draw luck and money (singly) or love (in pairs). A lodestone for money might carry a name like Benjamin (on the USA $100 bill), Plenty O’Cash, something as simple as ‘Gold’, or the name of the current billionaire at the top of the rich list. As long as it’s associated in some way with money. For luck, it might be something clever like Bunny Foote, or simple like Lucky. Kiwi Mojo’s 13lb giant lodestone is called General Fortune, as an example.
Lodestones for love are worked in pairs, and their names will depend upon whether you are drawing a particular love interest to yourself, a non-specific person to be your lover, or working a pair for general love and attraction.
To work a pair to draw a specific person to yourself, you would baptise one lodestone of the appropriate gender with your own name, and another of the appropriate gender of the person you wish to draw with their name. To draw in an appropriate lover when no specific person is in mind, the other lodestone (of appropriate gender) would be named something along the lines of ‘my ideal lover’ or ‘my perfect partner’. If the stones are being worked on behalf of two other people, their names would be used instead.
When lodestones are worked to draw love generally (usually by experienced rootworkers who use them on behalf of clients), they carry names which reflect their purpose, much like money and luck lodestone names. A male/female pair could be Romeo and Juliet due to their immediate association with love, a male/male pair could be Adam and Steve, and a female/female pair could be Ellen and Portia after the famous celebrity couple.
Once a name has been chosen, the lodestone needs to be baptised. This is a baptism in the Christian sense of the word, where God is called upon and the name is bestowed upon the stone. The prayers used can be as elaborate or as simple as required, from a complete recitation of the Baptism Rite of the church through to a short and simple prayer. As this is being done, a liquid is poured over the lodestone. This could be whiskey, Hoyt’s Cologne, or Holy Water. If using Holy Water, the lodestone will need to be dried immediately. This is because lodestones are primarily composed of iron, and they rust if exposed to water.
Here is an example:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
I baptise you <name of lodestone>.
With this <liquid> I baptise you
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
And the name I give you is <name of lodestone>.
I baptise you <name of lodestone>, so that you may bring <function of lodestone>
to me/us/this house.
In Jesus’ name,
As mentioned above, lodestones are living things. Therefore they need to be given food and drink on a regular basis, and also bathed. How often this is done will depend upon how hard you work your lodestone. Feeding lodestones once a week is a good guideline. More if the lodestone is working hard for something specific, less often if it’s only being used by one person for general purpose.
Lodestones are fed with magnetic sand, which is sometimes known as ‘anvil dust’ within the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition. Magnetic sand is actually iron filings, and anyone who studied magnetism in science at school will probably recall having used these.
To feed a lodestone with magnetic sand, a small pinch is sprinkled over the lodestone. It is important to pray as this is done, and to reference the fact that the lodestone is being fed, the magnetic property of the lodestone (the magnetic sand will cling to it), and the purpose of the lodestone. The prayer can be elaborate or simple, depending upon the preferences of the individual. Here is an example:
<Name of lodestone>, I feed you with magnetic sand.
I feed you with magnetic sand, so that as this sand clings to you
and covers you, so may good fortune in all matters related to <purpose of lodestone>
Cling to me/us/this house, in Jesus’ name
Giving drink to a lodestone is very similar, a small amount of liquid or oil is poured over the stone while a prayer is said. Lodestones are commonly given whiskey or Hoyt’s Cologne to drink, or condition oils. Lodestone Oil, a mineral based oil, is a common oil which is given to lodestones. Another common combination with lodestones is Van Van Oil, a general purpose lucky oil which is very traditional to use with lodestones. Any condition oil or cologne which suits the purpose of the lodestone may be given to it to drink. The important thing to remember when giving drink to lodestones is that the drink must be alcohol or oil based. Anything water based will cause the lodestone to rust, which should be avoided.
Instead of pouring liquid, some practitioners prefer to spray liquid onto their lodestones with their mouth. This is fine if the lodestone is being fed whiskey or other alcohol, but is not recommended for colognes (they taste awful), and doesn’t work at all with oil.
A simple prayer like the one above can be prayed over the lodestone while it is being given drink, only the reference to the magnetism between the iron filings and the stone needs to be omitted. Again, the prayer can be as simple or as elaborate as the practitioner wishes. Here’s an example:
<Name of lodestone>, I feed you with <name of liquid>.
I feed you with <name of liquid>, so that as this <liquid> pours over you
and nourishes you, so may good fortune in all matters related to <purpose of lodestone>
Nourish me/us/this house, in Jesus’ name
A less common way to feed lodestones is with cigar smoke. This is a definite carryover from the African Diaspora traditions, and may not fit with everyone’s style of practice. The tobacco serves to strengthen the lodestone, the stone’s command over what it draws in, and the practitioner’s command over the stone. To feed a lodestone cigar smoke, a cigar is cut and lit as normal. When the cigar is well lit and going strong, it is reversed so the lit end is in the mouth, clamped carefully between the teeth. Smoke is then blown through the cigar onto the stone. A prayer can be recited once this is done:
<Name of lodestone>, I feed you with this smoke.
I feed you with this smoke, so that as this smoke covers you and strengthens you,
so may good fortune in all matters related to <purpose of lodestone>
Cover and strengthen me/us/this house, in Jesus’ name
Some practitioners feed their lodestones with honey, which brings sweetness to everything the stone attracts. The stickiness of the honey combines with the attractive properties of the lodestone well, but there are some issues to bear in mind when feeding honey. The first is that it is sticky, and may well attract ants. The second is that it will end up being kind of gross, and you will need to clean it more regularly. Also, as most lodestones tend to be kept with other objects, those will probably end up being sticky with honey as well, and will also need to be cleaned. The best time to feed honey is probably right before a lodestone is bathed.
Here’s a video we created which shows how to feed a lodestone, featuring General Fortune.
Lodestones need cleaning. They get covered in too much magnetic sand, they get sticky with oil, they gather dust and dirt. Cleaning lodestones is simple, and should be done on a regular basis. How often will depend upon how hard the lodestone is worked. Annually is generally enough for a home lodestone, working practitioners who work their stones hard on behalf of clients will be cleaning theirs much more often.
The first thing to do is to pick all the dust bunnies and obvious bits of dirt and fluff off the stone, and then scrape off the magnetic sand. This can be put into a jar and reused to feed lodestones, or kept to add to mojo hands containing lodestones.
Once this is done, the lodestone itself can be cleaned. Some practitioners do clean their lodestones with water, but this can cause the lodestones to rust, so water isn’t ideal. Washing the lodestones in alcohol is much better for them. The same alcohol used to feed the lodestones can be used to wash them, whiskey or Hoyt’s Cologne is traditional. The lodestone doesn’t need to be scrubbed down and made pristine, it just needs to be rubbed with the alcohol to remove any obvious stickiness and grime.
Once the lodestone is clean, it will need to be fed right away with magnetic sand. Then it can be put back in its usual place and put back to work.
A great deal of disinformation regarding the cleaning of lodestones has popped up on the internet lately. Everything from soaking it in a jar of Florida Water with a candle on the top (this is a HUGE fire hazard) to cleaning with lemon juice (acid + iron oxide = rust). Soaking the lodestone seems to be the most prevalent misinformation out there, and it is a waste of liquid and totally unnecessary. All that’s required is a quick cleaning, just to get rid of any sticky or dirty stuff clinging to the lodestone. The other piece of misinformation regards lodestones needing ‘cleansing’. A lodestone is a living thing, and you ‘cleansing’ the spirit right out of the stone is going to be detrimental.
Lodestones are easy to work. Once the routine of feeding and caring for them is established, lodestones just go on working and working and working. They won’t stop, they work long term, and as long as they’re fed and cleaned regularly they will keep working.
Lodestones attract what is around them, so it is typical for most workers to set up a plate or an altar for their lodestone. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, it just needs to contain the lodestone and all its accoutrements. The main thing to remember is that the plate or container the lodestone is on/in should be made from a non-magnetic substance. Ceramic, plastic, non-ferrous metal, etc. The colour can match the intended purpose of the stone (green for money, pink for love, etc.), but it isn’t necessary.
The items around the lodestone can be herbs or botanical curios appropriate to its purpose, small lucky items, statues, pictures, holy cards, or whatever else seems appropriate. Some workers will have nothing more than a plate with a few curios, others will have full blown altars for their lodestones. Most people will end up somewhere in between.
Once the lodestone has been set up with all the surrounding items in place, it can be worked. It can be fed with a condition oil appropriate to what needs to be drawn, petitions can be placed beneath it, candles lit and prayers said.
To work a lodestone for general luck drawing, it can be fed with whiskey, Hoyt’s Cologne, Lodestone Oil, Van Van Oil, or another lucky-type oil. Dice can be placed on or near it for gambling luck, small heart shaped items for luck in love, botanical items such as cinnamon or allspice for money drawing, and any lucky items can be placed on or near the lodestone.
Lucky charms that are carried upon the person can be placed upon the lodestone so that each ‘lends’ its properties to the other: the lodestone draws more luck, and the lucky charm gets better at drawing luck in.
A very common use of lodestones which draw good luck is to place lottery tickets beneath them. This is done with lodestones dedicated specifically to bringing luck in gambling too, and with money drawing lodestones.
Working Lodestones for Money
In addition to the use of herbs and other botanical curios, lodestones can be used in conjunction with powders, incenses, oils, colognes, and a number of other commonly available conjure or spiritual supplies.
Lodestones can be fed with condition powders in the same way magnetic sand is fed, and can be dressed with condition oils the same way liquid is fed. Colognes can also be fed the same way one would any other liquid, and fixed candles or incense can be burned next to a lodestone while it is being prayed over to add extra strength to the prayer.
Specific uses for drawing money might include using a Steady Work oil to draw more money through a business venture, or Fast Luck oil to get money to come in quickly. Lucky lodestones might be given supplies specifically to enhance their efficacy at bringing in gambling luck, or dressed with Crown of Success to bring luck in passing a test.
Paired lodestones are a little different, because not each has to be used with the same oil or powder. For example, someone who wanted to maintain the upper hand in their relationship might dress the lodestone named for them with High John the Conqueror oil. Someone whose spouse had been known to stray might dress the stone named for them with Stay With Me oil. For a steamy night of passion, both stones might be dressed with an oil or powder specifically designed to encourage just that.
Lodestones were a popular item offered for sale in the novelty company catalogues of the early 20th Century. They were offered alone, in pairs, in oils, in incense, in perfume, and in curio bags and assortments. They were often offered for sale in combination deals with spiritual supplies such as High John the Conqueror Root and Van Van Oil: items which were and are commonly used in conjunction with lodestones to enhance their effectiveness.
Although the mail order companies were run by Jewish apothecaries, they very obviously knew their audience. Although the advertisements make claims such as, “A Lodestone has been held in high regard by the Ancient Romans, Chinese, Mahomadeans, and other people as a Powerful Amulet and Good Luck Charm…”(King Novelty Co. Catalogue), these are appeals to antiquity and exoticism designed to entice the buyer. In reality, and as reflected by other advertisements for lodestones in similar catalogues, the lodestone was in common use among the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork practitioners of the American South.
This advertisement from K.C. Card Co. Blue Book, a catalogue of gambling supplies published, has a similar but less colourful advertisement, the text of which reads:
Used as a Luck Charm by Many People Who Believe That it Causes Them to Be Lucky in Almost Everything They Undertake to Do. This peculiar magnetic Stone or Ore has been used for ages as a Luck Charm and is now carried by many people who have implicit faith in its power who would not be without a pair of them.
It is sold in pairs, as many believe that one piece drives evil away and the other draws luck. However, this is, of course just according to your own belief, and our only guarantee is that we sell only High-grade, genuine magnetic loadstone. We buy our ore direct from one of the best mines. It is selected at the mine and again by us, giving you the best grade awe can obtain.
We enclose it in neat chamois bags convenient to carry in the pocket, or strings can be attached and worn on any part of the body.
This advertisement tells us two very important things: first that there was an industry for mining lodestones and the demand was sufficient to sustain that industry, and secondly that lodestones were considered to be a lucky pocket piece on their own, whether combined with a curio/oil or not. They were definitely associated with gambling, as this advertisement is found within a catalogue of loaded dice, marked cards, trick gambling supplies, and other items for cheating at cards and dice. The company was based in New Orleans, and was well placed in the centre of of the burgeoning urban hoodoo/mail order company boom of the early 20th century.
A later development in the sale of lodestones was to offer them in colours, which had similar colour associations to candles and oils in use at the time. Gold, silver, and green lodestones were used to draw money. Red were used to draw love. White lodestones were used to draw protection and blessings. Blue lodestones were used to draw peace and comfort, and black lodestones were used to draw dominating power over others. Coloured lodestones were not popular until the mail order catalogues, particularly the colourful and variety filled Kings Novelty Co. catalogues, began to offer them. Modern practitioners of hoodoo still use coloured lodestones, although the practice is less common now than it was in the early 20th century. Most people prefer to colour their own lodestones, and pre-coloured ones are rarely found for sale. Most good conjure supply stores, however, still stock lodestones singly and in pairs.
Lodestone Grit is the name commonly given to tiny, gravel sized pieces of lodestone. The larger pieces are usually placed into mojo bags, and the smaller usually used in Lodestone Oil or other condition oil which may require them.
Like larger lodestones, pieces of grit are used singly or in pairs depending upon their function. Single pieces are used in money or luck mojo hands, while paired pieces are used in love mojos.
Pieces of grit are often placed atop larger lodestones, in order to attract the power of the larger stone into the grit. Those pieces are then incorporated into work for the same purpose as a larger stone.
For a simple and easy way to attract money, a piece of grit can be folded into a banknote and kept in the wallet or pocket.
Some rootworkers work with Catholic Saints, others don’t. Some rootworkers also practice religions alongside hoodoo, but do not incorporate the two. Knowing when and how to incorporate lodestones with spirits can be tricky, but not impossible. It depends upon the knowledge the worker has of both lodestone work and the spirit/s in question, and their level of comfort when it comes to placing their lodestone.
Firstly, hoodoo uses many images of spirits from other faiths as good luck charms or tokens. Ganesh and Hotei Buddha are excellent examples of this. It’s perfectly in keeping with hoodoo traditions to place a lucky Buddha or Ganesh next to a lodestone for luck or wealth, or even a statue of Venus next to a pair for love. Problems only occur if the spirit is being served by the rootworker.
There is some crossover between the African Diaspora traditions and the conjure traditions of the American South. The working systems are similar in some cases, but the systems should mostly be kept separate. Some experienced members of the priesthoods of these religions may sometimes place lodestones on their altars next to their spirits, usually gatekeeping spirits to ensure a constant open door for any luck or blessings the lodestone pulls in. The lodestone is not served or worked in conjunction with the spirit, it is merely placed in an advantageous location. It’s fine to have a lodestone on an altar purely for considerations of space and convenience, as long as things aren’t being mixed up. If in doubt, speak to an experienced member of the priesthood of your particular tradition.
Rootworkers who utilise Saints in their practice may pray to one to help work a lodestone, or to grant a petition placed under a lodestone. This will depend upon that rootworker’s particular practice, and the relationship they have with the Saints in question. Working with Saints has become more common in the hoodoo/conjure/rootwork tradition, but hoodoo itself has always been Protestant Christian derived. As such, rootworkers ask for things in the name of Jesus, and it is always appropriate to have a cross or crucifix near a lodestone to draw the blessings of Our Lord.
Honey jar spells have become very popular in modern hoodoo, to the point where a number of people misuse them for purposes where a lodestone ought to be used. Honey jars are used to sweeten a particular person, to influence their thoughts so they are better disposed towards the worker (or client). Lodestones draw general blessings as well as specific requests, and do so through their magnetic properties and no by influencing the thoughts of another.
People have begun to use honey jars to do things like draw money, but money has no mind to sweeten to you. A honey jar can be used indirectly to bring money, such as by sweetening a particular person to give you gifts of cash or to pay a debt, but it can’t pull in the cash the way a lodestone can. A lodestone attracts things to it like a magnet, so will pull in money if that’s what it has been trained to do.
Honey jars are fantastic at what they do, but they aren’t suitable for everything. The same applies to lodestones. Both are excellent when used correctly, but they only work at what they’re supposed to do.
Lodestones have centuries of tradition behind them, they are one of the most commonly found items in hoodoo, and they aren’t going away any time soon. Don’t use a honey jar when a lodestone will do.
A list of the spiritual supplies mentioned above which are available for purchase in the Kiwi Mojo online store.
We do not yet carry lodestones or magnetic sand in the online store, but may be able to meet any requests if contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will have both items in stock later this year.