Dear Ms. Q,
“I bought a DVD of this movie called “The Skeleton Key” and it shows a lot of voodoo stuff in it, but this one old woman talks about red brick dust, is this dust from bricks? What is it really suppose to do?”
First off I need to say that I myself have NOT seen the movie “The Skeleton Key” and please Dear Ones, do not say go to Netflixs or Hulu or anything like that, I’m really ‘old fashioned” and besides I will want to rewind the movie and play a segment over and over again until I really understand that part correctly, sad to say it does drive my Niece a bit crazy, especially when we are watching old episodes of “Supernatural” and I’m saying “Those Boys have got it wrong!” (I’m referring to Sam and Dean Winchester) so when I’m doing that she just takes up her knitting or sewing until I’m satisfied that they’ve got it wrong.
So I guess I’ll have to send one of my nephews or children to buy me a copy of it so I’m sure about what anyone is talking about with this movie.
But about Red Brick Dust, it is really another form of protection but it has a history that is very, Very, VERY old, like about 32,000 years old, but back then it wasn’t red bricks but the mineral that we’d call red ocher. It is believed that the use of red colored powders and minerals originates back to ancient man's use of red ocher as a sacred and protective colorant. Red Brick Dust continues this tradition and it is added to powders and mojos for protective purposes and is a modern substitute for henna powder, ground hematite, Red iron oxide powder and red ocher, which are far more updated from the ancient idea of the protective power of menstrual blood.
So red brick dust derives from the ancient use of red ocher clay for sacred purposes. Now where did this practice come from? Well a brief walk through history reveals that red ocher clays have been used medicinally and ritualistically since the earliest of times. For example, medicinal use of red ocher clay is described in the Ebers Papyrus from Egypt, dating to about 1550 B.C. And ocher pigments were used by Cro-Magnon artists who painted pre-historic cave paintings in southern Europe between 32,000 and 10,000 years ago. Also there have been found early primitive burials where red ochre clay was smeared or applied to the body or bones of those who have died as a ritual belief that it would help revive them in the spirit world perhaps that is where we get the beginnings of some of the early vampire legends.
Even now in India the use of red henna is used to decorate the hands and feet of the bride to keep evil away from her. Red has always been associated with Blood and with courage as well. “The Blood is the Life, Mr. Renfield” (from the film “Dracula”)
The Native Americans use a form of red clay as a pigment for some rituals, and Tribes in South America also use red clay as well as burnt ash as a form of ritual markings on their faces. Even ancient man when he saw his first kill noticed a wet red substance coming from the dead animal and it would come every month from the woman and yet she never died, so it became mystical.
Not to gross anyone out but on a couple of occasions my Grandmother would ask me if I was in my first day or two of my menstrual flow because for some spells the menstrual blood of a virgin was important, (Thank Goodness, it was just a little bit of blood, I would have hated to have been flung into a volcano or something) but eventually I had to tell her when I was no longer a virgin, well I did get married, (and what a disaster that first marriage was). Using a tampon doesn’t count by the way.
Some African tribes such as the women of the Himba tribe use a mixture of red clay, butter and fat as a sort of make-up and on their hair, it’s not known why but they do it. When the men of the Kafir tribe go to war they cover their bodies with red clay. The wide range of patterns that a tribal face painter can create, enhance the emotions and meaning of the cultural events. Among the tribes the use of red clay represents blood in their religious rituals.
So in time when slaves were brought over the idea of red clay now transferred to red bricks since traditional old bricks are made from red clay (and a few other materials) and the use of bricks goes back at least 7,000 years where they were first found in Southern Turkey and Jericho and slowly spread across Egypt and Europe thanks to the Ancient Romans, in time they were introduced into Germany in the 12th century and continued on from there. The Ancient Romans favored using either white or red clay in their bricks. So for the now shell-shocked and transplanted slaves, seeing the red clay being used in brick making gave them something to grasp onto.
The earliest semi-modern (1600’s forward) recorded instances of the use of red brick dust got its beginning and associated power in an abandoned brick yard on Dumaine Street in New Orleans. This was a common place for Voodou Queens to gather and hold their rituals. Repeated police raids on the brickyard drove the practitioners to Bayou St. John and Lake Pontchartrain.
Since then (and may be even before) it has been used by hoodoos for centuries to scrub their front steps in order to ward off curses, evil, and bad juju. Adding the dust to urine, ammonia, or vinegar is called "reddening" and used along with bluing, produces a very powerful effect with cleansing and protecting a home.
It is an old New Orleans tradition to “clean” your front stoop with red brick dust to protect the entrance to your home and to keep bad energy and negativity away. Locals there have been passing this tradition on for generations.
I remember Mrs. Washington especially since she was from Louisiana, doing it, and mixing red brick dust into the paint whenever her husband would paint the porch steps and the outer lip of the front door threshold. My Uncle took to doing it when he painted my granny’s steps saying that on rainy days the steps would not be slippery, and Granny had no objections, eventually all the ladies in Granny’s group did that.
Part of the magical properties of Red Clay is that it contains Iron Oxide which helps bind the other minerals when fired in a kiln. And Iron is known to repel negative energy and entities. Remember the use of Iron rail road spikes for protection, well because getting a metal Iron stake or rail road spikes was expensive or difficult for many of the poor people, the use of red bricks that contain Iron Oxide was an excellent and easily obtained substitute. As a matter of fact sometimes I wonder why Sam and Dean Winchester don’t use that as well as salt, Oh well it wasn’t in the scripts that were written.
Red Brick Dust continues this tradition for protection, it is sometimes added to powders and mojos for protective purposes. The most common use of Red Brick Dust is to make a line across the threshold of the house to keep harm from the occupants. Now I would say both front and back doors.
Because of its traditional protective and cleansing powder it is also used to clean your front steps, window sills or other entrances or doorways from the outside so it can be mixed with floor washes or sprinkled directly to ward off evil, curses, and keeping enemies away.
Now Red Brick Dust is a powder composed of pulverized red clay bricks which is used in the practice of hoodoo/root work/conjure. Some practitioners may add extra ingredients to the red brick dust to make it stronger, in a magical sense. And as I’ve said before the most common way is to have Red brick dust deployed by sprinkling a line of it in a doorway or entrance.
It is also believed that it will magically prevent evil, especially one's enemies, from being able to cross it and gain entry into one's home. Other means of deploying red brick dust are to add it to one's mop or scrub water or to add a pinch of it to a protection mojo hung near or over the doorways in the belief to make it "brick-house strong".
Now I did see something like this happen many years ago, my Uncle had painted the front porch steps to Granny’s house, and we were told to wait one week before stepping on the paint to make sure it had dried completely, and of course he used the standard “putting up the wet paint” sign, which made it easy to avoid “door to door salesmen”. But once he took the sign down anyone could come and visit Granny, but there was one woman that Granny didn’t like, nor trusted, the woman was downright mean, and would cause problems and spread vicious gossip, every neighborhood always had at least one person like that.
Well one day after my Uncle had painted the steps and the sign was down I saw through the front window that this woman was coming to Granny’s house, I figured that it was to cause trouble or something, she came through the front gate, started walking quickly up the path to the house, she sort of slowed down when she passed the “Hen and Chicks” plants (I’ll explain that another time) but the minute she put her foot on the first step she stopped. I could see her behind the lace curtains, but I stepped back a little.
Well as much as she appeared to want to she couldn’t go up the front steps, so she turned around and walked back to her house looking frustrated and confused. I told Granny what I had seen, she just nodded her head and later when my Uncle came back from a job he was on, she asked him when he could paint the back porch steps and he said “I’ll need to buy paint and get another brick or more dust”. And Granny just nodded and said “Good”.
And that mean-tempered woman never came near Granny’s house again.
As I said traditionally no one who wants to cause you harm can enter. If you really want to be thorough you can run a line of red brick dust completely around your home or business, but if you can’t do that, especially if you have either a large property or are living in an apartment, you can put a bit of the dust in the four corners of your property or in the four corners of your apartment or business, just do a diagram of your apartment to figure out where the 4 farthest corners are. And you can still do a fine line of dust across your front door threshold, and also if you have one, your back door, but if you have a sliding door window to a balcony do it just inside the door or just outside however, you will have to replace it often because the wind could blow it away.
So how do you get this dust and how do you prepare it and how do you use it?
First---- And I need to make this very clear, do not use the new bricks that are being made today, they are made from cement and other stuff and are only dyed, you really need to get the OLD bricks from places where the bricks have a soft but heavy feel, like from old, old buildings that have collapsed, or are being torn down, or old fireplace chimneys, if you compare the feel of the old bricks to the new ones the difference is extremely noticeable.
But please be aware if these are buildings that are either in a state of arrested decay, or are being restored, or are part of a historic site, and there are signs saying to not touch or take, leave them alone!!! A male friend of mine in his arrogance ignored the signs saying to not touch things while he was at Bodie a historic ghost town, and he took a brick, and when he got home he decided to simply file off some dust for a mojo bag, well he started having bad luck, the mojo bag didn’t work and I knew his magical workings did usually work.
He asked me to come over to his place and we went through his time line as to when things started going wrong. I focused in on Bodie and I asked him what happened there and he said “Nothing happened there.” I asked did you take anything from there and he looked guilty and then showed me the brick, I saw the file marks and I asked where the filed dust was. He showed me plus the mojo bag, so he took apart the mojo bag and separated the dust from it, getting a shoe box and some packing bubble wrap, he mailed the brick, dust and all back to Bodie, and the bad luck ended.
Now at another ghost town, there were a few bricks on the ground and no signs, so he took those and he was fine since they were not attached to any building but lying scattered and broken on the ground.
If you are lucky as I was, and you find a place where the bricks are being taken apart and they are old, take only the ones that are broken and have no further use, those that are intact leave alone for reuse in another old building or house. And Always get Permission!
After the bricks are collected, they are smudged either with sage or frankincense to insure they do not retain any negative attachments. After they are smudged, they would reside for a period of seven days on Granny’s altar where she would pray over them invoking Jesus and the arch angel Michael to infuse their power and protection into them.
Then in a plastic or paper bag that’s covered with a cloth and on top of a hard surface (do it outside on concert) take a hammer and break up the brick into tiny, tiny pieces then ground the pieces in a counter-clockwise manner to banish negativity (counter clockwise is the action to send things away, clockwise is to bring things in)
In Santeria beliefs it would be under the guise of calling in the warriors Ogun and Ochossi for extra protection
To make a wash you do it by adding the dust to urine (your own undiluted), or ammonia, or vinegar is called "reddening" and produces a very powerful effect with cleansing and protecting a home, this reddening is added to your mop or scrub water.
Now I’ve gathered here a list of basic things to do with your red brick dust:
To Use just the dust alone: To create a powerful psychic barrier that nothing harmful can cross. For best results be sure to lay a complete line across all your thresholds and windowsills on the eve of the full moon. Replace this monthly or whenever you feel the need to reinforce your protection in the home.
General BASIC use:
1. Smash an old red brick with a hammer until sufficient dust is obtained.
2. Add Red Brick Dust to a bucket of floor wash and scrub the front steps and threshold area.
3. Sprinkle powdered red brick dust over the threshold daily before sunrise.
Protection Scrub for Home or Business:
1. Do this on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, get up before dawn without speaking to anyone and wash your doorstep with your own Urine in a bucket of water.
2. When it dries, sprinkle RED BRICK DUST across the doorstep.
3. To make the floor-wash stronger, write the name of a Detective or Police Chief or Sheriff of your local Police or County Sheriffs Department on a piece of paper
4. Burn the Name-Paper to ashes, and add the ashes to your scrub water.
1. Mix Red Brick Dust, Cinnamon powder, and Brown Sugar into water for a floor-wash.
2. Scrub the doorstep inward for quick, continuous cash.
The above is for a money drawing dust, mix red rick powder with cinnamon powder and brown sugar with water (to make a "reddening") and scrub your doorstep inward for quick and continuous cash flow.
If you've got problems or a trick was laid on you then try these antidotes:
Antidote 1: Smash an old red brick with a hammer to obtain the dust. Add it to a bucket of water and cleanse wherever you know or suspect a trick was laid.
Antidote 2: If you suspect that more than the doorstep was targeted:
1. Spread red brick dust around the perimeter of you home, (or inside, if you feel it is necessary).
2. Sweep it out with a ritual broom. This can be an old fashion corn broom, not those plastic bristle ones try a hardware store to find those old fashion brooms.
3. Dispose of the broom after sweeping , but it’s better to reserve it for similar use just mark it for that.
Antidote 3: Red Brick Dust Maximum, Strength:
1. Dissolve red brick dust and lye in a bucket of water.
2. Add your own urine, focusing your intent.
3. Use this water to cleanse the area where you found the spell or any area that you suspect has been targeted.
It is also believed that to lay red brick dust around your home will keep those who wish to steal, or do any other harm from crossing, onto your property
New Orleanians have found a variety of esoteric uses for them—they are the preferred writing implement for marking 3 cross marks on the tomb of Voodoo Queen Marie Laveau and besides being use used in pulverized form at the front door to keep away evil, It cames as no surprise that red bricks were used in the makeshift shrines seen around the city in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina.
Raul Canizares talks about hex-proofing the home Orleans-style:
He states that “Orleanians since before the time of Marie Laveau swear by the power of red brick dust to ward off evil. Simply get an old red brick, hammer it to dust, and spread the dust around the front of your house, using a broom. Keep a pan of water that has been treated with a ball of Indigo bluing (anil) behind your front door, and draw crosses using cascarilla behind every door of the house. Add a couple of drops of urine from a child and use the mixture as a floor wash, this will complete making your home hex-proof. “
Now my Granny would keep a blue bottle of water that contained bluing (usually Mrs. Stewarts bluing which can be found in the laundry section of a store) but she was partial to blue bottles and for some reason it seemed to help keep the peace in her home.
Personally I’m not too sure about obtaining the urine from a child unless you have children of your own otherwise you might be considered a pervert. Mrs. Washington told me that using your own urine works, it’s like a cat or dog marking its spot, although if that is too gross you can substitute ammonia. It’s the intent that counts.
In addition to being used by itself as a protective barrier, and be added to floor washes, red brick dust has been used to fix candles, added to mojo bags and gris gris, and added to doll babies for its protective qualities. According to oral tradition, it can be sprinkled over any evil conjure to nullify its effects, as described in the antidote portion up above.
Now there are some hoodoo things one can do if one is being pestered by someone and these “tricks” have been around for some time.
The most common is this: To nullify an evil work, sprinkle some red brick dust on top of the crossed or cursed object.
My Uncle did this when he was a young and dashing fellow, he use to do dirt track racing in this race car called a “cut down”. Well there was a time when he’d get near the finish line his engine would die and he’d have to scramble to get it over to the safety pit. He’d been winning races before and every mechanic checked the engine and it would run fine, he began to think someone had cursed his car so he did that with the dust and to make sure he’d put some on his car before the start of a race and after that he kept a small bag of red brick dust in his racing car, and it stopped dying during a race.
Another one is: To make a person ill, fill a bottle with red brick dust, a piece of devil’s shoestring, 9 navy beans, and 9 rusty nails. Top off with white lightning (moonshine), shake well while cursing them to hell then throw into a sewer. It’s believed to make a person very sick. Frankly I wouldn’t do that because it’s just plain mean, and the only way for the person to get well is to do an uncrossing bath. And this is a more Southern thing as old-fashioned moonshine is found typically in the southern states. Although I think either Jack in the Box or Carl’s Jr is doing Moonshine Burgers for a short period of time.
Zora Neal Hurston wrote in one of her books from the 1930’s (“Mules and Men”)a way to swell a man and keep him from bragging, was to take a red brick and dress nine black candles on which the target’s name has been etched with a rusty nail. Write the same name on a piece of paper with Dragon’s Blood ink and place it face down on the brick. Tie the paper securely to the brick with twine. Light one candle per day for nine days. After the last candle has burned, throw the brick along with the candle remains in the canal or the sewer. “Just like the brick soaks up the water, so that man will swell” (Hurston, 1935?).
Well that one ain’t too new because Mrs. Washington was asked to do it by Mrs. Byrd because this guy bragged that he was going to marry Mrs. Byrd’s very pretty daughter even if he had to kidnap her and get her in the family way (if you know what I mean).
Well the ladies were not having none of that, now they didn’t have Dragon’s Blood Ink but they did use red ink from an old fashioned fountain pen and a touch of menstrual blood (don’t ask), and what happened is the guys testicles swelled up to 3 times their normal size, he was in the hospital for weeks and in pain, by the time he got out and was better, Mrs. Byrd’s daughter was engaged to a nice, hard-working young fellow that the daughter liked and the family liked.
Now one of my much younger nieces did see the movie and she told me that the dust was used to trap a spirit or spirits (Now I’ve GOT to watch that movie) that is red brick dust being used in conjure to "trap spirits" or to summon ghosts, and that is incorrect in the use of red brick dust but since it contains Iron Oxide it can be confusing, I do know that Iron fencing is used around cemeteries to keep wandering spirits in, but I do not believe using red brick dust for a spirit trap or summoning and holding a spirit is powerful enough for that. So it could be something the script writers made up.
But it is powerful enough to keep malicious people out.
Red Brick Dust because of its Iron Oxide content can be used in washes, mojo and grie grie bags, poppets, fixing candles, a line of protection and you’ll find it in some oils or powders recipes. The uses are too numerous to even list here. But if I ever list a recipe that calls for red brick dust you’ll at least know why it’s being used.