Mention graveyard dirt in a magical context, and chances are good you'll get a lot of strange looks or questions. After all, it sounds a bit creepy, right? Who in their right mind goes around scooping up soil out of cemeteries?
Well, believe it or not, a lot of people. The use of graveyard dirt isn't all that odd in many magical traditions. In some forms of folk magic, for example, the magical connection of the dirt is more significant than just being from a grave. What's more important is the person who's inside the grave.
Dirt from the grave of someone you loved could be used in love magic, while dirt from the burial site of a very wicked person might be incorporated into malevolent workings or curses. In other words, the dirt from the grave is a physical object that corresponds with the traits of the person buried beneath it.
How does one obtain graveyard dirt? It would be easy to just meander into the local cemetery with a trowel and a bag and start scooping, but it's better to be more respectful than this. First and foremost, it's important to choose a gravesite correctly. The best choice is to use dirt from the grave of someone you knew in life -- a family member or friend who has passed. If the person is someone you cared very much about, and who had a positive impact on your life, dirt from this grave could be used in any number of positive magical workings.
The second option would be to use dirt from the grave of someone who you may not have known personally, but who is known to you. For example, soil from a famous writer's grave could be used to inspire a creative spark. Earth from the grave of a wealthy person might be incorporated into a working for prosperity.
No matter whose grave you choose to collect dirt from, it's important that you do so in a respectful and honorable manner. Ask permission first -- and if you begin to feel uneasy, as thought the person buried beneath you is unhappy with what you're doing, then stop. It's also a good idea to leave an offering or small token of appreciation. Only take a small amount of dirt -- no more than a handful.
Finally, be sure to say thank you when you're finished.
For specific examples of how to use graveyard dirt in a ritual or working from a Hoodoo perspective, read Cat Yronwoode's essay over at Luckymojo: Graveyard Dirt.
-The Crafty Witch