Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Making of Lamps in the Hoodoo Tradition

Lamp Lighting or The Setting of Lights is an ancient tradition. Sacred lamps, oils, and lights have been used and recorded through out history for thousands of years. They are also one of the oldest Hoodoo arts, and sadly, they are all but forgotten. I know one other practitioner who legitimately offers this service. I have seen others offer it, but they are not what I would call "authentic". 

This is only ONE example of a lamp. Usually these are done in offering for the Orisha, in which case you would use a pineapple lamp for Ogun, a watermelon for Yemaya, an eggplant for Oya and so on. They would then be left to float on a live body of water such as a river or the ocean. I will cover these types lamps at a later point. We will begin with the basics first.

The first thing that must be done is to gather your ingredients. This is where having a great knowledge base of your correspondences will come in. One can not make their own majik, without the use of pre-written spells, unless you know what actually MAKES a spell work.

For this post I have chosen to create a prosperity lamp in the name of Oya. She has been bugging me about it because she knows winter is coming, and winter can be brutal for those with a way of life like my family's. My husband and I both work for ourselves, my husband is a carpenter, and the winter is when work dries up. Sometimes for several months which means there are 4 of us living on just my income for at least a quarter of the year. This is on top of our $400 a month heating bills due to living in Michigan. We live in a 105 year old house that is very drafty!

My work can suffer in the winter as I can not forage for roots, curios, stones, and herbs to sell. And there is the fact that Christmas is coming and shops like mine aren't where people are shopping. Their money is going to Macy's and Kohl's for things for the rest of their families who are Christian. A Pagan business doesn't get that flood of business for 2 or 3 months prior to the holidays putting us from the red into the black.

This just gives you a background why Oya wants me to get prepared and prevent any little things that may set us back. We've had this life for 6 years now and we are used to the "grasshopper and the ant" mentality. We are ants 8 months out of the year-saving and scrimping! Also, she does this because she is my mother-and she mother's me as mothers should:) We simply ask for our needs to be met this winter; food, shelter, clothing, and work.

This lamp is created is bring those things. Here is what I started with, however, you may use whatever items correspond to your goal;
Iron Filings
High John Root
Lovage Root
Cinnamon Stick
Cowrie Shells
Devil's Claw
                             corresponding oil from
(I used my Abundantia for this lamp or you may add a few drops of a corresponding essential oil)
Base oil (I used sunflower)
A Mason jar-the large the jar the larger the lamp

You are also going to need what is called a "mechita" or a "floating wick". These can easily be made from a slice of old wine cork with a braid of embroidery thread poked through it and knotted. Or you can purchase my pre-made Mechitas. I also have a lamp kit with everything you need to start a prosperity lamp here.

This is an old rootworker trick for making gris gris; layer your ingredients from rock to root, to bark, to seed, to flower-just in the order the earth would naturally produce them. This is said to enhance the ashe' of each item and form a sort of pyramid of ashe'. I also try to stick to 13 ingredients as this is also a tradition of gris gris.

During the adding of ingredients you would, of course, say whatever words, prayer, or affirmations come to your mouth from your heart. I prefer words of honestly and of-the-moment than perfectly pre-written incantations. These words should only be words of honor and words that state your intention. They should never be words of want, complaints, or selfishness.

Then add your choice of Conjure, Specialty, or essential oil. You now cover all the items with the base oil of your choice. This order more evenly mixes the oils first added to give you a more even burn and scent.

You will want to dunk the top of the wick, the upper cotton part of the mechita, in the oil to saturate it so it does not completely burn down. I do not recommend dunking the whole mechita as this causes it to burn up sometimes. Candles wicks have a coating of wax which they use as fuel to get started, mechitas do not have this.

Light your mechita and leave burning as long as you safely can. Give honor and praise and dedicate your lamp in offering to the deity, saint, or spirit of your choice.

Simple, traditional, meaningful, and practical. What more could a Hoodoo want?
Have a blessed Samhain, Dia de los Muertos, All Saints, and All Souls Day!


  1. This is amazing and I can't wait to try it! Thank you so much for being a wonderful teacher!

  2. I love the part about layering as things would grow in nature, that is brilliant!

  3. thanks for reading everyone! i'm so glad it was useful for you. bon chance!

  4. Amazing idea love this thank you for sharing

  5. That was a wonderful lesson learned, now, i can't hardly wait to get my lamps set with all ingredients needed.....