One of the things I hope to do on this blog is provide information on specific tools, formulae, ingredients, and objects used in American folk magic. I hope that these blogs and podcasts will help the eager American witch to develop his or her practice by incorporating these components, or at the very least educate him or her about the different products available in the folk magic marketplace.
Today, I thought I’d focus on the hoodoo formula known as Crown of Success. I’ve been using that one a lot lately, and it’s one of the ones I almost always have on hand or steeping in my pantry. I’m sure many people could use a bit more success in their lives, so it’s a good one to have around for quick spellwork.
The recipe varies a bit from maker to maker, but almost all have a few ingredients in common:
- Bay (as in bay laurel, not the bay which provides Jamaican bay rum)
- Iron pyrite (“fool’s gold”)
There are several ingredients I’ve seen used interchangeably with key ingredients; lodestone can be used instead of pyrite, for example, since it acts as an “attractant” curio. Likewise, some folks add gold flakes or glitter to the formula because of the association between gold and money/glory/success. Additional herbs, roots, and curios can include things like master-of-the-woods, deer’s tongue, cinquefoil (also known as five-finger grass), sandalwood, vetiver, dragon’s-blood, etc.
Harry M. Hyatt records an informant in his Hoodoo – Conjuration – Witchcraft – Rootwork compendium who describes a mojo bag for success containing a lodestone, liquid mercury/quicksilver, iron filings, and a black cat bone (Volume 2, p. 1506). WARNING! Do NOT use liquid mercury under any circumstances—it is highly toxic and will cause damage or death if handled. The black cat bone referred to is likely the magical talisman obtained (rather cruelly) by boiling a black cat alive in a magical ceremony and then collecting the bone in a special ritual. I do NOT advise this, merely present it as a piece of folklore. The modern formulae for Crown of Success do not depend on either deadly mercury or ritualized animal slaughter.
As far as how to use this particular formula, Lucky Mojo has an excellent page on Crown of Success formula at their site so I won’t go into much detail here. Very generally, anything that involves gaining favor or accomplishing a goal—things like acing job interviews, applying for loans or grants, or mastering a new skill—can benefit from the inclusion of this product.
My own personal formulation of this recipe (for the oil version of it) includes the following:
- Bay leaves & oil
- Frankincense tears & oil
- Sandalwood chips & oil
- Vetivert (herb & oil, if available)
In the master jar I also keep a rolled piece of paper with this line from Psalm 65 on it:
“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; And thy paths drop fatness.” (Ps. 65:11)
There are several reliable sources for this oil out there. I have to plug our shop, Compass & Key Apothecary, of course (forgive the rather paltry site, we’ll be revamping it soon, but you can certainly order any of our oils there). But I would also heartily recommend Lucky Mojo’s Crown of Success products and Music City Mojo’s oils or mojo hands. Based on the reputation of the root workers (as opposed to the individual products which I’ve used in the previous two examples), I would also go out on a limb and say that Toad’s Bone Apotheca and Forest Grove Botanica could both mix up a good blend of success formula if you ask them nicely.
One product I will recommend avoiding is Anna Riva’s Crown of Success. It doesn’t smell “right,” and I’ve never had much luck using her oils in general. Your mileage may vary, of course, and if you’ve had good luck with her products, I’d love to know about it.
That’s about it for this root work formula. If you’d like to share your stories about working with it, we’re always happy to hear them.
Thanks for reading!