We have always needed protection from police as we’ve always been sites of violence for them.
We pay homage to our ancestors. We recognize and give thanks to the ancestors whose names we know and those we don’t. We pay gratitude for the times they have blanketed us with their love like armor; when they have directed us away from unnecessary pain; the way they continue to guide us towards fulfillment. Give thanks for their support of our strength. Ase.
We cannot deny that police violence is still a legitimate and real fear for black and Indigenous people in the western world. We have seen and heard the painful documentations of the unjust losses of our community members at the hands of police, and have been forced to internalize the message received about the value of black and brown lives in North America. However, we have simultaneously watched as our communities have fought to change the way we are handled by the most notorious gang in blue.
The inception of police services in North America is rooted in the monitoring and restraining of Indigenous and Black folks. The slave patrols – who were the ones responsible for rounding up those who braved escaping – were some of our nations’ first police forces, along with many cities’ police beginnings being founded on keeping Indigenous folks’ away from settler populations.
We have always needed protection from police as we’ve always been sites of violence for them. It was illegal for Indigenous and Black folk to engage in our traditional ceremonies which offered protection by keeping us close to the ancestors who protected us, so we began to enable other methods, low-key and sometimes piece-meal, to maintain our traditions and survive our communities.
1. Asafoetida (Devil’s Dung)
It smells absolutely terrible in it’s raw, root form, but is not quite so pungent in its most common found form–a resin or powder. When carried on the person, it is effective in warding off colds and keeping the police away. Carry it in a blue or red pouch with black mustard seed and work (massaging and telling it what to do) with a protection oil for 5 days to enhance and focus it’s effects. Rosemary or black pepper oil is great for protection.
It has been used in Indigenous (North and South American) and African cleansing & protection ritual as community care for centuries. It also wards off the Evil Eye. It has recently been acknowledged by western scientists as anti-bacterial & anti-fungal, but our ancestors have known of its purification benefits since the original teachings.
Sage also enters conjure through Indigenous teachings; our shared necessity for resistance medicine in colonial North America has brought us together many times. This sacred herb is used to bring strength to the bodies who walk in its smoke–using it to keep our ancestors and their knowledge close. So, it is not an incense for covering up the smell of cooked food in the home – don’t be so disrespectful – it is a spiritual medicine and should be used as such.
This is a plant that has been used as a protective and cleansing herb by afro-diasporic religions across the globe and has consequently been adapted in North American and Black folk conjure. Either grown in or around the home as a protection plant, or placed in a white or black mojo and hung above the front or bedroom door frame as a protection charm, rosemary protects the body. I was always instructed to add blood to my protection mojos, in order to focus it on keeping my particular body safe, but hair or saliva will work just as well.
An ideal herb for repelling the Evil Eye, eucalyptus fends off evil. Definitely useful in keeping informers and snitches away, I use it in protection-from-police work. Wear some in your shoe and add it to your baths or body scrub. It has also been traditionally employed as an herb to support folks attempting to rid their body of unwanted cravings or substances, as well as protect those who use substances, from police attack and infiltration.
I’ve always been told that salt follows instructions. I am a big fan of using salt mixed with rosemary needles, coconut oil and black soap for a protective, cleansing and exfoliating wash. Mix with black pepper, a ‘distancing’ spice, and lay a line of it across your front door to keep out those who carry violent or harmful intentions with them. Salt is also key for a quick cleanse – if police have had to come to your home or space of business, upon them leaving, mix salt with basil and rosemary and scatter it across the floor – sweep it out in the direction they left to help prevent them from returning.
Oregano keeps trouble-causing folks away. I use it in a yard/stoop herb mix with black pepper, fennel, eucalyptus and salt. You can also carry some in your pockets with a piece of black tourmaline or carry some in your shoes. Oregano is one of the ingredients I use in my ‘Four Thieves Vinegar,’ an old conjure medicine for immune health and safety.
Never forget: you always have the right to protect and distance yourself from sites of violence.
If you missed the first edition of this column, catch up on it here.