Graveyard Dirt: How to Use It in Witchcraft & Magic

While the term “graveyard dirt” sounds off-putting, many magical spells, both ancient and modern, call for it.

From Egyptian witchcraft to the practice of voodoo in the Americas, this strange but useful magical tool makes an appearance in spells from around the world.

And if you can’t bring yourself to go digging around a cemetery to get some, I’ve got some easy, better smelling alternatives!

Read on for a complete guide to using graveyard dirt in witchcraft.

Choosing A Grave

Select a grave site with meaning to you and your purpose.

For example, if you want to use the dirt for a protection spell, the grave of your relative who worked as a police officer in life makes a great choice.

Graveyard dirt from the resting place of a successful banker works well for spells to guard your financial assets.

Or, perhaps you plan to use the dirt in a court case spell.  Collect your dirt from the grave of a prominent judge in your jurisdiction for justice and fairness in court.

If you maintained a close personal relationship with the deceased in life, great!  All the better you maintained that relationship in death, either by caring for the site, bringing flowers or honoring them yearly at Samhain.

Collecting Graveyard Dirt

Digging around a cemetery or graveyard inevitably draws unnecessary attention.

But you need not attract stares with shady behavior.

For example, there’s nothing especially odd or disrespectful about planting flowers at a grave site (although you should check with the groundskeeper to make sure there aren’t restrictions about in-ground planting).   This activity gives you a natural excuse to dig in the ground and an easy, discreet way to deposit some of the dirt into a small container.

It also fulfills your obligation to leave an offering or token of respect to the deceased.

Speaking of which:  honoring the memory of the occupant is just common sense.  You’re asking for their favor.  Show some kindness in return.  Appropriate gifts to the dead include libations of wine or liquor, coins, or flowers.

Alternatives and Substitutes to Graveyard Dirt

(Please note:  This section contains affiliate links for your convenience.  It’s standard industry practice and it’s really no big deal, but the FTC got their panties in a wad about it a few years ago and now we all have to bore you with super bland disclaimers about it).

If all of the above sounds unreasonably weird and creepy, I totally get it.

Any of the following items may used in place of actual graveyard dirt.

Patchouli Leaf

Dried, ground patchouli is generally considered the most traditional substitute for graveyard dirt.

Coffee grounds

Use high quality grounds for best results.  (These Death Wish grounds seem especially appropriate.  LOL.)

Ground Cinnamon

Again, high quality grounds are recommended.  (For other ways to use cinnamon in witchcraft, check out 10 Ways to Use Cinnamon in Witchcraft).

10 Ways to Use Graveyard Dirt

Countless spells and rituals call for graveyard dirt for anything from death rituals to elaborate hexes.  But you need not employ it in a destructive way.

Samhain Rituals

Include graveyard dirt in Samhain rituals to honor the dead.  Sprinkle some around the perimeter of your magical circle to include the spirits of your ancestors in your ritual.

Communicating with the Dead

If you plan to try a tarot spread to communicate with a loved one beyond the grave, put the graveyard dirt in a small, drawstring bag and store it with your tarot cards for a full moon cycle.  During the dark moon, draw your cards and read them.

At the crossroads.

Crossroads magic is its own thing, but you know it and work with it, leave some graveyard dirt at a crossroads when trying to decide between two paths in life.

Assign one path to symbolize one option, and one path to symbolize the other.  (The westward path to a decision based on your emotion or heart, or an Eastward path to represent an intellectual decision).

Once you make a decision, walk down your chosen path and sprinkle graveyard dirt to “seal off” second-guesses or regrets.

Walk away and don’t look back.

In the garden.

During the fall season, sprinkle graveyard dirt in your home garden to honor the cycle of life and encourage the dead to “come back” in the form of your crop.  Lovely for people who believe in reincarnation.

Protection Spells

Add graveyard dirt to protection sachets to provide an extra punch.

New Beginnings

Death gives way to new life.

If you’re starting a new chapter in your life (a new job, for example, or a new living situation), select an object that represents your past circumstances and bury it with the graveyard dirt to put your old situation behind you for good with a little ritual “closure.”

Ending a Romantic Relationship

Sometimes, ex-lovers dramatically declare “You’re dead to me!”

A quieter, more private declaration is usually much more honest and effective.

Gather your mementos of the relationship, build a fire, burn them, and then extinguish it with graveyard dirt (bear in mind, this requires a fairly large quantity.  But it does the trick.)


Leave a small jar of graveyard dirt from a recently deceased loved one on the altar during your mourning period to honor their memory and keep them close to the heart.

In Covens

Use graveyard dirt in coven rituals to signify a change in leadership, a breakaway from a larger group or the ending of an era in the coven’s history.

For Home Protection

Walk the outdoor perimeter of your home and sprinkle a little graveyard dirt on all the corners to protect it from dark entities, unwanted spirits and negative energy.

Graveyard dirt: What it is and How to Use it in Witchcraft



  1. I believe graveyard dirt can be powerful in older cemeteries where the coffin is not “buried” in a concrete (or similar) vault that seals the coffin from the natural decaying processes which contribute to the special powers in graveyard dirt. I also believe since concrete that is buried interferes with the special properties of graveyard dirt as it may deteriorate over hundreds of years sitting in the ground emitting minute particles of cement. Like the micro fibers of plastic that are polluting our waters. Artificial stuff will “pollute” graveyard dirt. Unlike cemeteries that are at least 75 years old where for the most part only a coffin was buried.

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