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, 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.

  2. This is such a fascinating read! I’m very interested in graveyard dirt. There’s one less than ten minutes by foot away from my home, actually! My only qualm is that the idea of digging up dirt over someone’s grave makes me a little queasy. Not that I judge anyone for it, of course–just that I don’t think that’s for me. Maybe I’ll use the dirt around the graves instead.

    1. leave a cigar and 9 new pennies at the gate for the Master of the graveyard when you enter. bring some gifts like candy, wine or flowers to the grave you’re collecting from and let them know what for. Ask their permission.

  3. Never heard of the dirt from Graveyards,, Any other tricks or clues, you can think of
    very interesting…I need just some good dirt not mulch or compost just some good old dirt,, I’ll be digging this spring.. thanks..

    1. What kind of power can I get from the graveyard dirt if none of my ancestors are buried here? I’m a transplant to my area.

  4. I have used graveyard dirt for protection of our ancestors and was not comfortable digging over a grave…but took from the crossroads of the cemetery …as it overlooks the river that joins to my people. over a Hudson bay traidng post….as I am half indigenous and half European. .it felt right to take from the viewpoint of he oldest section of late 18th century passing just before my grandfather would have been born.
    as we cannot go to the old country. I chose close to a German indigenous descendants grave sites.
    I am using on my altar as well. so I can provide libations to the ancestors in forms of offering.
    thank you for this article as well for alternatives.

    1. Crossroads is a good idea. However, if you’re collecting for more baneful works or protection then dirt from a soldier police, etc would be optimal. I Always leave a cigar and 9 pennies at the gate for the Master of the Graveyard, let him know your intentions and also leave gifts like candy or liquor or tobacco at the grave and ask permission. You will know the answer if it feels right.

  5. This may seem like a very odd question, but there is someone who is using graveyard dirt in the creation process of dice for role-playing games. They say that the graveyard dirt is collected correctly and ethically but as it seems that the use of the dirt heavily influences where or whom it should collected from, Would it be beneficial to ask where more specifically the dirt came from or just leave it be?

  6. Is it possible that I can use the graveyard dirt for helping me win the lottery I have a deceased girlfriend that died back in 1996 and I go to the site all the time to visit her I was wondering with the three be able to help me is anybody out there can help me with this question

    1. I have no idea if the dirt could help with that, but you shouldn’t will yourself to win the lottery. When people have too much money, their happiness rate drops. Look up a chart, it’s interesting.

      1. So very true. Not everything that shimmers is gold. A d sometimes it makes people a different person

  7. I have a question
    I’ve seen this site who sells graveyard dirts…is it OK to buy it and use it instead of digging it up from the cemetery

    1. I think so, but think at the end of the day it’s making choices in our lives to be happy so we don’t want to smoke —

      When I said hello to each direction and thanked them, then asked for their help to stop smoking— the next day I couldn’t stand the taste of cigarettes, but I kept smoking even though it tasted awful because I didn’t address the underlying reasons why I smoked. I should have asked the directions for help healing what made me smoke:

      Think different for everyone but mine was not living authentically—pretending to be someone I’m not. And also boundaries like knowing when to say no to people.

      maybe graveyard dirt can help let the things that have led you to smoke to die. Rather than just trying to stop the behavior

      Hug ?

  8. Am gonna take my mom’s graveyard dirt with me for protection in my house and my kids protection against wicked people.

  9. my father just passed.. and I collected some of his grave dirt.. if I put it in a necklace and carry it with me can this backfire on me?

    1. Hi. Did you find out the answer to this. I’d like to do this too for my boyfriend who just passed. I feel it’ll make me feel his closeness.

  10. On a recent trip to Britain I collected dirt from the graveyard of my ancestors and from their family farm. I’m not sure what I am going to do with it, I just felt compelled to collect it.

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