Hoodoo Conjure

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Hoodoo Conjure Recipes and Formulas

Vinegar of the Four Thieves

Four thieves, arrested for plundering dead bodies during an outbreak of the plague in seventeenth century Marseilles, said that they had protected themselves against infection with aromatic vinegar. The preparation, which was called after them, contained rosemary, marjoram, lavender, cloves and distilled vinegar. 

Four Thieves Vinegar is a widely used formula  in many Hoodoo and American folk magic spells. Four Thieves Vinegar is a must-have item to keep on hand because it can be used in a wide variety of hoodoo workings, from healing to protection to banishing. In traditional recipes, each thief contributed a single ingredient – recipes vary so you may choose any four of the following: black or red pepper, cayenne or chili pepper, lavender, rue, rosemary, mint, sage, wormwood, thyme, or coriander. Add these to the jar of vinegar. In some versions, the recipe calls for red wine vinegar, but among the poorer classes apple cider vinegar is used because it is cheaper.

What is 4 Thieves Vinegar used for?

• In banishing spells and rituals
• In spells and rituals for protection
• In healing spells and rituals
• To cleanse a house or oneself of negativity (use it as a floor wash with black salt in house cleansing rituals, use in your bath for cleansing oneself)
• To repel an unwanted person
• In times of crisis

Cory’s Four Thieves Vinegar (please feel free to copy, use, distribute, etc. with attribution)

attribution: http://newworldwitchery.com/2011/02/02/blog-post-118-%E2%80%93-four-thieves-vinegar/


  • One pint mason jar, filled to just about 3/4 full with good cider vinegar
  • One head of garlic, peeled of skins (around 8-12 cloves)
  • One large handful of red chili flakes (probably about 2 tbsp, though I don’t measure that way when I make this stuff)
  • One large handful of black mustard seeds (again, around 2 tbsp, and if you can’t find black mustard, brown will be fine, though you might want to toast them to release their oils and blacken them a bit)
  • One handful of salt (not quite as much, maybe 1.5 tbsp)–kosher or sea salt are best
  • Optional ingredients include: a sprig of rue (I usually include), black peppercorns (small handful of these), rosemary, other types of chilies such as habanero or jalapeno, guinea pepper grains, galangal root, ginger root, etc.  You only need a little bit of any of these to boost the overall strength of the mix.

Put your ingredients into your mason jar, making sure it doesn’t overflow.  Cap and seal, then shake vigorously for 30-60 seconds.  Put it a cool, dark place or a refrigerator.  Shake daily for 2 weeks, then keep stored in a dark pantry or a fridge.


History of Four Thieves Vinegar:  by Linda Lee Smith

copyright 2007 Linda Lee Smith

Here is an interesting tidbit from history about plagues and thieves and how through aromatherapy a bunch of thieves almost got away with robbing the dead and dying. In the Middle Ages, thanks to the caravans from the East and the returning Crusaders, Europeans were exposed to many of the "perfumes of Arabia." It is recorded in history that when Europe was besieged with the plague (Black Death), the herbalists, spice merchants and perfumers seemed to be immune. When the plague was in full swing, it was discovered that certain thieves could go among the dead and dying in order to rob them and never contracted the plague. When forced to tell how they did it, they confessed that they lathered themselves with a concoction that included clove and rosemary and many other aromatic oils. Their secret was made public and posted for all to see.

Aromatics seemed to be the best antiseptic available to the people at that time against the plague. They used perfumed candles to burn in their sickrooms. Their churches and other public building were fumigated twice a week with sulphur, hops, pepper and frankincense and aromatic plants were strewn on their streets. Fires made with pine or woods that gave out a pungent smell were set in the streets every twelve hours. It was believed that these measures would help clear the air of the plague.

The Four Thieves Vinegar Recipe appears in the museum of old Marseille:

"Take 3 pints of strong white wine vinegar, add a handful each of wormwood, meadowsweet, wild marjoram and sage, 50 cloves, 2 ounces of campanula roots, 2 ounces of angelica, rosemary, and horehound and 3 large measures of camphor. Place the mixture in a container for 15 days, strain and express, then bottle. Use by rubbing it on the hands, ears, and temples from time to time when approaching plague victims

Article and Recipe Source: http://EzineArticles.com/845013
Marseilles Vinegar or Four Thieves Vinegar (do not ingest, poisonous to drink)
40 g. greater wormwood, Artemesia absinthum
40 g. lesser wormwood, Artemesia pontica
40 g. rosemary
40 g. sage
40 g. mint
40 g. rue 40 g. lavender
5 g. calamus 5 g. cinnamon
5 g. clove 5 g. nutmeg
5 g. garlic
10 g. camphor (do not use synthetic camphor)
40 g. crystallized acetic acid
2500 g. white vinegar

Instructions: steep the plants in the vinegar for 10 days. Force through a sieve. Add the camphor dissolved in the acetic acid, filter.
source http://www.kitchendoctor.com/essays/four_thieves.php
Original Recipe for Four Thieves Formula (do not ingest, poisonous to drink)
3 pints white wine vinegar
handful wormwood
handful meadowsweet
handful juniper berries
handful wild marjoram
handful sage 50 cloves
2 oz. elecampane root
2 oz. angelica
2 oz. rosemary
2 oz. horehound
3 g camphor
source http://www.kitchendoctor.com/essays/four_thieves.php

Further reading