Folk magicians and certain spiritual workers will sometimes request the aid of the helpful dead—those spirits beyond the veil who are believed to possess powers that we do not. In some traditions of folk magic and witchcraft this work begins in a graveyard, and that is where we will begin this discussion before explaining alternatives that utilize the powers of a talking board.

Often a grave is chosen based on a former relationship with its inhabitant (such as a relative or mentor), or by reputation (a doctor’s grave for healing needs, the matriarch of a large family for fertility concerns, a murder’s grave for malicious desires, and so on). Other times, nothing is known about the deceased, and one simply asks if there is a spirit who wishes to help them, then is lead to a particular grave through intuition, or external signs such as a dust devil or the presence of a bird perching atop a tombstone.

People approach their work with talking boards similarly, sometimes knowing the name of a spirit they wish to call on, or else asking for any helpful spirit to speak to them through the board (I personally find this latter approach a bit suspect, as you never know who you might attract, but to each their own).

There are tangible benefits to working with spirits in the graveyard where they are buried, though there are limitations as well, for it is limited to those souls whose corpses reside there. One benefit is the ability to collect graveyard dirt, which is traditionally used in various types of spells as a way of connecting with the power of whichever spirit you have chosen. It is a way of grounding their energy in our physical realm and giving us a substantial item with which to work with them. There are various traditions regarding how this dirt is to be collected and paid for, however that is not the focus of this article, the purpose of which is to discuss alternatives.

Briefly, I must mention why gravesite curios such a graveyard dirt (or similar items such as grave flowers, coffin nails, and tombstone rubbings), are considered powerful. According to the occult law of contagion, objects are believed to possess elements of whatever they encounter, hence, graveyard dirt is understood to contain the powers of those buried beneath it, and to serve as a direct link to their spirits.

Similarly, the elements of a talking board—the planchette and board itself—are possessed with the energies of those spirits who make contact through it.

So how can we use this to our advantage? While I have several spells built around this notion, I will share with you one of my favorites, which is the creation of a jar spell.

For this you will need a mason jar, one with a lid that is about 3 inches wide. These jars are unique in that their lids are composed of two parts, a flat disc, and a threaded outer rim that is hollow in its center. It is this second part that you will use to replace the planchette. Not all of your fingers will fit on it, however you will find that your thumbs and forefingers can rest on the rim just fine, and it takes little effort to move it as one would a more traditional pointer.

Prior to using it, my advice is to paint it. I prefer a silver or gold color since I conceptualize this rim as being shaped like a halo. For that reason, I like to paint it so that it does not tarnish or rust.

You may also wish to decorate the disc if its mundane nature or logo does not inspire you to mysticism… personal preference… I’d paint it black.

You can use this technique on all manner of jar spells, however let us work with something tangible here. How about a Boss Fix spell? To accomplish this, we will need to gather other items traditionally used in controlling work to fill the jar with. I suggest the following herbs:

-Licorice Root



Additionally, boss’ are focused on money, so consider adding something like the following:

-A Silver Dollar

-Pyrite (Fool’s Gold)

-A Dollar Bill

Next you should include an element personal to the business you are employed by, such as:

-The business’ logo

-The address of the business

-An image of the business’ mascot

There is a long tradition of spiritual apothecaries offering products named Boss Fix, or similar items such as Bend Over or Control. These are often available as herb blends, oils, and powders, and can be added to the jar as well.

Lastly, you will want a personal concern of your boss, such as their signature, or cigarette butt, pen, etc.

These are some suggestions, but if crafting spells is something you are familiar with you will no doubt have your own ideas about what to add to the jar.

Once you have the jar full and ready, it is time to focus on the spirit work. Prepare your space, and prepare your psyche. Dim the lights, maybe light some incense or scented candles… whatever it is you do to get in the mood. Just as you would show respect to a lover by setting the right mood in the bedroom, treat the spirits with respect if you want to woo them. Turn off the tv and your phone and avoid becoming distracted. When you are ready, place the halo of the lid onto the talking board.

Perhaps you have the name of someone in the spirit realm who you think may help you with your boss problem (or whatever your actual problem may be). Or maybe the best you can is make a statement like “Are there any spirits willing to help me…” Begin by speaking these things aloud.

If you have used a talking board often then you know how this goes… sometimes you have to wait a while before the planchette—or rim in this case—begins to move, and sometimes there is a dead connection, the bad kind of dead connection, not the connection you wish to have with the dead, that is to say that nothing happens. If that is the case, try some other time, or else try a different name or pose your request for spirit help differently.

Let’s assume the lid moves to indicate that a spirit is presence. Ask them directly if they will help you with your problem. They will answer YES or NO, or else spell out some bit of cryptic wisdom or tangential issue depending on who you are dealing with (even helpful spirits are at times unhelpful, and it can sometimes be a bit like texting with the elderly, so be patient). If the answer they give you is no, then try a different spirit you know or call out to whomever may be willing to help. Eventually you will get a spirit who will say yes to helping you.

Spend some time describing your situation, detailing how you want it to be fixed. Place the jar in the upper left corner to your talking board, and explain that this is the spell you have composed.

It is possible that at this point the spirit may suggest some other item to place in the jar. Hopefully it is something simple, or if it is something too out of reach then that spirit is probably fucking with you, in which case you should move the lid to GOODBYE and try another spirit at another time. But let’s assume all will go well.

Spirits, even those who are ancestors and have our best interests at heart, rarely work for free, or at any rate it may be considered rude to expect them to. A simple offering of flowers is traditional, and some people might also offer alcohol or sweets, or something you happen to know is liked by the spirit you are working with. After the offering has been presented, which can simply be placed somewhere in the area you are working in, tell the spirit that they will be given similar offerings again once the problem you are employing them to help solve is solved.

When the conversation is over, and either the spirit directs the lid to say goodbye or you move it of your own conscious volition, remove the lid from the board. Place the disk atop the jar, and even if there are additional items you have been told to add to the jar, screw on the lid.

Place the jar in a sensible location where it won’t be molested. When your situation is resolved, remember to thank the spirit by giving their second set of offerings. You may empty the jar of its contents and toss them in the garbage. Keep the jar, and its lid. If you never intend to work with this same spirit, then go and bury the rim of the lid in a graveyard. If you wish to work again with this spirit, then use the same lid. Get a new lid if you wish to interact with a different spirit.

This lid is the power of your helpful spirit standing over your spell, giving aid and securing your needs. It is part of their halo, placed where it can bless your work.

©2020, Chas Bogan