The burning of an oil or kerosene lamp is the traditional method of setting lights in hoodoo/rootwork/conjure.
When most people think of setting or burning lights they think of candles. Candles can be used of course, and there is nothing wrong with using them, however the old way is the burning of lamps. A lamp that is being used for conjure work is fixed or prepared before hand. Now there are multiple types of lamps. Some lamps have the clear glass base or container that held the fuel. Other types have painted or decorated glass or even porcelain bases. There are even lamps that have a metal base. If you are needing a bit more secrecy in your work and would like to use lamps then I would recommend the lamps that have the painted, porcelain, or metal bases as these will conceal your work. Otherwise, if secrecy is not a concern then workers can use the clear glass variety of lamp. Also, kerosene comes in a variety of colors so modern workers can use color symbolism when burning their lamps.
How A Lamp Is Fixed
- The lamp is cleansed before use.
- The lamp is prayed over.
- Items, such as roots, herbs, dirts, etc., are placed in the lamp.
- The lamp is filled with kerosene (coal oil)
- The wick is trimmed. *Some people pin a name-paper to the wick. I have never done so and would be worried about fire hazards.*
- The wick is lighted.
- The lamp is "worked", focusing or concentrating on desires, praying over it, reciting scriptures, etc.
Depending on the living arrangements of the worker, lamps may or may not be more convenient than candles. However, each worker should definitely learn how to fix and set a lamp as it is a part of traditional conjure work. The way I look at it is that if you can keep an altar in your home then you can definitely keep and use a lamp in your conjure.
My personal story:
My granny (great grandma) lived in her own home until she was well into her 80s. Then she moved into my grandma's house. My granny had electricity at both locations and yet still burned her lamps. As a child my granny would slap my butt if I got anywhere close to her lamps. Therefore I cannot tell you for certain why my granny was burning them. All I can point out was that the lights were on the in the house and yet my granny still burned her lamps. I never got up close to them so i can't tell you if there was anything in them, but I have no other choice but to conclude that my granny was doing conjure with her lamps. After my granny died my grandma kept her lamps and I remember her setting them out like for decoration purposes but I do not remember my grandma burning them. The lamps disappeared from my grandma's house sometime in the early 90s or so. I did not ask her what she did with them and unfortunately she suffered a stroke last year and can't speak. I'm thinking about asking my grandpa if he knows where they are and if I could have one, but I would feel more comfortable if my grandma could be the one to give it to me.
Working With Oil Lamps