The word cascarilla means “husk” or “covering” in Spanish and is correctly pronounced, cas ka REE yah but is quite often pronounced kas ka RILL uh in the North with no confusion. There is a cascarilla plant of note that is also used for metaphysical purposes, but the two substances are not energetically equivalent.
Cascarilla powder is a white or off-white powder made of finely crushed eggshells from a chicken hen, preferably a black hen. The protective nature of the eggshell, which protects an embryo as it develops is embodied in the powder when it is used for protective magick. But the protective nature of cascarilla seems to come primarily from its banishing qualities. It seems that negative energy cannot exist in the presence of enough cascarilla and spirit beings find it repulsive. Thus, a line of cascarilla acts as a barrier to the entrance of spirits and harmful or destructive energies.
Cascarilla powder is popular in Latin American (ex Santeria) and African diaspora (ex Hoodoo) traditions and can usually be purchased in shops catering to these markets. It is often packaged in a little white paper cup, resembling a disposable catsup cup. The powder is usually tightly packed and, if stored for any time, will have begun to solidify and may come out as a solid chunk of chalk (indeed, it’s very similar chemically to chalk). This can be used as-is for drawing and writing with your cascarilla or it can easily be crushed into powder.
Cascarilla powder may be used in several ways, including the following.
- Cascarilla powder may be pressed into chalk and used to draw a magical line or circle of protection or to draw protective symbols.
- Add cascarilla powder to a ritual bath to wash away negative energy.
- Add cascarilla powder to a floor wash to cleanse your house of negative energy and prevent negative energy and unfriendly spirits from entering.
- Dust cascarilla powder onto your body to protect you from negative energy as you go about your day.
- If you are shaking hands with people all day, dust your hands to protect yourself from whatever junk they’re carrying around with them.
- Cascarilla powder can also be incorporated into candles, incense and soap to help spread around the protection as they are used.
- If you find a trick or spell object and wish to dispose of it, dust your hands well with cascarilla powder before picking it up to protect you from being energetically harmed by the item.
You will need-
- Several empty eggshells. 1 shell is not even 1/2 tsp of cascarilla, so collect a bunch.
- A mortar and pestle (You can also use a coffee grinder)
- A small, handheld sieve, sifter or something of the sort.
- A container.
- Wash several empty eggshells and remove the inner membrane, it tends to peel off best when they are good and wet, then allow them to dry thoroughly. Drying them in the oven will speed this up and make them more brittle.
- Place the shells one or two at a time into your mortar and crush them thoroughly with the pestle. Remember to think about your intention for the powder. A song, chant or psalm will help with this. The 23rd Psalm is what I was taught for general protective magick.
- Once you’ve got some shells good and crushed, pour the contents of your mortar into the sieve and sift out the fine powder into your container. Then return the bits that didn’t make it to the sieve to the mortar and grind some more. Repeat. Make it as fine as you like. If you are going to be putting it on your body or mixing it with liquid, you will want it very fine, but if you’re sprinkling it around your property or adding it to a container spell, you can leave it a little chunkier.
- If you wish to make cascarilla chalk, the very fine powder will need to be pressed into a form and left for some time. Three weeks will do it, if it’s packed tight enough. Some humidity will help it all stick together. You can speed up the process by adding a bit of flour and water, which will act like glue. You’re not going to get a very tight solidification from this stuff, you can’t really give it the kind of pressure and time it would need for that, so, for stability, you will want to choose a shorter, fatter shape for your chalk, rather than a long thin shape. Thus, the catsup cups.