Gallina Negra - Black Hen Oil
My Gallina Negra formula takes a few liberties with the botanica versions I've encountered (mostly by including actual essential oils and avoiding synthetic perfumes and dyes), but it's still totally at home among that stuff and perfectly coherent as part of its larger folk magic context (i.e., I'm not making up correspondences out of thin air).
So the botanica products set themselves up as seriously multi-purpose formulas, useful to take off hexes and jinxes, good for protection, effective in helping you cast off your bad habits, able to turn bad luck to good, and working to increase your level of health. While I'm generally wary of products claiming to do a little bit of everything, this is one of those few that really can cover a whole lot of bases due to the incredible diversity of things chickens do in the conjure tradition and the ways in which people and chickens have interacted physically and spiritually over the generations. Chickens are pretty awesome.
Heads up: this is a spiritual item and not a medicine, and nothing here is a substitute for medical advice or treatment, and this item is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness whatsoever. If you're sick, see a doctor, and I'm not one. I only give spiritual advice, not medical advice. But it is a fact that these creatures have lots of health-related work attributed to them in the traditional sources, so the lore definitely makes those associations.
In addition to suitable herbs and essential oils, my Gallina Negra formula contains donations from our flock of fat, happy chickens here at Seraphin Station, including black chicken feathers and eggshell from a black hen's egg. And trust me - these chickens are happy and make happy eggs. They get more space to run around than the poor dog usually gets. Every moment of their little avian lives is blessed, and they are pasture-raised and free-ranged and free to stretch their wings. (And poop on my porch. And fly over all my garden fencing.) So to say all my animal curios in any of my items are cruelty-free is an understatement. These chickens are spoiled positively rotten.
This formula comes from the Latin American tradition, but there's plenty of overlap between U.S. conjure and Mexican folk religious and folk magic practice. There's been plenty of borrowing already and there will certainly continue to be, considering we are neighbors. Not to say all belief structures, attitudes, traditions, and/or herbal correspondences are identical, because they most certainly are not. But in the matter of black chickens, there's a lot of common ground in folk belief and spiritual practice.
In rural conjure, chickens are widely valued for their ability to scratch up any tricks or messes somebody lays for you in your yard or buries, so they kill the crossing work by scratching it up and then dispersing it as they flap and scratch around.
Any chickens can do the job, but black chickens are frequently asked after specifically, and *frizzled* chickens are especially prized. Frizzled chickens have a weird feather gene so their feathers curl in the wrong direction instead of lying flat. You can see an example of frizzled feathers on my bantam rooster Glenn in the additional item photos.
In Southeastern rural hoodoo, there's usually not any sense that it has to be a hen or has to be a rooster to do the uncrossing and trick killing type stuff - the chicken-ness is most important, and the black color is desirable if at all possible (though spotted/speckled chickens are good, too, like my Silver-laced Wyandotte named Dolly), and the frizzled feathers are really icing on the cake. But the specification that it should be a hen rather than a rooster doesn't come up all that much in American hoodoo (at least not until you're talking about doing things with eggs, of course). And I've seen plenty of brands of soap that say Gallina Negra but have a picture of a rooster on them, so I'm not sure it's a huge deal in Mexico, either -- but I defer to anyone who knows better and wants to share that info :)
Black chickens are valued even beyond this association with scratching up enemy tricks. Very broadly, eggs are symbols of abundance and renewal, among lots of other things, so it's logically consistent for rituals and items associated with Black Hen spiritual work to have some improving influence on one's material foundations and wellbeing. And then eggs are widely used for limpia or spiritual cleansing to absorb the negativity, contain it, and in many cases hold it until the healer can crack the egg to a do a reading on whatever is causing the trouble.
Then, more specifically, the eggs and feathers of black chickens are called for in a pretty wide variety of workings for any number of intentions, for both weal and woe. A black hen's egg filled with Goofer Dust or Hot Foot powder can be broken against an enemy's house or hidden under the doorstep to deploy the work, but an egg can also be a container spell for a peaceful home. Black chickens or black hen eggs are said in some sources to cure hernia, chicken pox, and live things in you. But if your lover kisses you and then washes her mouth with a raw egg from a black hen, she can make you lose your teeth.
Black chicken feathers are used in cleansing rites with or without incense smoke, and they are sometimes burned for the ashes to become an ingredient in an old-school recipe for uncrossing powder -- or goofer dust, 'cause seriously, multipurpose for real.
Black chickens are associated in old grimoires with everything from selling your soul to the devil to commanding legions of spirits to finding lost treasure. In short, chickens are a big deal in magic in many cultures, regions, and time periods. And they're a big deal in hoodoo. And as you can see, they're very versatile.
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