What is Van Van Oil?

Amanda Keith

I’m going to cover a basic workhorse oil that is used a lot in folk magic, hoodoo, witchcraft etc... Van Van Oil.   

The recipe can also be made into a powder or a few drops of oil can be added to your bath water, and a drop or two behind the ears can be worn for effective results, the oil is also used to anoint candles, mojo bags, lodestones, and “lucky” rabbit's foot and other amulets as well as floor washes.  

So what is Van Van used for and how old is the formula? Well, that is hard to say, but it has in the 100 plus years been a standard among Hoodoo formulas.   Perhaps going as far back as the late 1700’s to very early 1800’s.

Because some of the ingredients seem to also repel insects but still smell good, and knowing that in the early days of New Orleans and Louisiana, the insect repelling properties of these ingredients would not have gone un-noticed, so by putting it into an oil and even heating it up in an oil burner it would make sense to early day root-workers that this combination of ingredients would have magical properties. 

So I’m sure in other countries which would grow similar grasses and flowers there would have been variations of this formula which eventually condensed down to the one we know today, especially from New Orleans, which is why Van Van is sometimes called New Orleans Van Van or Louisiana Van Van oil, etc.

According to Cat Yronwode she has a quote saying, "At one time, it is said, a person could not walk down a street in the Algiers district (of New Orleans)  without smelling the scent of Van Van oil. Prepared from aromatic Oriental grasses, all-purpose Van Van is favored for dressing Amulets and Charms and is reputed to Clear Evil from the Door-Step, Change Bad Luck to Good, and Open the Way to New Opportunities."

Van Van is an old hoodoo formula for oil, incense, sachet powders, and washing products that are intended to get rid of evil, provide magical defense, change bad luck to good, as well as strengthening other charms. It is the most popular of the New Orleans hoodoo recipes. As a good luck enhancer, it is closely associated with both the rabbit foot and the lodestone.

[This] …old hoodoo formula for oil, incense, sachet powders, and washing products … are designed to clear away evil, provide magical protection, open the road to new prospects, change bad luck to good, and empower amulets and charms. It is the most popular of the New Orleans or "Algiers style" hoodoo recipes. As an amulet enhancer, it is closely associated with both the rabbit foot and the lodestone – [in the  1940s there would be advertisements for a rabbit foot key chain charm that was sold with a small vial of Van Van oil] ---   from the  Lucky Mojo Curio Co. catalogue.

Van Van is one of the most popular hoodoo condition formulas out there. It has a long history of use in rootwork, but is especially associated with the New Orleans and Algiers areas of Louisiana where it seems to have first appeared.

To reiterate this nearly all-purpose formula effectively provides spiritual cleansing and jinx-breaking, road-opening to new fortune and opportunity, protection against negativity, attracts money and business prosperity, brings good luck, as well as draws love all in one oil.  It's often used to powerfully feed mojo bags, empower amulets, talismans, or other magical tools to keep them working strongly for their owner.

The oil can be used to dress candles or can be worn as a personal power scent for any of the above uses. It can be added to cleaning solutions in order to cleanse and impart its empowering energies on the spiritual level as well as the physical. It can be added to nearly any magical working in order to enhance its overall potency.  According to a number of practitioners, there's nearly nothing that Van Van can't do. For the frugal practitioner, Van Van can pretty much do a lot of stuff, which makes it an excellent choice or go to oil in one’s magical cabinet.

Van Van has an unmistakable clean, crisp scent that comes from the variety of Asian grasses which make up the formula. Lemongrass is the central ingredient, a plant which brings great magical flexibility to the table.  Lemongrass is linked to the planet Mercury, so one should see quick results when working with the Van Van formula. It will also help increase effective communication, so any act should go more smoothly.

Lemongrass in the East, is considered an aphrodisiac, and so Van Van can be used in love-drawing work as well. This is especially useful for men who wish to wear a love-drawing condition oil as a personal scent, its aroma is crisp and gender-neutral as far as fragrances go.

Lemongrass is considered an excellent purifier of spiritual energies, which makes it great for general spiritual cleansing or jinx breaking and removal. It not only cleans up negative energy, but it also repels any incoming negativity, so it is useful in protection work and can be used daily to keep one's energies clean and clear throughout the day and during difficult interactions.

The other Asian grasses used to round out the Van Van formula share a lot of qualities in common with lemongrass, Van Van is related to other cleansing and luck hoodoo formulas like Success and Eloquence, and Road Opener.




Van Van Herb Bath can be used to bathe your body to cleanse away negativity and draw in good luck with love, money and meeting influential people. You can also use Van Van Herb Bath prior to any spells you cast to go into it clean and energetically refreshed.

  • Brew the Herbs

Start by taking your packet of Van Van Herb Bath and placing it in a pot with water. Boil the water and herbs. Turn off the stove and allow the herbs to sit for about ten minutes so that they can release their essences into the water. After ten minutes, strain the herbs out and save the liquid. You can dispose of the herbs either in the trash, or you can sprinkle them in your garden around the front door of your house.

  • Set Up Your Tub or Shower

Take your pot of Van Van Herb Bath into the bathroom. Place two small white candles on either side of the bathtub or shower so that you cross between them as you enter and exit the tub. Fill your bath tub with the amount of water of your preference. Take the Van Van Herb Bath and pour it into the water.

  • Take Your Bath

Light the two white candles, disrobe and enter the shower or tub with your washtub or bowl full of diluted Van Van Herb Bath. Traditionally, hoodoo practitioners will pray the Our Father and Psalm 23, or you may pray in your own words to remove negativity and bring luck with money, love, and people of influence. Then pour the bath on your body working your way downward from your head down to your feet. Remember to get your backside, hands, and feet. (Ladies who have recently had their hair done and don't want to mess up their hairdos can simply bathe from the neck down, then moisten their hands with the bath and lightly wet their faces and/or hair.) Begin to wipe the excess bath off of your body with your hands (always wiping downward to remove the negativity).

  • Dry Off

Exit the bath, walking between your white candles and air dry. Do not use a towel. If you are cold stand in front of a heater. Continue to wipe your body with your hands, always wiping downward until you are dry. At this point, you can anoint your body with some Van Van Oil by dabbing a bit on your wrists, behind each ear, over your heart and on the bottom of each foot. Dress in clean clothing, preferably light in color (not black).

  • Dispose of the Bath

Now take a cup and scoop up some of the captured used bath water. Take this outside. Toss the water over your left shoulder toward the east; toward the rising sun (your back will be to the sun if you're doing this right) and say "AMEN!" Then walk home and don't look back at the water you tossed. You can now go about your day knowing that you are covered with Van Van Herb Bath, and it is working to bring you success with love, luck with money and draw influential people into your life.

Ideas for Using Van Van Powder:

Van Van Powder is a great way to cleanse away evil, draw in success with love and money, and attract influential people. Add some Van Van Powder to your talcum powder so that you will always remain energetically clean and have fortunate events happen throughout your day. Sprinkle business cards with Van Van Powder to draw influential clients who are willing to hire you and pay you well. Sprinkle some Van Van Powder across the threshold of your business to have luck with business dealings and fortunate outcomes. You can also powder candles that have been dressed with Van Van Oil with Van Van Powder to amplify their effect in the spells you perform.

How to Use Van Van Mojo Bag:

Van Van Mojo Bag is the perfect charm to carry for luck with money, luck with love and successful outcomes to your efforts. Carry a Van Van Mojo Bag in your purse when going out on a date to have a good experience and have luck with love. Keep a Van Van Mojo Bag behind your business' front door to attract customers that are willing to pay and to have unexpected success in business. You can also carry a Van Van Mojo Bag when gambling, playing bingo, shooting dice, playing cards or the lottery for added good luck.

Ideas for Use of Van Van Setting of Lights:

Van Van Setting of Lights can be used to remove evil and witchcraft, and for good luck with money and love. ……dress, bless and light a Van Van Candle on [your} altars along with your specific petition and photograph……..Van Van Setting of Lights is perfect for clearing away negativity, drawing influential people, for success with money, and good luck in love.”

Other Uses:

Used as a sprinkling solution to attract good luck and power of all kinds when used in full strength. Add to scrub water to wash down the floor and steps of a home or business to get rid of negativity.

Put 1 1/2 oz of Louisiana Van Van oil in 16 oz of alcohol. Shake well before each use.  Van Van is used to prepare a magickal working space and to anoint ritual participants. Add it to mop water, washrags, and room sprays.  Dab a bit of Van Van Oil on the corners of your bed for a restful sleep free from any negative vibrations, use it to anoint love petitions and put under a yellow candle to draw love to you.


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