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Ritual Herbs - High John Root


Element Associations:Fire
Planetary Associations:Mars
Energy: Masculine / Diurnal / Expressive
Magical Properties:Money, Success, Love, Happiness, Strength
Healing Properties: Strong Laxative
Botanical Name: Ipomoea Jalapa

High John the Conqueror is a member of the Morning Glory family, and is also related to the sweet potato. High John root is collected from the plantIpomoea Jalapa, also known asIpomoea Purga. Despite its close relation to the edible sweet potato, high john root is not edible. High John root is considered poisonous, so do not ingest.

What is sometimes lost when talking about High John Root is its intrinsic link to African-American folklore. Separating this herb from its associated folklore is to do a serious disservice to the spirit of the herb and the history of black people in the Americas. John the Conqueror is a folk hero associated with resilience, luck, trickster energy, protection, success, happiness, and good fortune. John the Conqueror was sold as a slave in America, and is known for his indomitable spirit and great cunning used to overcome his enslavers. The spirit of resistance, particularly as it relates to enslavement and the suffering of black people in America, lives in John the Conqueror - both as the plant and the folk hero. Often, this plant is utilized in the folk practices and syncretic religions created by black enslaved people to continue their spiritual beliefs and rituals while under the oppression of slavery and forced Christianity. 

In these traditions, John the Conqueror Root was carried or worn as a talisman to increase the luck of its user. The root of this plant is often used in works pertaining to success and luck, particularly in relation to gambling, games of chance, and in sex and relationships. The latter signification here is more of a modern attribute, given to the herb through the appropriation of certain folk techniques and concepts from the hoodoo and root work traditions. 

Few figures compare to John the Conqueror, and the magic he left in the roots of the High John the Conqueror plant can aid you in virtually any undertaking. Whether you need help bolstering your strength, improving your confidence, attracting a lover, overcoming an enemy, or winning a legal battle, incorporating this root into your rituals can improve your chances of success.

* Pictured are the XL & L pieces. 

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