This month I feel driven to talk about Cayenne pepper. I have been seeing it pop up recently in some online recipes and I think some people may be confused about this ingredient.
First, some science. Cayenne is a cultivar of Capsicum Annuum, the family of fruits that make up what many people refer to as chili’s or chili peppers. This genus belongs to the nightshade family aka Solanaceae. Other cultivars include peppers such as the jalapeno, but also the bell pepper. One specific trait of the cayenne pepper, like other relatives, is that the fruit hangs down from the plant, instead of growing up from the plant. This pepper is the familiar bright red color, although other varieties of this pepper can come in other colors. Another chili with a similar appearance is the bird’s eye chili. The main difference between these two peppers is that cayenne is relatively mild in terms of spicy heat, as it is usually marked at 30-50 thousand Scoville units, while Bird’s eye will have 50-100 thousand Scoville units.
More people will be more familiar with the seasoning cayenne powder or crushed red pepper. Interestingly both of these seasonings are more often a blend of red colored chilis, and not any one type of chili, often being a mix of cayenne and bird’s eye etc…. Thus depending upon the mix, or the season, the same cayenne powder or crushed red pepper can be hotter or milder.
And by hotter, I am referring to capsaicin, the chemical naturally produced by many cultivars of Capsicum Annuum which attach to and react to sensors in the human mouth, and other sensitive membranes, causing a burning sensation that many people find uncomfortable and undesirable. However many other people find it enjoyable and like adding chilis and sauces made from chilis to their food. There are other foods that have different naturally produced chemicals that produce a burning sensation, such as horseradish or mustard, but also ginger, garlic and onions. These other plants don’t use capsaicin however, and their chemical heat functions differently, and can be dealt with differently. The spicy heat of various Capsicums is generally measured by Scoville units, a measure that indicates a greater burning sensation on sensitive tissue. So a chili with only a few 100 Scoville units may not produce much of an impact, but something with 100k or more may produce a dish that not many people may be able to eat unless they are experienced chili eaters. A low number may also indicate something that won’t irritate skin or sensitive membranes as much, while a much higher number may need to be handled with gloves and eye protection to prevent accidental spreading of the active chemical to sensitive membranes such as the eyes, nose, or private regions.
It is this burning sensation and the bright red color that has made cayenne and chilis popular to use in folk magic and magic in general in the USA and possibly the world. I am more familiar with its uses in the USA in African American folk magic, so I will stick with that topic.
The hot, burning sensation of cayenne and other red chilis is one of the main reasons behind its use in folk magic. That burning to the unfamiliar can be very unpleasant, and if very intense, can actually have health complications for people who aren’t experienced with it. It’s painful. Very painful. This painful burning sensation is why cayenne figures often into various formulas for Hot Foot Powder. It is also why it may appear in cursing formulas for all sorts of things. If you want to curse an unfaithful sexual partners private parts with a burning STD, use cayenne in your spell. If you want to curse a local gossip who is slandering you to have their mouth burn when they speak ill, use cayenne. Cayenne is principally a cursing herb. While sometimes you may have to protect yourself and fight cursing with cursing, or if you want to drive off an enemy who is causing your problems, even if you’re justified in doing it, it’s still a curse that you are using to achieve your goal.
Some people get the heat of cayenne confused with other hot herbs whose heat can be more pleasant, such as ginger or cinnamon. Cinnamon often figures in various spells for luck, either in drawing hot passionate love, or getting money quickly, perhaps through gambling but also just by lucky windfalls that come your way. Ginger can also show up in love spells for passion, but may also be used as the hot herb in protection spells. This is different from cayenne. Ginger and cinnamon are more sweet and hot. Think of ginger candy or cinnamon candy. Yes they can be hot, but the heat is much more pleasant and pairs well with sugar and sweets. This is the reason why in beneficial spells cayenne is not a traditional or common ingredient. The heat of cayenne is painful, not pleasant. It’s meant to cause harm, not to bring soothing or pleasant warmth. If you see a recipe online for something like Fast Money or Fast Luck, and it features cayenne, steer clear. That cayenne is going to cause you to lose things quickly, or have fast bad luck instead of good luck. Substitute it with cinnamon powder or ginger powder instead, and you will probably see much better results.
Here is a ritual based along more traditional folk magic lines for using cayenne.
To inflame an enemy with rage and confusion.
For this spell you will need:
Putrid water (This could be any water from a foul source. Polluted water, still water from a bog or swamp, gutter water, or even war water purchased from a retailer. Even gray waste water will do.)
An item to represent the target. (At the minimum you want a piece of paper with their name written on it, even if you did it by hand. Better items would be their own personal signature (even if it’s a photocopy) or hair, nail clippings, or worn unwashed underwear, or bodily fluids)
Take the jar and place the personal item into the jar. Add the cayenne and poppy seeds, and then the needles, pins, and nails. Cover it with the putrid water, and then seal the jar tight. For nine days take the jar out and shake it violently, swearing and cursing at the person, inviting wrathful spirits to turn this person into a rageaholic entitled Karen (or Chad) who alienates and drives everyone away from them etc… On the ninth day go and bury the jar where the target will pass over it or by it on their normal routine. If it is possible to safely plant it in front of their house, you should definitely do that, otherwise nearby is sufficient.
Part of the success in the spell is the placement of the jar where the target will have an interaction with it. Do not keep it at home. It needs to be deployed to be successful.
You can also take some additional considerations for this spell, which are not required to be successful. You should start the spell on a Tuesday, and/or during a planetary hour of Mars. Night hours are preferred over day time hours. Doing it under a waning moon is also preferable. Visualizing chaotically rushing red flames flowing into the target’s eyes, ears, nostrils, and mouth and seeing them engaging in self destructive behavior can also help. These are only suggestions and not requirements.