Jul 31, 2013

Elder the Tree of the Fae and the Dead in magickal herbalism

Elder is the small  tree or bush,  or shrub,   of Sambucus genus , in the family of Capriefoliaceae, or more  recently Adoxaceae, of order  Dipsacales.   In this article, we will be addressing the Sambucus nigra species,  commonly known as Elder, Elderberries, Black Elder or European Elder.
Botanical illustration of Elder
(Sambucus nigra L. )

It can grow up to 20m, when conditions are favorable,  it  really does prefer wet soils but can grow in sunny , dry, though well fertile soil ,  as well. 

The leaves are opposite, up to 30cm long , pinnate, and complex, divided into leaflets,  anywhere from 5 to 9 leaflets, though most often 5-7. The flowers are with five petals, small, ivory white , arranged into racemes,  and the fruit, formed in autumn are  dark purple or black berries, arranged in hanging clusters. Once You’ve seen an Elder, You should be able to recognize it anywhere easily, even If You are not really into botanic taxonomy and systematic J

It’s flowers and ripe berries , berries    processed ( cooked ), are medicine, and  are of great value in treating cough, upper respiratory tract infection, bronchitis, febrile conditions  such as influenza A and B ( studies  confirmed ), and in cosmetics it’s a very good astringent and skin tonic.  The syrup  is the most common supplement made with Elder , found in pharmacies, but can also be served as a refreshing, non alcoholic beverage.  The bark, roots, and leaves contain cyanogenic glycoside sambunigrin, which as other cyanogenic glycosides in contact with certain enzymes  release ( create ) hydrogen cyanide, much like with apple seeds. This goes to say, eating bark, leaves or roots, or making infusions of them, ingesting them, is  harmful, and  potentially lethal.

Now onto magickal and spiritual uses.

Elder is a tree with a lot folklore associated with it. It’s a Druid tree, in Celtic countries it was called Ruis, and of course it has it’s Ogham symbol. It is said that the Druid have used it for both good and evil, that us to both heal and protect, as well as to curse. Also folklore associated with the plant also either praises the plant , either  points out it’s bad influences, such as in following, old , English rhyme:

“Hawtorn bloom and Elder flowers
Fill the house with evil powers” [1]

Also  the Elder tree is believed to be inhabited by the entity called Elder Mother, which is apparently some form of Dryad, hence a fae, and a  protective spirit of the tree, which is heavily  angere d  If the tree is taken down, cut , or broken by people. Even harvesting it, should be done with care, and cunning folk, pagans and other people, even have a  custom of chanting a rhyme to the Elder mother, asking her to allow them to take a small piece of the tree.

This is also true in Balkan peninsula  traditional witchcraft, where the Elder enjoys quite a small cult, whatmore, other than Elder Mother inhabiting it, it’s a tree that is often inhabited by the spirits of the dead as well,  those that did not move on. They are also protective of the Elder and use it as mean of communication. In a fairy tale I heard as a child, girl kills her sister, out of rivalry to marry her husband, who just so happens to be a prince ( lol ) and  on the place where she buried her, an Elder tree grows, and some shepherd makes flute out of it. However anytime the flute would be played, the mournful voice of the killed girl would be heard, singing about her sad faith and blaming her cruel sister. On one occasion the prince hears this, and finds out the truth,  and chases the evil sister away.

In yet another fairy tale, this one being Slavic in origin, certain emperor Trojan has a goat ears which he kept well hidden and out of sight for whole his years. If anyone would see them he would  have them killed.  Which meant every single of his barbers could cut his hair or  shave his beard only once lol. One of them,  a cunning Young men, insisted that he did not see anything weird on emperors head, and this is what saved his life , and made him  king’s dear and “recurring” barber. Ah, but the secret troubled him badly,  and he complained to his master. Master told him, that whatever his secret is he should confess to someone who can not tell anyone else, or at least dig a hole in the groun d and say it in the hole. Which is exactly what the young men did. Only, on that place, from the ground, an Elder tree grew up. Again, some shepherd made a flute, but the only thing the flute would play, was a  very catchy, fascinating melody that would speak of King Trojan’s goat ears. The word spread out swiftly, and the  emperor eventually forced the young barber to tell him the whole truth. He had the poor Elder cut down to the last branch, and did not kill the  young barber, but did not keep him as his personal barber either. [2]

That was a nice intro into the magickal  belief , that flutes made of Elder,  are extremely valuable magickal tools. Other than that they can be used as wands, Elder flutes, when played can conjure the spirits of the dead,  or fascinate Fae , is the player is skillful.  Elder , of course makes a  great wood material for wand, and is mentioned as such even in some classical grimoires.

As mentioned earlier, Elder can be quite a “double-headed doctor” , so despite the fact that it can bring bad luck to home, when strategically spread throughout the house it can protect it from intrusion, enemies and lightning. In Hoodoo, it’s also strategically and ritually placed around the home, in specific manner,  to prevent Law officers to enter Your estate [3]

Elder can also , when carried protect one from attacks of all kind, and arranged strategically in home, can prevent evil from entering the house. And grown near home it protects it  from “ravages of sorcery, and shields it from lightning”   [4]

It has strong healing power , as it has magickaly used to treat many conditions, rheumatism, toothache, warts, fever and other.

Grown near home other than protection brings prosperity and conjugal happiness, and it is believed that carrying berries can help one resist need to commit adultery ( lol )  

It is correspondent to the planet Venus and element of Water.  Now let’s go through few suggestions on how to use Elder:

Simple healing spells with Elder

·         “Take an elder twig and knot it thrice. Enchant it by visualization

             and spoken spell, and then carry it in your pocket. Elder has

             long been held to be an effective charm against rheumatism. “[5]

·         You can charm a wart away by rubbing it with  small elder  twig, then leaving it in mud-y place to rot

·         You can alleviate or cure the  toothache  If You bite on / chew an elder twig , then place it in the wall saying : “Depart thou evil spirit!” [6]

·         Poke an elder twig in a complete silence into the ground to lose a fever  [7]

To curse a person

Write the name of one You wish to curse on a piece of paper, in red ink, 9 times. Fold it, press with Your dominant hand thumb and call out their name. Than place a stone on it.
Next, take some Elder flowers, or dried herb, and hold it in Your hand to charge it, feeling the anger and wish to cause trouble to the person or entity. Next , sprinkle some on the N, E, S, W not fare away from the stone and paper are,  as You   say ( each time )

N.N. te madligo ! Senti dolorem , infelicitatem, insomnos ! Per triduum, postquam te exsolvo !”

Sprinkle the rest over the stone and the paper.  To undo, after three nights remove the stone, and torn the paper,  and scatter the m shreds  in  some  body of flowing water saying : “Te exolvo ,  te libero , menes, et corpora tua fiat sana. Fortunatus erit or simply express that You release them from the curse, and wish them no other harm.

The curse will cause pain, bad luck and nightmares for three days. Same can be achieved , If you just got to the crossroads and sprinkle some Elder to four corners while saying the same.

Now, I posted the curse , for informative and educational purposes, does not mean I advocate harmful magick, nor that You can blame it one me when something bad happens to You because You really wanted to get back to someone for just being annoying. Maybe You like to torture people, I don’t care, don’t need to know, If You decide to cast this, or any other curse it is Yours, and Yours only decision and responsibility.

Hoodoo spell, To force a magician to undo spell cast on You

Make a poppet to represent the enemy,  attach to it paper with their name, photo or personal concerns. If You  do not know their name write “enemy who crossed me” , “enemy who hexed me” or something similar. 
Light a purple candle, and tie the poppet’s   hands and legs behind their backs , so that the poppet  is in submissive kneeling position. Place it in some small box, where it can barely fit, and pouring little by little Elder flowers over it into the box  read the following:

Psalm 8th

Psalm 18th

Bible, Exodus 15:3 – 15:9

And you can add ( If it feels right to You ) Isaiah 14:5

Finally say,  three times :
“I command You, to release me of Your evil thoughts, evil deeds, and all evil  and harmful actions against me. I command and compel You to do this in the name of Father  (+) , Son (+) and Holy Spirit (+)! Amen !"
Make cross sign over the box where indicated.

If the person is really nasty, evil, and eager to harm You no matter what the price, alongside Elder flowers, add equal amount of Blackberry leafs, and use  it to cover the poppet in the box.
Close the box and place in some corner. When You feel like You can shake it, saying  the words from above.
Many Blessings, Shadow :)

NOTES: This article was written and composed  b y myself,  and If You wish to use any part of it  elsewhere online, feel free, but add  credits: Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com  ,  or a  direct link to  this post 

[1] Rhyme can be found here : http://www.ecoenchantments.co.uk/myogham_hawthornpage.html , it’s an common, old English rhyme, probably well known to You anyway

[2] I read this tail as a kid, it’s  quite  popular here , in Estern Europe, and it has a nice twist  how the barber evaded the punishment of death, and You can find, the sugarcoated synopsis in English here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Goat's_Ears_of_the_Emperor_Trojan
[3] According to Catherine Yronwode, as stated in “Hoodoo herb and root magic, a material magica of a African American conjure” , the ritual, requiring Elder twigs,  five inches long, and St. John TC roots,   to repel  the law officers Is given it this book, which I highly recommend
[4] Cunningham Scott,  “Encyclopedia of magical herbs”  page 109th, Llewellyn publications, 2009th
[5] Dunwich Gerina, “Herbal magick” page 74th, New Pages Book, 2002nd
[6] As under [4]
[7] As under [4]
CREDIT IMAGES :  Elder tree botanical   illustration  is retrieved from: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Illustration_Sambucus_nigra0.jpg   and posted here for illustrative ,   educational  and   explanatory purposes only, without ill will 

Jul 29, 2013

The mystic power of Tripple spiral or Triskele

The ever dazzling and enticing symbol of spiral, always present in nature,  had also anchored itself deeply into human mind, conscious and unconscious,   to which  art, myths, and traditions attest.  

The oldest findings of spirals drawn ( or rather, carved   ) by humans date back to Paleolithic age [1] , though more than likely most prolific periods of use and creation of spiral symbols include late propto-European and European times, namely Celtic culture.

Spirals convey patterns that occur in natural mechanism and are natural way of organization of systems, such spiral broadening the universe , or galaxies.  They are everywhere  around You, tree trunk rings, snail houses, entwining plants,  seashells, whirlpools , whirlwinds  and nasty tornados, water ripples on the surface of the peaceful like You enticed by throwing a stone in water.

Starting from a single point, and expanding, to the outer layers, nearly concentric, spirals represent creation, grow, path, motion, movement, introspection, or expansion from outwards  to outdoors, and intuitively the  tell and perpetuate old  truths and ideas about cyclical, expansive  and dynamic nature of things.  Spirals  depict ideas of journeying , initiation, the unity and connection of one and all, and spiritual yearning and connection to the Divine.

Spirals are very prominent symbol in Oceania,   where Maori people perceive them as symbol of Creation, and Polynesians see them as key to immortality [2] 

Hopi Indians see them as symbol of migration, and return to home, particularly the Triskele  ( triple spiral  ) variations, while the Aztecs see double , opposing, connected spirals, as symbols of Moon phases and thunder and/or lighting.

Even in popular art, spirals are a common motif, in comics they often represent infatuation or trance, usually drawn instead of eyes in such cases ,  or confused mental state , if  from  of descending, 3D style spiral above the characters heads.

Spiral dances are part of several traditions around the world. For example Pueblo Indians ( as in Native American Indians of course ) , New  Year Spiral dancing. Or  the ritual dance of Whirling Dervish(i)  of Mevelvi order, as a form of Dhkir ( rembrance of G’d ) and mimicking  various processes in Universe. [3] Or even Wiccan dance to raise cone of power , or the Pagan Beltaine spiral   dance around  the pole.
"Jackob's ladder" by William Blake,
1800. year, British Museum

Some Christians  believe that stairs  leading to Heaven are spiral, much like depicted on  William Blake’s “Jackob’s ladder”  painting.  Purgatory is also commonly believed to be spiral mountain, on which one ascends  via spirally rising road.

Spirals in magick and occult

The more “practical” use of spiral and it’s symbolism, energy and pattern,  is found in systems of magick, witchcraft or magicko-religious systems. Some of the uses of spirals in occultism I’ve encountered through my studies and work are:

·         Entice movement of energy, set things in motion
      ·         Increase occult powers and abilities,  strengthen skills, increase personal power
      ·         Trap and confuse spirits, or lead them to trap in various spirit dislodging rituals for example [4]
      ·         Elevate mind state, alter mind state, like In various meditations, or while simply drawing spirals

For these purposes they can be traced on altars with powders ( check the example I’ve given bellow ), printed symbols can be placed bellow vessels with water, or oil to empower, energize and bless them, they can be carved into candles to point out intention, and further empower candles, worn as amulets and talismans and so on.

In Santerian and Palo rituals they can be traced on the ground with gunpowder , in which case the client stands in centre, and lights the start of the spiral. Or they can be traced  to “conduct” spirit away from client , to a trap vessel, such as in Evilspirit removing ( dislodging ) spell , in Hoodoo tradition , like ones Dr E performs for clients.

There is a lot of place for Your own creative expression with spirals in magickal workings, for magick is after all, as much science,  that much art, according to some schools of thought.

Triple spiral or Triskele

One of the oldest found Triple spiral symbols comes from Newgrange  Passage tomb  in Ireland, dating  back   t o 3200th year BC. Sun auspiciously illuminates passage in it, on Winter’s Solstice.  And  on the entrance stone there is a triple spiral, one of the oldest such recorded symbols [5]
Newgrange Tripple spiral(s)  engraved upon entrance stone

While we do not know what the symbol originally represented in Celtic culture, In  neopaganism an pagan revival of Celtic culture and Wicca, they are associated with triple deities, such as Three-faceted Celtic goddess  Maiden-Mother-Crone, which to me, for one, makes excellent sense. Around 5th age, when Christianity was spread among Celtic countries, the symbols gained yet another meaning, it stood for Holy Trinity in  Christianity, and it still does. It illustrates the nature of Christian concept of Trinity fairly well, much like the  three leaved clover does, three in one, G’d the Father, G’d Son, and G’d Holy  Spirit.

The very word triskele, or the Greek Triskelion, means three legged, and this illustrates the three
Common version of Triskele symbol/pattern
“branches” or “arms” or spiral.  In different cultures, or even different systems they represent three concepts  associated with a single idea. Like the deities examples given above ( in text  ) or, past, present and future in chronology ,  spirit, mind and body in anthroposophy and so on. 

The fact that these three spirals are connected, and under specific angles, makes the Triple spiral symbol even more fascinating. For it strikes the observer with an overwhelming sensation of movement, motion, and a constant one, kind of  like Earth’s revolution,  or hands of the clock.

According to a symbolist [6] as stated on her beautiful website ( What’s Your sign ) , If we combine these general ideas, with the fact that Lunar creatures in Alchemy and European Art where depicted three legged, the triple spiral becomes clearly associated with Intuition, spiritual expansion, Feminine,  mysteries , Subconscious, Hidden desires, Illumination. 

Right on spot, If You ask me, as there are three basic  phases of Moon ( New, half and Full, )  and If we consider that  the numbers  associated with Moon  are 9, 81, 369, 3321,  first one being  number 3 on cube, and the rest  are dividable with three.

So in a nutshell, a Triple spiral, or  Triskele, or  Triskelion represents,  motion, movement, action, progression, spiritual and other kind of expansion and growth, competition, mystery,  association with the Divine and alike.

Triple spiral Action ,  or Enlivening  ritual

When I was composing the following ritual  ( for this post ) , I wanted it to  be a kind of Road opener  ritual/spell. To get things  moving from stagnant place, and set them to motion, and also enable continuous success in some affair  or endeavor coming Your  way

On a  piece of paper, write down Your name, problem You have, and how You wish it to unfold.

Now keep folding the paper until it has became small enough to fit nicely bellow a candle You will be using in the ritual. You’ll need an orange, or purple candle, not too small, not too big.

Using some Road Opener, or Shifting sands, or Success powder,  trace the triple spiral. Place the paper in the centre, and over it   set  the candle.  Now dress the candle with Van Van or Road opener oil, and Read Psalms 8th ( to get dominion over situation, and for success )  23rd , 91st . If the condition is long standing,  persistent and causes You danger, be sure to read Psalm 70th as well. Add any heartfelt prayer or petition, asking for success, and what You need.  Wait for a while then snuff the candle.    

Read the psalms and prayers for the consecutive two days as well,  and on the third day, after You’ve finished with the praying and the candle  burned all the way ,  collect the remaining wax, powder, and paper, and bury them under some tree in forest, or under a plant in Your pot, to even further supercharge the spell.
Hope You had and interesting read, and hence well spent time, and hopefully You also find this helpful and  inspirational, in some way
Abundance of Blessings, Shadow :)

NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, hence If You wish to use any parts of it elsewhere online, feel free but add   the credits  Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com or a direct link to this post

[1] According to Marc O’ Connell and Raje Airey in their work “Ill ustrated Encyclopedia of  signs and symbols”
[2] According to the same source  as under   [1]
[3]  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mevlevi_Order
[4] Example of such use can be found here : http://conjuredoctor.blogspot.com/2012/07/hoodoo-spell-to-remove-evil-spirits.html
[5] According to the : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triple_spiral
[6] Avia Venefica , as she cunningly  noted  here: http://www.whats-your-sign.com/triskelion-celtic-symbol-meaning.html

IMAGE CREDITS: Images ( in order of appearance )

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5f/Triskele-Symbol-spiral.png ,  First image edited by myself for use here, all used for illustrative and explanatory  purposes, without any ill wil l

Jul 25, 2013

Fix Yourself ...a good Mojo

"I'm goin' to Louisiana, and get me a mojo hand
I'm gonna fix my woman so she can't have no other man
"Mojo hand" by "Lightning Hopkins" 1960th
I want you to get a small bag made of the skin of chamois,"  fortune teller advising her client, "In it place this piece of lodestone and John Conqueror root. Tie it with a piece of devil’s shoestring and in your right hand, sprinkle five drops of holy oil. Keep the bag next to your skin.
from the movie "Eve's Bayou"

Among the most well known, and at the same time most vague, and misunderstood  parts of Hoodoo magick is  fixin’,  or creating and using , mojo bags.  It’s because not only the very tradition of making, feeding, blessing  of those can differ greatly depending on where in the States the  very tradition originates, but even the name itself. 

There is abundance of names synonymously used with  very term ( mojo bag ), which include: Conjure bag, Conjure hand, Mojo hand, root bag, Toby, Nation Sack, Jack bag or Jack ball, Wanga, Girs Gris. As You see,  plethora of names for  things that are not exactly the same either.

Nation sack for example is used in Memphis region only by the women, Jack bag is a special form of mojo used in divination and Wanga, for example is the name of a charm bag, much like Hoodoo or Conjure hands, used in Caribbean, the very word coming from West Africa and meaning “charm” or “spell “  . Wanga bag, therefore would be a bag  containing  some spell . [1]
Gris Girs, is a term  that refers to a whole system of magick, rather than just a type of charm bags. Gris Girs, or rather Gre Gre, as it’s pronounced is a word coming from Mande language group, once spoken in  current territories of Senegal and Mali. And it’s a term that refers  to both a physical object and invocations and words of powers used by variety of types of Vodun or Voodoo practitioners.  The concept was indigenous to Africa, but  prominently spread to States, with the Trans – Atlantic slave trade.   Gris gris as physical object can be many things indeed, from a doll baby, poppet, charm bag, over love potions to powders and other.  The Girs Girs operates by principles of homeopathic ( attached to person, carried, applied on one’s skin etc. )  or sympathetic  ( effigies for example ) magick.  It this considered that If the creation and use of gris gris, be it even a gris gris bag, does not involve  invocation, or involvement of Vodoun/ Voodoo spirits, and thus enlivening  it, the  what-would-be girs girs, becomes Mojo or Conjure , for example mojo or conjure bag, hence  something that falls under category of Hoodoo.  [2] Gris Gris bags also sometimes have Qur’an verses etched on, or inside them, and sometimes the dolls attached to the outside, and have except the magickal use had ( presumed ) mundane use of method of contraception. Hence strong religious influence  on Gris gris practice came from Islam, which is not the case of Mojo bags. [3] It wise to note here, that there  are practitioners, and scholars claiming the opposite; that the Gree Gree is an inanimate talisman/fetish, whereas the mojo's are "living spirits" in a bag. Such however, make for a minority. 

Nowadays, however, both Hoodoo, and Creole Voodoo as somewhat fluid systems, allow some overlapping  of the concepts in their proprietary systems.   So I often see  rootworkers and Hoodoists, who’s work met considerable public acceptance, posting and stating how mojo bag is a living spirit, or otherwise inhabited by one.  When I am making my Conjure hands, for myself or my friends, I make sure that I breathe in them , read prayers in/over them and If they are  for me I even like to add a drop of my blood in them (as traditionally used with so called "jackballs" ), thus these conjure hands also undergo enlivening process. So while not done with invoking or involving Voodoo spirits ( known of course as   Loa, or Lwa ), I don’t think it would be accurate to describe a Hoodoo style gris gris bag ( here the term gris gris , of course used more loosely than in Voodoo ) as “superstition” or “simple fetish” like some Vodooists do.
In fact, in Hoodoo we believe there is a part of Divine “ashe” ( term borrowed from another system of magick ) in everything, hence  combining different elements, or items into a new charm,  sometimes combined with personal concerns,  and each of these containing it’s personal part of the universal “ashe”, certainly create some kind of spirit in the mojo.  So a Hoodoo hand, or Conjure hand, can be , albeit loosely, seen analogous, to creation of artificial intelligence , or spirits, known as servitors  in New-Age ( influenced ) branches of High magick. Well homologous to the concept really, the major part of the whole servitore/egregore notion is nothing but a bunch of bollocks, pardon my French . Also mojo hands are both spiritual and physical entities.

However since  the Girs Gris bag ( in Vodoun, Voodoo and  Voodoo-Hoodoo ) and typical, southern Hoodoo or Conjure hand have their proprietary “rules” of creation, blessing and handling,  which differ, we shall go through both of the process of creation a Gris Gris bag, and a Hoodoo/Conjure hand here separately .

How to make a Gris Gris bag

The following instructions are based  ( in the best part ) on instructions given in the "Voodoo-Hoodoo spellbook", by Miss Denise Alvarado,  who was raised and taught in  the tradition of New Oreleans Voodoo-Hoodoo

·         The girs girs bag, should be created at the centre of Congo Kosmogram. ( not the case with Mojo bags )
      ·         Gris gris bag has to contain anywhere from 3 to 13 ingredients, but always an odd number ( this if most often the case with Mojo bag’s , but not always  )
      ·         Gris Girs bag is traditionally made of red flannel and sometimes of chamois, or also leather  ( pretty much the case with Mojo bags )
      ·         Gris Gris bag must be dressed with a liquid of some kind ( pretty much the case with the  Mojo bags, except for the latter the preferred choice of liquid seems to be  some Condition oil, whereas the Gris gris bag, is dressed by Whiskey, Holy Water, Florida water, and then, somewhere  near the end of the suggestion list come Condition oils* )
      ·         Color symbolism is important and chosen  depending on the needs and aims of Girs Gris bag creator, or the person that will be using it, aka the person for whom the Gris Gris bag is being made in the first place
      ·         Petition  should be written in magickal alphabet, or a   corresponding seal should be draws on a piece of parchment paper ( or any kind of “virginal” paper, If one lacks parchment  )  and placed inside the Gris gris bag. The use of magickal  alphabet as well as parchment is considered a heritage of Islam, which some of the  African slaves brought with themselves  (  In case of Mojo bags, such addition can be added indeed, but petitioner’s paper,  most preferably along  with personal  concerns,  takes priority, and also Christianity, as opposed to Islam is the predominant religious influence found in  practice of making mojo bags )
      ·         Word of Power are spoken over the bag, a specific Loa is invoked to bless it** , sometimes veve are also placed inside the bag ( over Mojo bags,  Christian prayers and or Psalms are read, if anything )
      ·         Finalized, still open bag is breathed upon to “give it life” [4] ( same with Mojo bags )
As with mojo bag, pretty much anything  goes inside J as long as it use is consistent with the use of girs girs. If You want to know more about  Gris gris bags, and their history in New Orleans Voodoo-Hoodoo tradition, as well as the influence of Islam on this practice, I suggest reading Miss Denise Alvarado’s blog post on Gris gris.

How to make a  Mojo bag , aka Hoodoo/Conjure hand

Mojo bags are one of the staple Hoodoo practices.  Now, Hoodoo is a magickal system, unlike Vodoun which  is a religion, so the act of creating mojo bags, exclusively present in Hoodoo tradition, is referred as superstition by sociologists as well as cultural anthropologists. As a practicing Hoodoist I’d respectfully disagree,  acknowledging   though,  the very technical, and arguably semantic value of the term “superstition”  applied to act of Creation of the Mojo bags.

Mojo bags are very carefully, ritualistically made, through a process which includes highly selective and elaborate, meaningful choice of ingredients. Furthermore, they are ritualistically consecrated,  worn and used, having “canonical” rules  regarding each.  Finally a Mojo bag does not work because a practitioner believes it will,  but due to being carefully composed and created formula, a mixture of  number  of ingredients that have through the ( occult ) experience shown to exhibit specific qualities, properties,  or characteristics  which manifest through the effects and changes they create in the real world.  Considering all that, it’s really hard to tuck the Mojo bags under the “superstition” category, and the only  argument remaining for such is the  fact that indeed, Mojo  bag creation is not a religious practice ,  at least not in strictly technical terms.

In any case, If You have not already, You’ll understand what I am on about, upon reading the following, important notes about  creating a mojo

And a final note before we proceed with the guidelines about creation of mojo bags, You will find in different sources, different "prescribed"  sizes/dimensions  that a mojo bag must meet. Ranging from 2x2.5 inches, and 3x4.5  ( most commonly )  to whole other range of sizes. The older records of the recipes for mojos, said nothing about the size, and they were commonly the size of a walnut, seldom bigger. This should be a hint to one ( in my humble opinion ) that there is no "standard" size for a mojo bag/hand, although the are almost elusively rectangular, where the height ( length ) a bag is somewhat bigger than the width.

·         Mojo bags are created from red flannel  traditionally, though modern Hoodoists like to apply color symbolism to the bag creation and hence  make and use different color flannel pouch bags

·         Mojo bags most often contain odd number of ingredients 3, 7 or 9 , though often also 5, 11, or 13. Some practitioners don’t count the ingredients at  all, and some add  multiple that count as one, for example  petitioner’s paper and personal concern counting as one ingredient, or a herbal mixture made of various different plants counting as one ingredient [5]

·         Mojo bag preparation, as in most simple for, act of meaningfully   releasing ingredients into bag, is referred to as “fixing” in Hoodoo.  While some practitioners will simply place the ingredients in the bag, most Southern style Hoodoo ( rootwork ) practitioners will   do so while praying,  smoking the mojo in incense flame, and dabbing it gently with some liquid  to finalize. Following is a general outline of how I create Mojo bags

1)      I place the ingredients in the mojo bag, one by one, making a Cross sign over each ingredient prior to placing it in the bag, least the  hand is for someone else, or for love drawing or lust related work, in which case I don’t make sign or Cross. While I work, I have a white candle lit

2)      Then I read prayers and psalms, which are in consistency with the purpose of Mojo bag and what I want to achieve with it.  I hold  Mojo bags in  my palms, so that my breath, as I pray, “flows” towards the opening of the mojo bag. Occasionally, I will even visualize my breath in form of white flame, going from my mouths into mojo. I may then ( sometimes I do, other times I don’t )  blow three times into the mojo directly, or add a drop of blood from my pointer finger. If the hand is made for conquering, commanding or influencing, and I decide to add some of my blood, it will be from my dominant hand thumb finger .

3)      Finally I will secure the mojo, and sprinkle or spray it with Holy Water, or  If I happen to lack it, Whiskey , or Florida water. Then I will say: “Te consecro et benedico in nomine  Patris,  et Filii, et Spiritus Sanctus ! Amen ! ”   Sometimes I will also smudge the mojo,  repeating the same words. Sometimes I will smudge the mojo in incene prior to spraying liquid on it.

4)      Finally I will  feed the mojo and wear it hidden, in my front jeans pocket, as I am a male 

·         And finally, mojo bags, being “alive with a spirit” must be fed, occasionally,  perhaps a good guide is twice a month  with a light “meal”

·         Mojo must be worn hidden at all times, women often wear it hidden in their bras, while men wear them  either in their front pocket , or pinned inside of their pants or even underwear, as mojo’s are often suggested to  be worn in such manner that they touch  the skin. This is even an imperative in case of Love and Healing hands, according to what most of the practitioners say. First nine days, it should be worn all the time(s), even when sleeping.

·         Mojo must never be touched by someone else, as this will “kill the mojo” , which means it will more than likely render it useless. It’s a personal spirit-charm-spell  that no one else should  see, let alone touch. If someone sees Your mojo,  smoke it in incense and feed  it as soon as possible, and You will be good. But If someone  has  touched it, You’ll just have to make another one, though some people re-use minerals and metal charms , after thoughtfully cleansing them [6]

People frequently use Condition oils to dress, and therefore feed Mojo bags, or Conjure  hands, and these are  to be consistent with the Mojo bag purpose. See  suggested  “formulae” bellow to get some idea  about proper choice of Condition oil. More than just feeding, such oil can be seen as ajunct to  the Mojo bag’s power too. 

Disposing of a mojo bag and similar charms 

     Once no longer needed, mojo bags/hands/conjure hands must be ritually disposed off. The most common, and universally applicable method is burying them in the ground. Some folks also suggest burning them respectfully. 

     If the mojo wrapping/bag get's damaged, worn out, or perforated ( etc. ) being a ritually sealed charm, it's advisable to simply add another layer of wrapping/bag, and keep using  and feeding it normally [7]  No need to throw it away and make another one. 

     If one no longer needs a mojo bag, but the some contents were extremely rare or expensive, one can take these expensive and/or rare items out, cleanse or purify them, and use them in another mojo. 

    Some other similar charms to mojo are "paquets", "jackballs" and "Wangas", the last one also known as "ouangas". "Paquets"  are commonly square in shape, and obtained by placing ingredients on a piece of fabric , which is then folded into a square. Kind of like some post office packets. These are sometimes used as crossing tools, being buried into someones yard or other, auspicious place. Otherwise they  are very similar to the mojos. The "Jackballs"  are created much like mojos but inside a ball of yarn or thread, and, traditionally the must contain some kind of personal concern of the person whom they are made for. They can be used as pendulums, as well, particularly when  asking spirits for advice, or can be used to manipulate someone, shaken up, or confuse them etc.

     The "medicine bag" of the Native Americans, although sometime confused with the mojo bags, are quite different and will vary significantly, depending of respective tribal folklore and beliefs, in terms of appearance, construction and use.  Most of the time though, they do tend to me made out of leather. 

     The European herbal sachets or charms, are the most variable of all the similar charms, having no specific guidelines  regarding their creation and use. They are merely sachets, or bags, with magickal herbs ( sometimes it's just a whole, single herb ) placed inside them, carried on person to draw things magickally. s

Mojo bag for  drawing money

     Place a Silver coin ( in States commonly used is the “Silver dime” ),  with a  Fourth Pentacle of Jupiter  drawn on parchment paper, which You have wrapped around Your own hair /  or on which You have placed a drop of Your own blood,  some green Rice,  a charged and fed ( with magnetic sand ) lodestone,  some Cinnamon powder, Bayberry root, Patchouli/ or Basil leafs all in Red or Green flannel mojo.

Read Psalm 23rd over it 7 times, and then breathe into it. Sprinkle the bag with Hoyt’s cologne, or  any of the following : “Money come to me oil ”, “Attraction oil” , “Fast luck oil”.

Feed it with any of the suggested, preferably once a month  during the waxing phase of the Moon.

Mojo bag for overcoming and conquering evil

     Combine  High John TC root, with Sampson snake, Mint, Bay Laurel leaf, Solomon’s seal root, Peony root, Mullein leaf, piece of broken silver chain, blessed salt,  Frankincense tears, Blessed Crucifixion charm, Five Finger’s grass, and Rue. A miniature dagger charm, or a Cross charm,can be placed ( fixed, glued, attached ) on the outer side of the Mojo bag.

     Read Psalms 8th , 18th, 53rd and 91st , as well as following passages from the Good Book ( The Scripture, Bible ) Genesis 49:19 , Exodus 15:3 and 15:19. Also Numbers 22:20-33 If You are fighting evil magick as well

     Dress with Holy water, or Florida water in which the Frankincense tears and Hyssop have been soaked. Also any of the following condition oils could be used: “Victory over evil” , “Run De*il run”, “Stop evil condition oil” or “Uncrossing oil 

It’s an very powerful mojo, used to counter long lasting or old crossings and conditions,  strong oppression by evil spirits, or even aggression and snares, of the evil and dangerous people. It will also give one endurance in difficult times, and in dangerous situations, providing them with the strength and sharp mind.

Lucky ways Mojo bag

Combine Lucky hand root, with Five fingers grass, Four leaf clover, True Seal of the Choir of Hosts or Dominations of the Ministering Angels, being a second seal in the Sixth Book  of Moses, and a Horseshoe charm.

Read Psalm 23rd seven times over the bag.

Dress with Hoyt’s cologne, or “Black cat oil” , “Blessing oil” or “Lucky 13 oil”

Any of the above listed liquids can be used to  fee d the mojo as well

Healing mojo

This one is aimed to remove long standing conditions, and unnatural diseases ( ones caused by  spiritual forces, not simply physiological  conditions ) and speed up healing and alleviate diseases of any kind and sort.

Combine  following ingredients in  a nice white mojo bag: Frankincense tears, Small blessed Crucifix charm,  Personal concern of person wrapped in  “Seal of Angels of Power” ( or the Fifth seal from the “Sixth Book of Moses” ), Peony roots ,  Boneset, All heal, Sampson snake  root 
Read Psalms 30th, 49th, and 50th over it.

Dress with Holy water, Florida water,  or any of the following :“Blessing oil”, “Healing oil” , “Cast off evil oil” , “Stop evil oil” , “Uncrossing oil”, “Spirit guide oil”  . Same liquids can be used to feed the Mojo bag.

A little bit of Langiappe about Mojo’s

I come up with many Mojo formulas, of which a lot end up being posted here, following being just some examples :
Mojo for beauty
Chastity charm
Warrior’s charm  ( actually a mojo, despite the name )
Hyatt’s gambler charm  ( not my own, but a traditional formula, noted by famous folklorist )

And some beautiful mojo recipes and ideas, along with two old  Novelty  Mojo  formulas, are given on Lucky mojo’s website page on Mojo bags, as courtesy of Miss Catherine Yronwode.  I suggest  reading up on this page, which features also beautiful Hoodoo history of Mojo bags, etymology and meaning of the word as  well as blues songs that feature mojo bags.
To learn more about Gris Gris bags, and Gris Gris  as a system of magick, I suggest article by Miss Denise Alvarado

On the practical note, read about how  to actually sew Your own Mojo bag, in article on Hoodoo Crossroads blog

More about what Mojo bags mean in Hoodoo, and even more Mojo bag recipes, can be found at Dr.E's  blog

Hope this was an interesting and useful read for You
Many Blessings ,  from Shadow :)

NOTE: This article was written and composed by myself , therefore If You wish to use any part of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits: Shadow of Shadow's magick place, Shadow-333@hotmail.com ,  or a direct link to this post


[2] Reference and source of some information  : New Orleans Voodoo Museum, as  stated on their web-page http://www.voodoomuseum.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=33 [3]  According to  information presented on here  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gris-gris_(talisman)  [4] reference:  “Voodoo Hoodoo spellbook “   pages 205th, 206th and 207th by Denise Alvarado, Red Wheel Weiser publishing
[5] According to the same source as under [1]
[6] Madam Pamita, of/from  “Parlour of Wonders “ , which can ( online ) be found here;   http://www.parlourofwonders.com/  suggested  ,  in one of her videos, that metal charms used on Mojo bags, can be reused if someone had killed Your mojo bag, although they’ll need a strong cleansing prior to re-use

[7] According to the:   "The Hand Book: Hoodoo Mojos, Gris-Gris, Medicine Bags, Jackballs and Paquets" by Talia Felix

IMAGE CREDITS:  First one was drawn and edited by myself, second one is from : http://www.sacred-texts.com/grim/moses6/m602.htm  , edited by myself and used here for illustrative, and explanatory purposes, without any ill will