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

CREDITS AND REFERENCES:

[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

3 comments:

Ted - Lucky mojo said...

Wow this is literally the most informative article I've come upon in regards to hoodoo and bags. Actually too much for me to read through it all in one sitting but still felt like informing you about what a great article I think it is! Thank you for posting such great information!

Shadow said...

Glad You've liked it, and quite welcome.

Blessings :)

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