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Mojo bags: variant names, ingredients, usage

From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Mojo bags: variant names, ingredients, usage
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1999 13:16:12 -0800

From email:
>     I have been researching african cultures, and voodoo lately for
> school and personal reasons, and here is my question. My favorite song 
> is "I Got My Mojo Working", by Muddy Waters, and while I have heard of 
> mojo hands being little flannel bags filled with herbs and powders, 

Yes...and they can also contain roots, coins, minerals, animal parts,
written papers, metal charms, stones, and much more. 

> but I also heard of them being charms soaked in menstrual blood.

Not "charms" per se, but rather red flannel bags as described above --
and they can be dressed with menstrual blood...or urine...or whiskey...
or dressing oil....depending on how you are working the thing and what
you intend to do with it. 

>  I am releasing an album titled, "I Got My Mojo Working
> (Just Don't Work On You)", or something similar to that title, and I
> wish to learn various definitions so I can explain them to my friends 
> and family when they ask what the title means. I have heard that they 
> are many definitions, but I need to know, what are other different 
> mojos? 

I am not sure what you mean by "many definitions." If you were to go
into any  African American spiritual supply shop in America today and
ask for a mojo, you'd be given a bag (red flannel is most common for
general luck, love, sex, gambling, etc, -- but sometimes they come in
green for money, pale blue for a peaceful home, white for healing,
purple for commanding power, etc.) in which there are a minimum of 3
ingredients. You would not be given an amulet or charm in the sense of a
metal talisman or such, if that's what you are asking.  

> and what is the most popular definition (I'm guessing the mojo
> hands)? 

A mojo hand is the same as a mojo. Calling it a hand is common, and
there are other names, too -- jack, toby (Maryland-Delaware area),
nation sack (Memphis-Mississippi area), conjure bag or conjure hand
(throughout the South), and on and on. In parts of the the Caribbean,
people of African descent call them wanga bags, obeah bags, or gris gris

The mojo's effectiveness is provided for by the ingredients,
the minimum number of which is typically three. Other
than that there are no restrictions on what you might expect to find in
one, but an odd number of ingredients is traditionally preferred.

Once you create ("fix up") or purchase a mojo, it is to be personalized
and set to working. It is traditional to personalize such hands with
your private concerns and items, energized with your desires and
prayers, and then to set it to working by the application of a drop of
dressing oil or other liquid
There are many traditional means of "charging" mojo bags (and
other curios and amulets), including asking in the name of the 
Father, Son and the Holy Ghost; reciting psalms from the Holy
Bible (there is a book called "Secrets of the Psalms" which
details which psalms are used for which types of work -- 
by Godfrey Selig, you can find details about it at

including how to order); passing the bag (or other item) 
through incense smoke or candle flame; dressing it with 
anointing oil (find information about the variety of oils
available at the following URL:

soaking it in whiskey for nine days; and of course 
applying your personal concerns (bodily effluvia: sexual 
fluids, menstrual blood, urine, or spittle, hair, nail
clippings, etc.) or those of your loved ones.

While most folks carry their mojo on their persons, musicians 
often keep them in their instrument case. Professional truck 
drivers keep them in their glove boxes. Women frequently carry 
them in their purse rather than a pocket.
It is said by some people that all of the power of a mojo or 
nation sack will be undone if a stranger -- or even your lover 
-- touches your mojo or looks inside.

If you would read my two major non-commercial Lucky W Amulet 
Archive pages about mojo hands, you'll find a lot more of your 
questions answered. The pages are

mojo bags:
nation sacks:

In addition, you could read the overview on the history of
African-American hoodoo at


and, because you are a musician, you might find enjoyment by checking
out the links on blues songs that reference hoodoo, mojo bags, etc., at 

blues and hoodoo:

>  Thanks for your help. I will check out your catalogue again,
> soon for mojos.
> I would love to order one.
> Thanks,

Good luck to you and your band!  Sounds like y'all could use my "Blues
Boy Special" mojo, "designed with the blues musician in mind." See the
full information on this particular mojo hand at my Lucky Mojo
commercial page at

mojos for sale:

and then place your order at

order form:

All mojos made by the Lucky Mojo curio Co. come with detailed
instructions for personalization and use, plus a vial or oil for

catherine yronwode

Lucky Mojo Curio Co:
The Lucky W Amulet Archive:

check out news:alt.lucky.w for discussions on folk magic and luck

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Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including slave narratives & interviews
Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Lucky W Amulet Archive by cat yronwode: an online museum of worldwide talismans and charms
Sacred Sex: essays and articles on tantra yoga, neo-tantra, karezza, sex magic, and sex worship
Sacred Landscape: essays and articles on archaeoastronomy, sacred architecture, and sacred geometry
Lucky Mojo Forum: practitioners answer queries on conjure; sponsored by the Lucky Mojo Curio Co.
Herb Magic: illustrated descriptions of magic herbs with free spells, recipes, and an ordering option
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: ethical diviners and hoodoo spell-casters
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith, the Smallest Church in the World
Satan Service Org: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century ceremonial occultist
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective
The Mystic Tea Room: divination by reading tea-leaves, with a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, etc.
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
      Free Money Spell Archive: money spells, prosperity spells, and wealth spells for job and business
      Free Protection Spell Archive: protection spells against witchcraft, jinxes, hexes, and the evil eye
      Free Gambling Luck Spell Archive: lucky gambling spells for the lottery, casinos, and races