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mojo & medicine pouch

To: alt.lucky.w,alt.religion.orisha,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: mojo & medicine pouch
Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 12:43:57 -0800

-- Hawk"Don't Spam Me" 1052 wrote:
> Colin Davies <> wrote >
> >Does anyone know much concerning Native American medicine pouches? I
> >was talking to a friend about this recently and there appeared to be
> >some resemblance to mojo hands - just curious re:
> >similarities/differences.
> Medicine pouches/bags by Native American are sort of like a journal of 
> their spiritual journey. It's only magical for the person who uses it. 
> The only similarity is that they are bags. The difference is one is 
> for "magic" working and the other is for "totem" working.

Well said, Hawk, on the difference between magical workigns and totemic
workings! I would like to clarify one thing, though -- a mojo hand made
in the traditional way is not a mass-produced item and it must be
personalized by the bearer so that it really is "only magical for the
person who uses it." Personalization includes the addition of personal
tokens, talismans, writings, or coins, plus, many times, a ritual
activity such as passing the hand through smoke or dressing it with an
anointing oil or with alcoholic spirits.  

Something else must be noted here too -- the traditional red flannel
mojo bag has an interesting counterpart in the traditional red woollen
magical bag carried by some Italians, as recorded by Charles Leland from
ancient Roman sources and from oral histories he collected during the
late 19th century (which usage probably continues to this day). The
Italian red woolen bag usually contains three items, one of which is
often a pinch of salt. . 

Although mojo bags can contain as many as a dozen items, some are
specifically made from three ingredients in a red bag, just like the old
Italian bags. For instance, i just this morning made up a pair of the
old-fashioned mojo hand carried by lovers who must separate but wish to
reuinite soon. Each of these "lover's reunion mojos" contains a small
lodestone, a pinch of magnetic sand, and an Adam and Eve Root (one root
per bag) -- for a total of three ingredients per bag. The woman keeps
the bag with the Adam root (the man's root) and the man keeps the bag
with the Eve root (the woman's root). One could convincingly argue that
such a red flannel mojo bag, being African in origin, owes nothing to
the Italian red woollen bag tradition, but the resemblance between the
two forms is remarkable and it has long seemed possible to me that there
may be an ancient connection between the folk-magic of these two

However, that being said, i think that the Native American medicine
pouch is something else again, a totemic rather than magical item, as
you so rightly indicate. 

cat (got my mojo workin') yronwode

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