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This online presentation of
The Lucky W Amulet Archive by catherine yronwode
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GODS AND SAINTS
AS LUCKY FIGURES

The image at left is a small token of religious magic or luck, a little folding vinyl "holy wallet" that first became popular during the 1930s and is still manufactured to this day. Behind a clear plastic prtector, a stamped aluminum bas-relief of The Infant of Prague slides into one side, and a prayer card slips into the other side. Such holy wallets are available with a wide assortment of saints inside, and when i was young, wondrous tales were told about these siminutive devotionary items. Specifically, they were said to deflect bullets if worn in the breast pocket. I personally heard suchstories from a number of World War Two veterans who claimed to have been protected or to have witnessed a fellkow soldier "shot in the heart, and he would have died, but the plaque stopped the bullet." In those days the wallet itself was made of leather rather than vinyl, but that would have hardly added to their bullet-deflecting qualities, which were purely religio-magical in nature.)

In studying the subject of lucky amulets i have encountered considerable blurring between the concepts of luck, protection, religion, and magic. Our modern era is replete with examples of deities and saints (especially "exotic" ones of religions other than that one has grown up with) being marketed as "lucky figures" of one kind or another or being considered protective to their owners. In addition, some polytheistic cultures have deities specifically designated as luck gods and the Catholic Church has produced an official list of Patron Saints for various occupations and conditions.

There are three basic forms whereby people engage gods and saints for luck:

1) A DEITY BRINGS LUCK

Non-monotheistic religions other than Judaism, Islam, and Christianity actually do assign deities to magical and lucky functions. For instance, there are the Seven Luck Gods of Japan, who bring magical good fortune in various areas of human endeavour, and Laksmi , the Hindu goddess of wealth.

2) AN EXOTIC DEITY BECOMES "LUCKY" FOR MONOTHEISTS

Members of religions that do not have lucky or magical deities may appropriate those deities from other cultures, while still ostensibly worshipping monotheistically. For example, the Chinese luck-and-wealth god Hotei became syncreditzed in China and Japan with the religious teacher Gautama Buddha and is now found all over the world in nominally Christian homes as "the lucky Buddha."

3) A HOLY PERSON BECOMES A "LUCKY" SAINT

Members of religions that do not have lucky or magical deities may create them out of saints (holy people who are not deities) and attribute to these "lucky saints" all the powers than non-monotheistic cultures would attribute to magic and luck gods. For instance, San Martin of Tours was a real person, born in Prague in the 4th century, who is noted for quitting the Roman army in order to perform acts of charity, and eventually becaming a Catholic bishop in France. Officially, he is a patron saint of charity, but, practically speaking, as San Martin Caballero, he is invoked as a lucky money bringer in Mexico and other Latin American countries, and prayers for his intercession may take the form of money-drawing spells.

Here is a brief list of pages at this site about religious figures whose images are used on lucky and protective amulets. There are furteher links from those pages to specific amulets and figurines. The list here is not comprehensive with respect to all of the deities and saints who are petitioned for luck or protection -- and i will be adding more links as new amulets are added to the archive.

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN

Anubis
Bastet (Bast)
Isis

JEWISH

Moses, Aaron, and Miriam
Archangel Michael
Archangel Gabriel

HINDU

Ganesha
Hanuman
Kali, Durga, Parvati and Other Forms of Sakti
Laksmi
Sarasvati
Siva and Bhairava

BUDDHIST and FOLK-BUDDHIST

Buddha and Hotei-Buddha

CATHOLIC and FOLK-CATHOLIC

Anima Sola (Lonely Soul)
Archangel Michael
Archangel Gabriel
Mano Poderosa (Powerful Hand)
Maximon (Saint Simon)
Nino de Atocha
Nino Fidencio
Our Lady of Mount Carmel (N. S. Carmen)
Saint Anthony
Saint Christopher
Saint Dymphna
Saint Expedite
Saint Joseph
Saint Jude
Saint Martin of Tours (San Martin Caballero)
The Seven African Powers (Orishas; Siete Potentias)

copyright © 1995-2013 catherine yronwode. All rights reserved.
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Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by cat yronwode: an introduction to African-American rootwork
Hoodoo Herb and Root Magic by cat yronwode: a materia magica of African-American conjure
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 and sacred geometry
Freemasonry for Women by cat yronwode: a history of mixed-gender Freemasonic lodges
The Lucky Mojo Esoteric Archive: captured internet text files on occult and spiritual topics
Lucky Mojo Usenet FAQ Archive: FAQs and REFs for occult and magical usenet newsgroups
Aleister Crowley Text Archive: a multitude of texts by an early 20th century occultist
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Hoodoo and Blues Lyrics: transcriptions of blues songs about African-American folk magic
EaRhEaD!'S Syd Barrett Lyrics Site: lyrics by the founder of the Pink Floyd Sound
The Lesser Book of the Vishanti: Dr. Strange Comics as a magical system, by cat yronwode
The Spirit Checklist: a 1940s newspaper comic book by Will Eisner, indexed by cat yronwode
Fit to Print: collected weekly columns about comics and pop culture by cat yronwode
Eclipse Comics Index: a list of all Eclipse comics, albums, and trading cards

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OTHER SITES OF INTEREST
Arcane Archive: thousands of archived Usenet posts on religion, magic, spell-casting, mysticism, and spirituality
Association of Independent Readers and Rootworkers: psychic reading, conjure, and hoodoo root doctor services
Candles and Curios: essays and articles on traditional African American conjure and folk magic, plus shopping
Crystal Silence League: online prayer request network; upload your prayers here and pray for the welfare of others
Garden of Joy Blues: former 80 acre hippie commune near Birch Tree in the Missouri Ozarks
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Hoodoo Psychics: Instant telephone readings with gifted rootworkers; 1-888-4-HOODOO; All Calls $3.99 per minute
Missionary Independent Spiritual Church: spirit-led, inter-faith; prayer-light services; Smallest Church in the World
Mystic Tea Room: tea leaf reading, teacup divination, and a museum of antique fortune telling cups
Satan Service: an archive presenting the theory, practice, and history of Satanism and Satanists
Southern Spirits: 19th and 20th century accounts of hoodoo, including ex-slave narratives & interviews
Yronwode Home: personal pages of catherine yronwode and nagasiva yronwode, magical archivists
Yronwode Institution: the Yronwode Institution for the Preservation and Popularization of Indigenous Ethnomagicology