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In many ways, the Double Luck brand of canned vegetables -- a subsidiary of Del Monte Foods of California -- is unremarkable. Sold locally in northern California throughout my childhood, it is just one of those cheap brands that utilize produce which for one reason or another cannot be sold to the "fancy-packed" market. This label, taken from a can containing a "mixture of short cut and cut" Blue Lake variety green beans, is typical of the Double Luck product line. "Short cut" is packer's code for ends and pieces. Short-cuts aren't bad; they just don't look very pretty, a fact that is reflected in their price.

Canned green beans -- in contradistinction to fresh or frozen ones -- are mostly popular with people from the South. As with many "lucky" brands of merchandise, Double Luck was designed to be marketed to poor people, especially to African-Americans. On a warm Spring afternoon in 1996, my daughter Althaea and i bought this unopened, rusting can of Double Luck green beans for 25 cents at the Ashby BART Station flea market in Berkeley. In the words of the old blues song, "If you've ever been there, you know just what i mean."

In keeping with the place and era of its manufacture, the lucky images shown on the label are the horseshoe and four-leaf clover, without a doubt the most commonly encountered good luck charms of 20th century North American provenance. The name Double Luck evokes an echo of a famous brand of African-American hoodoo soap, floor wash, and room spray, The E. Davis Company's Double Fast Luck brand -- and that name is itself a variant of a very old (and still popular) formula for anointing oils, sachet powders, incense, bath crystals and floor wash known as Fast Luck.

There is one more thing i would like to say about Double Luck green beans: if it were not for my dim, poorly-filed memory of eating them as a child, this web site would not exist. As explained on the Lucky W home page, my illustrated online archive of amulets is an outgrowth of the usenet newsgroup alt.lucky.w. In 1995 i was told of that group's existence by Carlos ("Froggy") May, a net-head who "salvages" used newsgroups. It was abandoned and had almost no propagation, but somehow, when i saw the meaningless, hierarchically-incorrect name "alt.lucky.w," i got this nagging feeling that it "meant" something, something about California fruits and vegetables, something about my childhood.

I decided to revive the newsgroup and as part of that project, i wrote up a specious alt.lucky.w FAQ in which i tried to evoke these elusive memories by mentioning "the Lucky 7 Grocery Store in Nevada City, California...childhood Westerns set on ranches known by letter-brands, like the Flying A and the station "KDIA Lucky 13," playing R&B music out of Oakland, California...[and] fresh fruit from California's Central Valley packed in wooden crates with beautiful figurative labels and "lucky" brand names like High Hand." I also began to ask people of my age if the phrase "Lucky W" meant anything to them. Most said it did not -- but those who, like me, had been raised in California occasionally volunteered, "'s vegetables or foods, some brand name..." I was so obsessed with this mystery that i decided to design a "Lucky W" logo, as if for a brand of food, and include it in the phony alt.lucky.w FAQ:

   3) What is the official logotype of Lucky W?

   The official logotype of Lucky W is this:

   In upper/lower case Rope Script, the word "Lucky," with a four-
   leaf clover twined into the starting loop of the initial "L"

   In an upward (U-shaped) horseshoe, the letter "W" in upper case
   Stempel Garamond Bold.


I got the font wrong -- it is Century Old Style, not Stempel Garamond -- but as those who know type will realize, i was not too far off; and i did include the half-remembered horseshoe and four-leaf clover. The rope script was a nod to the Western influence i perceived in the "W" part of the name. In going through my large collection of California fruit crate and can labels, i ran across a Lucky Trail Sliced Peaches label from the 1930s, but i knew that this, nice as it was, had not been the image that i recalled. The "western" motif was there in the word "trail," but the horsehoe and clover were lacking. It was close, but not close enough.

Later, when i chose an icon for the Lucky W web site -- the image that appears at the top and bottom of each page -- i selected a horseshoe and a four-leaf clover image from an old printer's stock cut book of 1950s vintage, again something from my childhood.

The moment i saw the Double Luck can at the flea market, i knew that it was the missing brand name around which my memories were gathered: in the equation of time, Double Luck had become Lucky Double-U. The mystery was solved.

I peeled the label off the can and scanned it and then spent two hours cleaning it up in Adobe Photoshop, removing the rust marks pixel by pixel, until it was restored to its original crisp appearance.

Green beans. Cheap, short-cut green beans for poor folks. That's why this web site is here.


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Here are some other LUCKY MOJO web sites you can visit:

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
Lucky Mojo Magic Spells Archives: love spells, money spells, luck spells, protection spells, and more
      Free Love Spell Archive: love spells, attraction spells, sex magick, romance spells, and lust spells
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      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

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

Hoodoo Rootwork Correspondence Course with cat yronwode: 52 weekly lessons in book form
Hoodoo Conjure Training Workshops: hands-on rootwork classes, lectures, and seminars
Lucky Mojo Community Forum: an online message board for our occult spiritual shop customers
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The Lucky Mojo Curio Co.: spiritual supplies for hoodoo, magick, witchcraft, and conjure
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Mystic Tea Room Gift Shop: antique, vintage, and contemporary fortune telling tea cups

catherine yronwode: the eclectic and eccentric author of many of the above web pages
nagasiva yronwode: tyaginator, nigris (333), nocTifer, lorax666, boboroshi, Troll, !
Garden of Joy Blues: former 80 acre hippie commune near Birch Tree in the Missouri Ozarks
Liselotte Erlanger Glozer: illustrated articles on collectible vintage postcards
Jackie Payne: Shades of Blues: a San Francisco Bay Area blues singer

Lucky Mojo Site Map: the home page for the whole Lucky Mojo electron-pile
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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
Candle Ministry: Missionary Independent Spiritual Church deacons will set lights for your petitions and prayers
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
Gospel of Satan: the story of Jesus and the angels, from the perspective of the God of this World
Hoodoo Psychics: connect online or call 1-888-4-HOODOO for instant readings now from a member of AIRR
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
Spiritual Spells: lessons in folk magic and spell casting from an eclectic Wiccan perspective, plus shopping
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