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TALISMANIC FOLK MAGIC
by cat yronwode and tyagi nagasiva

 
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Talismanic Magick (Beginning)
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 1996 14:18:20 -0800
Organization: Lucky Mojo Curio Co.

tyagi nagasiva wrote:

> Talismanic Magick -- Some Beginning Ideas
> 
>         I was asked to provide some ideas for beginning magick and
>         figured that a talismanic spell might be the easiest thing
>         to begin with 
[snip]
>         (our example is that of bringing 
>         money, and perhaps the second side of Dark Side of the Moon 
>         (PFloyd) will work nicely -- you could even construct a tape
>         of songs related to the spell effects). :>

Different strokes for different folks, eh? If i wanted to cast a money
drawing spell, i'd listen to Robert Johnson's "She is the little Queen
of Spades and the men will not let her be" -- but that's what makes
magic so personal...
 
> implements
>         consider if you wish to use a particularly
>         powerful inscription substance for this -- your own sexual
>         fluids are very good, your blood or your kin's (menstrual?)
>         blood, blood from an animal (I recommend against pets,
>         something like a mouse or bird is ok, though really we have
>         quite a lot of animal-killing going on already), or some other
>         more unusual and/or noxious material (your own phlegm is not
>         too bad either :>).  

Phelgm?!?  You are sick, tyagi...sick, sick, sick! ;-)

>         dip object (all of it, or if paper or some other dissolutory
>         item just part of it, or smear instead) in the saltwater.
>         concentrate on removing unwanted 'energy' from the item,
>         like erasing a computer disk.  you will be eliminating stray
>         connections to other purposes which could be associated to
>         the object either by you or as part of its structure.

Van Van oil is used for this purpose among many African-American based
folk magicians. So is Chinese Wash, especally if the object is large, or
one wants to clean an entire floor area. Kananga Water is used in the
West Indies and has also found a place in African-American rituals, as
has Florida Water. Sonny Boy Products of Birmingham, Alabama sells
something similar called "Clear Water." Mugowrt tea is another wash
used to cleanse amulets.
 
>         next pass the object through the incense you are burning
>         and perhaps throught the candle-flame.  concentrate on
>         preparing the object to receive your imprint or seal.
>         this is the rough equivalent of initializing or
>         formatting a computer disk.  you are preparing it for
>         the reception of your inscription.
> 
>         if you wish, compose some sort of vocalized 'spell' to
>         communicate these activities.  this can be lyrical, you
>         could sing along to the song(s) you have prepared for
>         the work, or you can compose them spontaneously, speaking
>         out loud about what is happening or what you are about to do.

The African-American tradition would usually involve recitation of a
psalm. The one most commonly used is the 23rd (The Lord is my shepherd),
a sort of generalized holy invocation of aid. 
 
>         again take up the object and begin the inscription.
>         it should be a symbol or sentence which signifies the
>         thrust of the spell itself.  in the case of drawing
>         money, you might use green ink and inscribe a dollar
>         sign, for example.  or you might draw gold coins on
>         the pendant, or write "the more time passes the richer
>         I become", or whatever symbolizes the effect you would
>         like to have.  make it somewhat simple, 

In the hoodoo tradition, it is less common to sigilize a pendant --
rather, one might impress one's energy on a talisman already made in a
certain shape (such as a horseshoe or buckeye nut) -- or one might
perform an operation on it (drill a hole in a buckeye, fill it with
quicksilver (liquid mercury) and seal it with wax for a gambling charm,
for instance). The writing that your tradition places on the pendant
might instead be made on the CANDLE -- carebed intothe wax in an 
offertory or figural candle or written on the glass if it is a
silkscreened glass-encased candle with a white space provided for
writing a wish or naming people or the like. 

Some mojo bags do contain written papers -- and i think it
would not be out of line to say that in hoodoo, the mnost
common writing found on spells is a nmae -- written 3, 7, or
9 times on paper if desiring love or a job or a favour from
that person or perhaps 13 times if desiring to harm or wreak
revenge upon the person. The paper is often carried for a
specified number of days and then burned ... or it may be
worn in one's shoe ... kept in a mojo bag ... placed beneath a
candle that is burned... etc.

>         in the example of drawing money you might also fold up
>         the object in a large bill of some sort after the
>         working, associating a definite connection with the
>         goal of the spell.  
[snip]
>         put the object on or place it in
>         a safe place that you will remember it so that you can
>         either carry it with you or put it near your person.  in
>         the example of a necklace, wear it as often as possible.

Hoodoo money spells often conclude with the making of a mojo bag, in
which a dollar bill may be wrapped around the talismanic object and a
silver coin and the whole anointed with ritual oil (e.g. fast luck oil
or lucky hand oil or money-drawing oil). The bag is to be worn. 

>         extinguish the candle (a particular one used for spells
>         is often desirable), the incense (again, if you only use
>         this stick for spells it may be better overall), and
>         generally clean up the working area.

Hoodoo practitioners who use 7-day candles usually let them burn out to
the end, although they may extinguish them when out of the house as a
safety precaution and relight them when they return until they are gone.

A candle used for one purpose (e.g. a money spell) would never be used
later for a different purpose (e.g. a love spell). Each candle has its
own use and is used up completely for that one purpose. That is why
hoodoo candles come in so many types (e.g. Lucky Lottery, Steady Work,
Break-Up, Fast Luck, Adam and Eve, The Secret Desires oif My Body, etc.) 
 
[snip]
>         there are many ways to construct talismans.  there are old
>         traditions which incorporate particular symbols and tools
>         (e.g. hermetic, wiccan).  

I would definitely include hoodoo in that category. 

[snip]

Good post, tyagi -- thanks for taking the time.

catherine yronwode * mailto:cat@luckymojo.com * http://www.luckymojo.com 
* The Lucky W Amulet Archive: http://www.luckymojo.com/luckyw.html * 
* The Sacred Landscape: http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredland.html *
* Karezza and Tantra:  http://www.luckymojo.com/sacredsex.html *
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