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In cataloguing articles for this archive, i have been guilty at times of straying from the intent conveyed by the accidentally-bestowed name "Lucky W" -- for in addition to lucky charms and amulets, i have included apotropaic or protective talismans, and even religious icons from religions that are not my own. (This is easy to do, for i practice no religion at the present time.) Tonight, March 9th, 1996, i feel a little strange about the blurring of lines between objects designed to draw forth the good in life and those designed to repel the bad -- and especially the way in which i, a cultural outsider to almost every culture, including the one into which i was nominally born, have treated the icons and idols of certain religions as manifestations of folk belief, suitable for harvesting from the flea markets of the world and placing upon my window sill.

Religion first: Most folkloristic magic-making is the remnant of some religion or other, and the entities we call mythic figures today were the worshipped gods and goddesses of yore. Saint Expedite may be really weird (no; i take that back -- Saint Expedite, with his dead crow and his upraised cross, IS really weird), but Saint Martin Caballero is just another saint, isn't he? Simply because a million Mexicans paste his picture on horseshoes wrapped in red thread and covered with sequins and tack them up on walls to draw fast money, that doesn't make him less a saint...or does it? The nine-headed red and gold Ganesha on my window sill is holy to someone, is he not, son of Shiva and Parvati that he is, nine trunks waving, eighteen eyes staring at me? And yet, in India, where he can most easily claim divinity, his swastika-bedecked statue is placed on altars for luck, to open opportunities, to bring success.

Can a saint be a lucky charm? Can a god? Is it fair of me, born to be a Jew, to keep a hamsa hand beside a phallic California Indian charmstone replica, a Saint Christopher medal, an ancient Egyptian djed pillar amulet representing the spine of Osiris, and a walnut shell carved with 108 Buddhas? Am i playing fast and loose with people's fondest hopes for an ordered world, an afterlife, a path to heaven? Am i a consumer of religion?

Perhaps -- but if i am, so are the the many people who worship at the altars of luck-gods and protector-goddesses; who subscribe to Reverend Ike's Blessing Plan; and who, while paying lip service to some sky-borne thunderer or sea-borne mother, also carry a buckeye nut, a rabbit foot, a piece of John the Conquerer root.

Saint Dymphna, patroness of the mentally ill, watch over my dear friend; Caffeina, awaken him; Legba, open a way for him at the game of chance that is life; and may the sacred vulva of the moon goddess keep him safe.

Ah, "keep him safe;" there it is -- the inverse of "let him win the lottery" or "may his love-life be fulfilling." One side of my favourite lucky coins reads, "Good Luck Will Accompany the Bearer." The other side reads, "The All Seeing Eye Guards You From Evil."

Evil has never much troubled me, actually; i am not of the paranoid persuasion. I have known a lot of sorrow in my life, but i seem to be incapable of reading random bad chance as the work of enemies or evil spirits. I search for good luck, i'll admit it, but i seldom have personal use for talismanic shields against bad luck. The jinx is not on me. And yet, to tell the truth, many, many people do feel the jinx, the curse, the bad luck spell, the hellhound on their trail.

Worse still, some people seek to place the jinx on others; luck is not enough for them; they want to force others to do their will. To this end they may use amulets, charms, and talismans, augmented by oils, incense, and candles. This is magic, not luck, however, and although i am cataloguing it to a certain extent, i try to do so only when -- as in hoodoo practice -- such magic overlaps considerably with the use of amulets to encourage beneficent synchronicity and prevent malevolent synchronicity.

Apotropaic charms, those which repel accidental or intentional evil, are by definition never "lucky," but they are as commonly encountered at the flea market of life as amulets designed to foster fun and fortune. The evil eye belief, especially, has spawned a host of protective amulets. Disease has also built a ready market in apotropaic charms. The vagaries of travel, war, and other unsettling conditions leads to the use of talismanic devices. Where does the raccoon penis bone of love leave off and the mano fico of protection begin? Not in the symbols themselves; they both represent sex magic. And so i collect them both.

And so they both appear on Lucky W: in real life, a window sill; in virtual reality, a web site.


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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
      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

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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catherine yronwode: the eclectic and eccentric author of many of the above web pages
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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
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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