A MEXICAN PACKAGE AMULET:
EL SECRETO DE LA VIRTUOSA HERRADURA
"El Secreto de la Virtuosa Herradura" (The Secret of the Virtuous Horseshoe) is a large Mexican package amulet made from a used horseshoe wrapped with colourful rayon thread and decorated with sequins and prints of San Martin Caballero. Although there are many stylistic variants to this amulet, the one shown is typical. The horseshoe always faces downward and in the central hollow area there is a cross cut from chipboard, covered with red paper, and decorated with an embossed gold-paper image of the cross of Caravaca. Beneath this is a subsidiary stuffed bag package amulet bearing a print of San Martin Caballero. The whole piece -- about 6" square -- is covered with a sheet of vinyl film.
Quite often the makers of these amulets affix a "legend" or one of several prayers to the back of the cardboard; some makers place nothing at all on the back.
In the case of the amulet illustrated here, a printed card glued to the back explains the legend of "El Secreto de la Virtuosa Herradura" -- the Secret of the Virtuous Horseshoe.
What is the "secret"? Well, the story told on the "El Secreto" card concerns an Indian (a Hindu, not a Native American) who found a hidden treasure by virtue of a lucky horseshoe -- and it prescribes the luck-invoking recitation of the magical phrase "Citrun Nueve" when dressing in the morning or beginning a new project. The phrase is essentially meaningless in Spanish -- and indeed, on some packages it is spelled "Citrum Nueve."
On variant packages you may find an "Oracion de la Herradura" (Prayer of the Horseshoe). One such prayer invokes the Holy Trinity and asks the "powerful horseshoe of iron" to bring luck, health, and wealth and to rid the user of gossipers and enemies.
Here, provided by James E. Armstrong, is an English translation of a prayer commonly found on these amulets, which he says was written "in 16th century Spanish." Note that it refers to Saint James ("Lord James"):
El Secreto de la Virtuosa Herradura is probably the most popular form of package amulet in Mexico. The most commaon variant of it is the miniature horseshoe package amulet, a little over 2" square. The large-size version has given rise to numerous variant forms. Some utilize multi-coloured wrapping instead of simple red; others have additional decorations in the form of an unknown species of light-brown nut glued to the background. Some make use of supplementary saint prints in addition to the obligatory San Martin Caballero. In yet others, the contents have mutated radically. Among the many alternatives, i have found those in which --
Interestingly enough, a very close relation of this red-wrapped href=http://www.luckymojo.com/horseshoe.html>horseshoes amulet was collected from an unnamed African-American root doctor in Waycross, Georgia in March 1939.
The following documentation comes from "Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork," a 5-volume, 4766-page collection of folkloric material gathered by Harry Middleton Hyatt, primarily between 1935 and 1939.
at this web site, please take a moment to open and read the supplementary page called
"Hoodoo - Conjuration - Witchcraft - Rootwork" by Harry Middleton Hyatt.
2518. Takes a horseshoe an' dress it in red.
Here are all the illustrated package amulet pages in the Archive:
Here are some other LUCKY MOJO web sites you can visit: