Hoodoo in Theory and Practice by catherine yronwode
is sponsored by the
Be a Fan:
"When you or someone you love must travel away from home, two conditions are greatly desired -- a safe and happy journey, and return to a welcoming home. SAFE TRAVEL Oil is formulated with herbs and roots traditionally associated with safety on the road; use it to anoint your luggage, your vehicle, and yourself."
-- The Lucky Mojo Curio Co. catalogue
Safe Travel is a hoodoo formula for oil that dates from the early 20th century. It is usually used by a traveller to anoint his or her personal belongings and vehicle, and may also be applied as a dressing oil to candles that are burned by those who stay at home and await the traveller's safe return. Those who place talismans and amulets in a vehicle may derive benefit from lightly anointing these things with Safe Travel Oil at the beginning of a journey.
The item shown here is the label for a 1/2 oz.
bottle of Safe Travel Oil for anointing oneself or for dressing
candles, a car or boat, a passport, a mojo bag, or a comfrey root.
A little of it can also be added to laundry rinse water to dress the clothing. Like the rest of
the Lucky Mojo line, this product contains
genuine reputed safe-travel herbs and herbal essential oils, not synthetic fragrances. The
ingredients in Safe Travel include comfrey root
and Mint, plus other herbs and essences. Lucky Mojo
labels are adapted from vintage packaging and in many cases the images are
as traditional as the ingredients themselves.
Protection of one's vehicle and self while on the road are almost universal desires.
Those who look to saints and gods as protectors may deploy a wide variety of talismans and figural amulets.
Catholics often place small plastic statues on the dashboard of their car. The most popular figures are of Jesus Christ and Saint Christopher, but other patron saints may also be employed. Since the early 20th century, Saint Christopher has been widely appealed to in a prayer ("The Motorist's Prayer") which not only asks for protection of the car but asks for intercession to keep the car from hitting a pedestrian. The prayer is printed on the back of Saint Christopher holy cards.
In Mongolia, taxi drivers hang a laminated image of the Kalachakra (a Tibetan Buddhist symbol) from their rear view mirrors to protect against accident.
In urban China, spinning gold-tone plastic rear view mirror hangers depicting Kwan Yin (a protective goddess who is viewed by some as a Buddhist boddhisatva of compassion) are said to both protect the car and its inhabitants from accident and to protect pedestrians and animals from being hit by the car.
These are not magical protection spells per se, though -- they are symbolic figures that represent prayers or invocations of spiritual aid, and thus they fall into the realm where distinctions between luck, protection, and religion are blurred.
More purely magical are apotropaic amulets crafted to ward off the gaze of jealous people who may look upon one's vehicle with envy and thus subject it to the evil eye. Such talismans are usually displayed by hanging from the rear view mirror. A long list of apotropaic charms, with links to pages where they are illustrated, will be found here.
Magic spells for safe travel may make use of any or all of the religious and folkloric amulets mentioned above, but they also generally involve the active use of the things that distinguish spell-work, hoodoo, witchcraft, or conjure from religion and folkloric faith. Such magic spells may include the use of symbolic artifacts and herbs, but usually they also involve the active performance of a ritual. For instance, a root worker might do the following job to protect a client's car:
To make a simple mojo hand for a friend who is going on a journey, prepare a section of dried Comfrey root by dressing it with Safe Travel Oil. Write a spiritual pass for the person who is undertaking the journey, in this form:
"May [Full Name of Person] travel safely and freely upon the earth, over the water, and under the sky. May no enemy hinder [his or her] journey. May no wild animals beset [him or her]. May [he or she] find food, drink, and safe shelter in abundant measure every day. In times of need, may kindly strangers come to [his or her] aid without stint. As the Peregrine to the nest, may [Full Name of Person] return home in good speed, having accomplished all [his or her] works successfully and with complete satisfaction."Wrap the paper tightly around the comfrey root and tie it tightly with white thread, knotted nine times. Place the prepared root in a yellow flannel bag with an Indian Head or "Scout" Cent and pinch of dried mint. Sew a small anchor charm on the outside of the bag or embroider an anchor on the cloth of the bag. Light a yellow offertory candle dressed with Safe Travel Oil. As the candle burns, speak aloud in your own words your prayer for the person's (or your own) safety. If you cannot think of any words to say, you may recite the 23rd Psalm ("The Lord is my shepherd.")
When you have finished speaking, breathe into the bag, tie it shut, dress it with Safe Travel Oil, and pass it three times quickly through the candle flame. Let the yellow candle burn out on its own. The mojo bag and the rest of the Safe Travel Oil are now ready to give to your friend --- or, if the mojo hand is for yourself, you may place it among your belongings and carry it with you.
If you are making the mojo for a friend or loved one, you may use a jumbo-size yellow candle instead of the offertory size. Set it up on your altar, placing a photo of the person for whom you are working in front of the candle. When you are done fixing the mojo, pinch the candle out. This way you can keep the person's picture on your altar after you give them the bag, and you can relight the candle periodically during the course of the person's absence, burning it for a fifteen minutes at a time and saying a prayer each time you light it.
You will need Safe Travel Oil, Safe Travel Incense, a Comfrey root, a bit of dried Fern, and a bit of dried Mint.
Light the incense in a hanging censer or thurible or in a brazier or pan with a handle so that you can carry it. Walk around the car, censing or smoking the vehicle with the incense -- and at each of the four corners, stop to liberally anoint the car with the oil. As you dress the four corners, speak aloud your petition for safe travel. Open the car doors and smoke the inside. Open the hood and dress the motor with the oil. Dress the root and place it with the herbs in the same packet in which you keep the car's essential papers (registration, proof of insurance, etc.) and dress the packet with the oil, then smoke it with the incense and put it away.
If you wish to work with any of the religious figures mentioned above, you may place a flat card or print in with the car's papers, or hang something from the rear view mirror, or affix statuary to the dashboard, or clip a metal medal to the visor. Whichever of these you choose to use, smoke or dress the image before you set it in place and speak aloud your petition.
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HOODOO IN THEORY AND PRACTICE by cat yronwode.
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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
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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
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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
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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