A collection of ConjureMan Ali's thoughts about magic, the occult, and spirituality.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Conjurer's Secret Weapon

One of the most powerful secret weapons of the conjurer and also one of the most incorrectly used is the mojo hand. These powerful magical objects are the trademark of conjure and hoodoo and are highly recognizable for their unique appearance.

Mojo hands have a long history in folk-magical traditions that stem all the way back to Central and North Africa. We have similar bags appearing all the way in Lebanon as well.

Yet, with the growing internet popularity of hoodoo, these little bags are often the most misunderstood. People who were not raised in this tradition or who come to it from an outside tradition often describe mojo hands as talismans, which in reality is not an apt description at all.

The term mojo bag has taken off in popularity and traces its usage even to blue songs in pre-War eras. However, I was raised calling them conjure hands, prayer bags, and spirit bags. This latter will help us see the true nature of the powerful little guys.

The purpose of a mojo hand is not to act as a talisman, but to act as a spirit-helper. The mojo hand is created with the sole purpose of housing a spirit within that will be trained towards a certain purpose and will then go out and help accomplish that purpose in return for being fed.

This image is vastly different from the concept of “talismans,” which even in spirit-model approaches are often blessed by a spirit, or contain a part of its power, but isn’t a home for the spirit.

Viewing mojo hands as homes for spirits is informed by various African magical practices where a spirit is placed into a container be it pot, or bag, and is then worked in a symbiotic and mutually beneficial manner.

Unfortunately people who have started picking up hoodoo practices don’t see them in this manner and so they are often treated as an object that is fed with a loose concept of it being “alive.” This limits the power of the mojo hand greatly and narrows the scope of what most people think can be done with conjure hand.

In my years of travel and study I have seen traditional conjure doctors often talk to their mojo hands, give them names, rub them in-between their hands—I even saw an old hoodoo make cooing sounds at her prayer bag as if to a baby. In other words, the bags were interacted with and engaged as if living. They weren’t merely some object kept in a pocket and given some oil or whiskey once a week. Instead a relationship was developed with what otherwise seemed little pieces of cloth and leather.

One of the conjure doctors I’ve met over the years was an older gentleman named Alec (not to be confused with Doctor Alex who taught me some of his secret oil recipes). Alec was a prayer man who was famed for his mojo bags. People would come far and wide to purchase them and boy could he make a mean hand.

Well to impress upon me the nature of the relationship between person and bag he took me to see an old woman named Miss Rose. Being the young conjurer that I was, if I thought Alec was old, Miss Rose was ancient. When we visited her apartment which was only a few floors up from mine, she let us in and went about making us tea. As she walked around slowly, she kept talking to herself. Saying things like “Baby, we got company, today. Baby, spirit man is here today..”( Spirit man being something that some people referred to Alec as.) Now, I figured that she was just an old woman who had grown accustomed to talking to herself, but boy was I wrong.

Alec turned to her and said, “Miss Rose, you thinks you can do us a favor and show us who you be talking to.” She smiled and reached into her bosom and pulled out a little white bag that was hung from a string that tied around her neck. “Why I talkin’ to Baby here.” Now, what struck me was the second she said “Baby” the bag responded! Like a cat rubbing up against the legs of his owner for attention, the bag responded. I could feel it was alive, it had a presence; it had a real unmistakable presence.

Miss Rose’s behavior may seem odd to some, but it was this behavior that holds the key to the power of the mojo hand. Like all things in hoodoo it is viewed as a spirit of its own. Whether it is a spirit that is formed from the joining of separate spirits into the bag, or whether is a spirit called into the bag that will use the herbs, roots etc to do the work does not matter. What matters is that you treat it properly.

Let’s start by constructing an actual mojo hand.

Here’s a recipe for a mojo hand for general attraction of wealth, luck, love, and other good things.

What you’ll need:

Flannel bag, preferably red


Five Finger Grass

Lodestone and Magnetic Sand

Master of the Woods

Dragon’s Blood Resin


Rose Petals

Pen and Paper

Take a white candle and dress it with Attraction Oil, I Shall Not Want Oil, or a similar type of product. Light the candle as you pray the 23’rd Psalm. Light some corresponding incense while having all your materials in front of you. Take some of the oil and dress each item lightly.

One by one, pick up item, pray deeply over it and place it into the bag. You can address the actual herb in your hand, or speak to God, but the point is to pray with full intent of drawing all those things in your life that you want.

An example of a prayer would be, “Rose Petals you are gentle and full of love, I call on you to bring love, pleasure, and fulfillment to my life. In the name of Jesus amen.”

Put everything in the bag, but hold off on the Lodestone. Before you put in the Lodestone, take your pen and paper and write out a list of all the things you want your mojo bag to bring to you. Write out all your wishes. Five spot the paper with a bit of your oil and in the center place a piece of your hair and your Lodestone atop. Sprinkle some Magnetic sand on the Lodestone to wake it up, ask that as you feed it that it goes out and feeds you by bringing you what you want. Wrap the Lodestone in the paper and put it into your bag.

Now take the bag and hold it so that the opening is close to your mouth. Pray into the bag your desires making sure to breathe into it.

Once you’ve really got Spirit moving, it’s time to tie off the bag. Now, there isn’t one single way to do this, but the idea is to tie in such a way that the bag won’t open and the contents won’t fall off. I generally wrap the threads around the opening of the bag then tie to keep everything really secure.

Every time you make a knot call out your prayers, asking God to grant you His helping Hand, asking the spirits to go for and draw happiness, wealth, and love into your life.

When the bag is tied, hold it by the string and pass it over the flame of your candle a few times while praying. Feel the candle warm up the bag and warm up the spirit within. Be careful not to burn your bag.

Then do the same with the incense smoke. Finally take some of your oil and dab it on the bag while praying strongly that the spirit come awake.

Now here’s the key, take the time to get to know your bag. Hold it in your hand, squeeze it a bit, press it to your heart, or keep talking to it. Tell it your hearts desires, but also take the time to actually listen to see if you can hear the spirit of the bag. You won’t always at first, but remain patient. Be attentive to your bag and it will be attentive to you.

Sleep with the bag under your pillow, hold in your hand frequently, and spend actual time with the bag.

The key is to not treat it as some talismans that you hang on the inside of your shorts, but rather as a personal friend and confidant. Speak to the bag, at the end of the day and tell it about your day and what could have gone differently, feed it once a week, or when you feel it needs it, and most importantly of all love it.

The conjure hand should be one of your most prized possessions—your secret weapon against the world. If you develop a strong emotional bond with your personal spirit you’ll find that bond will help take your relationship to new levels and the results will be amazing.

So take the time to get to know your new friend and let the good conjuring begin.


Unknown said...

Absolutely wonderful post, brother! I especially like that you've emphasized that we have to build a Relationship with the conjure hand, that it's a live thing.

ConjureMan Ali said...

Thank you, good frater. It is one of those little things that seems to have been forgotten in more recent years.

Mister M said...

This is an excellent post, and what I like most is how it brings up the topic of showing your bag in public, specially since i'm one of those people that does not come from the hoodoo tradition, in the cultural background i'm from, we are more used to the concept of a bag talisman rather than living spirit bag as you mention, yet the prohibition of exposure is common to both cultures. The difference between the two, according to what i was taught, is that you don't need to hide all the bags, just the ones that pertain to an specific kinds of work such as Love or money work, the kind that draws envy, but other mojo bags designed to attract or keep things like health and protection can be and should be made public to improve its results.

You mention Miss Rose and other workers have freely shown you their working mojo bags, which opposes the generalized notion that this kills them, same as touching them. What's your take on mojo bag secrecy Dr Raven? do you usually recommend it to your clients? or apply this to your own?

ConjureMan Ali said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ConjureMan Ali said...

Excellent question. There are various traditions to this, but generally speaking mojo hands are not to be touched but can be seen, with a few notable exceptions.

That said, conjure has a long tradition of "hiding" work. This goes back to reason, one historical and the other spiritual.

The historical reason for this was because if you were slave and your master saw your mojo hand it was likely to get take away from you. Secondly because more often than not the mojo hand involved the master himself and your target shouldn't see your conjure hands.

The second reason is due to the power of people's envious gaze. In various African and Near Eastern beliefs some people have a certain spirit or gaze that can interfere with the good you bring yourself.

As a traditional conjure doctor I always teach my clients to keep their mojo hands hidden. If they are seen accidently, fine, but they should not be touched at all. If touched they should be remade.

Hope that answers your question.

Also, Miss Rose wasn't a worker she was Alec's client.

Mister M said...

Yes it does, thank you very much.

EavanStar said...

Wonderful post! Its very timely, I was just about to attempt my own, 1st mojo. There were things here I hadn't taken into consideration. Thank you so much. :D

Gordon said...

Great post. That was a fascinating anecdote.

ConjureMan Ali said...

Thank you kind ladies and gentlemen.

Balthazar said...

Love it! What a brilliant explanation of nature of these bags, Ali.

ConjureMan Ali said...

Thank you, good sir!

katie said...

I am a user of LM mojo bags (to excellent effect)..my question is that do the bags ever communicate back to you?
I carry two of mine with me at work, one in each scrub pocket.I do a great deal of smoking/perfuming of my bags but have not talked to them as such.
But at times I feel almost an electric current run down my legs...this has never happened with any other clothes..and just made me wonder.
Your thoughts on the matter would be highly appreciated,

ConjureMan Ali said...

Hello Katie,

Communication with bags are contingent upon your ability and your relationship with the bag. I know people who have been working with mojo hands for decades and never heard anything. On the other hands others distinctly are able to hear a mojo hand.

My suggestion would be to try to cultivate some form of communication with it. Try and talk to it, and record what you feel from the mojo hand.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mr Ali
sorry if my questions are too simplistic, but I am not familiar with the subject.
Can the mojo bag be regarded as a "familiar" of "servitor" of the owner?
As the time that one has to invest in a mojo bag apparently is very significant, I am assuming that they need to be "multipurpose", am I right? Or it would be better to create separate mojobags for different purposes?


Danica J/v Vuuren said...

Dear Ali,

Your blog is a true treasure, especially for me being relatively new to the realm of Witchcraft, but beyond all else endeavoured to master as much as she can in this life. I was wondering: does the Spirit within a conjure-hand also work with other objects, such as a pentacle or Moonstone? That is, can I do a similar spell and daily/weekly feeding of my pentacle or Moonstone-in-a-pouch (te-hee)? Can i ask which Spirit (such as of a Goddess -- Hekate -- or a Familiar Spirit -- Raven) to enter? is this at all possible? Being new to Hoodoo, my mind runs with questions on how-to's. I've done a few griss-griss bags for those in need of healing and they have worked well, but am full aware that full understanding and knowledge of Hodooo is required to adopt the practice properly. Your blog is a priceless resource.

ConjureMan Ali said...

yuzuru equating the mojo bag to a familiar would be misleading. It is best to see mojo hands within their own cultural backdrop without relying out external connections. That said, the mojo hand would more accurately be seen as a combination of a spirit home and helper, a container spell, and talismanic object.

Mojo hands have many purposes. Sometimes they are general like the development of psychic ability, and other times they are specific like gambling luck or drawing back a lover. It is not uncommon to have a few mojo hands.

Danica, conjure/hoodoo dervies its cosmology from a strictly African form of Christianity combined with older modes of spirit-religion. Given this traditionally goddesses and gods were not called in the working of a mojo hand.

Instead the mojo hand is created and given life through the combination of herbal and mineral spirits that are brought to life through prayer.

Similarly other than lodestones, pyrite and a few other minerals mojo hands don't generally have pentacles or moonstones.

However, there are some conjure workers that like to include spirit seals from various grimoires.

Hope that answers both of your questions.

The Unlikely Mage said...

One big mystery I've had about bags is making them for clients. How do you properly transfer a bag you just woke up to a client? Just tell it that it will be working for someone else during the creation? I get the idea of a bag being a living thing, but what if the bag would love to work for you, but not the client?

Also, disposal of a bag once it has accomplished its purpose. I've heard of several methods, from thanking them and then opening it up to a full funeral and burial of the entire bag. What do you recommend?

ConjureMan Ali said...

@Unlikely Mage, your intent guides your work as always. If you intend to consciously create a bag for client than there is no issue making it and giving it to them. Making a mojo bag for a client involves bringing to life a spirit and giving it to the spirit of your client, this is often done through inclusion of the clients name on a petition placed in the mojo hand, or by putting in a personal concern of the client. In this way the mojo bag includes a part of the client.

As for disposal, I undo the bag and bury it with prayers.