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
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.