How To Make A Flower Out Of A Dollar Bill Plant Spirit Shamanism – Hoodoo Plant Magic

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Plant Spirit Shamanism – Hoodoo Plant Magic

The Hoodoo tradition of the American South is another that works with plant energy, and often does not require the patient to ‘take’ medicine in order to experience healing.

The word ‘hoodoo’ is of African origin, and is used to describe various forms of magic, folk healing and ‘conjuration’, using roots and plants. Today, a hoodoo practitioner is often called a ‘root doctor’ or ‘juju man’. However, these unusual expressions belie the strength of tradition because in Africa these practitioners were priests (botonons) and sorcerers (azondoto), who were rightly feared and respected for their expertise in herbs and knowledge of spirits and the bochio, or soul.

When these priests arrived in America as slaves, they brought their knowledge with them, but the unavailability of some plants meant that they had to adopt Native American and even European plant allies and practices in their work. Within modern hoodoo, therefore, we see a fusion of many herbal magical strands.

One of the most famous forms of this magic is the ‘mojo bag’ – a bundle of plants and sacred objects made to bring good luck and protection or to ward off negativity. They are not so different from offerenda packages, which were created by Andean shamans as an invitation to the spirits who direct their healing energy towards the person making the offering. The word mojo comes from the West African word mojuba (“prayer”) – a method of directing spiritual energy to a similar effect.

Viewed, a mojo is a flannel bag containing magical items, usually worn on the person, hidden from view and often worn against the skin. If the mojo is intended to protect property rather than a person, it can also be hidden near the front door. In either case, it is important that no one sees or touches the bag except the person who owns it, otherwise its magic may be lost.

The contents of the bag vary depending on the purpose, but there are usually at least three magical items, whether roots, leaves, feathers, crystals, stones, snake vertebrae, metal amulets, or papers on which sigils are drawn or wishes written. Sometimes there are more than three, in combinations that always give an odd number.

The reason for using odd numbers varies depending on who you ask, but the popular idea is that the universe operates on odd numbers to ‘get things moving’. Three, for example, wants to ‘collapse’ into four, while four is ‘solid’ and fixed, not flowing. To ‘move the energy’ in favor of the client, then, or to reverse a seemingly ‘endless’ streak of bad luck, an odd number is used to signal to the universe that now is the time for change.

The Jungian psychoanalyst, Marie-Louise Von Franz, also discusses this in her book, Interpreting Fairy Tales. Quoting Jung, she notes that: “three is generally related to the flow of movement… to move you need two poles and an exchange of energy between them – for example, a positive and negative electric pole and a current that equalizes the tension”.

For financial success, for example, an old mojo trick is to wrap the root of John the Conqueror Tall in a dollar bill and add incense and a little sugar, then tie it all up in a green bag. Five elements are used here: root, dollar bill, incense, sugar and the bag itself. The symbolism behind these objects works in accordance with the principle of the plant spirit that like attracts like. High John is used to ‘conquer’ money problems; the higher the denomination, the more money the magician or his client will attract. The bag is green because it is the color of money (‘green bills’), and sugar ‘sweetens the pot’.

For a peaceful home, angelica root, olive leaves, rose buds, lavender flowers, lemon balm and basil leaves are tied in a blue bag (for harmony) with a few intertwined hairs of all family members. Again we see the doctrine of signatures at play in the choice of angelica (‘angelic root’) and balm for spiritual harmony and olive branch leaves for peace.

Another unusual mojo trick is for invisibility. For this, poppy seeds and dried fern leaves must be ground together “under the dark moon”. Myrrh, marjoram, slippery elm and fresh dill are added to this, mixed with spring water and almond oil. Once dry, the mixture can be added to a mojo bag or sprinkled on objects to hide them from others. The magic in this kind of spell, as curandera Doris Rivera Lenz says about her work, can be to give the client confidence that she will not draw attention to herself, so that she can manage her difficulties with more confidence, ‘knowing’ that she is unseen. In other words, the change is about the client, not about the outside world.

Once prepared, the mojo bag is purified in incense and its spirit is ‘fed’ with rum or whiskey and Florida water. Body fluids can also be used, especially if the goal is to influence another. To make a person fall in love with you, for example, it is useful to have some of their sweat, urine or saliva to dab on the bag (other personal items – as close to their DNA as possible, such as hair or nail clippings – can be added to the bag itself) .

A mojo bag can also be used for divination (as we understand it in the West) by attaching it to a thread and using it as a pendulum. By asking the spirit of the amulet to show you ‘yes’ (often by turning clockwise) and ‘no’ (often by rocking back and forth), you have a spiritual device to answer simple questions.

For more complex questions (for example, ‘How do I get the man I want to fall in love with me?’) it’s better to write the letters of the alphabet and let the plumb line spell out the answer by gravitating each row. .

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