Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lonely Ju Ju Doll finds New Home but Leaves Behind a Stray Black Cat

That's right...I'm upping the ante. Actually, I had a very hard time choosing a winner for my lonely Ju Ju. I am torn and feel bad to have to choose because everyone seems to deserve him/her.Most people seem to really be struggling right now (myself included). So I decided to give it the weekend to give people a chance to open their emails and post their comments. In the meantime, my lonely Ju Ju found a stray black cat charm doll hiding on the shelf. What a stroke of good luck for him! That means he will have a new home and since he's gotten good luck from the black cat, he will bring double the luck to his new home!

So who is the winner of my lonely Ju Ju Doll? You have to keep reading to find out...

In Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of evil omens: in other cultures, they are considered to be good omens. Superstitions centering around the black cat are some of the most widely known and popular superstitions. For example, In Scotland, a strange black cat on your porch is a sign of upcoming prosperity. In Ireland, when a black cat crosses your path in the moonlight, it means there is going to be an epidemic illness. In Italy hundreds of years ago, it was believed that if a black cat lay on the bed of a sick person, that person would die. Many years ago in England, fishermen's wives kept black cats in their homes while their husbands went away to sea in their fishing boats. They believed that the black cats would prevent danger from occurring to their husbands while they were away. For all you kitty lovers, there's a whole lot of information about black cat folklore at the Mystic Voodoo; you can see a mummified Egyptian cat and learn all about infamous kitty deities and superstitions. You can even find a free download to Edgar Allen Poe's The Black Cat there. It's a short story but in true Poe fashion, I must warn you that it is a little creepy.

In New Orleans Voodoo, black cats have been the subject of controversial sacrifice in the past, particularly with regards to finding the one bone in the body that is all powerful. On that page at the Mystic Voodoo I was telling you about, you can find the actual Black Cat Bone Spell there, but I curse three times the person who tries to perform such a ritual. And you really don't want to be cursed by the Voodoo Mama...

The abuse of black cats for sacrificial and ritual reasons is no longer practiced nor encouraged in New Orleans. On the contrary, in the African American hoodoo tradition, black cats are considered to be good luck in matters of sports and gambling, particularly with card games and playing the lottery. The black cat mojo bag is filled with a number of luck-bringing roots and herbs, including John the Conqueror root, and adorned with a small black cat charm on the outside and carried on the person for good luck, especially when gambling.

Now, let me tell you a little more about this stray black kitty that is now up for adoption. This stray kitty is a one of a kind black cat charm doll. I will never make another one like her. I couldn't if I tried. She only has a bedazzled collar that is full of good luck charms and stones, but if you are the artsy type, you could add charms all over her body like I do to my other black cat charm dolls:

When I was making her, she only wanted her collar done. if you notice, she does have the seven magickal Voodoo pins for whiskers. If you want to adopt this kitty, use her as a focusing tool for creating the change you seek. Charm dolls are particularly useful for improving luck, happiness, financial situations, and spiritual protection. Would you like to adopt Lonely Ju Ju's stray kitty?

If so, write a comment below and give me your best, most persuasive argument. Oh, and by the way (I almost forgot in my efforts to find stray kitty a new home) that the winner for the Lucky Ju Ju Doll can be found here

Got Mojo? shirt
Got Mojo? by voodoomama
Make Custom T-Shirts at

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lonely Voodoo Ju Ju Doll Seeks New Home

Here he is, or she is, you can decide the gender. One lonely Ju Ju doll who wasn't claimed last month. I still can't believe it. Ju Jus are nothing but good luck, and they are an heirloom too.

Usually, these dolls are adorned only on one side. This one is adorned on both sides. However, there is still room for you to add your own charms and what-nots if you would like. Here is a picture of my lonely Ju Ju's backside:

I have written before about Ju Jus and charm dolls. The reason I am posting this particular doll is because no one claimed it as the winner of the free Voodoo doll contest last month. But, in case you are interested in what Ju Ju dolls are all about, I have posted an excerpt from my book Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual below.

Ju Ju Dolls

Ju Ju dolls are a commonly sought for their good luck and protection properties. The term "ju ju" refers to an object, in this case a doll, that has been blessed and functions to keep evil and negativity away. Sometimes Ju Ju dolls are referred to as guardians because they are used to protect the home from negativity. Other popular ju jus in New Orleans include talismans made of alligator heads and chicken feet. Ju Ju dolls are usually created as poppets, then adorned with colorful yarn, good luck charms, and gris gris bags filled with magickal items to bring positive blessings to their possessor. Ju Ju dolls can be hung above the doorway in your home to keep away evil and negative energy.

Sometimes, ju ju dolls are made in the form of familiars, such as the black cat, one of the most powerful animals in the Voodoo tradition. In the New Orleans Voodoo hoodoo tradition, black cats are considered to be good luck in matters of sports and gambling, particularly with card games and playing the lottery. Black Cat mojo bags are filled with a number of luck-bringing roots and herbs, including John the Conqueror root, and adorned with a small black cat charm on the outside and carried on the person for good luck. Black cat ju ju dolls are adorned with good luck charms and charms that carry a gambling theme, such as tiny dice and playing cards.

If you would like to adopt this wonderful Ju Ju Doll that I am so graciously willing to give as the free Voodoo doll of the month, leave your comment below and by Friday evening I will choose a winner from the responses. If you have not signed up for the contest yet, you can do so by visiting Free Voodoo Doll Contest at Planet Voodoo.

Good luck and laissez bon ton roulet! (let the good times roll!)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

MOJO MAMA is a Voodoo Doll

She's all about the sass and soul, and layin' down that hot bayou magick! Did you know that the word Mojo comes from the Spanish verb mojar - to wet, and Mama means mother (okay so the second one is a duh)? What does that say about the Mojo mama Voodoo doll? Well, all I know is that is her name. Mojo Mama is an authentic good luck ju ju doll made in the New Orleans Voodoo tradition. Ju jus are blessed dolls designed to keep evil and negativity away and to bring good luck to their possessor. Mojo Mama was created to honor the Voodoo Mambo, the High Priestess, and the female Goddess archetypes.

This stunning, magickal Voodoo Ju Ju Doll stands approximately 8 inches tall from head to foot or 12 inches if you consider her gorgeous fluffy feathers. She is made of Spanish moss and sticks that is hand collected, and her face is hand sculpted out of polymer clay and painted. She is decorated with yarn, buttons, beads, and a variety of magickal charms such as a Saints Valentine medal, fairy charm, Day of the dead bead, a wing, crystals, an Israeli prayer bead, and a butterfly. She has her own Ouija board and gris gris bag, and is holding a witches ball that is a handcrafted lamp worked bead made especially for Mystic Voodoo dolls by Bountiful Bonita. This bead is to ward off evil energies. She was created with great attention to detail and with positive intentions.

You can see Mojo Mama on eBay now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual

For those folks who may be interested in the history of Voodoo dolls, you should check out my new book, Voodoo Dolls in Magick and Ritual. In it, I trace the origins of the modern day Voodoo doll back to Africa and Greece, how they were used, how they got here to the US, and how they are supposed to be used, as opposed to how they are believed to be used. In 213 pages (who knew there was so much to know?) I discuss the various types of archetypal dolls that have had an influence on the modern day Voodoo doll, as well as provide descriptions of the various types of Voodoo dolls one can find in New Orleans. For example, the photo below is a vintage Voodoo doll from my private collection. It is an old style Voodoo moss doll that was made in the traditional fashion out of sticks and Spanish moss, but the really interesting thing is that its face was made from the mud chimney of a crawfish hole.

Now, you are probably looking at this doll and thinking to yourself, or perhaps saying out loud something about how ugly and evil it looks. You may be surprised to know, however, that it was made to enhance one's intuition. So, you see, looks can be deceiving, even with Voodoo dolls.

Now here is another Voodoo doll from the old school style. It is called a ju ju doll and these are made to bring good luck and protection. A ju ju is an object that is used to ward off evil and negativity. The doll is adorned with a variety of charms, buttons, beads, saints medals and what-nots to charge the doll with the power of its purpose. Of course, being from the New Orleans Voodoo tradition, there are also some fun trinkets on it as well, like a martini glass and a "Party" button. A lot of times you could find these dolls with Mardi Gras doubloons and king cake babies attached, too.

Now, the ju ju dolls are a lot of fun to make and a lot of fun to look at. But they probably are a take off from the old style nkisi or bocio from Africa. Minkisi (plural) are crude wooden dolls frequently made for protection, and they would have a lot of personal items attached to them to enhance their purpose. From the book, "A nkisi literally translates as "sacred medicine". The term nkisi is the general name for a variety of holy objects used throughout the Congo Basin in Central Africa thought to contain spiritual powers or spirits. Minkisi (plural) are primarily containers such as ceramic vessels, gourds, animal horns, shells, bundles, dolls, or any other object that can contain spiritually-charged substances. Minkisi are often referred to as portable graves because they may contain personal items of a powerful individual as one of the main ingredients. Even graves can be considered minkisi because they house the spirits of the dead.

Minkisi may be created for the protection and wellbeing of the community or for the private use of an individual, according to their specific needs. For example, individuals may need protection for themselves and their families, or seek general success in their economic pursuits" (Alvarado, 2009, pp. 23-24).

Power Figure (Nkisi)
19th–20th century
Kongo peoples; Democratic Republic of Congo
Wood, paint, nails, cloth, beads, shells, arrows, leather, nuts, twine; H. 23 5/32 in. (58.7 cm)
The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Bequest of Nelson A. Rockefeller, 1979 (1979.206.127)Retrieved from the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

Like modern day Voodoo dolls, the process of creating a bocio or nkisi was an empowering activity and sometimes involved more than one person. For example, there was the artist who created the raw figure, the diviner who activated the object by attaching a variety of personal items to the sculpture, and the client who uses it in a particular ritual context (Blier, 1995). After the sculptor carves it, the diviner customizes it by adding symbolic materials such as special earths and stones, leaves and seeds, parts of animals, bird beaks and feathers, all of which are specifically combined to attract and direct forces for an intended purpose. Consequently, each nkisi is a unique creation. While the ju ju is made of different material, the manner of creation is remarkably similar.

Well I cold go on, but perhaps I will save it for another post. If you are interested, you can read more about it in my new book here.