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Re: Mojo?

Interesting and fun explanations of mojo below.....of course, being a 
crude empiricist and anti-metaphysician (hail David Hume!), I lean  toward 
the more literal (i.e., empirical) denotations of the term.

I like the one about male virility below.....interestingly, I don't see a 
definition that is easily applied to a guitar, unless a guitar can have 
sexual prowess or charisma. :)

I once had a women tell me that the wood of my guitar was alive and spoke 
her, to such an extent that she "knew" it was from a particular log of 
in some region of the country.  Of course, there was the slight problem 
the guitar was not carved, but made of plywood.  So much for the accuracy 
the voices in her head.



>From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mojo is a term commonly encountered in the African-American folk belief 
called hoodoo. A mojo is a small bag, a type of magic charm, often of red 
flannel cloth and tied with a drawstring, containing botanical, 
and/or mineral curios, petition papers, and the like. It is typically worn 
under clothing.

Terminology and manner of use

The word Mojo traces its origins to Africa and entered the English 
during the era of slavery in the USA. It has been widely known from the 
century and early 20th century to the present. Other regional names for 
bags, or for specific types of mojos, include gree-gree (a Bantu word 
typically spelled gris-gris by people in Louisiana because of the state's 
francophone origins), mojo hand, conjure bag, conjure hand, toby, jomo, 
nation sack. In Haiti, the usual name for this sort of charm bag among 
of African descent is a wanga, oanga, or wanger.

Mojo hands are carried for their supernatural powers, such as protecting 
from evil or crossed conditions, drawing love, or bringing good luck or 
success in gambling and other money matters. A mojo bag can also be 
for use in more nefarious spell-craft, such as to render a man impotent by 
tying his nature. The mojo bag usually contains a mix of herbs, powders, 
personal concerns such as a hair or fingernail clippings, sometimes a coin 
or dice, a lodestone, a petition paper or prayer, and other objects 
to promote supernatural action or protection. The tying of the bag is an 
important part of its making, as this keeps within it the spirit whose aid 
is being sought. Once thus fixed and prepared, the mojo is fed to keep it 
working, generally with a liquid, such as a perfume, an anointing oil, or, 
in some cases, a drop of urine.

References to mojos, nation sacks, and tobies are common in 20th century 
rural and urban blues songs by musicians such as Blind Willie McTell, 
Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, the Memphis Jug Band, Muddy Waters, and 
Lightnin' Hopkins. Some of the earlier blues tunes were covered by white 
rock & roll bands in the 1960s and beatboxers in the 2006s. The tunes thus 
reached audiences unfamiliar with the folk beliefs referred to in the 
of the songs.

The exposure of uninformed audiences to the word mojo led to 
misunderstanding and additional uses of the word, usually to refer to male 
virility, libido, or the penis. This misunderstanding was popularized by 
Morrison of The Doors, who named himself "Mr. Mojo Risin" - an anagram of 
Jim Morrison - in the song "L.A. Woman". This usage of the word was turned 
to comedy in the 1999 film Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, in which 
the title character has his mojo stolen, and loses his confidence and 

Some other slang meanings of mojo in common use include: charisma, karma, 
cocaine and thing (as in "Gimme that mojo!").

Despite these variant usages, the word mojo continues to be widely used to 
mean what it always has meant in the African-American community -- namely, 
conjure hand.