I’ve had some questions in the past from people who have either purchased a mojo hand or mojo bag, or who have made one going by instructions from a book or the web, who are a bit unsure of what to do with it once the bag has been made. The way a lot of modern spellwork is presented online or in books seems to suggest that the spell ends when the candle burns out or the ritual circle is opened. You’ve burned your incense and your candles and you’ve said your prayers so now there isn’t much else left to do but wait. Sadly this ends up being how many practitioners approach their magical work which leaves them disappointed in the end. While I tend to find that this is one of the biggest problems that faces many practitioners (the complete misunderstanding of how spells truly work) it is especially true for people who try working with mojo bags without taking the time to better understand what they really are in the first place.
A lot of spells in neo-Pagan or Wiccan books on magic involve things like wrapping some herbs in a piece of cloth or adding them to little spell bag and then hiding them somewhere in the home or office or maybe carrying them around in your pocket or purse. Once the ritual act of putting it together is over the work seems to stop and you’re just now walking about with a bag of herbs that will hopefully bring you something that you’re after. In most Wiccan magic the belief tends to lay in the idea that the magic comes from the practitioner, not the object; that the magic is within you. In Hoodoo, where the use of mojo bags come from, the belief is more in the object and the spirit resident within the herbs and roots, stones and bones, rather than within the person that put it together.
When we work a mojo bag we take the time to commune with the herbs and objects that go inside it. We awaken it, we talk to it, we tell it what we want it to do for us and how it can help us. Then we put everything together in the bag, ask for blessings from the Divine or a specific spirit, angel, saint, or Loa (if you’re working within those traditions), and then we bring it to life by feeding it with appropriate liquids and offerings and then smoking it with incense. But when this process is done and we walk away from our altar or magical workspace, the spell doesn’t end there. We need to keep it going.
There are three steps to a mojo bag. You fix it (which is the process of putting it together with all the ingredients), feed it, and smoke it. This process doesn’t just create a little back of magically infused goodies, but an actual living spirit that will now work with you to do whatever it is that you have asked for. Since the bag is now a living, breathing, magical vessel alive with spirit, you need to help “keep it alive”. And what do you do when you want to keep something alive and healthy? You have to feed it! So the bag needs to be fed regularly. This is both an act of offering to the spirits of the bag as well as an act of keeping the spirit of the bag “fed”.
Once your bag is fixed, whether it’s something that you fixed yourself from scratch or something that you purchased from a shop or that someone made for you, you need to keep feeding it and keep working with it. I like to feed my bags once a week, either on the same day of the week that it was created or on a day that is appropriate to the type of magic. It’s also highly advisable to spend the first 7 nights after the bag has been crafted to sleep with it under your pillow to help bond your energy to the bag.
Unlike some spells and other types of work where you are simply putting out intentions and then let things flow from there, a mojo bag is essentially a spirit that has been created by you to do a certain task with you. You need to keep active with it and keep working with it, not just toss it on your altar and forget about it. So if you have a mojo bag and you’re thinking “this silly thing doesn’t do anything for me”, ask yourself if you’ve cared for your magical spirit ally lately or if you’ve neglected it. Remember, like anyone else that’s being mistreated, a neglected spirit ally will leave you!
Here’s another thing to keep in mind too and another possible reason for a mojo’s spirit to diminishing. DO NOT OPEN YOUR BAG! Keeping in mind the idea that your bag is a living magical spirit, if you open your bag it’s like opening up a person. Would you cut open a friend to poke around and see what’s inside them? Probably not; and if you did I would imagine they would disappear from your life pretty quick! So don’t do it to your spirit friends either!
When a mojo bag does become neglected it is possible that the spirit can either “die” or leave the bag. A simple way to check on the spirit health of a mojo bag is to use a pendulum and simply ask if it is still filled with spirit. If it is ask if it still wants to work with you. If the bag still has some spirit left in it, smoke the bag with incense for the intention the bag was made with and then feed it just as you did when you first made it. Sleep with it again for 7 nights and keep it on you, next to your skin for 7 days (ladies, tuck it in your bra…gents, pin it to your undies). When the 7 days are up be sure to not neglect it again! You can always check in with a pendulum to see how your mojo’s spirit is feeling.
If the bag seems “dead” you can deconstruct it and create a new one, being sure to burn or bury the contents that cannot be cleansed and reused like curios, crystals, saint metals, and other charms. Then you can start again and create a new bag.