We have written a great deal on spells and rituals on our blogs, but one form we haven’t mentioned a great deal on is what is called Charm Bags or Sachets, Amulets and also Talismans. Let’s first start with some varieties of Charm Bags & Sachets…
I came across the use of Charm Bags when I first read Sybil Leek’s book, Cast Your Own Spell. One story she tells is of Philadelphia, PA native, Charles G. Leland, who met met an individual who made him a Charm bag for success and good luck on a book he was writing. Sybil said the maker of the Charm had put a piece of his book in the Charm bag and thought if she might ask a Charm maker to put a page of her book in a Charm bag too.
As I continued my studies, I would occasionally come across other types of Charm Bags, with all sorts of different names from a variety of occult practices. Some of these were called Sachet Bags, Quanga Bags, Gris-Gris (pronounced gree-gree), Mojo Bags, tobies, and many more.
When it comes to sachet bags and powders, I first came across this term in the old 1930s classic book that Sybil Leek recommended to some of her students here in the 1960s called Legends of Incense, Herb & Oil Magic by Lewis de Claremont. In the book, it has a section on sachet powders that can be used to magically scent items by putting them in bags and occasionally opening up the bags and sprinkling them places for a certain effect.
Many of these sachets include aromatic herbs. Over time, you may need to re-fresh the sachet bag and powders. Today, most seem to recommend refreshing the scent by using diluted amounts of essential oils. When used for occult purposes, we may use scented potions, hydrosols or even magical oils to help concentrate our thought-impregnation on the ingredients inside a sachet or charm bag.
When it comes to sachet powders, one of the most common ingredients that is a natural fixative/preservative seems to be Orris Root – which is the root of a particular Iris flower, that when powdered, is highly fragrant and retains perfume scent very well. Even when the Iris is planted in the ground, I can tell how highly scented the root is because if you don’t pack the root down good when planting, then a critter such as a rabbit or squirrel might dig them up to munch on for dinner! This has happened to me before with Iris roots I have transplanted to a different location.
In de Claremont’s book, he gives a recipe for a Love Sachet that definitely looks like it would be very fragrant because some of the ingredients include orris root, Lavender, sandalwood, musk and a few others.
I then came across quanga bags at first through some of the coven lore passed down in which a good luck quanga might be called for in certain circumstances. Though, the specific term quanga may be a more common phrase amongst practitioners from another magical practice called Obeah, which originates in the Caribbean. (Remember the James Bond move, “Live and Let Die?”)
The practice of the Obeah is a combination of European infused magic, mixed with local customs and practices found in its Caribbean homeland such as Jamaica and the surrounding islands.
The European influence in Obeah heavily comes from the grimoires imported from American publishers of bygone days, such as the old de Laurence company of Chicago – particularly one of our favorite grimoires of sorcery known as The Sixth & Seventh Books of Moses, in which the de Laurence & Company also produced an edition of. Another book that heavily influenced Obeah is also a personal favorite grimoire of ours and has influenced us in the Wolfa Coven greatly called The Great Book of Magical Art. Magical practitioners, when they were able to obtain copies of these imported books, supplemented their own practices with what they found therein to create a unique blend of magical practice.
Gris-Gris bags and mojo bags seem to be common names for Charm Bags found in American Hoodoo practice. I also knew a hoodoo practitioner who made little charms inside brown paper bags called “tobies” as well.
One other type of bag, that might be of a more recent invention, is called a Crane Bag, and it is used by some practitioners of certain Druid traditions. Some of these seem to take on Charm bag qualities….
Another old book from the 1940s also used and recommend in our coven is The Magic of Herbs by Henri Gamache. This book contains a number of ingredients and descriptions about herbs that could be used as is, or in Charm Bags if you wish.
I will now share with you a story of a creation of a charm bag that I had made and used for a series of a couple weeks in order to concentrate on healing for another witch in need after they had experienced an accident from a number of years back. This was a spur-of-the-moment creation since the healing was needed as soon as possible. Once you have some of the basics down, you are able to create charm bags like this on the fly, using your own inspiration or inner-guidance to help you in their construction when needed.
Now if I had a bit more time to plan and react, I probably could have done a better job selecting ingredients, but I wanted to react quickly for her needed benefit at the time while she was receiving proper medical care for her injuries in the hospital. There are certain situations that require immediate reaction as a witch, and at those times, a well-trained witch will go into the Alpha State of Consciousness and select the right items needed for the spell. This comes from an inner place of “inward knowing.”
This charm bag is not one of the many traditional recipes, but one, as you will see, of going through my supplies and allowing my inner-knowing to select appropriate ingredients that could be of help very quickly. This includes symbolism that may also not be traditional in nature, but had certain inner-meanings to me.
Here are the items I chose for the Impromptu Healing Charm Bag:
1. Astral Candle – I chose the color red to represent the witch the bag was made for since she is an Aries.
2. Healing Candle – I magnetized a healing candle anointed with Healing Oil for the spell.
3. Solar Talisman – I coated a piece of paper in the universal fluid condenser to concentrate my thoughts, and once it dried and was ready, I inscribed a solar talisman for the purposes of healing and good health. Talismanic Magics is used in our coven extensively. One of my witchcraft mentors, Tarostar, says in his book The Witches’ Spellcraft that;
“A seal or Talisman is basically a Symbol, not a power in itself, but only insofar that it acts as a condenser of energy which represents or comes from the spiritual Force behind all Matter.”
4. A Green Charm Bag & Quartz Crystal – both were given to me as gifts by a friend who is a Luccumi Priest and initiated Witch. I was happy I had these on hand that he gave me as they came quite in handy in order to help the witch who needed the healing.
5. Sandalwood – some sandalwood powder was placed in the bag. Sandalwood has very high vibrations and definitely a sacred wood.
6. High John the Conqueror Root – I included this so that she will have some strength, virility and power while she healed up.
7. Fast Luck Powder – this was given to me as a gift from another witch who made this magical sprinkling powder. I thought it would be appropriate to sprinkle a little of this in the bag.
8. Healing Incense – this is a traditional formula part of the Horsa Tradition that I also sprinkled in the Charm bag since it has herbs of great healing qualities.
9. Mercurial Incense – Incense of mercury burned on the coals to carry my wishing prayers to the witch in need of healing. The Archangel Raphael is a great healer and rules over Mercury, so I knew I wanted to use some of Raphael’s influence to affect the healing.
10. Broomstick Charm – given to me by an initiated witch friend from Arizona. I tied this on the outside of the bag in order to sweep away any possible obstruction that could be in the way of her speedy recovery.
I then proceeded to cast the spell and construct the Charm bag. During that time, I concentrated on seeing her well again for a number of days. When the spell was completed, I buried the Charm Bag with much gratitude.
The Power of Talismans & Amulets:
Now let’s talk about Talismans & Amulets ….
In the world of the paranormal and the occult, amulets and talismans have always been popular. I don’t think that one country on this planet exists where people did not carry, hang up or wear an amulet or talisman of some kind.
But first, let me give you a brief description of the difference between what an amulet is and what a talisman is:
Amulet – Any object or charm used for the protection of something or someone. It is designed to keep evil or certain people or situations away.
Talisman – Any object or charm used to attract certain favorable conditions or to increase luck in certain activities for someone or something. Typically, talismans will be more complex, whereas amulets are more often designed to be simple in their construct.
In the Christian religion, many Christians wear either a simple cross or a crucifix as a symbol of their faith and also so that the Lord will continue to watch over them. I know I have seen Christians who upon receiving some bad or shocking news, would instinctually touch or grasp their cross necklace – symbolic of finding strength in their faith.
The actual grasping of a religious item, no matter what the religion, could possibly be an instinctual carryover that is buried somewhere deep within the memory banks of our ancestors. It could be described as reaching for something that gives you comfort in times of stress, such as a symbol of your religious beliefs. It is also similar to knocking on wood or a tree in times to prevent something bad from happening. The knocking on wood procedure is a simple invocation of the dryads (tree-elementals). Catholics in a similar vein may hold their rosaries tightly, also drawing strength from their Lord – as a silent invocation. The carrying of rare objects, such as rare stones, jewels, old items passed down reputed to be “protection charms” and the elusive four leaf clover are all charms that because they are considered rare and therefore, special. They have “faith” that these items will add a special protective shield around them when they place it in their pocket, a bag, a purse or hang it around their neck – regardless if they are religious or not.
Another rare object used as an amulet is Staurolite which is a rare mineral that naturally forms in the shape of a cross. You can even find your own by going to placed such as “Fairy Stone State Park” located in Virginia. Because of its rarity, it is deemed to be special and many folks have carried them as a charm of protection from all walks of life.
The question is, are these items special just because the objects themselves are rare and hard to get, or is it all just silly nonsense? Is the feeling of “specialness” what makes the mind give you a boost of confidence?
Those who are psychic and sensitive to subtle impressions of objects would say that’s not the whole truth. Those who practice the psychic arts of psychometry will tell you that you can pick up on psychic impressions if magnetism has been pressed into an amulet or talisman. When the attention is directed to an object, vitality and life-force flows to that object. These same objects also pick up magnetism from the wearer. The same could be tested with implements such as the pendulum and also seen by those with clairvoyance.
Sometimes the items themselves, even the pre-manufactured ones, may be nothing special at all – but because everything vibrates at a frequency, they absorb certain qualities or magnestism that the owner of said object may subconsciously place in the item. Amulets may not be just simple or hard to find objects and artifacts. They could be also rather complex designs inscribed on sacred metals such as some of the pentacles and seals that can be found in “The Greater Key of Solomon” or “The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses.”
In regards to Talismans, many are typically a tad more complex in their construction than amulets. The reason for much complexity at times is because of their method of manufacture and consecration. Through varying occult means and rituals, items are said to absorb the magnetic vibrations of the manufacturer of the talisman. Most talismans are consecrated during the correct planetary timing.
With the witch or sorcerer’s mind firmly fixed on the reason for the talisman, and through occult correspondences such as the correct time and date, energies are absorbed into the object so that it radiates with a magnetic pull, attracting to the bearer of the talisman the circumstances desired. It is because these items are designed to be “magnetic” in nature – and not magnetic by means of a magnet, but meaning an occult quality whereby the object is designed to “draw something” to it and by effect, to the owner of the talisman.
Nonsense or not, the manufacture of such items is big money. How many realize that even everyday objects and jewelry that we wear today at one time just may have been an amulet or a talisman a long time ago in by-gone cultures?
The Herb Cinquefoil – the Five-Fingered Grass:
Herbs and flowers are sometimes employed in the practical occult arts in a similar way that amulets and talismans are employed. Sometimes these are hung around the neck, or simply carried in the pocket, or in a variety of ways. The use of single herbs to do this is a practice that also goes way back and seems to be found in many parts of the world, including in the practice of Witchcraft.
There is a wonderful little wild weed that grows throughout the country called Cinquefoil, or the Five-Finger-Grass.
Magically, it has great importance …. At least from the part of the country that I am from. It grows many different places I imagine and has a number of different varieties and species.
So what have the Witches of Pennsylvania’s past said to do with this reputed herb? What are its alleged uses in the art magical?
Besides being a classic herb used in practical occult magic for intentions such as money drawing, it was also known to help you get special favors. According to the old grimoire The Long Lost Friend, first printed in Pennsylvania, it was said that if you carried a little of this herb in your pocket when asking someone for a favor, you’ll surely get the favor granted to you!
Either way, this little weed that most would deem useless does bring me a smile when I see it come up in the yard or the garden. (Even though it seems to ONLY come up in the most strangest of places!)
Yes, some weeds are encouraged to grow by witches! Haven’t you ever noticed a witch’s garden? There usually seems to be a number of strange weeds that grow that are oddly encouraged.
Bibliography & Works Cited:
de Claremont, Lewis; Legends of Incense, Herb & Oil Magic. Print.
Gamache, Henri; The Magic of Herbs. Print.
Leek, Sybil; Cast Your Own Spell. Print
Tarostar; The Witches’ Spellcraft. Print
Holman, John George; The Long Lost Friend. Print.