Further reading

Cavendish, Richard. The Black Arts. New York: Putnam, 1967. Waite, A. E. The Book of Black Magic and of Pacts. 1899.

Reprint, York Beach, Me.: Samuel Weiser, 1972.

gris-gris In Vodun, charms or talismans kept for good luck or to ward off evil. The original gris-gris were probably dolls or images of the gods, but most gris-gris today are small cloth bags filled with herbs, oils, sTONEs, small bones, HAIR AND NAIL clippings, pieces of clothing soiled with perspiration and/or other personal items, gathered under the direction of a particular god and designed to protect the owner.

The origin of the word is unclear, but many scholars trace it to juju, the West African name for a FETisH, or sacred object. Juju may be a European translation of the native expression grou-grou (hence gris-gris), or it may refer to the French word joujou, which meant "doll" or "plaything." Most of the African fetishes were in the shape of dolls, and early Europeans on the African West Coast may have mistaken serious religious objects for innocent-looking poppets (see AFRICAN WITCHCRAFT).

In New Orleans, gris-gris are common. They are made to attract money and love, stop gossip, protect the home, maintain good health and achieve innumerable other ends. Even police officers have been known to carry gris-gris for protection. A gris-gris is ritually made at an altar and consecrated with the four ELEMENTs of earth (salt), air (incense), water and fire (a candle flame). The number of ingredients is always either one, three, five, seven, nine or 13 (see THIRTEEN). Ingredients can never be even in number or number more than 13. Stones and colored objects are selected for their occult and astrological properties, depending on the purpose of the gris-gris.

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