Spells of Obeah and Wanga
Obeah and Wanga are the names of two religio-magical practices of African origin that are found primarily in the British colonies of the New World. They have lost much of their African background, and most of their religious associations. What remains is the magical practice. The names of the former religious practices now simply mean a spell. Ju-ju is another word with a similar meaning.
The spell indicated by any of these words may be used for either good or evil purposes. Since good spells are seldom complained about, the phrase usually heard is on the order of, “He put a wanga on me!” Occasionally one is asked for a specific wanga, but usually money or love charms are desired, with the spell being left up to the person making it.
Spells of obeah and wanga usually involve a magical charm of one sort or another. The charm may be made from natural ingredients, such as herbs, or the charm may be a manufactured item, such as an amulet. Obeah and wanga spells are rarely spoken charms; they are, or result in, real physical things. A material object is involved in the work. If the spell is a curse, the discovery and subsequent destruction of the material object will void the curse.
At the present time in the United States, the most common of these charms are the charm bags worn or carried for some particular purpose. They are often worn around the neck of those who believe in them. For the most part these are protective spells or charms. They are intended to keep negative energy away from the wearer or add some quality which is desired. Negative wangas are usually placed near the home or workplace of the person they are designed to affect.
A sampling of these wangas follows, although any of the spells in this book which result in a physical object will serve as a wanga. Wangas are infinite in variety, both in kind and in purpose. The first wanga preparation I witnessed resulted in a liquid, which was to be poured on the steps of someone's house. The liquid contained a number of ingredients, and it was not as simple as the spells in this book.
The charm bags which ordinarily contain the herbs and material used to make obeah and wanga are sewn from ordinary cloth, although purists prefer cotton flannel. A piece of cloth about three by five inches is cut and folded in half. It is then sewn on two sides, and the material put into the bag. The remaining side is then sewn shut. In occult stores it is possible to purchase bags with a string closure which are made for this purpose. These bags have a string closure which allows them to be used by those who do not sew.
Those who practice ceremonial magic according to the Book of the Law transmitted to Aleister Crowley will find a reference there to obeah and wanga.1 These spells might be of interest on that account and are much simpler than most ceremonial magic.
At one time, having nutmeg in the house was a display of prosperity. It is often used as a charm. In addition to relating astrologically to Jupiter, it has the reputation of bringing money to the person who carries it. Nutmeg strengthens the Jupiterian influence around you if you carry it.
A typical charm or wanga made from nutmeg is called “the gambler's nutmeg.” The charm is so popular in certain areas of the country that at one time it had an unofficial “fair trade” price of $25.00 in New York City. The popularity of the charm attests to its effectiveness. It is carried by people who gamble, by businesspeople, and by those who simply are asking for assistance in their economic evolution.
The nutmeg charm is usually supplied in a chamois skin or red flannel charm bag. The person who supplies the charm will usually instruct the purchaser in the following rules for its use. First, your wanga should be carried on your person. At night it should be kept with your personal belongings in the bedroom. During the day it may either be carried in a purse, pocket, or worn around the neck in a charm bag.
Second, the wanga should be discarded if it drops to the floor or is broken in any way. In this event, you should return to the person who prepared the charm to find out if a new wanga is needed. It frequently happens that the first charm is lost in this way, usually after a few days or a week. This is not really a loss, as the charm has filled its function. It is usually an indication that you should replace the charm, as the influences which blocked the accomplishment of the work of the charm have now been removed.
Third, the charm should be treated with respect. It is a living thing, and if you own it, you are asking it to work for you—to do what you cannot. By respecting the charm, you are demonstrating that you will allow it to work for you. This means that you will not show it to others, or treat the charm in a negative manner, such as tossing it around or thinking badly of it. These are the basic rules of a wanga. Some people who prepare charms will add more rules as to how to treat them, and with some charms, this advice is vital.
To make your own “Gambler's Nutmeg,” drill a small hole in the stem end of a whole nutmeg, about halfway into the nutmeg. Clean out the shavings and put a drop of mercury into the hole. Seal the hole with a few drops of red sealing wax. Anoint the circumference of the nutmeg with a dab of sandalwood oil and pray over it for yourself or for the person you are making it for. Place the nutmeg in a new charm pouch and it is ready to use.
This is a simple wanga, and you will have an opportunity to test yourself when you make it. If you have been having money problems, they should begin to clear up in a month or so. The number of people who use this charm should convince the most hardened skeptic of its benefit. It has a positive effect on most people and is certainly worth trying.
LUCKY HAND SPELL
The Lucky Hand spell is another standard wanga. It is a specific type of charm bag, made to “give a hand” to the person using it. It has the effect of making your life a bit easier by bringing you good fortune and opportunity. This particular spell comes from North Carolina.
Three herbs must be gathered and prepared for the charm. First is a sand burr, the seed of the sand nettle. Second is a piece of Sampson snakeroot, which must be broken off, not cut with a knife. Third is a piece of devil's shoestrings, or goat's rue. These three herbs are wrapped in a small piece of black cloth, which is then sewn closed all around with white thread. The stitches in the packet should be as small as possible.
The packet is set to soak in a small glass of whiskey, either all day or overnight. It is then taken out and prayed over. The whiskey is left to evaporate in the glass. The finished charm is placed in a charm bag or a leather bag. It can be talked to for any specific request which you want to make of it. This charm brings opportunities; it will not do the work required to bring them to fruition.
This is a rather well-known love spell. It is popular, and it works. If you use this spell, remove the red charm bag before having sex, but hide it.
Take two sewing needles of the same size, and lay them side by side, with the point of one at the eye of the other. Wrap the two needles in the leaf of a comfrey plant, or any other green leaf that has been newly picked. Tie this bundle with a piece of red wool yarn. Place the finished packet in either a red fabric or a chamois skin bag. It is then worn around your neck to gain the affection of the one you desire.
The charm may be removed from the bag only to break it, which is done by breaking the two needles. If it is desired to “feed” the charm for a specific person, it should be fed through the opened bag with three drops of whiskey. It can be prayed over at this time to tell it who it is you wish to influence.
BLESSED HANDKERCHIEF SPELL
This spell forms a part of protestant Christian magical practice and takes its authority from the Bible. It is used in some protestant churches as a means of extending the power of the minister or the pastor of the church to those members of the congregation who may not be able to attend regular services, or who may be located far from the church. There is a real purpose to this type of spell or “talisman”: if it is properly prepared, it has the effect of connecting the person who has the completed handkerchief with the spiritual force of the pastor or minister who prepared it.
It is easy to look at the preparation of these artifacts as a superstition and to say that they are of little or no real value.
However, there are many cases of people who were healed of various afflictions through the use of one of these prepared handkerchiefs. At worst, they are a comfort to those who possess them and believe in their beneficial effect. Our materialistic age is too quick to condemn as superstition anything that does not fit into the scheme of academic science. If we were able to understand the realities of the non-physical world, we might see that there is a great deal more to some “superstitions” than science is willing to accept! It would be better to postpone judgment until we know the truth of such things.
The Biblical authority for this spell comes from the Book of Acts in the New Testament. Chapter 19 Verses 11—12 (King James translation) state:
11—And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12—So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
According to Christian tradition, Saint Paul was granted a mission by Christ to carry the word of Christ to the gentiles. It is assumed that he also was granted the spiritual force to accomplish this mission, and that his spiritual force, penetrating his garments, is what made them a connection to him, and thus able to heal the sick and the insane. The preparation of a blessed prayer handkerchief is then simply a matter of imbuing the handkerchief with as much spiritual force as the minister or pastor can.
Since these handkerchiefs are usually made in quantity for distribution, it is frequently difficult for a minister or a pastor to “charge them” effectively. In some cases, they are simply placed on the altar and prayed over. The following procedure will provide a fairly uniform charge to about a dozen handkerchiefs at a time, without violating any of the magical taboos of most of the protestant sects that use these handkerchiefs.
First the handkerchiefs are opened (i.e., not folded) and placed in a stack on the altar. Then holy water is prepared in whatever way the particular denomination of the religion calls for. Consecrated salt, usually a part of the preparation of holy water, is prepared in excess, and set aside as well. The holy water and the salt are placed on the altar. Incense of whatever kind the denomination prescribes is also prepared and set on the altar. If no incense is specified, High Spirit Incense is recommended, as found on page 69 of this book.
After making an invocation at the altar, the minister blesses all of the handkerchiefs. He then takes them, one at a time, and fumigates them individually in the incense, sprinkles them with holy water and sets them aside on the altar. Any customary prayers of blessing can be used, or the minister can devise a set form for these prayers if he wishes. Then, all the handkerchiefs are folded at the altar with a bit (a few grains) of the consecrated salt inside each of them. If they are to be blessed individually in the names of the congregation members, it is worthwhile to have name cards placed alongside the handkerchiefs so that the blessing can be made individually, and the handkerchief identified from that point on.
Once all the handkerchiefs have been blessed, the service is closed with a simple benediction. The finished handkerchiefs are now ready to be distributed. If they are not distributed immediately, they should be placed in individual envelopes so they will be kept out of contact from any other influence while they are in storage.
These handkerchiefs are also made by counselors for distribution to clients, but they are rarely used by those who are practitioners of magic. They do make an effective gift to a troubled client, and probably should be more widely used.