Thursday, June 2, 2011

Jeudi: Curios

Most mollusks have what is known as an operculum.  This is a plate, usually round, smooth and thick, that allows the animal to close its shell off completely.  Today’s curio, known in hoodoo as a cat’s eye shell, is the operculum of a group of mollusks known as Turbos.

As you can see from the picture above, this portion of the Turbo shell does indeed look rather like a cat’s eye.  Because of that similarity, the shell is highly prized for use as protective or “watcher” amulets.  The idea being that the eye will watch out for and keep away evil while you wear or carry it.  Jewelry, particularly necklaces, made from cat’s eye shells were prized and often handed down in families.

Cat’s eye shells can be carried as pocket pieces to guard against slander.  A mojo bag made of red flannel and filled with a shell, some slippery elm and a sprinkling of rue is thought to be particularly powerful, even against backstabbing friends.

Another mojo, thought to be one of the strongest at ensuring good luck, also includes cat’s eye shells.  Again, a red flannel bag is used and this time it is filled with three shells, a John the Conqueror root, tobacco and a lodestone.  The bag should be closed with three knots and carried all the time.  About once a week, the mojo should be “fed” with a drop of Black Cat Oil.  Certain root workers add some hair from a black cat to make the mojo more powerful.

Handcrafted jewelry featuring cat’s eye shells is still very much available.  I found this lovely piece after just a few minutes poking around Etsy.  Be certain, though, not to confuse the shell with the semi-precious stone known as cat’s or tiger’s eye, which is a different kind of curio all together.  Bonne chance ~


Timmy! said...

That's some powerful mojo, Pauline.

Pauline said...

Right you are, sir. And, as a bonus, those creepy little mollusk parts seem to follow you where ever you go. No wonder most root works want to put them in a bag. That necklace is pretty, however.