Thursday, September 20, 2012

Jeudi: Curios

The alligator is an amphibian both maligned and adored along the Gulf coast of the United States. Feared for their quiet ferocity, they are also appreciated as sources of magickal instruments. They just happen to taste great, too.

In old time hoodoo, animal curios were used quite literally all the time. Though the practice is discouraged more or less in our modern age, alligator curios continue to be popular. Bats, cats, frogs and toads have been set aside to a large degree but alligator parts can often be found, usually because they are raised commercially. The majority of the animal is sold for meat or hide - much like cattle - while feet and teeth are doled out to root workers. For a fee, of course.

Alligator teeth are popular amulets worn for protection in the South, particularly around the neck. This is no different than the practice in my current home state of Alaska, where bear and wolf teeth are worn to protect and impart the strength of the animal. The nice thing about gators is that they shed their teeth throughout their life. The truly lucky person will find a gator tooth along the bayou and then use it for the most common intention of this curio: good fortune in gambling.

Both the feet and teeth of alligators are considered extremely lucky as pocket pieces for those who frequent the gambling table. The tooth probably obtained this reputation for the reason just mentioned. Carrying the foot - usually of a small alligator - can reasonably be considered a form of like-makes-like magick. These amputated parts somewhat resemble an outstretched human hand, just waiting for money to be deposited in it.

Here are two old time recipes for gambling luck pocket pieces. One enlisting a gator's tooth, the other its foot.

Take an alligators tooth and, while visualizing yourself winning consistently at your chosen game of chance, dress it with whiskey, Van Van oil or Easy Life oil. Carry this in your pocket when you go out to gamble, and re-anoint it frequently.

On a piece of brown paper (a piece of paper bag works well), write down your wish for money in red ink. This may be specific to gambling or any other way of getting an income. Dress a gator foot with Van Van oil or whiskey and wrap the brown paper tightly around it. Wrap red thread or twine around this packet three times and tie this off with three knots. Carry this with you, in your pocket or purse, as you pursue your chosen source of money. As with the tooth, dress this mojo frequently with your chosen libation.

Some folks also attach an alligator foot to a key chain and use this daily to bring general luck and, as always, money. If you are really old school, attaching the foot to your watch fob harkens back to the very old days of New Orleans voodoo/hoodoo. Legend has it that Jean Laffite had a bejeweled gator foot that dangled from his watch fob. This was lost, depending on the story you hear, either at the Battle of New Orleans or in the great Galveston hurricane of 1818. Either way, his luck seemed to go with it.

And there's the lesson; hold on to your alligator foot, or tooth, for dear luck. Bonne chance ~

Header: Alligators by Tom Root via American Gallery


Timmy! said...

I have heard of this with shark's teeth too, Pauline.

So, the alligator's foot is kind of like a rabbit's foot for good luck. I had not heard of that one.

Maybe I should get an alligator's tooth or foot to help me with my football picks and my fantasy football team. That is about the only gambling I ever do these days.

I also have to admit that I have never eaten alligator, but I wouldn't mind trying it sometime.

Timmy! said...

That painting is also hilarious, by the way...

Pauline said...

Yes; to a large degree - as far as general luck goes - the gator foot and the rabbit's foot are interchangeable curios. When it comes to gambling luck, however, go with the gator.

Therefore, I don't think a gator foot would hurt your chances in fantasy football or other endeavors that require a certain amount of luck. Let me take care of that for ya.

I love that painting. Those possums on the "smiley boat" are judicious in keeping their distance...