1 Mar

Mojo was a voodoo thing. A bag containing various objects: money, carvings, roots and herbs, the inevitable crystals. You bought them to relieve the blues. Got the no money blues? Get yourself a money Mojo bag. Got a lover who runs around? Go down New Orleans way, get yourself some Mojo and they’re yours. You put a spell on them.

Mojo rises and you know things will go your way, Mojo drops and death is knocking at the door. Mojo means like: charisma, your life force, your spirit, your soul honey. Mojo means that indefinable energy, that aspect of humanity, of living things generally, that computers will never understand, that can’t be measured. Soul songs of the 60s are full of lyrics about trips down Louisiana way to see the Mojo Woman and solve your problems. Problems that are usually about love. It’s all superstitious nonsense of course. But what else is there?

Just about anything human culture provides that cares for the soul seems to make no sense according to science. Science itself has become a faith. How many of us believe that science will solve all our problems, I wonder how many rational, professional, efficient, secular models of post-Enlightenment cultivation out there are living in their smug, agnostic, secular, hedonism truly believing they’ll never die because science will cure aging?

God manifest as a man is nailed to a cross and hence we’re all forgiven our sins. Sins we are compelled by nature to commit. Natures that He who made us supposedly composed with aforethought according to a Grand Plan. Not so different from this cult is that founded on the notion that an illiterate man in a cave received the direct word of the Almighty Whatever via an angel. Before this you have the Jews whose law comes from an hallucinatory experience involving a burning bush.

This is monotheism that sought to raise spiritual awareness above the level of warring and fickle gods and the amulets you carry around to appease them or warn them away. Via this belief in the One True God Who Is Mysterious came a cosmological craving to understand the universe as an entity in and of itself. And after many centuries of conflict between those who observed nature and those who read old books came the dawn of science. Science that has transformed the world into one of our own making and erased our metaphysical cushions.

In the search to understand the ways of our mysterious supernatural overlord we have rendered Him obsolete and now, with all our science, we find we cannot manufacture a new meaning made to order. Tho’ people try. They resurrect the old pagan rituals according to a modern understanding grounded in the consumer culture of High Capitalism. They have reshaped these rituals so that the fear and loathing and hostility that lurked within them before has been purged from the system. God is Abundance it says, always benign. Always there to help you out and give you what you want. It’s as if we have reverted to spiritual infants.

Where are our Mojo bags, our incense sticks, our crucifix? We have them of course. You can buy them wherever good crystal pyramids are sold. But often those who buy them are faking it, like pretending to have an orgasm in the hope you can con yourself into a real one. We don’t feel it. You can see the need, you can copy the rituals, you can buy the tarot pack or whatever you want but that doesn’t make it real.

For it to be real fear and desire must be tied up into it at some subconscious primordial level. This mentality is incompatible with the scientific view that says that what is real can be measured and subjected to analysis. If it is real you can understand it, anything that involves enigmas wrapped inside mysteries is a phantom. The truth is the Mojo bag was a dangerous object to believers. If you let someone see it, if you wore it in the wrong place or misused the power it gave you, it would mean a very sticky finish. You didn’t have to be evil or anything, just weak: sloppy, stupid, careless.


Think of Orpheus traveling all the way to the Underworld to fetch his dead bride Eurydice. He succeeds and leads her back to the world of the living. The only condition is that he can’t look at her ’til they’ve arrived home. But he can’t wait. He turns and looks and she disappears. This is the essence of the Mojo mind. One little slip, not even particularly blameworthy, can fuck it all up.

The story of Orpheus was archaic to the people we know as the ancient Greeks. By the time the golden age of democracy had been and gone Aristotle had cast doubts on his existence. But generally this poet and musician, who is said to be able to calm wild hungry animals and change the course of rivers with his songs, was thought to be an historical figure.

There probably was someone on whom the Orpheus legend is based. Some archaic minstrel way back in the time before the written word. A story that bubbles down to us by word of mouth from the eastern European frontiers from where waves of invaders came. Doubtless the story has become embellished by wild fantasy down the generations but considering that amongst tribal people music is something everyone does this Orpheus must’ve been truly someone to’ve been remembered so long. Must’ve had some kinda very special Mojo.


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