Years ago, in the late 80's, 1986 to be exact, I went to New Orleans with my parents on one of those "wacky vacation trips" we all take as kids.
Think the "Griswalds" in Irish form. Scary thought isn't it?
As with all vacation traditions I got to choose 1 souvenir from my travels. Initially I wanted a Voodoo Doll but my mom vetoed that idea so I picked a mojo bag with what I saw as a Nun with no mouth.
Again my mom questioned my choice but when I showed her that it had a "Nun" on it, she gave in and purchased it for me. I come from a pretty devout Catholic family so this sort of thing was pretty "taboo".
My mom could recite the whole Catholic Mass in Latin. It's pretty impressive!
I think the "Nun" was the green light for her and it appeared pretty harmless so off I went with my "Nun Bag".
Of course I didn't care to read what it was really intended for initially, I just loved the fact that it had a Nun with a Cross on it. The absence of a mouth fascinated me, where it caused my mom to raise an eyebrow.
After reading what the bag was used for, I explained to her that "of course the Nun had no mouth.. Did you ever hear of a Nun speaking badly of anyone? Mom.... that's a Sin!"
|*this ingredient panel was slightly deceiving*|
Brief Factoid about myself: I wanted to be a Nun growing up, and was pretty serious about it until my very early 20's. That's when the "Material World" and the "Sins of the Flesh" made it too big of temptation.
So here I am, a common sinner I guess.
I blame "Eve", the apple, and "The Snake". "Adam" was just an idiot IMO. Moving On.
This bag has been largely stored and packed around in boxes for years, until I decided to unearth it and bring it to Cat Yronwode to gut it and tell me what really was inside.
What first intrigued me was the way the bag was stitched together as the mojo bags seen today are fashioned differently. From what I understand, this was just another way of sewing them together. Nothing "old school" or "traditional" in case you are wondering.
According to Miss Cat, here was what she found to be inside:
A piece of dried Tongue (most likely Cow's) folded and stitched together (fascinating!)
A piece of Dragon's Blood Resin
A piece of Blood Root
Misc. seeds... possibly Daisy for "Daisy's Don't Tell" and Agar Agar for "Invisibility when working against someone"
A bit of Irish Moss
No "gems" were ever found in the mix. We think they may have fallen out of the bag somewhere down the line as it did not close/seal shut all the way.
Miss Cat was more interested in the possible "origin/history" behind the name of the bag "Papa LaBrea".
She equated it to possibly being LaBrea --> Tar (LaBrea Tar Pits) --> Tar Baby? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tar-Baby
Although my favorite part of the evening was the discussion on the amulet that I adored so much.
I saw a "Nun sans mouth" and Miss Cat saw an Incan Woman who possibly converted to Christianity; showing "conversion".
The word of the night was "Nunish-ness" when describing this piece.
Should anyone recognize this image, I would be very interested in knowing the actual history and meaning behind it.
What Miss Cat did find on the amulet itself was the pendant of the nun stamped with MWFP on the back, was made by Master Works Fine Pewter. They made figurines and pendants during the 1980s ad early 1990s, located out of Albuquerque, NM.
Other than that, the history still remains a mystery.
I wanted to replace the contents of this mojo bag with something better so I purchased a lovely black deer skin bag from Lucky Mojo to "re home" it if you will, and gave the original bag to Miss Cat as she seemed interested in having it. It will be a part of Y.I.P.P.I.E. (you can read all about that by clicking the above link provided below the photo), and my "improved" mojo bag will be on display at the 2013 Missionary Independent Spiritual Hoodoo Workshops: http://missionaryindependent.org/workshops.html
I still have to stitch the amulet to the bag itself and add a few more "goodies" to update it a bit. But it will certainly be a sight to see in the upcoming year :)
Thank You Miss Cat for taking the time out to helping me discover the origins and ingredients of my souvenir from NOLA.
Love Potion #9