Unlike manufactured charms, which may be modeled after natural curios in reduced size or in durable materials, the lucky items in this list are the real deal —- botanical, mineral, or zoological. Find out more in my book Cash Box Conjure: Hoodoo Spells for Luck and Money.
- Alligator Foot: To increase gambling luck, an Alligator foot may be worn as a key chain charm or carried in a mojo bag. This seems to be an American custom, for Alligators are indigenous to the Americas. The “clutching hand” of the foot also means that it can be used to hold folding money on an altar.
- Buckeye Nut: The Buckeye nut is often considered a lucky amulet for men, which brings virility and strength, but it is also connected to gambling luck. Anointed with Fast Luck Oil, it may be kept in the pocket for help when playing games of chance.
- High John the Conqueror Root: This hard, brown root is used for power, prosperity, and success. Zora Neale Hurston recorded that it is named after a rebellious slave who became an inspiration to others. As a “man’s” curio, it is placed in mojo hands for male virility because it does resemble testicles, but truth to tell, women will tote a High John Root on them just as well, especially for money drawing and good luck.
- Lodestone: A form of iron ore, called magnetite, that holds a slight magnetic charge, it is employed to draw or call something toward you, such as money or a partner in love. Lodestones are fed by sprinkling them with magnetic sand or anvil dust. If they get dusty, wash them in whiskey, and dress them with a money oil. They have a natural affinity for coins and currency, and may be used together.
- Lucky Stone, Fish Head Bone, Drumfish Otolith: The ear bones of several species of fish — notably the Freshwater Drumfish or Croaker, the Drum Redfish or Puppy Drum, and the larger Catfish — are carried and kept in pairs for good luck in gambling, business, and money matters. Like the Raccoon penis bone, they entered hoodoo through contact with Native Americans, who consider them very lucky.
- Nutmeg: This fragrant spice has been a valued article of trade for hundreds of years. Because it keeps its scent best if stored in whole form, the Nutmeg, like the Buckeye and High John the Conqueror, is a symbol of health, strength, and money luck that is oiled and carried in a mojo, or kept in a pocket while playing games of chance.
- Pyrite: A non-magnetic iron ore, pyrite is also known as fool’s gold because its yellow glint resembles gold. This stone may not have a large monetary value, but it does have a large magical value. A fist-sized piece goes on your altar. Small pieces go in mojo bags. When crushed to grit, it is used to dress vigil candles, sprinkle on a lodestone, dust into your wallet, or scatter on the change in your business cash register.
- Rabbit Foot: An old rural charm for hunting magic and good luck, it is carried on the person, often on a key chain. You can rub it to change bad luck to good. There are numerous regional beliefs about how to hunt the Rabbit, which foot is luckiest, and which colour fur is best; but, basically, the Rabbit foot brings money luck no matter how you use it.
- Rattlesnake Rattle: The Rattlesnake is a New World species and entered hoodoo through contact with Native American magic. It is a symbol of bravery (“Don’t tread on me”) and of winning, especially in musical contests or at the gambling table. Musicians place a rattle in the body of a guitar or fiddle; gamblers keep one in a glass or metal tube.
- Raccoon Penis Bone: Mammalian penis bones are used in love spells or for sexual prowess. The Raccoon is an American species brought into hoodoo from Native American magic. In addition to its employment in spells of love and marital fidelity, the Raccoon penis bone, when wrapped with paper currency, is a good luck charm for gambling.
- Rose of Jericho: This North African plant shrivels to a ball during times of drought and looks dead. As soon as it gets wet it will reopen and turn green. It can stay dormant for years and still come back to life, which is why it is also called the Resurrection Plant. The Rose of Jericho is an excellent magical tool for keeping money.
- Wishbone: The furcula or fused clavicle bone of a bird, typically a Turkey or Chicken, is saved after the bird is cooked and allowed to dry until it is easy to snap. Two people each make a silent wish and pull the wishbone. Whoever ends up with the larger piece will have his or her wish granted. In America this rite is often associated with Thanksgiving.
- Sand Dollar: This is the shell of a flattened species of Sea Urchin. Too large and fragile to carry on the person, it makes a great altar piece. Fossilized Sand Dollars are equally popular on money altars.
Hoodoo Psychic Miss Phoenix is the author of Hoodoo Shrines and Altars: Sacred Spaces in Conjure and Rootwork and the proprietor of Milk & Honey in Sebastopol, CA.