The Vocabularist: Getting your mojo to work


‘Michael Gove said leaving the EU could help Britain “recover its mojo”. But how did this phrase get so popular?

In African-American folklore a mojo – sometimes jomo or monjo, mojo bag or mojo hand – is an elaborate lucky charm which often needs careful concealment and looking after to ensure it keeps “working”. By extension it can mean personal spirit or power.

The Journal of American Folklore in 1962 said that a North Carolina mojo could contain roots, various small dried animals, dimes, red dirt, steel wool, gray clay and pumpkin seeds in a little black, brown or green bag.

An earlier description quoted by hoodoo expert HM Hyatt said a mojo might contain particular roots, a lodestone and incense powder, and be sewn up in red flannel.’

Find out more here!


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