For this amulet necklace, I’ve basically deconstructed a classic rural Southern-style conjure bag, aka a mojo or toby, and made jewelry out of it.
This is backwoods conjure the way it used to be. It’s miles away from the shiny city general store with imported spices and soaps and fabrics. This is the part of the country where floorwash is made with chamber lye, not ammonia and certainly not Florida Water. New curtains come from recycled worn-out clothes, and those clothes come from recycled flour and feed sacks.
Old barn and field gear provides tiny scraps of leather. Copper, brass, and steel are scavenged from derelict machinery and buildings. Scraps of fabric — saved in an old cookie tin with thimbles and thread — tell 50 years of stories in a square inch: palest blue silk of a once-treasured gown; crisp white poplin once someone’s Sunday best; a thin strip of woven blue and gold once a hair ribbon won at the county fair. Whether passed on or simply moved on, those who once owned these bits and scraps are no longer here. And nobody was listening for their voices before you and I got here. Not everybody can hear them, after all.
This necklace is for those who can – or who want to. It’s for the medium, the storyteller, the card reader, the local historian, for the mad prophet, the family memory-keeper, the soothsayer. It’s for those who live too much in their own heads and those who don’t live enough in theirs, for those who want to remember and those who cannot forget. It’s for magpies of myth, keepers of scraps, and weavers of visions, those who can read the narrative in excavated brick or crumbling beams or rough-loomed fabric remnants. It’s for those who don’t go the long way round to avoid the cemetery at night and who aren’t afraid to slow down and chance hearing whispers in the wind.Continue reading “The Blue Charm: Rustic Hoodoo Amulet Necklace”
Now available at Seraphin Station.
The Red Charm, a rustic deconstructed mojo for protection and luck, with a “chain” made of mixed fibers, a dime, devil’s shoestring, animal bones, glass, bronze, brass, copper, and wood,
is now available at SeraphinStation.com has been sold.
This delicate, lightweight necklace features a vintage aluminum holy medal with St. Gerebernus on one side and St. Dymphna on the other. I got the medal from Belgium but it was made in Germany. I can’t date it precisely, but my guess is between 1950 and 1990.
The St. Gerebernus side is in Latin and the St. Dymphna side in English, both saying “pray for us.” It’s one inch long and hangs from a dainty 18 inch silver-tone ball chain necklace, set off with a tiny beaded drop with frosted Czech glass beads in blue-green and bronze.
St. Dymphna is a very popular saint to call on against madness, anxiety, depression, and epilepsy. She’s also the patron saint of runaways and survivors of incest and sexual abuse. She is called on by those who suffer from mental illness and by those who treat the sufferers of mental illness.
Dymphna – whose name would have been something like Damhnait or Davnet before it was Latinized – is thought to have lived some time between 500 and 720-ish A.D. in Ireland. (The sources and scholars don’t agree and there’s no historical record dating anywhere close to when she would have lived, if she’s even really a historical figure — there’s only oral tradition and legend until hundreds of years later). [*] She fled to Belgium as a young teenager from a very troubled home life. accompanied by her confessor, the elderly priest St. Gerebernus or Gereberne.
The martyrologies are chock full of murderous guys who like to kill totally peaceful Christians in very gruesome ways, but even with all the bloodshed and decapitation and suffering in these annals, St. Dymphna’s father still manages to stand out as one of the biggest ass-hats of them all.
He apparently went a little nuts after his beloved wife, who’d been a Christian, died. Pressed to remarry, he ultimately decided only his own teenage daughter, who so strongly resembled his dead wife, would fit the bill.
Well, incest is gross, but even beyond that, Dymphna had also become a Christian and dedicated her virginity to Christ, so this whole thing was a double helping of nope as far as she was concerned. She and Gerebernus took off for Belgium and hid out at the monastery of St. Martin for a while. But her father caught up with them, had his servants kill the priest, and cut off his own daughter’s head. So that’s why she’s invoked against madness, because she steadfastly faced the madness of her father, keeping her cool in the face of such onslaught, and was martyred in the preservation of her virginity.
St. Gerebernus is the patron saint of Sonsbeck in what’s today North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
Epileptics, the insane, and the possessed have been said to receive miraculous cures at Dymphna’s tomb, and in older literature and art especially, she’s portrayed as vanquishing a demon at her feet and is given the title of Demon Slayer. You can’t tell it from modern holy cards these days, but Dymphna is kind of a badass. Just leaving aside for the moment the problems with personifying or even demonizing mental illness, the fact remains that practically speaking, she’s a great source of comfort and aid to many sufferers of mental disorders and anxiety as well as their loved ones who pray for them.
C. Christopher Smith at the Englewood Review of Books put her forward as a fitting patron saint for the #MeToo movement.
Saints Dymphna, Michael, and Benedict are a trio that’s hard to beat when it comes to protection / defense work. Between the three of them, they’re quite the spiritual army and they can anchor and defend the faithful in body, soul, and mind against chaotic onslaught and demonic siege.
For even more info and resources on saints and their lore in folk religious practice, visit The Chapel: Karma Zain and follow the tags.
The Acta Sanctorum Hiberniae of John Colgan, reproduced at the Ordnance Survey, Dublin. Reflex facsimiles, Irish Manuscript Commission 5, 1947.
“St. Dymphna.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. Accessed 25 Apr. 2020.
O’Hanlon, John Canon. Lives of the Irish Saints, vol. 6. Dublin: James Duffy and Sons, 1873.
Smith, William and Henry Wace. A Dictionary of Christian Biography, Literature, Sects and Doctrines, vols. 1 and 2. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1877.
Novena in Honor of Saint Dymphna at CatholicSaints.info