Lucky Charms

7 Feb

Senegalese Gris Gris I was aware of gris-gris as a concept related to Voodoo, but some recent research turned up a bit of surprising info.

Gris-gris, also spelled grigri, is a voodoo amulet originating in Africa which supposedly protects the wearer from evil or brings luck – wikipedia

Which sounds superstitious, but somewhat reasonable when dealing with a world where certain nations continue to believe in items like The Evil Eye, etc.

The next bit from the wiki-article is a little misleading, however.

Originally the gris-gris was adorned with Islamic scripture and was used to ward off evil spirits (djinn) or bad luck. Historians of the time noted that they were frequently worn by non-believers and believers alike, and were also found attached to buildings. – wikipedia

You might get the impression from this blurb that the amulets were an archaic tradition that fell out of fashion hundreds of years ago – not so.

Can you guess what ranked in Senegal’s top three contraceptive methods for 1982? I’ll give you a hint: the other two were herbs and abstinence.

According to a 1982 survey, gris-gris were one of the top three methods of contraception known to women in Senegal. […] Over 60% of women reported having knowledge of such methods; modern and “effective means of contraception” were not well known, with the pill the best-known of those, a little over 40% of women reporting knowledge of it. – wikipedia

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2 Responses to “Lucky Charms”

  1. bmj2k February 7, 2011 at 23:22 #

    Interesting. I assumed that the gris-gris originated with Haitian voodoo but it was absorbed into the religion, thus explaining the Islamic scripture. Since Haitian voodoo had no Islamic influence, I assume that the later ones created in Haiti didn’t have the scripture.

    • JRD Skinner February 8, 2011 at 10:04 #

      I’ve seen gris-gris used to describe almost any fetish in Haitian/New Orleans voodoo, but I don’t know if that’s common usage, or if it’s a case of goth-kids on the internet who were mixing up concepts.

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