Sachet in My Pocket

Sachet, mojo bag, little jack, gris gris, mojo hand, sack of tricks, root. These are multiple names for the same tool: a charm bag or sack of tricks. In Appalachian Folk Magic, we commonly use the terms tobie and sachet (we pronounce it like sA-shEt). Sachet derives from France, where it means “little bag”. This is the staple-tool of Appalachian Hoodoo. I don’t know one worker who doesn’t carry at least three of them everywhere for varied reasons.

Here in the mountains, a sachet can be either a bag or a packet of paper that’s folded and stuck in a pocket. The old folk didn’t have much money for fabric to make them, they could barely buy new clothes for themselves. Paper was plenty then. Old folks used newspapers, magazine clippings and pieces of brown paper bags. When it’s a bag it’s made in the same fashion as a gris gris. But with the packet sachet, it’s formed by folding or sewing the herbs up in the paper and binding it with red string. Remember what I said about that red string? You should.

To make a sachet (bag), you just take a piece of fabric about 4inx4in, either felt or whatever you got, and you place your ingredients in the center. Don’t put too much, or your sachet will be bulky and may come undone in your pocket, and I can tell you that’s no fun to be digging around for loose herbs in your jean pocket!

Once you got everything in the center that you’re using, bless each item and bring all four corners of the fabric together. Now doing this is gonna make four curls in the fabric between where you got the corners together. One by one, bring the folds in towards where you got the corners, and then your just bind it up with some twine or hemp. Wrap it tight around the neck, but leave a bit of string out so you can tie it once you’re done. And there’s your sachet.

With a paper sachet, you just get a peice of newspaper, or what ever you gotta hand,  about 6inx6in in measurements. The old folk didn’t measure much so they just eyeballed it and ripped it to size, which is what I still do. Now you’re gonna put your herbs and stuff in the center and just fold the paper over it until you have a nice little packet. Then you just bind it with string or twine. Some folks tie it off like normal, while others seal the string to the paper with wax. Either way works.

Now sachets are charged in somewhat the same way as mojo bags further down south. We bless them with the four elements of earth, fire, water and air. The best time and place to wake up a sachet are the in-between times and places. For the times, this could be right at dawn, noon, sunset or midnight. If you do it at midnight, go by the days so the energy of the two days don’t clash. For example, if your doing it for love don’t do it at midnight on Friday, cause Saturday’s energies will start pouring in to the work; and it’s energy is about binding, release and crossing. That would do nothing but bind or end love. Instead, you’d do it at midnight on Thursday, with the strength and endurance of Thursday paired with the loving energies of Friday as it starts pouring in. Friday is also good for money as most folks get their checks on Friday, especially the first Friday of the month.

Now between-places are anything in between something. A door way, the sandy bank of a river, crossroads, etc. At dawn and dust, noon and midnight, you can be anywhere at your whole area for miles becomes an in-between place. None of this is set in stone, as different families practice different ways. But some folk found it easier as during these times everyone’s either asleep or outside in the yard. So this gave the grannies a good amount of time to work the root in private, sewing and wrapping what needed it.

When making a sachet, there’s a rule of thumb that you don’t go over 13 ingredients. Simply because the bag will be way too bulky and will burst open. And make sure all the herbs are for one intention. I’ve had multiple people want one sachet for luck, love, money, protection, divination etc. Basically a fix-it-all mojo. I tell them no. It would not work. That’s the only thing I’ll ever guarantee you. Doing it that way, ain’t nothing gonna grow from that root.

Now see, if I put 13 herbs in a sachet, each one blessed for either love, luck, and so on, it will have a magical charge. But not enough to affect much. That little pinch of salt ain’t gonna protect you from no haunts, nor is that mayapple root by itself gonna make Jimmy head over heels for you. By themselves, they won’t work. And always keep your ingredients in an odd number, so, as they say, “the root can’t be cut in half”. Cause there’s no way to cut something odd in two.

Now if I had 13 herbs for love and control, you can bet your ass Jimmy’ll talk to you and ask you out. Because all those ingredients are working together for the same cause. One spark of electricity won’t turn on the light, but a flow of sparks will. So don’t make a mess of your work just cause you don’t wana carry multiple sachets. It’s actually easier and more comfortable than it sounds. Hell, I forget about mine. I’ve lost more sachets in the washer and dryer than you can shake a stick at.

Now once you got your sachet made, some folk like to name them. If it’s for love regarding a specific person, it’s best to name the little bag after then, especially if it contains some concerns of theirs. Whatever name you give it, it’s gotta be secret. Only you can know the name. Not sure why this is done here but we’ve always had somewhat of an animistic view of things. I think it’s from the Cherokee or Chickasaw. Not sure…

Once you have him named, it’s time to wake him up. You’re gonna need a candle dressed for the work, a glass of salt water, and some incense. Traditionally, the old folks used tobacco, but common frankincense or myrrh works just as well.

You’re gonna call the sachet by name and tell him to wake up in the name of the Creator. “By the Creator, Jack, wake on up. It’s time to wake up now and see the world.” Then you will pass him through the smoke for him to be swift as the mountain winds, then sprinkle him with the salt water to baptize him and birth the spirit in. Then you’re gonna “cook the root” by holding him over the candle flame. Don’t burn him, just get him warmed up into life. This is where you wana be careful with the fabric you use, as felt is very flammable.

Now hold him in your left hand and call his name three times. “Jack, jack, jack.” Then you breath life into it, still holding it in the left hand, to fill the “little bag” with a little soul.

Tell him hello, and what his job to do is. Now, you will put him away somewhere, wrapped up, and the next day you’ll do the process again. You’ll pass him through the elements, call his name, etc. You’ll do this for 3-9 days. After this, he’s awake. Don’t let anybody else see him or touch him (unless you’re making it for a client, in which case I tell him who he’s for). Keep it as close to your skin as possible. Some folks put them in their socks or jean pockets, while others give it a home in their bra or wear it about the neck. Whichever you prefer.

You’ll have to feed him once a week to keep the sachet working. Feed it by dusting it with sachet powders. You can also feed him by anointing the bag with holy water or whiskey. I don’t recommend using oils as it makes a complete mess and could cause the herbs inside to mold. If you use oil or holy water, anoint the neck of the bag, or the edges of the packet. I don’t think carrying mold in a bag would do too good for your working.

Now you don’t always have to name them either, I only do so when i feel led to by the Spirits. If you’re not naming it, simply pass it through the elements, praying your intentions and charging it with your energy for the working. The only times that I always name the sachet is when the work is for protection or love.

Another way we mountain folk like to protect our works is with silk. Now this was a new adaptation to Appalachian Hoodoo when silk became more affordable. Folks found that silk neither repels or accepts a magical charge. It acts sorta like a barrier. Ain’t nothing getting in or out. If he’s wrapped up in silk, ain’t nobody else’s energy getting in. As long as someone don’t open it, they can touch it or see it. This also keeps the energy from being grounded out should the bag fall on the ground.

So now you know how to make them sachets y’all have been hearing me ramble about for so long.

Now, to end this post I’ll give you some recipes for a sachet bag.

Beethoven’s pinky – this bag is for talent in musical skill, usually carried to the crossroads to make a deal with one of the spirits or carried during concerts. For this you’ll need rattlesnake skin, tarragon root, three beans, crossroads dirt, and master of the woods.

Peaceful Hand – to calm family quarrels and bring peace to the home. You’ll need frankincense, tobacco, chamomile, amethyst and goldenrod root. *feed with water from a river or waterfall*

Safe travel – Saltpeter, motherwort, dirt from 7 churches, pine needles, licorice root, feverfew, and egg shell powder. *feed with whiskey*

New love – rose petals, may apple root, yellow dock root, violets, and dirt from your home.

To order a handmade and fixed sachet from me, see the contact information at the bottom of this site.

Author: Jake Richards

Jake (Dr. Buck) follows family practice as a Yarb Doctor and Conjure man in the Appalachian Folk Magic tradition. He follows the legacy of his mother (a seventh daughter), that left behind by his grandfather, a baptist preacher who was a blood stopper, wort doctor, and thrush doctor; his grandmother, who was a knowledgeable melungeon woman in these works before Alzheimer’s set in; his great, great grandfather, also Melungeon, who witched for water in Washington County and his great grandmother who taught and worked from her roost at the foot of Devil’s Nest Mountain. Jake is the author of Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia; Doctoring the Devil: Notebooks of an Appalachian Conjure Man; and the Conjure Cards deck, all available for order and preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. When he's not writing, blogging, reading the bones or trying for clients: he is either traveling, gardening, sewing, book binding, reading, or sculpting. For questions, readings, recommendations for future posts, interviews and the like, you are welcome to email him below:

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