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Got my mojo working

Posted by SMT on December 09, 1999

In Reply to: Got my mojo working posted by E. on December 06, 1999

: : I would like to know what this phrase means. Mojo in the dictionary means magic or voodoo. Is this the meaning of this phrase as it is used today. Need a quick reply for an article I am writing. Thanks for you help.

: "MOJO - Originally a magical charm. By extension, a source of personal magic that one can tap into, enabling you to work magic on something or to put somebody under your spell. 'You got yo mojo workin, but it ain gon work on me!' Derived from moco'o, literally, 'medicine man,' in the Fula language of West Africa." From "Black Talk: Words and Phrases from the Amen Corner" by Geneva Smitherman. (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994)

: A more extensive discussion of root doctors and mojos is in "Blue Roots: African Folk Magic of the Gullah People" a book about a group of people South Carolina by Roger Pinckney. (Llewllyn Publications, 1998). "The root doctor probably got his name from the herbal origins of his practice.But 'the root' may not contain any herbs at all. The root is a charm, a mojo, a gris-gris, a hand, meant to be carried, worn, chewed, or buried, depending on its use and intent."

The phrase "got my mojo working" may come from a blues song (John Lee Hooker?) by the same name. The chorus, as I recall goes:

I got my mojo working
I got my mojo working
I got my mojo working
But ain't working on you