Juju is a word of West African origin that refers to the supernatural power ascribed to an object.
Juju is an aura or other magical property, usually having to do with spirits or luck, which is bound to a specific object; it is also a term for the object. Juju also refers to the spirits and ghosts in West African lore as a general name. The object that contains the juju, or fetish
, can be anything from an elephant’s head to an extinguisher. One of the most popular juju objects in West Africa, for example, is a monkey
. In general, juju can only be created by a witch doctor
; few exceptions exist. Juju can be summoned by a witch doctor for several purposes. Good juju can cure ailments of mind and body; anything from fractured limbs to a headache can be corrected. Bad juju is used to exact revenge, soothe jealousy, and cause misfortune. Contrary to common belief, voodoo
is not related to juju, despite the linguistic and spiritual similarities. Juju has acquired some karmic attributes in more recent times. Good juju can stem from almost any good deed: saving a kitten, or returning a lost book. Bad juju can be spread just as easily. These ideas revolve around the luck and fortune portions of juju. The use of juju to describe an object usually involves small items worn or carried; these generally contain medicines produced by witch doctors.