So many meanings for gris-gris

Little cloth bag of thirteen charms

Used as an amulet or for a curse or

As a method of birth control

Vodoun the religion

Voodoo-Hoodoo stereotypes

Black magic or good luck

Zombies, chicken bones

Dolls with pins

What is the truth, the head spins

I think of it as the original French word: gray*

I see it as a swirl of black and white

I see it as day and night

I see it as yang and yin

I see it as the divine curtain

Separating hell and heaven

Gray, like the Grateful Dead say

Everything has a touch of gray

Including magic

My gris-gris bag was too powerful

Syncretized with my own Gypsy culture

It now sits at the bottom of my closet

In my backpack of cremation clothes

To my sons:

Tie it around my neck

As I go into the flames

This is a last request

In sound mind I proclaim…   touch of grey, grateful dead, youtube

The “a” in “gray” is US English and the “e” in “grey” is British although the GDead used the British spelling  (just a bit of boring trivia)

© 2016 Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

Image: flickriver textures creative commons


  1. I’ve been seeing the words, “grateful dead” all over the blogging world lately, would that be a harbinger of something evil coming our way?


  2. “In the land of the night the ship of the sun is pulled by the grateful dead” is the quote borrowed for the name of Jerry Garcia’s Grateful Dead. I am too lazy or tired to look up the source, though 🙂


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