Bochio are More Than Just Charms

As more people reclaim their ancestral faiths or explore different ones where their soul feels more at home, they find new tools. Well, tools that are new to them anyway. One that is slowly gaining popularity is the bochio.

Bochio (also spelled bocchio or bocio) are basically small dolls or figurines that serve as charms, amulets, or talismans.  They originated in west Africa, and are common objects in the antiques and artifacts market.  Often, people buy them thinking that they are simply figurines.  In more than one case, someone who has acquired one has received a blessing specific to it without even knowing that it was the bochio that helped to draw the energy to that purpose.

Bochio are generally made in secret.  Sometimes they are filled with objects intended to attract a positive energy or repel a negative one.  Sometimes they are solid, but the artist is putting energy into the object while they carve or sculpt it.

Aside of their magical usefulness, they serve the psychological purpose of acting as visualization tools and reminders of a goal or a wish.  Having them around can cheer up a room, keep a couple mindful to be considerate to one another, or even remind you to lock your doors when you leave the house.

If you have reasonable artistic talent, you can make your own bocio at home.  You can model it after an Orisha, or even a fairy, gnome, or sentinel depending on its purpose.  You’ll just need some DAS clay or other air drying clay, and objects that have to do with its purpose.

For instance, if you want to make a home protection bocio, you would gather some locks and perhaps various small household objects.  Think of how you would ornament the bocio with them, or use these as part of the sculpture.  You may also wish to add Eshu friendly ingredients to the clay since he is a well known guardian of gateways.  Oba is also a good Orisha to honor while crafting a bocio since she is the Orisha of home and hearth.

Once you’ve finished sculpting it, paint it colorfully, and if you like, dress it nicely.  Traditionally, bocio looked a bit…baroque, but yours doesn’t have to be.  It should at least look a bit flamboyant or wild.  Have fun with it.

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