Amulets, Omens and Various Superstitions Among the Ewe


“Since the name even of a person, should fall into bad hands, may be used to the detriment of the bearer, of course anything that has belonged to a man, especially anything that has formed part of or has come out of his saliva, or the feces, can be used for a similar purpose.

Some nail-parings that belonged to a man recall that man to the mind of the native; and the subjective connection, which was terminated when those parings were cut, is still also unbroken; and that anything that is done to them will be felt by the body to which they belongs. Hence, it is usual for pieces of hair and nails to be carefully buried or burned, in order that they may not fall into the hands of sorcerers; and even the kings’ saliva is carefully gathered up and hidden or buried.”

Magic powders are very numerous. One kind when blown against a door or window, causes it to fly open, no matter how securely it may be fastened; another, when thrown upon the footprints of an enemy, makes him mad; a third, used in the same day, neutralizes the evil effects of the second; and a fourth destroys the sight of all who look upon it.

A.B. Ellis. The Ewe-Speaking Peoples of The Slave Coast of West Africa (1965 pg. 94:99