Loaded cowrie shells are an idea I got from Rita’s Spiritual Goods. I actually bought one of hers, although I haven’t gotten it yet; in the meantime I wanted to make one of my own with a humpback cowrie I already had. I really like the idea, although I don’t know how traditional they are. I’ve been told they are, but I’ve only seen them in Rita’s shop and in another online store that I’m pretty sure got the idea from her. They feel traditional though, and of course cowrie shells are not uncommon in African-derived religions.
Inside I put crushed pine incense, frankincense, blessed Dead Sea salt crystals, and dried orange peel. Those are all cleansing/protecting ingredients.
The bottom is covered with blue linen from an old napkin, and I pressed the line of glue around the edge into dried pennyroyal, then dressed the shell with Blessed Oil. The smell of the stuff inside passes through the fabric, especially when you shake it up and get the juju flowing. The one I bought from Rita has healing ingredients, so I don’t feel like having two of them is going to be superfluous.