Sunday, November 6, 2011
The Devil Pod, also known as Bat Nut, Goat Head, Bull Nut, and Buffalo Nut, is the seed pod of Trapa bicornis, an aquatic Asian plant. Glossy and black, it averages 2 1/2 - 3 inches from tip to tip, and when dried and oiled, its surface texture is similar to that of a chestnut or buckeye. However, depending on the way it is viewed, this naturally sculpted botanical oddity looks like nothing so much as a leering goat-horned devil, an enraged bull demon, a gargoyla, a flying bat, or an alien chupacabra! The illusion of an evil face appears on both sides of the pod, and the two faces are usually quite different in visage.
In China, the Bat is a lucky animal, because the name "Bat" (Fu) sounds just like the word for happiness (Fu), so to the Chinese, who know this plant as the Ling Nut, the image it shows is of a Bat and it is considered a lucky food to eat.
Although the seed inside the pod is edible when cooked, the Bat Nut's rarity in the United States and its bizarre shape have led to its use as an offering on altars to some of the darker gods. While it is not native to Africa, Europe, or South America, it would not be out of place on a modern altar dedicated to cthonic tricksters such as Eshu-Ellegua-Legba of West Africa, Hades-Pluto of the ancient Mediterranean, or Maximon of Guatemala.
A more positive use for the Devil Pod is to ward off evil, and for that purpose it can be placed above a doorway, facing outward as an apotropaic guardian, much in the manner of ancient Tibetan door demons. Likewise, it makes a splendid inclusion in mojo bags of the types commonly known as "Jinx Breaker," "Keep Away Enemies," or "Run Devil Run."
I've made mojo bags for friends for special occasions. One friend, carries a mojo bag for safe plane flights. I would suggest placing a gargoyle seed, a photo copy of the plane ticket and a piece of amethyst inside a mojo bag. I'm not entirely certain of what the people at the TSA might think, but should it be in your suitcase, it should offer you the same protection, as you are both headed to the same destination at the same time.
at 3:30:00 AM