Saint Wallet

The 'travel altar' or 'saint wallet' is a bit of Mexican Catholic folk-magic that utilises religious imagery to effect magical results. Shaped just like a regular money-wallet when folded and snapped shut, this crochet-edged vinyl-and-rayon compendium of symbols unfolds to its full 9cm x 5cm and reveals the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Virgin of Guadalupe, a tiny saint medal hung from glass seed-beads, two swatches of diminutive reproductions of old hand-tinted photo-postcards of saints, a piece of a genuine novena prayer folded up and wrapped in yellow cellophane, and two more-or-less random saint-prints, one within the wallet itself and the other displayed on the vinyl back-flap when the item is opened. The matter of selecting which saint to carry on one's person is complex. Certain saints are invoked for the protection of travellers, others to cure specific diseases, and still others to bring money to the bearer.