"Gris-gris, also spelled gri gri, is a voodoo amulet originating in Africa which supposedly protects the wearer from evil or brings luck" wikipedia
The same sort of dualism can be found between the alcoholic 'spirits' drinking of which dissolves the rigid censor of mind that we may enter into various spirit domains, be they to channel from ghosts or subconscious. Use of the same word for place, action and object indicates roots where sharing of concept was of greater comprehension than developed language enabled ability to wax lyrical. Primal methods for advanced ability.
The term 'gris gris' comes from African shamen who were taken as slaves to the America's, where creole cultures were a melting pot of humanity, reinventing itself into new forms. An athame can be said to be a gris-gris object. In the vodon religion from where the word gris-gris originates, a machette is used, is also described and labelled by the same word. Basically they are fetish items (see F is for Fetish) as well as particular streams or types of spirit.
In my dealings with the spirit world I have learned that Haitian vodou beliefs are the closest to my experiences, however I am not of the vodon religion in that I follow my own pantheon rather than embracing the Haitian one. While official vodon religion has its established pantheon, my own experiences indicate that use of my own deities and their appropriate fetish artifacts where valid, is more meaningful and preferable than somebody else dogma.
The vodon religion swept through the secretive gestation phase of Afro-American creole slave-culture as a unifier; much the same way (minus violence) that christianity swept through and embedded its concepts, most vitally those of christ-consciousness and vagin-mari worship, into so many cultures including those described as 'voodoo'. Designed to mutate colloquially; as environment, human nature and life experience revelations, define and redefine core principle concepts that we can all relate to throughout history; always will do so into future generations.
"'From Silence to Sorcery' is an album by John Zorn. 'Gris-Gris' is a work for thirteen tuned drums performed by William Winant inspired by the music of Korean Shamanism, Haitian Voodoo and a scene from Howard Hawks' film 'To Have and Have Not'." wikipedia Listen to John Zorn 'Gris-Gris'