Despite their relatively simple use and purpose, witch’s bottles (or spell bottles) have a long and fascinating history. Essentially a counter-magick device used for protection from evil spirits and malintent, these little powerhouses are believed to have been utilized for centuries and in many different manners. Some were made to be buried with loved ones to guard against vicious spirits on the walk through the afterlife, others were created to be walled into a new home as a ward against unwelcome guests, and others still were one-time use bottles designed to combat a specific person or entity and then be disposed of.
As best we can tell, witch’s bottles have an English origin, with many of the oldest archaeological finds being dated back to the 1600’s. We’ve even found one completely intact in 2009. Typically made of either ceramics or glass, witch’s bottles contained things from the perceived victim such as hair, fingernail clippings and even urine, along with nails, pin and needles. Sometimes the nails and pins were bent, and sometimes they were stabbed through pieces of heart shaped fabric or leather. The intent with these bottles was obvious – dispel harm or malintent, to literally hold it away at the tip of something sharp.
Though these kinds of bottles aren’t really the norm anymore, the concept of a witch’s bottle is still practiced. Modern spell bottles can still be used to protect against negativity, or to find love, money, lost objects or practically anything else you could write or cast a non-bottle spell for. Glass is the recommended medium, with items of magickal potency dictated by your goal placed within.
There are also a couple of different schools of thought on what to do with your completed bottle. Some believe it’s better to place the bottle somewhere nearby, where it can draw in the energy it has been designed to catch. Others believe it should be taken as far away as possible and buried, to draw said energies completely away. Obviously the bottle’s intent will dictate its location to a point, but you should place any bottles you make where you feel they will do the most good. Either way, witch’s bottles are intended to be placed and not disturbed, so chose your spot carefully. Especially when their intent is draw negative energy, unearthing a witch’s bottle can be a serious thing.
Here are a few examples of modern witch’s bottles:
Witch’s Bottle to Protect Your Home
This bottle is not malicious at all; it is designed to attract all things positive, to store up that energy until it overflows continually into your space. This bottle should be placed somewhere within your home or just outside.
- Cinnamon sticks
- Amethyst or clear quartz
- Wine or moon water
- White or gold candle
Place all items except the candle in the jar, filling it ¾ to the top with wine or moon water. Seal the jar, then coat the seal with white candle wax. Place where it will not be disturbed.
Witch’s Bottle to Attract Love
This bottle functions much like a potion, though with more long-term effects, and can be designed to attract a specific kind of love or a general, all-encompassing kind. This bottle should also be placed in or near your living space.
- A handful of rose petals
- Rosemary (fresh works better)
- Lavender (fresh works better)
- Oil or rosewater
- Pink or red candle
Place all items except the candle in the jar, filling it ¾ to the top with oil or rose water. Seal the jar, then coat the seal with pink candle wax. Place where it will not be disturbed.
Samhain Witch’s Bottle
The object of this bottle is not only protection, but to send back any negative energy to whomever was originally sending it your way. Traditionally these are made for All Hallow’s Eve to protect against wandering spirits; as such some witches will create a new Samhain bottle every year.
- Sharp, rusty items like nails, razor blades, bent pins
- Sea salt
- Red string or ribbon
- A black candle
Place all items except the black candle inside the jar, and fill about ¾ to the top with wine or moon water. Seal tightly and drip candle wax along the seal. Bury the jar outside near one of your home’s doors (or in a flower pot if living without a yard).
Have you ever made a witch’s bottle? What was your intent for making it, and how well did it work?