Traditional witch bottles date back to the late 16th century in England and have also been found in the US. The Archaeology Institute of America has an interesting article on a US version found in Pennsylvania that dates back to ~1750 (http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/halloween/witch_bottle.html). Witch bottles were mainly used to protect witches against evil or negative energy. Binding the bottles to the victim with urine, blood, or hair and filled with rusty nails and other nasty things, the bottles were intended to reflect ill intentions back onto the sender.
The witch bottles were a lot of fun to make and it helped the kids feel a little safer after what happened last week. They feel like they are taking charge of our safety. Our bottles are a little more friendly and instead are intended to take the negative energy directed toward us and transform it into good, sending it back out as positive energy. We also used apple cider vinegar instead of urine, blood, or hair.
- A glass jar with a lid or cork – traditionally witch bottles are made from round glass jugs or jars.
- Pins, needles, and/or nails a.k.a. “nasties”
- Dirt from home
- 7 herbs of protection. We used:
- Bay leaves
- Juniper (especially useful in protection against thieves)
- Glitter (or something shiny like colored glass)
- Tangled yarn or thread
- Apple cider vinegar
- Red candle
- Matches or a lighter
Note: Adult only steps are notated by “***”
We used old sauce jars, because that’s what we had available.
*** Place the nasties in the bottom of the jar.***
Pour enough dirt from the home to cover the nasties, representing their burial.
Add in the seven protection herbs. 7 represents power and protection so we chose 7 protection herbs.
Add the salt for purification.
Add the glitter to transform the negative energy into colorful positive energy and reflect the good back out.
Add in the tangled thread to confuse, trap, or trip the negative energy.
Pour the apple cider vinegar (stinky!) over everything. This drowns the buried negative energy and mixes all the herbs and glitter together.
***Light the red candle and seal the jars with the wax while saying a spell.*** I had the kids each visualize and think good happy thoughts while I said the spell and sealed the jars. They thought about thieves realizing what they did wrong and thinking twice before they do it to someone else. They thought about no one sending negative energy at us and transforming negative energy into positive. They also thought about getting our things back.
As they visualized, I sealed and said:
Take these items, herbs and spell
Protect our house and guard it well
Seven herbs for protection in the jar
Dirt over needles to keep harm buried far
Tangled thread to confuse and trap
Glitter to reflect only good back
This protection bottle bound to me
Guard from harm, so mote it be.
Hermes decided to really mix it all up by shaking his jar. His idea was that it would allow the nasties to come in contact with all of the good things so that they weren’t bad anymore. The rest of the kids wanted to mix theirs too.
After it was all complete, I drew the rune of protection on the lids and set them outside to be charged by the full moon light. I spent some time meditating with the jars and visualized the moonlight pouring into them.
In the morning, we buried the five jars in the very corners of our property and also under the window through which the burglars entered. We held hands and made a circle around the buried jar, asking the Goddess and God for blessings and protection.
One last thing that I wanted the children to understand was that making the witch bottles will help guard against negative energy, but should not be our only line of defense. Making sure the windows and doors are shut and locked is just as important. We're also going to invest in a security system.
The witch bottles were a lot of fun to make and it helped the kids feel a little safer after what happened last week. They feel like they are taking charge of our safety.