Which bottle’s which? Witch bottles were often used to protect from evil, but were also used to entice good luck, love, and money…
The witch bottle is one of the oldest recorded magickal talismans. The first known mention of them is in a witchcraft book dating back to 1680. But bottles themselves have been found that date back to the early 1500s.
It is thought that they arrived in Britain from Germany, around the time of the Protestant Reformation. They became more widely used around the time of the witch hunts in the 1700s. And were used not just as a way of healing and protecting the affected person, but also of sending the curse back to the witch or wizard who had cast it.
Witches tended to be blamed for many things, from illnesses to general bad luck, so the witch bottle became a popular method of countermagickal protection. They would be filled with items (known as “correspondences” when used in this way) including bent, rusty nails, herbs, sulphur and hair and or urine from the afflicted person.
Sometimes it would be recommended that the bottle was burned for the spell to have its full effect on the witch who cast it. But this could be a risky business, as it was not unknown for these bottles to explode. Not surprising really, particularly if sulphur had been used.
This was taken as a sign that the curse had not been removed, and it would then be advised the prepare another bottle and bury it instead. Far more sensible really…
They were also used to prevent being cursed in the first place. The bottle would be prepared, and then buried a distance from the house, to prevent the evil from even entering the house, and as it was buried, the following would be spoken:
Pins, needles, rosemary, wine;
In this witch’s bottle of mine.
Guard against harm and enmity;
This is my will, so mote it be!
But witch bottles weren’t only used to protect from evil, they could also be used to entice good luck, love, money or any other positive luck that was desired.
So you see, the witch bottle could be seen as the worst enemy of anyone involved in witchcraft, but at the same time as the messenger and harbinger of all that is good.
Maybe it depends on if you’re a bottle half full or a bottle half empty type of person? Whichever it is, you can be sure that there is a witch bottle recipe to help you achieve whatever you wish for.
Writer and purveyor of the magickal arts.