Utne Blogs > Mind and Body

Witch Bottle: Breaking Spells With Ancient Smells

 by Keith Goetzman


Tags: Spirituality, around the globe, witchcraft, spells, Archaeology, British Archaeology,

Witch BottleIt apparently took some seriously bad mojo to go up against 17th-century witches. According to the Sept.-Oct. Archaeology magazine, U.K. researchers opened and analyzed the contents of a rare intact “witch bottle,” which was buried to ward off spells. Inside were “bent pins, a nail-pierced heart made of leather, fingernail clippings, belly-button lint, and hair, all swimming in a bath of 300-year-old, nicotine-tinged urine.” I don’t know about witches, but I’m certainly going to stay away from it.

British Archaeology magazine, which originally reported the witch bottle story, writes in a follow-up that witch bottle beliefs apparently live on in the U.K. and beyond:

A builder wrote to say he had renovated a house in Cardiff, built in 1895, that had witch bottles buried under two of its fireplaces. Even more astonishing, a police inspector in Sebringville, Ontario, Canada, wrote to say he had–just weeks ago–apprehended a man with a plastic bottle containing urine and razor blades, “for protection from bad people.”

Sources: Archaeology, British Archaeology

Image by the Greenwich Foundation, courtesy of British Archaeology.

kit kellison
8/31/2009 6:39:52 PM

Modern pagans still use similar recipes: from http://www.everythingunderthemoon.net/forum/viewtopic.p How to Make a Witch’s Bottle Gather Rosemary, needles and pins. Fill a small jar with these three ingredients saying the following as you work: "Pins, needles, rosemary and wine. In this Witch's Bottle of mine; Guard against harm and enmity; This is my will, So mote it be!" Visualize these herbs doing just that. When the jar is full, pour in red wine. Then cap or cork the jar and drip wax from a black or red candle around the seal. Bury the jar at the farthest corner of your property or place it in an inconspicuous spot in the house. The Witch's bottle destroys negativity and evil; The pins and needles impale evil, the wine drowns it and the rosemary sends it far from your property.hp?t=2263 ********************************************************** Neo-Paganism is on of the fastest growing religions in the USA> They are a collection of nature-respecting religions that take their gods and goddesses from any of the Native American or ancient world's pantheons. Many are headed by preistesses and believe there is too much paternalistism in society. A belief in the actual physical manifestation of the chosen god/goddess is optional. Many neo-pagans choose their god or pantheon as a symbol of themselves or the kind of energy they want to manifest in the world through their rituals or actions. Pagan gatherings are known for their acceptance of differences, funky costumes and nudity, as well as emphasis on natural healing. _________________