It’s literally piss and vinegar. You’re welcome.
I’ve labeled myself many things over the years. I’ve been a Wiccan, a Witch, a Pagan, and a Druid. Some people have referred to me as a Druwitch. I kinda like it. But really I’m a Druid, and from time to time I see the need for some potent protection magic, Witchy or not. The last couple of years have been “special” for me. You need to imagine that special being said in an incredibly nasal voice by a principle talking about a particularly horrible child that has been defacing the school for years and has never been caught. It’s been “special” like that.
I’m a firm believer in doing the work. I think witch wars are almost always nonsense and drama. I believe the best answer to a curse is to laugh it off. But every once in a while, that darn spidey sense of spiritwork training kicks in.
You might actually be cursed if:
- You have ongoing bad luck that just seems to never end
- You keep getting these really ominous omens
- You actually had something go missing, like hair, that is a spell component
- You go to spiritworkers/magicians/priests from other traditions than yours and they’re like, “Damn! That’s a nasty curse!”
- You go to more spiritworkers/magicians/priests and they agree without knowing they agree.
- You fall ill with a mysterious illness that cannot be explained by medical science even after you and your medical professionals give it a really good try
- If you do have really good wards, you see the people around you getting bad luck/mysterious illness/bad dreams in a splash effect, like the curse is water rebounding off your raincoat.
- You have horrible dreams about being cursed that are distinctly different from any previous dreams
- You’ve exhausted every other possible source of the causes of things you think might be curse driven
Then it’s time for some magic! Frankly I do quite a bit of basic protective and purificatory magic in my daily workings. It’s built in. But sometimes a bit more is good.
In this case, I made a witch bottle. Basically it’s a bottle, box, or jar filled with certain things and kept in a basement or buried around a person’s property. It’s meant to provide non-aggressive protection. By this I mean it won’t go out and bite anyone in the metaphorical leg. It only reacts when someone or something shouldn’t be there and is dangerous. It functions, in many ways, like a filtration system for the energetic systems of a household or property.
The earliest records of the concept of the witch bottle emerge in the 1600s in England and Germany. We have evidence that they traveled with immigrants to this continent. Witch bottles have been found in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Generally they have been used as curse breaking devices. Some were made to have a face on them, others were not. Wooden boxes, earthenware jugs and glass are materials that have been used. They are often filled with broken things, sharp things, and sometimes herbs like rosemary or mugwort, or if there is a specific person who was believed to have sent a curse then hair clippings or other bits connected to the curser will be put into the bottle in order to direct the curse breaking more effectively.
In the case where there was a specific curse that was being broken the bottle was sometimes buried or hidden, but it was also put into fire until it burst. (I truly don’t recommend that method, holy hidden shrapnel, Batman!)
In the case where there was a more generic protection work being done the hiding of the witch bottle was key, and then either watching to make sure it doesn’t break, or if the bottle was buried, the making of a new bottle from time to time was required.
So that’s a brief summary of what we know about what people did before.
Here’s my recipe:
1 mason jar with metal ring and lid (not plastic lid)
protective eye gear, gloves, and respiration mask
Assorted things from this list or other sharp pointy things
broken crockery like old bowls, plant pots, etc
some other, expendable mason jars
other assorted broken and/or sharp pointy things
A wax candle
This is literally a recipe for destruction, so please do not try this at home without safety equipment and a sensible attitude. The ziplock bags and hammer are for breaking the extra jars, by triple bagging you minimize any shattering mess or dust. The nails and screws should ideally be bent. Everything that goes into the jar should be broken. The point is to make a miniature labyrinth for anything that comes at you to get lost or broken on. When I made mine it was a bit like making the nastiest lasagna I’ve ever created. A layer of broken glass, 5 bent nails, broken crockery, mozzarella cheese, and repeat until filled. No don’t actually put cheese in this thing. That is a horrible bad idea. Repeat: no cheese.
Then the filling.
There’s been lots of liquids used to fill one of these things. Red wine simulates blood, I imagine. Water, vinegar, and urine are all options too. I will admit, I was literally pissed off and I used piss and vinegar. Yup. It was sorta like going to the doctor with a urine sample, only a little angrier and I wasn’t worried about being pregnant.
I mixed them together, poured them in and capped the whole things with the metal lid. The reason I wanted you to use a metal lid is because you’re going to seal that baby with dripped candle wax. Super witchy, am I right? Also, you watch your seal. If it breaks, that’s a bad sign, and you might want to do some purification or uncrossing work.
So that’s mostly what I did to make a witch bottle. Except for one little other thing. I might have given it just a teensy weensy bit of a soul. With big teeth. Did I mention I was pissed?
This is the kind of thing that if you don’t do spiritwork on a regular basis you might not want to do. It was extra. Value added, one might say. I called a bit of energy together and shaped it into a being. I asked if it would like to live in that mason jar filled with broken stuff and eat anything bad that got caught in the witch bottle. It smiled a big, toothy smile and we had a deal.
By linking the spirit with the bottle it is assured that it is only a defensive magic. I much prefer defensive magic than offensive, and even then I am always very careful to clearly indicate to all guardian spirits that only beings that are actively trying to be harmful are fair game. It’s awfully easy to make something nasty and let it loose into the ether when you’re angry.
We often think of ourselves as the ones getting targeted by curses, I’ve experienced such things, and it’s just no fun. At the same time, If we believe that spirits and curses can have real effects we all need to take responsibility for ourselves and not just hurl angry thoughtforms around. The witch bottle allowed me to channel that anger into a useful and defensive format, which in my opinion was a very good thing indeed.