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Bottle Spells and Magick in Hoodoo Tradition

Author: Taliesin McKnight
Posted: October 20th. 2013
Times Viewed: 17,611

Bottle magick is a highly versatile and powerful form of spell work. Those who master this art swear by it. This method of spell casting is very practical, and is used to achieve "real-world" results, such as attaining love, getting rid of unwanted situations, or to get that pay raise at your job. It is believed to be an extremely powerful magick; and yet, it is very simple. In this brief article, I will explain several techniques that can be used immediately to effect real changes in your life. Let's get started.

A bottle spell is, quite simply, a spell in a bottle. The bottle or jar serves as a container for the magickal ingredients placed into it. Items that represent your desire or resonate with it, may including herbs, stones, wish papers, botanical oils, and other curios. Bottle magick is much more than just dumping items into a bottle, however. This has to be done with the proper intent and this has to be "infused" spiritually with your goal. This is seen as "breathing life" into the bottle. This is a very important concept. The bottle is a magickal entity and viewed as a living thing. Dumping ingredients into the bottle is only half the work.

Bottle spells are most popular in Hoodoo, which is a traditional, American form of witchcraft with mostly African and some European roots. This type of witchcraft is found all over the United States. Conjure or Hoodoo tradition uses different kinds of bottle spells. For example, honey jars are often used for love spells. They aren't only good for love, though. They are used specifically to "sweeten" someone towards you. For example, to sweeten 2 lovers, or to get a judge or boss to be sympathetic to your cause. Vinegar bottles are usually used for more destructive forms of magick. While Hoodoo is mostly used for positive things (Hoodoo is often given a bad rap) , there are darker sides to this, just like most magickal traditions.

In Central and South America, magical bottles or flasks are very popular. These are often filled with herbs, stones, and animal curios connected with your goal. These often also have small images of Catholic saints in them. In countries such as Guatemala and Peru, this form of spell work is very popular. These bottles are sometimes painted with rich symbolism and prayed over, using traditional Catholic prayers. Latin America has several very strong magickal traditions. They are not at all connected with Wicca or ceremonial magick. They are their own traditions.

Witch bottles are being discovered all over England from fairly recent times (the 17th and 18th centuries) . These "witch bottles" are almost always filled with the same exact ingredients: Urine, pins, broken glass, and other sharp objects. Sometimes, these bottles tested positive for sulfur. These were used as a form of protection from curses or malevolent magick sent a person's way. If someone was severely ill, it was often assumed that black magick must be the source. The person being cursed would urinate in a bottle. Shards of broken glass, nails, or pins would be placed in the bottle, and this was buried in one's yard or garden. Witch bottles are still popular today, and highly regarded.

How do you practice bottle magick? First you will need to get a bottle or a jar. This can be an empty whiskey bottle or wine bottle. The label is peeled off and it is cleansed, both physically and spiritually. This is your container. It is basically a "holder" of whatever properties you put into them. Depending on the particular items that you place inside and the intent that you give them, bottle spells can be used to obtain love, wealth, good luck, protection, or to effect healing. Jars are also often used. In fact, jars are often times the more common form. Honey jars, as mentioned above, are very popular in American Hoodoo. In fact, honey jars are probably the most famous and widely practiced form of this magick. I prefer to use mason jars in my rituals. Flasks are also often common. So, although this is usually referred to as "bottle magick, " jars and flasks are often used for this. The first step is, of course, to simply get a jar or bottle and cleanse it. Now you have your container.

What do you put into the jar or bottle? You should put items that symbolize your desire. For example, for a money spell, you may put money in it and paint dollar signs on the outside of the bottle. Or, for a love spell, you may place rose petals and little heart charms. There are many types of items that can be placed in your magick bottle. But they should always represent your goal. This is all a way for you to harness and direct your intent on what you want manifested in your life. Stones and herbs are often used. Many people like to put magickal botanical oils in their jars. Wish papers are often used. In most cases, a magickal link is necessary.

Herbs and stones are most often used. While herbs are widely used for their medical properties, such as to relieve pain or to help you to sleep at night, herbs (and stones) are also believed to have occult properties. Some plants, stones, and metals are for love; others are for money or protection. Within most magickal systems there is this idea that love herbs are used in love spells, prosperity stones or herbs are used for money spells. There are different schools of thought about this. Some people believe that the herbs, stones, and metals really do have those occult properties to them. Others seem to think that this is all just symbolic in the mind. Most magicians, however, tend to think that it is a bit of both.

Wish papers are a further expression of your specific desire. You may take a pen and paper and write out your wish onto the piece of paper. And it is that simple. A more complicated variation of this is the name paper. The name of the person or situation you want to influence is written 9 times (one line over the other) . Then, you will take the paper and turn it 90 degrees. Your name is then written OVER the name of the person or situation you are influencing 9 times. This is called "crossing the name, " and this creates a sort of magickal square. You will now write your desire in a circle around this name square in cursive, without spaces, and without lifting the pen from the paper. Do not worry about crossing your t's or dotting your i's until after you have completed the ring. You should now have a name square with a circle expressing your intent around it.

For example, if you work at the "First National Bank" and you want a job promotion, you may write "first national bank" 9 times (one over the other) . The paper is turned 90 degrees and your write your name over it 9 times. Then, in a circle around this, you would write, "give me the promotion give me the promotion give me the promotion give me the promotion." The name paper can get really complex. Of course, all this is not necessary. You may just simply write your wish on a slip of paper. I only mention the more complicated process of the name paper for interest's sake. With wish papers, the paper is folded toward you to bring something into your life, and folded away to diminish. You state your desire each time you fold the paper. In the above example, you would fold the paper toward you as you state your intent, "give me the job promotion." Turn the paper clockwise and state your goal again. Do this until you cannot fold the paper anymore. Wish papers and name papers are complicated, and serve as a magick science of their own.

Magickal links are almost always put into bottle spells. A magickal link is some kind of object that connects or links the spell to the person or situation being effected. For example, if doing a healing on a sick person, you might use their hair, fingernails, or piece of jewelry the person has worn for years as a "link" with that person. If you want to get a promotion at work, you need some kind of a magickal link to connect the spell with your work. A business card might suffice. Hair, blood, and fingernails are the best for this. Of course, a building or place does not have fingernails, so you will have to improvise. For a job promotion, you might use your boss's newspaper or signature. Magickal links are extremely important in bottle spells.

How do you give your bottle spell life? There is a reason that magick bottles are often called "prayer bottles." Folks often recite prayers to their deities. Christians often recite an appropriate Psalm. What is extremely important is to "push" your desire into the bottle. You are infusing the bottle with life. Focus your mind on your goal and, through your energies in your aura, gently "push" that desire or energy into the bottle. Visualize the bottle glowing with the energy of your desire. The physical ingredients in the bottle serve as the body. Now you have to give it a soul. You are infusing your bottle with a soul, which is the energy from your own aura imprinted with your desire. This creates a living magickal entity.

How do you dispose of the bottle once you are done? Most folks like to bury their bottles. These can be buried in your yard, in a cemetery, or at a crossroads, depending on your intent. Sometimes bottle spells are on-going. You may turn this into a "shakable" bottle spell. Simply leave your spell jar or bottle on your altar to do its work. Once a week or every so often, take the bottle and shake it while stating your intention. This wakes up the bottle and keeps it working. Candle magick is most often combined with this. Actually, this is extremely popular. You will take the appropriate colored candle, and burn this on top of the jar or in the neck of the bottle. Candles may be burned every day or once per week to instill further power into your bottle. Now, how about some examples to see how this all fits together?

Honey jars are probably the most popular form of bottle or jar magick. This is most often used for love spells or to "sweeten" someone toward you. A honey jar to keep a relationship between a couple happy would be as follows. Take a jar of honey, or buy some honey and fill your own magickally charged jar at home. The jar is filled all the way to the shoulder. Now, take a pen and paper. Write the name of your partner 9 times (one line above the other) . Then, turn the paper 90 degrees and write your name over his or her name 9 times, making a magickal square.

Now, take a bowl and trace a ring or circle around this (you want it to be perfect!) , and use this as a guideline to write your intent in cursive in a circle around the square, such as "long happy relationship long happy relationship long happy relationship." Take one of your hairs and one of his or her hairs (These serve as magickal links) and put these in the name paper with 2 rose petals. State your intention verbally while folding the paper toward you. Turn clockwise and, again, state your intention while folding the paper toward you. Do this until you cannot fold the paper anymore.

Take a spoon and taste the honey, saying something like: "As this honey is sweet to me, so shall our relationship be sweet!" Stick the name paper deep down into the honey jar. Tighten the lid on the jar, and hold it in your hands. Focus on a long and happy relationship and "push" this energy into the bottle. See it pulsating with the energy of your desire. You may now burn a red or pink candle on top of this while focusing on your desire. You may burn a love candle on this once per week, or as often as you want. Many folks have love jars like this kept going for months, or even years!

A prosperity jar may be made by taking money-drawing herbs and stones, and putting these in the jar. Take some dollar bills and some coins, and place these in there as well to represent your wish. Take a pen and paper and write out your desire. Now, fill the jar with magickal money oils, if you desire. Tighten the lid, and push your energy into the jar, giving it life. Focus on money coming your way. You may bury this in your yard. Or, you may burn a green money candle on top of this as often as you like. There are many ways to make spell bottles.

Bottle spells are very easy to perform, and can be used for virtually anything. Love, money, protection, can healings all be effected with this method. The bottle or jar itself serves as a container for the ingredients placed inside of it. The items placed in the bottle should represent your desire. Herbs, stones, metals, wish papers, magickal oils, and small charms may be placed in the jar or bottle. Remember, though, dumping items in the bottle is just half the work. You have to give your bottle life! This is done by the recitation of prayers and "pushing" your desire and your energy into the bottle. The physical ingredients serve as the body. Your intent and energy that you push into the body is the soul, in a sense. And that is bottle magick and how it is done.

Of course, the intellectual learning about spell work is only part of the acquisition of occult knowledge. Experience is another form of knowledge. So, those that wish to master this art should be willing to give this a try. After repeated practice, the student will find his or her own ways and methods of working with this magick. And that all comes with time.


Taliesin McKnight

Location: Tyler, Texas

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