How to Make a Witch Bottle
You Will Need
- Sharp, pointy objects (broken glass, needles, nails, etc)
- Herbs (protection-based, such as sage and rosemary)
- A Bottle
- Candle Wax
- Something from each family member
What Is a Witch Bottle?
Originally, the witch bottle was made as a protection against the ailments supposedly caused by witches, such as disease, plague, death and other curses. They were not meant to be difficult to make or obtain, as everyone naturally wants to be protected from these things, and were filled with common household items meant to redirect any magick directed at the individuals linked to the bottle.
Today, however, witches and pagans have reclaimed the witch bottle as a decorative house piece to protect their homes from general negative energy. You have just as much customization power with it as you do with all other spiritual-based crafts.
Many witches remake their bottle every Samhain (or year) and put within it the energy and other visual representations to help them reach their annual goals as well.
Which label removal method do you recommend?
Remove the Label
Before you do anything to the bottle, you probably want to remove the label from it. There are several ways you can do this, from just removing it and all of the glue-gunk, or even ways to do it so you can preserve the label if you like. Select the method appropriate for you and follow the instructions. Of course, if you don't care about the label you can use either label-preserving methods or non-label preserving methods.
Soap and Baking Soda
My recommendation. Use a ratio mix of 1:2 of baking soda (in tablespoons) to cups of water. For example, 16 tablespoons of baking soda to 32 cups of water. Soak for 30 minutes.
Bake and Peel
Set the oven to 350 degrees and lay the bottle on its side and bake for 10 minutes. This method involves getting the glue hot enough to melt so you can peel the label off with ease. You may have to scrub off the glue from the bottle afterwards.
Hold the bottle over a boiling pot of water for 10-15 minutes. The longer you hold it there, the easier it will peel. Peel the label off with your fingers.
Non Label-preserving Methods
Soap and Water Soak
Put a drop of soap in a bucket with warm water. Fill the bottle with water and put it in the bucket and let soak for 2 days before peeling off. This method will not remove the glue, so a steel scrub afterward might be in order.
Fill a bucket with water and add 1/4 cups of ammonia. Soak for 30 minutes. Be sure you do this in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves to peel off the label to prevent harsh chemical burns on the skin or respiratory issues. I don't recommend this, personally, but it is another option.
The Bottle: Bottles were common during the hay-days of the witch bottle. What could be a better holding tool? The bottle you choose to use may be one you have just lying around the house, an empty wine bottle or even an empty beer bottle. Whatever you choose, it should compliment your intentions.
Some people prefer to keep their bottles plain or clear and see-through, some people prefer to paint them or even cover them all the way up with the wax used to seal them.
Sharp Objects: The key component for redirecting the negative energy. Anything with a jagged edge or point will work, needles (bent or straight), broken glass, holding pins, safety pins, nails. Traditionally, rusty and otherwise unusable ones were used because they could not be used in other projects.
Thread: Acts like a dreamcatcher, to ensnare negative energy, curses, and other spiritual elements that might affect you or those in your house. Use specific colors to coordinate with your goals for the year, to ensure anything inhibiting the success of your goals does not reach you.
Herbs: Traditionally, herbs of protection and cleansing are used, such as Rosemary, salt and sage. You may also choose to use herbs to correspond with your goals for the year as well.
Your Energy: In order for the bottle to be connected to you (and, if applicable, members of your family) something from your body must be in the bottle as well. Older people used to just pee in the bottle, the same as animals do to mark their territory. But today, a small lock of hair, drop of blood, a fingernail clipping or something else directly from your body will work just fine.
Miscellaneous: Any extra trinkets or symbols you want to put in the bottle to correspond with your goals, protection, cleansing are welcome in the bottle as well.
Wax: Seal the bottle by holding a burning taper candle over the cork or lid. Traditionally, black wax is used to absorb the negative energy as it flows through your house, but you're free to use other colors for your goals, or to match your home decor.
Placement of Items
Many traditional witch bottles place the sharp objects first, the threads second and the miscellaneous things on top. You're welcome to follow tradition if you like, but ultimately the order and way you decide to decorate the inside of the bottle is up to you.
When I decorated my first bottle last year, I started with a thick layer of raw sea salt, then much tinier powered amounts of basil and parsley to correspond with my goals for money and love for the year until Samhain 2014.
After those layers I dropped in the sharp objects. I used a variety- needles (bent and straight), safety pins (opened and closed), sewing pins (bent and straight), a shard of broken glass and a rusty nail. The reason I used a variety is because there are a variety of forms negative energy can come from.
The third "layer" was thread. I didn't use a lot because I was not aesthetically pleased with how they looked. So I cut small pieces of them and dropped them in, coordinating colors to my goals and I braided a few strands together as well.
The final layer was "extra" stuff. I bound a small lock of my hair together with a thread and cut it off. With his permission I added a lock of my boyfriend's too. I added a sprig from my rosemary plant for protection, a miniature broomstick as a mental and visual reminder for myself to stay organized and clean.
When deciding what to put in my witch bottle I picked items that would represent the elements, because those are important to me as well, for balance. The herbs and salt were representative of earth, I added a pinch of ash for fire, a single drop of water for water and a small feather for air.
So, you see, there is no set way to organize the materials you want in the bottle.
How are you going to make your bottle unique?
Make It Yours!
Here are some ideas for you to play with to give your bottle that extra little flare of uniqueness!
- Break the bottle. Paint the edges of the shards and glue the bottle back together.
- Paint a design or image on part of the outside. Or the entire outside to keep the contents secret. Perhaps a rune or other sacred symbol.
- Paint the inside, a more abstract and less messy way to keep your contents secret.
- Add a colorful sand art pattern to the bottom.
- Add layers of wax to the bottom in complementary colors to the room the bottle will be in.
- Add layers of real sand of various colors/grains or sea shells to the bottom.
- Turn the bottle on its side and fill it that way, and display it that way too.
- stamp or carve a design in the wax used to seal the bottle.
However you decide to decorate it- traditional or unique, and whenever you decide to make it- this Ostara or for the new year dawn of Samhain, have fun with your witch bottle!