Witchcraft for Beginners: How to Cast a Jar Spell
Witches Jar Spells
Jar spells, also known as bottle spells or container spells, are an old form of folk magic. One of the earliest mentions of this type of magic came from a 17th century. A man was advised to make a Witch's jar for his wife, because it was suspected that she was being 'bewitched' and they wanted to break the curse:
“Take your Wive’s Urine as before, and Cork, it in a Bottle with Nails, Pins and Needles, and bury it in the Earth; and that will do the feat. The Man did accordingly. And his Wife began to mend sensibly and in a competent time was finely well recovered; But there came a Woman from a Town some miles off to their house, with a lamentable Out-cry, that they had killed her Husband… But at last they understood by her, that her Husband was a Wizard, and had bewitched this Mans Wife and that this Counter-practice prescribed by the Old Man, which saved the Mans Wife from languishment, was the death of that Wizard that had bewitched her.”
-- Joseph Glanvill’s Saducismus Triumphatus, or Evidence concerning Witches and Apparitions (1681)
While this form of magic is most found in cursing and curse-breaking, it’s not just for baneful magic. The Hoodoo ‘honey jar spell’ for example is common in love magic. The jar spell is overall versatile, and can be custom-designed for a variety of needs.
Here’s how to design and cast a jar spell.
Learn to Cast Witch Jar and Bottle Spells
Spells Using Jars and Bottles are Popular in Hoodoo
Though Hoodoo and root-work differ in some ways and philosophies from Pagan Witchcraft, there is a lot to be learned from this type of folk magic.
Jar Spell Intent
The first and most logical step in a jar spell is to define your intent. Your intent is what everything in your spell will revolve around. As per usual with magic, your intent should be:
- Specific goals (no wishing, no generalizing, no multi-purpose spells for 12 different things)
- Realistic (no Dungeons & Dragons or Harry Potter fantasy stuff)
- Ethical (I'm not going to say what is or isn't ethical; but you should certainly consider your ethics, based on your spirituality, and think about the consequences of your actions)
Once your intent is determined, you would then proceed to begin to design your jar spell. Namely, what kind of things you need to put into it to achieve your goal.
Pick a Container
Choosing a Container for Your Jar Spell
Basically, any kind of container can be used for a spell. I have to admit up front, though, I’m not entirely comfortable using containers made of plastic, but opinions vary on its effectiveness. I prefer glass, but people use clay and other materials. As long as it has no cracks and a tight-fitting lid or cork, you’re golden. Scrounge around the house or thrift shops. Consider using: mason jars, baby food jars, mayo or pickle jars, old salad and oil bottles.
Make sure you cleanse and consecrate the container you’re going to use. If you want, you can paint it in a color that’s in line with your intent, or with symbols and images. This is not necessary, but any little help can give you a boost—plus, it keeps anyone who might stumble upon your jar from seeing the contents.
1650 Clay Jar Spell
Your Jar Spell Contents
Deciding on the contents is basically the ‘meat’ of this magical working. While there is no limit to what you can choose to include, it’s important to select things that will help work toward your ultimate magical goal. I like to choose things from the following categories:
A Personalizing Item: a photograph, hair, nail clippings, blood or other personal item. You could also use a name written on paper. This should be of the person you are casting the spell on—so if you’re casting the spell for yourself, you’d use your own picture, item or name. If casting the spell for a friend, or on someone else (such as a spell to get a bully to leave you alone), you would use their photo, name or item.
Written Intent or Prayer: There is a lot of power put into words, so I find it helpful to write your intent on something and slip it into a jar. If you are seeking the aid of a deity in your jar spell, you can write a note to them asking for their assistance.
Liquids: Generally the bottle contains some liquid, and which liquid you choose would depend on your intent.
Urine is used for protection jars and jars to break a curse, but can also be used for manipulative spells over others.
Vinegar is used to curse or harm others, or to ‘spoil’ something. Safety note: vinegar jars can explode—don’t fill it to the top and keep the jar wrapped in cloth or towels (unless you’re burying it).
Honey, sugar water or some kind of nectar is used when you want to compel someone or something—if you were seeking to make friends, to be more persuasive, to soothe over hurt feelings, etc., you’d want to ‘sweeten’ their disposition.
Ammonia is used for ‘cleansing’, when you want to banish negativity or malevolent entities, or when you wish to start new with a ‘clean slate’. Safety note: never burn candles on ammonia, do not place ammonia jars near heat, as it can be an explosive and flammable.
Tinctures, infusions, oils, etc. would be used for a multitude of other purposes: blessings, health, prosperity and the like. Naturally you would choose something based on your intent—for example, a money spell might include a tincture, infusion or oil made from money-drawing herbs like cinnamon or mint.
Water can be used, but I don’t really recommend plain water. At the very least you can make an herbal infusion with it to give it more of a boost. I personally think heavily salted and blessed water can be good for purification purposes, but beyond that I would avoid plain tap water.
Another Old Witch Bottle Unearthed
Solids: Like with liquids, there are different types that you would choose from based on your intent. With this, you can be pretty creative. For example, to break a curse, jar spells usually include items like rusty nails and glass shards. To break up a couple, the caster might add some cat hair and some dog hair to the mix—to make the people fight like ‘cats and dogs’. Heart-shaped glitter or confetti might go into a jar spell to draw love. In a money jar spell, you might include some coins (preferably with the year of your birth printed on them). If I wanted to break writer’s block, I might make a jar spell with a small pencil and roll of paper wrapped around it. You might tie a ribbon around it to hold on to love, or to bind someone.
So basically—use your noggin and think of things that give off the kind of energy you’re interested in raising.
Two items that both magically powerful and easy to come by are crystals and herbs. You can find a variety of them anywhere, and they are able to carry the energy that you’ll want to put into your spell. Below I include two quick reference charts (one for herbs, one for crystals) that you can refer to if you’re new to working with these, however I highly recommend studying up and familiarizing yourself with some basic herbs and/or crystals you might have access to—the more you work with them and get a feel for them, the more skilled you will become at spellcraft.
Quick Reference Guide
Crystals, Gems, Metals
Herbs, Flowers, Roots
obsidian, jet, black tourmaline, smokey quartz
clove, dragon's blood, garlic, hot pepper
agrimony, knotweed, spiderwort, witch hazel
sodalite, tiger eye, turquoise
mint, orris root
onyx, clear quartz, selenite
angelica, bloodroot, boneset, mandrake, salt, sage, rue
agate, emerald, garnet, malachite, peridot
apple, cucumber, fig, ivy
agate, amethyst, jade, sunstone
coriander, dogwood, eucalyptus, galangal root, ginger, rosemary, sage, thyme
benzoin, dittany of Crete, nugmeg, rosemary,
amber, calcite, copper emerald, lapiz lazuli, moonstone, rose quartz
Adam & Eve root, apple, basil, beet, catnip, clove, laurel, lavender, marjoram, rose
gold, malachite, moss agate, pearl
cinnamon, ginger, orange, patchouly, vervain
amazonite, blue lace agate, rhodocrosite, silver
cumin, lavender, violet
fuschite, gold, hematite, ruby
allspice, oregano, vanilla
amber, carnelian, citrine, malachite, petrified wood
angelica, cypress, frankincense, mugwort, sandalwood, wormwood
lolite, jet, malachite, moonstone, quartz, turquoise, silver
acacia, gardenia, mugwort, tuberose, yarrow
moss agate, pearl, peridot, rhodocrosite, sapphire, turquoise
pansy, rose, valerian
Candles are not necessary in jar spells, but I find it adds yet another boost of power if you combine it with candle magic. Dress the candle of the appropriate color and burn it in the mouth of the jar, or on top of the sealed jar letting all the wax melt down. You can burn multiple candles on a jar over a course of time for an on-going project.
Words of Power
When I prepare a spell, I always like to plan a chant to say while I’m casting it. Chanting is a great way raising energy. You can find a chant in a book or online, or you can make up your own. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare to be effective. Something simple like:
Money, money, come to me;
Help me pay these bills I see.
As long as it suits the occasion and is meaningful to you, it’ll work.
Rhythm and rhyming can help you memorize it quickly before you start, and then you can really get into it like a mantra when you’re casting. By letting it spill from your lips effortlessly, it bypasses that conscious part of your brain and taps into your source of power—that part of the mind that sends the energy toward your goal.
"The Witch's Rune"-- A Traditional Wiccan Power-Raising Chant
Casting a Jar Spell Step by Step
- Complete all the preparation steps above, and gather everything you will need for your spell.
- If you prefer to use magical timing, you might look up the most effective day and hour to lend power to your spell. You do not need to cast a circle for this spell, but if you wish to do it within a ritual circle you may. Invoke a deity, if you wish, for assistance.
- Cleanse and consecrate any items if you have not yet done so.
- Ground and center yourself. State your intent, then focus on it.
- Pick up one item at a time (or place it on your pentacle) and charge it. Charging empowers the item with your personal intent, while stirring and stimulating the item’s own natural energy that you’re trying to tap. You might say something such as, “By the power of Earth, Air, Fire and Water; By the Power of the sun, moon and stars; With the blessings of the Goddess Aphrodite, I charge you, rose quartz, to attract love to me.“
- As you add items to your jar, chant to raise power.
- When you’re finished filling your jar, you can seal it right away (and then burn a candle on it if desired), or you can burn a candle in the open mouth of the jar.
- Meditate on having acquired your goal (don’t envision yourself wanting your goal, or you leave yourself in a perpetual state of wanting; envision yourself having your goal. What will life be like, how will you feel, when it is done?). Hold onto your visualization for about 20 minutes, or as long as you can.
- Seal your jar, if you have not. The spell is cast.
Congratulations- You Cast a Jar Spell
What to Do with your Spell Jar Now?
There are a few different options now that you’ve cast your jar spell. Basically you can bury it, hide it, toss it in water keep it on your altar, or dismantle it. Which you choose depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.
Bury the jar when…
- you are seeking permanent protection or to break or repel a curse. This will stand sentry on your property and protect you (or on the property of the person for whom you cast the jar spell). If you don’t have land of your own, you can bury it in a flower pot of soil left by your doorstep.
- you want your jar to be a ‘magnet’ of sorts to continue draw things to you (attention, health, wealth, etc.). Bury it on the property of the person you’re casting for and be done with it.
- you are casting a spell on another unbeknownst to them. Bury it on their property—ideally somewhere they cross over every day, like beneath their doorstep.
- If you were doing some major cursing to harm another, you could bury it in a graveyard (not something I personally recommend by the way; but I’m just passing on the information).
- You are trying to rid yourself of something (or rid the person you’re casting for of something), like a disease or bad habit. Bury the jar at a crossroads, don’t look back and ideally, never return.
Hide the jar when…
- you want to bury it, but burying it is not an option. Hey, I am originally from New York City—I understand you can’t bury a jar easily when you live in an apartment. If this is the case, just hide it deep in the home somewhere—inside a wall, in the junk closet, or wherever it won’t be disturbed.
- You plan on dismantling it sometime in the future, which when done properly will disengage the spell.
Toss the jar in water when…
- using it to banish or exorcise any entities, or if you are working with any ‘questionable’ entities (again, not recommended, just passing on the information). Running natural water sources will purify it and protect you from their return.
- it’s successfully removed a curse, a disease, a bad habit, etc.; this is an alternative to burying it at a crossroad. Keep in mind you could be fined for littering if you’re just tossing stuff into local waters.
*Tip: if it floats, puncture the cap with a hole, or tie it to a weight.
Keep the jar on your altar when…
- when your goal is an ongoing one that you’d like to keep working on. You can continue to burn candles over the mouth of the jar, or shake it while saying your chant to keep it working for you. Alternatively, if you have a shrine to your God/dess and sought their aid, you can keep it there. Again, shake it occasionally while chanting to keep the power going. This is actually a good option for spells that are going to require a great deal of time and effort—for example, you might do a jar spell to help you pass tests, and keep it on your altar all through college. You might repeat your chant, burn a candle or shake it every night before exams. This is better than making a new spell for every exam.
Dismantle the jar when…
- when the spells power is no longer necessary and you’d like the effects to stop. For example, if you cast a jar spell to attract love, you might have had many interests for a while. Now, you are getting married and you don’t want to attract any more potential lovers. So you would dismantle the spell. To do this, remove the contents and bury them at a crossroads or into running water, clean the container and dispose of it. With a proper cleansing you could re-use it.
Warning: It’s not generally a good idea to dismantle a jar used for cursing or hexing, or one for breaking a curse or hex, unless you really know what you’re doing. Just bury it at the crossroads or in running water and be done with it.
One thing I do not recommend is throwing it into a fire, as is mentioned in some sources. This was in particular a method of cursing and curse-breaking; the Witch would throw the jar into the fire and when it burst it meant the curse was working (torturing the person it is cast on) or it meant the curse you were lifting has broken. This is not necessary, and not a safe option at all. However, if you do dismantle a jar spell and have some components left over (a ribbon, a paper, etc.), you could burn those items after it’s dismantled if you have a safe means of doing so.
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Bright Blessings In Your Efforts
Now that you have a complete guide to jar spells, start considering the possibilities and practice working with them.
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