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Witchcraft for Beginners: How to Cast a Jar Spell

Updated on April 15, 2016
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Sage has been a Witch for 25 years. As a teacher and writer, she enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the Craft of the Wise.

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

Hoodoo Honey and Sugar Spells: Sweet Love Magic in the Conjure Tradition
Hoodoo Honey and Sugar Spells: Sweet Love Magic in the Conjure Tradition

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

This jar spell was dug up on an old property and is estimated to be from about the 17th century.
This jar spell was dug up on an old property and is estimated to be from about the 17th century. | Source

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 | Source

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
aventurine, flourite
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
Psychic Abilities
lolite, jet, malachite, moonstone, quartz, turquoise, silver
acacia, gardenia, mugwort, tuberose, yarrow
moss agate, pearl, peridot, rhodocrosite, sapphire, turquoise
pansy, rose, valerian
*note: not a comprehensive list, but enough suggestions to get you going.

Using Candles

This is a taper candle burning in the mouth of a bottle. Alternatively, place a votive or pillar candle on the cap of a closed jar. Each time you burn a candle, let the wax accumulate and remain on the jar.
This is a taper candle burning in the mouth of a bottle. Alternatively, place a votive or pillar candle on the cap of a closed jar. Each time you burn a candle, let the wax accumulate and remain on the jar.


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

  1. Complete all the preparation steps above, and gather everything you will need for your spell.
  2. 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.
  3. Cleanse and consecrate any items if you have not yet done so.
  4. Ground and center yourself. State your intent, then focus on it.
  5. 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.“
  6. As you add items to your jar, chant to raise power.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

Tell Us About You...

Have you ever cast a 'jar spell' or 'Witch bottle spell' before?

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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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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Everything I know about witchcraft I learned from you. Thank you, teacher!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 24 months ago

      Billy, I will have you dancing nekkid under the full moon yet!

    • Shane Ilagan profile image

      Shane M. Ilagan 24 months ago from Philippines

      I have heard many stories about couples getting married because of this trick. I am skeptical to believe that casting a jar spell is real until I found this article. Interesting though to the people who are desperate to love. For me, this tutorial is excellent but I am afraid to perform the hints because it's cheating.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 24 months ago

      Thanks for your comment, Shane. Love spells are one of those areas that are hotly debated.Some people think it's okay to cast them because it would only work if the person casting it on is open to it. Some think using magic for what you want is fair game. I am Wiccan (obviously, lol), and in our religion it's generally considered unethical to target people for manipulative spells, but it's perfectly fine to cast a love spell on yourself to help you find potential lovers to you. This is something that should only be done if it feels right to you, though. It's certainly a personal decision. Thanks for your comment!

    • Brandon Bledsoe profile image

      Brandon 20 months ago from Houston, Texas


    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 20 months ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      Blessed be - a wellspring of information to those of us still finding our pathway in the practice. I'll be certain to investigate more of your posts and offer my most humble praise to this piece of work.

    • DaphneDL profile image

      Daphne D. Lewis 20 months ago from Saint Albans, West Virginia

      A very interesting article and reference guide for my very limited knowledge about jar spells. Can't wait to read more of your Hubs!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 20 months ago

      Thanks Brandon!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 20 months ago

      Thanks so much RJ Schwartz, for your kind comments. I am flattered, and I'm glad you find my article useful. I appreciate it!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 20 months ago

      Thanks DaphneDL! Bright blessings to you.

    • profile image 19 months ago

      I like this

    • profile image

      Claire Donnelly 19 months ago


    • profile image

      Jewitch 19 months ago

      Love the article. The beauty of the types of spells are that each person can truly create their own magickal path.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 18 months ago

      Thanks so much, I appreciate your feedback.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 18 months ago

      You're welcome, and thank you.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 18 months ago

      Thanks so much Jewitch, I appreciate the comment. So true, magic works best when customized.

    • profile image

      Maria Cartagena 17 months ago from New York

      Hello, I have a honey har spell I started for a difficult boss. Now that I am no longer in that job, how do I dispose of the jarb& contents???? I live in NYC in an apartment. Thank you!

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 16 months ago

      Hi Moonchild; you can merely dismantle them. I would bury them (ideally at a crossroad, which can be difficult to come across in NYC, I know), or pour them into a body of running water, like the Hudson River. If your jar mainly consists of honey and herbs and such, that should not be a problem as there is nothing harmful in there. Any items or the jar itself that you might hesitate to throw into water can be first cleaned (soap & water), then cleansed (cleansing incense, blessed water, salt water, etc.) to disassociate it with the original intent, then just throw it out (you could re-use it, but I honestly wouldn't, I don't like to recycle things used for spell work). Hope that helps!

    • profile image

      Honeybee 15 months ago

      Thank you so much for your writing. This is by far the most informative blog on this topic that have read. Blessed be.

    • modernalchemyst profile image

      Josephine 13 months ago from New England

      Just found this, and I LOVE the idea of using coins with your birth year on them! I love jar spells because you can integrate deity magick, herbs, candles and so much more for a really powerful spell. Wonderful and informative Hub, as always!

    • profile image

      Debbie silva 13 months ago

      My name February rose I've been a solitary for a years, I myself unjoy ,

      The thought of the skies, trees the nice way to look at everything

      With my eyes wade open. Where have you been all life

      Blessed. Be my frieds

    • profile image

      Betty 12 months ago

      Spells can be broken.

    • profile image

      1700 12 months ago

      Can u help me

    • profile image

      Hopeful 10 months ago

      I've recently heard of the jar spell but I was told to use Thyme and Vinegar along with a handwritten note of intentions and names then toss it into the river or flowing water. But I wasn't told whether the Thyme has to be green (fresh) or dried from the season isle of the grocery store.

    • profile image

      Natasha 10 months ago

      I did my 1st honey jar to bring love back to me but I'm unsure for how long to burn the candel on top & what to do with it once it happens. As a beginner I would love some feed back & to know where I can learn more as I now want to make a honey jar for money issues.

    • profile image

      Johan 9 months ago

      Hey so i have commented before. Just saying again that your articles are really good.. i really need someone to talk to related to magic and mythology.. it's kind of urgent... so please let me know how i can talk to you...

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      moon pie 9 months ago

      How can I cast the spell on someone I love and i want him back . What is the best one for me

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Yes they can.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Hi 1700 I just came across your question. Answer: I don't know, but I'll do what I can. Please check out my profile page here at hubpages so you can contact me.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Hi Hopeful; hope this isn't too late to help you but the answer is I use fresh & dried interchangeably most times because the herbs energies doesn't go away just because it's dried. What will matter most in this case is what matters to you, because it's your intent that has to go into it and if you have any doubts it's going to weaken it more than if the herb was fresh or dry.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Hi Natasha so sorry for not getting back for a while; I burn it until it burns down usually. Then every time I want to give the spell a boost I just put another candle on top. Or you can burn it for a certain amount of time each day for a certain amount of days. When I finish with spell candles if any is left I bury the wax. But usually for a jar spell, I just let them burn away.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Hi Johan, I've been on hiatus, focused on my class & work projects. But if you look at my hubpages profile you will find all my contact information. I'll do what I can.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Can't help you there, Moon Pie. I don't think it's right to manipulate people and it rarely makes for a good relationship.

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      cc 7 months ago

      Hello i was wondering if it matters what time of day I do a jar spell... Does I matter when I do? Or is it better to do at night with waning or full moon? Going to do money jar. My email is thanks

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 7 months ago

      Hi cc; spell timing is definitely something you should consider and much depends on how specific you want to get. You can just go by the moon phase (waxing or full are best for drawing money), but you can get more specific by looking into the day of the week, the moon sign or even the planetary hour. I've got articles to deal with magical timing on my profile page that might be able to help you pin-point the most ideal time. But you can go from very general to very specific... depends on the Witch. Some find more success when they find the perfect hour of just the right day while others barely worry about the moon phase.

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      Vic 6 months ago

      Hello first I like to thank you for this article it is very informative, also if you can help me I understand that to do a curse jar you add the ingredients but when I do this does the person that did this to me get hurt or does the spell just go away, I don't desire to hurt no one but just get rid of it is that possible thanks,

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 6 months ago

      Hi; so basically you want to banish someone who is giving you problems. No harm needs to be involved in that. Send them away to bigger and better things for themselves. Wish them well, but away from you as you cast your spell. There's no reason someone needs to get hurt just because you need to get them to stop pestering you. Keep good intentions.

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      Jana Hunt 5 months ago

      I have been searching the internet for a Hoodoo Honey Money Jar Spell and this is the only one I could find with thorough instructions. I'm going to do this today. Thank You.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 5 months ago

      Thanks Jana! I am trying to be thorough to help walk beginners through it, so I am so glad you found the article helpful.

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      wispywillow 4 months ago

      Good Morning, any advice on how to prevent my vinegar jar from exploding. I have read about this happening on many occasions even when wrapped in a cloth.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 4 months ago

      Hi wispy; there is no way to 100% guarantee it won't happen, so wrap it well, even put it in a bag if you wish. It depends on a lot of factors. Sometimes the energy itself can cause it to burst and there's little that can be done about that. But you can reduce the risk by giving it a little 'room' at the top when you close the jar for gasses to expand. Also keep it away from heat.

    • WiccanSage profile image

      Mackenzie Sage Wright 2 months ago

      That is always such a tough situation, thinking someone you loved left you because someone else manipulated their free will... but then you don't want to manipulate their free will to force them back.

      If you're truly worried she's been placed under some kind of spell, then don't try to use magic to force her back. Try to free her of whatever you think has an unwanted hold on her, then let her choose for herself.

      Of course, sometimes, people's feelings do change quickly. Some people are not really the people (inside) that you think you are seeing in them. Sometimes the best thing you can do is move on.

      I believe if two people are truly compatible and truly want each other, they'll find their way back to each other... but trying to force it doesn't work.

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      didzki 8 weeks ago

      Thank you so much for making things possible for me. What i get here is very understandable and i'm sure it i will do great and create positive results with it. Thank you so much.

    • profile image 8 weeks ago

      I am trying to get to you Mackenzie Sage! It's urgent I really want to have a conversation with you!

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      victorious 4 weeks ago

      Thank you for sharing merry meet many blessings and healing sent your way so it is done.

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