How to Cast a Jar Spell: Witchcraft for Beginners
Witch's Jar Spells
Jar spells, also known as bottle spells or container spells, are an old form of folk magic. While this form of magic is mostly 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 versatile overall and can be custom-designed for a variety of needs.
Here’s how to design and cast a jar spell.
How to Cast a Jar or Bottle Spell in 7 Steps
- Define Your Intent
- Select a Container
- Choose Your Jar's Contents
- Fill Your Jar
- Seal Your Jar
- Meditate on Your Intent
- Finish Your Spell
Continue scrolling for detailed explanations of each step and tips to help you make the most of your jar spell.
Step 1: Define Your 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: Focus on precise goals (i.e. no wishing, no generalizing, no multi-purpose spells for 12 different things).
- Realistic: Make sure those goals are attainable (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 spiritual ethics and think about the consequences of your actions.
Once your intent is determined, you can begin to design your jar spell—namely, what kind of things you need to put into it to achieve your goal.
Step 2: Choose a Container for Your Jar Spell
Basically, any kind of container can be used for a spell. I have to admit upfront that I’m not entirely comfortable using containers made of plastic, but opinions vary on its effectiveness. I prefer glass, though people use clay and other materials. As long as it has no cracks and a tight-fitting lid or cork, you’re golden.
To find a suitable bottle, scrounge around the house or at thrift shops. Consider using anything from mason jars, baby food jars, and mayo or pickle jars to old salad and oil bottles.
Note: Make sure you cleanse and consecrate the container you’re going to use, as well as all the items you plan to fill it with.
Paint Your Jar (Optional)
If you want, you can paint your jar in a color that corresponds 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.
Step 3: Choose 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 you work toward your ultimate magical goal. I like to choose things from the following categories:
A Personal Item
A photograph, hair, nail clippings, blood or other personal item is crucial to your spell. 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 in words, so I always find it helpful to write my intent on something and slip it into the 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.
Generally, the bottle should contain some liquid, but which liquid you choose depends 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—so 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. This is because 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 anew with a ‘clean slate’. Safety note: never burn candles on ammonia and do not place ammonia jars near heat, as it can be explosive and flammable.
- Tinctures, infusions, oils, etc. can be used for a multitude of purposes, such as blessings for health or prosperity and the like. Naturally, you should 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.
Like with liquids, there are different types of solids that you can choose from based on your intent. You can be pretty creative with this! Here are a few examples:
- 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’ (again, though, think about your ethics!).
- Heart-shaped glitter or confetti might go into a jar spell to draw love. You might even tie a ribbon around the whole jar to hold on to love, or to bind someone.
- In a money-related 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.
Herbs and Crystals
Two items that are 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 a quick reference chart for herbs and crystals that you can refer to if you’re new to working with them.
That said, I highly recommend studying up and familiarizing yourself with some basic herbs and/or crystals you might have access to (my chart only scratches the surface). The more you work with herbs and crystals and get a feel for them, the more skilled you will become at spellcraft.
Make It Personal
At the end of the day, just use your noggin and think of things that give off the kind of energy you’re interested in raising. They'll be even better for your spell if they're personally meaningful to you (vs. only using items that are commonly associated with your goal).
Note: Remember, just as you cleansed and consecrated your spell jar, so you must do with the items that you plan to fill it with. If the objects you have chosen are not spiritually clean (i.e. on an energy level), your spell will be less likely to help you attain your goal.
What Crystals and Herbs to Use for Spells
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, lapis 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
Step 4: Fill Your Jar
After having grounded and centered yourself, 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 into.
Note: You do not need to cast a circle for this spell, but if you wish to do it within a ritual circle, you may. If you wish, you may also invoke a deity for assistance.
As you add items to your jar, chant to raise power. For example, while filling your jar, 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."
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 to raise 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 works just fine, 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.
Step 5: Seal Your Jar
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 and seal it that way.
Note: Candles are not necessary in jar spells, but I find it adds yet another boost of power if you combine it with candle magic. If you choose to incorporate a candle into your jar spell, find one of the appropriate color and dress it (see the article above for more details) before burning 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 ongoing project.
Step 6: Meditate on Your Intent
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.
Step 7: 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 if . . .
- 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 flowerpot of soil left by your doorstep.
- You want your jar to be a ‘magnet’ of sorts to continue to draw things to you (attention, health, wealth, etc.). Bury it on your property or the property of the person you’re casting for and be done with it.
- 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.
- You are casting a spell on another unbeknownst to them (but remember your ethics!). Bury it on their property—ideally somewhere they cross over every day, like beneath their doorstep.
Note: 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).
Hide the jar if . . .
- 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 will disengage the spell when done properly.
Toss the jar in water if . . . *
- 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 crossroads. 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 if . . .
. . . 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, if you were to do a jar spell to help you pass tests, you might keep it on your altar all through college. You might repeat your chant, burn a candle or shake it the night before exams. This is better than making a new spell for every exam.
Dismantle the jar if . . .
. . . the spell's 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.
Do Not Burn Your Spell Jar
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 (ribbon, 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?
An Early Mention of Jar Spells
One of the earliest mentions of this type of magic came from the 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, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions (1681)
Bright Blessings in Your Efforts
Now that you have a complete guide to jar spells, start considering the possibilities and practice working with them.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2015 Mackenzie Sage Wright