Thursday, March 31, 2011

Jeudi: Root Work

I think it is safe to say that most people feel compelled to protect what they have.  As moderns, we probably imagine that this is a newer phenomenon, born of world conflict, rising crime and a general sense of vulnerability that springs from instant news.  Our ancestors didn’t know what was going on in the county next to theirs much less half way around the world, after all, so surely they must have felt more secure and at peace in their simple surroundings.

Actually, far from it.  Most of our ancestors lived on and worked the land – their own or someone else’s – and until remarkably recently just about anyone with a weapon, a few horses and a few buddies could take everything they needed away from them.  Including their lives.  That’s why the seemingly powerless peasants created ways to protect the few things that were theirs and the people they loved.

Frequently called a “witch bottle” or “witch jar”, this simple magick for protection of hearth and home probably goes back to very ancient cultures around the world.  The idea of putting items of power in a vessel with intention and then setting it somewhere to protect you really cannot be claimed by any one magickal discipline. 

Root works will usually gravitate to one of two forms of this magick.  One is the witch bottle, which is filled either with collected rain water or water from a running spring, to which salt and herbs of protection such as chamomile, Devil’s shoe string, rosemary, or sulphur are added.  The bottle – or bottles, sometimes each member of a family or household will make their own – is then hung from a tree or bush in the yard to keep harm away.  The drawback to such magick is obvious.  It is conspicuous and if you live around nosey neighbors, as I do, you’ll very soon be avoided like the plague at least.

A more discreet form of protective magick, the witch jar may have it’s origin in European folklore (the witch bottle is thought to be of African descent).  It is simple to make, if a tad off-putting for those who are not accustomed to working with “personal concerns”.  That said, the magick of the witch jar is powerful indeed, if you keep focused while you put it together. 

Find a smallish jar with a tight fitting lid (baby food jars and other containers around the same size work well).  Have some duck (duct) or electrical tape nearby to finish up.  Then assemble the following ingredients:

Pins, needles, tacks, razor blades and the like
A rusty nail or two
Personal concerns from every human and animal member of the family
A cup of your urine

The personal concerns may be fingernails, hair, toenails, anything that was once part of the person or animal.  I’ve even used a drop of water from a fishbowl to make sure our beta was safe and sound.

Fill the jar with the pointy objects and personal concerns.  Top it off with enough of your urine to fill completely and then seal the lid, all the while imagining your family and your home as impervious to any natural, man-made, or psychic disaster.  Now wrap tape several times around the lid of the jar to ensure a tight seal.

Take the jar to the front of your house and bury it a foot or deeper in soil that is as close to your front door as possible.  Under a bush or the lawn is ideal.  If you are renting, put the jar somewhere inconspicuous, perhaps on the top shelf of the hall closet or the back of a kitchen cabinet.  The results will be powerful as long as the jar is stowed where it won’t be discovered and handled by a stranger.

And that’s it.  Now you can go on about your business feeling a bit safer.  Of course neither the witch bottle nor the witch jar give you the right to do carless or intentionally hurtful things; karma still applies.  But the unexpected and sometimes unimagined are covered.

One finally caveat, if you bury the jar outside your home leave it where it is.  Even if you move.  When you find a new home, simply make a new jar.  Above ground jars, however, may travel right along with you to your new abode.  Bonne chance ~

Header: A bottle tree in the Southern U.S.


Timmy! said...

Good stuff, Pauline. I also like to keep a shotgun and a big dog handy as well... because, well, you can never be too safe, can you?

Pauline said...

Every good leader knows that one can never have too many solid lines of defense.