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Seeking help with protective charms Discussion

Seeking help with protective charms

I want to make a couple of protective charms for my new house – goodness knows we need some if this last month is anything to go by – so I’ve been doing a bit of reading on the topic, focusing on English folk magic and East Anglian (Anglo-Saxon) charms as my particular area of interest.

I think I understand how they work – sympathetic magic, mostly, as well as warding sigils and protective spirits – and I can more-or-less extrapolate reasons for why the charms are made how they are, but the reasoning behind one eludes me.

According to the Times Online, at least one Witch’s Bottle contained a leather heart stuck through with an iron nail.
I know that this is a symbolic representation of a charm for the protection of livestock – a bullock’s heart pierced by pins or nails and placed in the chimney – but I cannot find out how the original charm is meant to work.
I’m sure I’m overlooking something, but I cannot for the life of me figure out what it is.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?

Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.
Oscar Wilde

pa_hsia
pathseeker
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Re: Seeking help with protective charms

I wrote a long post responding to this and then I lost it due to a poor Internet connection. Let me try again after I have a bite to eat.

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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Re: Seeking help with protective charms

I know the bottle you speak of, as I studied it when researching for the Witch Bottle article I wrote a while back.
http://walkingthehedge.net/wildgeekhang … ;Itemid=68

I do not think this bottle was made to protect livestock at all, I think it is love related. Let me explain.

First of all this bottle was found in a home in Greenwich which is part of London, meaning this bottle and the person making it was in the city. The person who owned this home may have had a horse, but not livestock. Also there are a number of charms and such for livestock protection; they are always found in the pasture itself, in the barn, tied to the fencing etc … near the animals themselves and not in the home.

If someone wanted to signify a bullock’s heart, it was easy enough back then to simply go to the butcher and buy a heart, and add a slice or two of actual heart to the bottle.

Symbolic hearts <3 mean the heart in the sense of love, desire, romance. For the person making this bottle, it is less likely the leather piece cut into a symbolic heart shape meant a real organ heart; it meant love/desire/romance to their mind.

From Wikipedia:

“In European traditional art and folklore, the heart symbol is drawn in a stylized shape. This shape is typically coloured red, suggesting both blood and, in many cultures, passion and strong emotion. The hearts have constituted, since the 15th century, one of the red suits in most playing card decks. The shape is particularly associated with romantic love; it is often seen on St. Valentine’s Day cards, candy boxes, and similar popular culture artefacts as a symbol of romantic love.
What the traditional “heart shape” actually depicts is a matter of some controversy. It only vaguely resembles the human heart.
The seed of the silphium plant, used in ancient times as an herbal contraceptive, has been suggested as the source of the heart symbol.

… Inverted heart symbols have been used in heraldry as stylized testicles (coglioni in Italian) as in the canting arms of the Colleonis of Milan.”

The fact that the heart is made of leather may or may not be significant. After all, leather was a readily available material at the time, easier to come by than many textiles in fact. Using leather may have just been using what was at hand, much like one of us using a left over piece of broadcloth from the scrap box.

The fact that it was pierced makes me think of Cupid’s arrow, or a broken heart. The symbolism of a pierced heart was around back then, and means much of the same thing as it does today.

Other than the heart this bellamine bottle also

“contained 12 bent iron nails (one of which pierced a small leather heart), eight brass pins, 10 adult fingernail pairings (not from a manual worker, but a person “of some social standing”), a quantity of hair and urine with traces of nicotine, indicating it had come from a smoker. There were also traces of sulphur, then known as brimstone, and what is thought to be navel fluff.” ~ Fortean Times

A Witch bottle was made using ingredient from the person, place or thing it was meant to protect. Aside from the leather there is no pieces of livestock in the this bottle.

An Old Bailey court record from 1682 documents that a husband, believing his wife to be afflicted by witchcraft, was advised by a Spitalfields apothecary to

“take a quart of your Wive’s urine, the paring of her Nails, some of her Hair, and such like, and boyl them well in a Pipkin.”

We know the finger nails come from an upper class man. That the urine came form a smoker and that most women did not smoke back then. So we know the person mean to receive this spell breaking or the effects of the charm was probably male and reasonably well to do.

I think most likely this bottle was meant to cure someone of a particular curse … love. Perhaps the person making it was trying to be free of someone who was not taking no as answer, perhaps this person was trying to make someone fall in love with them.

I think the most likely case is this person felt they had a love spell cast on them and needed to break it. What kind of love spell? I don’t know, maybe an unlucky in love spell, maybe they thought someone had been enspelled to fall in love with them, or maybe they were having a hard time getting over someone and felt it was a curse.

Maybe, just maybe they were trying to make someone fall in love with them. There are twelve nails in the bottle, the last one piercing the leather. Perhaps someone was hoping for another to love them a little more or a little less, each month over the course of a year?

It is possible the person making the bottle was not the person who needed the magick. It was common to hire someone, such as Cunning Folk to do it for you; it was also common to do it for a family member, with or without their permission. Maybe a concerned parent, wanting to keep his or her child away from a lover or someone they had affection for created the bottle.

Certainly one of the more common spells requested today is to help someone move on from a relationship that has ended, that they want to end, or to stop obsessing over someone. People 300 years ago were not so different.

PS this is blog worthy, mind if I post the question and my answer and link to the thread discussion on my Journal?

Observe the wonders as they occur around you.
Don’t claim them.
Feel the artistry moving through, and be silent.
~ Rumi

Juniper
Hedge Mistress
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Re: Seeking help with protective charms

When I said “I know”, I think what I meant was “I suspect”… winky

The bullock heart’s charm I was referring to was from In Search of Lost Gods: A Guide to British Folklore by Ralph Whitlock

When a domestic animal died from an unidentified disease … a sheep’s heart or a bullock’s heart stuck with pins and hidden in a chimney or other recess of a house was a protection for the remainder of the livestock. As long as it remained in it’s secret hiding-place no witch could harm the surviving animals.

Although Whitlock then goes on to say:

In the 1820’s, a Devonshire farmer lost most of his livestock because of some mysterious malady. At last he was prevailed upon to consult a local wizard, who advised him to stick the heart of the next animal that died full of pins, cover it with salt and bury it. The wizard told him that all the trouble was caused by three persons, whom he would meet on his way home. They would come in the guise of three hares. This happened. After the farmer had buried the heart, his stock began to recover, and there were no more losses.

Which would support the idea of burying the heart near the animals rather than in the house.
My thinking here was that Greenwich was (is) quite an affluent area of London and that the householder in question might have owned a country estate. The livestock protection charm in the bottle could have been to protect the wealth of the householder as much as the health of the animals.

That said, you make some very good points.
As with all things cunning, the contents wouldn’t have been a random choice, unless I’ve been seriously misled, so the twelve nails had some significance, and the symbolic heart rather than a slice of heart was chosen for a reason (money obviously not a limiting factor). I’m aware of bottles being created to ward off specific ailments and/or curses, but they usually seem to have involved burning the bottle in a fire in order to break the curse.

I don’t like doing things half-informed, can you suggest any sources for further reading?

If you want to repost it, then go ahead ^_^

Morality, like art, means drawing a line someplace.
Oscar Wilde

pa_hsia
pathseeker
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Re: Seeking help with protective charms

I know there were other bottles found that has hearts stuck with pins and stuff in them made of fabric like felt or linen. So I guess it was pretty common. Juni’s article is pretty good and theres a couple of other good ones too.

http://www.ecauldron.net/witchbottle.php

http://www.archaeology.org/online/featu … ottle.html

*
Plants cry their gratitude for the sun in green joy.  ~ Astrid Alauda
*

Dizzy Witch
Moderator
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Re: Seeking help with protective charms

reciently i have been making witches ladders for friends who are moving into new places.  witches ladders have been around for a while, according to wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch%27s_ladder) and as useal i put my own spin on it.  you see i was listening to a standing stone and garden gate podcase  *grins* were juni mentioned house cleansing and how perhaps it was more apt to not cleans the house you are moving into, energies completely away but instead build on them..  so i got some wool, cotten and other threads, plaited them together with intent, of blessing, clarity of communication (always important in a new household)  prosperity, abundance, love etc etc.. there was much muttering of such things as i was plating..t(making sure i was manifesting in positives) ehehe..

then i attached various objects that i felt enhanced what the intent of said witches ladder.  lets see if i can remember what i put on that one.. carnelian crystal flower, a coin that had a hole in it, a feather from a fantail,  a polished piece of paua shell.  so i had a nicely plated cord, that was just under 2mts long with nice colours and the added bits also matched, its got to look nice.  my instructions for my friends where to hang it somewhere they felt it would fit and get seen often, maybe near a door..

umm.. yeah.. witches laders of a sorts.. i reccon can be used for many things not just house blessings becuase you can pretty much imbue them with any intent that you want them, and boost this with bits and bobs that you attach ..

do be do.. sorry a bit distracted i am just recovering from endoscopic surgery.. for endometrosis..tehehe.. being at home is much better than hospital .. better sleep.. *beams*

Pombagira
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Rain Rain Come our way, Rain Rain Go Away

Rain rain come this way, Rain rain go away.

Weather magic has always been part of traditional witches repertoire of tricks. Being magicians of nature, and the walker between the worlds, witches traditionally possessed a very intimate relationship with the natural world around them, and thus, naturally will have a strong rapport with the spirits of Nature.

Thus without further ado, here are some spells to help in your weather rambles. Just remember that all of our actions have consequences, good or bad, and you must take responsibility for your own choices and decisions. Weather magic is not something to be done on whim, and only if you had a real need, it likely won’t work when done on whim either.

A spell to bring rain:

To bring rain to a desired area, get a map (drawn, bought, etc) of the desired location or go to the desired location, a blue candle, some rice, a cauldron of water, rain drawing herbs like broom, fern, corn pollen, and/or pansy (if none of these are available, just using the rice will be fine); your broom (not the plant, the tool), blessing oil or a rain drawing oil.

1. Go to the area you wish to bring rain to, or at a cross roads with a map of the place you wish to bring rain to with all of the tools.

2. Purify the ritual area and yourself, then access the compass round if you feel the need, or draw a ring of protection around you at the very least.

3. Invite the spirits of nature and rain making to aid you in your magic, nature spirits that you have established a rapport to, or the traditional elementals of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. I just generally address the spirits of sky, rain and earth (Divine power) to aid me in my magic, that couple with my own inner witch flame (personal power), and the power of my tools (Earth power) is the driving force behind my magic.

4. State your intent to the spirits you have called upon, as well as the universe at large, and the tools before you. As you use each tool, Cleanse, consecrate, and empower them as needed.

5. Charge the candle, carve it with appropriate symbols that mirror your intent, and dress it with oil from wick to base, drawing towards you as you chant your intent. Light it to add power to your magic, and set the mood, tone, and focus for you spell.

6. Fill your cauldron with water, from a local river if possible, or spring water, but tap water would  be fine too. Not collected rain water or bottled water though, because you want the water to be from a flowing moving source. Putting the tap water in a bottle right before the spell to carry to the ritual site is fine.

7. Now begin sprinkling the rice and herbs into the cauldron while chanting and visualizing rain falling on the designated area, starting from a drizzle and working up to the desired degree. Make sure to include a time frame of how long the rain should fall in your chant and when.

8. Continue to focus on rain falling on the designated area in the desired degree and taking your broom, dip it into the cauldron water and begin to sprinkle the water around you  in a clockwise manner. Continue chanting as needed, making to include the time frame for how long the rains should fall, and when.

9. Keep on chanting and focus on the rain pouring in the desired amount until you feel your energy has reached a crescendo, then direct and release the energy into the sky, earth or where you feel it is needed. At the moment of release pour the contents of the cauldron onto the floor of the area where it is going to rain, or on the map of the area where it is going to rain, and bring your broom swiftly down upon it.

10. Seal you spell, and give thanks to the spirits with appropriate offerings and praises.

11. Honour the spirits in the usual way, and take down you compass round

12. Clean up.

13. Depart from the ritual site and have faith.

So here’s the spell, enjoy, and happy rain making, but use with discretion.

You can use this spell, or the age old favourite or striking a wet rag on a stone outside while invoking the devil to make rain fall.

Blessings, and be wise,

Until next time 🙂

Witchweek422