Hello, witches, I hope you all enjoyed the Hunter’s Moon this past weekend. There is something so special about the full moon in the month of October. It’s just so zesty, isn’t it? I know it’s mostly psychological, because we’re so much more attuned during this time of year, but it doesn’t matter why it’s so special. I’m just enjoying the extra magick.
And speaking of extra magick, I have a really exciting announcement to make. I’ve spent the last, I don’t even know how long working on a project that I’m very proud of. What I’ve done is gone through every episode from the first year of the Middle-Aged Witch podcast and I’ve sort of distilled all the information from those first 52 episodes into a book.This book has a lot of information, theory, spells, rituals, and formulas, this goes over everything from the tarot episode, the protection magick episode, abundance magick, anointing oils.
This book contains information from the herb and plant magick episode, baneful magick, love magick, and more. It’s the whole first year of the podcast in book format. It’s called Love & Light, Blood & Bone, Magick for Witches Who Live in the Real World by Eli Ro. It’s available in paperback or as an ebook and as much as I despise Amazon, that’s where you can find my book. Yes, I am using them to distribute this book which hurts a little bit, but unfortunately, publishing a book is an expensive pain in the ass and Amazon has actually managed to make it affordable and possible for people who aren’t named Stephanie Meyer to get their books out there. I still hate Amazon though. The price does vary depending on what country you’re in, but the paperback is $14 in the States and the ebook is $8.
There it is, Love & Light Blood & Bone. I’m pretty proud of it, and I’m really grateful to everyone for listening and writing in and being just generally fucking awesome.
Now don’t get me wrong, my mission has not changed. I am still here to make magick accessible to every witch in every financial circumstance. I am not moving to monetize the podcast or the information in it. So if this is not something in your budget, please don’t despair. Everything in this book is already available totally free on this podcast. Which I recognize is not a great sales pitch for the book. This is why I am not a salesman. But I hope that anyone who’s interested and who has the means will at least check it out.
Love & Light, Blood & Bone by Eli Ro.
Well today I wanted to talk about spell jars and mojo bags, and this suggestion came from a witch called Rebella. I have considered on and off the possibility of tackling spell jars, but I kind of always felt like they’re pretty well, not overdone, but they’ve definitely got a lot of visibility. You can go on social media and scroll past five different spell jar demonstrations in a half hour. It just isn’t hard to find.
But, and I say this gently, what I typically observe is the serene layering of like, rose petals, lavender buds, pink Himalayan sea salt in an adorable little jar which is then sealed with pastel wax. And please don’t let me misrepresent my intentions here: there is nothing in the world wrong with that. As I have said a thousand times and as I believe with all my heart, every witch’s practice is valid.
I just would like to see a little more, I don’t know, depth and context given. There are so many great ways to use spell jars, and while there’s nothing wrong with the WitchTok aesthetic, there’s just a lot more that container spells can do for us besides look beautiful on a shelf. So that is the perspective from which we are going to be examining and fleshing out the process and the applications and the potential that these kinds of works have for us.
And in that vein, I got an email this week from a different witch, that specifically asked for spell jar recommendations, so I’ll read that first very quickly, and then we will get into the topic at hand.
Hi Eli, Thank you for doing your podcasts. I look forward to Thursdays. As a beginner you always have something that I find intriguing, helpful or just brings a sense of peace. I am writing today to see if you might have a suggestion. My Father-in-Law is fighting Cancer for the third time. He recently got a urinary tract infection and is struggling with pain, nausea and being unable to rest. Is there anything that I might be able to do such as a spell jar? I would love to be able to assist him in some way. We actually live next door to him and his second wife. She thinks emotions/feelings are wrong. She has made comments to me about crying. I am an emotional person and refuse to let go of that for anyone else. Please anything you have to suggest or offer. Blessed Be.
Well, as I said to this witch, a spell jar would be perfect for this work. So there’s just a little bit of organization to do to construct a spell like this. So in addition to a personal concern of dad’s, such as hair or a scrap of paper he’s written on or a bit of cloth that he’s touched or worn, we can include elements for healing. Any combination of carnation, oak, basil, garlic, cardamom, nettle, thistle, marigold, mustard seed, clove, and rose will be lovely.
And to really put a laser focus on our intention, adding a few herbs that are especially healing for issues related to the urinary tract such as parsley, goldenseal, or dandelion root are going to be very nice. A small bit of amethyst, quartz, rose quartz, or tourmaline will also be a welcome addition. Once our jar is assembled, we can seal it with wax (pink or orange wax in particular, or white wax if that’s what we’ve got), charge it with intentions of love, healing, and pain relief, and then put it somewhere in his home where it will be near him.
As for his wife, it sounds as though maybe she’s struggling with her own emotions and is lashing out at others for being able to feel their emotions so authentically. Obviously, you’ll keep being who you are, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt to do a little emotional healing work for her as well.
Now, one big reason why this sort of work is so well-suited for spell jars is because, first of all, we’re going to leave it in someone else’s house. It’s hard to do a candle spell or set up an altar in somebody else’s home. But a spell jar, especially if it’s a small spell jar, can easily be tucked away somewhere discreet and out of the way where it can be left alone to do its job. Once its job is done, it can be easily removed.
What we call spell jars now were historically called witch bottles. These have been found in homes dating back hundreds and hundreds of years, and I’m sure they’ve been used even longer than that, but they’re not exactly indestructible, so they’ve probably just been lost to time and the elements. Witch bottles have been found in the chimneys and the hearths of really old homes for a long, long time and their original purpose was to protect the homes in which they were kept. Specifically, they were meant to protect the homes from witches.
These were counter-magickal items often put together by a folk healer to trap baneful magick or evil intent. They contained all kinds of interesting items, such as rusty nails, urine, hair, thorns, broken glass, menstrual blood. Just absolutely not the sort of thing we see on social media these days. Witch bottles have been gentrified.
Mojo bags are the other sort of container spell that we’re going to talk about today, and I do want to clarify our terminology right out of the gate. We aren’t going to be talking about hoodoo mojo bags, which are also known as mojo hands. Hoodoo mojo bags are made differently and to their own specifications. I don’t do hoodoo, it’s an African Diaspora tradition, it’s a syncretic spiritual system, and I am not all that familiar with it. What we call mojo bags are actually more correctly defined as charm bags. And if you choose to use a store-bought cloth bag, that’s cool, but you can sew them too. And there’s a no-sew option as well, where you just put all your elements in a circle of cloth, draw up the sides, and tie it securely with a string or some twine. Making your own bag is badass. You should try it.
But there are all kinds of container spells and all kinds of uses for them beyond their origins. Some common container spells we frequently hear about are honey jars, vinegar jars, spell jars for protection, spell jars to ward nightmares, spell jars for peace and prosperity, spell jars to hex an individual, good luck charms, and so on.
So let’s take it from the top. Choosing the elements to include in a spell jar or spell bag is going to be the exact same sort of a process that we would use to make any kind of a spell. We are going to ruminate on what we intend to achieve with this work, and then do some research about what sort of plants, herbs, minerals, curios, etc correspond with those intentions. So as we described with the spell jar for the witch from earlier, we wanted to find items that will support overall healing, and then take it even a little further and find some things that are specifically associated with the exact kind of healing that we are looking for. And in the example above, it was urinary tract health.
If our plan is to create a spell jar for protection, we might want to consider what it’s meant to protect. I keep a spell jar in my car, and in addition to the typical protective herbs such as clover and honeysuckle, I also keep some things in there that are specific to preventing accidents, like comfrey or goose feathers. However, if this jar is meant to protect the home, and we talked a lot about that kind of jar in the Protection Magick episode from way back in the day, then we may want to include items specific for home protection, like basil or mistletoe for protection from negative entities, or frankincense or nettle to protect against negative people, or aspen and juniper, which confer protection from thieves.
Along the same line is a spell jar for protection from nightmares. Include some hair from the person this jar is meant to protect, whether it be your own hair or a child’s or even someone else’s. In addition to any other protection herbs you choose, I would also recommend cedar and star anise. And of course, good sleeping herbs like chamomile and heather, and also moonstone.
If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome an addiction, or even just trying to establish some self-discipline, I would of course start with the personal concern of hair or fingernails or whatever you’re using, and I’d take the time to create a good strong sigil that clearly defines our intentions, and I’d also include cedar and onyx to support self control, apple seeds to encourage discipline, and particularly in the case of an addiction, I’d also include St. John’s wort and mullein to help with confronting any darkness that may still need to be worked through. And of course, I can’t mention a work like that without strongly encouraging therapy if you have the means, but definitely shadow work to go along with it.
And a jar like this should be regularly charged on some kind of a set routine so that it stays strong. Addictions are devilish things and they wear away at our self-control, so we don’t ever want to become complacent. So perhaps every full moon, give your jar a good shake and leave it on your altar or out in the moonlight to soak up that vital energy and really meditate on your goals and your challenges and maybe even petition Saturn for assistance. He’s not a deity we talk about too much around these parts, but he is the king of discipline and determination and he will help keep you on the straight and narrow. And I know I kind of got a little off the subject there, but I did get a messagel on Tuesday from a witch in the UK who’s in a bit of a situation and I just realized that this kind of work could be really helpful for her.
For a money jar or an abundance jar, I like to include bay laurel, basil, rice, small chunks of pyrite or lodestone, and as an option, you can add a small scrap of paper with a specific dollar amount that you want to call. I personally like to put some blessed money clippings in there as well. If you go back to the Abundance Magick episode, we talk about how to make blessed money clippings. And these money clippings are something that you’re going to use over and over again in any kind of money magic. You can use it to make money drawing oil, and you can burn them in fire rituals as well. But to recap in case you’re not interested in going back and listening to that whole episode, to make blessed money clippings, you will need to do the following:
First, get yourself an actual dollar bill. If you’re really balling, you can use a higher denomination, but a one dollar bill will work just fine. Then cleanse it with smoke from either sage or incense, and then bless and sanctify it for the purpose of calling in more money. Try to find a bill that has repeating numbers in the serial number if you can, preferably 7s. And then once it’s blessed, cut it into confetti sized pieces, basically. And just add a pinch of the clippings to the spell jar, it doesn’t require a lot. You’ll be able to do several spells with a single dollar bill. Put all your elements into your jar and screw the lid on.
If you’re harboring a particularly nasty grievance against someone, and I mean they’ve really got it coming, you can put them in a vinegar jar. Anything nasty, foul, hateful, disgusting that you want to add to their jar is on the table. Nails, thorns, spikes, dead bugs, dead hornets, all of it, throw it in there. This isn’t something you should undertake lightly. This is reserved for the worst kind of people. And of course, whatever you choose to do with this information is your business and not mine. I take no responsibility for the way you choose to use this information. I’m just saying, this is the kind of thing that can really wreck people’s lives. So be responsible.
And of course this doesn’t exhaust the possibilities, but I do have to move on to the most important part of using container spells.
Now that we’ve got a good idea about how we can use these container spells and what kinds of items we can put in them, let’s talk a bit about what makes them magickal. Obviously, we will want to cleanse the jar or bag and everything that goes inside it. The easiest way to accomplish this is probably with smoke, specifically incense. If that’s not an option, regular salt is another great way to get rid of any lingering energy before you begin constructing your spell.
And the order in which you choose to layer everything into the jar or bag is really up to you. You can build it any way you like. Once you’ve got everything in there, if it’s a jar, you may choose to seal it with wax. You can stamp the wax with a wax seal, you can stamp it with a signet ring, you can carve a sigil into the seal if you don’t have a stamp or a signet ring. Wouldn’t it be so badass if we all had signet rings for sealing our spells and our letters? Anyway. If you’re not going to need to open it again for the duration of the spell, this is probably the way to go. If you may have to open it from time to time though, maybe leave the wax out of it and just screw the lid on or tie up the bag.
We also have got to charge the container and everything in it in order to give it its magick. In order for these spells to work as intended, we have to fill them with intention. And this is very commonly left out of the reels that we see online. And I don’t necessarily think that it’s because the witches who are creating these videos don’t know that, I’m sure they do.
It’s just that this aspect of creating the spell isn’t really something that translates well to video. But it’s the most important part of the work. This is what separates a jar of assorted herbs and spices from a spell. So just bear that in mind, if you’ve tried spell jars or charm bags in the past and you didn’t really see the results you’d hoped for, maybe the problem was just that it wasn’t charged effectively.
And as with everything else, you can charge and consecrate your container spell in any manner that you choose. And you’ll probably find that the more spellwork you do, the more you become partial to one specific method. We can charge our container spells using our hands to direct energy and intention right into them. We can place our container spells on our altars and charge them with orgasm energy. This is super powerful.
We can use the power of the moon to charge them by putting the containers out on the night of the full or new moon, depending on our intention. We might use crystals for this purpose. We could charge them with sigils. We can use any combination of these methods or with totally different methods altogether. It doesn’t matter how we energize these works, it just matters that we do it. Otherwise, as we’ve said, all we have is a jar or a bag of junk.
Once they’re charged and we’ve put them in place to do what they were created to do, we may just leave them alone, or we may check in on them periodically to reactivate them as needed, or we may discard them altogether once they’ve spent their magick or absorbed all the negativity they’re able to hold.
If we’ve got something like a money jar or a vinegar jar, we may want to interact with it from time to time to just make sure it’s still doing its job. For these applications, we will probably grab it and shake the hell out of it. This is going to reawaken those elements inside and just dust off any stagnant energy. We want to make sure those components of the jar haven’t gotten lazy, haven’t forgotten what they’re meant to be doing.
If we have something like a honey jar, or a protection jar, we may want to feed it from time to time. If you’ve got someone in a honey jar, you may want to pour in another teaspoon of sugar from time to time just to keep it fed. If you’ve got a protection jar, maybe sprinkle in some extra basil or dill or sandalwood or whatever you may have on hand that has protective qualities.
And the protection jars I’m talking about are the ones you might keep in your car or under your child’s bed or something like that. Now if you’ve got a jar that you’ve buried on your property for like, major household protection, that’s something you’re going to leave alone. Every once in a while, go ahead and do a little above-ground energy check and see how things feel. If you still get the sense that they’re working effectively, continue to leave them alone and don’t worry about it.
If your jar has served its purpose, meaning you’ve gotten whatever it was that you created it for, or if it’s just totally spent, then it’s time to retire it. To do this, we are going to break the seal on the jar, discard or recycle whatever is inside in a safe manner, and then we can wash and reuse the jar. Or the bag. If it is a bag, and everything inside is fire safe, you may choose to just burn it. This is totally legit. And that basically brings us to the close.
Spell jars and spell bags are some of the most convenient and customizable magick a witch can do. There’s just no limit to the applications for this kind of work. It’s portable, it doesn’t take up a bunch of space on your altar, it can be hidden, it can be carried on your person, and it can be deconstructed and deconsecrated when your work is done.
I love container spells; I know they’re all over social media and maybe they’re a little overplayed, but they’re a classic for a reason. So, give it a go, be creative, use your intuition and your imagination and stretch those witch wings. It’s October, it’s our time, so whatever we do, we need to do it with confidence and a spirit of openness to all the possibilities. There is no magick that we can’t create. Join me next week to talk about Samhain and the season of the Crone. If you do check out my book, let me know what you think or leave a review. Even if it’s a bad review, people deserve to know. My name is Eli Ro, and this has been the Middle-Aged Witch podcast.