Hemlock Witch Bottle
Hemlock Witch Bottle
This stoneware witch bottle features a hand-cut stencil image of Water Hemlock, airbrushed in black underglaze onto a white slip-cast ceramic vessel. There are 10 baneful herb designs in total; Mugwort, Amanita, Poppy, Belladonna, Blue Lotus, Datura, Hemlock, Henbane, Mandrake and Wolfbane. These herbs can be poisonous or psychotropic if ingested in quantity, but have healing properties when applied homeopathically, topically or consulted as plant allies. Each bottle is sealed with a clear glaze inside and out, suitable for holding liquids, and seals with a fitted cork. Because they are handmade, each piece is unique, with its own subtle variations.
A NOTE ON ORDERING: We make 3 bottle variations of roughly the same dimensions (7” tall x 5” wide x 2” thick). While we always have at least one bottle prepared with each design, we don’t always have all 3 bottle shapes available in said design. When you place your order, we will ship the baneful herb bottle with this specific design, though bottle shape may vary. If you have a specific need for one shape or another, please contact us via via email at Nestandtessellate@gmail.com ahead of ordering. All 3 bottle shapes are represented in the photographs here.
Witch bottles migrated with folk of Celtic descent to the East coast and Appalachia in the 1600’s, beginning as counter-magical devices used as protection against other witchcraft and conjure. They are described in historical sources in England and the United States beginning in the 17th century. Modern magic practitioners use witch bottles to cast spells for a variety of purposes. Traditionally, a witch or folk healer would prepare the witch bottle at the request of their patron, varying its contents accordingly. Historically, the witch bottle contained personal concerns of a specific individual. Later, witch bottles were filled with rosemary, needles and pins, and red wine.
The bottle was then buried at the farthest corner of the property, beneath the hearth or placed in an inconspicuous spot in the house. It is believed that after being buried, the bottle would capture evil which would be impaled on the pins and needles, drowned by the wine, and sent away by the rosemary. Sometimes sea water or earth are used instead. Other types of witch bottles may contain sand, stones, knotted threads, feathers, shells, herbs, flowers, salt, vinegar, oil, coins, or ashes. The witch bottle was believed to be active as long as the bottle remained hidden and unbroken. People went to a lot of trouble in hiding their witch bottles – those buried underneath fireplaces have been found only after the rest of the building has been torn down or otherwise.