Making a Protective Witch’s Bottle

Protective witches’ bottles, some dating from before Roman times and other from as late as the beginning of the twentieth century, may be seen in museums around the world. There are fine examples in the small and eccentric but fabulous Pux Rivers Museum in Oxford, UK. Witch bottles usually consisted of a sealed stone or bellaramine jar, filled with bent iron nails and pins, and buried under the entrance of a house. Iron is considered the most protective metal against all kinds of harm. Although the old witch bottles were often designed to guard against witches, the modern ones are used to repel any form of malevolence or bad feeling that may enter the home.

You will need:

A dark glass or stone bottle with a cork or tight lid (the kind used for cider is ideal); some sealing was (optional); enough old rusty nails and pins to half fill the bottle; enough cheap or sour red wine or vinegar to almost fill the bottle; 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary of 2-3 tsp dried rosemary.


At around 10 p.m., when the moon is no longer visible in the sky.

The Spell:

  • Working in a dim light; rinse the bottle under a tap.

  • Place the rusty nails and pins in the bottle, bending them if you can to form a horseshoe shape.

  • Add the rosemary and then enough wine to cover the nails (the original protective fluid was urine, but this is not suitable for modern witch bottles!)

  • Close the bottle and, if you choose, seal it with sealing wax (the traditional method).

  • Shake the bottle nine times, as you do so saying:

Keep away harm,

Keep away danger,

Keep from my door

False friend and stranger.

Drive away malice,

Drive away spite,

Guard this my dwelling

By day and by night.

  • Either bury the bottle in deep earth near the front or back door or keep it on a high shelf in a basement or cellar. Alternatively, place it high as possible in the house, when it cannot be seen.