Candles

  • Candles symbolically and spiritually repel the darkness and bring us light. They guide our way and have major religious and cultural significance around the world.
  • Candles, then and now, are often treated as offerings to deities and spirits.
  • Their light was believed to be a form of protection and farmers would frequently use blessed candles to protect their livestock.
  • The Church only began placing candles on altars during the 12th century C. E. They were used in rituals absolving sin, exorcisms, and blessings.
  • Candles are associated with the dead. A lit candle placed at a dying person’s bedside was said to ward off demons. In American folklore, keeping a candle lit in an empty room will cause the death of a relative. Candles were also thought to awake the dead.
  • In traditional witchcraft, candles made of human fat supposedly contained life energy and were used in 17th century Black Masses.
  • Modern witchcraft burns candles for spells, ceremonies, deity worship, spirit communication, and to mark the four quarters of a magic circle.
  • Candle Color Associations*:
    • White: spiritual truth and strength; breaking of curses; meditation; household purification.
    • Yellow: persuasion; confidence and charm; aid to memory and studying; Virgo; Gemini.
    • Green: healing, money and prosperity; luck; fertility; Sagittarius.
    • Pink: love and friendship; entertaining; morality; overcoming evil; Cancer.
    • Red: sexuality; strength, physical health and vigor; passion; protection; Scorpio; Aries.
    • Orange: courage, solving of legal problems; concentration; encouragement; Taurus.
    • Blue: psychic and spiritual awareness; peace; prophetic dreams; protection during sleep; Aquarius; Virgo.
    • Purple: ambition; reversing a curse; speeding up the healing of an illness; extra power; Pisces; Libra (lavender).
    • Brown: protecting pets; solving household problems; attracting help in financial crises; Capricorn.
    • Gold: intuition; protection; Leo.
    • Gray: stalemate; neutrality; cancellation.
    • Black: evil; loss; sadness; discord; [banishment].
  • It’s said that black candles can only be used in cursing and Satanic purposes, but that isn’t one hundred percent true. Many neo-Pagans, including myself, consider the burning of a black candle to be useful in banishment whether that’s banishment of a spirit, negative energies, or something else is up to the person.

 

*”The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, 1st Edition

(Side note: The candle color associations listed above are copied directly from the above citation. I claim no ownership over the wording. I added “banishment” as a use for the black candle, but that’s all.)

Brass

  • Brass is considered a protector against witches and evil spirits.
  • Used frequently in amulet-making.
  • Brass bells were typically hung from the necks of horses, cows, and other livestock to protect against the evil eye.
  • I personally associate brass with soft, cleansing energy. I use a brass bell to open and close my rituals.

Book of Shadows

  • “A book of beliefs, rituals, witchcraft laws and ethics, herbal and healing lore, incantations, chants, dances, spells, divination methods, sabbat rites and miscellaneous topics, which serves as a guide for witches in practicing their Craft and religion” (Guiley 35)*.
  • Most witches have their own personal books of shadow where they not only record the above listed, but their experiences and evolution on in their Craft. If one is part of a coven, the coven will usually have its own master book of shadows which one would be allowed to copy from and use.
  • This book should be kept secret, and in some traditions, it’s required the book be burned after the witch’s death.
  • Books of shadow tend to be a more modern invention as folk magic and other customs were handed down through families or communities orally.

 

*”The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, 1st Edition

Blood

  • Blood is both celebrated and feared for the life energy it’s said to contain.
  • In folklore, the blood of executed criminals is said to be a powerful protector against disease and bad luck.
  • Blood is thought of as the best taglock to use against a person as it’s said to give a witch power over said person; however, blood is harder to obtain than fingernails, hair, or handwriting so I personally suggest not attempting to collect blood in any manner from someone one wishes to curse.
  • Animal blood is used in folk magic, for example, the blood of a black cat is said to cure pneumonia; again, please don’t actively try looking for a black cat to collect blood from as there are perfectly good antibiotics and vaccines to fight off and protect against pneumonia.
  • In regards to menstrual blood, it’s both viewed as sacred or dirty depending on the culture.
  • Menstruation is linked to the phases of the moon.
  • Menstrual blood of various goddesses, as represented by milk or wine, is drunk to gain wisdom, promote fertility, immortality, ¬†and for healing properties.
  • “A pagan custom that has survived Christianity is the carrying of seeds to the field in a cloth stained with menstrual blood” (Guiley 29)*.
  • In patriarchal religions such as Christianity and Judaism, menstrual blood is feared and regarded as evil and unclean.
  • Historically, a menstruating woman was considered dangerous and are thus shunned for fear that they will harm others during their period.
  • “In the 1st century [C. E.], ancient Romans believed the touch of a menstruating woman could blunt knives, blast fruit, sour wine, rust iron, and cloud mirrors” (Guiley 29)*. (I included this tidbit, because I thought it was funny).
  • Even in some neo-Pagan rituals, menstruating members are barred from participation on the grounds that their current states interfere with spellwork.
  • Folk magic tells us that menstrual blood was used in love and fertility charms; it could also be used for blasting.

 

*”The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, 1st Edition

Blasting

  • The medieval term for a witch’s ability to cause infertility in men, animals, and crops.
  • The accusation of blasting is dates back as early as the 2nd century C. E. and are supposedly quite common for witches as fertility was directly linked to prosperity.
  • Many pagan rituals celebrate and enhance fertility, so blasting is the opposite of that.
  • According to folklore, witches blasted crops by taking a flayed cat, toad, lizard, and viper and lay them on hot coals until completely incinerated. A powder was to be created from the ashes and sown into the soil of the witch’s victim.
  • Placing snakes underneath the threshold, house, or barn was said to cause miscarriages, still births, infertility in the home, and birth defects.
  • Another way witches were said to disrupt sexual acts was to cast an illusion spell o men so they could neither feel, nor see their penises.
  • Ironically, the Inquisition used blasting as a technique to fight pagans and enemies of the Church.
  • Blasting was most likely used among all types of people, not just witches, including farmers to snuff out competition.

Bells

  • As symbols of the divine, a bell’s sound symbolizes creative power and their shape mimics a womb.
  • Historically, bells have been thought to hold magical power in multiple ancient and modern cultures including Hindus, ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Buddhism.
  • I personally use a bell to signify the opening and closing of a ritual by clearing the energies.
  • Bells attached to clothing are used as amulets for the above purposes.
  • Ringing a bell is said to have the following desired affects: driving away evil spirits, clearing energies, clearing the air of disease (in medieval Europe), raising the spirits of the dead, calling fairies, and storm-calling.
  • One use of bell folklore in the modern world comes from hanging one over the door of a shop; not necessarily to signal the arrival of a customer, but to keep negative entities out.
  • The Necromantic Bell of Giradius: “Eighteenth century French instructions specified that the bell be cast from an alloy of gold, silver, fixed mercury, tin, iron, and lead at the exact day and hour of birth of the person who intends to use it. The bell was to be inscribed with various astrological symbols and the magical words of Adonai, Jesus and the Tetragrammaton. Then, the bell was to be wrapped in green taffeta and placed in the middle of a grave in a cemetery. It was to be left for seven days, during which time it absorbed certain vibrations and emanations. At the end of a week, the bell was properly “cured” for necromancy rituals” (Guiley 23)*.

 

*”The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, 1st Edition

Babylonian Devil Trap

  • “A terra-cotta bowl inscribed with charms or magical texts, used by ancient Hebrews in parts of Babylonia to drive away evil” (Guiley 20)*.
  • They were believed to protect against demons, illness, curses, and the evil eye.
  • They were buried upside-down and buried under the four corners of a home or building.
  • Popular during the 3rd to 1st century B. C. E. and then again in the 6th century C. E.
  • The bowls were inscribed with Hebrew scripture or words invoking God.

 

*”The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, 1st Edition

Apples

  • Apples have long been associated with magic and goddess deities.
  • Goddesses such as Hera, Idunn, Freya, Aphrodite, Eris, and Hel are some examples of this association.
  • Divination with apples originating in medieval Europe have evolved into Halloween games, for example, apple bobbing.
  • One long peel of an apple that falls on the floor in a certain shape was said to divine the first initial of one’s future spouse.
  • Witches who wanted to bewitch others were said to use apples, hence, the story of Snow White.
  • English folklore says its bad luck to pick all the apples in a harvest as some must be left for the fairies.
  • Apples are associated with fertility and love and are thus used as charms to attract those things in various cultures and traditions.

Amulets

  • Wearing or carrying amulets to protect oneself is possibly the earliest known form of folk magic in history; the belief in their power has endured for thousands of years up to the present day.
  • “Prayers, sacrifices and offerings induced the good spirits to grant blessings; amulets prevented the evil spirits from taking them away” (Guiley 9)*.
  • Statues, symbols, rings, necklaces, and plaques, for example, were used as amulets.
  • Inscribed with spells or words with intent behind them, amulets become charms.
  • They granted protection from adversity, bodily harm, witchcraft, and the evil eye.
  • They also brought good luck, good health, and fertility (on a person or crops).
  • Bells are considered amulets against evil spirits.
  • Eyes and phallic symbols are historically universal amulet symbols; eyes protect against evil spirits, and phallic symbols (sometimes represented by horns or hands) protect against the evil eye.
  • Holy books such as the Bible, Torah, and Koran are considered to have protective powers.
  • The neo-Pagan pentacle is used as an amulet today; usually silver, when traced in the air or worn, it’s believed to protect the person or their home.

 

*”The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft” by Rosemary Ellen Guiley, 1st Edition

Amber

  • Historically worn as jewelry to protect against witchcraft, sorcery, and poisons.
  • Ancient Romans used it to cure headaches and throat infections; believed an amber phallus could protect against the evil eye.
  • The believed abilities of amber include: easing labor pains, keeping cool in the heat, remedying failing eyesight and earaches, and aiding in kidney and intestinal illnesses.
  • Jet is black amber and, historically, in Iceland, was worn as a protective amulet.
  • In medieval Europe, jet was burned to drive away evil spirits.