Friday, October 21, 2016

Bellarmine Jars

A Bellarmine jar is, by strictest definition, a brown ceramic bottle or jug with a face depicted on its side, used by Witches for housing spirits, hexing targets and removing curses or hexes. These jars were very durable, and they were very, very popular among the west county Witches of England because they would last, literally, for centuries -- protecting both their contents and the magic contained therein.

They weren't always known as Bellarmine jars, though. "Bellarmine" is a reference to an unpopular 16th Century Cardinal whose face appeared on the jars. Originally, though, these jars were manufactured in Frechen, near Cologne, in Germany. Here, they were called Bartmann jars -- "bearded man" jars, in reference to the bearded face who always appeared on the side.

Today, they are commonly called Witch Bottles, and the availability of a variety of materials used for bottling, canning and preservation means that contemporary Witches needn't use only brown crockery. Of course, the more durable and longer-lasting, the better. Glass might be the most popular of today's choices, but standard glass may not be your sturdiest alternative.

When creating a Bellarmine jar as a spirit house, the old, customary face can be a useful depiction of the spirit to whom you've provided a vessel. You can find potters and artisans who make contemporary versions of the old jars, or you can paint/carve/engrave your own.

Common contents of Bellarmine jars, for both spirit houses and curse/protection bottles, are hair, nail clippings, and charms/figurines. A spirit jar might also contain a few drops of blood and offerings related to the spirit housed within. A jar with the aim of both cursing and protecting might contain pins, broken glass, and urine.  Sometimes the jar is buried in the yard with a warding chant such as follows:

Into the ground go without fear
To guard me now both far and near
Throw back all evil from whence it came
By the Witchfather’s holy name

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...