“When placed in a jar and hung by a window St. John’s wort protects against thunderbolts, fire, and evil spirits”
Much like the bottles used in magick, that is “spell bottles”, or sometimes also referred to as “witch bottles”, jars serve the purpose to contain physical ingredients used in spell casting, and thus effectively became vessel for the spiritual and physical part of magick work.
Bottle and jar spells, are usually described by a single term, such as “container spells”, or “contained spells”, whereas the very bottle or jar used, is a spell container ( in that it contains a spell, obviously ). While both can be versatile, it’s the spell bottles that are often used for everything and anything, from drawing and attaining love or money, to “draining someone of power they have over You”*, which is tad bit ironic, in all honesty. Since the use of bottles in spell rose with the popularity of “witch bottles”, which are traced up to few hundreds of years ago. What more, despite what the name might have one thing, these were actually spiritual “devices”, tools If You will, devised by Inquisitors, and folk magick practitioners, to avert witches and trap the attacks and evil spirits they send to harm one. So essentially, the bottles became a prominent tool in magick of various traditions, modeling after an aportropaic, Christian, and folk magick, spiritual tool.
With that being said, spell bottles that appeared later, are a modern “product”, which was derived from the witch bottle, and adopted to work on other magickal aims, besides protection.The jars however, have been used both as traps and spell containers since early antiquity. Today, we mostly see “spirit pots”, used in Santeria, palo mayombe or other African-derived magicko-religious systems, taking forms of bottles (often extremely decorative ones too ), however, what traditionally was used, are the earthenware pots, or jugs with a lid. Pretty much the ancestors to the glass jars which are modern commodity, and a common household item.
Jars are preferred by modern practitioners in two cases mostly: when adding items ( botanicals or animal or mineral curios ) which are too large to fit through the opening of the bottle, and when casting Hoodoo trademark, Honey jar spells, that use a literal jar of honey ( sometimes also sugar and molasses, more details will be given later in the text ) as a spell container.
Jars are also prominently used for creating spirit traps. Sure, bottles are used abundantly for this too, but in a less specific manner. People will hung open, cobalt blue bottles around their houses, or on trees in their yard, to capture malicious spirits, or spells. Such practices are said to originate from Congo region of Africa, where the cobalt blue glass containers were placed strategically around the house, or hung on tree branches. Thus, not unlike the use of witch balls, popular in central, northern and mainland Europe. In fact, some claim that the custom of witch balls derives from the older, African tradition.  Both bottle trees, and witch balls can be found in Eastern and Mediterranean Europe, while in the Americas, bottle trees are much more common. But jars, or at least jar-like vessels and dishes have been used form the Biblical times, and earlier, to contain and entrap spirits. King Solomon was famed to had a jar in which he had managed to contain spirits by the means of miraculous seal, which was embedded on the lid.
In folk magick of Europe, as well as in modern Neo-Paganism, bottles are often used, also as traps, to contain misfortune, illness and negative energy, with the help of knotted threads, yarn, sand, stones, earth, salt, lodestones, lodestone dust, and other.
Finally, very small jars, are often made into charms, worn as pendants, or carried on one’s behalf, to serve as amulets and talismans. The fact that they are generally wider than the bottles comes handy, If You wish to place certain items and curios inside. Vials are most often used for this, but jars and even bottles are also used. Examples of charms, contained in a bottle or jar, are those Latin American flask charms. 
Jars are also more convenient, for ongoing, active altar works. Fine example are honey jar spells, where smaller candles, like chime candles, are often burnt regularly, or from time to time atop the lid, whereas in the case of bottle spells, candles can be lit and burnt mostly once, and that is it. That’s because, in the case of bottle spells, candles are lit in the mount/opening of the bottle, and once they burn all the way down, they seal the bottle, both physically ( the wax ) and magickally. Finally, there are some spells, typical for New Orleans Voodoo, as well as Hoodoo, supposed to turn around the situation, reverse the spell, or even cross someone, confuse them etc., and these require candle to be burnt on the bottom of the overturned jar. The same would be awfully impractical, if attempted to be done with a bottle.
But, as we see, bottles and jars, can be used pretty much the same way in magick, it just happens to be so, that sometimes one or the other are more desirable and pragmatic to use. So to summarize, before we proceed to illustrate these methods with a few examples, let’s summarize the possible uses of jars in spell casting as;
· - Containers for a specific spell
· - Vessels for spirits or spirit trapping containers
· - Honey jar spell containers, for sweetening and influencing people
· - As charm containers, to be carried on oneself, or placed strategically in home
Also, there are no “rules” or “regulations” about working with bottles in spell work, at least not sensu stricto, but there are some guidelines, that many Hoodoo practitioners, my minority included, observe and follow ;
· - Jar spells, just like bottle spells require some shaking done. On a basis You find agreeable with You, but it should not be every single day. Once in a three day is all that it’s needed really, even in the case of crossing work. Shaking is done either vigorously and in a “wild” manner, or gently few times a day. The first method is usually employed when trying to cross someone, particularly to induce pain or confusion. The second method is used for influencing, benevolent work, or drawing things to You.
· - When You shake the jar, You call out the name of the person, to whom it’s intended, following it with explaining and stating the desired outcome, in a “toasting” or “rapping” fashion.
· - Jar spells can be opened, once You’ve created them, and prayed over, only if You are doing some kind of general jar spell, that is, when it does not contain name papers or personal concerns of anyone else but You. Charm vials, or bottles may be opened and things added as needed, but admittedly this should not be done too often. Let’s put it this way, even if the specific work You are doing, allows You to re-open jars, then do it as little times as possible. Some conjurers / Hoodooists believe, that once created, bottle spell contains a part of the spirit of person to whom it’s intended, or for whom it’s made, and thus should not be opened, or it will release the sprit, and cause the work to fail.
· - If the jar ( or bottle ) spell breaks, for any reason, accidental or not, cleanse immediately, dispose of the remains, preferably by burning them in fire, or by throwing them in flowing water. Then cleanse oneself, and a room where the jar broke. If possible, set a blessing or Van Van light in given room too. If it was a crossing type of jar spell, perhaps it’s time to reconsider what You’re doing.
· - You don’t want to keep crossing spell jars near You, least You’re asking for trouble. They should be buried somewhere far from Your home (preferably in the victim’s yard where they will walk over it), after You’ve finished praying over the jar, and lighting candles over it. Jar spells are convenient for “left path” working, because, when you decide that You no longer wish to torture the person, You can dig up the candle, open it, pour the contents in running water saying: “I release You from this crossing. Be well and blessed from now on, as far as I am concerned. In the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen!”
Those of course, are the methods we practice in hoodoo/conjure/rootwork. Old folk European jar spells, as well as Neo-pagan spells, don’t seem to have any particular rules, certainly not some which would consistently appear. The exception being, in creation of spirit traps, or jars to absorb evil and misfortune, once closed, You should never open them again.
Now, here are few examples
Hoodoo honey jar spell
Hoodoo honey jar spell, can be used to either draw someone romantically, or cause them to think “sweetly” of You, or to influence someone to be more friendly and nicer to You.
The basic “procedure” is rather uniform, what differs is the things and words You will write on the petitioner’s paper, and botanicals and candles You will use. Since honey jar love spells seem to pop out from all magick related websites and blogs online, I will rather focus on Influence or sweeting someone to You variation. A boss, a teacher, a landlord, the bank clerk…. What have You
1. On a petitioner’s paper, write the person’s name 3 times and cross and cover it with yours. Now, around it, in a continuous, undisrupted writing, with a short phrase or word, describe the desired outcome. For example “agreewithme” or “domeafavor” etc. You may repeat the phrase as many times as You need to complete the circle, but You must not make spaces between the words, and You should do Your best to not lift the pen off the paper, while doing so.
2. Sprinkle the petitioner’s paper with small amount of suitable herbs. For example, to make someone agree with You more readily, sprinkle some licorice, five finger’s grass, and brown sugar. You can add three small pinches. Fold the petitioner’s paper accordingly to the need, that is folding towards or away of oneself, and rotating it for 90’… the standard deal.
3. Open your honey jar. Take three tablespoons of honey, and before You take each, say something along the lines: “As this honey is sweet to me, so will N.N. think of me favorably, and sweetly, and will agree with me and do me favors”.
4. Now, having done that, place the petitioner’s paper in the jar, close it tightly, shake few times, calling the N.N.’s name, and speaking of desired outcome. Now, atop the jar, light a yellow candle, dressed with some suitable oil ( for example “Influence” or “, “Agree with me”, use some milder formula, as opposed to something like “Essence of bend over” or “Command and compel” ), light it and say Your prayers. Psalm 5th Is really good to use to make an authority figure or boss be kind and favorable to You, for example. Psalm 32nd is another great choice. Also 47th Psalm, which is amazing to make people in power do You favors.
5. When the candle had burnt all the way down, either place on Your altar, or somewhere where it will not be disturbed. Shake the bottle from time to time ( as described in the step 4. ) and burn a candle once a week, saying prayers or reading psalms ( as described in the step 4. ), until You’ve accomplished Your goal.
Sand Trap Spell and Ritual
The following spell is provided at Spelwerx site, and illustrates so finely that European folk magick style use of candles to trap negative energies, and spells
“Sand Trap Spell and Ritual - Used for trapping negative energies.
You will need:
· A small glass jar with a lid
· Two different colors of sand (can be as simple as darker and lighter)
· A single beeswax candle
After the sun has set, light the candle and place it on a flat surface, such as a tabletop. Place one color of sand at your right hand, and the other color at your left hand on the table. Place the jar between the sand in the center.
With your left hand, take a small amount of sand from the sand on your left and sprinkle it into the jar — less than enough to cover the bottom. Now, focus on the candle's flame and speak aloud the following words:
Candle's flame that lights the night,
Candle burning, hot and bright,
By your flame attract ill will,
From this night, so dark — so still,
Trap it in your molten wax,
For your good, evil attracts,
Bind it, keep it — cold, alone,
In this prison — grains of stone.
With your right hand, take the candle and drip at least three drops of wax into the bottom of the jar — more is fine — but no less. Allow the wax to mix with the sand. Return the candle to its original position on the table. Allow the wax to cool and harden — this should only take a minute or two.
Again with your left hand, take more sand and cover the wax. Once the wax has been covered, begin filling the jar with the sand from your right hand side. Continue to fill the jar until it is full to the top. Place the lid on the jar. Extinguish the candle. Place the jar in a dark and secret place and leave it undisturbed. Never open the jar and never remove the sand. This spell may be repeated as needed, should you again feel the presence of negative energies, but new materials should be used each time.” 
Bound evil and illness jar spell
This particular spell is a rather common, traditional, folk spell, known throughout the Europe, and much like the previous, serves to trap misfortune, evil or illness. What makes this particular spell unique is that it’s pretty much one time – use, jar spell, hence, once the spell is completed it’s best to dispose properly of the jar.
So one is to take yarn or thread, the color does not matter, although I myself have used black. It does not have to be a whole thread, in fact, it’s better to have it chopped into pieces. Then, while knotting the thread, each one several times, You chant an appropriate incantation, something along these lines:
“With/In this knot tie the harm,
With/In this knot tie the illness,
With/In this knot tie misfortune, and bane
With/In this knot tie evil, and pain,
Trapped thus, never to return to me
Tie them all up, and set me free!”
Once you’ve finished with the chanting, and knotting, drop the knotted piece of thread, into an open jar. Now repeat the process, as many times as possible. Tradition (folklore) suggests this to be done until the jar is almost completely full. It’s thus, quite time consuming, and requires great effort and concentration, but then again, the tradition does not specify how large the jar should be (wink wink lol). Once done with filling up the jar with thread, close it tightly with a lid, and dispose of it. I’d suggest in crossroads, or even in the graveyard, and would also suggest to return home via circuitous route. This way, If the jar was ever to be somehow opened, be it even accidentally, what’s trapped inside would not be able to find the way back to You.
Jar spell to trap an evil spirit
Here is an example of a strange spell to trap an evil spirt in a jar. This is not how I myself would do it, in fact, I’d use something more elaborate, including the use of spiral made from powdered eggshell, which would lead into the jar, with items meant to draw in and constrain the spirt, for example, lodestone, D shoestring root’s, whiskey, a bit of graveyard dirt etc., … for example.
Yet this spell seems rather simple and straight-forward, probably a bit new-age influenced, so I decided to reproduce it here, for illustrative purposes. And who knows, maybe it works just great, it seems to combine the symbolism of the witch’s bottle, with the belief in the power of seas (and ocean) to trap evil spirits, and destroy them
“This traps an evil entity or evil spirits and prevents any harm being done.
•Salt water - 1 part Sea salt to 8 parts of spring water.
•1 dried Rose
•13 Rose Thorns
•1 Small Glass Jar + a tightly fitting lid
Put the Rose Thorns into the jar one at a time and as you do this and drop one in, chant the following words each time:
"Thou Demon presence. Be no more!"
Crush up the Thorns in the jar and then crush up the Rose petals and add them to the jar, slowly add the salt water. Keep the jar open overnight. The next morning before the sunrise close the lid. All the evil should now be trapped inside the jar. Cover the jar with a cloth and bury it far away from the house in a place that has no buildings nearby.” 
Protection and energy jar spell
Now here is another one from the Spelwerx website, and this one is also quite interesting. Not only that it does not say You should not re-open the jar after the spell, it in fact instructs us to do so, to add stones to it followed by chanting.
This is however, pretty much a large talisman bottle, so in this very case it makes a lot of sense. And it has that lovely, renaissance-cunning-folk magick “signature “all over it, and it seems quite powerful.
“Jar of Stones Spell - A magic spell of protection and power for the home. This simple spell provides both protection and energy for your home. It is a spell that constantly grows in strength and can actually be done daily.
You will need:
A glass jar
A small amount of clean sand
A beeswax candle
Find a glass jar that you would like to use for your spell (a quart canning jar is a good choice). Wash the jar thoroughly inside and out with warm water and soap. Dry the jar completely. Light your beeswax candle and drop a few drops of molten wax onto the interior bottom of the jar. Next, place about one inch of sand in the jar.
Place the jar near an entrance door to your home. Every time you find a small stone, drop it in the jar. Any type of stone will do, so feel free to be creative with the stones used. You do not have to put a stone in daily, they can be added as frequently as you wish. It is important though that you put them in one at a time and the spell works best if you put no more than one stone in per day.
As you add each stone, speak the following words aloud:
Snare the evils, bring them woe,
Where they wish, don't let them go,
Evil from this place be banned,
By this wish, by this command!
Once the bottle has been filled, put the lid on and leave it by the door. You can make as many of these as you like and place them by every door. Touch the jar and repeat your chant at least once a week to reinforce the power of the spell. This spell will help defend your home and family fro the negative energy that uninvited visitors and negative thoughts can produce. It also introduces power and energy into the home and revitalizes a family's strength. “ 
Hoodoo spell to get rid of an enemy
This one comes from the beautiful and informative “The Voodoo Hoodoo spellbook” by Miss Denise Alvarado. It’s paraphrased and edited for use here; to illustrate one of those type of jar spells, where the jar is inverted and candle burnt on the bottom ( now the top ), to remove some bad condition;
You begin by writing a name of the person on a piece of paper, and tying the piece of paper to three sticks of Artemisia, Blood weed** or Sage. Then You place this “bundle” in a jar, pour vinegar to fill it up, close the lid tightly and turn the jar upside down.
Next, You are to tie a black ribbon around a black candle, and chop of the top of the candle to flatten it, so it could stand on it when inverted, invert the candle, but out the wick from the bottom, and carve it into the top ( much like You would do with the double-action candles ), and place it atop the inverted jar ( hence, on the bottom of the jar, serving as “top” ). Light the candle and say:
“As Jesus turned vinegar into the water (???)***, so shall ( name of enemy ) turn into nothing, so that they go far away, and so that I will never have to see them again”
When the candle burns all the way down, one should dispose of the remaining in graveyard along with nine pennies, as the “payment” 
Now, I kept the original “words of power” intact here, but I don’t really like them myself ( see the footnotes, for explanation ), and would either adapt the text, or use Psalms 1st or 125th; 3-5 instead.
Hoodoo move away spell
There is a traditional Hoodoo spell done with both with a bottle or a jar, to make someone move away, let’s say a nasty neighbor or banish them away from You. From personal experience I can tell You, it packs a lot of power, and it’s fairly simple. There are few variations of it out there, but the key thing is to throw a jar with personal concerns and name paper of the person and vinegar ( some use Four thieves vinegar, but the common household vinegar works excellent too ) into the running water, preferably during the waning phase of the Moon. This is how I was taught to do it:
1. Practitioner first creates a name paper with the person’s name written nine times, and then crossed nine times, with the words “move away” or “go away” or “stay away”. If the practitioner has some kind of personal concern, like hairs, he adds those, placing them atop the paper. If one feels so inclined, he/she may sprinkle some Hot foot powder over it as well.
2. Paper is folded in half “outwards” ; away from the practitioner, then rotated for 90’, counterclockwise, and then folded outwards again. This action is repeated until one is nolonger able to fold the paper.
3. A whole Red pepper, preferably Cayenne pepper, or Red hot chili pepper, is then cut on one side, just enough to put the prepared paper in. Then the pepper is placed in a jar, large enough just to fit the pepper in, preferably.
4. Next, one is to fill the jar with Vinegar or “Four thieves vinegar”, not completely full though, and close it tightly.
5. Take it to a river that flows away from town, throw it in the water and say: “As this jar goes away, so will the ( Name ) move away/ go away/ stay away from me! In the Name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! Amen!”
And it’s done.
A little bit of Langiappe
Check also some useful suggestions by Momma Star of the old star conjure on making and using Hoodoo contained, or jar spells, http://www.oldstyleconjure.com/conjure-jar-spells.php and an amazing spell by Denise Alvarado employing a doll babie, or voodoo doll in a bottle/jar spell, http://creole-moon.blogspot.com/2014/01/bottle-spell-to-get-rid-of-troubling.html to get rid of troublesome people. I’ve posted a two jar spells for money, one Russian folk magick spell, and one Hoodoo in my post on Hoodoo Money conjure on this blog, so You can check those out as well http://shadowsmagickplace.blogspot.com/
Hope You’ve found this informative and helpful, many blessings and Luv, and may this year be great to You!
With luv, Shadow J
NOTES: This article was written and composed by myself, hence If You wish to use any parts of it elsewhere online, feel free, but add credits: Shadow of Shadows magick place, Shadowfirstname.lastname@example.org or a direct link to this post ( page )
CREDITS AND NOTES:
*a common Hoodoo spell, often done with ketchup, or rather Hot sauce , where the lid, usually a cork lid is perforated so that the contents of the bottle slowly ooze or drip out, the bottle inverted upside down, and buried that way or thrown into a body of water. It is said that as the contents leak and drain, so will the person on whom the bottle spell is used be drained of power to hurt someone specific, for example.
**I think the “Blood weed” might be referring to the species: Asclepias curassavica
***Maybe I’ve done a not-so-good job of reading the Good Book ( “Bible” ) but at what point had the Lord turned vinegar into water ? Maybe the spell meant “water into wine”… Anyway either change that in the text, or use Psalm 125th ; 3-5 instead
 Read more about the bottle trees here : http://www.appalachianhistory.net/2010/10/bottle-tree.html
 More about Latin American flask charms, as well as bottle spells You can read in this amazing Lucky mojo com article: http://www.luckymojo.com/bottlespells.html
 Retrieved from : http://www.spelwerx.com/collections/sandtrap.html used here for explanatory and illustrative purposes, without any ill will
 Retrieved from: http://www.everythingunderthemoon.net/spells/trap-an-evil-spirit.htm used here for explanatory purposes, without any ill will
 Retrieved from: http://www.spelwerx.com/collections/jarofstonesspell.html used here for explanatory and illustrative purposes, without any ill will
 Spell in its original form can be found in: “The Voodoo Hoodoo spellbook” by Denise Alvarado, 243th pg; Red Wheel/Weiser LLC, 2011th edition. I warmly suggest the book to anyone interested in Hoodoo
IMAGE CREDITS: Image/s used are my own, taken and edited digitally by myself