In yesterday’s 366 work, Roderick asked us to make a Witch Bottle, which is basically a concealed bottle with something to attract the ‘evil spirits’ and negative energies out to get you, your family, or your property, and then something to hold the spirits and energies in the jar and dissipate them. In traditional magic, a person’s urine, blood, hair, and other odds and ends were used as the attractants, and pins, broken glass, rosemary, and red wine worked to fasten or impale the spirits, dissipate their energy, and drown them.
There are lots of variations on this charm, and a far more attractive one is the Witch Ball. These are hollow glass balls with strands of glass caught inside, and they are meant to be hung in the windows of one’s house. Like the bottle, the Witch Ball is a countermagical trap that operates on a theory of attract and hold. In this case, malevolent spirits and energy are attracted to the shiny ball and its bright colors, then get looped about and caught in the net of glass strands within the ball.
Witch balls rather give me a feeling of hope when it comes to witch/mundane relations, since these balls weren’t used against witches. Instead, the general populace actively sought out witches to enchant these balls to increase their potency against evil, which means they thrived in areas where witches weren’t thought to be horrible, malevolent hags. Traditionally, the witch balls were green or blue in color, but this might simply be a default, since most silica impurities will result in glass with a green or blue cast. These days, witch balls are found in just about every color of the rainbow.
My housemate, V., is very fond of Witch Balls. She displays a large one in her front window, and lines the bottom of her windowsill with a collection of solid glass spheres a friend of hers makes on his off-hours at Central Glassworks in Centralia. Her influence is rubbing off on me. A few months ago, I was browsing in the downtown Olympia store Compass Rose and saw that they had several smaller Witch Balls for sale. I chose one on a whim and hung it in the window right next to my bed. For now, I just enjoy the colored glass, but in the near future I think I will work a protective charm on the ball. When I get a place of my own, I think I might adopt V.’s practice and get a few more larger ones to put in the main windows of my living space. I really enjoy what I’ve seen on Iron Elegance‘s website, and they also offer several more economically priced “second quality” balls, too. That certainly helps when you’re purchasing a quantity of them!