01 October 2007

The Wanga Bottle

Back in February I posted about the European style Witch Bottles and now I turn to the African style of bottle magic. I had the great pleasure of learning about the Voodoo practice of Wanga Bottles this weekend at Pagan Pride Day. It's a fascinating practice that dates back hundreds of years to African slaves taken to Haiti. It seems that the white folks thought they were just pretty bottles meant for decoration and because of this misconception they would even have these items in their own homes not knowing magic was being used against them! The bottles themselves must be covered completely from top to bottom so that noone may see what is inside. This weekend we at the workshop used scraps of brightly colored cloth. Once covered many decorate their bottles with beads, shells, gemstones, mirrors, feathers, symbols or just about anything you can imagine. Ideally, the colors used to decorate the bottle should reinforce the intent of the bottle but as I didn't have a clear idea in mind I just aimed to make mine pretty, hence the batik look. Items placed inside the bottle are likewise corresponding to the intent and are only limited by the size of the opening of the bottle. These items are similar to what you would put in a mojo bag like herbs and gemstones. There should also be a very specific note of intent. It should be noted that once the bottle is sealed, either with wax or glue over the cork, it is not to be opened--ever. So whatever you put in the bottle you should be prepared to keep it there. When sealing the bottle it is important to restate your intent then place it under, or very close, to your bed for three nights. As you lay down each of these three nights you should focus on your intention. After the three nights have passed you have a choice to make. The bottle can either be kept until your intent comes to pass or you can bury it. Once buried, however, it should not be dug up. And in case of the unforeseeable accident, if the bottle gets broken it and its contents should be consecrated by fire. The idea behind keeping the bottle sealed, buried and burning it if it gets broken is that the powers that be in the universe are not at your beck and call forever and should not be expected to honor your wishes if you are careless. If you do not choose to bury your bottle it can be kept around the house for decorative purposes or stored away, whatever you choose.

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