A short while ago I created some spirit bottles and placed them on some tree branches and a metal pole out front making a bottle tree. You can see them in a lot of the videos I have posted on my Facebook page showing my front yard decor. Many of you were asking what they were for and what their history is, so I wanted to share that information with you here.
What is the meaning of them you ask? Well besides being beautiful garden and yard decor, the spirit bottles were believed to make evil spirits become entranced by the bright shimmering colors when light reflected off of them, keeping the spirits away from your home. When an evil spirit would go inside the bottle they would become trapped until the morning sun came up the next day and destroyed them. Lore states that if you hear one of the bottles making sounds when the wind blows, that an evil spirit is trapped inside it.
In parts of Appalachia and the southern United States, people who keep bottle trees will go as far as to take a bottle with a trapped evil spirit inside and cork it, then throw it in a fire or river in order to fully destroy the trapped spirit. Some research says that the origins of spirit bottles and bottle trees come from 9th century Africa, and other research suggests that the lore dates even further back in 1600 B.C. Egypt. All of the various research does state one common point which is bottle trees made their way into the United States from African Americans in the slave trade.
Most bottles used are a cobalt blue color because that is the color that attracts evil spirits the best, but they can be a variety of other colors as well. You can place them on branches of a tree, make a pole with branches and place the bottles on them, or hang them from branches with twine. In recent years the bottle trees are used as beautiful garden decor. Here is a video I did live on my Facebook page making some of my own to decorate with:
I hope this article answers some of your questions about the spirit bottles, there’s so much more information available about their history. They are definitely a beautiful piece to put out in the yard for decoration and to add extra color. If you create some of your own, be sure to share pictures of them in my creative community on Facebook!