“The living, for their part, can expect the dead’s cooperation, so long as they keep the dead happy.”- Sarah Illes Johnston
A few years back , I made a spirit jar filled with molasses and other items and ingredients for my ancestors- the goal was to sweeten them up, so that they may bring blessings to me and mine- and they did. When I moved and dismantled my altars and let go of the old ancestral altar, I poured out all the sticky, sweet stuff, wanting to make another one, but this time more focused on my current practices.
Spirits, the Ancestral dead and Familiars in particular, have long been propitiated for their help in both spiritual and material matters. The dead were petitioned in ancient Egypt and Greece, as they were thought to still have an interest in their living relatives.
“The dead are very much like us, driven by the same desires, fears, and angers, seeking the same sorts of rewards and requiring the same sort of care that we do. For this reason, the world of the dead is not only a source of both possible danger and possible help, but a mirror that reflects our own.”- Sarah Illes Johnston
Through the study of European witchcraft, we know that Witches made pacts with familiar spirits, devils, the fae and the dead in order to gain their help and favours. The witches were said to feed the demonic spirits with their own blood from a teat that was often found in some hidden and private place. Other offerings, including bread and milk, were often left out for the household spirits and faeries in order to appease them, so that they may continue to bless the home, and prevent them from blighting crops, souring milk and creating discord.
As it is Samhain-tide, it is time for me to make a new Spirit-Sweetening jar. Typical ancestral spirit jars contain ingredients that draw and help ground the spirit to the vessel- these include wormwood, mugwort, bone, cornmeal, chalk, dandelion, and bits that belonged to the ancestors. Spirit jars intended to be vessels for familiars would typically contain parts of the familiar, plants it is associated with, or the plant itself if it is a plant spirit ally.
My last spirit bottle was intended as an offering for the spirits and contained honey. Honey has long been used as an offering to spirits and gods, and is a powerful agent for attracting things toward you. Molasses and sugar can be used in the same way.
The purpose of the bottle I am making is a sweetening jar- to appease the dead and my familiars so that they may bring blessings to me and mine. Because it is a sweetening jar, it is best not to use ingredients that are bitter, sour or irritating. Among the ingredients included in a sweetening jar are items related to what you wish you sweeten i.e relationships, your boss, your colleagues, the banks, judges etc. As a spirit-sweetening jar, my bottle contains sweet alcohol, muscavado sugar, lavender, dandelion, coins, bone, and bits of my familiars among other ingredients.
Once the bottle is made, it must then be consecrated and blessed. The bottle is then sealed with wax and a bit of your own blood as a way in which to bind it to your purposes.