Bells - Tools of Witchcraft

The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005

Tools of Witchcraft

Bells are common in various traditions. Generally smaller hand bells, free standing bells with a handle, are used.

Image Bells are used for summoning and banishing spirits

Image Bells are used to vanquish and remove the Evil Eye

Image The sound of a bell ringing, especially a metal bell, is believed to exert a purifying influence and so bells are used for cleansing spells

Image Bells are protective devices: malicious spirits allegedly flee from their sound

Image Bells are used in fertility spells

Image Bells are a tool for magical healing: ringing bells facilitates healing, and sometimes healing potions are drunk from magical bells in the belief that the “cup” adds potency to the brew

Bells derive from ancient sacred images of human genitalia. The bell’s body represents the vulva while the clapper represents the penis. An alternative vision suggests that the bell’s body represents the womb while the clapper represents the child within.

Unlike other images deriving from sacred genitalia, the bell’s two components cannot be separated. (The horseshoe and nails is a similar emblem: the horseshoe represents the vulva, the nail hammered into it is the penis. However, horseshoes and iron nails are independently powerful: a bell is not a functional bell unless the clapper is retained within the bell.)

The fertility imagery is sometimes enhanced by crafting the body of the bell to resemble a woman. The handle is crafted to resemble her head and torso while the round bell is her skirt.

Bells are also hung from chains or incorporated into mobiles to serve as amulets or the equivalent of a magical guard dog. If strategically hung, allegedly the bells will spontaneously ring as needed. Devices from Pompeii and elsewhere in the Roman Empire combined bells with phallic imagery.

Bells were attached to the ritual clothing of the priests who served the Jerusalem Temple. Bells are still attached to clothing around the world to serve as protective devices to repel mean spirits and the Evil Eye.

It was a common European belief during the witch-hunt era that the sound of church bells ringing repelled witches and caused them to fall off their brooms if flying through the sky.

Image Grease scraped from church bells is a common component of Goofer Dust, the Hoodoo magical powder whose primary ingredient is graveyard dust

Image Slavic witches have traditionally used church bell grease to make similar concoctions

Image Grease scraped from church bells is allegedly a primary component of the flying ointment favored by Sweden’s Easter witches