Spirit Pots, Spirit Bottles, Spirit Houses, etc.

Over at Gnostic Conjure, Balthazar posted about working with the dead and the dangers of making spirit pots for muertos. I pretty much completely agree with him on this.

Frater RO posted a post on his own blog about the types of Spirit Pots he uses in his practice for spirits of the Grimoires. I also like that post and more or less agree with the tech he is espousing.

Yet, Balthazar noted that he thought RO was dumbing down the situation, Rufus responded, and they seem to be hammering it all out like gentlemen, as is normal for our blog Cabal.

The thing is that Frater RO and Balthazar are really talking about two VERY different types of operation concerning two very different types of spirit.

See, very often people want to just lump all non-physical entities together like they are all similar. They aren’t. Some of the tech used to communicate with them might seem the same, but that doesnt mean that every channel you tune it to is going to be similar.

The largest difference between making a spirit pot for a Muerto (or a lot of nature spirits for that matter) is that those spirits are localized. They literally occupy space. Not in the same way that we do, but still and all, when one of them is around and you can sense it, they are generally somewhere that you can point to.

Angels, Goetic Spirits, Gods, etc tend to be non-local beings. They may create localized manifestations of themselves (indeed this is what evocation pretty much is all about) but they themselves are not tied to a specific place.

What difference does this make with a spirit pot? Simple. If you are building a spirit pot for a non-localized being, you are making a place where it can manifest and work with you. It is a tool for the being to get a foothold into your world and a tool for you to interact with the being through. If however you are making a pot for a localized being, that is where the spirit lives. It is bound to that house by oath or by magic, and sometimes by physical chains.

Both operations are dangerous, and I will side with Balthazar a bit here and say that after reading RO’s post, even his follow up, he doesn’t quite get the danger aspect across well enough. That said, making a permanent home for a localized spirit is WAY more dangerous than making one for a non-local spirit.

The most famous examples that everyone points to is of course the prenda or nganga in Palo. I have been lucky enough to have a friend who showed me his handwritten instructions for this, and to walk me through the process. This was done with the express understanding that I was NOT going to make a Nganga, but study some of the tech and processes used. It was a very rewarding study. That said it is not the only example.

In Voodoo, a lot of really powerful magic is done through the use of djab’s or household spirits. Again, you can think of the Loa as non-localized and the djab as localized. There are oodles of stories about pwen (houses, usually bottles or govi jars) that bring disaster and death to a family that does not do what the Djab demands.

These types of operations however are NOT unique to the ATRs. They exist all across Asia. In Tibet for instance once can make a Wealth Jar that is blessed to Dzambhala or Vaishravana, etc and have very little or no problems as long as it is constructed well. A Naga Khang can look almost exactly alike, but it is completely different because there is a Naga that is bound to it. It needs very specific offerings on ONLY the dates that are safe according to the lunar and elemental calander. It needs to be extremely clean at all times and cannot share an altar with other items, even buddhist items. If you leave your home on vacation you must have someone come take care of it, and it has to be the same person each time because the Nagas wont trust too many different people. Persnickety bitches those Nagas can be…

There are jars and bottles for housing the spirits of dead babies in Thailand and called Guman Thong. In Malaysia, spirits of the unborn are used to make Toyol.

Anyway, the points I wanted to make is that giving a spirit, ANY spirit, a large foothold into your life is dangerous. Giving a very nearly material localized spirit that foothold is even more dangerous. If you cannot do the magic to guarantee that you are getting the right spirit to an environment that is suitable, you have no business doing those operations. If you have designs on taking a stab in the dark at actually replicating something from an initiatory tradition based on what you read in books and on the internet, than I can almost guarantee it will blow up in your face.

Anyway, just some thoughts on the matter.

About Inominandum

Author. Sorcerer. Consultant. I have 30 plus years of experience making magic a reality for myself, my clients, and my students. For a complete background go to www.strategicsorcery.net
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12 Responses to Spirit Pots, Spirit Bottles, Spirit Houses, etc.

  1. Jow says:

    Similar risks are taken in Djinn sorcery. Djinn are all considered local, though some are considered too large to contain outside of people like Solomon, Padmasambhava, etc. Also, if you wanted to make a lamp/ring/bottle containing one of those spirits, it would be greatly frowned upon, as it would be akin to kidnapping the head of a sovereign nation and trying to exploit them into getting you.. stuff. Frowned upon to say the least, by all concerned. There are in fact whole categories of things to avoid eating, thinking, saying, and doing, just to even make pleasant first contact, let alone have a willing or oath bound servant.

  2. Karmaghna says:

    What is your take on installing a personally created servitor within a pot, bottle, house, etc?

  3. Jow, while you are most correct that trying to trap certain djinn in containers can be a dangerous task as well as frowned upon. However making houses for them in the correct and appropriate fashion is also a common way of working with them. It is a method still in use in the Middle East. It is the difference between what some would term a spirit pot and a demon trap.

    Again, as with the case of spirit pots, ngangas, and other such devices, their is a protocol, methodology, and more importantly necessary authority and permission to do this type of work. Without any of these elements attempting to make such devices can be extremely dangerous as both the good Balthazar and Jason Miller have pointed out–you run the risk of allowing a very dangerous spirit into your world.

    That said, it can and is done regularly. I’ve see it done and learned to do it myself over a course of decades. I myself work with djinn extensively and have two as my genius spirits, or familiars who reside in a ring and a bottle.

  4. Stan says:

    Would you guys give the same caveat for Talismans?

  5. Stan says:

    To be specific, Planetary and fixed star talismans.

  6. Courtney says:


    GREAT post, thank you. I really appreciate your putting a lot of things in perspective. Fascinating.

  7. Lou says:

    Nonsense ! There is nothing dangerous about ANY sort of fetish – not a nganga pot or charged statuette or anything else. Equally, there is nothing dangerous about dealing with any form of consciousness………linked to a so-called “dead” human, a quimbanda spirit, a goetic spirit, or any other sort of related entity – PERIOD!
    This has been done world-wide for thousands of years! The danger is ALWAYS to be found in the personality and motives of the individual sorcerer – ALWAYS – WITHOUT EXCEPTION.
    Good men who do magick produce good results. Bad men, bad results. Other forms of consciousness ARE AWARE of whether you’re a Jack-Off of some sort and, in spite of you following prescribed protocol, will eventually get around to spanking you good and proper. They may be obligated to respond and work on your behalf because of the actions you have taken toward them, but they will ALWAYS do it in such a way so that the results never turn out as you desire, or never last, or lead to more problems than you had initially.
    All this CRAP about sinister beings waiting to pounce on those foolish enough to make contact with them through various means and methods is just that – CRAP ! Approach them with a pure heart, kindness, and a willingness to form a truthful give-and-take relationship, and you will get one type of response. Approach them in a self-serving, dictatorial, high-handed manner while bent on making them produce whatever you want in your life while lying to them and yourself in the bargan, and you will get another type of response.
    Anyone who says that the operation of establishing ongoing contact “can be dangerous” had better elaborate clearly, because if they don’t, they are proving that they’re stroking their own egos while casting doubt and fear into those wanting to sincerely learn and participate.

  8. Teena says:

    I agree with Lou. Well said. In my humble opinion (which derives from my own personal experience over the past few years) whatever intention is behind your work will produce the same manifestations. The spiritual world is open to all who feel empowered to do so, but should be approached with respect and understanding that you will get back the same energy that you put behind your spiritual intentions. I know several people in my religious circle who have constructed their own spiritual pots to protect and help themselves from evil others have done to them and they have seen excellent results. Why? Because they approached the process with a clean heart, good intentions and honestly. You have to build a good relationship, a rapport with the spirit you are working with and they will be faithful in defending you. BE humble.

    Do not be afraid by what others are saying here to scare you like they have some special membership card to contact spirits. I am a Palera and I had many people screw things up for me by allowing them to make me believe that they could do what I could not. The end result was disaster, but when I decided to take a stand and do things (spiritually) on my own, inspired by my own light, and spiritual visions, things really started to move forward for me. The reason it worked for me and continues to work for me now is because I approach my spirits with the truth and keep it real. I refuse to believe that someone else’s energy is going to put forth more power behind my petition than me. That’s crazy! Seriously,you can invoke the help of your spiritual cuadro with a pray and a single white candle if its all you have on hand. Yes its that simple! as long as you have faith.
    When it comes to the spirits, I talk with them directly, pray, meditate,make my offerings, etc. It takes time, but its a growing process and I use to be SO afraid of spirits because of what people said, but in time the fear went away and I quite enjoy communicating with them now and see their help manifesting around me. I repeat, the spiritual world (just like religion) is open to anyone who seeks to explore it. You get from it what you put into it.

  9. inominandum says:

    You are right Lou and Teena, every endeavor in the world takes care and skill and has a slight but of danger to it EXCEPT magic. In magic, all that matters is intention and energy and you. Everyone is a self-contained bubble of energy and awareness that has no overlap with anyone or anything else. Spirits, unlike ever other thing in the universe, are totally goodness and light and only care about your intention and faith, not your actions or authority.

    I am CRAZY for suggesting otherwise. Thank you for correcting me.

  10. Hanshishiro says:

    Oh Boy… Someone is going to get seriously hurt one of these days…

  11. Maibelin says:

    I found a spirit bottle in someones house and they were just going to throw it away. Does anyone know how to correctly dispose of one?

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