Ancestral Veneration

Hello All,
Its been a loooong time since Ive been on, so I hope all of you are doing incredibly well, I was curious about crafting a “Spirit Bottle” for my ancestral altar, does anyone know how to go about doing this and what all ingredients are to be used, also, as far as working with ancestors what are some great stones to keep on the altar in order to aid in connection with said ancestors


Welcome back, @Trey! It is always wonderful to hear from you- hope you are doing well! :heart:

While crystals aren’t my magical backbone (I’ll leave this one to the crystal masters!), perhaps Labradorite and any of the Samhain recommended crystals could be helpful for you:

Here’s one recipe for a Spirit Bottle:

How to Make a Spirit Bottle

  • Glass Bottle
  • Herbs associated with spirits
  • Acorns or nuts
  • Cayenne peppers or powder
  • Egg shell or powdered sea shell
  • Powdered bone or powdered antler
  • Cinnamon
  • Corn meal
  • Charcoal
  • Sea Salt
  • Graveyard dirt (note : do not take graveyard dirt without asking)
  • 3 bent and rusty nails
  • Optional: If for family members, include something with a connection to family members

You will also need:

  • Photos or object of ancestor
  • A skeleton key
  • Something sweet (such as candy)
  • A black candle


Layer the ingredients into the jar and seal with black candle wax.

You can then use the Spirit Bottle in ritual work and to aid in communicating with ancestors.

Source: Guide to the Magical Path: How to Make a Spirit Bottle

I know @Saulamay mentioned making a Spirit Bottle for Memorial Day- perhaps they have some tips for you? You could also try leaving a bottle of Ghost Water or Heather to purposely attract spirits to your altar, although I would suggest adding something specific to your ancestors in order to avoid potentially drawing all the nearby spirits.

If you’d like some additional inspiration, Francisco shared some great tips about offerings for an Ancestor Altar in his post here that you may find helpful.

Also, I know you likely don’t need it, but just a friendly reminder that if you are attracting spirits then it’s always smart to do some extra protection spells on you and your sacred space :shield: :blush:

Wishing you all the best of luck, Trey! May you have a wonderful time working with the spirits of your ancestors :pray::sparkles:


Thank you so much @TheTravelWitch_Bry Ive looked everywhere for this info, I truly appreciate the help!


Hi Trey! It’s good to see you in the forum again!! :smiley:

Here are some resources I found. First, a bit about the history and meaning of spirit bottles for loved ones who passed away. It’s a tradition that stems from the African diaspora and beyond Africa it is present in Afro-American traditions such as Hoodoo.

“Spirit bottles”. From the book Stories of Rootworkers & Hoodoo in the Mid-South

Sarah Anne Lawless wrote a post on how to make an ancestor spirit bottle. I’m copying it here since the website seems to be under construction right now:

Spirit vessels are used in witchcraft to attract, ground, and manifest spirits. For spirits of the dead they act as an anchor to our middle realm so the spirit is able to stay here longer, communicate more easily, and even manifest in some perceivable form.

Here is a simple method to craft a spirit vessel for working with the beloved and mighty dead. You will need a glass vial, bottle, or jar with a cork or lid, a skull that will fit on top (bone and antler are best, but stone or other materials will do), a candle (white, red, or black), and herbs associated with attracting spirits and summoning and manifesting the dead.

First layer the herbs into the bottle by sifting them one at a time through a funnel and tapping the bottle so the herb and dust settles. Once it’s filled up to the top, cork it tight. The skull can be attached to the cork with glue or with a pin pushed through both the skull and the cork if the skull is a bead.

My preferred personal combination of botanicals is: graveyard dirt, red ochre, powdered egg shell, bone dust (from my bone and skull carvings), dandelion root, balm of gilead buds, yew needles, and black henbane leaf — all are traditionally used to attract, summon, and manifest spirits of the dead.

Always start with the heaviest or most finely powdered item and end with the bulkiest. If the spirit bottle is for you own familial ancestors then you may also want to add some of your personal concerns for an easier connection; hair, nail clippings, dead skin, blood, etc.

The white spirit vessel contains the following – white cornmeal, powdered egg shell, marshmallow root, and bone dust and is used to attract and ground benevolent ancestral spirits. A bundle or jar of marshmallow root is commonly found on hoodoo and folk magic altars to attract benevolent spirits.

Next, before you seal it with wax, put a layer or two of wax paper down on your work surface to protect it from dripping wax. Light your candle and, holding it in one hand and the bottle in the other, tilt the bottle and turn it as you drip the hot wax on it until the cork is completely sealed. To even out any drips, just go over them with the flame to smooth them out. I wrap the neck of my bottles with sinew to finish them off, but that step is optional. If you choose to add the sinew (or yarn or cord) you can also tie and hang bones, feathers, or charms from it.

We’re not quite finished yet! Now it’s time to take your ancestor spirit bottle to your altar (preferably an ancestral altar) to consecrate it to its purpose.

Lots of luck and Blessed Be!


Thanks Francisco! Its great to see you again as well, and thank you for the article for Sarah Lawless, She is really wise when it comes to the subject of botanicals and Ive listened to several interviews with her She is Great!


Hello @Trey

I highly appreciate your love for your ancestors, but please consider that this can give them pain.

Spirits have feelings. Birth and death is the rule of nature. Death bring release of energy from spirit to universe which bring peace after death.

Trying to bottle spirit can cause two following issues:

  1. If the death of your ancestors’ were expected and natural death and not sudden with unfulfilled desire of life, then the energy of your ancestors’ have been released to the universe, then they cannot come back to you, but when you are calling, then someone’s energy will come to you. Someone whom you may not know. The energy of them are scattered everywhere because their death weren’t expected by them and so sudden with unfulfilled desire of life, then that energy can harm you and those who are around you.
  2. If any of your ancestor dead with unfulfilled desire of life, then on your call, you can bottle them, but this will cause them enormous pain.

Generally, these scattered energies take new birth and try to get release in the Universe on death. You can bottle energies, but you must connect with the Universe for their release, so that they get peace after life, but there is no guarantee that the Universe will grant them a peace.

So, it is better to not to confine any soul of any spirit because that is against the rule of nature. Moreover, remember the 3 rule of universe. You are doing this with good intention, but if this hurts or give pain to these spirits, then this pain will come back to you for 3 times.

I am not suggesting you anything. Just showing you some facts. Now, connect yourself with the universe, feel the energy within you, ask the universe and decide what you want to do.

Good luck.


I’m glad you found the information helpful, @Trey! Wishing you successful spellwork :sparkles::blush:

That’s a good point about the will of the spirits, @Princess_Tara- I agree it’s an important thing to consider! If the caster believes that spirits maintain a human-like sense of will and desire, then yes- it becomes a question of personal ethics whether it is right to try to attach or anchor a spirit to a Spirit Bottle. (It’s a different case if the spirit bottle in question is just used to enhance communication, and is not actually holding the spirit)

In such a case, any potential conflict about anchoring spirits with a spirit bottle could likely be avoided by asking their consent beforehand :handshake:

Perhaps some spirits would like to move on, but I personally imagine others would like to stay or maintain a strong means of communication- especially in the case of ancestors reaching out to their descents :family_man_boy_boy:


Absolutely this is the case. @TheTravelWitch_Bry

There are very few spirits who will give you permission.

I deal with “Poltergeists” and give them release from from their pain through realisation, so that they can understand their mistake, fulfill their desire by correcting the mistake and this bring them peace forever to them.

Sometimes, some Poltergeists changed my mood and it took long for me to heal, but this is rewarding too because blessings of Poltergeists, before they release to the universe, bring enormous happiness and joy to me which bring tears on my eyes sometimes.