Witches Bells: Their History, Lore and How to Use Them
Want more cowbell? Not me. I want more witches bells! These pretty little decorations are much more than simple décor for a witch’s home. They are powerful protective wards. In this article, we define witches bells, discover their centuries-old origins, PLUS learn how to use them in your home to ward off negative energy and spirits.
What Are Witches Bells?
Put simply, witches bells are a handheld-size set of magical bells hung from a doorknob or a nail in their home. Witches mostly use these bells to ward off negativity in a home, but they are also pretty to look at and listen to! This magical ringing device has ages-old origins, and I can’t help but notice the correlation to the modern doorbell and musical instruments. Where did these jingly little charms come from? And why do witches use them today?
Witches Bells Origins: Church Bells, Cow bells, and More
Bells have been used for centuries for spiritual and mundane reasons. First, let’s look at the physical aspects of the bell and its uses through time. Bells are typically made of metal and consist of a hollowed out vessel with a dangling piece inside called a clapper or uvula. The clapper hits the walls inside and produces a ringing sound upon movement. The word bell literally translates to mean “to roar” or “to make a loud noise” (think bellow). The first bell was invented in the 3rd millennium BC in Neolithic China, as archaeological evidence suggests (Wikipedia). By Medieval Times, bells were a prominent tool used by churches, farms, and business owners.
According to Judika Iles in the Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, “bells derive from ancient sacred images of human genitalia. The bell’s body represents the vulva, while the clapper represents the penis. Sometimes the bell’s body represents the womb while the clapper represents a child within.”
Bell Uses Over the Centuries
So why did our ancestors use bells? Bells were a means of sounding an alarm, so to speak, to gain attention to a situation. For example, soldiers at city gates might ring a large bell to let everyone know there were invaders on the horizon. Farmers hung bells from the necks of their cattle and dogs to alert them to their animals’ whereabouts. Attaching a bell to the door of a business allows its owner to know someone has entered the shop.
And what about churches? Churches have used large bells for centuries to announce the commencement of service OR in celebration of special holy-days like Christmas, Easter, etc. They have also been used as musical instruments over the centuries. From the church also comes the custom of wedding bells – when a couple is married, the church rings its bells to scare away evil spirits and welcome prosperity to the newlyweds.
Iron and Loud Sounds
After 1000 AD, people made bells from iron. And, according to European lore, iron scares off or, at the very least, agitates faeries. So much so that folks kept iron horseshoes above the doorway to ward off the fae and evil spirits and employed iron bells as protection in various ways. In addition, church bells scared off trickster spirits. And traditionally loud sounds, like those from bells or chimes, scare off ghosts and demonic entities. Is it the iron the bells are traditionally made of that has a cleansing, protective effect OR is it the purifying sound waves sent through the air that wards off the evil? Truly, I believe it is both of these things.
Quotes About Bells
- “Saved by the Bell” – Anonymous
- “He’s a dead ringer.” – Anonymous
- “When big bells ring, little ones aren’t heard.” – Serbian Proverb
- “The Christmas Bells from hill to hill answer each other in the mist.” – Alfred the Great
- “For whom the bell tolls, time marches on…” – Metallica
- “Every time you hear a bell ring, it means some angel’s just got his wings.” – Frances Goodrich
- “Thieves never steal bells.” – Tibetan Proverb
How to Make Witch’s Bells (Or Where to Purchase Them)
Truly you can make your own witch’s bells using any items you’d like. But here’s a few necessary items you’ll need:
- A metal ring, cord, string, rope (something to be the base or hold the bells together)
- Bells (small to medium sized bells are best. Find these at your craft store or in the craft section of department stores)
- Charms (other items you’d like to add to your witch bells to make them more powerful. Including beads, feathers, pendants, crystals, runes, etc.)
How to put your bells together and add MAGICK:
- Gather your supplies.
- Set the mood to make magick. I like to turn on music, light a few candles and incense, etc.
- Cleanse your supplies by whatever method you prefer.
- Begin stringing and tying your bells on your ring or rope. As you go along, charge your bells with energy by chanting, singing, praying, dancing, etc. Use your favorite way to raise energy during this step. I prefer praying over my bells and invoking my gods and ancestors’ energy.
- Add your charms and other items to your witch bells.
- Thank the present energies (your ancestors/gods spirits, the energy in your supplies, etc.)
- Hang the finished enchanted product on your front door or other door. OR you can hang your bells anywhere you feel drawn to.
Listen, we can’t all be artistic and crafty. So if you don’t want to make your own set of witches bells, you can always have Melissa with Stamp It Out Loud make them for you. And I couldn’t be happier! I use them as a magical “lock” or warding device on my witchy cabinet. The mirrors act as portals and so I needed some kind of ward to keep spirits at bay. Mel’s bells have been powerful and protective for this need. And I couldn’t have added the special touch that she did.
How to Use Witches Bells (Many Different Ways)
Bells in general have magical properties of protection, purification, joy, alarm and celebration. Use your set of bells in whatever way resonates with you; however, there are a few ways I recommend trying. Keep in mind, you can use your set of witch’s bells for any ritual that requires a bell in general.
- Ring your witch’s bells to announce the start of a ritual or spell working; bells are also used to invoke CERTAIN deities (do your research beforehand)
- Hang them from your front door to announce visitors AND to ward off negative energy
- Hang them from your witch’s cabinet or altar to ward off low level spirits that may try to feed on the energy there AND to warn you if someone is playing around with your sacred tools
- You can also hang a bell from your pet’s collar to know their whereabouts AND to protect them from negative energy (you only want to use ONE smell bell for safety purposes)
- Hang them in your bedroom window which helps ward off nightmares and trickster astral spirits
- Hang them in your rearview window in your vehicle to ward off the evil eye and bad luck
- Business owners hang bells on their front door to alarm them to customers as well as to protect from negative energy
- Bells are rung in fertility spells and represent the male and female genitalia coming together AND the baby in the womb
- Wear bells on your ankles, wrists, etc. while dancing to raise energy and deter negative forces during invocation and ritual
- Ring a bell to announce dinner to your family before a holiday or sabbat meal