Southern Bottle Tree: Ward Off Evil Spirits


Tree with blue bottles on the branches
Photo credit: Barry Winiker, Getty Images

Africans in the Kongo/Angola region would hang bottles on trees. They believed that evil spirits would be attracted to and trapped by the spectrum of colors inside the bottles for eternity.

Some corked the bottle to trap the evil spirit and tossed it into the water. Others believed the sunlight would destroy the evil spirits.

These bottle trees were usually right outside the home. The purpose was to keep the evil spirits from entering the home.

As a Gullah descendant visiting my great grandparents in low country South Carolina, I always wondered why these bottle trees were outside of people’s homes.

I learned that it was a tradition brought to the southern states of America by enslaved Africans.

The bottle tree tradition dates back to the 18th century in the West-Central region of Africa.

The color of Violet Botanical Skincare’s bottles are royal blue. They were purposely chosen for their significance in ancient Egyptian history (click here to read their history).

When I was selecting packaging for Violet Botanical, I did not know the history of the southern blue bottle tree.

My blue bottles hold a more personal connection to me especially knowing the significance they held for my Gullah ancestors.

It confirms that I am doing what I’m called to do and the ancestors are watching over me.


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