I just got home from doing some Halloween shopping and passed through a part of my city I rarely, if ever go to. I passed a trailer park and noticed something blue shining. To my surprise the blue shining thing was a bottle tree! I haven't seen one in years.
So what is a bottle tree? Well, to be honest, a bottle tree is anything that holds a collection of, usually cobalt blue bottles. It can be a dead tree or bush. It could be a post with wooden pegs. The bottles are turned upside down and placed onto the ends of the twigs/branches/pegs and are supported that way. Cobalt blue glass bottles are the most popular but in a pinch any unique and pretty glass bottle can be used.
Bottle trees are used to protect a household against witchcraft. There is much confusion online as to the origin of the bottle tree. Some claim it originated in Africa. Others claim it originated in Europe. My opinion is that bottle trees were a European concept that black people took and altered, making it their own. It's also possible it sprung up simultaneously in both cultures. Bottle trees may have evolved from a cross between, or combining of witch balls and egg trees (more on egg trees later). Bottle trees may also have evolved from spell bottles that were hung in trees as a form of deterrent to crime, meaning that everyone could see that magic is being used to protect the property and thus any would-be criminals or thieves may think twice about committing a crime there.
The way bottle trees work is that witches who have left their bodies (slip skin hags) in order to attack their victims will be attracted to the bottles. They will fly up into the bottles and become trapped there. A witch must be back in her/his skin before dawn or else she/he will die. So any witch still trapped in the bottle will be killed by the first rays of sunlight. If the bottles used are cobalt blue then it's a double whammy as the color blue is used to protect against the evil eye.
If you would like to make your own bottle trees, I say go for it! Also, send me your pictures! I would love to see them.
Note: If you prefer, you can just tie string or rope around the bottles and hang them that way from a tree. However, if you want to use this method you will need to space them apart so that the bottles don't hit each other and shatter when it's windy.