A Jar Thing

Day 244 of 365

I don’t know when the jar thing started for me. I know all my adult life I have had the urge to save jars because “you never know when you’re going to need a good jar.” 

I do remember being very little and asking my mom if I could keep the old pickle jars. One time, I took one of those jars to a stream and caught minnows in it. I brought the fish home determined to have a pet. Thankfully, my aunt had me march myself back to the little stream and let the minnows go. 

I also remember being in second grade and playing outside one night, collecting fireflies in one of my pickle jars—only in my part of Texas, we called them “lightning bugs.” My plan was that I would keep about ten in a jar right next to my bed. The little fireflies would surely fly around and light up and keep a beautiful light for me at night, as I was terribly afraid of the dark. 

You can imagine my disappointment when I discovered all of my fireflies were dead on the first night. I didn’t know they needed holes in the lid to breathe, although that was just one of many, many problems with my plan. Unfortunately, no adult caught me in time to save the poor fireflies, but I did learn my lesson and never put fireflies in a jar again. 

When my husband and I became homesteaders, my obsession with jars grew. If only I could can with all of them, but, alas, you need certain-sized lids for canning. Still, I found myself with a collection of adorable jars without a purpose. Ron had concerns. 

“How many more jars do you need?” he asked on more than one occasion.

“Oh, I am going to find something to do with them,” I would say to him. “Something wonderful,” I would think to myself. 

It was then that I learned how to make beeswax candles, and this was a perfect combination of things I loved—jars and light—and no fireflies were harmed in this plan. I love making beeswax candles out of upcycled jars, maybe too much. I sell them in my Etsy shop but also give them as gifts to anyone and everyone I know. 

So far, no one has complained. 

Recently, I noticed other women talking about loving jars, and then I noticed almost all of them were witches. I had to research this, of course.

In my research, I found that jars and witches go way back. I had never heard of spell jars or “witch bottles,” and the history is fascinating. Witch bottles were concocted as a kind of amulet to protect a home against evil spirits. They remind me of the tradition of painting your porch ceiling “haint” blue to keep spirits out, which was the folklore in the south where I grew up.

I read that these spell jars could use be used to return a spell to the witch who had originally cast it. I also read that modern witches create spell jars for a wide variety of purposes—everything from love to greater creativity. The jars can be filled with ingredients like herbs and crystals. 

Of course, for now, I am just filling my jars with beeswax, but I try so hard to put magic in them. I think it works. I make them with so much love that I think the people who burn them feel that love because my candles are quite humble but have rave reviews. That must mean my magic works a little, right? 

I also recently discovered there are entire Facebook groups devoted to jars. So far, I have resisted the urge to join because I don’t know if my jar addiction needs feeding. We have a lot of jars. 

Just a few weeks ago, I was making Solstice cookies for cookie boxes for friends. When I finished a jar of molasses, I found myself drawn to the jar. I immediately gave it a soak to get the label off and then studied the jar. 

“What lovely thing could I do with this jar?” I wondered. 

It was too narrow for a candle, but it would make for a good vase. 

And then I had it! Last summer, for the first time, I grew my own flowers. We always are so focused on our vegetable garden that we do not have much space or time for flowers, but they have become important to me in recent years. I grew my favorite flower—Teddy Bear Sunflowers. 

I thought to myself, “If I can grow a little white flower to go with my Teddy Bear Sunflowers, these jars would make perfect vases for tiny bouquets.” 

So, now, I am hunting down seeds for tiny white flowers and planning a flower garden—all because I had to find a use for such a lovely little jar. 

It seems like tiny little bouquets of yellow and white flowers would be magical, wouldn’t they? I think so. 

3 thoughts on “A Jar Thing

  1. Flowers are magical gifts to me and I use jars to gift my flowers in….. they don’t need to be returned! I also leave the labels on some to add interest to the arrangement. 😊
    Jars are a cheap obsession with many uses.
    Ohhhh and I’ll share this. The WORKSHOP of the house/farm Koren and Kenyon bought, was left with many organized jars of screws, bolts, nails of varying sizes…..so cool and useful.
    You are wise to save your jars Crystal.👍


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