The Living Bottle Tree
I’m intrigued by the Southern and African tradition of making bottle trees to trap evil spirits, but living in California I don’t know much about it and I hadn’t ever seen one in person, so I was pleased to discover one in my neighborhood. It’s in front of a house with various symbols painted on the front door and the utility box, and while I was taking the pbotos a guy whizzed past me on a bicycle and said, “Careful! They’re witches!”
Felder Rushing has a great collection of photos and a short history of the practice. And there’s a massive flickr collection. Traditionally, it seems to have been done with a dead tree or with sticks stuck in the ground; Crape Myrtles are the iconic species. Nowadays many are constructed of metal or some other material, rather than an actual tree. Very few seem to be from a tree that is still alive.
I don’t want to mess with any witch juju, but it seems okay to show the utility box which has the same stars and moons as the front door. It never would have occurred to me to adorn a utility box. It’s surprisingly pleasing.
Tags: bottle tree
This entry was posted on Sunday, June 27th, 2010 at 4:38 pm and is filed under plants, trees. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.