What Is War Water & How Do You Use It?

War Water is a particularly powerful bit of magic stemming from American witchcraft traditions in the South. Contrary to popular belief, war water is not rooted in Hoodoo but in European-influenced folk magic practices. Due to this, debates about which is the most “authentic” recipe for war water are unproductive. Folk magic practices in the early parts of white American history were not well documented and the specifics of these practices were likely kept within close-knit family circles. 

The result is that spells such as this one have always had quite a bit of variation. This lack of homogenization leaves us with many traditional recipes for spells such as war water and most of them do contain the grain of authenticity that many modern witches crave in their practice. 

What Exactly Is War Water?

War Water is an offensive form of protective magic, it’s used to remove disruptive forces from your life and restore peace. It is also, in many circles, considered a form of cursing as it is commonly thought to sow discord among your enemies.

This recipe for war water does come from a Southern tradition, meaning that some of the ingredients may not be available in other areas. If Spanish Moss doesn’t grow where you live it’s perfectly acceptable to replace it with ingredients that are more readily available for you. Cayenne pepper or wormwood would both make decent substitutes.

You Will Need:

  • Cut iron nails
  • Spanish Moss
  • Water (swamp water or pond water is preferable)

War water is made by placing iron nails and Spanish moss into a jar of water. The jar is then allowed to sit for a period of several weeks, breathing it (opening it to allow oxygen in) occasionally to speed up the oxidation process during the first week only. The nails will rust and the moss will decompose leaving the water a red or black color and smelling very swampy. 

Traditionally, to use war water you would break the jar on the land, doorstep or at the feet of your enemy, and whomever walks through it will have the curse laid upon them. If breaking a glass jar on someones porch seems a bit much to you however, there are other ways of using it. The spell works just as well if you simply pour the war water out on their land or, alternatively, you can sprinkle it around the outside perimeter of your own land as a preemptive protective measure.

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What Is War Water And How Do You Use It // Banishing, Hexing and Warding // Witchcraft // The Traveling Witch

Updated on August 20, 2023 by Avery Hart

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