Living near the sea I am lucky enough to be able to collect sea shells easily, I love walking along the beach and always come back with pockets full of shells and hag stones.
So how about the magical properties of the humble sea shell?
Obviously, sea shells are associated with water, I often use a shell to represent west when I am in ritual, I also use them in water element witch bottles. The Moon controls the tides of the ocean, so shells are also associated with the lunar magic. Being associated with water and the Moon I think the shell works perfectly in spells for emotions too.
Shells also have an association with the goddess Aphrodite, so can also be used for love spells. Use a shell as a love drawing talisman.
In the past shells were also used in some parts of the world as currency so they also have the association of money and prosperity.
Use in money drawing medicine bags (with a silver coin and some mint or basil) or pop a small shell in your purse.
Think about what a shell is, it is a protective covering for the creature inside making shells also good for protection. Use them in your witches’ bottles or strung on a necklace for this purpose. You can also pop a shell on the collar of your dog or cat to bring protection.
Shells can also be used in divination, use in a set with pebbles, crystals and bones to cast a reading. Shells can also have runes or symbols carved or painted on them.
Particular shells also have their own individual meanings:
Abalone - General use and containment of empowered herbs and stones. Also, very good for love spells, balance and affirmations. An abalone amulet will protect against negative energy. Abalone talismans will bring creativity. Wearing an abalone shell will bring protection against negative energy but also protection from depression, sorrow and fear. The abalone shell also brings creativity and inspiration. Abalone make good tools to use for balancing your chakras because it carries the colours of the rainbow. Abalone shells also make good holders for incense.
Auger (And any long pointy shaped shells) due to their shape they bring a masculine energy…and can be used for fertility, strength, protection or courage.
Clam shells - Purification and love but also friendships.
Conch shell –This shell is used to make a loud noise when blown so it works well for summoning spells, communication and clearing away confusion. It is also a symbol of truthful speech and strength and love.
Cockles – Love, friendship, relationships and emotions.
Cone shells – Time to take charge and lead by example with this shell but it may also indicate a situation where you need to retreat or take cover.
Cowrie shell - Prosperity, money, love and fertility - if you look at a cowrie shell it looks very 'feminine' (i.e. yoni shaped). String cowrie shells onto red cord or a thread long enough to hang over your tummy for fertility and once you are pregnant to protect your unborn child. Make a necklace from charged cowrie shells to wear for general protection.
Whelks - Dramatic positive change and getting a grip on a situation. Also, useful for decision and direction spell work.
Limpets - Courage, confidence, endurance and strength.
Scallops – A good all-purpose shell but also for travel and movement.
Oysters – Good fortune, love and passion but also for banishing spell work.
Sand dollars (echinoids) – Wisdom and knowledge.
Moon snails – Lunar magic, psychic abilities, purification and peace.
If you are collecting your own sea shells please make sure that the creature is not still inside it, if you do pick up one with a living creature toss it back into the water.
If you are purchasing your sea shells in a shop or from the internet please make sure they are from sustainable and viable sources.
If you collected the shells from the sea shore then I don’t think they need any preparation, they have the energy of the sea and the sun already in them. If, however you purchased your shells from a store you might like to sit them in a bowl of salt water for a few hours, in the sunlight if you can.
If the beach is a sandy one then you have found yourself another magical ingredient. Sand is made up from tiny particles of rock and minerals, where your location is will depend on the exact composition but generally it is a mixture of silica in the form of quartz or calcium carbonate. Brilliant white sand might be made from limestone, coral and shells while yellower sand may be from granite and onto the black or dark sand which is often from volcanic basalts.
Sand makes a very useful base to stand candles on to collect wax drips or keep an area safe from flame and it also does the same job in the base of a cauldron – health and safety conscious obviously.
To me sand also represents time and it can be used in magical workings for that intent. It can be added to medicine pouches and spell workings to represent water and all the associated correspondences. Candles can be rolled in sand before a spell to bring ocean magic in.
The tides bring changes and represent the ever changing cycle of life, it is cleansing and brings growth and new pathways and opportunities.
The sand is also representative of all the elements; the earth, the ocean, the wind and the sun.
Think about the beach and sitting on your sun lounger, shades on, cocktail in one hand and book in the other; a perfect ideal for relaxation so sand can bring that intent along with it.
Sand is excellent to use for banishing things, bad habits or people – write the name of the person or the bad habit you want to get rid of in the sand and then either let the ocean waves wash it away or if you are at home you can pop some sand in a dish, write the name and then pour water over it to wipe it away.
Use sand to create your circle in ritual. Of course sand already has salt built into it from the sea so you could use it in any magical way that you would use salt.
Either sitting on the sand or bringing some home with you and putting it in a flat tray you can use the sand as a blank canvas and draw whatever shapes you like, use it as a meditative tool or create a spiral and follow it around with your finger for meditation.
Sea glass isn’t found on the beach near me but I am lucky enough to have family that live on the Jurassic Coast here in the UK where the beaches are littered with sea glass. What is it? Well it is actually natures’ way of recycling broken bottles and jars that find their way into the ocean. The pieces of glass are tumbled smooth by the natural motion of the waves. Apparently it takes about ten years for a piece of broken glass to become proper sea glass i.e. a small piece of smooth frosted looking glass pebble.
For me sea glass can be used in magic just as sea shells would, it is directly connected with the element of water and holds all the emotional properties that water brings but as it was originally glass it also has a fiery element to it as well.
Use in any kind of magical workings but it can also be made into pretty talismans or jewellery.
If you would like to watch a video of my talk, click the link below:
This information can be found in Witchcraft into the Wilds by Rachel Patterson