Have you ever done magic with nails? What kinds of spells use nails? I’m not talking about fingernails (though you can do some great color magic with your manicure!) I’m talking about magical nails, the type of nails that you hammer into wood. This article will teach you how to use a variety of nails in your spell work.
There’s so much to learn about nails and magic. You’ve probably seen nails show up on the Parlour of Wonders website or your local witch store and thought “What are these used for?” As you’ll soon learn, there are all kinds of amazing old-timey nails with magical uses. They come in a variety of materials all with different properties for your magic.
Using Nails in Aggressive Magic
Nails are often associated with aggressive magic. Some examples of aggressive spells include:
- Other magic meant to bring harm to someone
Archeological digs have found bottle spells with nails in them from hundreds of years ago. If buried on someone else’s property this was likely an act of aggressive magic. You may also see nails appear in poppet magic. Typically pins are used in poppets, but using a nail would be a much more aggressive and forceful way to work. Aggressive spells will oftentimes call for rusty nails due to their destructive quality. Because the rust is eating away at the nail and the nail is rotting away. Rusty nails are not used only for aggressive magic, but it is a very common use.
Using Nails in Other Types of Magic
Aggressive magic is definitely one magical use for nails but far from the only one. Here are some examples of ways you can use nails in sympathetic magic:
- Use nails in a spell where you want to spiritually nail something down
- Drive an idea into a stubborn person’s mind by using a nail
- Use a nail to link two things together
You can also use nails in property spells. For example, you can use railroad spikes to nail down your property.
Using Railroad Spikes
When we use railroads spikes we use them to prevent someone from pushing us out of the place we live. We want to nail down our home. If you’re a renter and you don’t want to get evicted, you could use those little square-cut nails in the corners of your apartment. Or you could use railroad spikes on the corners of your property if you rent or own a house. This is a great spell if you own your home and are fearful of foreclosure, if you’re afraid of the government seizing your property, or you want to prevent family members from stealing your property from you.
What you’ll need:
- A Railroad Spike (or square-cut nails) for each corner of your home. (How many you need will depend on the shape of your home)
- A Spiritual Oil that matches your intention (such as Binding Oil or Powerful Protection Oil)
- A hammer
First you’ll want to dress each of your railroad spikes with your spiritual oil. As you’re dressing them you should speak your intention. Some examples are:
- “This land remains in my possession”
- “This home belongs to me”
- “Each corner of this property is powerfully protected”
- “I bind this land to me”
If you’re able to hammer these into the dirt surrounding your home that is a great option. If you’re in an apartment you can drive those smaller square-cut nails into the corner walls. Then let them work their magic! This spell is a beautiful way to work with railroad spikes. If you think about it, railroad spikes are just big nails.
Working With Found Nails
Remember earlier when I mentioned that nails could be used in sympathetic magic? That’s when you’re working on something from a distance. A beautiful way to do this is with found nails. When you find a nail in or on something, you can retrieve it and get the essence of where it was found to use in your magic. This is a wonderful way of retaining an energy to work with later.
Nails Found in Shipping Pallets
Here’s a great example of that. We get lots of shipments at The Parlour of Wonders that arrive on wooden pallets. Those wooden pallets have nails in them. If I see a loose nail, I often take it out. They are perfect for spells involving transportation or communication. They invite in that smooth, open roads energy. Since that pallet transported things to us and got it here quickly we can save that energy and call on it when we need it.
Nails Found in the Home
Another example is if you spot a loose nail in a floorboard or roof. Those flooring nails or roofing nails are perfect for spells where you want to gain a new apartment or new home. Use them to hang onto your home, or effect some change in your home. Or, since your home protects you from the elements, they are perfect for protection spells too. So think about those nails that you find in or around a home as being another wonderful way that we can work with nails.
Nails Found Around Horses
Another type of nail that you might find if you work around horses or around a stable is horseshoe nails. Now horseshoes themselves are very lucky. So a horseshoe nail is a very lucky find indeed, but horses also have a lot of other qualities that we can channel. Some examples are:
- Movement and Travel
If you went to the racetrack and found a horseshoe nail, that would be a super lucky gambling talisman. So start thinking of those found horseshoe nails and how you can utilize their special properties.
Working With Coffin Nails
Now, a nail that you’re almost sure to have seen if you’ve been around magic any length of time is a coffin nail. Most of the coffin nails you see online are not coffin nails. How many coffins are they really tearing apart to bring you those nails for $3? That’s not happening. They are just rusty nails that they’re calling coffin nails.
True coffin nails found in a graveyard are extremely rare and very, very valuable as a magical tool. They indicate that the coffin itself has disintegrated and the nail has moved up through the land. That’s a super challenging thing to find. If you want to find one you’ll need to check very old churchyards or cemeteries. And if you did find one, that would be an exceptional find.
Now, coffin nails are most often used for malefic magic, for negative magic. They can harm someone. You can use anything for bad magic or anything for good magic. Some things are better for one or the other, but it’s your intention that counts.
You could use coffin nails in the way that we use graveyard dirt. Graveyard dirt is used to connect to the spirit of the grave the dirt is from. Coffin nails can be used for the same thing. They can bring in that spirit, and if you found that nail it may be that the spirit wants to work with you. So that’s a more benign way of working with a coffin nail. But we most often see coffin nails show up time and time again in malefic magic, where people are doing harm against someone else.
Historical Nail Spells
All kinds of nails can be used to represent something else in sympathetic magic. There are some great archeological finds that show this. In the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in England they have a couple of nail displays. With these displays, they always have an explanation of the magic and the spell that they were using it for. One of them explains how traditionally in England they would drive nails them into the ground and leave them there. As the nails rotted away it would cure illnesses in humans and animals.
The idea was to put the energy of that illness into the nail. Hammer it into the ground and have the moisture of the ground eat away at that nail and diminish the illness. In the museum, they have a large rusty iron nail wrapped in paper containing a charm against epilepsy. The nail from that spell was driven into the ground in the spot where the victim fell and had a seizure. So it may have been that there was some belief about the spot also having some negative magic. So they put a charm around that nail, hammered it into the ground with the intention of helping this friend or family member recover from epilepsy.
Using Nails As Symbols
Nails can also be symbols in our magic. So Christian witches, for example, might want to use three nails to represent the nails of the crucifixion. They might put them on their altar or carry them in a charm bag to bring relief from suffering or connect more deeply to the concept of sacrifice. That could be a beautiful way of working.
Nails can also be symbols of building an industry. If you are working on a project, you might have a nail to represent the work that is going to be put into that project. Choose a nail made from a material that has qualities you want to embody. This nail can represent building something physical or building a spiritual foundation. Building a new community. Building an empire, building success. This all can be represented by a simple nail on your altar.
Using Nails to Inscribe Candles
Now, this is how I most often use nails, as tools in my magical practice. My number one use for nails is to inscribe on candles. I have nails scattered all over the place and I use them as inscribing tools. I also own some beautiful handcrafted inscribing tools. They aren’t always handy though, so if I can’t find one, I’ll grab a nail and use it as a tool for inscribing.
It is easy to inscribe on our wax candles. We can write and scratch what it is that we want on our beeswax candles with that nail. And it’s a great tool for doing that. We can also use it for scratching on wood or softer stone, or a painted surface.
Using Nails in Destructive Magic
If you want to do some destructive magic, you can take a nail and use it like a chisel and hammer. Use it on something representative of what you’d like to open up or destroy. You may encounter a spell that requires you to break something in half, like a small piece of wood. Use a nail to break that wood in half.
You can also use nails for their original use. As you hammer them in, speak your intention into that nail. Or you could nail a petition paper to a fence or a wall, or tack a charm on a piece of furniture, or nail a horseshoe above a door. The horseshoe itself is magical, but you can also add magic to that nail. Dress it with some good luck oil and speak your wishes to it, then hammer that horseshoe into the wall.
Easy Nail Spells You Can Do
Now there’s lots and lots of nail spells that you’ll see online. I’m going to share a couple of them here with you:
Ancient Roman Protection Spell
In Ancient Rome they would take iron nails and drive them into the walls of their house. This was to protect them during plague times. So that could be something very useful right now when we still have variants of COVID flying around. You may want to put some iron nails in your walls to protect yourself. To do so is embracing very ancient magic, old magic that is thousands of years old.
Using Nails With Pennies
Another great spell that I love so much and have done with great success is crossing nails over pennies. This is also from the Lucky Mojo website and it’s a great Hoodoo protection spell using nails and Indian head pennies. Do this spell if you want to protect your space from the law, or intruders, or anyone unwanted from coming into your home or your place of business. Nail a row of Indian head pennies, what they would call in Hoodooo “scouts”. These are your scouts that are watching out for you. And you can nail them into the threshold on the floor or around the frame of your door.
Now there are two ways that you can nail them. You could drill a hole through the center of the penny and then just hammer them. But there’s another, even more beautiful way. Get some long nails and put two side-by-side on the penny at the lower part of the coin. Set the penny on them, drive those nails in an inch or two, and then fold the remainder part of the nails in an X-shape over the penny.
It looks amazing. It’s super magical and powerful because it’s X-ing out. It is a symbol of protection. It’s X-ing out negative people, and it looks super, super cool. So that’s a great way of working with nails as well. Those nails and pennies can be blessed with oil on a regular basis. You could put powerful protection oil on them, for example, and keep that protection going in your home or your business.
Working With Different Types of Metals
So let’s talk about the metals nails are made from. So when you’re working with nails, you can have some options when it comes to the metals. Those metals have different properties for magic and they can enhance your magic. Like how colors are used for color magic, we can enhance our magic with the metals that we choose for our nails. So here are some of the kinds of metals that you can find and use for your spells:
The first nail type we will discuss is aluminum. Now, aluminum is a more modern metal. So it isn’t something we’ll find in ancient times or old, old magic. Still, aluminum definitely has magical properties. Aluminum nails can be used to stimulate creativity, to enhance mental abilities, and for safety in travel. Aluminum is also considered the magician’s invisibility metal. It reflects and deflects incoming energies. It makes us invisible to our enemy. So it’s a fantastic metal for protection and when we don’t want anyone to see what we’re doing.
Another metal we can find nails made out of is brass. Brass is perfect for healing, protection, and prosperity spells. I love using brass in prosperity spells because it looks like gold. That gold color is going to enhance that prosperity magic magnificently. We can also use brass for defensive magic. If the goal is reversals and sending back negativity to its source brass is perfect. So if you’re doing that kind of magic, you are going to want to hook yourself up with some brass nails for that.
We can find nails in copper, and copper is used to focus our energy. So focus those energy flows with the magic of copper. We can use it almost like a magic wand. We can use those copper nails to focus that energy and get it to a point and really put it into whatever we’re doing. So when you’re inscribing with a copper nail, you really add some extra power to it. We can also use it in healing spells, luck spells, love spells.
Copper is the metal of Aphrodite, so it’s great for love spells. We can also use it for protection and for prosperity spells. It’s kind of a universal positive metal for all of these things. Copper can also be used to draw away negative energy. So if you have a lot of negativity around you and you want to keep it away, you can hammer some of those copper nails into something around your house. Pennies themselves are copper, so they’re also keeping away that negative energy.
We see iron nails all the time. Iron is useful for protection, reversing negativity, strength spells, healing spells, and for grounding. A lot of iron nails are treated with something. They have a coating on them to protect them from getting rusty. So if you want to have a rusty iron nail, then you’re going to want to soak it in vinegar for two or three days. That will eat away at that coating so that you have the iron underneath, and then you can let it rust if you want a rusty nail. But a non-rusty iron nail is also a magnificent tool.
Iron has a very interesting quality because it has a spirit element. It’s both of this world and of the spirit world. It’s “as above, so below.” That is what iron is all about. So we can use iron in our spells for out of body experiences, spirit travel, or astral travel. It opens up our connection between this world and the other worlds. Iron is a very, very old metal, so we see lots of old traditional magic around it.
Some systems invite the use of iron and some forbid it. In some systems you’ll see mandates like make your altar without any iron, or remove your iron jewelry before you perform magic. Whether you want to follow this guidance is up to you. Just check with your intuition. Iron is seen as something that we can use to protect against trickster spirits, perhaps fey folk or the good folk. If you don’t want them around causing mischief, you could place iron nails around to protect yourself from that trickster energy.
Rusty nails can be used for spells of gradual destruction or for bringing extra luck and power. A lots of times there’s a recommendation to use a rusty railroad spike or a rusty horseshoe for good luck. So depending on what your system is or what you learned, you might hear one way or another way. Follow the system that works best for you.
Another kind of metal that we see in nails is nickel. Nickel is useful when you need extra information or energy. So if you’re feeling very depleted, you can use nickel to kind of kick it up a notch or if there’s confusion, nickel will clarify that information for you. If you’re trying to solve a problem, or you need a breakthrough of some kind, use nickel for that.
Steel is another metal that you may find nails made out of. This is relatively newer kind of metal. Steel has only been around for a few hundred years. It’s used for protection, it’s used for healing, and it’s great for guarding against negativity. It’s super strong, right? So we can use it to represent things like knives and swords that protect us. They’re made out of steel, and that’s what steel nails are perfect for.
The last metal that I’m gonna share with you is zinc. Zinc is a metal of magical revelation. It has powerful transformative property. So if you need a total transformation, then you can use a zinc nail. Zinc is really fascinating to work with. You can sense its different energy when you start to work with it, so give it a try!
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