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Throughout the African world, but especially in the U.S. South, one can find yard decorations called bottle trees. Whether the usually colorful bottles are carefully tied to real tree limbs and branches or inserted onto steel rods in the shape of a Christmas tree, bottle trees are evidence of African spiritual thought and practice that survived transplantation into the North American context. This entry provides some information on the historical and contemporary uses of bottle trees and the African antecedent practices that inform their use.

Historical Use of Bottle Trees

In the pre-and post-Reconstruction United States, many Black people relied, sometimes secretly, on conjure or “hoodoo” to exert some control over their lives. Hoodoo, a spiritual tradition predominantly found in the U.S. ...

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