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(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Pins are used in many spells, especially those of negative magic. The old saying, "See a pin and pick it up; all the day you'll have good luck," intimates that by picking up the pin, you will save it from being picked up by a magician who might use it in a negative spell. One of the best-known spells is to stick a candle or a poppet with pins in order to cause harm to the person represented by that candle or poppet (see sympathetic magic). Similarly, to bring ill luck to someone, a lemon may be stuck with black-headed pins, then sent to an unfortunate recipient. When that person touches the pins, the ill luck is transferred to him or her.

On the positive side, together with needles, nails, screws, broken glass, and other sharp objects, pins may be placed in a bottle filled with urine as a protection from evil (see witch bottle).

An old British tradition says that if a girl has been betrayed, she can get revenge by throwing twelve pins into the fire at midnight as she chants the name of her ex-lover. To remove a wart, one pricks the wart with a pin that has first been stuck into an ash tree. After sticking the wart, the pin is returned to the tree. For card players, if someone sticks a pin in a player's lapel, it will bring him luck.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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