Historical practices of witchcraft: Day 3- Sieve

Place two keys on a sieve, in time form of a cross. Two men hold the sieve, while a third makes the sign of time cross on time forehead of the suspected party, and calls out his name loudly, three times over. If innocent, the keys remain stationary; but if guilty, the keys revolve slowly round time sieve, and then there is no doubt as to who is the thief.


A utensil consisting of a wire or plastic mesh held in a frame, used for straining solids from liquids. It is found to be quite useful when cooking; however, it has a huge connection to witchcraft and its folklore. There are many tales of people being forced, by witches, to gather water from a sieve only to have it drain out, “she handed her a sieve and said to her: ‘Go, fill it at the Well of the World’s End and bring it home to me full, or woe betide you.’ For she thought she would never be able to find the Well of the World’ s End, and, if she did, how could she bring home a sieve full of water?” (The Well of the World’s End).

It most notable tales include Baba Yaga and even The Horned Women.

In witchcraft, it is often used either to find lost items or reveal truths. The most common use was the charm above, in which it located the item and the thief.

I even believe it has the ability to make a connection with spirits, since within a few different folk tales it notes that the people suddenly can speak with spirits and animals.

There are even depictions of individuals using sieves, while being surrounded by many spirits, demons, and mystical creatures.

download It may be that the witches used sieves as a way to pour out distractions and the veil and see what the truth was, just as a sieve does so with water, dirt, and gold.


3 thoughts on “Historical practices of witchcraft: Day 3- Sieve

  1. Hi, there! Really interested in reading more about this topic; could I see your references please, for more information?


    • yeah! My main sources came from the following

      English Fairy Tales: The Well of the World’s End
      Celtic Fairy Tales: The Horned Women
      King James Bible
      Folk Tales From the Russian: Baba Yaga
      Japanese Fairy Tales: The First Rabbits
      Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland
      English Fairy and Other Folk Tales: Fairies: The Two Serving Damsels
      Traditions and Hearthside Stories of West Cornwall

      Those are some of the main ones

      Liked by 1 person

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