While making our excursions into the world, Outta the Way has come across some odd things. We have have noticed bottles on tree branches quite a few times. First we just took it as some odd folk art, but the more we saw the more we knew there was a deeper meaning.
Turns out the tradition of bottle trees is over 3,000 years old. It started with Arabian folklore. They believed bottles could catch spirits (hence, the genie in a bottle). They believed the shiny colors of the bottles would entice the spirits and trap them inside. In the morning, the evil spirits would die when the sun shined in on the bottle, exterminating the evil within.
Blue bottles are often the preferred color. The blue represents water and sky. The bottle is meant to protect from everything in heaven and earth.
This tradition of bottle tress was carried on through parts of central Africa, where it was eventually brought to North America and Europe by African slaves.
Today they seem to be more prevalent in the Appalachian Mountain areas of the United States, which may be the reason so many mistake it as simple folk art, when in reality there is a much deeper and otherworldly meaning to this centuries old tradition.
For more bottle tree photos, check out this group on Flickr.