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The use of bells is found in many religions besides Wicca, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Japanese Shinto, and many sects of Christianity. While the purpose and meaning of bells varies widely among these different traditions, it’s generally recognized that the ringing of a bell communicates a message of some kind, whether to participants in the religion or to entities in the spirit world. It’s for this second purpose that the bell is used in Wicca. Some people refer to it as a “witch’s bell” to distinguish it from bells used for other purposes. A more old-fashioned term you may come across is “devil driver.”
The clear, healing tone of a bell can have a few different effects. The bell's vibrations can banish unwanted spirits and/or negative energies, call in positive, desired energetic influences, and/or simply clear stagnant energy in any space throughout one’s home. Sound affects energy on a physical level—because sound is energy—and so the bell is both a physical and a symbolic tool in Wiccan practice.