“Real magic can never be made by offering someone else’s liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back.”
Peter S. Beagle
The Unethical Practice of Spirit Binding is to date one of my most popular pieces; even now, nearly 2 years since writing it, it’s still one of the most weekly visited blogs, and the one I receive the most emails/questions about.
I figured since it would be time consuming as all hell, and repetitive to reply to each email, all of which are essentially asking the same thing, it would be easier to address the concerns and issues in a blog of its own.
Before I get into the gist of this, let me first clarify a few things.
I firmly believe that binding a Spirit to a vessel is right under abusing a child (in general and/or) with Magick; to me, it’s THAT serious.
Our Magick comes from within, most of our knowledge and wisdom, too but a lot of our power, knowledge, wisdom and gifts comes directly from the Spirit world in the form of Ancestors, and the Spirits we work with daily—be they Gods, Goddesses, Daemons, Fae, Elementals, etc: they owe us nothing, yet are often more than willing to come to our aid when called upon.
To disrespect this world, these beings by acting like we are superior is a recipe for disaster.
Not to mention it’s audacious to think that just because we can, we should.
I have been practicing the Craft since I was a kid, and have been surrounded by Witches and Mystics for nearly as long and besides Djinn, none of us can think of a time when you would *need* to bind a Spirit to a vessel.
Note: Djinn truly are genies in many ways, and they must be bound to an object (preferably jewelry) to work with. The word Djinn means both “Demons and Spirits” and has an additional meaning of “hidden from sight”. Their energy is unruly, hence the need to anchor them; they should always be released afterwards as a bored Djinn is a dangerous Djinn.
Binding a Spirit to a vessel is entirely different than enchanting an object; this is important.
For example, evoking Lilith, and asking for Her essence to enchant a piece of jewelry or tool for sexual confidence, power and protection would not be considered binding; you called upon Her, asked Her permission and an exchange was made—what that exchange is, is between you and Her, or whatever deity/Spirit you are working this (in context exchange means offerings).
Binding a Spirit to an object is trapping them.
And, sorry guys, but it’s fucking wrong.
I’m not sitting on a high horse, and I really hate to enter territory where it comes off like I am telling other’s how to practice but, we must have basic ground rules when practicing, right?
Surely, not binding Spirits and not abusing them should be high on our list of basic manners of Practice, right?
A clear majority of those who email me have purchased or acquired a bound vessel without thinking of the Spirit itself; they are quite remorseful in their messages. Often, attributing their change of heart and “aha moment” to reading and/or coming across my blog on the subject; so much gratitude for this because awareness was the sole intent of the original piece.
Then there are those who purchased bound vessels and found they didn’t have use for the Spirit and now they don’t know what to do.
I don’t judge anyone because we have all found ourselves in situations during our Magickal career where we know we fucked up. If you have not had this moment yet you are either doing something wrong, or it’s right around the corner waiting for you.
Fucking up has been my best teacher.
So, what do you do when you find yourself in possession of a Spirit bound object?
Well, first you attempt to contact the Spirit itself.
In many cases the Spirit in question will be volatile (rightfully so); sometimes they will be shy, and/or fearful.
In many ways Spirits could and can squash us like a bug but in many ways, they can be dominated, and it has the same affect on them as it would on us if we were abused, and oppressed.
They become withdrawn and defeated.
Set up your ritual space, place the object in front of you and communicate with the Spirit; sometimes this can be done simply by touching the object, depending on how tuned into your intuition you are.
Other times you will need to choose a form of divination to act as a medium for the message to be received.
Even if it was not you who bound them, apologize for their mistreatment; if you know what type of Spirit you are working with, offer them something you know would appeal to them, if you do not know go with the basics of incense, liquor/wine/beer, sweets, fruit and a candle.
Then, release them.
It can be simple, and sometimes the Spirit will be released by you saying, “you are free to go” but other times it requires more effort in the form of a burial, or burning to break the original spell and allow the Spirit to return to its abode.
On rare occasions there will need to be a full ritual of cord cutting, and banishing (example: The Spirit does not want to go and/or is malicious in nature).
I have come across a few friends who have attempted to release a benevolent Spirit, and the Spirit expressed their desire to stay; if you are okay with this, then you can keep the vessel.
The point is to give the Spirit a choice at freedom, give them the option they were denied in the first place.
You do not need a bound vessel to have a connection with a Spirit, or for that Spirit to grant you what you desire.
They are not our play toys; they do not exist to be at our beck and call; they are allies, sources of knowledge for Seekers; they are keepers of the Old Ways.
Magick and the Craft should never involve abuse; I don’t consider baneful Magick abuse because when I practice it, it’s justified. But, that’s been covered in my Justified Hexing blog.
Nothing about this path, this life or this Craft is cut and dry, nothing is black and white, each situation presented to us requires a new set of eyes; we must drop all that we think we know and assess the situation while keeping our wisdom in tact—it’s a Jedi level balancing act.