LESSONS IN MAGICK: The Unethical Practice of Spirit Binding, Part II


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“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.

Gold Apple

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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.


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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.

LESSONS IN MAGICK: The Unethical Practice of Spirit Binding

André Varela

Image: André Varela

“The risks involved in the pursuit of magic are–put simply–either getting frightened by unpleasant perceptions or becoming deluded. Unfortunately, it is possible to suffer from both symptoms at the same time.”

Philip Carr-Gomm

I am not sure how this piece is going to be received but I have to write about this topic because it keeps coming up; I don’t know if this is because I am in the business of online sales now, so I see what the Pagan/Witch community has to offer, or if I was just completely ignorant to this common practice, in any case, it’s wrong.

I am referring to the sale of Bound Vessels.

NOTE: This piece is about *unethical* Spirit binding. Do I think the practice in general in unethical? Yeah, kinda. But, I am aware that in some traditions Spirit binding is a Sacred act done with respect; if you can’t understand the difference, then you’re reading this blog wrong.

Carrying on…

I am not necessarily angry at the sale, I am angry that the practice of binding Spirits to objects for entertainment even exists.

I am going to tell you my story, and speak from my experience and why this has me so upset.

Let us go back to about 2 months ago when a friend encountered a large group of Spirits that she could not identify.

She is not new to the Craft and she is most certainly not stupid when it comes to identifying entities, or their origins; confused as she was, she came to myself and a fellow Witch for assistance.

What I saw horrified me.

There were hundreds of human Souls that had this thick, black oily substance all over them, and energy signatures of Angels, Daemons and Gods alike.

It was chaotic and swirling all around them.

The sound of them mumbling “I don’t know who I am. We don’t know who we are.” is something that was not only deafening, but I will never forget it.

My Soul is forever haunted by what I saw that day.

Slowly my Sister Witch was able to heal them, and send them on their way but we never could place why Human Souls had energy overlapping their own.

Any Practitioner knows that even in death the human Soul has free Will.

Remember this story, I will tie it in at the end.


This same Sister Witch is very active among the Polytheist community and because of this she has quite the following, and friend list.

You see, personally, I like to lay low in regards to my Facebook page; I mean, people know who I am because I receive messages, and followers but no friend requests anymore because for the most part they know to keep their distance. I would prefer to be contacted via the blog, you know?

It’s just a thing I have, a safety blanket, maybe—a barrier, even. Definitely a layer of protection.

I just feel like I give so much through my writing that I need to be able to keep something to myself; even if it is as stupid, arbitrary and mundane as a Facebook page.

To be honest I would still only be known as Noir, and not as Jaclyn Cherie if it weren’t for people stealing my work, Copyright purposes and the fact that I started my Shop.

The gist of it, I am a private person.

Back to the Sister Witch; she always posts fun things, interesting things, and people are quick to comment.

So, being the nosey, stalker that I am I always read the comments.

This one day a name hit me like a 2 x 4 to the face, and I took note that she had no Soul.

“We all have Souls” I can hear you folks now.

I’m telling you, she had no Soul.

The Soul that once belonged to her was claimed by *so many* entities, and in so many fragments that I don’t even know how she is alive.

I have seen humans with no Soul (we can debate later) but not a human who had a Soul and essentially lost it (sacrificed it through poor choices and actions).

This Woman was tormented beyond anything I have ever seen, and it was all self-imposed.

I was fascinated!

But, as badly as I wanted to “look” further, I did not because my sense told me *DANGER*.

Not that I was in danger, but that the situation, the Woman, just me picking up the scent of what was happening was dangerous and sent my guides into a bitch fit; they made sure I knew that I was not to go digging anymore.

They should know me better by now, though.

That same day about 5 hours later I received a message from a fellow Witch of a screenshot.

It was a picture of a piece of jewelry for sale by that Woman! (The story I told you to remember).

Mind you, I told no one about how my intuition made me feel regarding this Woman.

I was so freaked out by the synchronicity that I had to put my phone down and collect myself.

A few minutes later I pick up my phone back up, and re-open the message.

This Woman sells Bound Vessels and has been doing so for years. Years, I tell you! Apparently, she is known as a “great Conjurer”. *insert eyeroll*

Because she traps Spirts to vessels and sells them, she is a great Conjurer?

Don’t fucking insult the art of Conjuring by comparing it to this Woman.

I had to go look and see for myself how deep this went and what I found made my blood boil, my hands shake and rage blind me.

Before I continue on with what happened next, and how it ties into the Souls I mentioned in the beginning let me say that I do not believe, at any point in time that a Spirit needs to be Bound to a Vessel.

This is my personal opinion. You’re entitled to yours.

I have found myself needing to do so when working with Djinn, and after the bidding was done, they were rewarded and released.

I would NEVER in my mind think to bind Spirits to trinkets, Art or pieces of jewelry and sell it to people claiming that it will bring them protection, luck, love, etc. etc.

Enchanting personal jewelry with a Deity’s Essence is an entirely different practice.

This is about ethics, people.


I think the entire thing (ie. Binding for sale) is absolutely disgusting, and I believe that those who partake in this sort of *unethical* practice will be served the retribution they deserve.

It’s exploiting not only the Spirit but the individual purchasing this vessel in hopes it will help them.

Spirits are not our play toys, and in my entire life of practice I have yet to encounter a Spirit who wishes to be bound to a vessel.

I am not saying it doesn’t happen, but how common can it really be if I, nor anyone in my immediate Witch circle (I even consulted Crones) have encountered this (other than with Djinn)?

If this is so common, why are the Witches I confided in as appalled as I am that this even exists?

I try not to judge another and how they practice or what they feel is morally or ethically okay; I am sure I do things that make people raise their eyebrows but this is an entire new level of insanity, and disrespect for Spirits.

No matter who or what our Soul is, we are in human form, and we must never forget how fragile the human body and psyche can be–well, is.

How pathetic to feed off of another’s need to fit in, or their paranoia by selling them (at really high prices mind you) objects that are supposed to have a Spirit attached.

We should be guiding these individuals to their personal power and how to work with Spirits through Evocation, not encouraging them to rely on an object.

A Witch needs to do their own basic defensive, and protective Magick. It’s okay to ask for help, but the foundation must be laid by you.


If a Witch cannot conjure and banish a particular energy, then perhaps that Witch needs to think again about dealing with said energy. What do I always say about cursing and curing?

You should be proficient in both; same goes for conjuring and banishing.

The most common, and most fatal mishaps in Magick occur when a practitioner pisses off Spirits or does not correctly xast their intentions and it backfires on the Witch directly (had it happen to me multiple times as a budding Witchling).

Back to the story…

Curiosity got the best of me, I finally went to this Woman’s page and found an album, along with several posts of Bound Vessels. She promised people that there was a portal in one, a “high Watcher” in another, and it just carried on, and on, and on.

I remember making a status on my personal page about it all, when this first happened and I said, “I don’t know what is worse, selling these Vessels or buying them”.

I still don’t know that answer.

As the days went by I came to find out through a series of dreams, and two divination sittings that this Woman was responsible for those human Souls I mentioned earlier. My guides confirmed it for me.

Apparently, she would promise these human Souls who were trapped in the “in-between” whatever their heart most desired, then she would put a different energy signature over their own.

I don’t even know how she did that part, I have my theories and I don’t think it would be too difficult but I can’t imagine that the human Soul or the energy that she tapped into for the signature (Azazel, Ba’al and Queen Mauve (Fae Court) being a few) is or was too happy about this; her deteriorating physical and mental health are proof of that.

Tsk. Tsk. Silly Witch.

And trust me, I know how this all sounds.


I let that battle go and decided to just move on because I have faith that she will be dealt with; that good ol’ retribution I mentioned earlier.

It all came back this morning though when I was added to a group on Facebook, and I noticed several people selling Bound Vessels!

What I found most disturbing is that this group is for gemstone jewelry (over four thousand members) and most of the Vessels ARE jewelry.

Yes, they are described as being a Spirit Vessel or what have you, but you cannot tell me that every single person is going to understand what that means.

You cannot tell me that someone doesn’t (or hasn’t) come along and said, “Oh, look, what a beautiful citrine pendant!” and bought it, only to have this wretched streak of misfortune because the energy in the piece is angry.

I thought that Witch Wars were the lowest our community could go, surely we could not descend any further, and now we have this.

I am truly disappointed in the people who partake in this type of practice.

We not only owe it to those whom we are helping, teaching and/or healing to give them our all, but we owe it to the Spirits we work with.

Half assed attempts of Conjuring along with fake bindings are not giving them your all; it’s making a mockery of the Ancient Ways, and I hope the Old Gods fucking devour you.