Spell Ethics: Binding Vs. Banishing

I'd like to take a moment to first acknowledge that witchcraft is unique as a practice because it invites differences in opinion and practice. We all witch differently! My intention is for this post to offer aid, though if it does not agree with your style of craft, kindly disregard or feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Thank you all. 

_Do no harm, but take no shit._.jpg

These quotes should strike a chord in our hearts. They reverberate with such truth - the kind we've always known. Thanks to the healthy and unhealthy dynamics we've experienced with friends, family, lovers, or ourselves, binding and banishing are practices we engage with whether we recognize it or not. Resentment, revenge, and manipulation are cornerstones of Binding. These are often derived from old coping devices or survival tools. They come from the recent or distant past, moving through to the future, and often become twisted and gnarled on the way.  Banishing happens through personal strength, mindfulness, clearly speaking your demands, and bold acts of honesty. This tool requires existing in the moment, encouraging you to move through time towards the future and your ever growing grace and strength. Our emotions bend and shift our awareness, and time changes with it. To live within reality in a balanced way, we have to begin at the emotional level. 


The term "binding" tells us directly what it is meant to do - and what it threatens to do, as well. As witches and magical practitioners know, a Binding Spell is most often utilized in the intention of holding an individual back from their pursuits. You bind them from themselves or others, restraining them from reaching their intended goal. This often comes from a positive place such as wishing to hold someone back from self-harm - or in most recent popular dialogue, to keep political bodies from success in their endeavors. However, in generating any kind of thwarting intention, you also bind the person or energy to yourself. In an attempt to shift actions or intentions, you become entangled in them. This often results in energy overload, or worse - taking on the energies of those you wish to bind. Just like gossip, binding ensures that you cannot engage innocently without immediately becoming tangled up in the dense mess. In virtually all cases, it's far better to keep out of murky waters and away from the spiritual game of telephone. 

Binding is invasive magic, and should be ethically questioned with sharp awareness. This is the kind of spell that quickly mutates into a curse - and curses effect the caster, too. 


To banish is to non-invasively remove a source of chaos or discomfort from your life. This ensures your energetic safety, as well as the freedom of the source itself. When casting spells and practicing magic, there should be no desired outcome other than the well-being of all. Remember: WITCHES HEAL. All else is dark practice, and will only come back and bite you in the ass threefold. If there is a force of negativity, illness, or abuse in your life that you need to remove, do so by setting it and yourself free through banishing. Cut the cord forever, and allow the person or energy the freedom to make independent choices based on your calm intentions. When you have positive intentions for yourself, you share that intention with all that is around you- physically or energetically. In this way it is similar to binding, except instead of being wrapped up in the phone cord, you send off an expedited letter sealed with security and love. You are completely entitled to your anger, sadness and pain. The practice of banishing does not require any self-dishonesty about emotions and processing - though it may aid in the relief of them.

To be clear: this is meant to ensure the well-being of yourself, as well as the betterment of that which has caused you offense or pain. If you are not yet comfortable with this concept, you may need to reflect on how your intentions or thoughts are already effecting you in your life, and consider what you need to truly release. 



Through life, into death - we begin and end at the breath. 

To use your voice is powerful, but the core of all language is breath. We can say so much through it - no spoken language required. The breath contains all words and all potential of expression. 

The use of breath can be applied when words either fail, or overcompensate. Often we use our words unwisely - knee-jerk reactions leading us and others to ugly places that could be avoided. We have an array of magical tools to use when faced with challenging moments that make us want to scream, run away, or disappear. A simple banishing spell is available for moments like this.

The Banishing Breath could be the most powerful preventative magic for the witch on the go. Requiring no tools other than your breath and your willingness, it's carried with you at all times and ready to use whenever is necessary. Gentle enough for young people, it is important to keep awareness of our inner child when practicing it. 


This can be done at any time, though during initial practice I recommend creating a safe and calm environment for yourself. I owe this practice to my teacher Colette and her teaching through the Blue Iris Mystery School.
  • Stand strong, rooting your feet into the earth. If you are familiar with a quick calling of the elements you may do so here, otherwise simply regard them in your body - Air, Fire, Water, Earth, and Center (neutral space between). 
  • Draw up all the energies that you wish to remove - thoughts, memories, awarenesses - create a vision of all of these, and use your mind to create a mesh net that catches them. Tie the net tight, and cast it out of your chest.
  • Establish your stability and inner calm and strength, then exhale a sharp breath through your lips while severing away the nets ropes, away from your body. Let the net float or fall down into the earth, allowing the soil to swallow and utilize the energy, regenerating it to its neutral place.