Binding Rituals: What Are They, When & How to Bind
Binding is one of those hot terms in the witch community. Some people do them, others proclaim against them. In this article, we’ll dive into the basics of binding and answer your questions: what are binding rituals? When should we cast a binding spell? And give you a few examples of how to bind a person, event, or thing.
What Are Binding Rituals?
First of all, let’s define the term binding in the magical sense. What you’re thinking when you hear the word binding is probably already correct. Binding means to tie or adhere two things together OR to bind something/someone to itself. Some people believe binding rituals get into gray magic and go against universal magical laws. Others claim binding rituals are effective and should be used when necessary. We’ll get into the ethics later on.
2 Kinds of Bindings
There are two kinds of binding rituals. The first is binding something or someone to itself. If you get the metaphorical image of a rope tied around someone or something to keep it in its place, then you’d be right. Magically speaking, witches and magicians use this form of binding ritual typically to prevent someone or something from causing harm to other people/things or to themselves.
The second kind of binding ritual binds two people or two things together. An example of a binding ritual of this kind is a pagan Handfasting ritual in which two people swear their love to one another for a year before deciding on marriage or not. This is a voluntary binding when both parties are willing. A more dangerous form of this is to bind a person to you without them knowing.
Ancient Binding Magic
There is evidence to suggest binding rituals are as old as time. While there are many ways to do a binding, originally it was done with knot work, ribbons, and ties. Hence the name binding. The ancient Egyptians used knot work in their rituals and magic, indicating they were engaging in some form of binding rituals.
Sea Knot Magic: “Binding the Wind”
Sailors across the world believed in the power of knot magic. They often employed witches and other magicians to “bind the wind” with knots in a magical rope. Then when the sailors were stuck at sea with no wind, they would un-tie the knot to summon the wind. This form of sea knot magic could also be used to summon a storm and overturn an enemy’s ship.
The Magic in Cloth and Linen-making
Think of how clothing and linens have been made over the centuries. Weaving, knitting, sewing, etc. are all forms of binding one material to another that then create something new from it. Many witches also knew how to weave or make clothing, and as they performed their craft they would imbue each stitch or braid with intention. Essentially binding their magical goals into the fabric itself. This is why witches in Medieval paintings and artwork are sometimes depicted riding a distaff instead of a broom. Braiding, knotting, sewing, etc are all powerful forms of binding rituals when done with intention.
Bonding and Binding One to Another
There are many other magical traditions that use different methods of binding rituals all over the world. Hoodoo, a form of American folk magic, uses binding often to bind one person to another. In ancient Ireland, a man would braid his hair into a bracelet and give it to his love. If she accepted, they were bound together by his gift. The binding of an object like bracelets, knot work, and more, gives way to the metaphorical bonding of one person to another. In modern times, we pledge ourselves to our partner and place a ring on our finger…this is a form of binding!
When Should Binding Rituals Be Done? Morals and Suggestions
The topic of magical morals always comes up with binding rituals. But why? When we look at why people bind other people or things, we see sometimes it’s for selfish gain. For instance, when someone binds another person to themselves in love without the other person knowing or consenting. We may pine for someone’s love, but if that person doesn’t love us in return, and we do a binding ritual to force them to…it always turns out bad. For both parties. What if that person turns out to be abusive and you’ve bound him to you for life? And what of the person’s free will?
When Binding May Be Necessary…
Next, if we choose to bind someone from hurting themselves or others. I always think of that scene in the movie The Craft when Sarah is “binding” Nancy from doing harm. She has a photo of Nancy, the target, and she’s wrapping a black ribbon around her while chanting, “I bind you Nancy from doing harm, harm against other people and harm against yourself.” In this case, Sarah is trying to defend herself, Nancy and other people from Nancy’s violence. Sometimes work like this is justified. But you have to be darn sure it’s justified in that there’s no other way to help the individual before performing a binding of this nature.
Binding Rituals for Illness and Bad Habits
What about binding things such as illness, bad habits, or even ourselves? You can absolutely bind an illness or a bad habit; however, keep in mind that you’re not necessarily getting rid of those things by binding them. In these cases, a banishing ritual followed by protection rituals are best. This way you’re exiling that habit or illness from being anywhere near you and then shielding yourself from its return. You might also choose to do a cord cutting ritual, to cut the ties between your soul and that bad habit or illness.
Binding Yourself: Not Advised
Someone once asked if they could bind themselves from doing a bad habit. While you can choose to do whatever you’d like to yourself, in my experience binding yourself magically is never a good idea! While you may bind yourself from doing said habit or thing, you might also bind yourself from having free will to do other things. Binding oneself just doesn’t sit right with me as there are too many things that could affect your life negatively with a self-binding ritual.
Last Stitch Effort
To sum it up, when to perform binding rituals is ultimately up to you. But for me, I only use binding as a last stitch effort (pun intended). And only for protection from someone or something or to help protect others from them. Voluntary bindings are okay, as well, but for me, I’m rather free-spirited so I don’t know if it’s a good idea to bind yourself to anyone magically for an eternity. A ring on my finger and love in my heart in this life is enough.
Things to Use in Binding Rituals
The kind of binding ritual you do will determine the ingredients and words you use. For instance, for love binding rituals, objects that represent love include: aphrodisiacs like berries, wine, apples, etc. Names and personal effects can be placed inside of fruits then bound together and buried. Amplify this type of ritual by sprinkling fidelity and passionate herbs over the names before binding inside.
For binding protection rituals, choose simple supplies like photos, personal effects, ribbon and small boxes. These can be used to symbolically bind the person from doing harm. You can also freeze a person’s name or an event by placing in a bag or jar of water and freezing it to stop their actions or prevent something bad from happening. Use your intuition and imagination!
A Binding Ritual for Protection
This binding ritual is to be cast when someone is causing harm to themselves or others. It will work to bind them but perhaps only for a short time span. Inspired by The Craft.
- Photo of person or personal effects
- Black ribbon or string
- Small box (if it has a lock and key or latch, even better!)
How to Perform this Binding Ritual:
- Gather your supplies, cleanse the space and supplies by your preferred method.
- Hold the photo of the person or the personal effects and picture that person in your mind. See the harm they are causing vividly in your mind’s eye.
- Next, take the ribbon and begin to encircle the photo, weaving it in an X type pattern and say, “with this ribbon I bind thee, from causing harm to others or yourself. Until you are right again, then you shall be free.”
- Last, take the bound photo and place it in the box. When you close the box, envision the person being calm, sane, and their best self.
- Keep the photo in the box until the threat has passed. Then you can decide whether to un-bind the person.
Consensual Tomato Binding Love Ritual
Tomatoes are easy to come by and in this ritual they represent love and passion between two willing partners. It will increase the love, understanding, and intimacy between two people.
What You’ll Need:
- One large vine-ripe tomato (the plumper and bigger the better!)
- One dried herb for fidelity (choose one: chickweed, clover, cumin, nutmeg)
- A knife
- A lock of hair from each partner
- A piece of parchment paper and pen
- Red ribbon or string
How to Do the Love Binding Ritual:
- Gather all supplies and cleanse them by your preferred method.
- Ideally your partner should do this ritual with you for maximum effect.
- Cleanse one another of negative vibes.
- Sign your name on the paper – one name upside down and the other right side up so that when you fold the paper the two names touch.
- Now sprinkle your herb for fidelity in the middle of the paper (where the fold will be).
- Add the two locks of hair to the middle of the paper, as well.
- Next fold the paper in half so that the names are touching each other right-side up. As you do this, envision the two partners being in love and faithful for the intended period of time. Visualize joy, health, and intimacy between the two of you etc. The herb and hair should be in the fold of the paper.
- Fold the paper towards you 3 or 5 times until it’s small enough to fit in the tomato.
- Now cut the tomato in half.
- Place the parchment paper in the middle of the tomato.
- Close the tomato back up and tie it together with the red string. Bind it at least 3 times but up to 9 times, saying “May we share love, joy and intimacy from now until we choose be free.”
- Bury the tomato in the East where the sun rises, as the sun is rising on your love!