“The chains that break you, are the chains that make you. And the chains that make you are the chains you break.”
― Anthony Liccione
To understand metaphysical binding let’s begin with a definition of the word “bind.” As a verb, bind means fastening or restraining something tightly. Bindings can also be items placed around an object for improved strength. Between two or more people, a binding establishes unity (a bond of trust). Relative to magic, all these definitions have a role.
Good Witch, Bad Witch, Which One is Which?
Witches dedicate themselves to seeking and learning. In the process, one comes across spellcraft complete with a bunch of precautions. There is no question spells, including practices like binding, were not meant to be cast on a whim. Nonetheless, some situations make a binding spell the perfect choice.
Realistically binding can be negative or positive depending on your intent. The Priestess at a wedding or handfasting may invoke binding energy on the couple because they wish it – a very “white” form of magic.
Note, however, that a binding spell is not the same as a curse. Binding halts or “stays” whereas curses put energy into someone’s life (and sometimes a whole groups’) to bring about justice or restore balance in some way.
Favorable Binding Spells
Examples of using binding spells for positive results include:
- Tethering yourself to a job for security (and accepting the work that goes with that)
- Linking a pet to you as part of the relationship building process
- Connecting yourself to a personal piece of jewelry so that it doesn’t “wander off”
- Biding a personal bad habit
- Ensconcing a telephone so that it detracts unwanted calls (a dream catcher is similar)
There is nothing morally or ethically wrong with any of these actions.
Vile Binding Spells
What takes a binding into “black magic” territory is usually selfishness. Returning to the example of love magic, a practitioner might try to bind another person to them in a relationship without any care for that person’s desires (especially when the relationship is getting messy like before divorce). Or perhaps the practitioner tries to bind a spirit (like a fairy) in an object for personal gain. Neither of these actions comes under the “good witch” category.
Binding for Protection and Safety
By far the most prevalent form of binding in the magical community as a whole is intended for protection. Illustrations include binding the energy from a psychic attack or binding harmful people. In the case of the latter magic for justice or banishing may also come into play.
Let’s consider the example of having someone stalking you. At first, it seemed harmless. Over time, however, it became worse and leaves you fearful. Besides reporting this to the police (please do!) you could call on a protective personal Deity for aid, and create a binding/banishing spell that puts magical energy (and hopefully a lot of space) between you and the stalker. There is no question here that in this example magic infringes on the stalker’s will. However, it is with excellent cause.
Binding Spells – the Framework
Putting together a binding spell is really no different than any other type of charm other than the desired outcome. Bear in mind that binding can focus on a specific kind of ambient energy as well as falsehoods where you do not know the source.
Timing: Waning to dark moon, just before midnight.
- Moon In Aries: Increasing courage and warrior energy. Binding fear.
- Taurus: Safeguarding personal items against theft like a manuscript.
- Cancer: Constraining the spirit of turmoil and chaos.
- Leo: Restraining obsession.
- Libra: Invoking karmic “kick back.”
- Scorpio: Turning or stopping negativity.
- Capricorn: Binding and banishment (general).
- Aquarius: Revealing secrets.
Herbs & Spices: Cayenne pepper, clove, garlic, fennel, ginger, rue, juniper, basil, mugwort, frankincense and sage (most banishing herbs work for binding too).
Color: Dark colors (chose the darkest tone for a color that best represents what you intend to bind. For unwanted romantic overtures, you might try mahogany red, for example.
Symbols: A representation of that which you intend to bind (for people, poppets work or something personal you have from them). Anything that you can use to bind or tie – ribbons, string, rope, sewing machine, staples, paper clips, glue, etc.
Sample Binding Spells
In your research, you may stumble across a lot of binding spells that aren’t really useful in your situation. These examples are meant for adaptability. Change them up so they work for you!
Knot Magic for Binding People
Knots were among the first types of locks, making the symbolism here even more valued. One knot spell begins with three strips of ribbon. These can be black, or a color that corresponds to your intended focal point. You can set the stage – choosing the times, incense and symbols. If you feel particularly fancy, have a black candle at the ready and burning.
When you are ready, begin braiding or knotting those cords together one-by-one. As you finish the cross in the braid or tighten knot add some type of verbal component. Speak this directly to the fixed location.
I bind _____ from malintent
I bind you; your power gone,
I bind your actions and words that harm!
If you are using a candle drip a little of the wax on the point where you recited your incantation, thereby fixing it firmly.
Once completed, there are several options for your knotted cord. You could:
- Keep it with a picture of said person (or something of theirs that you have) in a safe location.
- Burn it – thereby sending those intentions on the wind and visually destroying the negativity.
- Adhere it to a magic mirror so this person has to see themselves honestly.
- Place it in sunlight (or under a lamp left on 24-7) so that no shadows can hide from the spell.
For more information on knot magick, read the article “Powerful Cord and Knot Magick,” here on Wise Witches and Witchcraft!
Halting a Behavior or Energy Pattern
There are times when we don’t want to bind a person, but only an aspect of their behavior that’s harmful. You can also use this concept for binding unhealthy behaviors in yourself. Habits and bad conduct represent a kind of energy loop. Binding and cutting the energy stops the pattern.
For a spell of this nature find a small item that closes like a compact, change purse, locket, etc.) You will also need a piece of string or ribbon that fits inside the container and a pair of scissors. Start by making a circle out of the ribbon/string and binding the energy. Name the force for its behavior or energy or for the action you want to stop (like “dad’s explosive anger” or “my impatience”).
Put the ribbon or string inside your chosen housing. Leave it there until you see the energy or behavior happening again. At that juncture take the circle out and cut it in half saying:
“Your power was bound; now it is broken;
Be free from ___________ from this day forward.
By my will and this spell, so be it.
As with the previous binding spell, you can do what you wish with the cut portions like:
- Toss them in running water, taking that energy away.
- Burying them with a seed so something beautiful can replace the negativity.
- Burning them with purgative incense.
Binding a Troublesome Spirit
Some ghosts just don’t know how to take “no” for an answer. When a spirit becomes too disruptive in your life, you can bind its activity using a spirit trap. As the name implies, the trap gets the spirit’s attention than catches them like a fly in a spider web.
The most common spirit traps begin with red, yellow and blue yarn fashioned into a pattern like the Eye of God, or a cross made of rowan and red thread. The most important thing when making a spirit trap is that you never make any knots in this item. You can weave it with great complexity, however. The greater the detail, the longer it works.
Use magical timing and focus intently on your spell as you work. You can also recite an incantation like:
Around and around the magic’s bound
Follow the thread, from beginning to end
Once within you cannot see
The way back out, so mote it be!
When you finish the piece place it where the ghost is more active. When the dust settles, put the spirit catcher in the light of the sun, dispersing the energy. You can re-use the catcher, but if it starts falling apart, its energy has run its due course, so make a new one.
Binding by Ice
Freezing as a function of binding makes perfect sense symbolically. Not only do you trap energy within, but ice has a reflective surface that bounces any residual vibes firmly away. When someone comes into your life who purposely betrays trust, creates enmity between family or friends, or is quite simply a walking mass of black energy, it’s time to put them on ice for as long as necessary.
You only need an item that represents that person; pictures work best, along with a container for the water and picture (it doesn’t have to be big). Now, look at the image. Envision in your mind’s eye all the harm he or she has done. Channel the anger and frustration you feel into that image. This is really actually very healthy as clinging to those feelings harms YOU.
You can put the image into the jar as it is: Just fill it with water while saying:
Trapped within, this spell begins,
your foul traits, this ice abates,
To no longer harm is the charge of this charm!
Freeze it. Keep it in the back portion of your freezer (so no one accidentally takes it out) for as long as you need it.