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The Weird Way I Dispose of Spell Remains

Today I want to share with you something a bit different. I know there are people that will see read this and scoff, insist I’m “wrong,” or generally find this whole practice of mine to be a bunch of bullshit. And that’s fine. There are traditional ways that things are done because people have done them for ages, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways. And besides, someone eventually started doing that thing we think of as “right” at some point because of either an idea, a notion, an inspiration, or as I did with this practice, a need.

I’m a big advocate of doing what works for you and it works don’t change things unless you feel genuinely inspired to do something different.

The thing that I do quite differently from a lot of other people involves the way I dispose of the remnants of spells and rituals.

I didn’t always do things like this. There once was a time when I did all the same things that many of you probably do, the things that we’re often taught either in books or from teachers. If the spell was for attraction, bury the items on your property. If the spell was for banishing or releasing, dispose of things by fire, toss it in moving water or leave it somewhere far from your home, walking away and never looking back as you do.

I use to do these things when I was able to. I owned a house in a fairly rural part of Connecticut with nearly an acre of a backyard that became quite the magickal burial ground. At other times when I rented apartments or houses, I would have access to yards or water in the form of rivers or oceans where I could release my spell remains. But for the last 10 years or so that hasn’t been the case. With the exception of the year and a half when I lived on Boston’s North Shore, and for a year when I rented a house in San Diego that had as a small yard, I have not had a place to easily and safely dispose of my stuff.

For a while, I kept a Burn Jar. This was a large Mason jar, the biggest I could find, and all year long I would put my leftover spell items like candle wax, herbs, ashes, and papers into the jar and find a way to burn it all around Samhain. In San Diego, this wasn’t too hard because I could go to the beach and have a fire just for this. But a point came where I felt that wasn’t working for me anymore.

I found myself trying to think up some other ways to do this that would be in alignment with the intentions of my magick at any given time but that would also work on a practical level. Most of my living situations in San Diego did not offer any grass, dirt or direct access to physical earth, as it were. If it did, it was often not a place I would feel safe going out to, digging it, and then leaving something behind. I like to at least feel like my stuff I’m leaving behind if going to be relatively undiscovered unless a condo is suddenly going to spring up in that location or my year needs to be tilled or something otherwise unlikely.

Around 2005 I had I become acquaintances with a woman from New Jersey who considered herself a practitioner of traditional witchcraft with touches of Santeria, the tradition she’d grown up with. I learned some interesting things from her and she became somewhat of the practical introduction for me into hands-on magickal work from non-European Pagan traditions. She shared with me a practice she used that she was supposedly taught by her grandmother and mother that involved using what she called “Burying Bags.”

While this was largely meant to be a way to hiding or deploying magick against someone (for good or bad, the choice is yours), she had told me that it was something that she found many uses for. She’d modify the practice to fit different needs, one of which was the disposal of some types of spell items.

The concept is relatively simple. You use a plain brown lunch bag, natural fiber twine, and a blend of herbs or certain types of powders to create a sort of proxy burial space. You place your spell items in the bag, put a layer of your herbs on top, and then fold the bag up into a small packet and use the twine to close it shut.

What you do with the bundle from here can depend on a few things. You might choose to hang on to it if the magick was for attracting something and you haven’t fully manifested the intention yet. If you were banishing something you might burn the bundle and toss the ashes or you may do what I often do (which is what might seem particularly weird) and toss it in the trash.

Yes, that’s right. I toss it in the trash.

Let me just say that right now I live in Las Vegas. It is hot. It is windy. And it is a giant dry, rocky, dirt patch on the face of Mother Earth. It is beautiful, don’t get me wrong! The desert landscape is, much to my surprise, really lovely. But it makes a lot of the ways that might typically be ideal for disposing of spell remains difficult.

It’s hard for me to burn things to ash because it’s so windy. Any time I try to burn stuff in my large cauldron that I use for burning, I’m lucky if it stays on fire for 10 seconds. I can’t burn things inside because of the very sensitive and numerous hard-wired smoke alarms in my apartment (which makes sense, if this place catches first the whole neighborhood will burn down). And there is definitely nowhere nearby and safe to bury things. Yes, bodies are buried in the desert but that’s not right here in my neighborhood with lots of prying eyes thanks to all the activity and traffic.

So here especially the idea of using a burying bag process works best for me. And when I do it, it goes in the trash.

I see the act of creating the proxy burial as very sacred, I don’t see the bundle as “trash.” When I add it to my everyday garbage I feel like at this point I’m releasing nothing more than physical objects. The process of gratitude and release or grounding of energy is part of the process. By the time I have the totally wrapped up package its, technically, trash.

I recently did a money spell that had a set period of time to manifest. It worked great, better than expected. While the spell was working, even after the candle for the spell burned down fully, I left everything on the altar. I believe completely that this is why the spell kept working beyond the time frame I’d initially set. But now that it’s done and the effects have fully ended and the manifestation came to pass, it needs to be released and disposed of.

Letting spell remnants just hang around on your altar is never a good idea. They attract energy, an energy that you may not want attaching itself to your spell’s intention. Cleaning up your space in a sacred way when the time is right is important!

Since I need to do this I thought I would share it with you.

Because this was a spell for attraction, but one that had a very specific time frame on it, I’m getting rid of everything including my petition paper and the label I created for my candle. If the spell was something with a more long-term goal or an opened ended intention for attracting abundance and prosperity I would keep those things in a box under my altar that I use for holding on to such things. Then, once I felt the spell came to pass, I’d release those papers in a similar way. But here, everything must go!

The first thing I do is gather everything up into one pile. In this case, since I was using a spare cauldron to hold the burned or leftover incense from each day of the spell, I’m going to put everything in there.

For my candle, I use a knife to carefully scrape out the herbs and leftovers in the glass and add them to the pile in the cauldron. The glass I then sage and Florida Water to cleanse it before adding it to my recycling. When I do a spell with a large 7-day candle that has a pretty label for a specific intention I’ll often cleanse spiritually and physically and save it for other things. I had a St. Expedite one that I kept for years and used as a flower vase when I wanted to do a flower offering to him before or after working magick with his help.

Next, I put everything in my paper bag. Then it’s time to create the herb blend that will act sort of like the “dirt” I’m using to “bury” my items.

In this particular instance I’m using:
Kosher Salt for cleansing
Angelica for blessing
Rosemary for releasing
Rose for gratitude
Frankincense for spiritual/energetic purification
Sage for grounding

The amounts I use don’t matter to me as much as that they are all present. Some I may have more of than others so I use what I have. They all going into a coffee grinder that I use specifically for herbs and get ground down into a rough powder. Because Frankincense is a resin and can get a bit sticky when ground up, I do that one separate and I do it last. The others I do together.

All the herbs go into a small wooden bowl and I mix them with my hands, praying over them as I do with the intention of releasing, blessings, and grounding any energy remaining in these items. I offer gratitude to the Gods, the Universe or any spirits I worked with. Then they get lovingly added to the top of what’s in the bag.

The final step is to wrap it all up. Then I use some natural twine, which here I have some hemp twine, to secure it closed.

The final thing I do before throwing it out is to sit with it on the floor or ground in front of me, holding it to the ground with my hands, and visualizing all the energy that may be left draining out into the earth. When I feel it is ready to go, I throw it away. If the spell was to attract something to me, I throw it away in my own trash. If it was a spell to remove or banish something I’ll throw it away in the trash somewhere else off my property (like at the trash at Starbucks or when I go to the grocery store, etc).

I know it’s different and unconventional. And I know there are people that would be utterly horrified at this even as a thought! But I’ll tell you that in all my years of doing this it has never once caused a spell to stop working, caused an ill effect on a future spell, or brought to me any harm or negative energy. At the end of the day I personally feel that if the energy is released, you’re just left with physical objects that need to be disposed of with respect. And for me, I have to do that in a way that is practical for my situation at the time.

Hopefully, this gives some of you that have a similar situation to deal with some ideas to explore, or maybe you’ll even give this a try! No matter what you do, do what feels right for you, your magick, and your practice and then do it with your whole heart.

Comments

  1. Sharnie says

    What an interesting and simple way for those of us without space/time/access like yourself to dispose of spell waste. It still feels like you’re giving it the attention it deserves in wrapping it up. Love it! x

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Jess is a great teacher, as well as an insightful reading and a wonderful healer. Her lessons are informative and easy to understand. Her cards speak to her in a way that I hope mine will to me one day. I have also had a Chakra session and a Reiki session with her and afterward I felt at peace, balanced, and whole again (I was quite sick at the time). I trust very few people, and I follow my path alone, but I trust Jess. She’s a beautiful spirit.

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Jess is a great teacher, as well as an insightful reading and a wonderful healer. Her lessons are informative and easy to understand. Her cards speak to her in a way that I hope mine will to me one day. I have also had a Chakra session and a Reiki session with her and afterward I felt at peace, balanced, and whole again (I was quite sick at the time). I trust very few people, and I follow my path alone, but I trust Jess. She’s a beautiful spirit.
When I started coaching with Jess I thought I was coming to her for help with a breakup and an unexpected and sudden international move. It turned out that wasn't the real issue at all! Jess asked questions I never would have thought to ask myself and gave me a whole new perspective on what was going on in my life. She made me feel like what I want matters. By the time we were done I felt like I could take on the world!

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When I started coaching with Jess I thought I was coming to her for help with a breakup and an unexpected and sudden international move. It turned out that wasn't the real issue at all! Jess asked questions I never would have thought to ask myself and gave me a whole new perspective on what was going on in my life. She made me feel like what I want matters. By the time we were done I felt like I could take on the world!
Incredible, intuitive, thoughtful, and professional reader! Will definitely book with Jess again.

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Incredible, intuitive, thoughtful, and professional reader! Will definitely book with Jess again.
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OMG I'm blown away by the accuracy of the reading. Jess has a special gift. What she revealed to me, opened me up to a place I knew I should be at but was holding myself back from.
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I was so overwhelmed trying to get back into my witchcraft practice, but Jess helped me create an actual plan and a schedule for doing the work. The results in just two months has been far beyond my expectations. I'm in touch with my power like never before!
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