Image by Engin_Akyurt
Anyone who?s seen the 1996 moive, The Craft is sure to be a little familiar with the magical practice of ?binding.? For those of you who are not familiar with the movie; the art of binding in magic is a metaphysical way to guarantee that something will or won?t happen. The idea behind it is that: When you tie something up, it will stay tied up until the bond or cord is cut or broken.
The Craft showcases one of the few good uses for a binding spell: To stop someone from harming themselves or others.
Much of the spellwork done in this iconic movie is very accurate thanks to a little-known woman named Pat Devin. Pat Devin is a high priestess and Public Information Officer of the Covenant of the Goddess, and an elder Priestess of the Dianic Feminist Separatist Tradition. Back when Hollywood actually cared about the integrity of movies, Pat was hired by the filmmakers to ensure the film?s accuracy when the characters performed Wicca-based witchcraft.
Luckily for everyone, Pat was forwarding-thinking enough to change minor details of the spells, in order to keep people from copying the movie and actually invoking unwanted spirits or doing harm to others, which would go against the Wiccan Rede.
Sadly, this was not enough to keep people, like myself, from misusing this powerful, ancient spell. But we?ll get to that in a minute. First, let?s take a brief look at the history of binding, how it works, and its uses in practical magic.
Fairuza Balk as Nancy in The Craft.
What is binding?
Binding is a magical practice that is so old, it can be traced back to some of the earliest human writing and was even mentioned in the Bible. Many cultures and practices have their own versions of binding spells, but for the sake of time, we?ll be focusing on the one showcased in The Craft. (Wicca/Traditional Witchcraft)
The original purpose of casting a binding spell was to stop something or someone from doing something, as was seen in the movie when Sarah binds Nancy. Another good example of this would be to stop a bully by binding the bully. (Metaphysically, not literally, though an effigy of the bully could be used when spellcasting) Another way to go about it would be to stop oneself from being bullied by casting a protective binding spell.
These spells are often cast through a string of words, though in some cases, the words are replaced by a physical string. If you?ve ever been to a wedding and watched the bride and groom?s hands or wrists get tied together in a symbolic knot, you guessed it: That?s a form of binding.
Ancient Greeks and Romans would often connect themselves to a god or goddess and use binding techniques for good luck in big events, such as a wedding or sporting event. Some forms of binding can have a similar effect to invoking a spirit.
To a lesser extent, binding magic is what is used to charm an amulet or magical object. This is also similar to the magic one would use with an effigy or voodoo doll. Today, many people practice binding spells, commonly by wrapping string, ribbon or cord around a symbolic object, while reciting a spell or chant after setting their intention. But just like voodoo dolls, there can be good and bad versions of binding.
Be Careful What You Wish For:
With the growing popularity of witchcraft, one can easily search the internet and find some kind of binding spell for everything from losing your cell phone to cursing your ex-boyfriend. (Not recommended). What is really important to remember is ? the physical spell is less important than the intent of the caster.
However, some people subconsciously use binding spells on themselves unknowingly and find themselves ?stuck? or ?cursed? ? by accidentally binding themselves to something negative, like fear. By repeating things like ?I?m not good enough,? or ?I will never find someone to love me,? ? we are binding ourselves to those negative energies and cursing ourselves, turning our thoughts into self-fulfilling prophecies.
But by far, the most common modern use of binding spells are love spells where the caster is seeking or trying to hold onto love. This is where binding becomes problematic.
Back to my personal experience with binding: Once upon a time, when I was a wee lass and didn?t really understand the full power of the spell (curse) I put into motion, I may have, accidentally, bound myself to men. This is the tale of how I learned powerful binding magic can be, how hard it is to unbind and how I came to the conclusion that binding should be used sparingly, with extreme caution.
It?s strange now to think that I grew up as a fairly lonely child because I was also a middle child. My older brother and I were not very similar and my sister was too young. I often found myself in a strange age-gap where there was no one around my age to play with. So I would often wish for a companion. As time went on, in my budding maturity, I turned this energy into finding a male companion. I would repeat this wish, again and again, hoping to find a true, loyal, partner, and once I thought I found one, I bound myself to him by repeating a binding incantation.
In retrospect, I see that it worked? A little too well.
Now, I know it?s not uncommon for a woman to attract a man?s attention, but the problem was: I wasn?t specific enough.
I was constantly attracting men into my life, however, when I look back at it now, although I reveled in my ability to snag any guy I wanted, I also had a massive problem with them becoming a little too attached, sometimes even aggressive. I also got a lot of attention from the kind of guys I wanted nothing to do with. Not all attention is good attention.
Remember what happened to Chirs (Skeet Ulrich) in The Craft?
Yeah, it was always something like that.
The problem with casting a binding spell without being really specific is that it can backfire massively. Over the years I had quite a few relationships that went on a few years too long for their own good and mine and got a handful of unwanted proposals. Sure, that seems great, until you realize that you?ve bound yourself to someone you?re just not right for. Breaking up a relationship bound by a love spell is no easy task and usually leaves one party more broken than the other.
That?s because, while I still had the ability to move on mentally, physically and emotionally, the partners that I bound did not. Binding spells can easily become curses when one forgets the rule of 3s. (also covered in The Craft) Whatever energy you cast comes back 3 fold.
This is why I believe that binding spells should only be practiced on the rarest occasions for extremely good reasons, like what they were originally meant for: Stopping harm. Not finding a soulmate.
You know the saying ?You can never have too much of a good thing?? Yeah, that?s a lie. You absolutely can. Too much sexual attention from men is ALWAYS a bad thing. Lesson learned.
Imagine if you had bound yourself to your favorite outfit in highschool? You could be doomed to have a terrible sense of fashion for the rest of your life. The truth is binding spells are dangerous because we change, people change, our desires change and the world changes.
Therefore, I would like to encourage people who use binding spells to use them wisely, not flippantly, to fully understand the potential harm that could be brought upon others as well as back upon the spell caster, to be specific, and to consider if this decision is one they would like to make for themselves or others for eternity.
And please, for the love of love, do not use a binding spell to improve your love life. Love should be given freely, not forced. And if that love doesn?t last forever, well, that?s because it was never supposed too in the first place!
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