I really enjoyed your post on blood magick, it was really interesting. But I did want to let you know that, at least in the US (and probably other places as well), animal sacrifice is legal. Of course, it should only be done by someone who knows what they're doing. And processing an animal is really labor intensive so they generally aren't done all that often. I'm looking forward to your future pagan posts, they're great! :)
I’m not sure on the specifics for the law. I know in my area, even for hunting, you have to have a permit and tag for every animal, so I’m not sure for the procedures for actual animal sacrifice. If its limited to certain animals, if it’s only for certain religions (sanataria, voodoo, etc) or what. I did know a bit of that. Poor wording on my part I meant to change. Sorry. Thank you for pointing it out tho. I’m sure you’re not the only one that caught it! And thank you for the kind words as well.
Last week in my post on athames, I mentioned that I occasionally use mine to blood let during ritual. By blood let I do not mean cutting an artery or even a vein. I mean a few drops of blood. Never a lot. As soon as I mentioned it I knew I’d have a subject for one of my B articles. I was still a little hesitant to use the subject. I mean, after all it is a very taboo subject among some pagans, primarily Wiccans and those with Wiccan or New Age leanings. And even then the most “acceptable” form of blood magick is usually limited to women working with moon blood.
Before we go any further, I would simply like to state that I have never used moon blood in any spell or ritual, and my use of pure blood is limited to offerings, bindings, and simply as a power booster. I will use examples from experience, but I have also done actual research for this post and we’ll all hopefully learn something. I will list all sources at the end of this post.
Blood Magick. For some the very words evoke images of ancient pagans performing human and animal sacrifices to the gods. For others, it brings back memories of Sunday morning church services and communion, wine, Jesus on the cross. Whatever the image, blood magick is one of the most taboo subjects in the Craft today. In the old days, blood was revered. It was powerful, life sustaining. Our ancestors believed the blood was the key to all illness, bleed someone and they’d get better, right? Did you know that doctors to this day still use leeches to purify a patient’s blood if other treatment is unavailable? There are also religious factions in India that blood let at least once a month as a devotion to their gods, and is thought to keep their blood pure. More than that, the ancients knew blood was passed from mother to child during pregnancy, that blood was the connection to our ancestors, and to our descendants as well. Hence the phrase “my flesh and blood” and the idea that “Witch blood” runs in families. Of course blood has been associated with Witches for thousands of years, but beginning in the Middle Ages more than ever before. In the Middle Ages the phrase “blooding a Witch” meant to take away here powers (The Witch Book). Also, Witches’ were thought to have signed their name in their own blood in the Devil’s black book, and feed their “familiar” blood through their “Witches’ mark”. Also Moon Blood (aka menstual blood) is regarded as even more powerful that pure blood depending on the source (usually feminine sources) and can be used by women in place of any drawn blood (aka pure blood) in any spell or ritual unless it specifically calls for the latter or the deity your working with prefers the latter. Blood is still a mystery to us, as it probably always will be. It’s no wonder that such a powerful and mysterious substance became so common place in religion. But in a world where human and animal sacrifices are banned (not that we really want to bring them back) and even simple blood letting is perceived as a cry for help by those too ignorant to ask, where does that leave us?
What is Blood Magick?
“Blood magick is the act of using blood as a tool when making a protection amulet, performing a ritual, casting a spell, binding, hexing or cursing,” (Every Magickal Day). Blood magick also involves the use of blood in offerings or in using self harm to raise energy in ritual.
In Gardnerian Wicca, ritual scourging was used to raise energy during circle. “According to the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, the Scourge is used ‘to bring blood to the surface of the skin,” (The Witch Book). Also, according to Buckland, “… a drop of blood can serve as a 'witness’ for magical work; it represents the person from whom it comes and, therefore, anything done to it will affect that person. It may be worked into a wax poppet or smeared onto a piece of paper. In Wicca, this may be used to work healing magic at a distance, when the actual person cannot be present.”
Blood is obviously powerful in healing rites as it can (as stated above) be added to a poppet and be used in place of the person, much in the same way a lock of hair or finger nail can be used, but much much more powerful in the way it links the magick to the person whose blood it it. Blood is also very powerful when used in protective magicks. It not only helps strengthen the spell by linking it to the Witch, but it helps target them for the protection. A great example is the Witches’ Bottle.
Basic instructions for the Witches’ Bottle are this: take a small glass jar and fill it with sharp pointy objects such as nail, broken glass, needles, pins, etc, then fill the jar with your urine. You then take your (very personal jar) and bury it in your yard below the “frost line” so that it won’t break or be disturbed because the magick only works as long as the jar remains sound and in the yard. Female Witches are advised to add menstrual blood to the mix if menstruating, but everyone else can just use a drop of blood obtained by pricking a finger.
Before we get to any other examples, I just want to include these warnings that are so wonderfully worded by the sisters at Every Magickal Day:
Magickal Uses for Blood
Every kid I know did the whole “Blood Sisters/Brothers” thing when they were young. It was common knowledge that by pricking your fingers with a needle and pushing the two wounds together your blood would flow together making you siblings with a bond even closer than that of your natural born siblings (No, for real mom! This is a good thing! Yes, I’ll put on a bandage). All joking aside, this is a wonderful example of folk magick that is still common knowledge, and an even better example of non-scary blood magick. Okay, it can be scary if you remember that tricky little thing called HIV. But no little kid thought of that pre-2000s. And I was a 90s kid. This Blood Brothers/Sisters ceremony is honestly legitimate magick. If you don’t believe me, ask my blood sister! Every Magickal Day has a wonderful post about this listed in the resource list under “Every Magickal Day - Blood Binding”.
I’ve also used blood to bind together covens. My first coven devised a ritual called “The Coven Binding of the Pentagram” in which a pentagram was carved from clay and allowed to dry. The members of the coven then had two options: if they were each affiliated with an element, then they would prick their finger and draw the blood over the line corresponding to their element, and the leader over the entire pentagram to bind them together, or if they hadn’t been affiliated to an element, they could all draw their blood across the entire pentagram. Of course we wrote it so that saliva could be used in place of blood as well, though it loses some of the aesthetic of the rite. And it was ended by saying the incantation personalized for the group. But let me tell you this: My coven was a group of very intelligent, very mature, yet incredibly naive teenagers. We were into experimenting with any time of magick we could get our hands on. This was one of the experiments. And boy did it work exactly as we hoped it would! As soon as it was performed, it was like we were all connected. We could FEEL each other, even when we’d all gone home. And if someone hadn’t showed up to weekly circle, or hadn’t hung out with us in awhile, they come up sick and just got sicker the longer they were away. No one missed circle after the first time. And we were proud of the results we’d got. Proud of the power. And then it backfired. One girl moved away. My own blood sister was forced into a grounding that seemed like it would last a lifetime, and then not allowed to see me (or her mother) for sometime, as her very conservative Christian grandmother (whom she was living with at the time) wanted her to stay away from all Witches. Her mother is a Witch and the one that helped her find the path in the first place. The others started having trouble getting their families to leave our circle day open and free of events for them, and soon we were all very sick. My blood sister and I made an executive decision. Through secret notes passed through the fence in our back yards, we decided that we had to break the bond. But how? Neither of us cared we just had to do it. So I went back and looked over the original rite, which had focused on the pentagram itself and it being imbued with power. And then it hit me. Break it. Bury it. De-enchant it! The unbinding ritual was thus: break the pentacle along each line of the pentagram. Say the incantation. Then bury in the ground and allow it to break down and return to the earth. Within a week we were all back to our wonderful healthy selves. Don’t let that story scare you. It’s not that blood magick is dangerous. It’s just powerful. My current coven never did this ritual, why? because when we formed it we had no idea how it would mesh! The coven includes several members from the original, and we remember that sometimes outside forces interfere even with the best of intentions. And we don’t meet regularly. Would I consider using if I was “leading” a coven that was very dedicated and met regularly and everything? Yes. In a heart beat. And I’d also create a ritual for if a single person needed to leave the bond, and another practical rite for if someone comes into the coven after the initial binding. It’s a good ritual. It’s powerful. But it’s not for the light hearted. It’s not for naive kids who had little to no control over their own lives. But it was the most amazing learning experience.
In a post on Every Magickal Day, Storybook shares this personal ritual:
“Once a month I perform a simple blood ritual. There are no circles, no incantations, no candles or frolicking about in the dark of night. I catch the menses blood in my ecofriendly washable pad. I wash the pad in cold water before tossing it in the laundry. Then I take the nutrient rich blood-water outside and give it to my rose. It works like fertilizer. The miniature blooms get bright red blood-spots on them and the coral of their petals practically glows. When the rose is dormant my houseplants split the nutritive drink and get some of the vitamins they are missing. It is a ritual because I do it over and over again. That’s what a ritual is, something you repeat over and over again.”
In my own personal experience, I have often used blood as an offering. Not so unlike the way Storybook does. Except that I use drawn blood, and I’m offering it to deity. My preferred methods are either dripping a few droplets of blood from a pricked finger into a flame (my patron goddess is Sekhmet and associated with fire) or by dripping it into a bowl of water which I can then take outside and leave overnight.
My most newest and most recent experiences with blood magick is combining it with sex magick. Sorry, not expanding on that one. Just going to go blush like a 12 year old girl who just heard the word penis… . Actually, I’ll probably use it as an opener into a post on sex magick later into the project!
Tips and Tricks for Blood Magick:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.