Practicing Witchcraft: What You Should Know About Blood Magic
‘Blood magic’. conjures up all kinds of gothic images, doesn’t it? The very word ‘blood’ is a real attention-grabber. Combine it with words like ‘magic’, ‘ritual’, ‘spell’ or ‘rite’, and usually thoughts fly to human sacrifices on a stone altar dripping with dark red and other images that look like something straight out of a horror movie.
As usual, the fiction is much darker and more stirring than the reality of it. Yes, blood can be dangerous— both magically and mundanely. But fire can also be dangerous, no one would think to tell you not to use it to cook your meals. You just have to learn how to use it safely and properly.
The truth is, blood magic can be quite potent if you’re inclined to do it, and if you know what you’re doing. It should not be undertaken lightly, or carelessly; but it doesn’t deserve the ‘taboo’ stamp that many are quick to give it.
Using Blood in Magic and Spells
The Power of Blood
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that blood is a powerful thing. This is something that is so embedded in us that we all understand it. Fear and awe of blood goes way back to our earliest human ancestors. The sight of that bright red fluid -- whether it was coming from an enemy or friend, your prey or yourself – got immediate attention. Blood is associated with such powerful concepts that some people can’t stand the sight of it, and might faint away if presented with too much. Hemophobia is the fear of blood.
Blood is associated with death: the slain warriors on the field, the victim of violence, the hunter’s prey all lay bloody in their final state. Blood is also associated with life: it’s part of the cycle of fertility that perpetuates life. If you lost too much blood, you would grow weak and die. If your blood is tainted, you will wither.
Blood is associated with pain: you see it when you stumble and fall, have an accident, or fight. Blood is also associated with passion: when you love doing something, when you are good at it, it’s ‘in your blood’. Someone you love, particularly family members, are your ‘blood’. Blood connects you to things, or others. Even if you don’t know someone, you can empathize with them, your ‘heart bleeds for them’. Blood is passion, it’s connection, it’s raw emotion.
Blood is life. It courses through your body delivering oxygen and nutrients to every part of you. Blood is energy—when you push yourself, your heart pounds and your pulse races as your blood flows even faster. A woman bleeds during her menstrual cycle, she bleeds when her hymen breaks, there’s blood at childbirth. If you donate blood you might be saving someone’s life.
Whatever little microscopic bits are floating around in there contain the very essence for all that you are. A scientists can (illegally) clone you if they had just a drop of your blood. Your blood contains your DNA—a blueprint not just for you, but your complete ancestral line.
Something that contains this much power is naturally powerful in magic. Perhaps some would say it’s too powerful.
Blood Magic is Not Blood Sacrifice
Blood Magic: No Harm Necessary
Blood magic is not magic that involves killing people or animals in ritual sacrifice. Let’s just make that clear. We’re not talking about laying some innocent creature out on an altar or in the center of a pentagram and killing it, or wounding it. This would be all kinds of wrong, not to mention illegal, and is not at all what I mean when I talk about blood magic.
Blood magic is the use of a few drops of blood during a spell or ritual—usually your own blood, but if you are casting for someone else you could use theirs (with caution and permission, of course). Those few drops can add power to a magical working in any number of ways.
What do you say?
Do you believe blood magic evil?
Is Blood Magic Evil?
The first thing you need to learn about blood magic is that it’s not inherently evil. Blood isn’t evil, is it? Does it make you ‘evil’ or desire to do malicious deeds just because it’s currently inside your body? If not, why do you think it would it become ‘evil’ outside of your body? Some people mistakenly think that using blood in magic is ‘dark’ or somehow only associated with malevolent intentions. This is simply not true.
The negative connotations stem back to that fear of blood I spoke about earlier: fear of our own mortality, fear of power, etc., are the kind of driving factors behind a fear of blood. Indeed, if you are hemophobic, you might want to avoid blood altogether. It’s not for everyone.
But I come from a more objective perspective. I see blood – like any object or component you would use in magic – as simply a tool. It’s a very powerful tool, but a tool nonetheless. It’s neither benevolent nor malevolent in its own right. You could use it for any number of purposes, though like any other tool it’s not advised to use it for unethical purposes.
Going back to the fire analogy—I could use fire to burn down my neighbor’s home when they piss me off. I have access to fire, which can be a very powerful destructive choice if I choose. So what stops me? The fact that I am an ethical person who has no interest in hurting others. Just because I don’t want to hurt someone with fire doesn’t mean I shouldn’t use it. By the same logic, I don’t want to hurt someone with blood magic; just because I don’t want to cause harm with it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t feel free to utilize this powerful tool.
A good implement to have for blood magic is the prickers that diabetics use to test their blood sugar.
A Little Goes a Long Way
Photo by Alden Chadwick
Practicing Safe Blood Magic
Before I begin discussing ways to use blood in magic, let’s discuss ways to use it safely. First, there are a few don’ts to keep in mind:
- Don’t ever take more than a few drops
- Don’t ever take blood from an unwilling participant (this includes animals because they cannot give consent)
- Do not smear your blood on people, let people smear blood on you, or try to exchange blood in any way; remember that many diseases can be transferred through blood
- Do not ever consume blood, either directly or by putting it into a drink; aside from the fact that you can catch diseases, blood itself is toxic to human beings. More than a couple of teaspoons can cause haemochromatosis and potentially do some serious organ damage.
- Don’t let others drink your blood, either directly raw or by putting it into food or drinks; this is essentially giving your power over to that person, and not in a good way.
The correct way to perform blood magic safely would be:
- Sanitize the area of skin with an alcohol pad or sanitizing gel.
- Sanitize a small poking implement, such as a pin.
- Poke only enough to break the skin.
- Squeeze out your few drops to collect for your use
- Clean the wound immediately and put some antibiotic ointment on it. If it’s still bleeding, put a bandage on it.
- Handle and dispose of anything that has been touched with blood with extreme caution until the end of your ritual or spell.
- Disinfect surfaces (of your skin and your work space), implements and any other tools after performing blood magic.
- Keep the wound clean as it heals.
If you are a woman and you prefer, you can use your menstrual blood rather than pricking yourself. You can catch menstrual blood easily with a diva cup if you need to temporarily preserve it for ritual—just don’t hang onto it very long, and all the same sanitary practices regarding care and clean-up also applies.
What's Your Experience?
What is your experience with blood magic?
When (and When Not) to Use Blood Magic
I can't tell you exactly when and where blood magic is your best option, but I can tell you my reasoning: I use it only in extreme need for the most important circumstances.
- I’ll use it for protection— not minor protection, such as if my co-worker is a nuisance I’m not going to use blood magic to keep her out way; but major protection, when there is a potential for serious life-changing threats (accident, crime, etc.)
- I’ll use it for health and wellness—not minor issues like sore throats or skinned knees, but big health issues like disease, injuries, surgery or breaking unhealthy addictions.
- I’ll use it for desperate needs—not minor things like saving money for a Disney trip, but big things like if I were on the verge of being homeless or starving I would use it to draw what I need to survive.
That’s about it. I have more rules about when to never use it:
- I never use blood magic unless I’m (or the person I’m doing it on behalf of is) fully prepared to accept whatever the consequences may be (which means thinking them through very carefully).
- I never use it to target other people without their permission (unless, of course, it’s deadly necessary for protection; I had no issue banishing a violent family member who refused to leave my mother’s home and threatened my life with a gun)
- I never use it in love or relationship magic; bonds between people need to be naturally developed, not forced. Blood magic turns a potential bond into a chain: emotional slavery.
- I never use it to gain power; if you can’t earn it naturally, you don’t deserve it and probably won’t know how to wield it.
- I never use it to bring harm to anyone or anything.
- I never use it for vengeance or retaliation
Spell Casting with Blood
Using Blood in Magic
Now that you know the correct way to safely use blood in magic, let’s talk about how you might put it to use. There are countless ways, actually, limited only by your imagination. But here are a few ideas to get you started.
- In candle magic, mix blood drops with oil to dress and charge your candle.
- Use a small drop or two to anoint and charge any talisman or amulet.
- In jar or container magic, add a few drops of blood to the container.
- In petition magic, smear some blood on the paper the petition is written on.
- Place a drop of blood in a mojo bag before tying it up.
Alternatives to Blood
Though not entirely as powerful as blood, there are other things you can use to personalize a spell and lend it a boost: urine, saliva, semen, nail and hair clippings, for example. These are all effective options that will lend power to minor workings, or workings when blood magic wouldn't be appropriate or advised.
When you're first learning magic, it's advised that you work with these first before graduating on to blood. Take some time, experiment with these things. You'll begin to get a sense of how much putting 'part of yourself' into a spell affects your magic.
Once again, nothing is inherently good or bad—it all depends on how you choose to utilize it. So practice ‘safe magic’ and you'll be okay.