Ending and disposing of spells
A lot of us work spells on occasion (or more often). But usually any instructions found in books or online just say ‘dispose of the remnants once done’ or sometimes not even that.
How do you know when a spell is finished and has worked its magic? There is no straightforward answer but here are some options.
When does it end?
I always encourage people to trust your intuition. You will know when the spell is done. You will get that feeling in your gut and just know that it is time to dismantle it or snuff the candle out.
It could also be when working with candle magic that the spell finishes when the candle burns itself out.
It might be that you have worked it on a particular moon phase, it may be that the spell will be finished when that phase is over.
And of course, the end of a spell could be when your goal is reached. When the money comes in or the healing has worked, and the person is feeling better.
Some spells run out of steam before they have come to fruition, on this occasion your spell will need a boost. Try adding a dash of essential oil, a sprinkle of herbs or give it a shake if it is a witch bottle or spell pouch.
The ending will be different for each spell.
Trust your intuition.
When you come to dispose of the spell remnants, which might just be a small candle stub or a few herbs right up to a whole poppet or witch bottle, there are a few options.
Note: If you have worked a spell that has the potential to go ‘off the rails’ such as a love spell, I would advise keeping the remnants (along with a list of exactly what you did and used) just in case you need to reverse it – see my blog post https://www.patheos.com/blogs/beneaththemoon/2020/07/undoing-or-reversing-spells/
If I have used crystals in a spell, I cleanse them and put them away for use again. They are easy to clear with incense smoke, water or salt (depending on the type of crystal) https://www.patheos.com/blogs/beneaththemoon/2020/03/crystal-magic-choosing-and-cleansing-your-crystals/ some crystals are expensive so I don’t want to be throwing them away after each spell!
An odd bit of melted candle stub gets thrown in the trash.
Spell leftovers can be buried in the garden, at crossroads or in the woods. I only do this if all the items are biodegradable and don’t contain lots of salt (it’s bad for the soil).
Throw the items into running water such as a river or the sea. Again, please only do this if the items are not going to damage the environment or the wildlife.
A clearing out, removing or releasing spell can be flushed down the toilet. Just make sure the items will not harm any wildlife or the water source that it will eventually end up in.
If your remnants are just herbs and spices these can be popped into the compost bin if you have one. I often sprinkle them straight onto the garden, particularly ash from the cauldron as some specific plants like this added to the soil. Remember if you sprinkle items onto the soil that contain seeds they may grow!
Porridge oats, cooked rice or bird seed can be left out in the garden for the birds to feed on. Please make sure they don’t contain any other items that will cause harm to the birds.
With spell mandalas where I have used plant material, spices and herbs I often tip it all into a jar and label it with the intent. Then I use the mixture at a later date as loose incense (in line with the intent of the original spell).
Burn it! One of my particular favourites as I do like a bit of fire. Herbs, spices, wood and paper can all easily be burnt in a flame proof container after the spell is done. I know I don’t need to say it, but don’t add anything to the flame that is going to produce toxic fumes.
Throw it to the wind! Ash and dried herbs can be thrown up into the air on a windy day. But do remember they will at some point come down and settle on the ground…or on you.
I personally don’t reuse half burnt candles. If I have set a specific intent for that candle in a spell, I throw the remains away as I think to reuse it in another spell can cause confusion. But trust your own way of working and intuition on this one.
Witch bottles I usually tip the contents out and dispose of them via the trash. Then I cleanse and reuse the jar/bottle.
Poppets I tend to create with an intent. For instance, I have one for prosperity and I write my need/want on a slip of paper and tie it to the poppet. When the spell is done, I burn the slip of paper and cleanse the poppet with incense to reuse it. Those little guys take time to make and I don’t want to keep remaking them! If you create one for a specific person or for a curse though, I would dispose of it afterwards in the trash or burning it (if the fabric is natural).
However, if I have worked something like a binding then I don’t want that magic on my property once it is done. Even if the items are biodegradable, I wouldn’t chuck them on my garden. You don’t want that energy anywhere near your house so that goes into the trash to be taken away.
Also remember that even once you throw the items in the trash they will end up in the earth, on landfill. Perhaps think about the materials you use within your spells. Try and keep as much of it as possible eco-friendly or reusable.
Ultimately trust your intuition for each spell.