Disposing of Spellwork Leftovers
Every witch tends to do things his or her own way, and the matter of what to do with remnants and leftover bits from spellwork is just as varied as anything else can be. Like many questions along the Pagan Path, there is no one ‘right’ way to do things.
Something I’ve seen come up recently is, ‘what do you do with leftover remnants of spellwork?’
By this, I assume that people are talking about things like the bottle filled with herbs, sachets or paper or even ashes or spent candles – whatever is ‘left’ when your spellwork is completed.
I don’t generally have to deal with this issue since I prefer to burn everything. I primarily work with herbs and papers and stones, which can be cleansed (usually), I burn everything in the spell-casting process. I prefer that, as there’s never anything but ash to dispose of, but I have done other spellwork that leaves bits behind. I keep ashes in my cauldron until it’s full-ish, then I either scatter them on the wind or bury them. I have brought them to the creek in the past, but I don’t anymore; I don’t like putting things into the water that shouldn’t be there.
What do with the remnants varies, in my opinion, greatly upon what the spell was for, what the remnants are and how the spell was used. Sometimes, I’ve kept the remnants as an inactive reminder or keepsake. I have several witch’s ladders that have become bookmarks, dollies that have become Sabbat decorations, and other bits and pieces here and there that just go into a jar on my altar or in my cabinet. Before I put the keepsake away, I either smudge or salt it – something to ground any leftover energy in the object, just to make sure it’s ‘done’ and safe to handle.
There are some things that I don’t keep, like Witch Ball remnants. If one breaks, it gets removed as in-tact as possible, and taken to be buried off my property or into the big trash bin outside to be taken away. I believe that protection magick remains in-tact until it’s spent; I don’t want whatever is tangled up inside it to be released near me, so I don’t and wouldn’t keep those.
Sometimes, the spell, itself, calls for the destruction of the tangible part of it. Poppets come to mind; I don’t often do poppet magick but depending on what the spell was used for, it might get burned or buried during the casting process. Most of the spellwork I do uses simple supplies that are used up in the casting process, but occasionally, I find that it suits me to do something more elaborate, at which point disposal becomes an important part of planning the work. I don’t want something lingering that could contaminate other work or energies.
Other ways to destroy remnants, aside from burning, throwing into the bin, or buried, include disposing of the remnants in water, preferably a flowing steam or river. The ocean can also be used, but I would worry about either discovery or contamination for either of those methods. Depending on what you’ve created for the working, simply dismantling the spell may work, but do consider carefully and completely cleansing everything that went into it before using it again. Spells involving something you may not want to dispose of, like tarot cards, come to mind.
How do you dispose of spell remnants?