‘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.
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 go 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. 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: 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.
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 diabetic lancet.
- 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 workspace), 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 apply.