Proper Goodbyes

Week 13 (G): on how to say goodbye to things that no longer serve you (or, a banishing ritual for bad habits, old loves, fears, and other things you wish to be rid of)

I think writing your own rituals is an excellent practice. But I also think that it can be very valuable to find inspiration in the rituals of others. Below is a ritual I wrote in 2012 for Samhain, at a time when I felt that I was being weighed down by collected negativity. I wanted to get rid of bad habits, memories of old lovers, and all the other things that were making me unhappy. I hope this ritual gives you some inspiration for your own. And, if this one resonates with you, please use it. I only ask that you credit me with its creation, modifying as you desire (per my Creative Commons license for all the contents of this blog).


Light a black candle and call upon Hecate, the crone of the crossroads. She is the keeper of wisdom and this is an excellent sabbat to be seeking it. This is a ritual for saying goodbye, either to people or animals who have gone in search of Summerland, or to old patterns that no longer serve you as well as they once did.

You will need

  • a cauldron
  • a knife or scissors
  • red or black yarn
  • pen and paper
  • one white candle and one black
  • salt and water

Set separate bowls of salt and water on either side of the black candle, with the white candle behind.

On each piece of paper, write a name of someone you wish to be free from, an old habit you wish to be rid of, and the like. Set each piece of paper aside, face down on the ground. As you place turn the papers over, visualize Hecate’s black cloak blotting them out of your life. These things are no longer bound to you. You are no longer bound to them. You are free. Focus on each and then let it disappear into the blackness of her cloak, taking as much time as you need.

When you are finished writing all the things you wish to be rid of, dip your fingertips into the salt and say:

I send my bitterness away
gone it be, by dawn of day.
I ask this salt to take it from me,
to let me heal, to set me free.

Dip your fingertips into the water and say:

I wash grief away with water clear.
I wash and cleanse myself of fear.
And as I wash, I gain new power.
I am reborn, this very hour.

Draw a pentagram on your body, anointing yourself with water at the shoulders, nipples, and third eye in the shape of a pentagram. (I usually use my right hand and start at the left shoulder, moving to the right nipple, third eye, left nipple and right shoulder, then back to the left shoulder to complete the star shape.)

Crumple the paper into tiny balls and drop them in the cauldron, trying not to dwell on any of the things you wrote down. Say:

There once was love where now is grief
with this spell grant me relief
from all your power over me.
This life is mine – I set me free!

Take the yarn (which should be made of natural fibers like cotton, silk, or wool so that it will burn, rather than melt) and cut several nine inch pieces: one length of yarn for each piece of paper. Knot the yarn pieces end to end to form a loop.

Put the yarn around your wrist (depending on how many things you are banishing, you may need to wrap the yarn around your wrist several times so it won’t fall off) and say:

I have carried you all long and far.
Your burden has been my teacher;
I accept your lessons. Now,
it is time I release you. Your presence
no longer serves me.

Use the knife or a pair of scissors to saw through the strands. While you cut away your symbolic bonds, visualize your separation from these problems. When you have cut through all the strands, throw the yarn in the cauldron atop the paper balls.

Drop matches into the cauldron until the paper and yarn catch fire. As they burn, watch the flames and say:

Go back to Hecate, the dark mother,
I call the battle over and won.
Give not these burdens to another
as they dissolve in flames of transformation.
These hardships change in this fire
Hecate, I call upon your might
and though at times, the battle seemed dire
I shall now again find the light.

Blow the ashes into the wind or scatter them in a graveyard. Ideally, leave the cauldron outside overnight, to let your fears dissipate fully.

Smudge your house with sage or your choice of incense. Leave nine cloves as an offering of thanks to Hecate. Eat an apple in her honor, cutting the apple so the pentagram shows. Blow out both candles with a final thanks.

(adapted from rituals in Everyday Magic by Dorothy Morrison and The Wiccan Year by Judy Ann Nock)

Any time you are feeling vulnerable, or feeling like perhaps your burdens are beginning to get the better of you, repeat the following and concentrate on breaking the bonds of fear again. Visualize your fears burning again if it helps.

I am Kali’s black mouth
as She devours the world.
I am Hecate’s dark cloak
as She guards the crossroads.

One response

  1. Love this!

    March 26, 2014 at 11:45 pm

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