Since we are moving into the dark half of the year and we are also within the waning moon's energy, I thought I'd share a bit about ways to or forms of banishing.
There are probably an infinite number of ways and reasons to banish. It would be impossible to include everything in a blog, but I thought I'd throw a few out there for you to ponder. Sometimes you just don't think about things a certain way until someone else reveals how they've been using or doing it! Just about any flavor of magic can incorporate banishing. It truly is a versatile aspect in a witch’s toolbox. If you want something gone, or want to create change (and let’s face it, most magic is to create change of some sort), then banishing is likely to figure into it somewhere.
What follows are a sampling of places where you find banishing in common kinds of workings, and circumstances where it can be helpful to specifically bring out banishing as a magical tool of choice. There is no particular order to those listed.
Ritual or Circle Casting
Almost all ritual structures, and especially circle casting, include a banishing component. This is usually one of the first things which is done, to prepare the area by removing all detrimental energies which could interfere with the work. It is also common to include a banishing at the end, to remove any residual energy from the work and return the area back to its normal state.
Protection and Warding
Banishing and warding tend to go hand-in-hand, because if you want to ward against something, that means you do not want it to be present. Put another way, if you ward and it shows up anyway, you want it to go away, or be banished. Also, banishing people or things that cause harm can be very helpful as a component in other forms of protective magic. Keep in mind that wards and protection magic need to be recharged and refreshed regularly in order to remain effective.
Some people and traditions see banishing and cleansing as two separate and distinct activities. I see cleansing as a subset of banishing, because cleansing is a specialized, energy-focused form of “making something go away”. Usually cleansing focuses on washing away intrusive or unwanted energies, but sometimes the goal is to make the object or space an energetically sterile clean slate in preparation for conducting further work.
Banishing all old and residual energy is typically the first step before consecration, to ensure the object or place being consecrated is clean and ready for its new purpose.
Banishing illness, symptoms, or injury is one potential approach to bolster healing magic. No, it will not cure everything, but it can help with symptom management and increase the efficacy of medical treatment.
Some forms of manifestation simultaneously require a loss. For example, if you want financial prosperity, you can approach it as banishing poverty. Often the banishment and the manifestation can be explicitly worked into the same spell at the same time, to magically work the problem from multiple angles.
Social justice is needed in situations where inequities exist. You can approach social justice work as banishing the systems or behaviors which create those inequities, be it unjust laws, police brutality, bigotry, racism, other forms of prejudice and discrimination, or a different issue altogether.
Using banishing to aid in shadow work is simple in principle, but it takes a lot of work and dedication. You cannot simply banish your problems without dealing with them. That never works.
If you are committed to dealing with the problematic aspects of your shadow, you can use banishing magic to bolster efforts at dealing with past traumas, low self-esteem, self-destructive behaviors, etc. If you no longer want a habit you have, you can banish it. If you want to stop being self-depreciating, you can banish it. Just take it slow, one thing at a time, and go into it with the understanding that the magic will help bring it to the surface so you can deal with it, heal it, and let it go. The magic will not make it go away instantly.
When baneful magic is conducted ethically, it is almost always in response to someone else’s bad behavior. It is usually worthwhile to incorporate an aspect of banishing the bad behavior, or banishing the toxic person.
Spring cleaning is a form of banishment, where you clear out the old to make way for the new. Most seasons or holidays have some form of cleansing or shift to mark the change from what was to what will be.
Waning and New Moon
The waning energies of the moon are all about letting things go, and are perfect for focusing on banishing. The New Moon is the height of banishing energy in the moon cycle.
Banishing can be incorporated into spellwork to keep your garden low on harmful pests, invasive plants, or the neighbor’s dog that keeps digging up your yard. It can also be used to help with spells to prevent problems from heat, cold, over or under watering, etc.
Simplifying and De-Cluttering
When things get too complicated or overwhelming, it can be very helpful to pull back and simplify things. Minor or temporary banishments can help to de-clutter things on emotional, mental, metaphysical, and physical levels, allowing you to remove the things that can wait or are not as important, and allow you to focus on the things that matter most.
Energetic Self Maintenance
No matter how careful we are about shielding and warding, when we interact with the world we inevitably pick up and internalize outside energies. Banishing is a fantastic tool for keeping your energy body clear of detrimental energies which are not actually your own.
Boundaries and Self-Respect
Setting boundaries is a way to respect yourself, by recognizing that certain things, behaviors, and people are either not acceptable to you or actively harmful to you. Exactly what those boundaries are will vary dramatically from person to person and situation to situation. Understanding your personal boundaries is essential for personal wellbeing and overall health.
Banishing comes in by providing an avenue to keep your space clear of those harmful things, and especially for kicking them to the curb when boundaries are inevitably violated.
Curating Social Media
Banishing can be very helpful when you want to get rid of those trolls and toxic people.
Removing Abusers and Toxic People
All abusers are toxic, but not all toxic people are abusers. A lot of people are toxic due to unaddressed personal issues which make them difficult to be around. Sometimes people are toxic with some people, but fine with other people. Also, abusers are usually just as good at grooming allies as victims, so keep that in mind before dismissing someone who claims to have been abused by someone who has always been nice to you.
In either case, having abusive or toxic people in your life is never fun, and rarely worthwhile. Banishing can be a fantastic tool for helping to permanently remove such individuals from your life.
Banishing can be a helpful component in spells to help your pets stop engaging in unwanted behavior, be it barking, peeing on the floor, waking you up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, or something else entirely. Do remember to also do mundane work, like taking your dog for walks (if your dog is indoors for ten hours straight, of course they are going to pee on the floor), keeping the litter box clean, training, etc.
Creating a Successful Event or Gathering
If you are doing spellwork to help ensure a successful event or gathering, it can be helpful to banish and ward against things you definitely do not want to happen. At the top of my list would be things like exclusionary or elitist behavior, racism, bigotry, ageism, transphobia, antisemitism, ableism, xenophobia, bullying, theft, charlatans and con artists, white supremacists, abusers, rapists, and pedophiles.
Looking for a New Home
If there are deal-breakers for you with a prospective new home, it is reasonable to banish and ward against those things. This will help you to avoid wasting time looking at places which you would find unacceptable or intolerable. Banishings can also sometimes be helpful if you want horrible neighbors to move away from you, but be sure to ward as well to help prevent different horrible neighbors from moving in after they leave.
Creating a Peaceful Environment
Instead of focusing on banishing people, you can instead banish behaviors or circumstances. If you have a mostly OK neighbor who just makes too much noise at the most inconsiderate times, you can foster peace by banishing the noise at those inconsiderate times. You are just as deserving of having a comfortable existence as anyone else, so it might be worth a shot.
Another similar situation would be when you frequently have to hear screaming matches between other people, something that is never healthy for anyone if it happens on the regular. If you can successfully banish it, it not only helps you, but it probably helps them as well.
Banishing sleeplessness, restlessness, nightmares, etc. can be a useful component in larger spells to help with quality and regularity of sleep.
If you are ready to do the work to overcome chemical dependence, banishing is a helpful magical tool to bolster those efforts. Exactly what you banish will depend upon your situation, what you are using, and why you are using it, so try to focus on banishing the aspects which are the hardest for you to let go of. That might mean banishing the cravings, access to the substance, or friends or situations which cause you to use again. Or, you might need to banish more ephemeral aspects, like mental loops, anxiety spirals, self-doubt, self-destructive thoughts or behaviors, or traumas or other issues that fall under shadow work.
The ideal focus might be something else entirely.
Ghosts and Unwanted Spirits
Most of the spirits, ghosts, and other noncorporeal entities which inhabit the earth with us are best left alone or treated with respect. They do their thing, we do our thing, and the world keeps on going on. If you do find yourself residing with a problematic ghost or spirit and negotiations are not working out, banishing can be helpful for curbing disruptive behaviors or occurrences, or for removing the entity entirely. Please be careful, though, as banishing in this kind of situation can be viewed as a hostile act, like kicking out a roommate who lived there first. The entity may take such attempts very poorly, and it can potentially escalate the situation if you are unsuccessful.
Echoes and Residual Memories
Very often, the things that seem to be spirits or ghosts are actually echoes of past events, or residual energetic memories. If there is no actual consciousness or awareness, then you can stop them by banishing the energies or echoes which are the source of the events.
Be Wary of Banishing too Much, too Thoroughly, and too Often
It can be incredibly freeing to banish things from your life, especial things that are actively harmful to us or prevent us from being happy. However, it is possible to banish too much or too often, especially if it is a component of toxic positivity.
I have known people who advocated for aggressive cord cutting each and every day, to the point that they would energetically cut every connection they had without first considering what they were connected to and why. Over time they sacrificed not only their connections to harmful things, but also to things in their life that had value. They literally started severing their concern and care for others, thinking it was another harmful “cord” to be cut, draining off their personal energy like a vampire. Eventually they turned themselves into islands focused solely on themselves, and in losing all deep connections to anyone else they also lost compassion for others.
There is a balance between too much and too little. Too much, and you can isolate yourself. Too little, and your lack of boundaries will result in being overrun or overwhelmed with unnecessary and harmful things.
Banishing too much can also be a path of avoidance. Lots of things in life are uncomfortable, difficult, or painful, and not all of those things are bad. In fact, some of the most worthwhile things in life are simultaneously uncomfortable, difficult, and painful. That is why it is so important to critically evaluate what you want to banish, and why you are doing it. If you do so with completely honesty, you will be in a much better position to confidently proceed with the decision to banish, or to make peace with things as they are.