I didn’t mean to do it.
At the time, I was trying to help a friend. Her soon-to-be ex-husband was dragging his feet on divorce proceedings, harassing her, running through a smattering of abusive ex classics. Mind, when I say this man was abusive, I mean it. The things I heard about what he did to his spouse still make me want to take a hammer and smash his car windows. So, a four-person friend group did what anyone who’s seen The Craft might. We got together to cast a spell to banish that man.
I wrote the thing. I can’t quite remember what I said, but I followed the usual rules of intention setting. It was in the present tense. It was specific, but not too specific. We definitely burned Frankincense and I carved runes into a candle and we held hands and chanted the spell in a circle as one should. It was a waning moon in early February.
No more than three days after this ritual, my ex husband walked out on me.
At the time of the casting of the spell, I was convinced I was happily married. It was a queer marriage, after all, two bisexuals, at least one of whom (and I wasn’t counting myself at the time) had a gender nonconforming past. We were both creative, loved horror, and adored our dog. I was in denial about how much things had soured between us, how unhappy I’d grown.
Now, one of the things about witchcraft, is that it can have a sort of “blast zone” right? If you perform a spell so that truth be brought to light, you better be prepared for your truth to come out, too. If you do a ritual asking for justice, you’d better get your house in order first. And if you’ve ever dealt with a leak in a house or an apartment, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that I feel like magic moves like water. Specifically it moves like water flowing through a leak. It’s going to move in whichever is the easiest way for the water, which has its own internal logic that might not necessarily make sense to you. It’s going to find the cracks or wind its way under a loose shingle or come dripping down the wiring to your light fixture. Magic moves in ways that it thinks are easiest. It will zig when you expect it to zag. There were cracks in my marriage, and I believe to this day that the spell got in there and blew it apart. It was for the better, though, to be perfectly clear.
So! What might you want to do if you’re trying to banish your husband? (Please don’t attempt to non-consensually banish your crush’s husband — but also, I guess I can’t stop you.)
Banishment Bullet Points:
- Write out your desired outcome. Don’t dictate exactly how the magic should do its work, and also, keep it realistic and keep it in the present tense! Think: “NAME is my ex-husband. NAME is out of my life. NAME leaves me in peace. I am happy and safe” instead of “NAME is my ex-husband. He is out of my life and living in another state. He never ever calls me for anything. I never have to hear his name and NAME gave me the house at no cost.” If you’re banishing someone, just let them go, don’t say where or how they get out. It’s also probably not realistic to expect you’ll never need to get in touch ever again. You might need a document or something. And I wouldn’t throw other requests in there. If you need a separate spell to help you out with divorce negotiations, do that.
- You’ll need a piece of paper and a pen (preferably one that writes nice and smooth) for the above. If you want to burn the paper, you’ll need a fire-safe tray for that.
Choose a full or waning moon. These are for releasing what no longer serves us.
- Burn Frankincense. It’s great for cleansing negative energy, like that of your soon-to-be-ex husband!
- Involve friends. The way that they’re all rightfully angry on your behalf will fuel the spell.
Black candles are where it’s at for banishing energy.
Steps for a Banishing Your Soon-To-Be Ex-Husband Spell:
- Set a date for the gathering and start getting your supplies together.
- Plan out what your intentions will be ahead of time, how you will specifically write your spell. You can also include a specific time frame if that’s important to you. Example: “NAME is my ex-husband. We separated in February of 2024.”
- Assemble your friends or just yourself.
- When you’re ready, center yourself by taking several deep breaths and visualizing the outcome of your spell.
- If you do any kind of opening rituals or circle casting, now is the time.
- If you want to ask any spirits or deities you work with for help, ask them now.
- Light the incense.
- Write down your intentions on a piece of paper.
- Light the candle.
- Chant it out loud, steadily, nine times. Start at a slow pace with a low voice and finish at a fast pace with a loud voice and lots of energy.
- Set the paper on fire with the candle and let it burn to ash in the tray.
- Say something to the effect of “It is done” that feels right to you.
- Thank any spirits or deities you invoked, release them for now.
- Open your circle or engage in any closing rituals.
- Let the candle and incense burn out ideally right where you have them but if that’s not a safe surface, please do move them to a safe surface. It’s fine. Fire safety first!
- Celebrate with friends, ask for a divorce, pack a bag in the middle of the night and move across the country — this is just the beginning for you and the rest of your life!
Divorce Week is a celebration of taking a life-changing step, of coming out the other side of devastating trauma and being all the better for it. It’s co-edited and curated by Nico Hall and Carmen Phillips. Remember, you may be divorced, but you’re not alone.