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How to Dispose of Used Spell Components (Step-by-Step)

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

Often, after we’ve finished a spell, we find ourselves with candle ends and ashes, incense sticks and bits of herbs and maybe even some gross liquids.

The question of what to do with the stuff arises. How you dispose of used spell components will depend on the spell and the items themselves.  Some components are safe to release into nature and some are not.


Dispose of used spell components in witchcraft with intention and respect for their energy.

Natural materials can be buried, symbolizing the return of energy to the earth.

Burn components in a controlled fire ceremony or immerse them in water for emotional cleansing.

Biodegradable components can be composted, while non-biodegradable ones should be disposed of responsibly, considering recycling or repurposing.

Consult your tradition for specific guidance and ensure your chosen method aligns with local regulations and environmental concerns.

Plan Ahead for Disposal

During the planning phase of your spellwork, think about the ultimate destiny of your spell components. If your spell is meant to be buried or thrown into water, make sure that you are using safe, biodegradable materials. Choose candles made from tallow, soy, or beeswax versus paraffin or gel which are petroleum products. Choose natural fibers for any fabric you are using in the spell for poppets or mojo bags or whatever.

This way, when you dispose of these items, they will eventually decompose into the Earth and cause no harm. Sometimes, putting items in the regular garbage is the best option, but there are some spells that benefit from more specialized consideration.

Often a spell will tell you what to do with the components when you are done. If it doesn’t, or if you are writing your own spell, then you can use these guidelines:

For Drawing Spells

If you are casting a spell meant to draw something toward you, your home, or your place of business, bury your spell components nearby, in the yard. They will continue to draw energy as the items biodegrade into the Earth. If you’re trying to draw energy toward someone else, it should be their yard.

Burying your items on the East or South side will utilize the sun’s energy to help grow something. The East is better for things like communication, bringing in new customers, etc. The South is best for things like love and creativity. If your spell is focused on creating a solid foundation or security, I would choose the North. 

If your spell is about deepening existing relationships, I might choose West.  You may decide to bury your spell components on the side of the house closest to where the target sleeps.  If there is no outdoor dirt to bury it in, a large potted plant may serve the purpose.

If burying is not an option, tucking your bundle of spell components in the crotch of a tree or hanging it from a branch might be a good option for you. When doing this, I like to make the item look decorative, to reduce the creep-out factor, but if you are cursing someone, the creepier the better.

If you have no yard, you may wish to bundle up your spell components and put them inside a wall or in the back corner of a closet that touches an outside wall or put it under the bed or inside the box spring of the target. In this case, you want to make sure that none of your spell components are easily biodegradable so the package doesn’t start to stink and attract vermin. Use dried herbs rather than fresh and no liquids.

For Sending and Banishing Spells

If your spell is designed to send energy out into the world, you can burn your items (again, choose items that are safe to burn) or send them out into the world by tossing them into moving water, like a river or a storm drain (please make sure they are safe for the local wildlife).

This also works for banishing spells. As does flushing the items down the toilet (assuming they won’t back up your system) or down a drain or putting then in the regular garbage so the garbage truck carry them away and bury them in the landfill.

For binding spells, I like to tuck the bundle under a large rock or paving stone.

For Cleansing Spells

Many cleansing spells involve absorbing negative energy into an item that you then discard. Traditionally, this is done by leaving the item at a crossroads or burying it at the base of a tree. In the case of an egg cleansing, for example, the egg may be smashed at the base of a tree to neutralize the energy or in a crossroads to send it far away.

In the case of cleansing washes, the water used can be sent down the drain while visualizing the negative energy washing away. You can also flush it down the toilet. Make sure any bits of herbs have been strained out and never send oils down the drain.

Depending on your septic situation, you may need to make special considerations with salt and products that may disturb its natural digestive cycles. Floor washes may be sent down the drain or tossed out the door with conviction.

Spell Waste

Waste, like ashes and old herbs should be returned to the Earth. The compost will do this for you just fine. Candle ends made of natural materials will eventually break down if you bury them, but there is no reason not to throw them in the regular garbage and it’s probably safer for wildlife. Paper, glass and most metals can be added to the recycling bin.

ComponentEco-Friendly Disposal Method
Biodegradable HerbsCompost or bury in the garden
Natural MaterialsReturn to nature, scatter in a natural area
Non-toxic SubstancesDispose of in regular household waste
Recyclable ObjectsRecycle according to local recycling guidelines
Table 1: Environmental Considerations for Disposal

Reusing Spell Items

Some non-disposable items can be re-used with a good cleansing. Use your judgment on this. Sometimes it feels too weird to reuse something. If it feels uncomfortable, don’t do it. The advice for candles is generally not to reuse them or to make sure you use them for a similar purpose because of the sheer amount of magical energy they absorb and retain.

Things like jars, crystals, fabric items, and tools can be carefully cleaned in the appropriate mundane manner, and then cleansed using smoke, salt, or whatever means is most appropriate to the item.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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