Upcycling Spent Spell Ingredients
by Paige Curtin
You cast your spell… now what? We get this question allllll the time from witches of all walks of life. The remnants of a ritual can sometimes look like a pile of garbage, but you're allowed to re-use items from spell to spell as long as you’re intentional about it! It’s wasteful and expensive to replace a mason jar every time you make a container spell, but some folks worry that dismantling the spell undoes it, or that once a crystal has been dedicated to a purpose it can only ever do that. We don’t do that kind of limiting magic here, because we’re all about intention!
As long as your spell has come to its natural end and you’re cleaning that jar out physically and energetically, it can go on to live a nice long jar life. Let's dive into 6 ways to upcycle your spent spell ingredients!
1. Edible offerings
This is probably the number one question we see about spell leftovers. What do I do with the food I've left out for my offerings? The easy answer is: eat it! Traditionally hot food is the ideal offering because the steam is like a little spirit-version of the food being carried to the spirit realm. But once it’s cooled off and the offering has been made, you can and should eat it! Nourishing your body is a spell that pleases your spirit guides, ancestors especially. If your offering is for sure safe for your familiar to consume, you can and should share with them!
Water and other libations are my favorite offerings, partly because they dispose of themselves through evaporation, so you can really visualize the offering being accepted by the spirits you’re breaking bread with.
2. Money offerings
For me, this is actually a pretty important part of completing money or abundance spells that call for coins or cash. Once the money has been charged in ritual, it's especially powerful to then pop it in a tip jar or donation basket. Being generous with your wealth AND magic can go a long way towards inviting it back into your life.
3. Candle Butts
When a candle burns down too far to use but still has wax at the bottom I call it a “candle butt”, and candle butts are actually the easiest and most fun piece of a spell to repurpose! You can remove the wax by freezing or melting it and pulling out the wick. Then clean the jar off with a glass cleaner (like Gaze, which offers a dose of protection with its polishing power!) The possibilities from there are endless: you can re-decorate the jar to store your trinkets, use it as a vase for fresh flowers, or my favorite, make more candles!
It sounds intimidating but making candles at home is actually pretty easy! I like to use these wicks from Michael's and either soy wax or (if I have a lot of candle butts) I'll pour the leftover wax from a few jars into one with a fresh wick. I tend to buy the same scent over and over (it's The Furies, for the record!) so scent mixing isn't a problem in my haus, but you can intentionally layer differently perfumed wax for a "melt your own adventure" experience.
There are a lot of tutorials online for making candles, but I learned from CandleScience!
Some magical traditions actually advise witches to burn spell papers after they've been written or drawn on. So if you have a fire-safe something for burning, that makes that easy! The idea is similar to making offerings of hot food; alchemizing the item and its message into smoke sends it into the spirit realm where your guides can flex their power.
Once you've burned your paper, or herbs if that's part of your practice, you have something new and magical: ashes! And luckily there are lots of uses for ashes in magic. You can practice art magic by mixing the ashes with a tiny bit of water for a witchy fingerpaint, or mixing into salt to make a protective black salt. And speaking of salt...
Sometimes the act of disposal is part of the spell. I use salt in cleansing rituals, usually by spreading it across the floor and sweeping it up. But then what? It's not like you can use salt that's been on the floor for cooking, and it's certainly not gonna help your garden to throw it outside. But being such a powerful purifier, salt can be used a couple times as long as you charge it in between. Just collect it in a special container, take it outside where the sun or moon can get to it, and ask the universe to suck out the energetic muck. My rule of thumb is "three times max in a moon phase", and then it gets tossed. At that point, the act of throwing it away is part of the spell for clearing out stale energy.
And there you have it! You could create a whole 'nother spell just with repurposed components from the last one. A zero-waste witchcraft challenge!
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