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Banishing in Shamanism and Magic

    The root of origin of the word ban can be traced back to the germanic *banna- (m) = "Order, mobilization, prohibition, ban". In old-nordic bann (n) means "prohibition" and the verbum "to ban" can be traced back to the germanic *bann-a- "mobilize, govern, rule". Further meanings are: "speak solemnly", "enchant, conjure" (russian) and in greece "I say, claim, order".

    What is actually happening when a magician opens a ritual with a banishing, or banishes as a conclusion of a ritual? The banishing can be seen as a kind of border that is placed between the normal mundane reality and the magical reality of the ritual or shamanic work. As an introduction to a ritual the banishing cleans the magician from everyday's thoughts and concerns and focus the powers and attention on the ritual. The normal life is bein banished. At the end of a ritual the banishing draws the line at the other end and to ground and crystallize the magical forces evoked in the ritual itself in order to re-install the normal line of thoughts again. Banishing is grounding the magical will into our material reality - the spirits are released and the intention can manifest itself in reality. Unfortunately I can perceive again and again that this last reason of banishing is only partially realized.

    Banishing has its effects in the twilight, too. Usually a chaotic mix of various different energies and thoughts exists in daily life. A banishing initializes the energies and resets them. The temple is cleansed of energies and thoughts not belonging to the ritual and is prepared for its use. During a shamanic banishing the allies are already called in during the banishing. Thus the time and space of the ritual is energetically different to its more chaotic surroundings, enabling and making shamanic and magical works easier. The release at the end dissolves this initialized space again. If you have the luck of possessing a separate room for your sessions and rituals you face the problem of preventing unwanted energies and beings from entering it in your absence that require a deeper involvement into protective measurements, as they are a vital part of war-magic. To resolve this you should cooperate with your allies. Belief as technique and not as part of a dogma is a most important tool here, as well as in shamanhood and magic. wichtigste Werkzeug, wie überhaupt im Schamanentum oder der Magie.

    Some kinds of banishing are more focussed on controlling energies and beings or the embedding them in spatial and temporal borders. In many cultures it was (and still is) a basic technique to ban or bind spirits into material items. You are surely know the tale of the djin in the bottle, as told in Aladin. The banishing of a spirit into an item has its focus more on limiting and controlling the spirit, the binding of a spirit to a material item does not constrain the spirit as much as in a banishing and is usually based on a mutual agreement. It does not make sense to bind a spirit of disease. Because such a spirit is unhealthy and sometimes even wicked it is better to banish it into its own world. Allies of a shaman have to be banished or bound. On the other hand a banishing or binding of a poweranimal would not be a kind action.

    The banishing of an ally can be very dangerous and requires much power and knowledge from the one who is trying this. Allies that needed to be banned and controlled are already bound to the shaman but are still wild and out of control. The shamanic allies of the nepalesian shamans are very difficult to control and it takes hard work and a long time until the task is completed. Anyone used to possession-trance can confirm that spirits can act chaotic. The total release of control is an important part of possession-trance. I myself needed three years to control the ally that rides me during possession to teach it some german phrases. In the first time it used its own spirit-language that no one except I myself understood (during the possession, not afterwards).

    In our (neo)shamanic rituals we use different kinds of banishing rites. We burn incense like sage or juniper to cleanse or to banish. The aura is cleansed of dark and filthy energies. This action also banishes the common, daily life, when done before a shamanic ritual. Druming at the beginning of a shamanic session banishes, but also calls in the allies, helping-spirits and power-animals of the attendants. Here the russian roots of the word "evoking, calling" are more meaningful then banishing. Other rituals known to be used for banishing are the "Middle Pillar" or the "Rite of the Pentagram". Such rituals can also be used for evocations.

    The banishing of a being or a spirit out from a room or a client is also be known as exorcism or extraction, although it is a kind of banishing. The intruder is extracted from the aura, cut out, sliced into peaces or thrown into water. In other words the spirit is banished out from the aura into the water. The same can be done with rooms or geographical areas. The missing energies can be filled up with light or with retrieved soul-parts. It is remarkable at exorcisms of rooms that the spirits can be best driven off by a complete revision of the room itself. The intruders can be found in the roughcast. Removing the old roughcast and a subsequent plastering resolves the problem, most of the time.


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