Balance Point: Trump Binding Ethics

On Friday, February 24 2017 at midnight EST, witches across the globe joined together to cast a binding spell against President Trump and his cohorts. The spell was designed to keep the President from doing harm against himself and others.
The spell “was allegedly created by a member of a private magical order who wishes to remain anonymous.” It was made public on February 16 by author Michael M Hughes, who described himself as an “eclectic magician” (he stresses he is not a Wiccan). Within a few days the spell went viral being shared worldwide.

Trump binding poster
So, just what is a binding spell and is it ethical to cast one?

Bindings in the Ancient World
John Goodrich Gager, retired William H Danforth Professor of Religion at Princeton University, states in his definitive text “Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient World”:
“In the ancient Greco-Roman world, it was common practice to curse or bind an enemy or rival by writing an incantation on a tablet and dedicating it to a god or spirit. These curses or binding spells, commonly called defixiones were intended to bring other people under the power and control of those who commissioned them. More than a thousand such texts, written between the 5th Century B.C.E. and the 5th Century C.E., have been discovered from North Africa to England, and from Syria to Spain. Extending into every aspect of ancient life–athletic and theatrical competitions, judicial proceedings, love affairs, business rivalries, and the recovery of stolen property–they shed light on a new dimension of classical study previously inaccessible.”
The curses and binding spells used very extensively in ancient times most often took the form of thin lead (or lead alloy) sheets inscribed with a bronze stylus. From the first century CE onwards, they were normally prepared by professionals for a fee. Almost all of these were sealed by rolling, folding, and pierced by one or more nails. As Gager points out, the function of nails is “to fasten, to fix, to tie down, and thus to bind.”
Bindings have continued to be utilized by many magickal traditions over the centuries employing various other materials including candles and runes. They are still used in American folk magic.
On the Facebook page “Mass Spell to Bind Donald Trump Feb. 24th” it is stated:
“In this document, binding, which seeks to restrain someone from doing harm, is differentiated from cursing or hexing, which is meant to inflict harm on the target(s). It is understood, in this context, that binding does not generate the potential negative blowback from cursing/hexing/crossing, nor does it harm the caster’s karma.”
I can’t imagine the spell propagating virally if it actually meant to inflict physically harm.

The Ethics of Binding
In a binding spell, the caster effectively imposes their will upon a target, preventing the target from exercising their free will. So, while there not be any physical harm, there is a loss of free will on the part of the target.
According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
“’Free Will’ is a philosophical term of art for a particular sort of capacity of rational agents to choose a course of action from among various alternatives. Which sort is the free will sort is what all the fuss is about. (And what a fuss it has been: philosophers have debated this question for over two millennia, and just about every major philosopher has had something to say about it.) Most philosophers suppose that the concept of free will is very closely connected to the concept of moral responsibility. Acting with free will, on such views, is just to satisfy the metaphysical requirement on being responsible for one’s action.”
The expression of free will, however, is normally restricted somewhat by having to adhere to the laws of the land:
“When a person is born into a society/country, they are bound, without signing a paper contract, to abide by those laws and agree that those laws will govern them. If as they grow they do not wish to live by those laws, they must either lobby to change them, or move away to a society that allows the laws they want or pay the price if convicted of breaking the law.”
It is normally ethically wrong to interfere with someone’s exercise of their free will, particularly if they are not breaking the laws of the land. Clayton Morgareidge, Professor Emeritus of Lewis & Clark College states in “Imposing Values on Others”:
“Every individual has the right to decide independently how to live; no one has the right to tell anyone else what is right or wrong. To make moral judgments about the beliefs or actions of other people is to try to make them live by our values. It is to impose our morality on them. Therefore morality is only a personal choice, and there are no universal moral principles.
Many students of elementary ethics courses begin by thinking this way, and it is often the view they go away with. Yet the view seems quickly to refute itself by making its own universal moral claim: it’s wrong for anyone to impose a morality on others. Isn’t this an attempt to ‘impose’ upon everyone else the value of complete moral autonomy? Moreover, nearly everyone has felt moral resentment about something and has been moved to use words like ‘wrong’ or ‘unfair.’”
A wrong action, in this case imposing our will or values on others, normally results in a karmic backlash.
There are extreme examples, however, when we are morally bound to prevent the exercise of free will in another. Surely, if we learn of a regime engaged in mass atrocities, we are obliged to step in, even though this would prevent the exercise of the free will by the despot ruling the country concerned.
But at what point are we morally obliged to oppose injustice in a society? Should we be concerned when minorities lose their rights? Or do we wait for mass atrocities? Each of us have to draw a line in the sand as to what we consider acceptable, and the location of that line will vary from person to person.
If history has taught us one thing it’s that people tend to overlook injustices unless they’re personally effected. Similarly, warning signs tend to be overlooked. Hitler, for instance, wasn’t taken seriously by most Americans until it was too late. Please note that I am using an extreme example and not equating Trump to Hitler.
It’s quite appropriate to repeat a remark often attributed to Irish political philosopher, Edmund Burke (1729 – 1797):
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
So, from an ethical standpoint, the decision of engaging in a binding is a personal one.

What does the Binding Spell Involve?
The witches are instructed by ‘writer, speaker, and magical thinker’ Michael M. Hughes to cast their binding spell on every night of the waning crescent moon … using ‘an unflattering photo of Trump,’ the Tower card of a tarot deck, a pin or nail, a white candle, a feather, bowls of water and salt, matches, and a dish of sand.

For anyone worried about their karma, Hughes writes that binding ‘seeks to restrain someone from doing harm’ and is ‘differentiated from cursing or hexing, which is meant to inflict harm on the target(s).’”

The full text of the binding can be found here:

Those Supporting the Binding, including Lana Del Rey
When the binding spell was first made public it called on witches. The only celebrity to publicly confirm participation was Lana Del Rey, as reported in Pitchfork:
“Lana Del Rey tweeted out a cryptic series of dates last night: Feb. 24, March 26, April 24, and May 23. As previously noted, the dates lined up perfectly with the ‘waning crescent moon ritual dates’ observed by members of the occult, which recently made headlines as witches around the world plan on casting a ‘binding’ ritual on these dates over President Donald Trump, in an effort to remove him from office. After much speculation, a representative for Del Rey has confirmed that the singer-songwriter’s tweet was in reference to the occult ritual dates.”

Trump binding Del Rey

The binding spell recommended requesting protection:
“Say a prayer for protection and invoke blessing from your preferred spirit or deity. Reading the 23rd Psalm aloud is common in Hoodoo/Conjure/Rootwork traditions.”
Michael M Hughes wrote on February 19th:
“I have been made aware of a number of Christian magicians who will be calling upon Jesus Christ to bind Donald Trump, some of them utilizing Psalm 109, in fact. So this is a very ECUMENICAL movement :-)”
The groups involved are:
“Mass rituals have also been planned in multiple covens, during which men and women will perform a spell to bind President Trump and all those who abet him by delivering a chant and holding a brief ceremony.
This is not an exclusive witches-only event wither, with Wiccans, shamans, Heremeticists, cunning folk, sorcerers and sorceresses, hoodooists, occultists, magicians, Ceremonialists and Ritualists also invited and urged to take part.”

At the time of writing this blog, the current Facebook page, Bind Trump (Official) features photographs of altars used by a number of participants in the binding.
Vicky Adams, owner of Hollywood occult shop, Panpipes, and a witch herself stated:
“This is like a rally. It’s a magical rally … We’re gathering together to fight this fight … the coordination around the world came together much like the Women’s Marches. … The goal is to bind him and anyone who is supporting him from harming us … Protecting him from himself, from harming us, from harming our world. … Using the element of fire on the photo reduces him and his actions to dust.”

Those Opposing the Binding
Opposing the binding spell are Christian Nationalist Alliance who announced that they would be fighting back with a “Day of Prayer” to protect Trump:
“This is a declaration of spiritual war and it requires a response. As such the Christian Nationalist Alliance is announcing a Day of Prayer on each of these days. We beseech all Christian soldiers to answer this call to action by reading from Psalm 23. We ask you to join us in praying for the strength of our nation, our elected representatives and for the souls of the lost who would take up Satanic arms against us.”
American televangelist, businessman and ultra-conservative political activist, Pat Robertson discussed the Trump binding on “The 700 Club” mistakenly referring to it as a “curse”:
“He also warned that witches are trying to put a curse on President Trump: ‘I read that a bunch of witches have gotten together to put a curse on Trump, and I think the Christians need to be praying for him to defend him,’ he said.
Co-host Wendy Griffith added that ‘probably millions’ of Christians were recently in prayer ‘canceling out those curses by the witches.’”
Joshua Feuerstein, an evangelical pastor who has previously condemned Starbucks for taking Christmas symbols off its seasonal red cups, issued an ’urgent warning’, saying ‘millions of witches’ were trying to curse the president.

‘Their bippity-boppity-boo isn’t more powerful than the name of Jesus!’ he declared in an online video.”

Trump binding protection

A Facebook group, “Chaos Magicians for Trump” who describe their function as “We are practicing chaos magicians that back a Donald Trump presidency through ritual magick,” were allegedly involved in opposing the binding, but the last activity on their page was in November 2016.

Dion Fortune responded to Britain’s declaration of war with Germany in 1939 with a series of letters to her peers in the Fraternity of the Inner Light, a sisterly spin-off of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. These letters gave effectively built a disciplined magical army out of her meditational group of followers, working in concert with the troops.
In 1941, a group of voodoo practitioners gathered to put a hex on Adolf Hitler. While the hex failed, the participants did have quite an enjoyable evening by all accounts.


Advice to Participants
On the day of the binding, 24 February at 15:47, I decided to upload some recommendations on my Facebook page to those who decided to participate:
“If you’re thinking of getting involved in this binding of Trump, I’d like to share some advice I’ve been given both publicly and privately.
Firstly, if you’re at all worried about any sort of backlash or consequences to innocent parties, do a divination.
Secondly, as there is active opposition to this binding since it went public from a Christian group and a Chaos Magick group, and possibly others, do some sort of protection ritual or prayer.
Thirdly, if you’re uncomfortable with any aspects of the binding but still want to perform it, modify them, as it’s the end result that matters.
Fourthly, begin and end with a banishing, and ground at the end.
Lastly, be mindful that this binding is not a substitute for real world action, but rather an addition. You still need engage in Muggle activities such as contacting elected officials and supporting groups whose interests mirror your own.
If you don’t want to be involved at this time, that’s fine as the binding will be repeated monthly just before the dark moon, so there will be other opportunities.”
I am quite happy with the advice that I gave, however, I should have added that participants need to be aware of all the others working at manifesting a binding, and should will their efforts to blend in with, and augment, those of others. While I’m sure that most others will be working towards a binding that is physically harmless, there may be a few whose intentions tend a little darker. It’s important to not contribute to any of those efforts, should they actually exist. The protection ritual or prayer chosen should not be just a defensive protocol against opposition, but also against others performing the binding whose energies aren’t compatible with your own.

Shouldn’t the Binding be Secret?
This injunction will be familiar to many:
The Four Powers of the Sphinx – To Know, To Will, To Dare, and To Keep Silent”
French occultist Eliphas Lévi, who was instrumental in the revival of Western occultism in the nineteenth century, wrote in his most popular work, Transcendental Magic:
“To attain the SANCTUM REGNUM, in other words, the knowledge and power of the Magi, there are four indispensable conditions–an intelligence illuminated by study, an intrepidity which nothing can check, a will which cannot be broken, and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate. TO KNOW, TO DARE, TO WILL, TO KEEP SILENCE–such are the four words of the Magus, inscribed upon the four symbolical forms of the sphinx.”
The sanctum regnum, or Kingdom of God, is the goal of those who practice magick, and Lévi’s instruction regarding the Four Powers of the Sphinx has been adopted by many schools.
Over the last few decades, the instruction TO KEEP SILENCE, seems to have been relegated by many to be no longer relevant. Apart from in a few regions on the planet, the practice of magick is no longer as dangerous to the practitioner as it once was. While there are many covens and magickal groups that demand silence from their members, most practitioners these days are solitaries using an eclectic approach downloading spells of questionable effectiveness from online sources.

Did the Binding Work?
The new Facebook page states that the spell will be:
“Beginning February 24th, 2017
Ending when he is driven from office.”
The description of the binding mentions six waning crescent moon dates:
“February 24th (Midnight, Friday evening into Saturday morning); March 26th; April 24th; May 23rd; June 21st (especially important as it is the summer solstice); July 21st; August 19th; etc.”
Thus, the binding will not be instantaneous, but will take several months to manifest. As such it is far too early to call.
A couple of things really jumped out at me regarding this working. There were self-identified Christians and Pagans on both sides – some working to bind and others opposing the binding. Also a number of people on both sides used Psalm 23 as part of their rituals or prayers. I would also assume that members of both sides were praying to Jesus, angels, Saints, and various gods.
I am reminded of Homer’s Iliad, where the Greeks and Trojans both prayed to the same gods, but in the end the gods chose to support the Greeks. But, I digress…
The new Facebook page has a couple of interesting accounts from people who were writing the day after performing the binding:
“I wonder…did you all not feel the call last evening? It was amazing. We all began to show up here so quickly. I watched the numbers rise steadly until I went to sleep. Strong magic is in the air. Blessings to each of you.”
“Oh yes I felt the pull. I performed the ritual at the same time as the US – 4pm Oz EST – and felt the collective energy for several hours after. It was wonderful :)”
The “likes” on this post suggest that others also felt something. I had a number of people contact me privately who all felt a powerful energy that they were tapping into.
So, clearly something was happening during the binding. Whether the desired results manifest or not will depend on how well the casters sustain their efforts and the effectiveness of those opposing it.

Tony Mierzwicki

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