This ritual has been in the Navajo culture for several centuries, although its exact origins are unknown. It is theorized to have been used when inducting new elders into a tribe, although it almost certainly would have been used for other, more devious purposes. I personally think that the ritual is one of the easiest Navajo rituals to perform as it takes only 1 day to perform instead of the typical 9, and can be performed completely alone. Note: any statements pertaining to the afterlife or spirituality in general are based upon my own beliefs and those of the Navajo people, and should be treated as such.
- A wooden bowl(preferably shallow and small)
- Pure water(or as close as you can get to pure)
- A small, white piece of cloth that can fit into said bowl
- A marker or pen(don't use a pencil or the ritual will not work)
- 8, 12, or 16 black candles(beeswax is said to increase the rate of success, though any wax works)
- A lighter with plenty of fluid, or a lot of matches
- A knife
- A hair dryer (optional)
Start by writing the full name of someone who has passed on onto the piece of cloth. Make sure that you are thinking of the person's face while you write their name. You also want to write the name in its original language. The color of the marker or pen does not matter, although I would suggest against red. Once you've done that, get out your candles and the bowl. Fill the bowl about halfway with pure water and then begin to place the candles. Depending on the number of candles you have, you will arrange them in a different way. If you have 8, place them around the bowl in an octagon formation, keeping them close to the bowl. If you have 12, place them around the bowl in the following formation: three on the north side of the bowl, three on the south, three on the west side and three on the east. If you have 16, place them around the bowl in the formation of two octagons. This ritual can be done with as little as 4 candles as well, but I strongly urge against it.
Once the candles are placed you can place the strip of cloth into the water. Once you have done this, you must light the candles in any order. After the candles have been lit you cannot back out of the ritual until you are finished, so be wary of the dangers listed below and how to evade them. Next, stand up and raise your hand above the bowl. Using the knife, cut a small "X" into the middle of your hand. Make sure that the blood drops into the bowl. Bleed until the bowl's water is clearly red but still looks transparent, you may cut again if necessary. DO NOT pour too much or too little blood into the bowl. After you feel there is sufficient blood in the bowl, you may remove the cloth from it; do not use your bleeding hand when doing this. Wring the cloth into the bowl and proceed to blow dry it(if you don't have a blow dryer just skip this part). Do not let your candles go out during this time.
Next you want to move the bowl so you can move the candles closer together. Once you've done that, burn the strip of cloth on the candles until it's just ash, then place what ash you can gather into the water. Make sure to breathe in a bit of smoke, not too much though. Once you've done that, the ritual is complete and you can discard your materials. You won't notice the effects immediately, but they will appear gradually over time.
Full names have a lot of power. By writing the full name of a spirit on the cloth, you ask that spirit to bind with that cloth. Once the spirit binds with the cloth, soaking it in your blood bind the spirit to your blood as well as the cloth. The candles prevent the spirit from leaving the bowl, although an attempt at escape is fairly rare(it's thought that spirits enjoy being bound to living souls). Spirits have a hard time binding to candles, especially black ones, which prevents them from creating an extra bind with the candles while you burn the cloth. Burning the cloth results in the spirit being bound solely within your blood. In the smoke that is created, some blood will have evaporated. Breathing in the blood will allow the spirit to inhabit your body and bind with your own spirit.
If the ritual was performed correctly, the spirit will not be completely bound with your soul. It will, however, have its intelligence bound to you. This will result in you gaining the knowledge which the spirit had when it was still alive. You will not receive information about the afterlife or anything within the spiritual realm, however, for unknown reasons. This would be useful when inducting new elders into a Navajo tribe, as you could simply give the intelligence of a dead elder to a new one.
Do not choose the name of anyone who is still alive. This will result in your own death as well as that of person whose name you wrote.
I strongly advise against writing the name of anyone who has committed horrible acts, as their knowledge may lead to you trying those same acts. Ask yourself if you really want to know what they've done.
Writing your own name will have no effect.
Do not pour too much blood into the bowl. You want just enough blood so that the water is clearly red, but you can still see what is written on the cloth. If you put too much blood into the bowl, your soul will bind with the spirit completely and your afterlife will be unpleasant to say the least. Imagine having two minds in the same body, and you'll understand why this is of concern.
Pouring too little blood into the bowl will result in less intelligence being shared with you. It's always safer to pour less blood.
Lastly, DO NOT let your candles go out. This is important, as the spirit you are trying to bind with will become extremely agitated. What happens to you after that is really dependent on just how much you pissed off that spirit. I'm sure you can think of a good and bloody scene where someone's candles went out. The candles cannot be re-lit once the ritual has begun, so just make sure they don't go out.
In conclusion, the Navajo soul binding ritual is a simple to perform ritual that can have great benefits. I encourage you all to try it out sometime, as I certainly have found it to be very enlightening.