Dresden Files

Rituals are highly complicated spells.


They are done when a wizard can't summon the required focus needed for a spell. The magic doesn't come out of the person doing the ritual, it comes from an otherworldly force that is tapped into.[1]

Harry Dresden uses the metaphor of a cosmic vending machine: an outside power offers to give you something if you fulfill a certain sequence of events.[2][3] Another metaphor he uses is: you have to load the gun, aim it and pull the trigger.[4]

Skillful practitioners do not need to use rituals.[5]

Wizards use rituals when they are unable to focus on all the parts of a needed spell, since rituals the spell easier to perform. Rituals can be as basic as making a magic circle to a Sanctum invocation[6]. High-level rituals are extremely complicated and difficult to get right. The variables in a ritual could include the direction a certain candle is pointing, materials that have certain meaning to the wizard, ties to certain spiritual concepts like the four elements or the mind body and spirit, any other magic tied to the wizard.[7]

Some examples of materials that could be used include: a crystal (representing earth), pictures of loved ones (representing heart), hair/blood/etc... (for when directing a spell towards a specific person or group of people), etc..

Rituals have a variety of purposes, the most common being tracking people down,[8] summoning, and trapping individuals.[9]

Ritual magic[]

Ritual magic is not Harry Dresden's favorite form of magic. He feel sort of silly and self-conscious bathing, dressing in a white robe with a hood, lighting candles and incense, chanting, and "mucking around with a small arsenal of candles, wands, rods, liquids, and other props" normally used in Ritual magic. He also sees an advantage that the props and process hold for him by freeing up his mind from having to imagine the little details when it comes to heavy duty magic. Normally it's second nature and fine for short term magic. For longer spells he needs a far greater level of concentration.[7]

In the series[]

Storm Front[]

In Storm Front, the primary antagonist, the Shadowman, uses a ritual to make his victims hearts explode. The ritual itself is a dark and powerful form of Thaumaturgy, using lust generated by a man and women having sex and channeling the power of a thunderstorm to power it out. The Shadowman would then take a rabbit with a piece of his target tied to its back and remove its heart with the edge of a sharpened spoon. 

Blood Rites[]

In Blood Rites, the three ex-wives of Arturo Genosa use ritual magic using an entropy curse to kill off the future Mrs. Genosa by targeting all the women around Genosa, one by one. Lord Raith is behind it all, pulling their strings.[10] Raith also attempted at the end to sacrifice Thomas Raith to kill Dresden with an entropy curse in order to end Margaret LeFay's death curse on him, which weakens him, by killing both of her sons to undo it.[11]

Proven Guilty[]

In Proven Guilty, Harry Dresden performs an elaborate preparation taking several hours for a ritual prior to his first usage of Little Chicago, only to be interrupted by the phone ringing.[7]

Turn Coat[]

In Turn Coat, one of the most notable rituals in the series was the Sanctum invocation used by Dresden to bind the spirit of Demonreach to him.[12][6]


  1. Blood Rites, ch. 24
  2. Blood Rites, ch. 34
  3. Blood Rites, ch. 25
  4. Blood Rites, ch. 27
  5. Blood Rites, ch. 25
  6. 6.0 6.1 Turn Coat, ch. 36
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Proven Guilty, ch. 7
  8. "Restoration of Faith"
  9. Storm Front, ch. 6
  10. Blood Rites, ch. 34
  11. Blood Rites, ch. 40
  12. Turn Coat, ch. 35

See also[]

External references[]