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Blood Magic
Yet who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?

"Blood is sound, sound is words, and words are power!"

Spilling of blood is a potent force in the working of magic. It may be a token sacrifice, but it may also be the loss of life that fuels the spell. Expect mages who practice Blood Magic to be portrayed as evil, or at least dark grey.

Some blood may be indicated to be more powerful than others. Common types are human blood, the blood of royalty, the blood of a special line, a child's blood, the caster's own blood, or virgin's blood. Sometimes only a single person's blood has power, and any other blood is powerless.

The other side of the coin is menstrual blood, which is used much less frequently but is associated with life magic when it is used. Except, of course, when it's the Menstrual Menace.

This trope is Older Than Feudalism, with blood and sacrifice being powerful magic in some of the oldest tales. A very old Greek curse was for a witch to run three times around the house she wished to curse while menstruating. Especially potent if it was her first period. In more recent works it is frequently the alternative to Necromancy as the "evil magic".

Often overlaps with Black Magic, The Dark Arts and Cast from Hit Points. See also Our Vampires Are Different and Body to Jewel.

Frequently a part of any ritualistic Blood Bath. When it's the blood itself doing the damage, you have Bloody Murder. When the magic is used to extend the user's lifespan, it's Life Drinker. When it's used to create life, it's Fertile Blood.

May even overlap with Tome of Eldritch Lore, which is often written in man's blood on parchment made of human flesh. Is often a cause for a Superhuman Transfusion.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • InuYasha the Movie: Fire on the Mystic Island : The Four War Gods create a clone of Kikyo using a sample of her blood.
  • In Princess Tutu, Fakir revives Mytho's Cool Sword by cutting his hand, and pouring the blood from the wound into a fountain, and reciting a spell in German while dipping the blade into the bloody water. The various applications of Raven's Blood (like turning Mytho evil) might apply here, as well. In fact, all of the "in-story" magic seems to involve blood or hearts (Kraehe presumably gets her powers from the Raven's blood in her, Tutu gets hers from the Prince's heartshard, the Raven gains power by eating hearts). Also, Drosselmeyer wrote a very powerful story in his own blood, and Fakir was only able to effectively rewrite the story after he had spilled his own blood onto a page.
  • Some of Naruto's Summoning Rituals use this.
    • By drinking someone's blood and then standing on a symbol also made of blood (which doesn't have to be theirs), Hidan can turn himself into a living voodoo-doll for his opponent.
  • The Princess Resurrection manga uses blood magic as a fairly major plot point. The anime changed it to fire/energy.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed and Al used their own blood as an ingredient in their attempt to resurrect their mother. When that failed miserably, costing Ed a leg and Al his entire body, Ed used his blood to draw a seal on a nearby suit of armor, binding his lost brother's wayward soul to it. This is justified by noting that the iron in the hemoglobin bonded with the iron of the armor, and the destruction of the bloodseal would kill Al.
    • Later, when Martel is killed while inside Al, some of her blood runs down and over Al's blood seal, making him black out. However, this also allows him to remember what happened to him beyond the Gate.
    • The transmutation circle to generate a Philosopher's Stone needs to have five "crests of blood" made from killing. For the nationwide transmutation circle, five gigantic military engagements which could be more aptly called butcherings created the five crests needed to cover all of Amestris.
    • In the 2003 anime adaptation, Mustang ends up creating a transmutation circle out of his own blood in order to defeat Pride.
      • In The Movie based off of the 2003 anime, the circle to open the Gate only activates when it gets in touch with blood. Edward has a little blood on his glove the first time he opens it. The second time Hohenheim gets mauled by Envy, while in Amestris Wrath dies.
  • Some of the magic in Mahou Sensei Negima! works like this. At one point, Negi bites his thumb hard enough for blood to pour out, then creates magic circles for The Thousand Bolts (the ultimate lighting incantation) and pulverizes a mountain sized rock. Blood of powerful mages also seems to carry a certain amount of energy in it if Evangeline is to be believed. If.
  • Deadman Wonderland has an interesting spin on Blood Magic: the eponymous Deadman are capable of using Branches of Sin, a magic that allows them to weaponize their blood, such as Ganta's bloody hand blasts, Seiji's arm blades, and Karako's blood armor.
  • In Berserk, the Behelits that summon the Godhand are activated when they come into contact with blood. This usually, but not always, happens during their owners' Despair Event Horizon, which makes them that much more willing to sacrifice the people they most hold dear to be reborn as a demon.
  • In InuYasha the priestess Hitomiko is able to launch invisible blades using her shrine bells to cause blood letting wounds on her enemy which then paint a circle on the floor binding them magically. She can also cause the blood to combust.
  • In Bleach, Giselle Gewelle controls the bodies of whoever gets splattered with her blood. When a member of the 11th Division wounds her and both he and his companions have Giselle's blood on their clothes, she cheerfully forces them to commit seppuku.
    • And if she (actually he) can get his blood in a Quincy, they literally become a corpse under his control. Candice is aware of this and prevents him from doing so. The same cannot be said for poor Bambietta.
  • In Anatolia Story, Hot Witch Nakia brings a girl from our times, Yuri Suzuki, to the Hitite Empire since she want to use her blood for a spell that will allow her to kill her stepson Kail and place her own son Juda as heir. Too bad Yuri was smarter and more willing to fight back than Nakia thought she'd be...

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering:
    • A vampire planeswalker known as Sorin Markov is said to use sangromancy (blood magic), which enables him to drain the lifeforce of other beings, place curses on enemies, and possess the minds of others. It is also implied that he can leech mana from opponents. How exactly he uses blood is not stated.
      • Sorin's grandfather Edgar Markov turned himself and Sorin into the first vampires on the plane of Innistrad using a combination of sangromancy and a Deal with the Devil.
    • Long before he showed up, the ogres of Kamigawa, a Japanese-themed world, used blood oaths to bind oni (demonic spirits in this setting) to their service. This was represented mechanically by ogres with abilities that "turned on" when you also controlled a demon, and demons with drawbacks that "turned off" if you controlled an ogre.

    Comics 
  • In The Sandman: A Game of You, menstrual blood is used to power a spell to send the characters into Barbie's dream and come back alive (mostly). The spell is repeated with blood from a cut palm in Death: Time of Your Life.
  • Nico from Runaways can only summon her Staff of One when she is bleeding. Menstrual blood also works in this case. It also allows her to circumvent one of the restrictions the spell has (reviving the dead) during Comic Book//Avengers Arena after she sheds enough.
  • Another parody happens in Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl, when she pricks her finger and spills a drop of blood on a doll. It turns out to be a vampire that was cursed to be an inanimate plaything, and her blood broke the curse. Unfortunately, he realizes he's still in a doll's body because the curse didn't break properly; she'd been embalmed.
  • This is how Atrocitus created the Central Power Battery for his Red Lantern Corps. In addition, he is capable of scrying through arcane blood rites.
  • The Teen Titans villain Brother Blood leads a cult who focuses magic through bloodletting (yes, he's a little different from the cartoon version). One of his best-known acts was resurrecting Raven to be his bride (it was basically the writers' way of bringing her back to coincide with the success of the cartoon).
  • Not a major example, but in one Batman Detective storyline, Zatanna had been shot in the throat and nearly drowned in a death trap courtesy of the Joker (don't ask why he didn't just shoot her in the head). She avoided bleeding to death by using her blood to write out a healing incantation, made extra-strong by its medium.
  • Conan the Barbarian once battled a witch who used a particularly nasty curse triggered by blood. Only a single drop of spilled blood was necessary to cause her victims to age rapidly and die within seconds, leaving behind a withered corpse. The only protection against the curse were magic talismans owned by three brothers who were the witch's enemies.
  • Red Hood and the Outlaws: Red Hood's All-Swords get extra power from his blood. Or, something like that. It hasn't been explained yet.
    • Minor opponent December Graystone previously used the name "Blood Mage", and continues to use his blood to cast spells.
  • The Spawn universe features demons that need blood to power their various devices.
  • John Constantine Expy Willoughby Kipling points out that the easiest and most blood-efficient way to do this is with a papercut on the page of the spellbook you're using.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Shinji in Points Of Familiarity bites off his finger and sacrifices it to ... something to create [Masks].
  • Subverted in-universe in The Dresden Files fanfic Fair Vote. The protagonist uses tea as a metaphysically symbolic substitute – and it works.
  • A Growing Affection has both the powers of the Blood Drinker demons, and Naruto's Blood Clone Jutsu.
  • Escape from the Hokage's Hat has Naruto with multiple seals placed on him (by various Konoha ninja) to limit his growth. They were all made with blood. His own. After many a beating. Judging from a bit of dialogue between Tsunade and Shizune when they find out, placing a blood seal on someone is implied to be excruciatingly painful. Naruto got them between the ages of 6 and 9.
  • In Perfection Is Overrated, Toki's Child, Cronos, has the ability to spawn black dragon minions from its own blood. She sends them back in time in order to alter Mai, Natsuki and Nao's pasts to prevent them from ever coming to Fuuka Academy, and after that plan is thwarted, sends them against the three when she faces them in combat.
  • In A New Order main character Sailor Moon can only use her strongest spell when she is injured and bleeding. The more blood she's lost, the stronger it is.
  • In the Harry Potter/Disgaea crossover Something Wicked This Way Comes, Voldemort's locket horcrux is sealed behind a wall requiring blood, like in canon. Etna wonders why he didn't think to key it into his own blood, instead of making it so that anyone could enter if they cut themselves.
  • Some creatures in Fallout: Equestria are able to control and shape spilled blood. Littlepip gains that ability after reading the Black Book, but she mostly uses it to create artificial clots for medical purposes.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Dr Facilier turns Naveen into a frog as to have an easy means of extracting blood for a voodoo talisman that turns Naveen's Beleaguered Assistant Lawrence into a copy of the prince for his own ends.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the first Pirates of the Caribbean, Will's blood was needed to break the curse on Barbossa's crew. A blood sacrifice was required from every cursed pirate, but they had cast Will's father overboard before learning this, so Will's blood, as the closest living relative, was used as a suitable substitute. Once Jack cursed himself, he also added his blood to lift the curse "at the opportune moment".
  • In Silent Hill Christabella unintentionally invokes this trope when she stabs Rose in the chest. The blood gushing from the wound destroys the church, allowing Alessa to enter. Then all hell breaks loose.
  • The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. The wizard Prince Koura uses his own blood to create a homunculus.
  • In Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger , Zenobia uses her blood to animated the Minaton.
  • In Practical Magic, Sally and Gillian slice their palms and clasp hands to cure Gillian's Demonic Possession. It also conveniently works as a Curse Escape Clause.
  • In Pan's Labyrinth, the blood of a child is called for to open a gate, though the heroine refuses to take it. It still technically works - it just happens to be the protagonist's blood. And it would not have worked had the baby been used.
  • In Blade, it's of little surprise that the ancient vampire artifact runs off of blood. Blade is strapped into a huge bloodletting device that causes his blood to fill up all the magical symbols below him, rather similar to the picture above.
  • The page image comes from the first Hellboy film; Ilsa and Kroenen kill their guide in order to resurrect Rasputin.
  • The eponymous Pulgasari starts off as a rice figurine made by a dying blacksmith that gets brought to life by the blacksmith's daughter, Ami, when she pricks her finger while sewing over it. Later in the film, she is able to revive him by cutting her arm and letting the blood drip into the pile of boulders trapping the Kaiju.

    Literature 
  • Melisandre of A Song of Ice and Fire uses blood magic to cause the death of Renly Baratheon, and claims credit for the deaths of Robb Stark, Joffrey Baratheon, and Balon Greyjoy, but whether that's truth or fiction is very unclear at this stage. The maegi Mirri Maz Duur also uses blood magic to "heal" Drogo and the favor is returned by Deanerys when she burns the maegi alive as part of the magic to awaken her dragons.
    • Blood magic is, in general, one of the more effective, powerful, and, according to many, dangerous magics known in the Song of Ice and Fire universe. Maegi have been known to predict accurate prophecy by consuming blood, and the burning of blood, body parts, and people (often in sacrifice to gods) is effective at accomplishing various magical tasks. There are also some basic rules; most prominently, only death can pay for life.
  • Mercedes Lackey loves this concept, and blood mages are frequently villains in her books. In the Heralds of Valdemar books, at least, it's the sort powered by death, not the red stuff itself, and gathering it from anyone else is exclusively villainous. Good-aligned Mages and Priests occasionally use their own death energies to really make a Heroic Sacrifice stick, though.
  • In Stardust, the witches use the hearts of living stars to prolong their youth as a form of blood magic.
  • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Voldemort uses Harry's blood to reconstitute himself. This later turns out to have been a horrible idea since Blood Magic mixed with the Power of Love to give Harry a Deus ex Machina resurrection in book seven, and ultimately ends up being Voldemort's undoing.
    • And in The Half-Blood Prince, one of the enchantments used to protect a Horcrux can only be lifted with blood, if only because the caster wanted to make sure no one could enter without hurting themselves. Dumbledore is actually disappointed that Voldemort couldn't come up with something more inventive.
    • Unicorn blood is so potent that drinking it can preserve the life of a somebody who is already dying, but the act of taking it is said to curse the killer with a "half-life".
  • In Orson Scott Card's Hart's Hope, blood is the essential source of magic: the more precious the blood, the most potent the magic. Kill a rabbit, and you can stop a stew from boiling over. Kill a deer and be able to turn invisible. Then kill a man to get real power. In order to exact her vengeance, Queen Beauty therefore kills her own newborn daughter, which allows her to acquire powers sufficient to subdue the gods.
  • King of the Water Roads - Magic "usually" takes a toll in blood and pain to cast, according to the only trained magic-user seen in the book.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld parodies this with the Rite of Ashk Ente, which summons Death. It's implied that this is supposed to require a human sacrifice and dozens of magical foci, but magical refinements mean that it's now possible with only an octogram, three small bits of wood, and 4 cubic centimetres of mouse blood.
    • This is further refined to just needing the octogram, two small bits of wood and a fresh egg.
    • A straighter example is in Carpe Jugulum, where Granny Weatherwax uses this kind of blood magic against vampires by "infecting" them when they feed on her.
    Granny: I ain't been vampired, you been Weatherwaxed!
  • In the Dragonlord series by Joanne Bertin, blood magic is frequently employed by the antagonists. In The Last Dragonlord, the Big Bad uses the lives of prostitutes to charge a magical artifact. He then sacrifices a member of a specific bloodline in order to attempt to enslave one of the titular dragonlords. In The Dragon and the Phoenix, the blood of the high priest is used to bind a dragon, and the magic of the dragon is used in turn to imprison and harness the power of the phoenix.
  • Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus series:
    • Gaea plans to use Percy’s blood in some kind of sacrifice to bring down the gods.
    • Per book three, it's any one male and one female demigod. She just really wants it to be Percy and Annabeth.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Warriors of Ultramar, the Ultramarines contact another Chapter, the Mortifactors, and find their use of Blood Magic rather abhorrent.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Legion, the Black Cube is activated by Blood Magic, which explains a ferocious attack on the Imperial forces: to shed lots and lots of blood.
  • In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40,000: Space Wolf novel Sons of Fenris, Cadmus uses Blood Magic, killing one of his officers who's guessed too much, to open a portal.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novel Deus Encarmine, a knife tastes Rafel's blood and sends it back, and a Word-Bearer, by tasting it, can judge his age.
  • Tamora Pierce makes use of this both in Circle of Magic and the Tortall Universe. However, it is made abundantly clear that the only approved use of blood magic is when the mage uses his or her own blood.
  • In the Young Wizards series, healing spells require blood (that isn't from the patient), usually the healer's own blood.
    • In a more aggressive case, this is the reason why the Master Shark has been around since (practically) the dawn of time. If his blood is spilled, every shark in the world is drawn to his location and is sent into an extreme feeding frenzy. Nothing dares attack him.
  • This is one type of magic used in the Evie Scelan novels.
  • Thaumaturgy in the Deepgate Codex books.
  • In Holly Lisle's The Secret Texts trilogy, each of the three schools of magic use blood/flesh sacrifices. The origin of these sacrifices reflects where the magic lies on the good to evil scale. Falcons use their own blood and are good. Wolves use others present at the time as a sacrifice and are bad. Dragons are able to use whole populations at a distance as their sacrifice and are Super Scary Evil.
  • In Mistborn, Hemalurgy is a magical art that involves killing a victim and transferring certain of their qualities to a recipient (the precise process involves both getting stuck with a metal spike, often a large one). Who the victim is normally doesn't matter, but if you want to transfer magical powers, you do need to find someone who has them to begin with. The precise composition of the spike and where it is stuck in the recipient's body determine precisely what qualities are transferred.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Blood Pact, the witch makes extensive use of this. On both the prisoner and Maggs — she didn't realize she had gotten blood from both of them at first, but when she did, she tried to use Maggs to assassinate the prisoner.
  • The Canim ritualists of Codex Alera drain the blood from sentient beings (living or freshly dead) to fuel their sorcery. They demonstrate a wide range of abilities including summoning storms, shooting lightning bolts, conjuring flying demon-things to keep airborne enemies out of the upper atmosphere, unleashing poisonous gasses, and other similarly creepy and destructive things. The most decent ritualists, such as Marok, use only their own blood to fuel their magic; the ones who don't tend to lean towards being Evil Sorcerers.
    • This is a severe limitation on their power, since the quantity of blood is very important. The storm that covered the Canim's invasion is mentioned as having cost millions of their own lives to pull off. For a long time after the Canim invaded no magic was used, because they had an insufficient source of it. When they started using it again it was revealed to be mostly fueled by Aleran slaves who had defected to the Canim and given permission to be drained after other Alerans killed them.
  • The bloodline of Celtic god Cernunnos gives his descendants magical abilities they can use against him in Urban Shaman by C.E. Murphy.
  • In The Dresden Files, the main character sometimes uses traces of people's blood to locate them, but it only works if it's very fresh. In Small Favor, the Denarians use the blood of an unknown person to fuel their Hellfire-powered pentagram barrier.
    • Black Magic and rituals often use sacrifices of some kind, so even though using blood is not considered evil in itself, it tends to appear a lot in the bad guys' spells. Possibly the greatest display of blood magic yet seen is the Red Court's curse seen in Changes, which required hundreds of human sacrifices to energise and then a final sacrifice to target its destructive power.
  • Kate Daniels draws blood wards, magic circles drawn in the caster's blood which draw their strength from the blood itself. They can also be broken by someone of similar blood, a loophole Kate exploits to her own advantage. It is also found out that she can create armor out of her blood as well as weapons, but they disintegrate within seconds. A power she received from absorbing The Scarlet Star.
  • In the Night Watch universe, the lower levels of the Twilight will quickly drain your energy; if you need to get out fast, spilling blood will do the trick.
  • In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, the Alpha Legion uses it. The White Scars find bodies drained of blood.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian novel The Hour of the Dragon, one reason why Xaltotun let his allies die.
    "Because blood aids great sorcery!"
    • In "The Phoenix on the Sword", Thoth-Amon, immediately on regaining his Ring of Power, uses the blood of the man he murdered for it to summon a powerful abomination against his old tormentor Ascalante.
  • Blood is noted as being particularly potent for drawing spell forms in the Sword of Truth series, though it's trickier for lasting spell forms as blood will eventually dry out and thus weaken the spell. The People's Palace in D'Hara is a spellformnote  that manages to get around this through the novel method of leaving the blood inside people. The blood therefore is always fresh, and people are always allowed to travel through the halls of the palace, keeping the spell very powerful.
  • The British warlocks in Bitter Seeds have to shed blood every time they summon the Eidolons, Eldritch Abomination that find human life abhorrent so are attracted to the spilling of blood. It takes more and more blood to summon them each time, until British Intelligence are forced to commit major acts of sabotage against their own citizens (such as blowing up passenger trains and air raid shelters) to keep the supernatural war effort going. Worse, the more blood is spilled, the more information the Eidolons have on the nature of humanity, a necessary precursor to exterminating us.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Regained, blood can give power and life to those in Hell. Kinda awkward when hellish mosquitoes have figured out you are alive and so have blood.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale names written in blood are particularly potent magic.
  • Subverted in Count and Countess, where a large part of the story hinges on the main characters' belief in the magical properties of blood. Turns out there are no magical properties.
  • In The Orphan's Tales, starlight is really a blood of the sky and can be used to perform some kinds of magic, like Shapeshifting.
  • In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, LeFel takes the child's blood for this.
  • In Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom novel Magic to the Bone, used by Cody's captors.
    • In Magic in the Blood, a villain steals some of Allie's, which seriously worries her.
  • In Stephen King's On Writing, he describes some symbolic associations of blood with life and death, sin and redemption (through sacrifice), and how they're used in Carrie as a parallel to the titular psychic's emerging powers and rampage.
  • Malkar and Vey Coruscant in Doctrine of Labyrinths are accomplished practitioners. They have been using this to keep themselves young and vital for who knows how many years. One of Vey's many epithets is "Queen Blood."
  • In Tales of Kolmar demon-summoning mages and those aligned with them always have to give the demons some of their own blood. On the heroic side, a mage discovers that when she touches her own blood to a dragon's soulgem her demon-fighting powers are greatly enhanced, to the point of being able to dispel minor ones with a touch.
  • In Nightrunner Necromancer's combine Blood Magic with more traditional Necromancy, as well as Summon Magic, to do some truly scary things to the living and the dead alike.
  • In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, Kilda has to bleed to get the grass that can act as a guide. She even has to pull it by the bleeding hand.
  • In The Psalms of Isaak, Blood Magick is the in-universe term for magical potions or powders that must be distilled from human blood (as opposed to the more common Earth Magick, which is created from naturally occurring compounds in the stone and soil). Blood Magick is usually extremely powerful, but can also be extremely hazardous to the user's health, and is considered a Dangerous Forbidden Technique in most of the Named Lands, though The Empire of Y'Zir uses it heavily (and has a religion based around it). Like most magic in the series, it's mostly used to enhance the user's physical abilities, but can be used to produce more spectacular effects through an unrevealed process- the Seven Cacaphonic Deaths of Xhum Y'zir, the most powerful and destructive spell ever created, is said to be a product of Blood Magick.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, the Woodsman and the Goodwife use blood to tame the redcaps.
  • The Power of Five: One of the things required to open Raven's Gate is Matt's blood, exactly the reason why he was adopted by Mrs. Deverill.
  • The Obsidian And Blood trilogy takes place in the Aztec Triple Alliance at its height. Almost all magic is blood magic, ranging from simple self-sacrifice by cutting the earlobes, to animal sacrifice, to outright human sacrifices.
  • The Dark Ones’ tunnels in Murderess open when the person entering spills blood, either his own or someone else’s (or even an animal’s), on a stone slab next to the entrance.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Doctor Who, in the episode "The Christmas Invasion", the alien Sycorax use "blood control" to hypnotize a third of the population of Earth. Technically it's Magic from Technology, but one of the UNIT characters commented that it appeared like they were casting a spell. The Sycorax reverse-engineered their technology from invaders, and think of it as magic. ('Sycorax' would seem to be taken from The Tempest, where it is given as the name of a dead witch, late mistress of the island and mother to Caliban.)
  • In Legend of the Seeker, Darken Rahl used Blood Magic at least once so far, using it as magic ink to write a message in a book, which then caused it to appear to a 'paired' book one of his military field commanders possessed (sort of a magic 'instant message' or 'telegram').
    • In the novels, Darken Rahl uses a kind blood magic in the form of consuming the brains and testicles (Squick!) of a young boy loyal to him to summon a creature of the underworld to ride and thus can travel anywhere very quickly. The journey books were introduced later in the series and did not require blood to operate.
    • Also in the books, it's mentioned that blood is particularly potent for things like drawing spell forms, though usually other things like sorcerer's sand also work for spells. The biggest blood-fueled spell form in the series is the People's Palace. The trick here is, the blood is still in the people going through the palace, which is how it's kept potent when just blood would have dried out and lost its effect long ago.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Dawn's blood is used to open a portal. The emphasized plot point that Buffy and Dawn have the same blood is the key to allowing Buffy to save the world.
    • The trope is specifically lampshaded by Spike in the same episode.
    Xander: Why blood?
    Spike: Blood is life, lackbrain. Why do you think we eat it? It's what keeps you going, makes you warm, makes you hard, makes you other than dead. 'Course it's her blood.
    • Angel uses his blood to open a portal, and is later needed to close it again.
    • A stray drop of blood unwittingly opens a portal to let a fear demon possess a house.
    • Blood of a Slayer, if drunk by a vampire, gives the latter great powers and Nigh-Invulnerability for a while. In Season 3, this is used to heal Angel.
    • Willow uses deer blood in her magic to resurrect Buffy. Specifically, she sits by a creek until a baby deer comes along, before she draws a knife and kills it for its blood.
    • In season 9, Willow cuts Connor's chest with the scythe to use his blood to tear a hole in the fabric of reality.
      • She also uses Buffy's blood to restore Dawn, who had been fading out of existence with Seed broken.
    • In Season 7, blood opens the Hellmouth. Acting on the orders of the First posing as Warren, Andrew kills Jonathan to try this. Except it doesn't work: Jonathan is anemic.
    • In the Master's first attempt at an early parole, The Dragon Luke volunteers to become the Master's "Vessel", supplying him with power by feeding on human blood.
    • It's Buffy's blood which ultimately allows the Master to break free. ("Prophecy Girl")
    • In the Season Two premiere, the Master's acolytes attempt a ritual to bring him back to life. This involves slitting the necks of his adversaries (ie the Scoobies) and wetting his skeleton with their blood.
  • In Angel, a demon from another dimension tries to contact Jasmine with flesh magic. It's even nastier than it sounds.
    • Angel is temporarily made stronger after he drinks the blood of Hamilton, the Senior Partners' liaison, during the Grand Finale.
    • Spoofed in "Reprise" where two Wolfram & Hart employees are following a list of instructions for a goat sacrifice.
    (reading from a booklet) "Make sure all troths are securely fastened and sacrifices tilted as shown in diagram F-12 to ensure full drainage into sacred offering bowl. Using a clean, diagonal motion, slit throat of sacrifice with the pre-blessed ceremonial dagger provided... I didn't see that in the box."
  • In Supernatural, Azazel's lackeys used a squicky blood fueled ritual to communicate with him. Brady does the same to communicate with his master, Pestilence.
    • In the fourth and fifth seasons, blood can be used to construct a sigil that will temporarily dispel an angel from the area.
    • And in the fourth season finale, it turns out the blood of the first demon, Lilith, must be spilled to complete a ritual to release Lucifer from Hell.
    • And the Special Children got their powers from Azazel bleeding into their mouths.
    • A season five episode had Sam, Dean and Gabriel bound to a location via blood.
    • The sixth season finale had the gate to Purgatory open using a cocktail of virgin blood and blood from a Purgatory resident. They are really fond of this trope.
    • In season nine Abaddon's followers do some kind of cutting ritual to revive her.
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, the evil god Dahok requires the loss of "blood innocence" to bring forth his evil offspring, so his followers trick Gabrielle into committing murder. In this case, it's the loss of life that fuels Dahok's power, but Gabrielle's hands are also covered in blood.
  • In Merlin, blood magic shows up in one of the spells of Nimueh in season one.
    • Later, Morgana uses the Cup of Life to create an immortal army by filling it with blood.
  • In Friday The 13th: The Series, almost every single one of the cursed items must be powered by a death to derive their benefits.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when Kai Winn is attempting to read the Book of the Paugh Wraiths (essentially the Bajoran Necromicon) it appears to her to be a blank book. Another priest catches her at it, is horribly shocked at finding his superior (essentially the Pope of his world) doing such a thing, and starts to run from the room to denounce her to the other priests. She picks up a letter opener and stabs him; his blood falls on the book and—-what do you know, the writing becomes visible.
  • On Teen Wolf, this is a way for a Druid to attain increased physical and magical powers. Human sacrifices, selected because they possess a specific defining feature (e.g. virgins, warriors, healers, philosophers and guardians) are ritualistically murdered for this purpose.
  • In the first episode of Warehouse13 the first artifact we see is a meso-American statue (looks like a stone jack o'lantern) that possesses a man when he accidentally cuts his finger on it.
  • In Salem, this appears to be the basis of the "grand rite" the witches plan, requiring the deaths of innocents condemned as witches.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In The Bible, the Passover where the Angel of Death came to kill the firstborn children of Egypt, and the Jews painted their doors with lamb blood so the angel would know not to kill those firstborn children.
    • Also, the 'Blood of Christ'.
  • The mythical account of Shaka Zulu. In exchange for limitless power, Shaka is said to enter a pact with the witch doctor Issanoussi, who demands the death of Shaka's pregnant fiancee Noliwe-and this turns out to be just the down-payment for "blood medicine":
    "The medicine with which I inoculated you is the medicine of blood; so if you do not spill blood in abundance, it will turn against you, and it is you whom it will kill" (Chaka the Zulu — Thomas Mofolo)
  • The Aztecs believed that the sun needed to be fed on the blood of sacrificial victims daily to prevent it from dying.
    • The Mayans practiced ritual bloodletting (and sacrifice, too, but only when they were desperate). They also had a ritual ball-game that was not only ruthless, but ended in the winning team being sacrificed at the conclusion.
  • In some parts of the West Indies, it used to be common to use animal blood at a boats launching ceremony. Squeamish Americans and Europeans just use champagne, the wusses.
    • A common story from the German and Dutch North Sea coast is that in the past people made live sacrifices when building dikes against floods. Burying a dog alive under the new dike would work, but a human child was considered preferable. The important part was, that a living thing had to be given to the spirits.
    • Similar stories in Great Britain were told about human sacrifices being buried in the foundations of buildings. Actual skeletons have been found under Stonehenge, proving something like it did happen at least in some cases.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, all vampires gain their abilities, obviously, from consumed blood. However, a few clans take this one step further by developing a blood-based system of sorcery stronger than the hedge magic any human can learn but weaker than the Sphere Magick of Mages. The most well-known practitioners of blood magic are Clan Tremere, whose original members were Mages in life.
    • Vampire: The Requiem carries this on with various forms of Blood Sorcery, the two most predominant being Cruac (a humanity-stifling, ritualistic art practiced by the Circle of the Crone) and Theban Sorcery (a series of "miracles" that require appropriate sacrifice, practiced by the Lancea Sanctum). A third example is the bloodline power of the Gethsemani bloodline, which allows them to make mortals spontaneously suffer stigmata-like wounds; the blood from these wounds has magical effects on a vampire who drinks it.
    • Hunter: The Vigil features the Cainite Heresy, remnants of an ancient cult that weren't too happy after being dicked around with by a vampire claiming a direct connection to God. Somehow they got their hands on vampiric blood magic, and created the Rites of Denial, special powers meant to deny vampires their innate advantages.
    • Changeling: The Lost has Tokens, magic items that activate with a simple burst of Glamour or with a simple Wyrd check. Either of these can be foregone- and the items can be used by mortals- by paying the "Catch," a "dread cost." Examples? One, a minor thing that empowers your car, requires you to run your car on a pint of your own blood (one point of lethal damage); another one, a more potent one called a Pledge Stone, requires you to rip out your own tongue and burn it (one point of lethal damage and you don't have a tongue).
    • And in Mage: The Awakening, blood sacrifice (namely, draining a being, including a human, of its blood until it is dead) can be used to replenish Mana. The use of blood can also correspond to the powers of Mastigos or Thyrsus mages.
    • Part of the reason the Garou of Werewolf: The Apocalypse slaughtered the Camazotz was the werebats' use of human blood in magic, which the Garou didn't understand wasn't a corrupt art. Combined with the Camazotz' demonic appearance and status as spies, the Garou sent the werebats into extinction. Which is heavily responsible for the totem Bat falling to corruption of the Wyrm.
    • Geist The Sin Eaters has the Stygian Key, a source of power based around manipulating the raw essence of death. Few Sin-Eaters obtain it, as you need to drink from several rivers of the Underworld and make a deal with a Kerberos to learn its tricks. But even then, you can only use any of the Manifestations associated with the Key by performing a sacrifice first. There's also the Stigmata Key, which is much more common and allows the Sin-Eater to control blood and ghosts. Some of its Manifestations require a portion of blood in order to function, and it can sometimes be empowered by shedding blood when you don't need to.
  • Shadowrun supplement Aztlan. Aztlan mages can use Blood Magic: spilling a human's blood to enhance spellcasting and summon Blood Spirits. Extremely evil, restricted to Non Player Characters. How restricted? If any player character starts learning Blood Magic from any source whatsoever, of their own free will, their character sheet is now that of an NPC. It's just that dark.
    • Expanded in the supplement "Street Magic". Adepts can benefit from blood magic, with at least one of the new metamagics revolving around cannibalism.
  • Earthdawn. Blood charms are used to seal Blood Oaths and gain magical benefits.
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In earlier editions, a magic user used his own blood as an ingredient in creating a homonculous, possibly inspired by the Sinbad example.
    • One of the material components for the Cacodemon spell (which summoned a powerful demon) was a bowl of mammal blood, preferably human.
    • The Blood Mage prestige class allows a spellcaster use their own blood to improve their spells. There's a Wizard paragon path along much the same lines in Fourth Edition.
    • In the book "Complete Arcane" for 3.5, the Prestige Class of "Blood Magus" is described as "formerly deceased spellcasters who, when returned to life, gain an understanding of their blood's importance..." They can create a homonculous as explained above, but they have many other abilities as well, a particularly frightening one being "Bloodwalk". With Bloodwalk, a Blood Magus can teleport by entering the body of a living creature the same size or bigger, either leaving peacefully or exploding out violently.
    • The Maho Tsukai from the Oriental Adventures can, like the 3rd Edition Blood Magus, use his own blood as a replacement for the material components for spells. He can also use someone else's blood, although that takes more time and more blood. Finally, he can use large amounts of blood (enough that it's represented by Constitution damage rather than regular hit point damage) to apply metamagic to his spells without using a higher-level spell slot.
    • Many Forgotten Realms spells are blood-related, like Bladethirst, Bloodstars, Blood Lightning, Beltyn's Burning Blood and elven Blood Dragon, and there are less specific mentions of elven blood magic in novels. Lots of other spells introduced in FR, while not inherently blood-themed, need as a spell component any blood (Revenance, Nulathoe's Ninemen), blood of specific creatures (e.g. red dragon for Daltim's Proof Against Fire, dwarf for Semipermanency) or the caster's blood (Bone Javelin, Elminster's Evasion, Fellblade, Immunity to Undeath, Lich's Touch, Mummy Touch, Phezult's Sleep of Ages, wizardly version of Negative Plane Protection). Components of magical inks, elixirs, etc appearing in Realmslore include blood of various creatures more often than not.
    • Ravenloft was created when Strahd von Zarovich murdered his younger brother Sergei, in a blood sacrifice intended to magically restore his youth.
  • Dark Elves in Warhammer use blood magic. Their sorceresses can sacrifice wounds to get more magic dice, and they have large blood cauldros that imbues nearby units with the blessings of their god Khaine (also known as the bloody handed god).
  • In Warhammer's sister franchise Warhammer 40,000, Chaos often asks you to starts shedding lots of blood — whether it's yours or your enemy's depends on how Tzeentch is feeling that day — for anything more complicated than boiling water, though the most common ritual in any given cult will be summoning daemons. Khorne in particular usually skips the "magic" part and asks for blood all the time.
  • In Legend of the Five Rings, practitioners of maho fuel their spells by spilling blood, often their own. The explanation given is that kansen, malevolent spirits, are attracted to the caster by this act and will then exert their influence over the world in accordance with the mahotsukai's wishes.
  • In Deadlands: Reloaded the Whateley Blood edge allows you to spill your own blood in order to gain "power points".
  • GURPS: Thaumatology codifies this: you have to spill enough blood to drain 20% of your Hit Points in order to get + 1 to casting. Unfortunately taking damage also makes it harder to cast a spell, so without the High Pain Threshold advantage there's not much point to it.
  • In Exalted, all Necromancy spells require a sacrifice of blood as part of the casting. In most cases, this is nothing more than a token sacrifice, and The Black Treatise, the Necromancy sourcebook, notes that necromancers tend to keep bandages handy. For the most powerful rituals, though, more gruesome sacrifices are required; Necromancy is very much Black Magic in the world of Exalted.
    • There are also a few Sorcery spells that are not inherently evil and require the use of blood: Blood Lash only works when you are bleeding, and Benediction of Archgenesis, which requires the sorcerer to cut their feet and walk around the area they wish to bless with life.
  • Scion features the Aztec Pantheon as one of its sample pantheons. As a result, Aztec Scions get access to the Itzli Purview, which allows the Scion to gain power through blood sacrifice. These powers range in potency from "sacrifice some of your blood to gain Legend" to "rip out someone's heart and plug it into your own chest, where it catches fire and grants you new-found vigor."
    • Likewise, Scions of the Aesir get access to Jotunblut, which allows them to use the blood of the giants to make mortal companions stronger. At the highest levels, it allows mortals to turn into giants themselves.
  • Amber Diceless Role-Playing, based on Roger Zelazny's The Chronicles of Amber stories.
    • A character with Advance Shape Shifting can use their own blood to create creatures which have some of their powers. These creatures are NPCs and not under the creator's control.
    • A character with Shape Shifting and Conjuration can create items out of their own blood. A character with Advance Shape Shifting and Conjuration can create items out of other people's blood.

    Video Games 
  • In Planescape: Torment, crystallized blood droplets are used for healing potions.
  • Taken to the extreme in Final Fantasy Tactics, in which human sacrifice is used on a titanic scale by Lucavi, inciting a war with hundreds of thousands of casualties to spill enough blood to raise the Big Bad Altima.
  • Almost literally in Final Fantasy Tactics A2, where the skill "Blood Price" lets you use HP to pay for magick instead of MP. The catch? The HP cost is double the normal MP cost, and you can't use your MP at all with this skill equipped. However, the simple convenience provided by it more than outweighs the drawbacks. Not to mention that you still get HP back if you use it for healing spells.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Blood Mages. Their magic allows them to Cast from Hit Points, drain the life energy of others to fuel their magic, control minds, boil others' blood in their veins, and sometimes even command demons. Despite this, they're not always evil, but most are, and even the good ones tend to be treated as if they are, since the most common method of learning it is through a pact with a demon.
    • The state religion of the Chantry demands that all persons with magical abilities have to permanently join the Circle of Magi and be confined to their towers where they are constantly monitored by templars who are to slay them at the first sign that demons have possessed their bodies. Every mage who tries to escape from the Circle of Magi or refuses to join is treated as being potentially possessed and killed. Since blood magic is not officially sanctioned by the Chantry, blood mages share the same fate as all other apostates.
    • Ironically, the Chantry uses phylacteries, enchanted containers filled with the blood of Circle Mages, to hunt down any who try to escape. Destroying their phylactery is the only way a mage can ensure their freedom.
    • The Joining - Grey Wardens gain their powers by drinking darkspawn blood mixed with lyrium. The cost to this is the Darkspawn Taint eventually will overtake every Grey Warden, turning them into a Darkspawn themselves. They avoid this happening by suicidally venturing into the Deep Roads and trying to kill as many Darkspawn there as they can when they feel the taint has gotten too strong.
      • Conversely in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening, it's eventually revealed that the sentient darkspawn that have been showing up originated from a Rogue Drone called the Architect who found out that he could use a mixture containing Grey Warden blood to turn other darkspawn into Rogue Drones as well.
    • Another example of this are Reavers, warriors who ritually drink Dragon's blood and among other things, gain the ability to drain the lifeforce of others to replenish their own. Oddly enough, despite skirting very close into the same territory, becoming a Reaver is not frowned upon by the Chantry.
    • In Dragon Age II, the Legacy DLC reveals that twenty years previously, Malcolm Hawke was forced by the Grey Wardens into using blood magic to reinforce the seals of an Ancient Grey Warden Prison. An unintended side-effect of this was that only those of Malcolm's bloodline are able to break through the prison's defenses and free Corypheus, causing Hawke and their sibling to be targeted by the Carta.
  • Another BioWare example is in Jade Empire. The defenses of Dierge were broken when the sacred fountains were polluted with human blood. Useful in the nastiest way possible if you take the Closed Fist option.
  • In the Dominions series, spells from most schools of magic are cast using "gems" which are basically elemental forces (fire, water, etc...) concentrated into portable form, and the casting prices of spells are listed in these gems. Instead of gems, however, one school of magic lists spell prices in blood. These prices are listed in increments of one blood slave, each of which must be drained completely empty, with high-level spell costs running into the hundreds. Blood magic is conspicuous in battle, where mages or priests are surrounded by a white-robed flock they systematically stab, especially if the mages start losing and set the slaves to charge into the spears of the enemies while they themselves flee. Dominions is not a happy series.
  • In God of War II, at the Temple of the Fates, Kratos is required to capture a translator to read the incantation needed to open his path. Said incantation ends with the reader offering his blood as a sacrifice. Cue Oh Crap just before Kratos bashes the guy's head in against the altar, his blood draining into a pattern etched onto the floor.
  • Sort of used in Devil May Cry. When you kill monsters you collect their blood (which conveniently crystallized into red orbs in contact with air) to upgrade your magic powers. Justified in that there is a bounty system in placed by some nebulous god of good.
    • Also, in Devil May Cry 3, Arkham used the blood of Dante, Vergil, and Lady to open up the portal to the demon world. He needs this because the portal was sealed by Sparda (Dante and Vergil's father) using his own blood and the blood of a mortal priestess, Lady's ancestor.
  • Clive Barker's Jericho has Wilhelmina "Billie" Church, a powerful blood mage. Her blood magic and abilities play a very important part in the game's story, and her spells can bind enemies and set them on fire.
    • The Sumerian Demons Inanna and Ninlil also rely on blood magic (referred to as sanguimancy ingame). While Inanna uses the blood of Innocent people bound to torture wheels, Ninlil has herself locked within an Iron Maiden to spill as much of her own blood as possible.
  • In Warcraft II Death Knights, after being researched at the Temple of the Damned gain the spell Unholy Armor, which adds a nearly impenetrable suit of armor at the cost of half of the target's HP.
    • In World of Warcraft, according to the background warlock's life tap ability (convert health to mana) works exactly like this (they sacrifice their own blood to gain mana), using it to summon most of their demonic pets, empowering their weapons or, curiously enough, a number of beneficial effects like summoning party members or Healthstones which can be consumed like a potion.
    • Warcraft III introduced Blood Mages, but despite the name they don't practice any of this; most of their spells are fire-based. Lampshaded by one you meet in the Blasted Lands, who says Blood Mages "eat normal food like normal people."
  • In Guild Wars a Necromancer's blood magic skills often have you sacrificing health to achieve an effect. The same class also uses Death magic, which exploits your dead opponent's corpses (and therefore blood) for similar effect, and their innate Soul Reaping ability, which heals you upon an enemy's death.
    • Blood magic also has you drain health.
  • This is one of the ways a Servant is summoned in Fate/stay night. You take some chickens, put them to sleep, kill them, draw out their blood and make a magic circle. Then, you can either use a catalyst for a specific hero or just the general term of inducing madness in order to get a Berserker. Rider and Caster in Fate/Zero were also summoned in this manner, and it's more noted upon there as well.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim The only way to open the old Blades headquarters in Skyrim is with the blood of a dragonborn.
    • In the Dawnguard DLC, the lock sealing away Serana requires blood and a small puzzle to open it.
  • The Dark Knight class that appears in various Final Fantasy games has the ability to sacrifice health to either empower or fuel their attacks.
  • According to the manual, the monsters in Zelda II: The Adventure of Link want to kill Link so they can use his blood to revive Ganon. They apparently succeed if you get a Game Over...
  • Taken to the extreme again by Vladimir the Crimson Reaper, a "hemomancer" in League of Legends. Not only are all his abilities blood-related (including draining the blood out of his opponents and into him and briefly turning into a near-invulnerable pool of blood) but he fights with an orb of blood which hovers in his hands that he shoots at his opponents.
  • Grimoire Weiss of NieR absorbs the blood of fallen enemies to create magical constructs for his partner to attack with.
  • Shao Kahn created Skarlet out of blood collected from various battlefields in Mortal Kombat 9.
  • According to Marisa, Remilia Scarlet from Touhou utilises this for a few spellcards. Blood is amazing!
  • The Secret World features this as one of the three magical disciplines players can take on, and generally revolves around healing and damage (with life drain). Also, while with all skill sets you have to use weaker skills to build up "resource" charges which are spent on more powerful skills, you can still cast powerful blood magic skills without sufficient charges - you just sacrifice health instead.
  • During the second Hatoful Boyfriend, a Mad Scientist starts drawing the blood of Anghel Higure, who has bizarre hallucinogenic powers tied to his fantasies, and using it so he can power a giant lazer with kidnapped otaku.
  • During the second major part of Act V of Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, which has you going through the Blood Marsh near Westmarch, you learn that Adria has started using blood magic, creating blood golems and maddening the boggits, bogans and other monsters of the marsh to try to slow you down.
  • The melee skill tree in Avencast: Rise of the Mage is called Blood Magic, but it's more likely to reference blood spatter from melee-range physical attacks than dark mysticism.

    Web Comics 
  • In Supernormal Step, Jules and Van practice blood magic. However, Jules made Van swear not to use blood magic without his guidance. This almost certainly will affect the plot later.
  • Biscuit begins with a character opening an envelope sealed by blood magic.
  • In Drowtales, blood sorcery is a branch of mana manipulation, and the protagonist Ariel is especially vulnerable to it. Syphile, her abusive caretaker, has an affinity for blood magic and uses it against Ariel at few times.
    • Later on we get a dark take on the idea when a human king begins a campaign of kidnapping and brutally killing elves so he can bathe in their blood, hoping to gain immortality.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, the blood of the innocent awakes a powerful magic spirit in Torg's sword.
  • In Looking for Group, when Cale's swords are exposed to blood, they reveal a map to Kethenecia.
  • Timmy from Parallel Dementia can use blood magic.
  • In Familiar Ground, how they know that Toad's wizard is evil.
  • In Tamuran, the princes' blood is needed for a working
  • The Erlkönig in Roommates used his own blood to seal his son's magic and memories (symbolically his left eye). What power the guy has that a the blood of a blood related fae noble was needed is anyone's guess (maybe the Erlkönig is just a show off).
  • In Penny Arcade's "Eyrewood" comics, a person in dire need can summon the Thornwatch by tying briars in a particular way around a birch tree. No, you can't wear gloves: "With bow and blood, the spell is done."
  • In Heart Core, there are a few characters who has this ability. Royce has shown to have the ability to controll spilled blood (his own and others) in order to use them as strong tentacles that can grasp and crush bones of weaker creatures. Then there are the Salamander Demons, Carval and Volaster Jarvoc being some of them, who can use their black, flamable blood in order to creature very powerful fire-bombs in an isntant. That is, when they don't opt to turning themsleves into living nukes
  • Qarr in The Order of the Stick mentions using virgin's blood as a spell reagent.
  • Treneth in Visseria is shown preparing his magic-payloaded arrows by writing scrolls in his blood and tucking them inside.

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamers Alliance, blood magic is one of the magic schools which has a stigma on it when it was abused in the past. Because of this, very few mages are skilled in it, some notable exceptions being the Alentian councillor Harrad U'niviel and the wandering sage Dieter von Waldheim.
  • Fey has used this in the Whateley Universe against a dark mage who was trying to enslave her.

    Western Animation 


Blood KnightOlder Than FeudalismBlood Sport
Blood LustBloody TropesBlood Oath
Black MagicMagic and PowersCall On Me
HellboyImageSource/Live-Action FilmsHell of the Living Dead

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