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Angel was meant to suffer. Not to live as human. One moment of true happiness, of contentment, one moment where the soul that we restored no longer plagues his thoughts, and that soul is taken from him.
Enyos Kalderash[src]

Ritual of Restoration was a curse to restore a vampire’s soul. It was used on Angelus by the Clan Kalderash after the notorious vampire murdered their most beloved daughter.

When Angel’s curse was broken in 1998, Willow Rosenberg performed the spell a second time to restore his soul and return him to his heroic persona. She repeated this spell in 2003 after Angelus was deliberately set free again by his friends.

History

The ritual is intended to curse a vampire by re-ensouling him or her, thus forcing the vampire to accept massive amounts of remorse, guilt and torment for all the lives that they have taken as a soulless beast. As far as is aware, Angel is the only vampire who has been re-ensouled in this way, and it is unclear whether other soulless demons can be re-ensouled in this way.

Restoring a vampire’s soul in this way is not intended as a gift. It is very much a form of revenge, or a curse since if ever there comes a time when the restored soul no longer torments the vampire, the moment the vampire is not plagued by the guilt of what they had done for the sake of evil in the past, then in that instant the soul is taken from them. Angel’s soul has been lost this way twice.

Whenever the curse takes effect, it takes a few moments for the vampire to remember their actions while soulless, and when it is broken, the vampire suffers debilitating pain as his soul is ripped from his body.

While the Clan Kalderash intended the ritual as a curse, when the Scooby Gang and later Angel Investigations had the ritual used on Angel again, it was intended merely to restore Angel’s soul and bring back Angel, as opposed to punish Angelus. The Kalderash had wanted Angelus to suffer for his actions, but the Scoobies and the AI team had come to know and love Angel, who had been actively seeking redemption and atonement.

For a long time, it was implied that the Ritual of Restoration would be broken if Angel ever had any kind of sexual intercourse, resulting in magician Magnus Bryce referring to Angel as an eunuch, much to Angel’s annoyance;[1] in fact, Faith Lehane attempted to seduce Angel with the thought that it would break his curse.[2] However, Angel has done so to no ill effect on several occasions: his "perfect despair" moment with Darla,[3] an implied sexual relationship with the Transuding Furies,[4] his liaison with Eve while under the influence of a sleep-deprived Lorne’s mind control,[5] and his tryst with Nina Ash.[6] During the Twilight crisis, Angel also had sex with Buffy once again without losing his soul,[7] although in this case his recent "upgrade" may have altered the conditions of his curse.

Requirements

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The ingredients.

To perform the ritual, one needs four candles, some animal bones, runic stones, burning incense and an Orb of Thesulah. With these items, one creates a sacred circle, kneels, stands or sits in front of it and initiates the incantation by casting some stones over the sacred circle.

Usually the first line of the incantation is spoken by a secondary person, but it is unclear whether this is always the case. The ritual is spoken in a combination of Romanian and another language which appears to be of the caster’s choice (the languages seen to have been used so far are Latin and English).

The Ritual of Restoration is an extremely powerful spell and has been seen to literally take over a less-experienced or weakened caster. According to Giles, this ritual first required its caster to possess a greater knowledge of the magical arts than even he (an accomplished Watcher) could claim. He also mentioned that if an untrained witch were to attempt such a powerful spell, it could open a doorway in the witch’s soul that she would be unable to close. Given how this spell thoroughly overcame Willow in the midst of the ritual, which resulted in it partially casting itself, it might have contributed to her eventual development as the most powerful witch her dimension had ever seen.

Versions

The Ritual of Restoration has been performed on three separate occasions; once by a Kalderash elder and twice by Willow Rosenberg. The ritual is spoken slightly differently each time, presumably because the translation made by Jenny Calendar is not an exact replica of the original text, though it seems to have the same effect, and also due to the time difference between the first and second instances where Willow performed the ritual, her powers as a witch have increased greatly, so logic dictates that she has adapted the curse according to her own research and experience.

Kalderash version

The following was spoken by the Kalderash elder:[8]

Este scris, această putere este dreptul poporul meu de a conduce.
Nici mort, nici al fiinţei,
te invoc, spirit al trecerii.
Redă trupului ce separe omul de animal.
Aşa să fie cu ajutorul acestui!

Willow’s first version

The following was spoken by Willow the first time she attempted the ritual:[9]

Quod perditum est, invenietur.
Not dead, nor not of the living,
spirits of the interregnum, I call.
Gods, bind him. Cast his heart from the evil realm.
Te implor, Doamne; nu ignoră aceasta rugăminte!
Nici mort, nici al fiinţei,
lăsa orbită să fie vasul care-i vă transportă sufletul la el.
Aşa să fie! Aşa să fie!
Acum! Acum!

Willow’s second version

In her second casting, Willow first had to cast a spell to release Angel’s soul into the ether, as it had been currently trapped by Jasmine. The following was spoken the second time Willow performed the ritual to restore Angel’s soul:[10]

Quod perditum est, invenietur.
Nici mort, nici al fiinţei,
te invoc spirit al trecerii.
Te implor, Doamne; nu ignoră aceasta rugăminte!
Lăsa orbită să fie vasul care-i vă transportă sufletul la el.
Este scris, aceasta putere este dreptul poporul meu de a conduce.
Aşa să fie! Aşa să fie!
Acum!

Full incantation

Combining what is said by the two casters on four separate occasions (including the interrupted one), and taking into account the on-screen cuts when the ritual is being performed, below is as close as possible to the full incantation for the Ritual of Restoration:

Quod perditum est, invenietur.
Nici mort, nici al fiinţei,
te invoc spirit al trecerii.
Gods, bind him, cast his heart from the evil realm.
Let him know the pain of humanity, gods.
Reach your wizened hands to me. Give me the sword...
Te implor, Doamne; nu ignoră aceasta rugăminte.
Lăsa orbită să fie vasul care-i vă transportă sufletul la el.
Este scris, aceasta putere este dreptul poporul meu de a conduce.
Redă trupului ce separe omul de animal.
Aşa să fie cu ajutorul acestui magic glob de cristal.
Aşa să fie! Aşa să fie!
Acum! Acum!

Translation:

What is lost, return.
Not dead, nor not of the living,
Spirits of the interregnum, I call.
Gods, bind him, cast his heart from the evil realm.
Let him know the pain of humanity, gods.
Reach your wizened hands to me. Give me the sword...
I call on you, Lord; do not ignore this request.
Let this orb be the vessel that will carry his soul to him.
It is written, this power is my people’s right to wield.
Return to the body what separates man from animal.
So shall it be with the help of this magic crystal globe.
So it shall be! So it shall be!
Now! Now!

Behind the scenes

Nici mort, nici al fiinţei,
te invoc spirit al trecerii.
Redă trupului ce separe omul de animal
cu ajutorul acestui magic glob de cristal.

Appearances

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Angel
Angel comics

References