One of my favorite Christopher Penczak quotes is from his fantastic book, The Witch’s Shield. In it he writes, “The only way to truly be protected at all times is to claim your personal power with the highest code of ethics and responsibility. If you are centered in this type of power, the power of the universe supports you, and no one and nothing can defeat you.” I have quoted this in more than one workshop and feel that it’s the heart of magickal protection.
It’s important to take responsibility for our own thoughts, emotions, and actions instead of constantly pointing the finger at others. Oftentimes, we are our own worse enemies and I have seen plenty of people fall into a paranoia that someone was working negative magick on them when they were just essentially cursing themselves. By ensuring that we live lives of integrity and ethics, we are lessening our chance of accumulating and perpetuating drama and unbalanced energies into our lives. As I wrote in the Consequences of Continual Cursing, in my own observations, those who are quick to curse others soon find themselves stuck in a cycle of constantly needing to curse others as drama and unbalanced magickal practitioners begin entering their lives.
This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on our protection. While in an ideal world we wouldn’t have to. Unfortunately, we really do. Sometimes we do need to defend and ignoring protection is straight up foolish. Being a good driver doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear a seatbelt. Here are thirteen basic practices for magickal protection.
- Watch Your Words
One of the first lessons I learned when formally studying witchcraft was the power of my spoken words, even if meant jokingly. However, I constantly observe people cursing their lives. “Why does this always happen to me?”, “I just can’t get a break!”, “It’s always one thing after another!”, “Well, f*** my life!” (or “f*** me!”), etc. These are all casual phrases which are in fact, curses. If we engage in the magickal act of creating reality with the spoken word, (ie most spellcasting), we should be super mindful of what we’re saying with intense emotion.
- Maintain Your Magickal Hygiene
Ensure that your psychic and cleansing routine is, in fact, a routine. When you have a build up of emotional, mental, psychic, and emotional “sludge” in your energy field or your home this can weaken your defenses making any attack easier.
If you can maintain basic grounding any excess energy that isn’t yours and that your energy system cannot handle will be grounded instead of absorbed. However, maintaining constant grounding 24/7 can be difficult to achieve – but if you’re feeling you need an extra dose of protection, remember to ground yourself.
- Refrain From Offending Spirits
Be mindful and respectful of all spirits – including deities, even if they aren’t ones you work with or worship. Even if we live by a certain moral code, that doesn’t mean they do. Folklore and mythology are full of spirits and gods that have been offended by humans and their response. Be mindful when entering natural places and old buildings to see if the spirits have given you permission or not to enter.
- Keep Your Magickal Agreements
No one likes a liar. This includes spirits and deities. If you have sworn to do something in exchange for a magickal favor and you don’t, there’s a very strong chance you’re going to offend them with the chance that they’ll want to collect. Make sure all agreements are ones that you’re willing to make and then follow through with them.
- Work With Protective Allies
I don’t think there’s any religious or magickal system that doesn’t have some sort of protective ally, whether that’s a deity, a saint, an angel, or a particular spirit. You definitely want to build a relationship with at least one protective ally that you can petition or invoke when needed.
- Energy Shields
Visualizing a shield sounds too simple to work, but it does. Willing a shield around your body is very powerful. Usually this is a white, rainbow or gold field that goes around your own aura. Some visualize a mirror around their aura, sending back whatever energy is sent to them. Some still feel this perpetuates negativity and doesn’t really solve the root of the problem.
- Banishing & Protection Rituals
Almost every magickal tradition has its own banishing & protection ritual. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn has the Lesser Banishing Pentagram (LBRP), Thelema has the Star Ruby, and the Aurum Solis has the Rousing of the Citadels. Jason Miller also teaches his own, The Spheres of Hekas, in his book Protection & Reversal Magick.
Amulets are empowered magickal symbols that ward energies and influences (as opposed to talismans which attract). Many religious symbols can act as amulets such as the Cross, the Pentacle, the Star of David, the Pentacle. The Nazar Boncuk, or “evil eye” beaded charms are also used in many different cultures and magickal traditions to protect against negative emotions, thoughts, and energies directed at a person – both consciously and unconsciously.
The most common decoy method is creating a poppet and casting a spell on it to be perceived as you to any malicious magickal practitioner or spirit. The important thing to note here is to ensure that you aren’t creating a poppet of yourself and that you don’t create a sympathetic link between it and you. If you did, there’d be no point in creating it, as every hit it received – you would also receive. You want something that will be confused energetically with you, not something energetically linked with you. Some practitioners will also create “spirit traps” which have the same mechanics of a mouse trap but for malicious spirits.
Most black stones are super protective, possibly due to their grounding properties. Black Tourmaline, Jet, Obsidian, Hematite, etc. are all excellent protection stones. In my interview with Nicholas Pearson, I asked why black stones tend to be protective and grounding and he had a really interesting answer.
Among the protective minerals, iron has a long history of its protection, especially against spirits. Some witches will charge iron horseshoes and place them above doorways. Another common practice is to charge four railroad spikes and stake them into the corners of your property. Other witches and magickal practitioners will use iron coffin nails in their workings, though they have a reputation for cursing and crossing spells, they also have a history of being used in protection magick.
Laughter is one of the best ways to neutralize an energy, whether it’s a curse, a self-imposed crossing, or just wonky energy. Scarlet Magdalene has a great post on laughter that I highly recommend.