Not long ago, Ode and I were watching a couple of horror movies. Films that had us yelling at the television because the psychic “hero” never bothered with any methods of spiritual protection. Like, at all. Simple stuff that every Witch or magickal practitioner learns in their early training (or should do).
Seriously. This character could have avoided so much (past actions leading to the present conflict in the storyline) or at least helped if cleansing, personal shielding, and warding had occurred at any point in the movie but nope. Nothing. Dream catchers don’t even get a nod for nightmares in this flick.
This is a gripe (shared in good humor) that Ode and I have with various horror genres but especially those that deal with ghosts, psychic phenomena, hauntings, etc. Let me explain. Or, to quote Inigo Montoya –“No, there is too much. Let me sum up.”
Movies That Lack Info About Spiritual Protection
You may be wondering what movies Ode and I were watching that prompted our outbursts (and this post). Our horror fest included Insidious (2010) and Insidious: The Second Chapter (2013). Two films of a four-part series that feature a psychic/medium character, Elise Rainier (portrayed by the talented Lin Shaye), as a lynchpin character throughout the series. And these movies are spooky, spine-tingling fun.
If you’re not familiar or haven’t watched I won’t spoil the films (or try not to do so). But in the first film, Elise is called upon to assist a family who has been experiencing frightening paranormal intrusions after their oldest son (8-year-old Dalton) falls into a mysterious coma. She is meant to guide the family through the situation and unravels old mysteries. But does she really help? Really? Because Ode and I do not think so.
Elise’s actions (or lack thereof) are where Ode and I jumped into a discussion to express our “outrage.” We do this when watching such films because we are ridiculous people who love scaring ourselves therefore critiquing characters or the flaws in their methodology are a good distraction when we are “enspookened.” That’s an Ode word. Just roll with it. In this case, we were ragging on the fact that Elise is meant to help these people. Okay — spoiler alert. Stop reading if you don’t want to know why we were (comically) annoyed.
Last warning. Okay. Read On, MacDuff.
Elise comes to this family to figure out why the kid is in a coma and why spooks are suddenly everywhere. The little dude is a natural astral traveler. You can suss out the rest from there. But the point is, the PSYCHIC goes into this situation with a pair of assistants (geeky, adorable — now favorite characters) but with no sign of any kind of spiritual protection. At all. For herself, her team, or the family.
Nary a crystal, sacred symbol, nor sage bundle to be found. Elise and her boys go blundering into the investigation and then pretty much have the family deal on their own while the ghost hunters observe. The PSYCHIC sits there being all stern and spooky while Dalton’s father does all the spiritual heavy lifting. And the poor man doesn’t know shit!
This is when Ode turns to me and says, “Any Witch could take care of this situation with some basic cleansing, shielding, and warding. Why isn’t she at least helping them do that? Even a psychic should know how to do that.” This is when I piped up with the fact most of the time its witches who get a bad rap for all the haunting shenanigans in horror movies of this type in the first place. Or Satanists. They get blamed a lot too.
The point is, the child and father in this story are traveling through astral space. They could be taught to shield and protect themselves (yes I know, not the point of a horror movie) but the idea is never even suggested. The only resolution given is to block the father and son’s psychic talent. Which is so lame and doesn’t actually resolve the issue or offer real protection.
Movies Do Not Treat The Occult As Real — But It Is.
Now, I know what you are thinking. You want to tell me to chill, it’s just a movie, blah blah. And you are correct. Films such as Insidious and others with a paranormal “flavor” are meant to entertain. Most of this genre’s writers, producers, and actors probably do not believe in psychics, ghosts, witches, or astral travel. For them, it is chilling but not real. The occult additions will draw people in to spend their time and money to be entertained. End of story.
However, those of us who are witches, psychic mediums, et al., we know the reality of these practices and phenomena. We also understand there are ways to protect ourselves, family, homes, etc. We learn how to work with spirit allies. But movies such as these do not take witchcraft or occult practice seriously. Or if they do, they show someone using sage or crystals but the measures will prove to be ineffective or labeled as “witchcraft” that instigates or exacerbates the “demonic infestation.”
Believe it or not, some people do get their ideas about ghost hunting, psychics, witches, the paranormal, or the occult from the popular culture of movies and television long before they read an informative book. Sometimes, even when they do more research the beliefs instilled from a “true-life” witchcraft/ghost/occult inspired story will continue to inform their understanding.
Don’t get me wrong. Films such as The Conjuring are great (so long as you ignore 90% of the Warren’s input). Same with shows such as “A Haunting.” Very entertaining. I enjoy them too. But I’ve had many people ask me questions about hauntings or paranormal phenomena experienced that indicate they are basing knowledge of the paranormal (and to lesser degree witchcraft) from popular media they consume.
Forget Elise. Spiritual Protection IS A Thing
Yes. Here is the part where I do what ELISE the psychic medium should have done in both Insidious movies. Sharing information that psychic/spiritual protection is available (without wiping anyone’s memories) and relatively simple. You can do three things:
Cleansing–Sometimes spiritual/psychic energy can get a little “sticky.” So, just like the term indicates you want to clean that energy from your person or space. My favorite method is by wafting sacred smoke (rosemary is always my choice for its additional protective qualities) from head to toe or throughout the space needing to be cleared. Sage spray (water that has been infused with sage herbs) spritzed around an area or used in a bath. Florida Water is another traditional way to cleanse a space (spritz, used as a wash for floors and walls, etc). Besoms/brooms are great for sweeping negative energy away as well.
Shielding–There are a number of ways a person can protect themselves through shielding. The most basic is creating an energetic shield through visualization. Such a shield can be extended beyond one’s personal space to encompass a bed while a person sleeps, by the way. Amulets can be worn as a protective shield, protective spell bags, charms, and sacred symbols.
Warding–Ode and I have created and maintain wards around our home. This is done in a variety of ways that include visualization of an energy barrier around the house, seeking assistance from the house spirit(s) to protect the home, sealing windows and doors with salt, and the use of sacred symbols, charms, and sigils placed on or above doors.
And then you maintain your spiritual protection! It’s not a “one and done” kind of deal.
Confession Is (Supposedly) Good For The Soul
So, one of the reasons I’m probably so hard on Elise (and other characters like her) is that I used to BE her. When first starting my path as a Witch some twenty years ago, I worked to improve my psychic medium ability and joined a ghost hunting team. And yes, I did so because of watching those shows on television. But nobody on those programs really goes into how to protect one’s self (except saying to avoid witchcraft or Satanists).
Truth is, I did not protect myself or my family in a spiritual sense. What little I attempted proved to be ineffective because I allowed so much into my life and home in a desire to improve as a medium. Sort of like creating protection, only to dismiss it right away. Additionally, my mentor and I never really got into spiritual protection (and she didn’t approve of my ghost hunting/mediumship work. At all). Yes. I did understand the basics but I did not discern the necessity of maintenance. The intention is key as well.
Therefore, I learned that cleansing, shielding, and warding are very important by experiencing a lot of uncomfortable phenomena due to the lack of it. After hearing Ode (a teenager at the time) describe their own frightening encounter, I figured out spiritual protection really quickly. I taught Ode how to do the same. Reality can be a harsh teacher.
Enjoy Movies But Remember –They Are Not Your Source
So, if you’ve made it through my little (sort of humorous, sort of serious) rant I’m sure you have figured out the point. If you enjoy a good horror movie (Annabelle is your jam) remember that just because “true story” is in the promotional material doesn’t mean the information presented is accurate. And if they show someone using sage or crystals but their attempt at cleansing doesn’t work then take it for what it is meant to do. Be scary. That’s it.
Cleansing, shielding, and warding do work. Yes. There are some house/land spirits that simply do not like human beings and it is better to leave. There are some spirits that attach to people and can be hard to remove. In my experience, that can mean a person is (unconsciously) allowing the interaction or some personal shadow work might be necessary.
Paranormal activities such as seen in the Insidious films are more often than not highly exaggerated. To my knowledge, those who experience or engage in astral travel are not in danger of possession (and yes, that is something I’ve heard some Evangelical/Pentecostal Christians preach). As with any psychic activity, spiritual protection measures should be part of your work. Ask spirit guides, angels (if you work with them) for protection. Do have personal shields and wards erected. Wear protective sigils and symbols.
Last but not least, find reputable sources that confirm best practices for the psychic activity you are going to engage in (like using a spirit board). Check multiple sources shared by those who are adepts. Use good judgment and learn from your experiences. And then you too can watch Insidious (it’s currently playing on Netflix) and be like “But Elise…”