The Maniacal Rantings of the Urban Crone

Bear witness to the rantings of the Urban Crone as she emparts her wisdom in her own rather quirky way.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Protective Practices Part Three: Preventative Practices

Preventative Protective Practices
    The best way to do damage control is to do everything you can to prevent psychic hazards before it actually happens. Once they are imbedded in your life, it is not just the magic you are up against, but all of the mundane fall out that may come with it. Financial issues, personal issues, even the loss of a job or relationship and much more can be part of the mundane fall out from a psychic hazard. The purpose of a psychic attack is to really wreak havoc on your life, and undoing that havoc can be ten times worse that undoing the harmful magic that caused it.
My advice is that preventative protective practices should be a part of every witch’s, energy worker’s, reader’s, community leader’s, metaphysical shop owner’s and anyone else’s every day life who is part of or tied to a metaphysical community. I also advise it for anyone else who understands what kind of crappy things people can do to one another and is willing to do a little work to protect themselves.
The following are absolutes when it comes to preventing any psychic attack or danger from wreaking havoc in your life. I will give you some general information and guidance on these, but it is always best if these things are shaped by your own personal traditions and practices as you will be more likely to maintain them.
First, you must physically and spiritually cleanse your space often. This removes any harmful energy that may have collected in your space and works to try and prevent negative energy from being able to collect or take root. Physical cleaning and decluttering creates an important positive energy flow. This means that good energy flows through your space bringing in with it positive things, and will even cycle negative energy out if it should make it into your space. Physical cleansing includes what is called reiving, the practice of physically cleaning with the added intent that you are removing the build up of negative energy yuck. Cleansing and protective herbs and crystals can be added to your cleaning solutions to take your cleansing to an even higher level and enhance the reiving effect. Once this is finished, smudging the space with protective incense, resins or herbs will remove what is left.
Second, you must also actually establish what the boundaries of your space are and set up protective wards. Wards are shields that we put in place to protect a specific location. The first step in warding is to actually set the physical boundary of your space by walking clockwise the boundary of your location with the strong intent in mind of “marking this as my space”. You can also use physical marker to outline the boundary of your space with quartz crystals and other protective stones, or even by sprinkling your boundary with blend of salt and protective herbs.
Once you have established your boundary, set your ward in whatever fashion you feel comfortable using and maintaining. Most traditions will have something about wards as part of their repertoire. I usually recommend using what is part of your tradition because it is something you are going to have to want to maintain regularly, so it should feel comfortable to you, be a compilation of practices you are already familiar with.
The method I use is similar to setting a circle. I walk my boundary, sprinkling an infusion (think strong tea) of salt and protective herbs as I go. I then call on each of the quarters and ask them to protect the space. I do not use invoking pentacles to affix them to the space as I am asking politely that they just keep an eye on things, asking them to linger about without locking them in place. I will then call upon a protective deity of hearth and home to watch over my space. These will be the Deities that are honored and incorporated into my house altar as a sign of respect and gratitude. A house altar is also a great part of your warding, working towards blessing your home, inviting in prosperity and honoring ancestors and the Deities you have incorporated into your warding.
You can also set guards in the form of totems. These can be mythical creatures or animals that you feel deeply connected with. I have known several people who have used images of gargoyles, dragons and fairies as part of their ward for their homes. In my home, I have turtles and owls because these are the totems that I connect with. Each likeness of my totem has been “animated”  with protective energy by way of a small ritual, and are recharged on a regular basis.
 I maintain my wards often, at a minimum of every full moon, making sure to thank the deities I have chosen to guard my space. I will repeat the entire process once a month, or sooner if I feel like there may be something going on or may potentially be a problem. I will also repeat the cleansing and warding process if I have been doing a great deal of magical work.
Other locational protections include Witch bottles. These are forms of warding that redirect negative energy that may be heading towards you. The bottle is buried away from your home and will contain the harmful energy safely where it can’t harm you, slowly neutralizing it with the energy of the surrounding earth. These can take a number of forms, and instructions on their construction are widely available.
Third, you must also cleanse yourself and set personal boundaries in the form of grounding, maintaining a strong sense of center and shielding. The two easiest ways to cleanse your self are to smudge yourself and take a cleansing salt bath. You should realistically smudge yourself as soon as you walk in the door every day to cleanse off any of the day’s residual ick. Arguments, bad traffic, stupid people and daily annoyances can easily attach negative energy to you like gum on your shoe. Incense can remove most of the ick, and a cleansing salt water bath can do the rest. You can also add herbs to your bath if you wish with cleansing properties, tucking them in a piece of panty hose, tying a knot, then tossing it in your bath.
Meditation will help with the mental and emotional cleansing to prevent the dangers we may spin ourselves, like thoughtforms. Grounding is the way in which we can gather energy, but we can also use it to keep our personal energy charged and cleansed. A strong awareness of our personal center keeps track of what is going on in your spiritual and physical body and helps to keep your energy centers functioning properly, like keeping your spiritual immune system up and running. I equate our personal center to the artificial horizon on an airplane’s control panel, used by pilots to keep a plane’s bearings.
Shielding is what some witches can find challenging. Understand that an aura is not a shield but an energy field through which we filter the energies that come our way, how we experience them, and is a reflection of our own personal energy. A good shield will not only protect us but also help to warn us if harmful energy or vampiric intentions are being directed at us so that we can act before it becomes a problem, strengthening our shield or even removing ourselves from the situation. If you use too much of your personal energy for this, you can be left feeling like you are dragging. The remedy I use to is pull Earth energy for my shield. I am always conscious of the energy beneath my feet, which can be tapped to cycle through for my shield. Other people employ other elements, power animals and deities to fuel their shield. Look at your own personal tradition to find a method that you will be most comfortable with. Also, a shield does not have to span out 20 feet in all directions but rather like a second skin or item of clothing. Visualizing your shield is also helpful, seeing it as a suit of armor or protective pajamas with an awesome hood (great way to teach the very young how to shield at large gatherings), even as the Cloak of the Goddess herself, the first method I learned as a very young priestess.    
Amulets are also a great form of protection to be use in addition to wards and shields. An amulet is a pendent or piece of jewelry that we have charged through ritual with protective energy. Unlike talismans, which work to attract something to you, amulets are designed to repel things like bad luck or danger. You can also create an amulet by placing a few protective herbs, stones and symbols, either written on paper or carved into something, in small drawstring bags, charging each item as you place it in with protective energy and then charge the entire bag as well. These can be worn or carried with you in your purse or pocket. You can even create for one for your car to hang from the rear view mirror or place in the glove box. Amulets can also be hung from windows and doors as part of your warding as well. The uses of protective amulets are as endless as your imagination.
Finally, you must learn to be aware of your surroundings and the types of energies you allow into your life. All the protection in the world will amount to naught if you invite and allow negative energy into your personal, spiritual and actual space. Think about how the people you allow into your space make you feel. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Think about the places and events you go to. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. This includes thoughts, deeds, other people and the places we go.
I have one final word of warning about all of this. Even the absolute best preventative protective practices cannot stop a bullet. There are real life monsters out there that are flesh and blood. While you can work physical protection into the warding you do for your space, and your own personal shield, you have to understand that it does not make you bulletproof. It can change your path to keep you from going into danger or any number of other things, but these things are not designed to take direct physical hit, and they certainly will not work against stupidity.
Here are a few helpful books on protective magic are:
The Witch's Shield by Christopher Penczak
Practical Protection Magick by Ellen Dugan
I am hoping that this series has been helpful in some way. I am leaving much up to you to research and figure out for yourself as part of practicing magic is putting some work into it rather than having it handed to you. I will be posting an additional blog with some helpful correspondences and tips.
Be safe and Goddess Bless,
Urban Crone.