Guards and Wards

I was talking with a friend the other day, and the topic of warding and protection magic for one’s home came up. In living in or amidst mixed company and when wanting to avoid unnecessary complications with the locals, I have often tried to adopt subtle methods. Furthermore, I have observed and picked up several tips and tricks over the years, though I wouldn’t say these are by any means original or all-encompassing.

Threat Surfaces & When the Wards Fail

Before I get underway, I want to say that, in all likelihood, something will eventually get inside. Indeed, you may have a clean house, but if you bring in an object with something nasty attached to it, then you’ve just worked against yourself. The Trojan Horse is a myth for a reason.

The ways into your space are limited by the imagination, cunning, pride, and diligence of the being in question. While Milton’s Satan may lower himself to crawl in the dirt as a snake, he sure does complain about it. Hopefully, you don’t have to worry about someone that persistent. But, you might consider notions like—

  • Can someone ride the AC current into your home?
  • Can someone use an image to get in through you looking at that image? I always have a morbid fascination with photographs of ghosts: to what degree does looking at and imagining the ghost give a ghost a potential door into you or your space?
  • Can someone ride in your water pipes?[1]
  • Can someone ride insects or other critters and crawl inside? Consider all the stories about shapeshifting beings like jinn and faeries.

While you could try to imagine as many different ways as possible to get in your house in order to try to imagine as many different ways to ward it, I would counsel you to stop doing that. Instead, identify some key vectors or threat surfaces that stand out to you, and go from there. If you discover or realize you missed something, go back and address that when you can. Otherwise, you’ll just obsess yourself over trying to cover every contingency.

It is far saner to instead have responses ready for when something does go wrong. For example, consider—

  • What exorcism and banishing tech do you have?
  • What purification and cleansing tech?
  • What uncrossing tech?
  • Is your home clean before you ward it?

Get some sea salt and some water and spritz about. Get some holy water that works for you. Get a floor wash or something similar. Do you have some dragon’s blood incense in case of emergencies? (Save it for the emergencies.)

Confronting Apathy

In my conversation, my friend mentioned noting that they felt a bit blasé about trying to stay on top of these things, and I can understand that. I’ve had that sense of, “Meh–if it matters.” But, I wonder how much that blasé response stems from already being compromised. After all, why possess someone or trick them into letting you in to their home or to do other things when you can inspire depressiveness or apathy and then slide in to feed or cause (subtler) mischief?

This is when you should also be staying on top of your own shit. Practice some basic mindfulness meditation: you may be able to note such feelings or thoughts and then examine them more closely to see if they’re actually your own. Pay attention to your dreams as well as you can and what’s going on in them. Do some periodic divination–a State of Your World reading or two, preferably at least every month.

In following Austin Coppock’s daily astrology work, I’ve noted that he routinely points to New Moons as points to pause and reflect on the previous lunar month and what’s happened in different regards since then. At the same time, you can look towards what the next lunar month may bring. If you have some knowledge of what the space weather is like and how your own natal chart may intersect with the current weather, then you might better recognize when you’re responding to whatever the weather’s doing on its own versus responding to the weather and someone who’s bothering you. That said, there’s nothing saying that the nasty isn’t the expression in your life of that weather. Still, the New Moon or the end of the calendar month might be good times to check in on your current state and of your space. If you keep putting it off, then, well…

Also, consider the state of those around you. How’re your pets doing? Your partner? Your plants? All of us respond to our environments in ways we may not always consciously recognize, and you may find clues through those around you to help you recognize something’s changed.

Strategies, Bad & Good

I remember the ’90s when so many folks were talking about shields and wards and things like that, and folks were erecting these bright, shining Star Trek: The Next Generation deflector shields or force field grids and things like that. From what I remember, these shields tend to be short-lived and attract attention. I think, in part, the appeal of this tech is that it helps you think you’re doing something. However, these approaches are often so flashy that things will notice and start probing at them. Or, the attention they generate may itself wear them down. You may have occasion to use such shields in the short term, especially when you are going into a situation where you want to insulate yourself or boost yourself. If you’re going someplace icky, then shield yourself. If you’re dealing with a person who’s invasive, tricksy, draining, or upsetting, then shield yourself.

I personally cannot bother to do this constantly because (1) it’s tiring and (2) it’s time consuming. I am already thinking about tons of other things and don’t need to run another process in the background where I obsessively check my energy shields every time it occurs to me.

Also, honestly, if you want to be a magician, a witch, a wizard, or whatever, then you don’t want to be a paranoid spiritual recluse, constantly working to keep everything out. Beyond buying into the pathological and wrong belief in “closed systems,” you are also likely to shut yourself off from all the spiritual, magical, imaginal, and emotional stuff you may want to experience. And, the idea of closing yourself off until it’s time to open a slot through which you can communicate with whatever entity–well, such an approach is rather like a germaphobe in a bubble trying to deal with the world while in an environmental suit. If you find yourself feeling like that, then I would recommend working to stop being so at a pace that works for you.

Also, magic entails working with images and visualizations (and other sensory modalities–touch, scent, sound, etc.), but not all images are equal. Some images have far more affective and magical power than others. While sunlight and moonlight have their luminary power, while even Galadriel’s “fictional” light of Eärendil is basically planetary and star magic, I suspect starship shields don’t have the same oomph behind them.[2]

Accordingly, I would recommend looking into images, motifs, and elements that have weight to them. The sun is always good. Protective saints, angels, spirits, and so on can also be good for this. You can also find several village magic (I’ll avoid using the “folk magic” term) options that you can experiment deploying. Lucky horseshoes and hag stones and herbs have the benefits of being rather “normal” seeming, of being in the physical, and of having mythical or imaginal presence. I would also recommend considering even things as simple as strategic placement of mirrors and décor, let alone how walls and doors and so on are oriented in your home. If you know Feng Shui, bring that to bear. But walls, curtains, and doors create privacy and block more than just physical intrusion, or they can. Do not underestimate how archetypally barrier-like  physical barriers can be, especially if you throw some magic at rousing that archetype.

I’m also a fan of warding through obscuration or a good Somebody Else’s Problem (SEP) field. If wandering spirits don’t think to bother or to notice your home, then they won’t spend as much time beating against your wards.

I would also consider working with allies who can cover your back. You’re not always going to be able to see or notice when someone does slip in or start causing mischief, but someone who’s always existing on that level can. If you have a good relationship with ancestors or the ghost in your home to the point that you’re already haunted, then try to parley that. You may also consider servitors to help keep an eye out for you and to get your attention when some thing’s wrong.

Servitors & “Servitors”

You can generally go create servitors well enough, and a quick peek at Google tells me several putative guides exist. That said, I actually decided to opt for “servitors,” with scare-quotes, back when I was trying to find a way to work on protecting myself away from home and to augment home security. I had troubles with rather stealthy spirits, and I wanted those who could do better than me at noticing and acting. I also wanted allies who could grow and develop and think for themselves—who could be clever enough to spot problems and think about how to respond to them.

Basically, I opted for sentient “servitors,” which required some attention to how to do so without, well, making slaves. I also pondered how to create beings with skillsets or abilities that might be useful in the Nearby. I turned to pop culture in one of my far more chaos magicky operations.

My first group included beings modeled on a comic book superhero (not any of the big names), a Jedi Master, and a D&D character. The comic book character was intelligent but otherwise a speedster brick: tough, fast, smart. The Jedi Master was a fucking Jedi Master. For these two, I went looking for characters I felt I could feel enough connection to. I also went looking for an idea to help watch my roomie who’s a non-practitioner and generally not paying attention, so I opted for one of their D&D characters in terms of sympathy and affective power—and that character had developed their own reputation amongst our group: a tough, generally no-nonsense warrior with an iron will who had resonances enough with other pop culture figures that they’d probably acclimate well here on Earth.

I approached the operation not as if I was calling up “fictional characters,” per se, but was tapping into the “Dreaming” and the dreams of real persons who existed in some other dimension. I had physical anchors for them, opened the ritual the way I was doing so at the time, and I called and called until they arrived. Then, well, I didn’t bind so much as tried to explain what was going on. “Here, you’re treated as a fictional character and idea,” I said, more or less, “but you’re out there, somewhere. I can imagine this might seem like something happening while you’re dreaming back in your reality.” I offered them the chance to learn what they could here, offered them a home, asked them to keep an eye out and to help guard me and my roomies and the home itself. I also tried to find characters whose personalities could swing that kind of logic—both for them and for myself doing the operation.

It worked remarkably well given the issues I was having at the time. They weren’t by any means all powerful, but they were rather adept in the end. Sometimes, they wanted to go explore some place on their own. I appreciated they gave me notice, and I tried to make arrangements to work around that. Those first three eventually let me know, at different points, they were planning on heading on to pursue their own fortunes in the imaginal, which, well, I appreciated the notice. I also really dug that they’d reached that point that they were done or bored here. I called up two others to replace them before I stopped this approach, having developed my practice and relationships with the imaginal to where I didn’t feel the need to use this kind of tech anymore.

Alternatively, I think these days I would opt for apotropaic representations of animals or creatures—like a statue of a foo lion or a dog or something similar—and I’d work to “rouse” the spirit of a foo lion within what’s already an image of foo lion-ness. Of course, this process is pretty much the same I did with the “fictional characters.” And I would place the statues at strategic locations to watch and guard.

Of course, you want to think about how you feed such beings, whether through offerings or some other means.

Another approach, depending on your relationship with where you live, is to rouse and get in good with the spirit-side of your local land and plants, especially around where you live. I have also worked to rouse the actual apartment building itself—finding its name and a sigil for it and doing once-a-lunar-month Paying Attention To It ritual.

I would also say that rosemary is a wonderful friend, but I suspect rosemary does best when you can plant her in the earth. I have container rosemary, and I suspect being rooted into the surrounding earth would help her do far more than she might while just in a pot. That said, I also really suspect that rosemary is also far more in link with rosemary in general than, say, I am with humanness.

Protective Prayers

I routinely begin operations using this prayer to St. Cyprian of Antioch, which is found in several places online:

Saint Cyprian of Antioch, who by Divine Grace was converted to the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, you who possessed the highest secrets of magic, build now a refuge for me against my enemies and their evil deeds.  For the merit that you obtained before God, Creator of Heaven and Earth, cancel out evil spells, products of hate, the spells that hardened hearts have cast or will come to cast against my person and against my home.  With the permission of God Almighty answer my prayer and come to my assistance, for the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

I would make sure you already have a relationship with, say, St. Cyprian before relying on such a prayer, but, in theory, anyone can approach the saints. For this prayer, I would encourage “seeing” or visualizing St. Cyprian as being present—an image or statue of the saint can certainly help with doing so—and try then to “see” the Saint building that refuge for you. With Cyprian, try to see what magic he uses to do so—or to see him doing whatever prayers he can do as a Saint. What kind of refuge is it? You want to visualize Cyprian well enough to see him but avoid making the Saint a pantomime or puppet—let the image you create do whatever is going on in the prayer but in the way that the Saint chooses to do. I find it best to do the prayer, visualize/see/notice Cyprian doing his business in his way while I continue the prayer, not staring at him the entire time but knowing he’s in the corner of the eye doing what he does.

Of course, you can work with any number of saints or gods or beings to accomplish similar ends. I have had excellent success with Hekate, as well, and indeed, Hekate will sometimes swoop in when I’m not expecting it and punt some intruder. She is always very boss when she does so.

I would aim for a daily protective prayer, early after waking up, probably before you dive into any period of working, and definitely at least once a week.

Mirror & Obscuration Wards

You should try to find a good timing for these kinds of wards to maximize their effectiveness. I go by the Hygromanteia timings for concealment or invisibility. I will also open with the Cyprianic protective prayer and other opening business, including tagging the spirits ruling the hour of the working.

In trying to figure out how to obscure and hide my presence in the Nearby from wandering spirits and the like, I first came up with this next ward years ago, with some tips and tricks picked up from friends online. I might begin it again with a little polished chrome/mirrored sphere—like a meditation ball—and hold it up before my eye and imagine that mirror expanding until I’m within the sphere. Let it expand until it covers the home, and let that image concretize in my sight until I feel I can move to the next step. Basically, build it up until you can stop paying immediate attention to it.

From there, I would then imagine reaching down into the earth until I could feel earth and soil and roots of the world, and I would tell you to see yourself drawing up a root from the earth until it connects to your sphere. See the root and the earth powering your mirror ward, feel it doing such, and look away when you’re comfortably confident it’s doing so.

The idea is that the mirroring will confuse many incidental spirits and blend the site into the countryside when seen from a distance. Let me know if delivery drivers have a harder time finding your house after you do so. If you’re living in an apartment building, I would try to expand the sphere to cover as much of the building as possible.

I have also called up my allies and asked them to “shroud” my home, and I’ve been almost surprised by feeling them pull up mists and fogs and shadow and, well, more trees.

For more focused obscuration, I’ve experimented with bay leaves for their solar and Apollonian associations—the sun blinding or revealing through light—granting sight and taking it away. I prepared some bay oil—really, some bay leaves infused into olive oil over a lunar month—and I also went looking for a sigil of obscuration, finding one while talking to one of my allies, but you could probably prepare a sigilized version of an appropriate intention to use and reuse.

In one bay operation, I prepared a mirrored sphere, anointed it with the bay oil, and spoke a charm over it.

O angels N, NN, NNN, NNNN—
May the mirror shine & show,
May the eyes see their show—
May the gaze rebound, the evil rebound,
May the sphere shroud this place & all within
Beyond gaze, beyond veil, let others only see themselves.

End with some appropriate barbarous names. I then put the charm up in a high place in the flat.

I also took bay leaves and marked them with the discovered sigil in colored ink, saying another charm over them:

O Sol, O bay, O N,
Shroud this place, shroud myself,
From the light of others’ sight,
From the gaze of heavens and stars,
From the sight of devils and dogs,
From the sense of foes and all persons
Man or mouse, dragon or angel,
Serpent or fowl, let the Sun hide me—
By [insert some names here]—

I then placed the bay leaves at the corners of rooms.

Other Strategies

Given the use of distracting objects—shiny, weird, eye-catching things—for hindering less-experienced Remote Viewers, there’s probably something to be said for deploying similar tech against spirits, maybe with a glamour of pay attention to me! thrown on the items. I suspect there’s a reason the various tricks to distract spirits or the Devil can work: from the perspective of those Nearby, the presence of those distractions may stand out as they try to pay attention to us. I think about all the shoes and witch bottles and similar things hidden away in homes.

I’m also pondering PGM spell modifications. I can see a modified version of the “consecration for all purposes: Spell to Helios” (PGM IV.1596—1715, pages 68-9 in the Betz edition), to obscure, protect, and empower your home and your family or cuveen. I myself don’t have a Dr. Strange-style Sanctum Sanctorum I’d want to or could do this to, and I would really want it to be a place I would always own, if not pass down through a de facto family line. You can find Sam Block’s adaptation of this spell, which I recently adapted for my own purposes on the Solstice, though in less ambitious ways than I’m imagining here.

Less spectacularly, I’m pondering adapting PGM IV.2708-84 (pages 88-89), “Another love spell of attraction,” that invokes Hekate to accomplish its ends. The spell is one of the date rape spells the PGM includes, but here’s what I would do instead. The timing for the spell—the 13th or 14th lunar day—I would either find a lunar day amenable to protecting the home or hiding the home from foes, or I would stay with day 14. From a Hygromanteia perspective, day 14 is for seeing the spirits and subjugating them. In this instance, I can see day 14 helping you (1) see Hekate and (2) get her to do what needs to be done.

From there, I would change the intention portion of the spell. For example, the original includes the following passage:

Go stand above her (NN) [the woman you want to magic rape] head and take
Away from her sweet sleep. And never let
Eyelid come glued to eyelid, but let her
Be sore distressed with wakeful cares for me (PGM IV.2735-8)

Change that and other related passages into a poetic version of your intention to shroud and protect your home—or some other intention of your choosing. Regarding offerings to Hekate, I would myself opt for those “For doing good” listed in the next spell: “For doing good, offer storax, myrrh, sage, frankincense, a fruit pit” (PGM IV, in lines 2870-80). Unless you have a pre-existing relationship with Hekate, you might also consider the protective charm from that same spell I took the offerings from, or use something otherwise appropriate and hopefully effective.

Featured Image: kellepics | Pixabay

[1] Due credit to my longtime friend who pointed out the utility hack.

[2] It’s the light of Eärendil—i.e., basically Venus, the brightest “star” in the sky—captured in water. That’s some nice tech that’s probably older than Göbekli Tepe.

3 thoughts on “Guards and Wards

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