Sometimes the word "witch" scares people off. I can understand that. I thought it was silly at first. When my first teacher, a good family friend, revealed she was a witch, I didn't understand. But I soon found out the spiritual traditions of witchcraft stretch across the globe and throughout time. Witches were the priestesses and priests of the ancient world. They kept the mysteries of magick and psychic ability. A witch is someone who does magick, not only for her- or himself, but for the good of the community. Sometimes the first step in helping our communities, in helping the world, is helping ourselves by finding health, balance, and clarity. Only then can be devote energy to help others.
So, with that in mind, the wisdom of the witch broadens for us. We might not all identify spiritually as witches, but the following techniques of psychic self defense and protection magick are universal, and can apply to anyone as long as the person is open to magick, change, and personal responsibility. Though few of us learn them when we should, I really think these methods are the basics of psychic hygiene. If you learn to take care of yourself on a daily basis, you can avoid problems in the future. I learned these techniques studying the art and science of witchcraft. I've shared them in classes for both witches and non-witches alike with great success. You will find similar wisdom in the traditions of shamanism, energy healers, ceremonial magicians, and other New Age seekers.
Here are seven techniques from which anyone can benefit:
- Smudging: Smudging refers to passing yourself or an object through sacred smoke as a means of purification. When burned, certain herbs release a high vibrational energy that is used to purify unwanted, harmful forces—what most people call negative energy. Herbs like sage, cedar, sweet grass, pine, and lavender can be burned, as well as incenses such as frankincense, myrrh, and copal. Simply wave the smoking substance around you and make sure you pass through the smoke. Don't do too much. It's an energetic process, not a physical one, so you don't have to feel like you are asphyxiating.
- Sea Salt Bath: Similar to smudging, taking a sea salt bath can cleanse the physical body as well as the energy. Put two tablespoons of sea salt or kosher salt in your bath water and soak. Imagine all the stress and harmful energy you have accumulated or taken on from others flowing into the water. Sit in the bathtub as its drains and imagine it flowing down the drain, neutralized by the salt and water. I have a friend who puts a spray bottle of sea salt and water and gives herself a little spritz and sponge bath. The salt neutralizes any harmful energies, and then she just wipes it off. It's a great way to clear yourself if you're on the run and a bath is too time consuming.
- Amulet: Symbols and charms have long been lauded for their protective powers. In almost every culture, there is a tradition of wearing or carrying a particular amulet, often blessed by a priest/tess, to confer the powers of divine protection upon the wearer. Take a symbol you find sacred and divine. Find it in a jewelry or pendant form. If you cannot, try drawing the symbol on a piece of paper or wood, and carrying it with you. If you are Christian, use a cross. If you are Wiccan, use a pentacle. Hindu, try the Ohm symbol. There are a variety of symbols, from the Star of David to the Hammer of Thor. Find the one that speaks protection to you. Smudge the amulet and hold it in both hands. Think about protection and infuse your thoughts into the amulet, activating its power to protect in the name of your divinities. Carry the charm with you to receive its protection.
- Protection Stone: Like a symbolic amulet, you can carry a stone known for its protective and grounding qualities with you. Most dark colored stones have magical associations with protection. Some of my favorite choices are hematite, smoky quartz, onyx, obsidian, jet, and aragonite. Other stores that are protective include red jasper, amber, citrine, and clear quartz. Like an amulet, cleanse your stone and infuse your intention into it.
- Meditation: Meditation is one of the greatest keys to psychic defense. Regular meditation practice leaves you clear, centered, and in a mental place where you can respond to potential threats, rather than unconsciously react to them. It doesn't matter the style or tradition of meditation. Regular practice is the key. You will not get the long term psychic protection benefits of meditation by doing it only once every few weeks. It must be like exercise, done regularly. I suggest at least three times a week. If you can do it daily, so much the better.
- Healthy Emotional Boundaries: Emotional boundaries are not the most esoteric form of psychic defense, but one that quite a few people leave out. Sometimes psychic defense—particularly from people who are harmful to us, intentionally or unintentionally—is the ability to say "no" and stick to it. If someone asks you to do something or go somewhere, and you only say yes because you are afraid of being "mean" or "letting them down" but you know its not a good situation for you, you must learn to say no. As an adult, only you define what is acceptable and unacceptable in your life. Draw those boundary lines and stick to them.
- Living Your True Will: The best form of psychic self-defense is to live out your true will. What is your divine purpose? Find it! Then actually live it. If you are doing what you are meant to be doing, the universe will support you and very little anyone else does or says will be able to stop you. You true will, or what some call your magical will, is not your destiny. It doesn't happen regardless. This your partnership with the divine. You must choose to fulfill it. But once you choose to be a full, conscious partner with the divine, you will have a divine protection that will help you in all of life's difficult areas.
For more information and an expanded view on these techniques, and a whole philosophy on psychic self defense, look to my full length work, The Witch's Shield: Protection and Psychic Self Defense. May the divine guide, bless, and protect each of your steps.