Neighbourhood Witch by Mélusine Draco
An extract from Traditional Witchcraft for Urban Living, published in the Lughnasadh 2011 edition of Brigid’s Fire - Ireland's Pagan magazine.
If we are constantly suffering from tiredness, minor health problems and depression it is easy to convince ourselves that we are the victimof psychic attack. We then worry ourselves further by trying to work out who might be responsible. In reality, living among a high density of humanity with all its attendant problems, we are less likely to need protection from psychic attack, and more against the pervading influence of negative energy that is found in concentrated pockets nowadays in urban areas such Dublin or Limerick. Even if we keep ourselves aloof from the increasing crime/drink/drugs culture, any neighbouring social malaise can still seriously affect us on a psychic level.
Over a period of time a build-up of localised negative energy can develop a life force of its own, and the only way for it to ‘feed’ in order to metamorphose is to latch on to an unsuspecting body in much the same way as any earthly parasite. This blanket malaise that often smothers many of our urban environments can be best likened to good, old-fashioned smog that used to permeate everything in the inner cities. The pollution might be gone but there is a different kind of social ‘smog’ invading our personal space that can have a debilitating effect on our lives.
Even if our own particular ‘patch’ is peaceful enough, each time we go shopping, or travel to work, the evidence of mindless vandalism and barely suppressed aggression confronts us on all sides. Broken bottles and discarded beer cans litter the streets; the remains of a previous night’s takeaway deposited by the bus stop. Chewing gum, vomit and spittle make walking a hazard. Plants ripped from the municipal beds and trampled under foot. The constant noise of bawling children accompanied by yelling disgruntled mothers. The 24-7 smell of fast food, and the intrusive sound of passing car stereos, played at full blast …
Unfortunately we cannot always choose where we want to live, but we can learn to live how we choose, and to block out the things that can be psychically damaging to our functioning on a spiritual level. To combat this we need to take some simple steps to create a safe haven because each time we come home we bring in negative energy every time we open the door. Starting from scratch, we need to cleanse the whole house or flat using a decoction of fresh bay. Using the whole of the plant where possible (leaves, stalk, flowers), prepare sufficient liquid to cleanse every entrance to your home - doors, windows, chimney and even air-bricks! Add a tablespoon of salt to the liquid and wipe round the window and door frames; sprinkling any other area such as the fireplace and threshold as an added precaution. For extra protection, crush a bay leaf into the door and window catches, or place a whole leaf into every crack and crevice where “ill may enter”.
We also need to examine ways of protecting ourselves from all the negative vibes we encounter. To create a protective bubble, so that the flotsam and jetsam of daily living becomes like water off the proverbial duck’s back! In other words, we need to empower ourselves psychically to withstand the outside pressures that threaten our inner calm. There are so many people who really do believe themselves to be the victim of a psychic attack because they feel prey to a permanent mental, physical and emotional drain. In a way they are correct, but the ‘attack’ is the result of inexperience, rather than anything directed at them from some known or unknown enemy.
Without delving into the domain of ritual magic, there are numerous parasitic entities that inhabit the inner and outer astral realms which feed off all those negative impulses generated by thousands of people confined within a less than perfect environment. They have been described as parasitic creatures, or lost souls, seeking to stretch across the abyss and make contact with the warm, constant flow of humanity. Like all parasites, these astral shells prefer to feed off a healthy host than an enfeebled one, and the unwary who have insufficient magical protection will attract such entities like a beacon, especially if they begin to generate psychic energy during private ritual working or meditation.
The Pouch and Power Objects
One of the most effective methods of protection is the magical pouch, containing a selection of ‘power objects’ that are yours, and yours alone. The pouch should never be touched or opened by anyone else; otherwise the potency of the contents will be dispersed. This is a universal and age-old shamanic concept but one that is equally as valuable in the twenty-first century.
The pouch can be made from any material, but it is good idea to choose one of a fairly durable nature — if you find something suitable ready-made, this is fine. The pouch itself should be ritually cleansed but the items that go in it should not. This is because you are selecting items that carry a ‘buzz’ of their own, and all you will do is destroy the natural propensities that accompany each find. Remember that herbs and plants will quickly dry and turn to dust, and the elegant magpie’s feather will all too soon become tatty. Choose more enduring items — like the friend who carries a piece of coal in her pouch ... it was once a little carved figure but the constant battering inside the pouch has rendered it unrecognisable. Nevertheless for her it still remains a serious power object.
Don’t be in any rush to acquire these items. Discovery can be quite by accident. Don’t go searching, just learn to keep your eyes open for such treasures but do avoid the expensive polished crystals from the high street shop or pagan fair — a piece of home-growth quartz or pebble can pack just as good a punch. Once assembled, our pouch is our own magical power pack or psychic generator that can be used to channel healing or protective energy, even if we are away from home. It can be recharged now and again by placing it on a windowsill in a patch of sun or moonlight, and will continue to transmit a powerful aura of protection.
Talismans and amulets
The difference between amulets and talismans as protective tools lies in the preparation rather than the purpose. Both are ancient forms of magical protection and highly potent tools of power, but we need to understand when and how to use them. Most people have a lucky ‘piece’ they carry around and the superstition surrounding amulets goes back to ancient Egypt and is still going strong!
Preparation of the amulet
An amulet is with us at all times, often as a piece of jewellery: i.e. a ring, key fob, pendant, or just carried loose in a bag or pocket. It is worn to deflect trouble and adversity in a very general sense; in other words, a good luck charm to turn away negative influences.
An amulet requires no preparation, particularly if it is something given to us in friendship - like a hagstone. Once we have recognised or accepted its ‘lucky’ or protective powers, it should never be touched by anyone else; unless we choose to give it away as a gesture of friendship. Amulets can be, or made, of almost anything, so long as it has some magic significance for you
Preparation of the talisman
A talisman is only carried for a limited period while the ‘spell’ is activated, and is aimed at a specific purpose or outcome. The material it is made from depends on the nature of the ritual used to empower it, and it requires a lengthy operation to set all this magical brouhaha in motion. The exact nature of the talisman’s protective power will be governed by the amount of effort and concentration that goes into the final preparation.
So let’s keep it simple and make a talisman for protection against ... burglary if this is prevalent where we live. An ideal material is heavy-duty silver baking foil, marked out with a blunt pencil so that the engraving can be clearly read. If your drawing skills aren’t up to scratch, use Words of Power and engrave your protector’s name around the outer rim of the circle, because we are unleashing the wrath of the protector against anyone who dares to enter our home uninvited. Place the talisman at the point in the house where you perceive the weakness in your defences, i.e. a window or door. Slide it under the threshold, or between the timbers of the frame, and leave it in place.
Unfortunately, we live in a hazardous society and we are merely protecting ourselves, requires a lengthy operation to set all this magical brouhaha in motion. The exact nature of the talisman’s protective power will be governed by the amount of effort and concentration that goes into the final preparation.