Threshold magic 101
Doorways are one of the
first concepts we learn as we begin to explore our surroundings as infants. In
those early memories doorways are magical passages dividing entire worlds in
our perceptions. We pass through into new places with entirely different obstacles
and experiences to encounter.
As we age, we grow more accustomed to the idea of different rooms and separations of space. Even without a proper door separating them we define spaces by their function and even without a physical barrier between them we acknowledge them as separate and distinct. For an example, consider the layout of a studio apartment, the kitchen, dining room and living room are, functionally one room, and yet people gather in distinct groups in each section of the space, separating themselves into “rooms” with no actual barriers except those imagined by those present.
The Romans had a god, Janus, whose entire domain was doorways, the transition between spaces and spans of time. The first month of the year was named for him as it was the transition between years.
The most instinctive spatial transition is that between one’s home and the outside world. The territorial sanctity of home is a spiritually powerful concept. it protects us just as our homes do. The most direct manifestation of this power is the phenomena of thresholds.
Mythology is filled with creatures which cannot enter a person’s home without their express permission and invitation. From vampires, to demons, to fairies, everything needs permission from the homeowner to enter. in a more modern context, many practitioners report feeling weaker if they enter someone else’s home uninvited.
This is a threshold, a spiritual barrier between us and the outside world. Those who cross it uninvited leave a great deal of their power behind them, so much so that some creatures cannot survive the experience.
While thresholds fall under what would normally be considered “passive” of “innate” magic, there are ways to consciously strengthen, build off, or direct the energy of your threshold to better protect you and your family.
A threshold can be strengthened in a number of ways. The simplest way is to enhance your sense of home, filling your home with things which are uniquely yours, which hold sentiment or meaning for you personally, and spending time getting your home comfortable and familiar will build up your threshold over time.
Another method is through active warding. Wreaths were an early form of warding charm hung in doorways to drive off evil and malicious spirits. Honeysuckle, St. John’s wart, Rowan, oak, Birch, and Yarrow hung above, in, or beside the doorway will add energies of purification and protection. an Iron nail driven into the door frame combines the warding power of iron, and the tranquil aspects of the rune Isa, which the nail resembles. Daggaz and ing, either painted, scratched or inscribed in a doorway bring luck and safety to those within.
Some witches like to seal their homes by painting pentacles above the major openings, including doors and windows, using either actual paint, or some variety of holy water/oil, or putting lines of salt or blessed sand along the doorways and window sills. This method has the disadvantage of being easily physically disrupted, although some industrious witches have been known to protect such lines by placing them under the metal strips which smooth the transition between the door frame and the floor.
Another method is to hang amulets in the door frame bearing symbols for protection. These can be as simple as a painted piece of paper, or as elaborate as a cast silver charm. Another example is Amish Hex signs. A six petaled flower or 6 pointed star, represents preservation and continuity for the home, a rooster represents a watchful guardian, and a jagged circle represents the power of thurisaz to drive away evil and disruptive energies.
A threshold is a solid foundation for any magic which is intended to effect the home, or everyone who enters the home. Such spells work based on the principal of the threshold as not being just a barrier, but a portal which must be passed through.
One use for magic of this kind is to ward against a particular person or type of entity. to do this it is useful to use materials and objects known to be harmful or hateful to that entity. (garlic for vampires, iron for fairies, things the person is allergic to, audio tape containing music they hate, etc.) As was mentioned before, placing these things in, on, or near the doorway is an effective method, but this may not always be convenient or practical. In this case, using them in a ritual to charge another object, such as a stone a piece of wood, or an ornament which can be attached less obtrusively is perfectly acceptable.
Another use is to place spells upon those who come and go through the door. Spells to encourage health, prosperity, peacefulness and joy are common choices. for these uses it’s best to use an object or material which is associated with your desired outcome, and place it in or above the door frame. Traditionally horseshoes were hung in this way to pour luck on those who entered. This is another situation where amulets hung in doorway can be useful, particularly if people are willing to touch or handle the objects as they come through.
A slightly sneakier method might be to paint or inscribe a spell into the door handle, so that a person HAS to handle it to enter, or building your spell to be charged and renewed by the act of using the knocker or doorbell, if it’s intended to drive off unwanted guests, or help visitors.
Directing the threshold:
The threshold, like any other magic, can be channeled and directed. The most common use would be directing the threshold’s protections to include or exclude a particular person, either helping guests feel comfortable and “at home” or making a resident feel unwelcome and vulnerable in their own home. This is most easily done by the homeowner, or head of household, The person with the most authority within the home, and is typically linked to their will, though an explicit statement of intent from this person goes a long way.
Another means of warping the threshold is to have objects or tokens which can be carried outside, bringing a bit of home with you, and therefore bringing a bit of the protection of home as well. This can be tricky, usually requiring some degree of sympathetic magic and thaumaturgy (ie. the use of a small part of a thing to represent the entire thing such as using a chip from the fireplace bricks to represent the hearth, or a shaving of wood from a doorframe to represent the door itself,) typically these tokens are either single use, or must be maintained by restoring them as part of the home upon the person’s return. Removable tiles from a floor mosaic, or a distinctive knob from the cabinets work well for this purpose, as they are small, unique, and easily reattached.