A Crash Course in Warding
Let’s just start a series of crash courses in witchcraft, since sometimes we need to learn things the quick and dirty way. Today, let’s talk about wards.
What are wards?
Wards are protective energy barriers. They keep things out. You can place them around your home, certain rooms, even on certain objects. With practice and clear intentions, you can focus the wards to block out everything or only certain things. We’ll get to that in a bit.
Why should I ward my space and my things?
Wards can keep out all sorts of things you don’t want in your home. They can block out negative entities, wayward spirits, mischievous entities, demons, and (if you’re really good at what you’re doing) even gods. Some people ward their divination tools so they know there are no spirits tampering with the results.
So what do I need to do first?
Cleanse. This is very important. Wards are kind of like walls, or perhaps more accurately, bubbles. If you don’t clean the space first, you might trap things inside your ward bubble. You do not want that. There are lots of methods of cleansing, from burning sage to spritzing oil-infused water. Find a method you’re comfortable with and cleanse everything you’re going to be warding.
I’ve cleansed my home/item. Now what?
Now we ward. I’m going to give you a couple methods. Let’s start with my favorite, incense warding.
Incense warding can also be done with spritzes of water/essential oil blends or herb-infused water if you can’t have smoke in your space. Whichever you’re using, you want to have a blend of protective herbs. Bay leaves, cinnamon, ginger, mustard seed, and salt are some great options that you can find in the grocery store, no fancy witch shop necessary. If you’re using incense, make sure you’re using natural incense and not super cheap stuff that’s artificially scented. The magic is in the herbs, and you won’t get that from fake scents.
How to Incense/Spritz Ward an Item
- Smoke or spray item.
- Visualize the smoke or spray clinging to the item and wrapping around it like a tight blanket, protecting it from anything that would cause harm (or interference, etc.).
How to Incense/Spritz Ward Your Space
- Pick a place to start. I always start at my altar, but it’s up to you. If you’re doing multiple floors, start either at the top or bottom floor.
- Moving continuously to your right, smoke or spray along the walls and door frames. As you go, imagine a barrier being formed around the walls, ceiling, and floor, pushing outwards to fill the room. Visualize the smoke or spray forming the barrier to keep out anything that will do you harm. [If you have a hard time with visualization, you can simply focus on the intent of the smoke or spray keeping things out.]
- Keep moving right, following the layout of your home, making sure you get all the closet spaces. You basically want to outline the entire area you’re protecting, whether it’s you’re room or your whole house.
- For multiple floors, repeat on each level.
- For big layouts where there are rooms in the middle, go around those rooms as well.
- I like to reinforce the wards over outside doors, windows, and mirrors. These are all passages of sorts, and when I reach them, I use the incense to draw a pentagram in the air over them. This is entirely up to you.
- You’re done when you’ve reached the point where you began.
So why do we go to the right? Is that important?
Kind of. Going to the right is like going clockwise. It’s about making things and progression, where going to the left or counter-clockwise is about deconstruction or reversal. [I read this idea in a witchy book a long time ago and will try to find a source when I can. If you honestly don’t feel it makes a difference, do whatever you’re comfortable with.]
Can I place wards that keep out certain things but not others?
Sure. When you’re going around your space/warding your item, your intent is what’s important. I like to ward out entities that mean harm - it’s nice and general and doesn’t keep the fae out. Some people might want certain spirits and not others. Have your intentions clear in your mind as you place your wards.
That’s neat and all, but what are some other ways to ward?
Let’s list a few.
- Choose (or make) a symbol or sigil that has protective properties. I’ve done this with Pluto’s astrological symbol because I worship him and it’s my way of being like, “Hey, Pluto. Please protect me, kthanxbai.” Pentagrams are nice and basic witchy/pagan symbols if you like them.
- Draw the symbol over doors and windows. You do not literally have to draw it. It can be in water, incense smoke, or just your finger against the surface if you want.
- As you’re drawing, make sure you have your intentions in mind - that nothing harmful can pass through this door, that the windows remain closed against entities, etc.
Energy Bubbles (if you have control over your energy)
- Pick an item - any item.
- Get your warding intentions in mind.
- Channel lots of energy into the item. Visualize it emanating from the item in a bubble to fill your space.
- If you’ve got mad skillz, you can form the bubble to the walls and be super exact with where its barriers are.
- If you like spoken (or thought) spells, come up with a small chant to protect your space.
- You can repeat this chant as you focus on your item being protected or as you walk around your home, protecting every room.
- This is really great to incorporate into basically any other form of warding and gives your magic an extra bit of oomph.
I’ve heard wards can “fade” over time. True or false?
Wards are just energy. Like all energies, they can disperse and weaken over time, or if something particularly nasty puts effort into destroying them. Redo your wards every so often (I do mine every few months, but it’s up to you), and especially before spiritual interactions. I also like to do mine after I’ve had lots of company, to kind of clear out family’s lingering energies and reinforce what I don’t want in my house.
In general, the intent of your wards is the most important part. Know what you want to keep out. This concludes our crash course on warding. Now go forth and protect some stuff!