It’s cold season. Those of us who work directly with the public, or who have school-aged children, are only too well aware of the way viruses can sneak in and wreak havoc. As the season turns, we tend to increase our prevention practices – we wash our hands more frequently, take multivitamins and immune boosters, up the garlic in our diet, etc. Those hygiene and lifestyle practices help keep us well – they aren’t a panacea, but they do decrease our risk for getting sick.
Have you given much consideration to your spiritual hygiene?
I’m serious. It’s a real thing.
You don’t need me to tell you that the United States, as a whole, is having a rough time culturally. Some of the very darkest shadows in our collective psyche are running naked through the national consciousness, throwing broken glass on the floor and howling into the wind. The discussion around all the insanity is bitter with vitriol, anger, fear and desperation. The whole damn country has a nasty virus.
And that virus? It’s pretty contagious, on many levels. The root cause is absolutely worth treating and staying engaged with, but some of the symptoms can hinder our ability to do so.
You’ve been around someone who drains you, right? That individual who, inexplicably, leaves you feeling exhausted or run down after your interaction with them even when the activity or nature of meeting hasn’t caused you trouble with other people before? For some folks, this state of energy vampirism is their normal. It’s sad, but we usually figure out who the energy vampires are pretty quickly.
Thing is, we have a new problem for newly complex times. When people are distressed, angry, agitated or in a heightened emotional state, their control over how they influence others slips. Some people will become more needy. Others start projecting more – casting all those destructive emotions out into the environment. Like sneezing at the mall during Cashmas shopping season.
When there’s enough bad feeling in the air, the whole bitter beastie can become a miasma-level energy structure (or egregore), and in many parts of the country, that’s *exactly* what’s happened. If you’ve been feeling unusually frayed at the edges, more tired than you should be, more prone to outbursts or disproportionate emotional responses, you might be in need of some better spiritual hygiene practices.
The good news is that a lot of spiritual hygiene is as simple and easy to implement as physical hygiene. We just need to remember to do it. Here are three easy ways to get started – I call them the three S’s: Shield, Salt, Swag.
I was in a workshop with Byron Ballard a few years ago where she was talking about the importance of shielding. It’s easy to get careless about keeping our shields up – by the time we realize our shields are needed, it’s sometimes too late. Byron gave a quote that’s become one of my favorite things to repeat to my students – ‘If you’re stopped at a red light, do five kegels and raise your shields.’
She’s absolutely right about being careless about shielding. I forget sometimes too. Thing is, it’s national-fucked-upness cold season, and we need to be more aware. I shifted my morning devotional to include shielding. By hooking shielding to something I already do every day, I’ve been forgetting less and less.
No morning devotional? No problem. Raise your shields while you brush your teeth. Set a reminder in your phone to go off ten minutes before you usually leave for work. Put a little sticker on your steering wheel to help you remember. You can raise your shields anywhere. And right now, it’s not a bad idea to raise your shields, or check in with them, more than once during the day. So build in a ‘trigger’ of some sort to cue you to fire up the engine.
And if the idea of shielding is new to you, no worries – it’s not difficult. Take a few deep, centering breaths. Close your eyes if it helps you to visualize. Then imagine your entire body and aura contained in a strong, protective shield of some sort. My preferred visualization for a standard daily shield is green flames. I imagine them starting about a foot beneath where my feet or legs are resting on the earth (I kneel for morning devotional), and spreading up and around my body, building and thickening as they go, until they meet about a foot or two over my head. You can use white light, a reflective surface, a tower wall, spikes, whatever says ‘impermeable’ to you.
If you know you’re going into a situation where you’ll be assaulted with National Miasma or people who have lost control of their own energy (and sometimes behavior), refresh the visualization. As you become more comfortable with shielding, you can experiment with different visualizations. I have a few different kinds of shields I access regularly – an impermeable wall, a permeable-for-specific-people shield, a semi-permeable surface when I need to allow *some* outside energy to get through, and a permeable-to-good-intentions shield that’s useful for leading group ceremonies.
This is so simple, but so useful. Salt neutralizes and grounds out damn near anything. Yes, even table salt works. When you come home feeling frayed, particularly when you *know* you’ve had a day that included trying discussions and interactions, sprinkle a few grains of salt onto the top of your head and rub a couple grains between the palms of your hands. Healers, priest/esses, psychics, community leaders and teachers, I am looking at you specifically. We get in direct contact with folks on a very deep level. Salt. Your. Self.
You can also consider adding some salt to the thresholds of your home. When I do a Space Clearing on a client’s home, I use black ritual salt, or Witches’ Salt, to protect the entrances of the home from malign incursions as part of energetically resetting the space. Table salt also works for this – use what you have. If you’d like to try the Witches’ Salt, your local new age shop should carry it (I get mine at The Crystal Fox).
If you had a guest in your home, or have recently thrown someone out of your home, who caused distress, you can add salt to your energy-cleanup. Lightly salt the surfaces you can vacuum up – sofas/mattresses/carpets/etc. Let the salt sit for a bit – I like to give it a minimum of 15 minutes. Then vacuum it up. When you’re emptying the vacuum canister, do it outside – you don’t need the nastiness the salt pulled up to linger in your space.
One of the most useful aspects of magickally enhanced jewelry is that it works when we aren’t, or when we can’t. Right now, I’m spending a lot of my time in emotionally charged spaces, around people who have been through the wringer. The necklace I wear almost constantly these days? Black tourmaline. Just a small piece, set in a minimalist pendant (I tend to go pretty simple with jewelry unless I’m dressing for Freyja). Simple, elegant, and gets the job done. There’s no need to wander around looking like the Witchy Mr. T unless you’re super into that. (In which case, shine on, my glittering friend.)
You can enchant an item of jewelry you already own, or use this as a great excuse to buy/make/commission a new ring, set of earrings or pendant. I like to go with semiprecious stones that are already associated with the qualities I am aligning with, but a strong enough enchantment will work on damn near anything. Cleanse your swag, charge it up with a protective visualization, and wear it.
Remember to periodically cleanse it again and redo the charge – magickal tools do wear down with constant use. So remember to keep your knives sharp.
So try it out and let me know how it goes. There are tons of more advanced techniques, but those three should get you started. Like washing your hands before you eat, they’re simple lifestyle adjustments, but very effective. And if you have an idea you’d like to share, or another ‘S’ to add my list, feel free to leave it in the comments.
Stay strong, my friend. We were made for this time. Now, do five kegels and raise your shields.