I think some of us were hoping for a quieter and less tumultuous year after the past two years of pandemic, but it appears that is not to be. The highest court in the United States is threatening the bodily autonomy of half the population, which means the witches here (and some of our allies abroad) are going to war. That battlefront takes many shapes from spellwork to uncomfortable conversations (both in person and online) to letter writing and phone calls to direct confrontation with people who think those of us who have a uterus are somehow less than human. When we directly engage with the enemy, the enemy can and will do everything they can to stop us. This includes metaphysics. Make no mistake – the conservative cause has its own magick, and it’s quite real.
The very first thing to do, once the initial wave of emotional processing passes, is boost your protection magick. Your home is your safe space, and the place you will return to again and again to recover from the fight. It needs to be energetically safe – your magickal stronghold. I’ve written before about wards and shields for the home, and everyone should try to keep a strong shield system in place. That said, shields take maintenance, and we’re all going to have our hands full for a while. The good news is that there are some wonderful options for protection magick that we do just once, then leave in place.
When a concept repeats over and over and over again in folklore, there’s a reason. What repels evil? Iron. Always. In many different forms. One of my favorite set-and-forget uses of iron as part of my ward system is railroad spikes.
These huge, heavy nails pack a powerful punch. Drive them into the boundaries of your property, into the dirt on either side of the entrances to your house, or simply tuck them into the corners of your home if you live in an apartment. One caveat here – talk to the land spirits first. Most of the land spirits in settled areas got used to the presence of concentrated iron on the land a long time ago. Modern (and even not so modern) house construction includes a LOT of iron, so the land spirits are generally pretty desensitized.
Iron nails in other forms are also used for protection – coffin nails are popular. Old, hand-hammered nails from historic properties (you can often find boxes of these in antique stores and junk shops) are considered particularly effective.
Another option is horseshoes. The use of horseshoes for protection and luck magick is so widespread that hanging one above the doorway is considered decorative at this point, and doesn’t draw comments from people who might find the use of magick alarming.
Hang the horseshoe so that the points face up – like a U – to keep evil at bay and draw good luck. Try to get hold of used horseshoes rather than new ones. The natural strength, speed, and endurance of horses conveys an added layer of magick as a horseshoe is worn. If you have any friends who ride or care for horses, ask them for help finding used horseshoes.
Iron knives (and most knives now are an alloy that includes iron) are used in a couple different ways for protection magick. Burying an iron blade beneath the entrance to your home helps repel malicious energy, and is a good set-and-forget protection charm. One other item to keep on hand is a cold iron blade. If you have been engaging heavily with those who wish you ill, pass the cold iron blade just over the surface of your skin all over your body. It severs energetic connections.
Iron fences are wonderful things, but are well out of the realm of affordable for most of us. If you do have a fence already, adding an iron nail (like knives, most nails are an alloy containing iron) at the base of the fence posts is a good way to mimic the effect of a full iron fence.
Witch bottles are sealed containers full of nails, broken glass, thorns, protective herbs, and repellant objects of all kinds. I have cats, so I save shed claws in a little jar specifically for use in future witch bottles. Dog’s teeth (if you have a puppy who’s losing their baby teeth) are also useful. To create a witch bottle, carefully gather all your repellant objects and put them in the jar or bottle. You can add protection sigils or runes on pieces of paper or written on the lid. Add a little of your own urine, then seal up the bottle or jar. Drip wax (I prefer black or red) all over the seal. Bury the witch bottle at the edge of your property or tuck it into the dark, back corner of a cabinet. If you happen to be doing some remodeling and have access to the inside of a wall, tuck the bottle there.
Where a Witch Bottle is repellent, a Witch Ball is a trap. Witch balls are generally made from brightly colored glass and contain strands or threads of glass inside the sphere as part of their construction. Some newer witch balls contain wire or repellant objects as well. The mechanism behind a Witch Ball is that ill intentions/bad spirits are drawn to the bright colors of the sphere, but get caught in the threads inside and become stuck. Witch balls are hung in windows, above doors, or even up in the rafters.
If you want to create a witch ball rather than purchase one, clear holiday ornaments from the craft store work well as a base structure. Fill the ball with shiny, attractive things like sequins, rhinestones, brightly colored strips of paper, etc. Then, add a trap – tangled wire, metallic thread, even shreds of stainless steel scouring sponges work. Seal up the bottle and hang it.
Gazing balls as garden ornaments are a variety of witch ball. If you have space for a gazing ball, it can be a nice addition to the garden magick portion of your ward system.
A nazar is an eye-shaped amulet used to protect against the evil eye – the word ‘nazar’ is Arabic in origin. Nazars are characterized by their bright, royal blue color, and are easy both to create and to purchase. They can be worn as beads, but for home protection a large nazar amulet can be hung in the windows, above doors, or hung from trees or fence posts on your property.
Writing about nazars brings me to another repeated motif in folk magick – the use of the color blue. In the south, porch ceilings are painted haint blue (a pale, sky blue shade). The blue ceiling prevents malicious spirits from passing the porch (and therefore entering the house).
Bottle trees are another regular sight in the south. Royal blue bottles are hung on trees with their mouths downward. Spirits are drawn to the rich color, then become trapped in the inverted bottle. The spirits are destroyed when sunlight hits the bottle the next morning.
This part is a little challenging to put in a short blog format simply because depending upon what part of the world you live in, different plants are useful for protection magick. I personally use mugwort (grown in pots by the front door), rosemary, and thyme, but I live in the mid-Atlantic where those plants thrive, require little care, and are perennial. If your plants require watering or tending, they are no longer set-and-forget. My best recommendation is to grab one of the many books on magickal herbalism and cross reference the plants that offer protection against your climate, then look up those plants for ease of growing. The broad-leaved sage plant at my old house is now large enough to supply an entire year’s herb bundles at harvest, and thrives on benign neglect. Select protection plants that you can largely ignore. Remember, we’re going for once-and-done here.
Gem and mineral magick is a wiiiiiiide field within witchcraft, but there are some good general guidelines. If it’s dark colored and heavy, it can probably be used for protection and grounding. The darker the color, the more it neutralizes energy. You do not need to go out and buy a wheelbarrow of black tourmaline in order to use stones as part of your home protection. If you live in an environment that includes rocks, simply keep an eye out for darkly colored ones. Gather them up (ask if they’d like to help first – most rocks are totally on board for eating bad juju) and place them along the boundaries of your property whether that be an indoor or outdoor line.
Remember, adding any one of the options above to an existing shield and ward system will grant you extra resilience against discordant energy/malicious intent. You don’t need to do them all, or embark on a project you don’t have energy for – we’re all going to need our reserves going forward. Pick the option that’s easiest for you to do (I grabbed a couple extra rosemary plants at a garden fair) and set it in motion.
So, what’s your favorite set-and-forget protection charm? What am I missing? Hit me up in the comments. You never know when your practice will be exactly what someone needs.
If you enjoy my weekly blogs, please consider supporting me through Patreon. Patreon is what enables me to invest time in writing, teaching and exploring the wide world of spirit. Through small monthly donations from supporters, I am able to make ends meet and devote time to this Work that would otherwise be spent at a mundane form of income generation. Here’s the link: https://www.patreon.com/glassewitchcottage