The words “warding” and “shielding” get used interchangeably a lot in the community of paganism. The following is my understanding of the terms, and thus how I will be using them in this piece. I look at shielding as the singular: You can shield yourself. You can put a shield on a single object, etc. To ward, on the other hand, implies protecting or shielding more than yourself. You can ward a group of people, a ritual, or a space.
I define a Ward as a Shield anchored to a physical place. Instead of using your energy, though, you let Earth energy flow upward to power it. With practice, you can create a stable, Earth-powered shield. This leaves more energy for spell work, or allows you to drop your own shields and recharge. Reinforce the visualization regularly, and it can be permanent, to protect your Circle or home. I tend to anchor wards with physical objects-a stone, carved runes, etc. But it is the visualization that really matters. If the mental image fails, the shield will fail, no matter how many runes you carve.
So, what are wards? Well – to put it simply – wards are a means of protection against negativity, negative energies and any form of ill-will that seeks to harm yourself, your loved ones or your home. They are a form of ‘psychokinetic shield’ if you want to use the fancy terminology, – a thing to deflect nasties. Wards can be cast on objects and items, in the home or a space that you want to protect, such as a workplace or communal space, or they can be cast in certain rooms. Some wards can be cast around the whole perimeter of an area – grounds included.
When is the best time to cast these, wards you speak of? The short answer is this: whenever you feel is best. I find that whenever your home has been busy, or a high-traffic area, you may want to take down old wards and cast new ones, or perhaps after you’ve had a mad deep clean in your home. That works best for me, anyway!
The first thing you need to do is cleanse.
Cleansing is used in witchcraft all the time; we cleanse our tools and spaces often to make sure no residual energies or nastiness is in, on or around our stuff. It’s the same with wards and warding. When warding, you’re essentially creating a shield using energy and this is often done by visualizing and forming a sort of… bubble. Cleansing any tools you plan on using and cleansing the space you intend on protecting will wash away any leftover energies or anything that you don’t want with the bounds of your ward(s).
You can cleanse using any of your preferred methods, such as smoke cleansing using incense, or by washing your area/tools/items in a charged water.
You’re clean, and you’re ready. Okay, cool beans. Let’s get down to business (to defeat, the Huns!).
You need to decide on just how you want to cast your wards as there are various ways and means of doing so. You don’t have to stick to just one – you’re more than welcome to dabble and to experiment, or use combinations of methods as long as it’s safe and suits your wants and needs.
I like using sigils and symbols
- So, you like sigils, do ya’? Me too! Sigils are a great way of establishing wards in and around the home. You can either choose a sigil that befits your intent, or craft your own – either is fine, and using incense smoke, oil blends or simply your finger and a little bit of visualization and a lot of focus on your intent, draw your sigils on the doors and windows of your home (primary access points), and on door frames and windowsills. If you’re creating wards for a property as a whole, you can engrave or draw sigils onto gates and fence posts too.
Incense floats my boat, Roe.
- Ah, good old incense. Now, bear in mind that sometimes using incense smoke may not be possible or appropriate, or perhaps you don’t do well with smoke – totally understandable, lots of people don’t. If this is the case, you can cast wards using water and oil blends instead! This can be done by putting the blend into a spray bottle and then by ‘spritzing’ your object or area.
- When you’re creating an oil blend or incense, try your best to make sure that your protection herbs (rosemary, bay, cinnamon, salt, etc,.), are authentic because the magick is in your herbs!
A Quick Step-by-Step Guide to Incense Warding:
Smoke or spray/spritz your item, if it is an item that you are warding. If it’s a room/building or space, you need to pick a place to start. If you are not drawn to any area in particular, then starting by your altar (if you are that way inclined!) or at a doorway, would be best.
*If you’re warding more than one floor, begin at the very top and work your way down.
Next, begin smoking/spritzing the room. You do this by moving clockwise around the room (to the right). As you do so, visualize the smoke or spray enveloping everything it touches; forming an impenetrable layer on all around you – a shield, if you will.
If you have problems with visualization, then simply focus on your intent: protection, protection, protection. If you’re setting up specific wards, e.g., ones to stop bad spirits or fae, focus on that.
As you work, follow the layout of the space you are warding. Work from room to room. If you aim to set up a ward that protects an entire property, you may want to establish a perimeter. You do this by walking full circle, including the ground and gardens, if applicable.
What if I work better with energy?
- Then the bubble/wall wards will work for you.
- Some people are naturally very good at working with energy and so this form of warding may work best for you, if you are one of those people. Using visualization, take your object (if, again, that’s what you’re doing, if not and you’re warding a space, apply the following steps to the space you are working in), and channel your energy into it. Do this by envisioning, as best you can, a cord or light or a tendril of some form, coming from yourself and into the object. During this time, focus solely and intently on your intent. Put as much power as you can muster into this.
- If you are a proficient energy worker, you may be able to build a dome/wall/shield of energy that is capable of warding larger areas.
Scratch & Win
To add a little… oomph, to your wards, you may want to chant or add some vocal spell-work into the mix. If you do want to do this, you’ll need to find an applicable chant or create one of your own and then, as you walk through your space, you will need to repeat it over and over, keeping your intent in mind. As you cover you home, or space, you’ll need to speak it in each room you wish to protect!