If you’re a beginner or even an intermediate witch, you’ve probably heard a thousand times how important it is to protect yourself and learn about protection before you attempt anything else in your practice. However, you may also have noticed that practitioners rarely give you exact information on how to do it. This has a simple explanation: if other practitioners know exactly what you do to protect yourself, they can easily overpower these protective measures and send hexes and other harmful intentions your way. That’s one important rule about protection: don’t give all of your secrets away. If you share one way in which you protect yourself and your home, make sure you have other wards up that no one knows about.
Generally speaking, there are four levels of protection. In order to cast spells, you should be familiar with the first two and have a working knowledge of the third. You need to know what binding is as well, even if you may not know how to do a binding spell (or choose not to do so, as binding can be considered Baneful Magic by some practitioners).
Magic Cleansing and Purification - Level 1
The first level of protection is cleansing and purifying. This is something you have to do routinely with your home, yourself, your pets, and your magical tools. Whenever you bring something new into your home, magical or not, make sure to cleanse and purify it as well.
Physically cleansing something or someone is key before purifying it. No matter how much Sage you burn in your home, it won’t be purified if you have dirty dishes in the sink and rotten food in the fridge. Likewise, don’t expect to be purified yourself if you haven’t showered in a couple of days. The first step of protection in magic is as mundane as keeping yourself and your home clean and hygienic.
After this is done, we move on to purifying. Purifying is removing the energetic debris that may be present in a person or place. There are many ways to do this. The most popular way is burning incense. Beware of your pets while you burn incense, they have much smaller lungs than we do and inhaling the smoke can be harmful for them. If you or someone in your household is asthmatic, simply refrain from burning incense. There are other ways to purify that don’t put anyone’s health in harm’s way. It’s also very important to open the windows in your house so the energy that’s being moved by the incense has a way to leave.
Another way in which you can purify someone or a place is through sprays. You can also use visualization combined with color magic. When using visualization for purification purposes, purple is a great color, as it transforms the energy present in a person, animal, place, or tool. White is also a great color to fill up the space you have just liberated of negative energy. Sound cleansing is also an option.
After you’ve successfully removed the negative energy present, always remember to fill the now empty space with positive energy. If you’re burning incense, for example, after you’re done with the sage, burn flowers that are safe to burn or other sweet smells to fill up the space and attract positive energy.
Magical Shielding, Wards, and Spiritual Protection - Level 2
Once your space is clean and purified, you want to protect it from attacks from other practitioners or angry spirits. To do this, you can shield yourself using things like a veil or visualization. You can also create wards, which are magical objects that have the mission of absorbing any negative energy directed your way. They can be as simple as a bowl of sea salt under your bed or as complicated as a protective spell jar. During this step, you generally ask for protection from spirits you trust. A good start is your ancestors or a Deity you know well. You can also ask the spirits of the land for help.
Pay attention to your wards. When they appear dull or even break, it means that someone is trying to go through your defenses. Wards aren’t always effective when keeping evil away, but they never fail to buy you some time and give you fair warning, which is why you should keep at least a few up at all times.
Banishing Spells - Level 3
When your wards fail and a hex or an unwanted spirit takes firm root in your energetic space, you can remove the negativity from your space by using banishing spells and rituals. This is a topic we have already covered comprehensively. There is some overlap between cleansing and banishing. Some second-hand items you acquire may be haunted by a strong spirit, and, rather than cleansing the object, you’d need to banish it.
Binding Spells - Level 4
Binding means tying a person’s symbolic hands together so they are not able to do any more harm, either to others or themselves. Some people consider binding Baneful Magic because you’re influencing another person’s actions and intentions without their specific consent. In dire situations, however, sometimes binding is the only option left. Even if it is Baneful Magic, I personally don’t judge practitioners who bind suicidal friends, a harmful demon they can’t banish, or a relentless bully. You may also suffer the effects of binding yourself if you’re trying to thwart the spells of another practitioner.
In short, the four levels of protection are cleansing and purifying, setting up wards, asking for protection and shielding, banishing, and binding. You have to know the first two in detail and have a working knowledge of banishing before you’re ready to cast other spells. Knowing what binding is is also useful, though beginner witches don’t necessarily need to have it mastered.