Whether a Heathen, witch, or paranormal investigator, there are a whole bunch of reasons why you should probably take magical preparedness into account, and especially when dealing with the otherworldly. As discussed here, here, and here, we appear to be living in a more active era – a resurgence of sorts. But where there is more activity, there is also greater potential for danger, and so I’ve decided to begin collating tips and resources for minimizing risk on this page.
This document is intended to be added to, so if you think of anything that you feel should be added here, then please contact me at seo (dot) firstname.lastname@example.org. Tips do not need to be Heathen or Pagan in nature. Additions will be made periodically and at my discretion.
Entries will be grouped in the following categories: ‘The Home Base’, ‘Self Care’, and ‘On the Go’. Many of the tips currently included here are inspired by what people have been experiencing as a result of Hellier, but this page is intended to have a much wider scope. You will also find tips here that are not specifically Heathen or Pagan (e.g suggestions for work with St Michael). This is because not everyone currently getting into this field are Heathen or Pagan, but safety tips should be for everyone.
The Home Base
Before getting involved on any level (beyond what you may or may not have already been sucked into), I recommend warding your home. Now, you don’t have to be some badass witch to do this – all you need is a bunch of railroad spikes or iron nails and a can-do attitude (okay, so you need five).
Beginning at the front of your house and on the left (as you’re looking out from your front door) and moving clockwise, drive a nail or spike into each corner of your property (if possible). The fifth nail is to add to where the first nail is when you finish your circumambulation. If you have any favored prayers for protection then speak them while you’re doing this.
This is simple, but it’s a surprisingly effective protection against a lot of stuff out there. Just to give you an idea of the kind of things it can keep out. My neighbor did this with her house because she was having lots of banging noises in her house (that I could hear through the walls), lights turning themselves on and off, and other disturbances. Since doing this, her house has been quiet and the being who was harassing her now wanders the street at night unable to get in.
Unfortunately, not everyone has property they can ward in this way. If you find yourself in this position, then I recommend walking the boundaries of where you live with fire. Again, you need to move in a clockwise or sunwise direction. You don’t have to, but I recommend speaking prayers as you move. Bear the solar connection in mind as you do so. If you are Christian or otherwise have a soft spot for him, I recommend praying to St Michael for this. Again, he’s a solar-associated being. You can also further layer on the solar associations by performing this on a Sunday.
Because of the way my house is, I had to do my entire block (and let me tell you how weird that can get when you’re precariously carrying a lit candle in a jar in broad daylight while muttering prayers in Old English to Þūnor). Don’t be afraid to group in houses. It may seem unethical, but I also read about a woman who’s been set on fire a couple of times in as many weeks since angering the Good Folk, so really I think you’d be doing your neighbors a favor.
Further measures you can take within the home are periodically fumigating the home with rosemary, a mixture of rosemary, vervain, juniper, or mugwort (opening the windows and doors as you do so), beginning an offering relationship with solar beings, and regularly performing rituals such as the Stele of Jeu from the Greek Magical Papyri before telling anything lurking to get out.
I also really like the magical candles they sell in the cleaning aisles of international grocery stores. The rosemary one is great (use the prayer on the back), and you can do a lot with the devotional St Michael candles and his sigil on a piece of paper or inscribed on the candle itself. Whatever you do, don’t buy these from occult stores. The mark-up is usually obscene.
As I mentioned in this post, one of the main effects that the Other can have on humans is that people can become quite mentally unwell. This is usually as a result of incurring their wrath, but one theory I’m currently mulling over is that it can be harmful to simply be in the presence of whatever portals exist between, and that there is something about that kind of energy that is inimical to a lot of human life. I have a few reasons for thinking this, but they’re a little too UPG for (even) this post so I’ll restrain myself.
Instead, I’ll just stick to emphasizing the importance of taking care of yourself and remaining self-aware when doing this kind of work. That means learning ‘basic’ magical skills such as grounding, purification, and meditation. These are the practices that will keep you sane when things get intense. Lots of loose, ungrounded energy can eventually make you feel quite unwell causing everything from heart palpitations to insomnia and paranoia when not grounded out.
Meditation can teach you many things, but the most relevant here are how to stand sentry to your own mind, be aware of your energy levels, and to make sure that any decisions you make are made deliberately by you (as opposed to while in some strange autopilot mode or under some compulsion). I also highly recommend books like Pema Chodron’s How to Meditate , as her explanations are clear and her approach is gentle – which is precisely what is needed when it comes to learning meditation.
Purification can take the form of salt scrubs and hyssop oil, as well as smoke fumigation with herbs like mugwort. However, as with all magic, there is both an outer and inner manifestation that is particularly important to nail down here. After all, sailors aren’t automatically pure because they spend a lot of time covered in sea water! There are many purification visualizations you can adopt, but I would suggest adopting one that continues the solar theme. This should be done either in conjunction or in addition to physical purification methods.
Again, I would recommend rituals like the Stele of Jeu here too (if that’s your bag).
On the Go
I also recommend putting together what I call a ‘Magical Go-Bag’ for when you’re on the go and that you become familiar with a range of apotropaics. You can find a full explanation of the Go-Bag here, but please realize that it’s not exhaustive and that some kind of amulet would also be a good addition (Alison at Practical Occult makes a range of amulets and her work is solid).
I also recommend checking out Morgan Daimler’s work on Fairies. They’re perhaps the best versed and most experienced public practitioner of the Fairy Faith out there today. As someone who is originally from ‘over the pond’, I recognize a lot of the older view in what Morgan teaches. Given that the Good Folk aren’t known for ‘grading on a curve’, it’s generally wise to learn as much about them as you can before going out into the field.