Protection Ritual for a New House

In the following ritual, Warrior Caste Elder Jason B. Crutchfield shares his methods for cleansing and setting up spiritual protection in a new place of residence.

Familiarize yourself with the house — both its lay-out and its feel. If there are places that give you a certain impression look into this. What is that impression telling you? Once you know the house, start blocking it from the outside world. You do this by seeing shutters on the windows and bars across the doors. See yourself building these shutters and bars. Concentrate on these creations and invest them with your protective energies. This should create a defensive layer on your house that should keep things out.

As to guards. My best suggestion is if you have found any Family sprits or friendly spirits ask them to help protect the house. Offer them energy for this service, but only offer this if you know they are safe. This is your basic deal with spirits — services for energy — that is all. Remember never place too much trust in spirits or come to rely on them too heavily. They are nothing compared to your own skills.

How does one cleanse a house? First, be polite. Stand in a central location and let everything know that this is now your house. Stake your claim on the territory and lay down rules. Describe what kind of things you will and will not tolerate in your house. Then warn everything that you are going to cleanse the energy of the entire place. If there are good spirits around, ask them to step aside for a while as you do the sweep and clear so your new home is starting energetically with a fresh slate.

How do you drive spirits out? Well I use a bell, but other things can work. Incense, other music, candle light, even pots and pans. What I would do is, first open up the front door, so things can leave. Then go through the house and say out loud, “Those that would bring harm to this house are no longer welcome.” Then you make the noise, ring the bell, use the incense. Go through the entire house this way starting up stairs in the far reaches and moving down towards the door. While doing this be very conscious of the fact that you are capable to driving unwanted things out. Make sure the spirits know this. Intimidate them. Let them know not to fuck with you or your house. Most important, DON’T TAKE SHIT FROM SPIRITS!!!

The bell, for me it is a focus for my energy. I see my energy go out as the sound goes out. In addition, I’ve spent many rites investing the bell I use with energy to help add to the effect. The sound strikes spirits on teh other side, and believe me, they don’t like it. Use the sound to drive them away, herding them from the house. If you want good spirits to remain, cleanse the whole place of everythign first, and then invite what you want back in.

The idea is herding — you want to cleanse the area before you can start putting up protection. Chase them out of the closets and corners. Kick them all out the front door.

Once you’ve gone through all the rooms and chased everything out, close the door. Now the only things that are left are things that want to help, good feelings, good energy, and family.

To protect, you should go to the energy center of the house, by now you have likely found it. From there you can effect the energy of the whole house. First you want to center yourself, and see yourself as the protector of the house.

Once you have centered I want you to travel through the house in your mind. What you will do is basically follow the energy in the house and see how energy moves through the place. This might help you find any remaining problem areas. These would be areas that you don’t feel right about. If you find such an area, physically go to it and hit it with everything you’ve got, and have the others do this as well.

You will need to clean the house out every now and then, like every three months. I like to do such things on the equinoxes and solstices to make them more powerful. Also, you can clean whenever you think it is needed. If spirits start knocking things around or if you start having strange feelings or nightmares in the house, then it’s time to do some cleaning.

I’ve also done it with windows open, and it works the same. Sometimes with the door I like to create a flow of energy that will continue after the rite.

As for homes that have additions, so far I haven’t had to deal with them but I do think that would be more difficult. Perhaps to solve that problem you should go into those areas and see if their is a separate center of energy located in the area, and do a separate rite there. Then do some kind of rite to bring it all together.

Spiritual House Cleansing

From my experience, when a human being dies and his or her spirit lingers, that spirit retains its personality, memories, and ability to reason. Depending on how you accept that ghosts (human remnants specifically) become earthbound, this retention of a large portion of who and what they were in life is a fundamental characteristic of lingering human spirits. There are phenomenon labeled as ghosts which are not human spirits. These can manifest as an apparition of a person, as a sense of their presence, the sound of their voice, even the scent of their perfume. In some rare cases, these manifestations will involve all of these things. The manifestations are not necessarily static. Quite typically, they repeat a specific series of actions, over and over again. The vast majority of manifestations witnessed on the field of Gettysburg fall into this category.

These manifestations are what I’ve called “memory ghosts.” They are an imprint or an echo that has been stamped upon the energy of the subtle reality. They are almost always the product of a highly emotional situation or event: a murder, a battle, a suicide. They have all the sentience and free will of an image projected onto a screen. They repeat the seem actions endlessly because they are nothing more than a recording on infinite repeat. As the energy that made the impression fades over time, the repetitions can fade or cease altogether. But the spirit of the actual person who generated the energy to create this effect is long, long gone.

Some constructs exist that might be perceived as ghosts. The most famous example of this is one given by John Keel in The Mothman Prophecies (now a completely inaccurate motion picture!). There is a house in Greenwich Village where residents kept seeing a figure in dark clothes, a flowing cape, and a wide-brimmed slouch hat stalking through the corridors. The face of the figure was always indistinct, but some said it had a very piercing, intense gaze. This apparition was seen numerous times by a succession of people. Concluding that the house was haunted, the history of the house was researched, but it seemed that no one had ever died in the residence (I could go on my rant about how everyone seems to think that someone has to have died in a house in order for their spirit to haunt it — suffice it to say that it just ain’t so). Someone came up with the theory that this figure was the ghost of a Civil War soldier or even a spy — it projected a sneaking, almost sinister air about it to those who perceived it.

After coming up with dead-ends on the identity of this mysterious figure, someone learned that the house had once been the residence of a rather prolific writer by the name of Walter Gibson. Gibson had spent some of his most productive years in the house, turning out page after page in a series which revolved around one specific character. The character was The Shadow — “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows … “ as the old radio show used to go.

It just so happens that the Shadow stalked around in dark clothes with a muffled face, a flowing cape, and a wide-brimmed slouch hat. The “ghost” in the Greenwich Village house was a construct birthed by Gibson’s fertile imagination and all the energy he put into the form as he worked on his series of tales.

So this brings us back to real, legitimate ghosts. Once again, I define “ghost” as the spiritual remains of a human being who has died and lingered here as opposed to moving on to whatever version of the Afterlife exists beyond this place (The Tibetan Book of the Dead offers some good insights into this, and I’d have to say my own views on the whole process are largely in keeping with that of the Tibetans). These spirits are just like people — except they no longer wear flesh. As such, they can lie just like people do; they can have agendas just like people do; and they can be varying shades of beneficial and malevolent just like people are.

It’s a common belief, propagated mainly through Medieval necromantic traditions, that ghosts, once they’ve crossed over, become omniscient. This is the root of necromancy being a diviniatory technique. It was beleived that the dead were privy to all manner of knowledge and secrets that were obscured from the living by the veil separating the living from the dead. But this belief in the omniscience of spirits is just another misconception that’s grown out of the mystique living people tend to apply to the dead. In my experience, while their perceptions from that side of things are different, they are not omniscient by any means. They do tend to be more empathic/telepathic than your average incarnated human, but this is mainly because they exist on the level of pure energy and all communication and/or interaction occurs on this level.

Energy does sustain them. However, they are perfectly capable of taking it for themselves. When you are alive, you are both spirit and matter — and just as your physical body sustains itself with food and water and air, your subtle body sustains itself with the energy from the world around you. Some of this energy is in the food you eat; some of it is exchanged with the environment through the process of breathing (hence the layered meaning of breath/life/spirit with such words as prana, chi, and even the Swahili roho); and some is gained through more subtle means (we can get into the ramifications this has on the reality of vampirism in another thread). For the most part, a living being’s interaction with and intake of energy occurs on the same unconscious and instinctual level as breathing — you don’t need to know the mechanics of it or even what muscles you’re flexing in order to do it — it’s hard-wired into the organism. Survival’s great that way.

The ability to take in sustaining energy (and expel energetic byproduct) is similarly a natural process for the spirits of the dead. However, there is usually a slightly more active element involved. Consider energy the food of the dead. You don’t eat a hamburger just by thinking about it. So it is with the spirits — they do have to actively forage for their “food” although it’s not necessary for them to consciously understand the whole process by which they eat and digest it (consider how many embodied beings would be in trouble if we had to understand the mechanics of physical digestion just to gain any benefit from our regular meals).

Spirits certainly appreciate gifts of energy — and this is one way I have of thanking them for a service rendered. Think of all the funerary systems the world over that leave food offerings to the dead while acnowledging that the food itself serves as a symbol for the subtle nourishment that the spirits derive from such sacrifice. However, if you’re working with spirits, don’t let them feed off of you without restraint. There’s no reason for this. Set guidelines and groundrules for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Make sure the spirits know that these don’t apply only to you, or else you may have visitors to your home complaining of being tired all the time. Be very clear that the spirits you work with are to take energy that is offered willingly only — and if they start breaking this cardinal rule, make certain there are consequences.

As for what use a human spirit can be put to? You can sit around and talk to it — I find some of them vastly entertaining. They can be put to work as house guardians. This runs much along the same lines as creating a construct to do that job — except most constructs have a limited intellect and frequently can only do what they’ve been programmed to do. A human spirit is just like having another person in the house, but someone who can watch it from the otherside. They can think, reason, make judgement calls on what to do, etc.,

Summoning any other sort of entity for this work yields about the same results — it’s just that some entities don’t operate on remotely human principles, and so their behavior & reactions are harder to predict. I suppose I like the predictability of human spirits — with a good grasp of human psychology, it’s pretty easy to know what they want, how to make them happy, and how to get them to do a job for you. The other benefit is you’re working with something that you can meet on equal terms. Unlike a lot of others who work with spirits, I prefer not to bind or compel otherworldly entities. Constructs, as created things, are a little too much like servants or slaves to me, and bound entities are worse. So I prefer working with spirits that I can relate to as friends, companions, and equals, which means the vast majority of the disembodied I work with wore human flesh at some point in their existence.

Notes on Spirit Work

From my experience, when a human being dies and his or her spirit lingers, that spirit retains its personality, memories, and ability to reason. Depending on how you accept that ghosts (human remnants specifically) become earthbound, this retention of a large portion of who and what they were in life is a fundamental characteristic of lingering human spirits. There are phenomenon labeled as ghosts which are not human spirits. These can manifest as an apparition of a person, as a sense of their presence, the sound of their voice, even the scent of their perfume. In some rare cases, these manifestations will involve all of these things. The manifestations are not necessarily static. Quite typically, they repeat a specific series of actions, over and over again. The vast majority of manifestations witnessed on the field of Gettysburg fall into this category.

These manifestations are what I’ve called “memory ghosts.” They are an imprint or an echo that has been stamped upon the energy of the subtle reality. They are almost always the product of a highly emotional situation or event: a murder, a battle, a suicide. They have all the sentience and free will of an image projected onto a screen. They repeat the seem actions endlessly because they are nothing more than a recording on infinite repeat. As the energy that made the impression fades over time, the repetitions can fade or cease altogether. But the spirit of the actual person who generated the energy to create this effect is long, long gone.

Some constructs exist that might be perceived as ghosts. The most famous example of this is one given by John Keel in The Mothman Prophecies (now a completely inaccurate motion picture!). There is a house in Greenwich Village where residents kept seeing a figure in dark clothes, a flowing cape, and a wide-brimmed slouch hat stalking through the corridors. The face of the figure was always indistinct, but some said it had a very piercing, intense gaze. This apparition was seen numerous times by a succession of people. Concluding that the house was haunted, the history of the house was researched, but it seemed that no one had ever died in the residence (I could go on my rant about how everyone seems to think that someone has to have died in a house in order for their spirit to haunt it — suffice it to say that it just ain’t so). Someone came up with the theory that this figure was the ghost of a Civil War soldier or even a spy — it projected a sneaking, almost sinister air about it to those who perceived it.

After coming up with dead-ends on the identity of this mysterious figure, someone learned that the house had once been the residence of a rather prolific writer by the name of Walter Gibson. Gibson had spent some of his most productive years in the house, turning out page after page in a series which revolved around one specific character. The character was The Shadow — “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows … “ as the old radio show used to go.

It just so happens that the Shadow stalked around in dark clothes with a muffled face, a flowing cape, and a wide-brimmed slouch hat. The “ghost” in the Greenwich Village house was a construct birthed by Gibson’s fertile imagination and all the energy he put into the form as he worked on his series of tales.

So this brings us back to real, legitimate ghosts. Once again, I define “ghost” as the spiritual remains of a human being who has died and lingered here as opposed to moving on to whatever version of the Afterlife exists beyond this place (The Tibetan Book of the Dead offers some good insights into this, and I’d have to say my own views on the whole process are largely in keeping with that of the Tibetans). These spirits are just like people — except they no longer wear flesh. As such, they can lie just like people do; they can have agendas just like people do; and they can be varying shades of beneficial and malevolent just like people are.

It’s a common belief, propagated mainly through Medieval necromantic traditions, that ghosts, once they’ve crossed over, become omniscient. This is the root of necromancy being a diviniatory technique. It was beleived that the dead were privy to all manner of knowledge and secrets that were obscured from the living by the veil separating the living from the dead. But this belief in the omniscience of spirits is just another misconception that’s grown out of the mystique living people tend to apply to the dead. In my experience, while their perceptions from that side of things are different, they are not omniscient by any means. They do tend to be more empathic/telepathic than your average incarnated human, but this is mainly because they exist on the level of pure energy and all communication and/or interaction occurs on this level.

Energy does sustain them. However, they are perfectly capable of taking it for themselves. When you are alive, you are both spirit and matter — and just as your physical body sustains itself with food and water and air, your subtle body sustains itself with the energy from the world around you. Some of this energy is in the food you eat; some of it is exchanged with the environment through the process of breathing (hence the layered meaning of breath/life/spirit with such words as prana, chi, and even the Swahili roho); and some is gained through more subtle means (we can get into the ramifications this has on the reality of vampirism in another thread). For the most part, a living being’s interaction with and intake of energy occurs on the same unconscious and instinctual level as breathing — you don’t need to know the mechanics of it or even what muscles you’re flexing in order to do it — it’s hard-wired into the organism. Survival’s great that way.

The ability to take in sustaining energy (and expel energetic byproduct) is similarly a natural process for the spirits of the dead. However, there is usually a slightly more active element involved. Consider energy the food of the dead. You don’t eat a hamburger just by thinking about it. So it is with the spirits — they do have to actively forage for their “food” although it’s not necessary for them to consciously understand the whole process by which they eat and digest it (consider how many embodied beings would be in trouble if we had to understand the mechanics of physical digestion just to gain any benefit from our regular meals).

Spirits certainly appreciate gifts of energy — and this is one way I have of thanking them for a service rendered. Think of all the funerary systems the world over that leave food offerings to the dead while acnowledging that the food itself serves as a symbol for the subtle nourishment that the spirits derive from such sacrifice. However, if you’re working with spirits, don’t let them feed off of you without restraint. There’s no reason for this. Set guidelines and groundrules for what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Make sure the spirits know that these don’t apply only to you, or else you may have visitors to your home complaining of being tired all the time. Be very clear that the spirits you work with are to take energy that is offered willingly only — and if they start breaking this cardinal rule, make certain there are consequences.

As for what use a human spirit can be put to? You can sit around and talk to it — I find some of them vastly entertaining. They can be put to work as house guardians. This runs much along the same lines as creating a construct to do that job — except most constructs have a limited intellect and frequently can only do what they’ve been programmed to do. A human spirit is just like having another person in the house, but someone who can watch it from the otherside. They can think, reason, make judgement calls on what to do, etc.,

Summoning any other sort of entity for this work yields about the same results — it’s just that some entities don’t operate on remotely human principles, and so their behavior & reactions are harder to predict. I suppose I like the predictability of human spirits — with a good grasp of human psychology, it’s pretty easy to know what they want, how to make them happy, and how to get them to do a job for you. The other benefit is you’re working with something that you can meet on equal terms. Unlike a lot of others who work with spirits, I prefer not to bind or compel otherworldly entities. Constructs, as created things, are a little too much like servants or slaves to me, and bound entities are worse. So I prefer working with spirits that I can relate to as friends, companions, and equals, which means the vast majority of the disembodied I work with wore human flesh at some point in their existence.

Using a Spirit Sensor

A spirit sensor can be any weighted object that is depended from a string and hung in an area where you plan on working regularly with spirits. The spirit sensor should be heavy enough that it will not be set into motion by a simple disturbance in the air, but light enough that it will not take a spirit too much effort to set it swinging.

Constructing Your Spirit Sensor

A spirit sensor can be constructed from pretty much anything. I recommend using materials that you resonate with and which are receptive to energy. As you construct the sensor, you will be investing it with the energy of your intent, and you want it to hold this energy for as long as possible. The spirit’s interaction with the sensor will also involve an exchange of energy.

The spirit is not literally reaching out on a physical level to set the sensor swinging. Instead, the spirit expends energy, directed by intent, which manifests in the physical world as kinetic energy – the motion of all or part of the sensor. As the spirit must exert energy in order to affect the sensor (or accomplish any manifestation perceptible in the physical world) it is also a good idea to charge some part of the sensor with vital energy that the spirit can draw upon. Such a gift of vital energy always gives a spirit an extra incentive to respond to your call, as energy is the food and the currency of the otherside.

I have constructed my spirit sensor from a collection of bones. I took these from a necklace that was given to me, so they were already sanded, shellacked, and drilled lengthwise with holes. Using garnet, onyx, and hematite beads as endcaps, I wired the bones together in a three-dimensional pattern that is basically two pyramids attached together, base to base. I added a small pendulum of carved hematite to the center of the main structure, and this hangs in the very center of the open diamond of bone. Five bones hang in a pattern from the bottom, one connected at the very base and the rest hanging down from the other four corners.

From certain angles, it looks like a three-dimensional hexagram. The geometric pattern seems to significantly increase the strength of the item, although this is merely an unexpected benefit of a largely unintentional pattern. The shape just came to me as I was working with the bones. I had eighteen pieces of bone to work with, and a few were shorter than the others, so in all, there were only twelve that were of nearly the same shape and length. A couple of different pattern combinations were possible with these twelve bones, but the open diamond had the best feel to it.

The bones of course serve to attract spirits because they resonate with that particular energy associated with death. I worked garnet, onyx and hematite into the structure for several different reasons. First of all, I have a special affinity with these stones. Whenever I’ve constructed an object, I’ve been drawn to working these stones into the item, as they seem to help me connect better to that item. The stronger the connection, the easier it is for me to invest the item with energy as I work, thus adding to its effectiveness. There was also an aesthetic choice in using these stones. The bones of the necklace are a beautiful aged ivory color, and the rich red of the garnet combined with the black of the onyx and the dark sheen of the hematite served to accent this wonderfully.

Finally, of course, there are the magickal associations of these stones. The solid black of the onyx has long made it a stone many believe to have protective powers, mainly by absorbing negativity into its depths. Of course, black is also the color of night and all things hidden in shadow, and by extension, becomes a color associated with death and the dead. For the garnet and the hematite, there is an association between both of these stones and that quintessential source of vital energy: blood.

Garnets, at least in my opinion, are the gems that most resemble drops of blood – especially those deeply colored garnets that have something of a rusty tinge to their hue. Hematite has long been associated with blood because of the connection between blood and iron. Iron oxide is what gives our blood its rich crimson color, and this is also the main constituent of the gemstone hematite. Because of their associations with blood, I’ve found that both of these stones are very receptive to being charged with vital energy. This becomes very handy in any item that is intended to attract the dead, for all spirits feed upon energy, and the vital energy of the living is especially potent for the dead. For this reason, I keep the central hematite pendulum charged with vital energy so the spirits have something to draw upon to fuel their manifestations.

During the construction, my intent was to attract only those spirits who meant no harm and were willing to sincerely work with me. Whenever I do a summoning, I ask that a spirit announce its presence by making the sensor, or at least the bones hanging from the bottom, move. The strength of the spirit tends to influence its ability to interact with objects in the physical world, so my results have varied between a barely perceptible quiver that trembled once through the entire thing to one entity that sent the entire sensor swinging like a tetherball.

In time, as you adjust to sensing spirits as they manifest in your ritual area, you will learn to sense the energy of spirits on your own. In this way, you can measure the accuracy of your perceptions against the activity of the spirit sensor. As you hone these perceptions, you will even be able to differentiate between one spirit and the next so eventually you’ll know just through its energy if a spirit is who (or what) it says it is.

Spirit-Chasers: Dispelling Unwanted Entities

Every culture the world over has had traditional tools and objects intended to protect the living from unwanted the spirits. You might think that the dead, once they were finished with their lives, would move on and not bother with the living. However, especially among less modernized cultures, the dead were perceived as being very jealous of the living. Thus, on nights when the wall between the worlds grew thin, such as Samhain, it was believed that the dead would return to their living relatives and attempt to feed on their vitality or to steal them away altogether in order to join them on the otherside. When there was no immediate family for the dead to prey upon, it was believed that any living person would do.

In addition to the dead, there were all manner of other spirits and entities active on the otherside. As an old Scottish prayer specifies: “From ghosties and ghoulies and long-leggedy beasties, and things that go bump in the night – good Lord deliver us!” All of these were thought to hover, just beyond our ordinary reality, waiting for a chance to attack, play tricks on, or otherwise annoy human beings. For these reasons, cultures around the world developed many techniques and tools for driving unwanted spirits away.

Gargoyles and Grotesques

Many items functioned on the notion of chasing spirits away by scaring them. For some reason, living people, who find spirits frightening and often depict them as malformed and hideous, seem to think that making things with hideous faces on them will in turn frighten away these unwanted spirits. Tribal masks from the Innuits to the various African peoples demonstrate this notion very nicely, with their distended faces, enlarged mouths, and protuberant eyes. Similar masks used to frighten away evil spirits can also be found among a number of primitive Asian cultures, with quite a few of these recently finding a receptive market here in the West as decorative pieces.

The jack o’ lantern, such a common sight in the United States around Halloween, also functions on this principle. Originally used in Ireland (and made out of a potato or turnip before it was ever carved from a pumpkin), the jack o’lantern was placed outside of a family’s home with the hope that its hideous face, lit by a candle from within, would frighten the spirits away. The gargoyles and grotesques on old churches also served the same purpose, although I have heard it argued that they were actually intended to impress upon the living attendants of those churches just how ugly and frightening the spirits of evil could be.

I have found that a grotesque, be it a gargoyle or other mask, functions very nicely as a guardian over a doorway. You may coax a spirit to inhabit the item, or you may work an energetic construct into the item with the specific intent of using it as a guard. Either way, placing this object just over a door has the effect of scaring lesser entities away. Think of the item as a sort of keeper of the threshold, and remember to charge it with energy and intent fairly regularly to maintain its function.

Bells

Another spirit-chasing item that the old churches employed were bells. Like masks and grotesques, the use of bells to clear the air of negative energies and to scare spirits away crosses the boundaries of culture and time. In the Catholic Mass, for example, when the host is solemnly raised for the moment of transubstantiation, a small set of four bells is often rung by one of the altar boys. This ritualistic ringing is only partially meant to draw attention to the mystery unfolding within the priest’s hands. The high chiming tone of the bells, ringing throughout the silent church, was at one time also intended to chase off any unwanted spirits from the place. Furthermore, it was a common belief in the British Isles that the sounding of church bells would drive faeries away.
A lot of folk-beliefs are founded on some grain of truth, although in many cases that truth has become greatly distorted. For example, the ringing of church bells was believed to keep faeries away because it was a sanctified and holy sound. Since the fey weren’t part of the Christian belief system, the Medieval Church automatically identified them as “evil” spirits, in league with Satan. Therefore, anything that was holy or blessed by the Church was believed to repel the fey.

In Eastern countries where bells were employed to ward off spirits, the effectiveness had little to do with what god was in charge and more to do with the actual tone of the bells. The vibrations of the bells were thought to clear negative energies and to disrupt the energy of spirits. From many personal experiences, I am inclined to agree that it is the sound of the bells – very specifically their vibration and resonance — which has the greatest impact on clearing energies and chasing spirits away. To clear energy, a resonant, deep-throated bell seems to work best, while for most spirits, bells with high frequencies or a slightly dissonant tone seem to irritate them and drive them away.

Drums

Drums, cymbals, and other percussion instruments are also thought to work along the same lines as bells. Typically, the loud and dissonant playing of percussion and other instruments is used to chase spirits from an area. By this reasoning, the claims of some conservative Christians that heavy metal music is used to summon demons might be completely off base. Instead, such ear-splitting tunes blasted at loud decibels is much more likely to disrupt spiritual energies and send entities packing.

Rhythmic drumming is used by shamans to aid them in achieving an altered state for working with spirits and with the dead, so be certain not to get confused. Generally, for the effect of chasing spirits away, the sounds you make on drums and other percussion instruments should be disruptive and unpleasant. As with many other spirit-chasers, this functions on the logic that if it makes your mother-in-law want to flee from the room, it will likely chase away any other nasty entity that’s out there.

Tibetan Ritual Tools

The Tibetans, who had a highly evolved spiritual “science” before the Chinese invaded and drove them out of their land, had developed a number of tools for driving off unwanted spirits. The phurba, a three-edged ritual blade popularized by the late nineties movie “The Shadow”, was used when dealing with spirits. The three edges of the blade are supposed to cut on the physical side, the spiritual side, and the spaces between. Similarly, the three faces of the traditional phurba, their countenances distorted in demonic fury, are supposed to scare spirits away, once again hitting every possible angle between spirit and solid realities.

The phurba is also used to “nail down” spirits so they may be dealt with in other ways. This can be helpful when binding spirits so they do not get away, and it can be helpful when performing a more involved attack intended to weaken a spirit to the point that it will be rendered incapable of doing harm for a very long while.

In addition to the phurba, another ritual blade, known as the dargu, is intended to cut spiritual attachments. This is the sacred blade of the dakinis, the feminine embodiments of the peaceful and wrathful deities. While the dargu is intended to sever the attachments a soul may have for things in this life, I have found that this blade works nicely for severing the links that some entities will forge to attach themselves to people in the here and now.

Another Tibetan tool, the dorje, is a symbolic representation of a lightning bolt. This item, often used in conjunction with a bell, amplifies the energy of the person holding it and can be used to great effect in clearing the energy of a room. Two dorjes forged together make a kind of four-spoked wheel and while this item can be cumbersome to hold, it is a very potent tool for amplifying and spreading out the wielder’s energy. Thus, a double-dorje, when energy is focused through it, can be used to clear out the stagnant and blocked energy over a wide area in a ritual space or other room.

Dream-catchers

A very popular Native American device, the dream-catcher, has gained widespread usage in recent years. Originally woven of sinew within a circle of wood or vines, the dream-catcher is symbolic of a spider web. Typically, there is a small, polished stone suspended from the web at some point within its design. This stone is said to represent Grandmother Spider, a Native American goddess of wisdom who watchers over any who use her dream-catchers.

The purpose of a dream-catcher is to capture nightmares while allowing good dreams to pass through the spaces between the web. Dream-catchers are traditionally placed on the walls just over the head of the bed, where they are supposed to encourage restful sleep. In recent times, dream-catchers are employed to capture any manner of negative energies, while presumably allowing more positive forces to pass through the web.

Fumigation

Just as the nasty-looking faces of gargoyles and grotesques were thought to drive spirits away, so, too, were nasty-smelling substances thought to repel visitors from the otherside. This is where we get the tradition that garlic can keep vampires away. Garlic has a strong and very pungent odor, and if one is wearing a string of garlic around their neck, it is likely to keep not only vampires, but also friends, family members, and perfect strangers at a safe distance.

Moving beyond garlic, there are a number of incenses that were traditionally burned to dispel spirits and drive them from a place. The ancient practice of fumigation, that is, filling a room up with a thick cloud of pungent smoke, was used to dispel negative energies as well as physical pests and vermin from a home. Fumitory is one incense that was traditionally used for this, as was the herb asafoetida. The word “fetid” is part of the root for “asafoetida” and this is very apt, for the herb has an exceptionally strong and amazingly unpleasant odor. Although it is employed in some forms of Indian cooking, asafoetida, in my book, is best reserved for exorcism, and even then, it should only be employed when a situation calls for the “big guns”.

Other incenses often used to purge energies and to exorcise spirits include frankincense, dragon’s blood, and myrrh. All of these have a more pleasant odor, and will probably not have the effect of driving you from the room along with the spirits.

Fire

Nearly every religion and spiritual tradition recognizes the purifying qualities of fire. Returning to Medieval days, peasants would erect huge bonfires, called “need-fires” in times of calamity, especially during outbreaks of plague. The fire was allowed to blaze up, and when it had burned down a little, sheep and cattle were driven through the smoldering coals. This was thought to burn away any harmful magicks or negative forces that were causing the plague.

In a ritual setting, fire can be used to dispel unwanted forces from a person or from a place. If the name or sigil of a spirit is known (especially if it is something you have called up yourself), this spirit can be dispelled by inscribing this on a piece of paper and committing it to the flames. As the name or sigil is burned to ash, the spirit is banished.

Some Ghostly Q&A

How do you know when a spirit is present?

On the most basic level, I just get the sense of a presence, as if there is another person in the room that I just can’t see. Most of the time, I get impressions from this presence: mainly emotions, whether it is hostile or harmless, whether it is trying to get my attention or avoid it. I don’t “see” ghosts exactly, but sometimes they will show up as darker spots to my physical sight, almost like a smudge or blur in reality. I do often get images of them in my mind. If the spirits are human deceased, the image is generally that of the ideal self, a kind of residual image of what the person looked like at the most important time of his or her life. It is important to remember that spirits do not have a set form. They are just energy and as such they are very mutable. Also, non-human entities will often project a very human appearance to you – for good or ill.

Can you hear spirits?

There have been a few very rare instances where I heard a clear and distinct human voice come forth from a spirit, but generally I do not hear spirits the way I hear normal embodied beings. Instead I “hear” a whispering that also leaves a sensation at the back of my head. This is a very distinctive feeling, as though I have an internal ear in the back of my head right at the base of my skull. The communication creates the sensation at the back of the skull and also forms into words in the mind. The spirits are rarely very loud and I usually have to concentrate heavily to understand them. It seems sometimes as if their voices are coming from a great distance and they don’t have the strength to speak above a low whisper.

There are other instances where I “hear” them in the center of my head. This is much more like how I “hear” telepathy. It feels like someone is speaking directly inside my head, about halfway back and just behind the eyes. These voices are always quite distinct and there is no sense of whispering at all, but if I do not listen carefully I will miss some of what the spirit is saying because it all comes thorough very fast. I don’t know how the mechanisms of the perceptions differ although I would hazard that they represent two different psychic senses. As I said, I “hear” telepathy in the center of the head, most often from living people, and so when I feel the whispering at the back of my head I know I am dealing with a ghost.

Can spirits affect the physical world?

Yes, though this depends on the strength of the spirit, how powerful it is, and how badly it wants to get your attention. The most common type of spirit that affects the physical world is a poltergeist. Most poltergeist phenomenon is actually the result of latent telekinetic ability in a human being, known as a nexus, who is usually an adolescent girl. There are a couple of theories about how a nexus works. According to the first theory, the nexus produces a great deal of energy, and this energy attracts spirits who use it to manifest, especially in the form of physical phenomena. The second theory has no ghosts at all. Rather, the physical phenomena become the result of the unconscious mind of the nexus using the excess energy she produces to make things fly about. I believe that both of these interpretations can be correct depending on circumstances.

With or without a nexus to fuel its mischief, a spirit still requires a great deal of energy to affect the physical environment. Spirits that are capable of doing this are either desperate to make their presence known or they are very powerful. It is not uncommon for these spirits to take the energy they need to manifest these phenomena from living people, whether or not the person targeted is a nexus. Most spirits usually don’t waste that much energy without a reason, so if you are ever in a situation where things are moving about, your first response should be to try to communicate with the entity responsible. Most of the time if you can figure out what it wants (and most of the time it simply desires a friendly ear) then it will settle down.

Ghosts and the Otherside

When we are incarnated, we are both body and soul, united into one being. There is an intricate interaction between our physical bodies and our subtle bodies, and this hinges upon the vital energy which passes between the two. When we die, however, our physical body and our subtle body separate. The physical body, bereft of what kept it animated in the first place, becomes just an empty shell which then rots away. The subtle body, the true seat of the soul, continues on, only now its lacks a component that allows it to interact with the physical world. Instead, it exists completely on the subtle level. The subtle reality is perceptible to physical beings because they exist in both realms. The spiritual half of the world we know is perceptible to the disincarnate, and it is on this level of pure energy which they must interact once they have gone beyond their bodies.

Most souls incarnate again after the death of their physical bodies. The process of reincarnation can happen almost immediately upon the death of the body, or the soul may choose to wait a while for the proper circumstances to come together for the best birth it can achieve. “A while” is a very relative term, of course, because time as we experience it does not exist on the Otherside. Even if they are ready to, not all souls incarnate after dying. Some are caught between death and rebirth, and most of the spirits we perceive as ghosts are made up of these souls caught between incarnations on the Otherside.

Souls can be between lives for many reasons. Sometimes a soul gets confused about its death and it cannot seem to let go of its last incarnation. It has a lot of unresolved issues, and it tends to hang around the people and places that were important to it in that life. A soul in this situation is what we most commonly understand to be a ghost. If it is perceived, it is often perceived as a shadow of the person it once was, and it will retain its personality, memory, and motivations from that life. It can be so stuck in the former life that it does not even really have access to its Higher Self, something which ordinarily occurs once a soul has been separated from its body.

Souls that are ghosts are actually stuck in the transition stage from life to life. They are often blind to the fact that they are dead, or if they are aware of being on the Otherside, they care more about getting back to what they once were than they do about moving on. Only a small percentage of souls become ghosts, and it really depends on how traumatic their life or death was, and how well they approached the act of letting go once they did die.

Other souls are on the Otherside because they either do not want to incarnate again right away or some damage was done to their subtle bodies so that incarnation will be difficult or impossible until the damage heals. Spiritual attacks that occur on the Otherside can cause this kind of subtle body damage, but more often it’s the result of particularly traumatic damage that was done to the physical body, most often through the person’s last death, that was severe enough to actually cross over and inflict damage on the subtle body as well.

Long and drawn out, wasting illnesses can sometimes cause such damage, as can torture, or extremely violent or painful deaths. It is my opinion that prolonged periods spent in insensible states while the body is kept alive through life support can do massive damage to the subtle body by wearing away at it a bit at a time. Illnesses whose cures are more torturous than the deaths they cause, such as cancer, can also do lasting damage, because of the stress and trauma the treatments ordinarily put the victims through.

Someone also can be killed with the intent of damaging the subtle body so as to prevent or delay incarnation. Very few beings remain who know how to do this, however, and it’s a much rarer cause of such damage now than in ages past. Some very old souls that this has been done to yet remain on the Otherside to this day.

Souls that have chosen not to incarnate may simply want a time out from the flesh and the demands of the world. They can keep to themselves, or they can hang around people who they have some karmic connection to from the past. This connection does not have to be one that was established in the last life — if one is self-aware on the Otherside, there is a deeper connection to the Higher Self, and so memories of other lives and the people from those lives come with much greater ease than when one is incarnated in a body. From the Otherside, it is easy to recognize such people because the semblance of the flesh doesn’t get in the way — the souls see the soul and not really the body of the people they interact with.

Souls that have chosen not to incarnate can serve as spirit guides and guardians for those they’ve taken an interest in. They are also the ancestor spirits revered in many non-Western cultures. They may alternate between people, paying attention to one incarnated person for a time, then moving onto someone else they have an old connection with. they may simply remain on the Otherside in order to see someone progress through a specific period of their life, such as childhood or adolescence, or a particularly traumatic time.

Souls on the Otherside may hang around people for less than benevolent reasons as well, though this seems more rare. If the karmic connection is a darker one, where the incarnated person perhaps caused the soul’s death at some point in their history together, the soul may take an interest in making that person pay for this crime, even if, in the current incarnation, they have no recollection of it.

Most New Agers believe that the stronger connection to the Higher Self enjoyed by the disincarnate soul prevents such pettiness, but this is simply not the case. The Higher Self is not omniscient nor all-good. it is simply the core of a person, the most basic, and eternal part of who they are. This portion of the Self remembers all the lifetimes, and to a certain extent it chooses incarnations in order to learn certain lessons and to forward certain goals. but it is not always altruistic, and it is not always enlightened in its choices. Keep in mind: if it were a perfected being, then the Higher Self would have no reason to direct incarnations in order to learn anything. Even the Higher Self has its limits.

Of course, if a “soul” is a spirit that can incarnate in this world and has assumably done so at least on one occasion in the past, then the vast majority of beings on the Otherside are not even properly termed “souls”. Many of the spirits on that side are not human, have never been human, and have never even worn the flesh as we understand it. They come from many different levels of existence, from what we would consider base and bestial to what we would consider amazingly elevated and even angelic.

Some of the spirits have a less than human intelligence and operate more like wild animals, driven by basic instincts, than anything else. Our encounters which such spirits are as random and as unpredictable as our encounters with a raccoon in the local park. It may see us and run. it may come up to us for food. It may see us as a threat and seek to attack us. Many variables affect the outcome of such an encounter, but it’s not like the raccoon went out of its way to find us and ruin our day. It just happened to be going about its business while we happened to be going about ours, and our paths crossed. From my experience, the vast majority of spirits that we encounter from the Otherside are just exactly like the raccoon. We just happened to cross paths, and what happens from that point is nothing personal, just a reaction.

Energy Imprints and Constructs

It is important to understand that our energy is not static. It doesn’t just glow around us like some kind of painted halo. Our energy is engaged in a constant exchange with the energy of the world around us. Our auras are more like a candle flame than you might imagine. Like the flame, they constantly radiate energy outward, and that energy is dispersed into the world around them. For the candle, there must be some kind of fuel, such as paraffin, to sustain combustion. However, the flame would not burn without additionally taking in a vital component from the atmosphere surrounding it: oxygen. Through this interaction, there is a constant exchange going on that feeds the candle flame even as it sends its heat and light out into the world. So it is with us, a constant and dynamic exchange. We are sustained by the energy naturally generated by our bodies, yet even as we are constantly radiating energy outward, so too are we taking energy in to continue the cycle.

A candle flame warms the air around it with its shed energy. We affect the world around us with our energy radiation as well. Spent energy constantly disperses from us, being shed in the process of our burning. This energy drifts off of us, settling like psychic dust in the subtle world. This trace of our passing will linger for some time until the energy is picked up by one of the currents of the subtle reality. Once it gets caught in one of the eddies or floes, the energy is moved and agitated, reduced to a neutral state again, and eventually recycled into the greater whole. However, it can also drift into stagnant places like the store room used as an example several chapters ago. In that case, the energy simply adds to the detritus already built up there, helping to create a very rank and oppressive atmosphere. As no currents move through places like this in order to clean them out, the energy will remain there until something comes by to consume it or until it is consciously stripped away.

Not all of the energy that we leave in the world around us is simply cast-off detritus. Some of the energy fingerprints we leave on objects and places are imprints that we very actively put there. By attaching special significance to certain places or things, we actually invest some of our energy into that location or object. Whether we are conscious of the process or not, the more attention and emotion we focus on something, the deeper an impression that we leave upon it.

Think of it like this: a candle lit in an empty room will burn regardless of whether anything is there to receive its warmth and its light. However, a flame can also be used to warm someone’s hands, or it can be used more directly on an object, to burn a mark into it. How close something is to the flame and how long it is exposed to its energy determines how deeply it will be burned. Some objects we merely scorch with our personal energy, but some things we practically brand with our individual signatures.

A Memory Ghost

Let us say that your grandmother has passed away. You’ve inherited her house and a good portion of her personal effects. Sad, but a little excited to be gifted with such tangible memories of her, you move in. You have one of her rings resized so you can wear it as a constant reminder of what she meant to you in life. You are very happy in your new home, but after a few weeks, you start noticing things that seem a little strange. For instance, every time you walk past the kitchen, it seems like you can see your grandmother standing over the stove. You catch the image just out of the corner of your eye, and of course when you look directly at it, there’s nothing there. But it seems like her presence lingers in the kitchen, even when you can’t actually see her. You also get a strong sense of her radiating from her favorite rocking chair. This is so strong that you unconsciously leave the rocking chair empty, almost as if you’re expecting her to sit down in it at any moment. And sometimes, when you’re sleeping, you wake up all of a sudden, and it seems like your grandmother is hovering over you, watchful and protecting. You can’t see anything in the darkness of your room, but the sense of her presence is almost palpable.

Now, you don’t get the feeling that your grandmother means you any harm, but the strength of the impressions has got you a little spooked. You hardly intended to be sharing your new home with a ghost. Feeling a little out of your water, you decide to do a little research. You check out a few books on the subject and learn that ghosts often linger due to unfinished business. Furthermore, they often appear to family members that they need to communicate with. You experimentally try talking to your grandmother, assuring her that you love her and, although she is terribly missed, she really needs to move on. Yet this is like talking into a phone that has no one on the other end. There is no response, and you do not even get a sense that the spirit is listening to you. The impressions of her presence continue, but always in the same places, and no matter how hard you try to communicate, she never responds.

In this case, it is very likely that there is no ghost and your grandmother has already moved on. The feelings and impressions that you’re picking up on in the house are simply lingering echoes of your grandmother’s energy. In the kitchen, for instance, she was always cooking, and a special way she expressed her love for her family was through her desserts and her food. It follows that a great deal of her energy was invested into the kitchen, and this energy residue is strongest near the stove. The rocking chair was somewhere she sat when she needed to think and ponder the direction her life was going, so of course a lot of her energy still lingers here as well. And whenever you wake up at night with the feeling of your grandmother’s presence nearby you, the ring of hers that you now wear is sitting on your night stand. If you really think about it, you realize that the impression of her presence is actually coming from the ring itself, a piece of jewelry that she always wore, for as long as you can remember.

We leave little echoes of ourselves in the places and objects that are important to us. Sometimes, we are half-conscious of this. For example, if we want a close friend to have a reminder of us, we often give them some piece of jewelry or some little object that was very precious to us. We usually even give it with the words, “Keep this close; it will remind you of me.” The reminder is not simply in the gesture of giving the gift. We could just as easily go to the store and pick out something expensive. But some of the most precious gifts we give to others are things that we’ve had with us for a while, things that we’ve attached a great deal of sentimental value to. Why? Because our energy is all over these things. When we give this to someone, we are giving them a piece of ourselves, and that energy, unique to us, will radiate out of the object, constantly reminding our loved one of what it feels like to have us near.

Emotional Imprints

It is possible to for us to leave traces of our energy on objects or places without having that energy resonate with our personal presence. Strong emotions can very easily imprint themselves on the world around us. Homes, workplaces, even hotel rooms can develop a distinct build-up of emotional residues. These residues linger in the subtle reality, affecting everyone who comes into contact with them on a deep and unspoken level.

Emotional residues, like our psychic dust, build up over time. Unlike psychic dust, however, emotional residues can linger for quite a while. Since we tend to associate places with the emotions we’ve experienced in them, we have a habit of experiencing the same feelings in the same places over and over again. The pre-existing energy of the place only encourages this, and so it creates a self-perpetuating cycle of emotion.

For example, a teenager almost always retreats to her room for sanctuary from the “unfair” world. Whenever this young person has a bad day at school or has an argument with her parents, she takes all her hurt feelings with her to her private space. Now, her original intention is to simply find some place that is separate and away from those things that seem to always be hurting her. And yet by constantly taking these bad feelings into her personal space, she imprints the negativity on the very walls. Over time this builds up, and it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle of negative emotions.

Given the tumultuous energy of a teen, this cycle can get pretty intense. Before too long, her room has become a kind of emotional pit, where anyone walking in can just feel the angst and anger dripping off the walls. A little bit of this negativity rubs off onto anyone exposed to it, inspiring similar emotions which then feed back into the pre-existing residue. Like breeds like where emotional residues are concerned, and every time the lingering impression inspires that self-same emotion in a person, that person’s emotional energy feeds back into the residue, strengthening it. So, whenever her parents come up to her room to comfort her, they find themselves instead inspired to a confrontation. They wind up yelling and arguing even more, unaware that a large part of their feelings are being influenced by the general feel of negativity radiating from her room. In such an atmosphere, it’s almost impossible not to react to the ambient emotion.

Negative emotions often leave the strongest lingering impressions, but not all emotional residues inspire bad feelings in people. We can invest objects with very positive impressions as well. Consider that favorite teddy bear you had as a child. You carried that thing with you everywhere, and for you it was the ultimate talisman of safety and security in an unpredictable world. When you went to bed at night, you knew beyond any kind of doubt, that that bear would protect you from all the monsters under your bed. You lavished love and attention upon it, so much so that it almost seemed to take on a personality of its own.

Once you outgrew the need for the teddy bear, you still kept it around, and eventually it was given to a very special child in your adult life. And the very first time that child held the teddy bear, he could feel the comfort and safety radiating off of it. Each time he took it to bed with him, he knew just by the feel of the bear that he would be safe. And his own feelings of comfort and security fed back into the bear, perpetuating the emotional impression.

Some day, at a much later time, the bear might end up in an antique shop, and the person who picks it up will immediately sense the love it was given. The impression of childhood trust and comfort breathes almost tangibly from the worn cloth of the toy. All of us have handled toys like that, little childhood talismans that seem to have taken on a life of their own. As children, our energy is unguarded and pure. We focus that energy into things without any kind of hesitation or reserve. And so the lingering impressions of childhood emotion are some of the strongest we can encounter.

Energy Constructs

There have been movies made about dolls invested with enough energy that they achieve a weird kind of life. Usually this is the stuff of horror films and nightmares, but let’s look back at the teddy bear example for a moment. Think about all the energy that a child puts into a toy like that. The child names the toy, makes up stories about it. The toy becomes in his mind a special friend, almost more real to him than the kid who lives down the street. How much innocent energy does it take to invest the toy with some kind of actual personality? Is there such a thing as a created spirit?

It is possible for enough energy to be invested into a residue that it takes on a life of its own. This process is very rare, but it can still happen with unintentionally. More common, although still far and few between, are intentionally created energy constructs. These are sometimes called elementals by witches and magickal workers. Another term for them is “astral construct,” because they exist entirely in the non-physical realm.

What is the difference between an energy construct and the impression of your grandmother lingering in the house? First and foremost, the construct is something which had no existence separate from the energy which makes it up. Your grandmother was a living person, unique and vital and very physically real. After her passing, a great deal of her energy lingered in her living space and on those objects precious to her. When you “saw” your grandmother in the house, it was an impression only, even though your mind interpreted it as her actual presence. A second spirit was not born out of the lingering energies she left behind. These were just echoes of her.

An energy construct, on the other hand, is created purely out of energy. It has no real existence in the physical world prior to or after its creation. It can be tied to a particular physical object, or even a place, but this serves as a focus only. The real existence of the construct is in the subtle realm. Such constructs are born of a continuous build-up of focused energy – either the energy of strong emotion, or the equally potent energy of a person’s intentionally directed will.

Intentional constructs can be invested with a limited amount of sentience – kind of like a spiritual program that dictates certain actions they should perform. Unintentionally created constructs usually play out a limited set of actions inspired by whatever created them in the first place. Thus, a construct that has developed in a home where there was constant anger and fighting will simply roam around, inspiring the same sort of feelings in others and feeding off of the energy those emotions produce.

The significant difference between a simple residue and a construct at this point is the independence it has achieved. The construct can move from place to place in the subtle reality much like any other spirit, while a residue is usually tied to the place where it was created until it is worn away or removed. The construct also actively seeks out the kind of energy that will perpetuate its existence, whereas a residue does this only passively. Finally, a construct will instinctively avoid anything that might harm it or bring about the end of its existence. This indicates at least a limited amount of sentience, a fact which is just a little unsettling, considering this created spirit developed from nothing more than a build-up of cast-off human emotion.