Q15. What methods does your tradition employ for protection and the warding off of malign influences?

This is a short one. Warding off malign influences isn’t a primary concern in my tradition. It is definitely something that spirit-workers deal with, but for the average person, it isn’t something we talk about. It definitely isn’t something most of us would do proactively. If we had some reason to think there was something to be concerned about, most of us would probably try some combination of incense (mugwort or sage), water, or salt, along with maybe prayer or singing. If we still felt some reason for concern, we’d call a spirit worker.

But really for nearly anyone who isn’t a spirit-worker, we would only do something like that if we specifically had a reason to suspect some kind of malign influences. Maybe if we had a special object that we’d gotten back from a hostile ex-lover. Maybe if someone had been traumatically ill or died in our home. Maybe if we were moving in to (or doing ritual in) a really unpleasant space. But it isn’t something we routinely do. Anyone in our tradition who does that, aside from spirit-workers, learned it outside of this tradition. Even prior to ritual, while we often do something to “prepare the space”, it isn’t seen as mandatory and it is generally seen more as a way to focus your intent and prepare yourself for the ritual, not as a specifically protective thing.

I think many of us see it sort of like flossing. My guess is that 90% of the time it never occurs to us, but when we are reminded about it, there is a slight feeling of, “Oh, yeah, that. Should I be doing that? I suppose I should. Yeah, maybe I’ll try to do more of that.” There isn’t really a concern about actively malicious influences, or psychic attack, but I think there is a general sense that some kind of routine purification and maybe shielding is a good idea. It just isn’t something that is really treated as a priority.

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