By Frankie Desdemona. Image by Eric Muhr
What is warding? How do I ward?
Before you practice any level of intermediate or advanced witchcraft, you have to learn the basics. One of these includes learning how to protect yourself, otherwise known as warding. Warding is a broad term used to describe “any form of magick intending to protect a person/place/thing from negative or parasitic energies/entities.” Warding is such a broad category, including everything from creating a guardian or charm to protect the home to wearing enchanted jewelry or clothes to keep a person safe. For this purpose, we are going to discuss the foundations of warding split into two categories: warding the home and warding the person. Please note that the spells included are particular to me, and that warding varies from practitioner to practitioner.
Before setting up a ward, it’s important to cleanse the space or person in order to rid the space or person of any negative energies. If you ward before cleansing, it’s setting up a magickal wall, and you could accidentally trap a negative entity or energy inside the ward.
There are three methods of warding – trapping, circumventing, and filtering. Trapping includes trapping negative entities. Circumventing is diverting negative entities, and filtering includes allowing positive energy in while keeping negative energy out.
If you are actively experiencing negative energy in the home and cleansing does not seem to be helping, you can trap the negative energy/entity with a trapping ward then banish it. If you are looking for a basic ward, circumventing will actively divert negativity from your space/person. If you are working with benevolent spirits, demons, or deities, filtering will be your best option in order to continue allowing them, but not negative energy, into your space.
Wards, like all energy, will fade or lose power over time, especially if negative entities/energies have been actively working against it. Most practitioners recommend recharging the ward when you feel it’s necessary. Some re-charge the wards every full moon, every week, every other week, or every day. Personally, I recharge my wards whenever the sun is out. Since I primarily use energetic wards, I pull energy from the sun and visualize that energy recharging the wards I use for my space and person.
Warding a space
Warding a space is one of the first things a new witch should learn how to do. In order to understand the difference between spacial warding and personal warding, I’ve included a chart from my favorite Warding Basics page on Amino, which I relied heavily on as a baby witch and actually copied into my own Book of Shadows.
Some practitioners will often cast a circle or cleanse and ward a space before casting, then dismantle that particular ward after finishing their spell. These are temporary wards, and can physical like salt circles, or just an energetic ward to protect their energy. Sigils and crystals can also be used as temporary spacial wards.
If you’re looking for a more permanent ward for the home or for your sacred space, there are several options. You can evoke an element to help ward your home (fire, earth, air, or water) or set up a guardian ward where you choose an object that actively protects your home. This is not usually recommended for beginners since the guardian could become sentient.
Like a Guardian, wards can be tied to objects. Personally, I use energetic/elemental wards for my home, as well as tying wards to charm bags placed at each of my doors. You can also create a protection spell jar or bag with a purpose of protecting your home from negative entities.
Frankie Desdemona’s Protective Charm Bags
Please note that spells work best when catered to your personal craft. This spell is catered personally to me, including the protective herbs and charms I use. Please always remember to ground/meditate before and after casting to ensure maximum effect and keep yourself and your energy centered.
1. Collect your materials. You will need bags or scraps of fabric (however many main doors you have is how many bags/scraps of fabric you need), banishing/black salt, sage, an acorn, sweet gum ball, protective talisman, or pine cone, vervain, bay leaves, thyme, cloves, basil, birch bark, eggshells, twine, and mugwort. Herbs listed can be substituted for other protective herbs.
2. Embroider or draw your protective sigil on your bags/scraps of paper. Use black, red, or white thread. Personally, I like to embroider because it incorporates one of my hobbies into my craft and makes it more personal!
3. Cast a protective circle after embroidering the charm bags in the method of your choosing.
2. Gather protective crystals & candles. I chose amethyst, labradorite, carnelian, and malachite.
3. Lay the herbs and salt on the fabric, and use a classic knot spell or whatever method of casting via string you prefer to seal. Keep your intent in mind and stay focused.
4. Use basic warding or charming chant that states your intent. Invoke one of three deities for each charm bag (optional). Example of basic warding/protection/banishment chant: “Banish negativity from this home. Cleanse the air within these rooms. Let none who bear ill will towards me or my family pass through these doors. Protect this hearth, protect this space. By the power in me, so mote it be.”
5. Use sweet gum ball, acorn, talisman, or pine cone in the pouch for the front door. Connect each bag to the house via ward and place each bag made at each of the main doors of the home.
Warding a person
Warding a person can include a multitude of processes, including wearing charmed clothes and jewelry for protection, create a witches bottle, or satchel or jar to carry with you and protect you from negative energies. For personal warding, many practitioners will use a circumventing technique. Personal warding can also be tweaked to protect those with empathetic abilities.
One form of warding that I use consistently is a charm bag placed under my pillow at night. The herbs included are part for relaxation and vivid dreams, and part for protection while sleeping. The bag stays under my pillow at all times, and is recharged (as wards need) every month or so, usually on the full moon or on a sunny day for maximum effect. Charm bags like this can also aid with sleep paralysis, but if you are experiencing severe sleep troubles, please talk to a doctor.
Another form of warding I personally use is a protection charm. I enchant many of my necklaces for the purpose of protecting my person and my energy, and recharge them every couple of weeks. When not in use, my jewelry is left on my altar to charge/keep the sacred space safe. Charming is very particular to the practitioner, but I like to charm and charge my items with a simple ritual or just some meditation.
Each practice and practitioner uses different methods for personal protection, so exploring different types is important to understanding what works best for you! Always remember to cleanse yourself before warding and banish any pesky negative energies that are sticking around before placing a ward in a space or on a person to ensure that nothing gets stuck within it. Practice safe, and blessed be.