Written December 28th, 2016 | Edited: 14th March 2019
This is a follow up to my previous post about the time I had trouble with an entity.
One of the few things that unite magicians, witches, shamans, tantrics and all manner of people within the Occult, is actually a simple routine that all of us share: namely, the act of cleansing and banishing, be it via ritual, smudging, sprinkling holy water, or all of it combined. This is an important routine, though it may seem small. The same way we brush and bathe daily, wash our clothes and clean our house from time to time, we must do so with our sacred space, not just physically, but also energetically. I’m a ceremonial magician, so naturally for me that means my ritual implements and temple room.
People in general, already clean their bodies physically, and many do so even mentally. As a practitioner of magick, I find this to be one of my very important practices.
There are plenty of ways to do it, depending on system and preference of the individual, and can be easily found online. I just thought that today i’d write my own method too, and some thoughts to go with it.
Why Must We Cleanse
Everything is essentially energy, from Matter to Spirits. Ancient philosophies have professed this for centuries, and new advancements in Quatntum Physics hint at a confirmation. Problem is, this energy needs to keep flowing. If allowed to assimilate, it tends to stagnate, and degenerate into harmful energy, “demons” or “shells” if you may.
When you let dirt or garbage accumulate, and it becomes a breeding ground for insects and rodents, which in turn causes disease. This is the physical manifestation of this principle, but it extends further too. This is why we clean ourselves daily, and routinely clean our homes, is it not? What would happen if you stopped brushing?
The same happens with thoughts and spirits. When people overthink their problems or try to focus on too many things, they becomes stressed, and too much stress can lead to burnout, illness or even death.
On the other hand, it is always said that everything invoked in a ritual should be banished at the end of it. If allowed to linger, it will be reduced to something bad, like fresh food, which must be eaten immediately. If you just let it sit on the table, it will become cold, soggy, eventually rot, and be reduced to mulch, at which point you probably shouldn’t put it in your mouth. And this brings me to an interesting point.
It’s not necessarily “evil”. Mulch isn’t “evil”.
But, it is no longer something human beings can eat. Even if it’s not something that’s intentionally causing harm, it’s still going to.
All three are linked of course, and you cant have one without the other. Dirty and disorganized surroundings means a mind in disarray and the existence of “demons”. You won’t see a Saint living among trash.
So, cleansing is vital. I’m sure you knew that already, since i’m essentially just repeating things everyone else says, but I thought it would add structure to this post ^_^
Other than cleaning yourself and your house routinely, it is also important to keep your surroundings clean and organised.
When I was a teenager, like most teens I never really bothered doing so. My room would be cluttered, I’d have old junk and papers everywhere, and I was somewhat a hoarder. But this is the worst thing you can do. Don’t let things pile up. All of these habits were reflected in my magick and life.
All around the world, in every culture, there is some kind of routine cleaning of the house that takes place. In Europe and North America, this is seen in Spring cleaning, since Spring is usually seen as the first season of the year, and many Asian countries even celebrate New Year at this time. Here in India, we do it around the festival of Diwali, when people clean out their whole house, throw away lots of old junk, give away clothes for charity, as well as forget old grudges. You have to keep clearing out old things so new things can come in.
Personally, I do so around every 4 months. I throw out everything I don’t need, clean up the place, and organised things neatly. A good environment leads to good magick. Of course, things begin getting cluttered within a few weeks, but it’s easily managed.
As far as the Temple goes, it is obviously important to keep it free of anything foreign. Many people even have completely empty rooms for ritual work, while others have ornate Temples and they don’t let outsiders even enter.
I don’t have a Temple at the moment. I keep my ritual implements in a box, so that it does not get too dusty, and I try to keep the room I do rituals in relatively clean. Unlike your house or room, Ritual Spaces are a bit more fickle. If you’ve ever been to a Hindu temples, you’ll see that shoes are not allowed inside, and for this very reason.
Also, I generally take a ritual shower and wear fresh clothes before I do Rituals. This is something else found in Hinduism.
Most ceremonial magick grimoires also advise you to do so, and even anoint yourself with oils and perfume.
Just think of dirt to be a direct representation of stagnant energy, and cluttered areas to represent clogged and disorganized energies.
There are many things that people do to achieve a clean mind, like meditate, do yoga, work out etc.
I ground myself everyday with the Middle Pillar, and then meditate afterwards, generally at the beginning of the day. I let all my thoughts and worries fade away. It helps me get clarity, and calmness, especially after hectic or stressful days. In other words, I refuse to carry thoughts from one day to the next or brood on them.
I actively pay attention to sad and depressing thoughts, and try to banish them as soon as they come. It’s not exactly easy, since I’m someone who used to get easily depressed. Before I became a magician, I used to spend a lot of time brooding, and getting pulled into depressive and neurotic thought patterns, which would then make me sad and demotivated, and I’d basically do nothing but sleep and surf the web. That’s how I spent a big chunk of high school. I had even stopped art for almost 5 years. And if I was like that in what is essentially the most carefree time of my life, I shudder to think what I would’ve been like in Senior Secondary, college, and the rest of my adult life.
Now, I’m vigilant. I reject depressive thoughts as soon as they arise. They keep appearing, tempting me to fall down a spiral of depravity, but I just kick them back into whatever hell they came from. Every now and then, of course, I do get sad or depressed (like any normal human beings), and then I shudder to imagine that once upon a time this used to be how I felt almost all the time. I remember the first time I did it. I was thinking about something, and I felt a wave of depression wash over me, and a familiar descent into dark ideas. Then I stopped myself, and simply said “i didn’t invite you to fuck with me. leave, now”, and I almost could physically feel my thoughts residing and me returning to normal.
Anxiety, dark thoughts, overthinking and worrying aren’t the only thing cluttering the mind. Nietzsche, a philosopher I greatly admire, believed that human beings are stopped from reaching their true potential because they allowed their mind to be cluttered by meaningless things, especially lust.
I can’t say about lust, but I try to keep my mind free from things which clutter it: anything that does not serve a purpose. I don’t dwell on things that are meaningless to me, or get easily agitated.
I can’t say I always manage all this perfectly. After all, I am still learning. But over time, I’ve become quite good at handling my moods, emotions and thoughts. I rarely ever get depressed these days, and for me that is a great achievement.
Failure to cleanse your mind can lead to the accumulation of stress, and then people begin to rely on various things to cope, like smoking, excessive drinking, or drug abuse. At the very least, it leads to depression, eating disorders. Excessive masturbation too, to make themselves happy.
Trust me, I know. I’ve seen so many people around me slowly and hopelessly go down that path, and if you don’t cope, then you just get more and more depressed like I was.
Besides, as you grow as a magician, any and every thought or emotion can manifest immediately. I’m not even kidding. So it is even more important for magicians to watch their mental state, because sometimes even entertaining certain dark thoughts can cause them to manifest. I’ve known people to die, because a magician got angry at them. And this will affect you much more than it will affect others, you being probably more sensitive to spiritual energies.
As I said before, pretty important to clear your spiritual energies from time to time. I learned the hard way what happens when you don’t. For me, daily banishing rituals, and, as I mentioned before, grounding, handle this quite well. These days I also do daily yoga, to calm down and focus my Will.
Most modern magicians are not monks and sages, who have the luxury of living atop mountains, in caves and monasteries. I, for one, live in a densely populated city (among the most populous in the world, in fact), travel through big crowds and have interactions with many people. This is even more amplified with the existence of the Internet, when energy travels freely and rapidly all over the globe. In fact, it is the closest thing we have to a physical manifestation of the Human Collective Unconscious.
It’s good to clear my energies from time to time, though this varies from person to person. There are some people who absorb energies easily, and for them it is even more important to spiritually cleanse themselves. I am not one of those people, but I have known such people, who fall ill easily after going to crowded places or travelling a lot, since they basically act like sponges and take in everything that comes their way. Remember, every exchange, even every glance, is an exchange of energies. If someone looks at you and has bad thoughts, even that is a tiny exchange.
Then there is the issue of rituals. As a ceremonial magician, I banish before and after every ritual, as is often done within the Golden Dawn system. I don’t allow any unneeded energy to linger, and I think witches and such also do the same. This means not only preliminary banishing, but also banishing anything invoked or evoked during a ritual, be it a spirit, or a particular planet or element, and even guardians of the quarters, all released from the working, or in very rare cases even exorcised (if they’re actively trying to harm you. more on that here), by name.
Even with Gods and high Demons/Angels, even if you don’t give them the license to depart, you do formally close the ritual. Maybe you thank them.
Basically you return the heightened energies to normal (or at least, as normal as they are in your life). In fact, when magicians move out from a place, they often do an elaborate cleansing and formally close the Temple for good. If you just pack up and leave, those energies you left behind tend to stagnate. Personally, I think most haunted houses and structures are due to this. This is probably why it happens in places where someone died and never got their final rites, and so the energies of grief and sorrow, or pain and unfulfillment never actually got resolved.
Rituals I use to Cleanse and Banish
Smudging is the first thing. This is something witches, neo pagans, and even people of many religions do, including the pagan religions of the Africans and Native Americans, and any modern magickal traditions that stem from them, in order to clean a space.
Smudging is an old tradition. You’re basically cleansing with fire and air, the male elements. There are many herbs that people use. Common examples are sandalwood, white sage, and frankincense. I have all three, though normally I use frankincense. You can’t just send out the stagnant energy into the world and leave a Void, so generally I smudge with the intention to transform, not just banish. Send out the old and bring in the new, in other words, transmute the harmful into the useful.
Generally I use a censer and use my hand to spread the smoke around making sure to get it in every nook and cranny. I also keep the windows open, to allow everything to leave. I swear, after smudging a place, it literally looks like it’s glowing in a warm, clean light, as if someone applied a photo filter.
Just like cleansing with fire and air is smudging, cleansing with the feminine elements: water and earth is also done. I generally do this by sprinkling holy water around a place. This is done in Christianity and Hinduism too. Holy water is often made of water and salt (the salt is the Earth).
The origins, of course, are Greco Roman, where things were consecrated by sprinkling them with holy water using a branch of rosemary.
The next thing of course, is the Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram, which I use as my primary banishing ritual, since it pretty much covers everything. I do it daily, and before and after I do any ritual, no matter how big or small. I even do the LBRP before I begin smudging rituals, and do it at the very end, after the whole house is smudged.
I do the LBRP along with a daily Middle Pillar Ritual. The LBRP banishes all elemental energies, while the Banishing Ritual of the Hexagram banishes planetary energies.
Cleansing and Banishing usually go together, and essentially ensure that nothing harmful can ever linger around. No matter what I do, as long as I maintain these practices, things are fine. I should mention, of course, that I don’t fuss too much on the physical aspect of it.
Everything begins first with the mind after all, and I find that as long as I do daily LBRP and Grounding, and keep myself clean, it usually reflects onto everything else, be it my temple or my surroundings. My mind has a lot more powerful impact on my surroundings, than they have on my mind.
In reality, most commonly I will just do the Pentagram and Hexagram rituals, but I do some smudging from time to time too. I’ve basically stopped holy water at this point, because I find it’s not needed for me. But if you were to ever attend a full fledged group ritual, perhaps performed by some Occult order or Witch Coven, they’d be using all of these techniques together. Really, it’s like looking in a mirror. It’s better to wash yourself, than scrub the mirror in vain.
Anyway, i’ll stop rambling now. Good day to you ^_^
Be sure to follow the blog and you can also follow me on Instagram @WhiteRavenMagus
Until next time, this is White raven signing off.