energy work


Find an art museum in your area and set a day aside to go visit it. Take your journal with you and if you like, bring a partner along as well. Before you go into the museum, take some quiet time to center yourself. Focus inward on your own energy, and when you feel like you’ve gotten a solid awareness of your subtle body, extend this awareness around you to include the outside world as well. Once you feel very receptive to the subtle reality, go into the art museum. Wander around for a little while, seeking out the areas of the museum which call to you.

The purpose of this exercise is to learn how to “listen” to the impressions left upon objects. Try to be open and receptive to everything around you, but also try to get rid of any expectations you might have about how these impressions will make themselves known to you. Remember: you have lived your whole life “hearing” the subtle reality and yet not really listening to it. It will take some time to break yourself of the habit of ignoring the sensations that come to you. Try not to focus too much on any single piece of art, and try to not build expectations based on the appearance of the artwork. Some of the most mundane things have the strongest impressions on them, and some of the most beautiful pieces are completely blank.

If an image suddenly occurs to you or if you get a sudden sensation as you pass by one of the displays, take a moment to note this in your journal. Take a look at the artwork around you and try to locate the object that the impression is coming from. See if you can focus more carefully on that particular piece. Let the images and emotions come to you, keeping careful track of them so you can record them later. If you have a partner with you, try not to talk about your impressions until you are finished with that particular artwork. Once you have both explored your impressions as far as you can, then you can take some time to compare what you felt. Take note of what was different in each of your impressions, but also note what was the same.

Keep in mind that if you and your partner have conflicting impressions from a particular piece of artwork, this does not mean that either of you is necessarily wrong. Nearly all of the pieces in the art museum are very old, and there are years’ worth of impressions lingering upon these pieces in layers. It may simply be that one particular impression leapt out at you, while your partner focused on a very different one. If you go back later to the same piece, see whether you can separate the layers and get at the impressions your partner was sensing in addition to those that occurred to you earlier.

If you are having trouble picking up on clear impression, seek out those areas where they keep the ancient statuary from the Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These ancient cultures had such a reverence for art that this lingers even despite the wear of many, many years. You might also want to look for the old Church art from the Byzantine period or the Middle Ages. These pieces were created and treated with a kind of religious awe rarely found in Christianity these days. Finally, you could try finding the part of the museum that houses the Oriental temple art. These are some of the most impressively imbued statues, pieces that were the focus of countless religious ceremonies, offerings and prayers. You can almost hear them whispering of the temples they left behind.

Take your time as you wander through the artwork. If a particular piece calls to you, don’t be afraid to stop and spend some time examining it. Study it closely, looking at the care the artist put into it. Look at it from every angle. Above all, listen to it. Try to feel the impressions left upon it by the ages and the passing of many hands. You may see images flit across your mind’s eye. You may hear the suggestion of music. You may even feel sensations upon your own skin or deep within your body. Take note of all of these things. If you get a particularly strong impression from a piece in the museum, explore it as fully as you can, then find some place where you can sit down and record your impressions in your journal. It’s important to write down as much of the experience as possible so you can go over it later. The images might not make sense right away. Don’t try to impose any kind of sense on them. Just let them come. Sometime later, as you’re reading things back over, you may suddenly gain a new insight, and the whole experience will become clear.

You may want to make several trips to the same museum and keep a record of each trip. Note the location of the more potent items and see if, in later visits, they have anything more to reveal to you. If you get an impression that you can pin down to a specific time period or a specific place, try to do some research on the piece of artwork or the culture it came from. You can let an impression stand by itself, but I find it very helpful to back the impression up with fact. The hardest part about sensing the subtle reality is learning to trust your impressions. Finding an outside source that agrees with your impressions gives you the proof you may need to trust yourself more fully.

As you verify your impressions, you may learn some interesting information about a particular time-period or culture that will prove useful farther down the line. Many times in the past I have been drawn inexplicably toward a certain piece of artwork or a certain figure in history only to have these things figure strongly in my own path months or even years later. You never know where your studies will lead you, or what inconsequential tidbit of information will lead to a great revelation at some later stage in your life. The point with the art museum exercise is to practice and hone your perceptions, but hopefully, you’ll enrich yourself while doing it, as well.


In one of his many books on the occult, Colin Wilson tells us of a television show that featured a “created” ghost. The show was one of those psychic phenomenon shows that were very popular in the early seventies. This particular show explored the notion of mediums, seances, and communication with spirits across the Veil. Well, prior to the show, the sitters got together and decided to “make” a ghost. They came up with a name and an elaborate history for this fellow, and they put a good deal of time, effort, and energy into imagining what he would look like, how he might speak, and how he lived his life.

The purpose of this experiment was in part to see whether or not spirits were truly being contacted by the medium during such sittings, or if the details typically gleaned by a medium from a “spirit” were actually being telepathically picked out of the heads of those present.

The experiment proved inconclusive, unfortunately, because this created spirit did not limit himself to the details that sitters were thinking about beforehand. Instead, he proved quite lively, rapping and tilting the table and elaborating on details of his history the sitters had not agreed upon. In essence, he behaved just like a real ghost.

The results of this experiment of course raised the question for the paranormalists, “Is it possible to ‘create’ a ghost?” Most students of the paranormal, if they acknowledge the existence of spirits, assume that the spirit-world is populated exclusively with human ghosts. So the notion of a spirit that was created through the collective thoughts and focus of a small group lay out of the realm of what they could conceive. However, though the parapsychologists might find the notion puzzling, the creation of spiritual entities has long been known to practitioners of magick. With the proper focus, it is of course possible to “create” a spirit. In some traditions, such a created thing is known as a thought-form or an elemental. I tend to refer to them as constructs. Another more technical occult term for a created spirit is “egregore”.

People can make constructs intentionally, or they can create them accidentally by focusing a lot of energy on a particular thought form, force, imagined entity, and so on. A good example of an accidentally, but very real, construct, would be the “spirit” that haunts a certain house in Greenwich Village of NY, as cited by John Keel in “The Mothman Prophecies” (now a major motion picture). Anyhow, this spirit wears a slouch hat and a long flowing cape and goes stalking about the hallways with a sort of menace to his step. The spirit was well documented, but when people researched the history of the place, there was no one who had died there who even remotely fit the description of this thing.

However, as Keel notes, there was an interesting fellow who had lived there for several years. He was a writer, and he spent some of his most prolific years in that place. His name was Walter Gibson, and he was the creator of the Shadow — he “who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men.”

The Shadow, for those born too recently to know, was a dark and menacing figure who stalked about in a broad-brimmed hat and voluminous cloak (and no, the original was not Alec Baldwin).

Basically, by pouring so much energy, imagination, and intensity into his character, Walter Gibson has left behind an astral construct of the character, and this construct now perpetually goes through the motions of its created existence.

Constructs, from this example, are basically thought given form in the subtle reality. The more energy you put into them, the stronger they are. They can be created for many purposes. A lot of magickal workers create them as guardians. They are kind of like computers or robots in the fact that they function on a simple program and can be made to carry out basic functions — like the Shadow, who stalks around menacingly in keeping with his character. With a lot of effort and focus, they can be made to be more complex, though this often depends on the skill of the person or persons creating them.

Constructs tend to fade over time unless they are sustained. Some of the more complicated constructs can be self-sustaining and will feed upon energy just like any other entity in the subtle realm. Others will be sustained as long as you continue to put some thought and focus into them – whether you consciously intend to do this or not. Thought is energy, and the more you focus on something consciously, or in daydreams and nightmares, the more energy you provide to strengthen and sustain it.

Some really powerful egregores seem to achieve sentience over time, and these may become independent of their creators, essentially becoming indistinguishable from “true” spirits.

Of course, as constructs and egregores are typically used as what amounts to servants by magickal practitioners, this raises all manner of questions about ethics. If an egregore can achieve sentience, does that make it “real”? Do such entities simply follow programs and patterns that are worked into them, or can they achieve something akin to free will? And since we seem to be able to generate these entities both consciously and unconsciously through our focused emotions and thoughts, what does that say about our relation to them? Are we creating “life”? And if this is the case, do we then have any kind of responsibility toward our creation?

These are very sticky ethical questions that are beyond the scope of this short thesis. But they are questions that certainly bear consideration, especially before you sit down and decide to create an egregore to baby-sit your altar or guard your home.


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.


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.


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.


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, 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.


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.


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.


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.