Spellwork Basics: What is a Ward and How does it Work?

First off, my apologies for not posting last Friday. I took the day off work (my job and this blog) to spend with my wife and get some things done for our upcoming wedding (reception)! I’ll be doing a post about wedding magic some time in the near future. 😉 But first, I have another post about some of our witchcraft basics! Last time I wrote a post like this, we talked about the different types of cleansing. Today, we’ll work to define a ward, different methods of warding and a bit of background on what warding is as well.

ward door photo
Two little guardians warding the front door 😛

What is Warding?

So what is warding? Warding is all about protection. You can ward your home, objects, other people and yourself to keep them safe from harm, negativity and other unpleasantries. Think of it as a magical security system. It keeps bad things from getting in, and some of them can even alert you when something icky is trying to make its way in. Others are like bodyguards–anything bad that tries to get past will be thrown back at the sender.

Cultures from all over have been coming up with wards for centuries. Some are magical, and others are important cultural items. Gargoyles, protective amulets like horseshoes and rabbit’s feet are a few. Some of these were to ward off evil spirits, or bad luck, or just danger in general. The evil eye is one you’ve probably heard of–an amulet in the shape of an eye that wards away the evil eye–other people’s glare,  wishing misfortune upon you. Perhaps the most common and recognizable ward in the western world is the crucifix, keeping demons and the devil at bay.

Warding is best to do after cleansing. Why, you might ask? Well if cleansing is supposed to clear out negativity and bad energy, part of warding is to lock in the good things. You don’t want to lock negativity into a place or an object, so I like to think of cleansing and warding as going hand in hand. Cleanse your space effectively, and then place your ward. After cleansing again, make sure to strengthen your ward. This will keep your home (or whatever else you’ve cleansed and warded) not only a pleasant place to live, but a safe one! 

Typical Ward Ingredients

Wards tend to be a bit more aggressive other other spells, and the ingredients in them reflect this. If something dangerous is trying to get to you and your loved ones, you don’t want to be nice to it. Here are some ingredients in the typical ward to get you started. We’ll talk a bit more about them when we get to different kinds of wards!

Nails

Pins

Needles

Broken Glass

Hot Pepper/Hot Sauce

Salt

Black Pepper

Bodily Fluids (urine, saliva, blood)

Hair/Fur

Cat claw clippings (from trimming your cat’s nails)

Candle Wax (black, red)

Garlic

Basil

Rosemary

Vinegar

Oregano

There are many others as well, so do your research! If there’s something that evokes safe feelings in you, don’t be afraid to use that as well. 🙂

Warding your Space

The most common thing people ward is their place of residence. That’s where you spend the majority of your time, after all. Where you keep the things and people most valuable to you, and where you perform most of your spell work. Leaving that open to intrusion is not just unwise, it’s unsafe. Luckily, warding can be as straightforward (or as complicated) as you like. A line of salt at the door (and other entrances) is a quick and easy ward that’s as simple as it is effective. You can spice it up by adding black or red pepper, or herbs known for their protective qualities. You can make an infusion, or a powder depending on what your needs are. My usual ward is an infusion, and I’ve written about it here!

Protective Jar Spells

Another very common method of warding a residence or building is with a jar spell. You may have heard of this before–one version is called war water, and another is a witch jar. War water is more aggressive than the latter, but both are strong protection spells. They are sometimes used interchangeably.

War water is typically a mix of rusty nails, pins, broken glass, water (storm or moon water would work nicely), vinegar and bodily fluids. Usually urine, but saliva or blood would work as well. And if you’re not partial to working with bodily fluids, I assume hair and fingernails would also work, since this is to serve as something of a taglock!  A witch jar is similar, but might use more protective herbs, wine, etc. In both cases, the jar is then buried outside of your home. For apartment dwellers, placing it in a potted plant you keep by the door is a good substitute! I plan on doing something similar to this myself soon, so keep an eye out!

Guardians

Another simple idea to ward your home or another area of importance are door guardians. Think gargoyles–something physical you place outside your home to scare off enemies, bad spirits, negativity and other icky things. You can buy something known for their protective properties like the aforementioned gargoyle, or pick something of importance to you. Maybe a stone dog or wolf, or cat, enchant it, and place it outside where it can do its job. Give it offerings to thank it for doing its job well. Plants can also be guardians. This works especially well if you cultivate flowers, herbs, etc. in your front yard or in your home. Plants with protective properties placed outside your home are very effective wards so long as you care for them.

Another home guardian idea is a poppet. Fill it with protective herbs, needles and hair from everyone that lives in the home, including your animals. Place it near the window or bury it outside, much like the witch jar. You could even hang it from a tree, or your porch. You’ll need to replace it when it degrades if you keep it outside, so make sure to use biodegradable materials in it’s construction. We have to protect the Earth too, even while we’re protecting ourselves!

Warding Yourself and Objects

You can create a ward for yourself as well, one that can travel with you. The simplest method is a sachet that you can carry. Fill it with protective herbs and keep it on your person. You might also create a poppet similar to the witch bottle or guardian poppet, only more personalized. Fill it with protective herbs and a taglock, and leave it on your window sill. A warding bath or spray for yourself is another option, though this is something that probably needs to be refreshed more often than the other methods. These are more useful for when you’re about to do something risky or dangerous, a one time thing, rather than a semi-permanent ward. This might work well for before road trips, flights or venturing through risky places, meeting with someone that concerns you, etc.

Another way to ward yourself is with protective objects. Think of these like amulets–you could even pick out an amulet to charm if that’s your fancy. This can be anything–jewelry, a watch, a button or pin. I’m partial to enamel pins myself, but more on that another time! You can anoint it with an infusion or an oil, place it among candles to charge, scribble a sigil on the back, etc. With objects like this, it’s easy to ward your loved ones as well by giving the objects to them to carry around. A pin clipped to a bag or hat or a piece of jewelry worn close to the heart is a sweet and easy ward to grant those you care about!

Warding Objects

There are other kinds of wards as well, particularly for objects or even concepts you might want to protect. Anoint your wallet to protect your money, your marital bed to protect your love, your medicine cabinet or insurance card to protect your health! You can even name our WiFi password something significant to protect your writings, online purchases, sensitive information, etc. The ideas are endless

Use whatever your general preferred method is and go crazy with it. You can get as creative or as simple as you want. There are hundreds of protection spells out there for you to use as they are or to get inspiration to create your own. What’s your favorite way to ward your space and yourself? Is there any type of ward in particular you’d like to me write more about? Let me know in the comments!