Lately I’ve had a lot of inquiries about how to best protect oneself from malevolent energies and entities when going on a ghost hunt or other paranormal investigation. It’s a tricky scenario because it requires a much more balanced and subtle approach to defense than my usual “err on the side of overkill” approach. Investigators want to keep themselves safe but still want to have paranormal experiences; how can we ward off dangers but still invite experiences? Many, if not most, common methods of protection actually repel paranormal entities, taking them out of the investigator’s arsenal.
One good method of psychic protection that does not repel paranormal entities is shielding. Shielding is basically a way of strengthening your aura (your personal energy field) in a way that prevents negative energy from affecting you. The most common way of shielding is to envision yourself surrounded by an egg shaped bubble of energy, usually blue or white, that creates a barrier between you and negative energy. The problem with this for an investigator is that it can actually dampen your senses and make it more difficult for you to detect the paranormal.
A better alternative is to use a series of filters; think of them as the layers of an onion. Instead of envisioning a solid wall of energy between you and the world, envision a fuzzy grey barrier that blocks negative energy, but allows all other energy through. Inside of that barrier envision a yellow layer of circulating air that will heighten your perceptions and increase your awareness of your surroundings. Inside of that, envision a layer of red, fiery energy that you can use to protect yourself if you should need it. You can tweak your intent to change density of your filters, to allow more or less energy through. If at any point you feel really threatened, you can always pump a little extra energy into your outer filter and turn it into a barrier. It gives you the best of both worlds – protection and awareness. After the investigation you just envision the layers of your filters melting into the ground and being absorbed away.
Another good technique to protect yourself during an investigation is to carry a bag of salt. It sounds too easy to be true, but just carrying salt can do wonders for absorbing negative energy and keeping it from affecting you. Salt has been used as a grounding and purifying agent by just about every culture in the world for pretty much all of recorded history. I recommend putting about a ¼ cup of salt (sea salt is best, but any will do) into a cotton tea bag and either tying it to your belt of just putting it in your pocket. To give it some extra strength, before the investigation hold the bag in your hands and say “Salt absorb negativity, nothing shall do harm to me, with this I ever safe shall be, as I do will so mote it be.” After the investigation you can bury the bag, or just pour the salt down the drain.
Some investigators choose not to do anything to protect themselves before an investigation. It’s their choice to assume that risk, but I don’t recommend it. But even if you don’t want to risk dampening your chances of having an experience by protecting yourself before an investigation, all investigators should do some form of cleansing afterward to make sure they don’t end up accidentally taking something home.
My favourite way to do a self-cleansing is to smudge. Smudging is a Native American purification method in which you essentially fumigate yourself (or an object) with the smoke of smouldering herbs. The most common herbs used for this are sage, cedar, and sweetgrass, although you can use any herb with which you feel a personal affinity or that you find cleansing and soothing (lavender and mugwort are also used fairly often). I like to use the bundles of sage that you can find in any metaphysical shop and even some natural food stores (I can get them at my local grocery – hooray Central Market). Light the herbs, let it burn for just a little while, and then blow out the flame and allow the herbs to smoulder and smoke. Waft the smoke over your entire body, being sure to get the bottoms of your feet and under your arms. If you feel the need, spend a little extra time wafting smoke over the entirety of your spine and your third eye area.
The other super easy way to cleanse after an investigation is to take a shower. Running water is excellent at removing negative energies. To enhance the cleansing effects just envision any lingering energies being washed off of your body and going down the drain. Bath salts and high quality herbal soaps (particularly those with sage or cedar as primary ingredients) can also enhance the energetic cleansing.
These simple methods will keep an investigator safe and sound against the kinds of entities and energies that they’re likely to encounter. Of course, there are the rare strong entities that can cause harm despite these basic precautions. If you know that a place you are about to investigate has a history of violent activity or is suspected of housing a really scary entity, like a hungry ghost or an infernal, think about employing some stronger protections. For more info on that you’ll have to get my book ;)