At the moment I'm in the process of writing up the first of my courses on Magickal Defense and I've been thinking a lot about negative energy: what it is, why it's a problem, and what we can do about it.
It can be difficult to understand just what negative energy actually is. I often find it easiest to think of negative energy as the residue of negative actions. It is energy that holds the feelings of sadness, anger, pain, depression, destruction, etc. You can think of it as being like the smell of burnt popcorn that lingers in your kitchen for hours, subtly making everything just a little bit gross, or the smoke of a forest fire that dims and besmirches everything it touches. Negative thoughts and actions create negative energy. In essence negative energy is the distilled power of unpleasantness, like a battery filled with ill feeling.
Magickal practitioners, particularly shadow workers or anyone that works with the dead, also tend to encounter magickal entities like ghosts, faeries, elementals, and the like. These entities have very strong energetic fields that can be either positive or negative, depending on the entity. Psychically, being in the presence of a negative entity, like a boggart or imp, feels a lot like being run over by a psychotic two year old on a bicycle - you’ll live, but you sure will be unhappy about it. Of course, the stronger the negative entity the worse the effects.
One of the fundamental laws of magick is the principle of “like attracts like.” That means that positive energy attracts more positive energy and conversely negative energy attracts more negative energy. Think about the last time you had to take a bus or plane and you could tell the person sitting next to you was having a really bad day; how that person’s anger and stress vibrated off of them. How did it make you feel? Could you feel yourself getting stressed? Your patience wearing thin? That’s magick at work.
While generally uncomfortable to be around, negative energy wouldn’t be such a problem if it didn’t have so many ill effects. We come into contact with negative energy every day and in limited amounts it’s not really a problem. However, when we come into to contact with too much negative energy at once or a little bit for far too long it can have negative consequences. Psychically, contact with negative energy can cause stress, the feeling of being watched, cause you to feel more anger and less patience than usual, make you snap at friends, or even encourage you towards dangerous behavior. Physically, negative energy can cause muscle tension, headaches, a feeling of heaviness or lethargy, a prickling sensation in the spine or the palms of your hands, etc. Negative energy is potentially very nasty stuff.
Of course, we also have to deal with our own negative energy. I don't know about you folks, but on a bad day I can generate negative energy like it's going out of style. Anyone who's ever suffered from depression knows exactly what I'm talking about. All the shielding in the world won't help you if the negative energy that's bringing you down is being manufactured by your own brain.
Coming in contact with negative energy, internal or external, is a lot like being hit by a wave while standing on the beach. Depending on how prepared you are, it can either splash your feet and then harmlessly flow back out to sea or it can knock you on your ass and try to drag you back out with it. External negative energy can be shielded against, filter out, transmuted, or grounded. Internal negative energy can only be transmuted or grounded.
Going in depth on how to deal with negative energy would require a whole book, so for now here's are some links to other entries on shields and protection down below.
Previous entries on Shielding:
Nightly Protection Spell