One of the major operations of witchcraft and occultism involves clearing energy from spaces, things, and people, as well as banishing or removing ‘negative’ energies. Before we get into exactly how one does these things, let’s talk about what we mean when we say we need to cleanse.
I’ll be talking about ‘negative’ energies a lot in this lesson, and that’s because most of the time when we’re clearing, cleansing, or banishing energies we’re removing things that we perceive as negative. To be negative is to be unwanted, maladaptive, harmful, or otherwise seen as ‘icky’. We can, and do, also remove “positive” energies that are useful, helpful, and pleasant but yet are still unwanted in their current form, use, or configuration. When I talk about a thing being ‘negative’, I’m not using the term to judge the energy on a scale of ‘good’ to ‘bad’, but merely commenting on how it’s currently seen and perceived by the people around it.
In the lessons on Grounding, Centering, and Shielding, I advised you to ground yourself so that you can drop out ‘negative’ and stagnant energies in yourself, and refresh with ‘positive’ energies. I used those terms to help you subconsciously feel more open to the idea of flushing your energy system. Because the ‘negative’ energies that you ground out aren’t negative in a ‘you’re bad for carrying this energy around’ way, but in a ‘you have picked up unwanted energy forms, vibrations, and patterns that you may want to replace with wanted forms, vibrations, and patterns.’ But until we got to this level of the class, telling you that when you ground you can pick and choose what energies to interact with up to and including what energies in your etheric/auric body you were refreshing would have been an added layer of complexity, and likely deeply confusing.
So now you know that you can selectively Ground your energies.
Choosing to connect to an energy source, release certain ‘negative’ energies, and raise energy to refresh yourself is a form of clearing and cleansing your energy. It is perhaps the most simple form of cleansing possible: it uses the movement and vibration of energy to metaphorically scour your energy body. If you can do this to yourself, you can do it to other people, places, and things.
To clear energy is to move energy through a person, place, or thing until the energy of that person, place, or thing is ‘clear’. To be ‘clear’ is to have no stagnant or unmoving energy pockets, to have the associations with positive energies, and to be restored to a ‘ground’ state, or otherwise neutral energy.
Cleansing can be thought of as a more deliberate ‘scrub’ of the energy of a person, place, or thing. The practitioner uses a tool or strongly visualized concept to move sticky or otherwise hard to displace energy along to a grounded state. Cleansing can be utilized to return a previously charged tool to a neutral state. An example would be: a tarot deck one wishes to pass along to a new reader, an athame that no longer serves you well, or any other tool created for ritual use that is no longer useful. You can cleanse ritual spaces between rituals so that lingering energies don’t contaminate future works.
Banishing is similar again to clearing and cleansing, only where cleansing can be thought of as moving sticky energy out, banishing is moving intelligent or sentient energy out. It is possible for people, places, and things to all become plagued by sentient energy forms. Different frameworks think of these sentient energies as different things; ghosts, demons, fairies, egregores and more, can all become ‘negative’ energies that need to be banished, for the peace and happiness of the people around those energies.
You can think of banishing along two different paths. In one path, the practitioner invites the sentient energy to depart, no harm done, just not welcome here, time to move on. The practitioner may need to create a pathway or door for the sentient energy to move through, or otherwise help the energy along. The second path is for sentient energies that do not want to move on and are perfectly happy where they are. In that case, the practitioner will likely need to use a tool, or strongly visualized energy construct, to push energy through and around the sentient energy and person, place, or thing being plagued by the sentient energy. In Catholic rites this is an exorcism, but many other religions use the same term to mean basically the same process.
The Basic Method for Clearing, Cleansing, and Banishing
Just like moving energy into a thing to empower, charge, bless, or consecrate it all followed the same basic pattern, moving energy to clear, cleanse, or banish also follows the same basic pattern. The practitioner must first Ground and Center themselves, then connect to an energetic source from which they draw energy to be used in the clearing, cleansing, or banishment. Holding the intent firmly in mind, the practitioner then directs the energy in accordance with will, and moves the raised and intent imbued energy into or through the person, place, or thing to be cleared, cleansed, or banished.
You need to be clear in your intention: what exactly do you want to accomplish with your work? Be as specific as possible. Tools make moving energy easier, so you may choose to channel your energy through your tool to great effect. A witch’s besom is a ritual broom, used for clearing and cleansing spaces. The very obvious metaphor of sweeping away dust and dirt helps the witch or practitioner visualize what they’re doing with the energies they’ve raised, and directs that energy through the space to literally clear energies. Breath to carry energy and visualization is useful, as is tones, sound, drumming, the use of salt to break up energies making them easier to clear or cleanse, and so on. Incense for smoke cleansing helps with visualizing energy being lifted and carried away into the air and sky around you.
Auryn, Mat Psychic Witch
Cabot, Laurie and Cowan, Tom Power of the Witch
Buckland, Raymond Wicca For One
McCoy, Edain Making Magick
Kraig, Donald Michael Modern Magick