book review: Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher

Spiritual Protection by Sophie Reicher is not a new book (it was published originally in 2010), but I felt like it deserved a review because it really dives into a topic that many modern authors do not devote much time to, just as the author of this book points out.

I tried extremely hard to find an official author website or social media for the author and couldn’t locate anything, but if anyone reading happens to know if she has an official page or something somewhere, I would love to link to it to further give her credit.

So, I’ll start by saying that you can probably find thousands of articles and posts online, let alone chapters or short passages in books, that discuss the concepts covered in this book, which are primarily:

  • types of gifts and how they can leave us too open (psychic, empath, telekinetic, medium, etc)
  • centering
  • grounding
  • shielding
  • warding
  • working with energy
  • protection from magickal or psychic attack
  • plus so much more

But, you will be hard-pressed to find all of those in one neat little package, as they are in this book.

Now, before you’re like, ‘Oh, boring, I thought this was going to be about the good fancy shit,’ listen, witch, hear me out. If you have that attitude about those foundational basics, you’re probably a really chaotic and unpleasant energy to be around for energy sensitive folks.

The subject of creating effective protection for not just yourself, but your home and any space you work in, whether you are an energy worker, a tarot reader, a psychic, or any other magickal practitioner or spiritualism enthusiast cannot be understated.

I don’t care if you think you’re just reading cards or swinging a pendulum. You are actually opening yourself up to energies that are usually mostly beneficent, but can be occasionally, harmful, or at least irritating or draining, if not outright malevolent, depending on the type of person you are, and your own energy being projected and what it attracts.

You can also bring home sticky energies from being out in public and around other people, and it can be difficult to keep yourself and your home or other sacred space clean and clear of those.

Not to mention if you are a spiritual or magickal practitioner of any kind, its almost like you’re sending out a beacon to let other beings, not all of which are human, know you’re there. Which can be both good and bad.

This is really elementary but suuuuuuper necessary stuff for anyone working with energy or magick, so, again, check it out if you notice that you go through spells of feeling drained, fatigued, unfocused, or even dragged down. It could be just physical, but could also be that you’re accumulating ‘metaphysical goo,’ so to speak by all the contact you’re making with energies outside your own (including other people).

Which brings me to my next really really important take away here.

If you are an empath, I highly recommend you get this book now and even if you don’t read past the first 4 chapters, it will probably radically change your life.

As an empath who didn’t really understand what I was until sometime into my late 20s, but even then, I think I didn’t actually grasp the full spiritual or energetic implications of being an empath, I took away so much from reading this, despite having it mostly what I thought was ‘under control’ for some years now.

I found myself underlining or nodding along with a LOT of the first part of the book, but also realizing that I have been doing some of the recommended things (just not all of them, and not consistently enough) without realizing. I just intuitively figured some of it out.

How I wish I could hand this book to my 15 year old self and warn her to avoid certain people! lol

I also want to add here that this was the first book I’ve read from a magickal perspective that made me understand that my gift of empathy (because that is what it is, even if you don’t think so) is not the same as others’ gifts of natural psychic inclination, and that. is. okay.

Sometimes in the magickal or witchcraft community, we see people we look up to and they have these great well-developed skills such as psychic abilities, for instance, or the ability to easily see and communicate with spirits and we think that if we can’t also do those things, we can’t be a good or powerful practitioner.

Well, let me reassure you that not everyone needs to have those skills, and its quite possible that you could have them latent and just need to coax them out, but the point is, you undoubtedly have other skills that they don’t have, and if you recognize them and work to develop them, you’ll also see that you are equally as skilled and powerful in your own right.

This book is chock full of recipes for cleansing rituals, witch jars, protective charms/talismans, creating wards on things or places, energetically protecting yourself and your home, and on and on.

I’ve written before on the importance and physically and energetically cleaning your home, and there’s plenty more detail in this book for ways to manage, block, or improve energy in your living space.

I think we tend to be impatient to get to the spells and fancy rituals in magickal or spiritual practice sometimes, but we forget that the work that goes into cleansing/purifying, protecting, and preparing (centering/grounding) probably has a lot more to do with our magick working than the actual spell workings.

I don’t care how mad that makes someone to hear it, but if you’re not centering and grounding before workings, you’re likely getting little to no results from your practice, and its highly likely you could be attracting the wrong energies.

Another thing that jumped out at me while reading this book (which, incidentally I sat down and read cover to cover in the course of a day, it was that good), was how I had intuitively been balancing my elements without realizing it.

This book focuses in some ways on using elemental associations or energies in some of the centering, grounding, and shielding, and I came to notice I had been intuitively picking up on this, again, without realizing it.

I have a LOT of water, a good deal of fire and air, and almost no earth (basically just Chiron in Taurus, that’s literally it) in my chart. Which makes for a flighty, unfocused, yet passionately deep-feeling life of constantly being excited about the next amazing idea I just had, daydreaming all day, and pouring my emotions into everything I do. I sometimes need to take a lot naps to handle this.

Its a seriously great mix, but I can see how it leaves me open to imbalance in various ways, one of which is not being able to center and ground as easily OR more aptly put, needing to center and ground myself more frequently, but also more consistently before any spiritual or magick working.

I actually started carrying a green opal palmstone with me in my pocket or keeping it at my desk because it just makes me feel so much more balanced. Its vibes are really soothing and calming, and I feel like it takes the edge off the turbulence of my otherwise heavily elemental mix.

If you look at your chart and notice you’re seriously heavy on some elements but almost completely lacking in one or more others, consider how you can incorporate that missing element into your daily activity to balance yourself out and see if it doesn’t help. I will write a more in depth article on this later this week with actual suggestions.

One other thing I discovered while reading this, and not because its something in the book but because of the way the exercises are described, is that I visualize with my eyes open more easily than with them closed.

In fact, I had lately been really feeling down on myself and getting discouraged that in meditation and visualization sessions I had a hard time visualizing things when closing my eyes. However, when I read a passage in a book, I can visualize extremely easily as I’m reading exactly what I’m doing and with great effect.

I don’t know why this is, and even though its not specifically covered in the subject matter of the book, I want to throw it out there in case there are others in the same boat like me, and I suspect this may have at least a little bit to do with being an empath and having strengths centered around ‘feeling’ rather than ‘seeing’ things.

I think the nature of empathic communication described in the book turned that light bulb on for me in a stark moment of realization of what I had been intuitively doing all this time, thinking it was wrong because other books said ‘this is the only way to do this thing.’

Anyway, I hope you go check out this book and put into regular practice the basics, if you’re not doing them.

One of the solid points made by Reicher is that too many practitioners are drawn to magick and various spiritual practices without doing the foundation work needed to be prepared to handle things that both turn out how we want and don’t turn out how we want.

The old saying ‘don’t summon anything you can’t banish’ goes along well here, but, also, ‘don’t play with energies you can’t control’ would be one I would personally add to this.

Whether its because you’re uncontrolled yourself and attracting a chaotic and draining energetic force, or whether you’re simply just advertising a little too loudly how powerful you are without taking the proper precautions to protect yourself when someone or something comes to investigate you, the concepts in this book should be required reading for all.

a meditation exercise for a chaotic mind

I will not claim to be an expert on meditation, however, I am someone that struggled mightily, and sometimes still do, to achieve that truly still mind when I first started doing a regular meditation practice.

I firmly believe, and I’m not alone, that any good witch or magickal practitioner, or just anyone who wants to be able to affect their life and world in a positive way, needs to be at least intermediately adept at meditation.

It is the deeper states of meditation that allow us to connect with our higher self, the spiritual plane, the astral plane, or other states of being outside just the physical.

But, even if none of those are your goal and you simply want to be able to calm down, disconnect from a stressful world, change yourself inside and out, and bring abundance to your life, you need to nail meditation.

Prepare for Meditation

I won’t spend a lot of time on this, as I don’t think this part is important for everyone. But, some of us need to lock the door to our bedroom, put on headphones, or cue up our favorite guided meditation (more on this in a minute).

Maybe you also need to find a more comfortable position to sit or lay in. Maybe you need to silence all devices or take off your smart watch so it doesn’t keep buzzing the whole time.

You might also prefer to listen to background noise, music, or binaural beats.

Or maybe you choose to meditate on the spot spontaneously and preparation is a distraction in itself.

Whatever you need to do to create a distraction-free setting for the time you plan to meditate is your preparation.

How Long to Meditate For?

When you’re newer to this, you might literally just set a goal for 1 minute of unbroken focus meditating. I had to start there at one point because an exposure to extremely toxic black mold left my brain in pieces for a while, which caused me to essentially lose most of my conscious control of focus.

You’ll read accounts from very adept or skilled magickal practitioners that use longer meditation to precede things like ascension to other planes. Generally, you should be able to hold a meditation focus for around 30 minutes minimum if you are attempting this.

Same for astral projection. Being able to deeply meditate for longer periods of time is required to dissociate the astral body from the physical.

But, don’t feel pressured. Those achievements can come in time and the only really important thing to start with is being able to get through that first minute. Once you can consistently achieve one whole minute of meditation, without your mind wandering, move on to 2 minutes, then 3, and so on.

This process can take days, weeks, or months, and there is nothing wrong with you if you don’t get it right away. We all have different strengths and weaknesses.

A tip I can provide here is that if you struggle to meditate on ‘nothing,’ try a guided meditation recording first.

Breathing is the Key to Meditation

This was a game changer for me. Of all the techniques I tried to get myself into longer meditations, breath work was the most effective and accessible.

Breath work has been used in all manner of spiritual, martial arts, and physical training practices throughout human history, and for good reason.

Conscious focus and control of the breath and its connection to the mind, the body, but also the external energy surrounding us, heightens our awareness of ourselves, our spirits, and our connection to that source.

When breathing in, you can feel and visualize the breath filling and expanding tissues, flowing through the body and its energetic pathways.

It also gives you a focal point for your mind, so that it is less likely to stray.

I’ve put together an exercise that helped me immensely, as it combines the physical act of breath work, with the mental exercise of counting and focus. This can be done anywhere and for any length of time.

The Basic Exercise

Once you are prepared and comfortable, decide how long you plan to meditate for and set a timer on a device not attached to your body. Place it near you, but not touching you, especially if it is a smart phone, or anything that will disrupt your focus with notifications.

The premise of this exercise is very simple, and can be expanded infinitely theoretically.

In one cycle of breathing, you have the following actions:

  • the drawing in of breath
  • the pause of held breath
  • the pushing out of breath
  • the pause before the next breath

You’re going to start with short breaths, then gradually lengthen the breath cycles by lengthening the ‘in’ and ‘out’ actions, and then also by lengthening the ‘pauses’ between them.

Draw in and out 10 breaths, each one being a 1:1:1:1 count for in, pause, out, pause. These will be shorter breaths than normal.

All you are focusing on is the count length of the breath. You might focus on the sensation of it pulling through your nostrils, or of it filling or deflating your lungs. Whatever you choose to focus on physically is associated with only the breath, and you’re counting the rhythm in your mind.

Once you reach the tenth breath cycle, start over at ‘1’ again, but this time, you will lengthen each ‘in’ and ‘out’ action to 2 counts, keeping the pauses in between the same. So it will be a 2:1:2:1 count for in, pause, out, pause.

You will repeat this sequence, each time adding one additional count to the drawing in and pushing out of breath until you reach the 10th cycle through.

The 10th cycle through this, you will start each breath cycle drawing in for 10 counts, pausing for one, releasing for 10 counts, and pausing for one before the next breath. The count will be 10:1:10:1.

Now, at this point, its important to reassure you that if you are actually only starting with 1 minute total meditative time, you might not even complete the 1st cycle, or maybe you get through that 1:1:1:1, but only half of the 2:1:2:1. That’s fine. When your timer goes off, bring your focus back to the real world and you can always pick back up later. Don’t force longer meditations if you’re not there yet.

Expanding the Exercise

Okay, so let’s say you get to where you can regularly do the 10:1:10:1 and it only takes you like 10 min or less. I don’t know how long it will really take you, I’m just making up an arbitrary number. But, for the sake of the argument, its less time than what you want to spend meditating, as you’re growing your skill and gradually increasing your time spent in meditative focus.

Now, you can easily begin lengthening of the pauses after each breath. This allows you to remain in that focused exercise and further enhances your breath work.

After completing your 10th cycle of 10:1:10:1, you’ll start back over with a 10 count in and out, but now the pauses will be 2 counts instead of 1. This will look like 10:2:10:2. You’ll continue with the 10s adding one additional count to the pauses until you reach 10:10:10:10.

An alternative to this would be to return to 1:1:1:1 and begin to add equal length to all actions, rather than only it the ‘in’ and ‘out’ actions. So that would look like 1:1:1:1, then 2:2:2:2, then 3:3:3:3, and so on until you reach 10:10:10:10.

Either one of these is acceptable.

And, at any point if you reach your 10:10:10:10, and still feel focused and want to continue in meditation, you can begin removing a count away from either the ins/outs or the pauses, or all of them by one count less each cycle, going backwards to 1.

So that might look like 10:10:10:10, 10:9:10:9, 10:8:10:8, and so on; or, it could look like 10:10:10:10, 9:9:9:9, 8:8:8:8, and so on.

Play around with which patterns produce the best results for you.

I find its best to end the meditation by letting your breath naturally return to a more normal cadence before returning to full consciousness. This might be somewhere around a 3:2:3:2, or 2:2:2:2, give or take.

I also recommend having a meditation journal or recording this in your own book of shadows with the length of time you meditated, what number sequence you started with and which one you ended. Also note any preparatory work you did beforehand, your positional posture, time of day, tools/focus objects used, and so on.

a quick guide to protection magick

This post is, as the name implies, all about protection. there could be many reasons right now why you may feel that you, a loved one, or just some people in general, need protection.

Protection spells for the home, your vehicle, your physical person, or a group of people are some of the most trending things online in the magickal community at the moment, and for good reason.

First, there’s social unrest. there’s no better way to say it. people are (rightfully) upset about police violence against people of color, and they’re marching, protesting, and voicing their concerns as Americans with rights guaranteed by our constitution.

So, perhaps you yourself are protesting, perhaps a friend or family member is, or perhaps you want to make sure the protesters out there are protected. this is one scenario I’ve seen often.

Another reason is the spiritual awakening and stirring up of the other side of the veil through more contact from the human realm, more energy poured into requests and spell workings, and even just because right now, a number of astrological events are going on that are making it easier for entities, both benevolent and potentially malevolent, to contact and interact with our world.

This might leave you feeling vulnerable to some of those energies, especially if they are unwanted. Even if they are wanted or at least neutral, this can still leave you drained and in need of some basic barriers.

So, let’s get down to the basics of protecting yourself, your property, and other people.

Personally, I usually like to build or design my own spells and rituals, as the more personal you make something, the more energetically invested you are, and the more likely it will be to be successful.

If you prefer to just read some words that someone else wrote and light a candle, that’s okay, but if they’re not your words and don’t resonate strongly with you, or are difficult for you to envision, they may not yield the results you want.

What I’ve put together here is a quick reference to tools such as deities, colors, crystals, plants/herbs, and other items that are commonly used in protection magick, so that you can pick and choose what you think will suit your needs best for your particular request.

Deities Associated With Protection

Regardless of which path you follow, its likely you’ll encounter a variety of deities, beings, or spirits that are or can be petitioned to provide protection for a variety of people and/or objects. This is not an exhaustive list, but I’ve tried to include the most common ones you’ll come across with established histories.

  • Akewa (S. America): protector of women, especially from patriarchal systems
  • Ancestors (yours!!): possibly one of the most important and first sources you should consult if this is protection associated with yourself or a relative/loved one
  • Apollo (Greek): protector of the young
  • Artemis (Greek): protector of unmarried young women
  • Athena (Greek): originally a protectress of Athens, some invoke her for protection outside of that city
  • Aziri (Africa): protects women from abusive men
  • Banba (Irish): goddess of protection
  • Bast (Egyptian): General protection, protection of women and children, but can be specific to those fighting wars or battles, too
  • Bishamon-Ten (Japan): protector of human life, chaser of demons
  • Brigid (Celtic): Especially for young people/youth; healing matters, especially for women
  • Chun T’i (Chinese): protects against war
  • Diana (Roman): protector of witches
  • Durga (India): protection, triumph of good over evil
  • Empanda (Roman): a goddess of general protection for those in need of it
  • Esme (Welsh): general protection
  • Faumea (Polynesian): protection goddess
  • Freya (Norse): may be invoked for protection by her Valkyries;
  • Frigga (Norse): protectress of women and children
  • Gordafarid (Persian): protector of women, female bravery
  • Green Tara (Buddhist): for spiritual and physical protection; for strength, for fearlessness, and for overcoming danger
  • Gyhldeptis (N. American): protectress of the people
  • Hebat (Mesopotamia): protection of women during war
  • Hestia (Greek): protection of the home
  • Horus (Egyptian): god of protection and war
  • Inanna (Sumerian): protection of her followers
  • Ishtar (Babylonian): protector of women, particularly those who have been wronged by men
  • Isis (Egyptian): protector of marriage and love
  • Juno (Roman): protector of women (also attributed as Hera, Greek goddess)
  • Kuan Yin (Buddhist): Healing; she is also the patron protector of women, children, artists, and those who are imprisoned
  • Lama (Mesopotamian): personal protection
  • Maahes (Egypt): devourer of the guilty and protector of the innocent
  • Mama Quilla (Incan): protectress of married women from harm
  • Michael, archangel (Christian/Hebrew): physical and spiritual protection
  • Minona (W. Africa): a protectress of women
  • Oya (Yoruba): protectress of women
  • Pellonia (Roman): a goddess who protects one from their enemies
  • Pinga (Inuit): goddess of protection
  • Princess Liễu Hạnh (Taoism): protector and emancipator of women
  • Shakti (Hindu): protection and banishing
  • Shekinah (Middle Eastern): protects humanity from evil
  • Soteria (Greek): deliverance from harm and protection/safety
  • Tawaret (Egyptian): protection from evil, protection of pregnant women
  • Thor (Norse): protector of the common man
  • Uni (Etruscan): protection of women from harm
  • Vishnu (Hindu): god of protection, especially vanquishing evil
  • Yemaya (Yoruba): Protection, especially of women

Colors Associated With Protection

The most commonly used color in protection spells, such as for candles, is black. Black has long been associated with protection spells and magick. White can also be used in protection magic, but is more commonly used for cleansing (negativity, harm, pain, etc).

Orange can be used to encourage power, both emotional and physical.

Grey can be used to bind negative people or influence.

Color associations can also be specific to the deity with whom you are working, or could be for offerings, as well.

Crystals Associated With Protection

  • obsidian
  • smoky quartz
  • clear quartz
  • amethyst
  • black tourmaline
  • fluorite
  • jet
  • kyanite (blue)

Plants and Herbs Associated With Protection

  • angelica
  • anise
  • basil
  • bay leaves
  • carnation
  • cedar
  • chamomile
  • cloves
  • comfrey
  • coriander
  • dragon’s blood
  • fennel
  • ferns
  • garlic
  • hyssop
  • lavender
  • lilac
  • mandrake
  • mistletoe
  • mullein
  • myrrh
  • nettle
  • oak
  • parsley
  • pepper, black
  • periwinkle
  • rosemary
  • rue
  • sage
  • St John’s wort
  • sandalwood
  • thyme
  • witch hazel
  • wormwoood
  • yarrow

Other Associations

  • graveyard dirt, esp from graves of your ancestors
  • sea salt
  • Florida water
  • thorns
  • frankincense resin
  • myrrh resin
  • moon water
  • crystal-infused water
  • vinegar
  • sigils
  • imagery/symbols

Now, all that being said, you still need to put things together in such a way that makes sense for what you are asking, in other words, your specific outcome.

This could be assembled as a jar spell, it could be simply a candle you light and talk with a deity or ancestor, or it could be any number of other rituals or spells where you apply your intention and will toward your intended outcome.

And, I will also add here that when working with a deity or specific entity or spirit, regardless of color associations, plant associations, etc of protection, its usually best to have other or additional candles or items specific to that deity as well. So, if you’re working with a deity that resonates best with blue candles, include both a black candle for protection as well as a blue candle for your deity, got it? Similar for any other correspondence element.

Hopefully this gives you plenty to start with!

clean your house, bwitch

since we’re all staying home so much more and have all this extra time, our homes are all spotless.

*hysterical laughter ensues*

*it keeps on going*

*the laughter quickly engulfs the entirety of the magickal community with how absurd this thought is*

*sighs*

yeah, so if you’re like me, despite ‘theoretically’ having more time at home, your home is or has not consistently been as spotless as one might expect given the increased attention it may be receiving as of late.

its probably at least a little bit chaotic, has piles of things in random places, pet or child-related evidence are accumulating on your upholstery at an alarming rate, and its impossible to keep up with the dust, let alone the laundry.

and all that ‘stuff,’ spiritual, psychic, physical, and emotional is hovering on your baseboards, corners of the stairs, around the table legs, and crammed into that little impossible space where the bottom of your cabinet meets your fridge.

this debris, if you will, weighs on your mind. you see it when you get up to get a snack or refill your coffee cup. you see it when its morning and that morning sun streaming through the windows hits your wood stairs just right, as if to say ‘hey, i just wanted you to know how fucking dirty your stairs are, okay?’

and physical debris carries with it more than just physical effects – its the psychological and spiritual effects that tend to be what weighs the most.

we genuinely feel bad that we’re not cleaning, and that we have no really good excuses for not doing so.

we know we need to tackle this, but there’s netflix. we know we need to put away laundry, but there’s hulu. we know we need to just start with one small thing, but someone on facebook needs to know our opinion.

physically cleaning your home has more than just physical benefits. it lifts so much weight from your shoulders and reminds you how good a freshly cleansed space feels. you breathe easier, but you also feel easier. (and, i don’t know about you, but i stop feeling like a total slob when i do this lol)

it discourages the spiritual loafers who may find their way in and stick around in those dusty corners. it drives out the unwanted psychic guests who thrive amid chaos and the thoughts of self-loathing that accompany our occasional bouts of disorganization.

just burning sage isn’t enough to really thoroughly cleanse a space on every plane, IMO.

and if you’ve ever really deep cleaned even just one room in your house and you felt just how good it felt to be in there, you know what i mean.

so, because its the new moon, and the new moon is all about letting things go, let’s physically, but also psychically and emotionally, cleanse our spaces.

get in there and scrub, vacuum, wipe, organize, whatever your house is asking from you right now.

i like to start with the thing that is the most obvious, that will give me the biggest ‘bang for my buck’ once its done. for me, this is usually my baseboards that are constantly accumulating enough fur to build a whole new dog each month.

btw, here’s a trick i use for my house that lifts the vibes of any room i use it in. and i use it a LOT because my entire (big old historic) house is wood floors, huge tall windows that love dust and cobwebs, old ornate baseboards, and carved wooden staircases.

to any all natural cleaner spray, or simply a bottle of 3 parts distilled water to 1 part distilled vinegar, add 20 drops cinnamon EO, 20 drops clove EO, 15 drops cedar EO, and 10 drops myrrh EO. shake well before spraying. it works awesome in a spray bottle as well as with swiffer-type mops.

these essential oils discourage invasive or unwanted spiritual hangers-on, but also make appealing or welcoming environments for beneficial and helpful energy and spirits, such as ones you may work with regularly, or just ones you may want to work with.

4 magickal and medicinal things you might not know about cedar

it is no secret, if you’ve peeped at the products in my shop, that i love to incorporate cedar into pretty much everything i can, in some way.

the reason for that is it is just a really damn all-around amazing substance when it comes to protection, abundance, healing, clearing, banishing, recovery, love, and even spiritual growth.

cedar has long been used by countless peoples for all those purposes and more, as far back as written history has recorded. and its popularity is justified. this tree is super high vibe and, quite frankly, pretty fucking magickal.

history

cedar belongs to the pine family, and has a scent that is similar, yet a little softer on the olfactory senses, not quite as sharp. all four varieties of cedar trees are coniferous and evergreen.

they tend to grow in mountainous regions, and can be found throughout earth’s regions where those mountains have formed.

cedar trees can be found as revered, sacred, or holy trees in places like the pacific northwest of the US, the middle east, and the indian subcontinent, where you can find their likeness on flags (e.g. lebanon) and in religious ceremonies (e.g. to the god Shiva, who was said to frequent cedar forests).

cedar forests in mesopotamia were said to have been fought over as living places by gods and demi-gods, and even gilgamesh was said to have built his city of cedar wood.

cedar has been used the world over to make everything from tools, to buildings, canoes and ships, to clothing fiber, textiles, food, and medicine, to name a few.

properties

longevity:

cedars are known for their incredibly long lifespans – thousands of years if left undisturbed by humans and industrial expansion.

it is because of this incredible longevity that they are said to confer prosperity and long, healthy life on those who worship or hold them sacred.

the entire part of the tree has been harvested by humans for millenia and used for medicinal and spiritual purposes, including the wood, bark, roots, branches, and leaves.

purification:

native peoples in north america used cedar for smudging*, a practice of burning dried plant matter to remove negative vibes, evil spirits, or to purify the energy in a space.

both cedar wood and cedar branches/tips can be used to burn as incense or smudging, or, if you are not of native american heritage, you can refer to the practice as cedar clearing, or simply clearing.

*its important to note that the term smudging is specific to practices used by tribes and indigenous peoples of the americas, and should not be used to refer to all practices of burning herbs or plants for the same purpose, unless it is done by native peoples, as this is culturally appropriating a practice from native peoples

antimicrobial and insecticidal:

cedar wood and leaves are antibacterial and antifungal. the essential oil of cedar can be applied to surfaces or even skin (please dilute it appropriately- pure essential oil on skin may cause chemical burns if applied incorrectly). it can clear up infections and nail or skin fungus. it can even be applied topically to warts to gradually remove them!

burning cedar incense or wood/leaves can also clear microbes and mold spores from the air in a building.

you may also notice that a number of all natural pesticidal products are popping up these days with cedarwood essential oil in them, among other ingredients, as it repels insects, spiders, and other unwanted indoor pests. (i actually purchased one of these and it. really. works. the scent is quite powerful initially, but it dies down after a day or so, and then you can’t smell it, but the insects definitely can!).

autophagy:

in the clinical world, the term autophagy (auto: self; phagus/phagy: eating) is used to refer to the process in which some of our immune cells (macrophages) consume other cells, usually our own dead, aging, or diseased cells that need to be removed and cleared out.

autophagy is a necessary process and keeps us functioning smoothly, taking out the cellular trash, if you will, on a regular basis. a number of things can impair autophagy, though, and anything that uses up or otherwise takes up the time and attention of our macrophages (infections from bacteria, yeast, and viruses; toxin exposure; excess toxicants from food and environment) can make this system less efficient.

over time, those dying, diseased, or aging cells can become cancerous, and, without enough macrophages around to chew them up and take out the trash, can lead to tumors and other forms of malignancy.

cedar tea or cedar tincture can be used to stimulate macrophage activity and increase our body’s ability to take out that cellular trash.

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