“Thank You for Not Morphing” S.1E.3

In this episode Victor, the Charmed Ones’ father, comes back into the girls’ lives after being away since they were kids. At the same time, the new neighbors—who are shapeshifting demons—are trying to steal the Book of Shadows. Victor uses an amulet given to him by Patty Halliwell to protect him from magic. He knows about the Book of Shadows and the spell in it for the Charmed Ones to relinquish their powers. Grams disagreed with him, which was why he was pushed away from the family. The demons try to force Victor to get the Book for them. The witches use a spell that banishes and destroys all others unless they are “the Sisters three”.

For this episode, the real magic I want to talk about is protection magic. One of the elements in this episode that  real witches use to protect themselves are amulets. Amulets are charms used to protect the bearer from harm. Some amulets are very specific, like a serpentine stone to protect from things that bite like snakes and ticks. Amulets can be charged for general protection as well. Amulets are  made from natural elements like stones or herbs or to bear or represent a symbol of power. Some of the symbols used by witches are the pentagram, Thor’s hammer, or even the triquetra symbol on the Book of Shadows in the show. In this episode, Victor is protected from the banishment by an amulet for protection. Most of the definitions of amulet say  it is something that repels harm or acts as a shield against it. It is different than a talisman, which draws something you want to you.

In the episode the spell they use to vanquish the shape shifters is called a banishment spell. From the way that the spell is worded, it should have banished them outside of the house, but I guess the Charmed universe doesn’t need precise wording! Real witches do banish energies and harmful spirits from their homes. Usually it is a two-sided process of a spiritual cleansing and then a sealing of the house so  the unwanted energies can’t  return. When I spiritually cleanse the house I burn frankincense and myrrh incense, a protection incense, or some sage in every room of the house while the windows are open. I open the windows so that the energy can leave. I also create a holy water made from water, salt, and some rose water. I ask for blessings on each of the ingredients, then mix and bless them again. I take this  water and sprinkle it in every room to fill it with useful energy so the unwanted energy has no place to come back to. I close all the windows I opened for the cleansing and seal them with the sign of the pentagram.

An extra step that I have done for years is to create a permeable shield around my house. I like to do this from the outside. I gather basil (fiery and protective herb), rosemary (also fiery and protective) and angelica (protective, banishing, and calls to the power of angels) and grind them to a powder in my mortar and pestle. I have used this combination of herbs for years, even when I lived on some very dangerous streets, and it has always made me feel safe. I then sprinkle the herbs around the house clockwise, imagining a shield of energy while chanting a chant I learned from Be a Goddess: A Guide to Magickal Celtic Spells for Self Healing, Prosperity and Great Sex by Francesca de Grandis. It goes:

Goddess within, Goddess without, make your circle all about, Bring love in keep evil out.

I chant this until I have sprinkled a circle around the house. When I have come all the way around the house, I reinforce the visualization by envisioning it getting stronger and repeating the chant one last time. I love this chant because It calls on the Goddess within all of us, no matter what our gender, the Goddess who is part of everything to make a barrier that lets love in but keeps all that is harmful and ill-intended outside its bounds.

I sometimes wonder why the Charmed Ones couldn’t use a spell like this to banish and protect their home. My guess is that because they are characters are on a fictional show their power draws demons and evil beings so that they can vanquish them, so it is not part of their tradition because it would be antithetical to their purpose. They get into protection magick and why they don’t do it in later episodes, but it has never been satisfactorily explained to me.

This is what real witches do to add spiritual protection to there homes and lives. They also do practical things like lock their doors, have an alarm system, take martial arts, train to shoot a gun, and avoid trouble when they can. Witches live between our physical world and the spirit world. We know you have to back up your spells with practical action to ground them into the firmament.

“I’ve Got You Under My Skin” S.1E.2

In this episode the three sisters struggle with ethics and how to use their powers and come up against Javna, a lower level demon that feeds on the youth of young women once a year for a week.  The sisters fight in the episode because Phobee was openly using her power whereas her sisters are trying not to use them for fear of blunders with them.

Real witches have to deal with the ethics of using magick all the time. In the Charmed universe they can’t use their powers for personal gain. Real witches can use their abilities and magick for personal gain and self-improvement. This is a difficult  subject for fiction writers because the story seems a bit anticlimactic if the witches can solve all their problems with a wave of their movie magic wand. The ethics  most witches ascribe to is the Wiccan Rede: Do as you will, but harm none. Basically this means you can do as you will as long as it is not harming anyone. This is not to say that witches can’t use magick to protect themselves, because “harm none” includes themselves. My quandary is how do you know you are causing no harm? A spell to attract love could spark love between your best friend’s husband and you. Doesn’t that harm your best friend whether you meant to or not? It is a bit gray, because with or without your spell, the husband has a wandering eye and it might be a mercy causing less harm for you to reveal him.

Most witches try to word the intentions of their spells so that free will is not harmed. This means that if someone needs a healing  or any other type of spell, we ask if we can work for them. Some witches only believe in doing spells on themselves to make an improvement to their lives.

Some Witches also believe  there is a repercussion for using your power, embodied in the Three-fold law. It states that everything you do comes back to you times three. Blessing or curse, it returns to you multiplied by the universe three times. This is like some widely-held beliefs about Karma, but is not actually how karma works. Karma is more cause and effect than it is  a spiritual punishment system. In the Charmed universe, using magic for personal gain has a consequence or is nullified in some way. In the episode, the winning lottery ticket numbers disappear, for example.

Not all witches practice or believe in these tenets. Some witches have even more or fewer taboos around using their power based on their tradition of witchcraft. The use of these tenets are up to the witches to decide on for themselves. These tenets are guidelines to help us not create more problems for ourselves and others.