Timeo Danaos et Dona Ferentes

There are evil spirits that move so subtly we can barely sense their influence until it’s too late. Things and places hold the resonance of tragedy and pain that occurred in their orbit. Hungry ghosts – sad, miserable jealous people who have never accepted healing from their ancestors, occasionally refuse to let go of what was once their property or wish the living ill. Any and all of these can cause problems for those of us who like antiquing, flea-marketing, or even who might receive unexpected gifts from friends, frenemies, and/or colleagues. I was warned about this first by a Lukumi elder who has since passed (may you ever be hailed, Stuart), but it was something I had already experienced and figured out on my own. Cursed/haunted objects are a thing. None of this needs to stop one from enjoying antiquing or from accepting a gift out of the blue, but care has to be taken. Nine times out of ten, these things, if they come with something polluted, can be cleansed away. The tenth time might involve salt, exorcism, and a bonfire, but that is not usually the norm. 

I was thinking about this recently because a friend sent me an unexpected gift for my shrine. It was fine, but I have a protocol that I follow with any incoming package that isn’t purchased new, so I was explaining this to my current assistant, and I realized that I’d never written about it here. I don’t like writing about magical practice on my blog. I prefer to focus on religious things, but I’m finding that young magicians coming up now aren’t getting proper training. One of my former students says that the biggest complaint she gets about her own work is that she’s old fashioned – because she teaches grounding, centering, shielding, cleansing, and training the will as matters of course. I was blown away but what I’ve seen with the last couple of rounds of students confirms what a lot of us have suspected: basic training and common sense is seriously lacking in far too many of today’s magical circles, lodges, etc. Hence, these posts. 

Now, I love antiquing. I also have quite a few people who would happily try to harm me given half a chance. That might be the case even were I not an active theologian. In esoteric circles we tend to be a contentious bunch, and while I firmly believe that study of any esoteric art should require intelligence, temperance, psychological stability, and emotional maturity, that’s all too often seldom the case in reality. You’re going to get bitter or crazy people trying to throw shit at you at some point in your career. Usually, they don’t have the capacity to magic themselves out of a paper bag, but sometimes bottom feeding evil spirits can take what they throw, ride it, and enhance it to something more damaging. It pays to be prepared. 

Here’s what I do when I buy something at an antique store or flea market (and firstly, I take a good *look* with the psi senses at the item, and possibly even reach out to my ancestors to make sure it’s ok to bring home. I’ve been known to divine right in a shop). It then sits on the porch surrounded by salt until I have a chance to divine on it, exorcise it with salt/aspersing, and bless and cleanse it. Sometimes, if it’s just energetically dusty, I can blow an ansuz into it and cleanse it that way. None of this takes long but sometimes I don’t have the time to do it right when I get home, hence it sits outside until I do. Additionally, I’ll often wear gloves when I shop at such places. Silk insulates from negative or polluted energies, and I always carry a set in my bag. I also carry a small vial of salt, and often a small bottle of FL water in case I need to cleanse myself while out and about. Recently I was gifted with a pair of wool gloves from this site. The gloves have “Thor Bless” on them in runes and damned if they don’t work just as well as any silk that I’ve ever used. They’re also really comfortable so I highly recommend. 

I will note that if you have regular protections on your home and ongoing wards, and your devotional practice is consistent, you’ll have some protection if something slips through. So, awhile back, someone sent me a heavily embroidered shrine cloth and a little statue. It was lovely and, having known this person for awhile – though not considering him a close friend—I broke my rules and just opened the package. Immediately I was repulsed. I am gift oriented partly by nature and partly by religion. Gifting has a particular valence in Heathenry, and gifting is my love language – both giving and receiving—so for me to have a negative reaction to a present is almost unheard of (even if I don’t like the item, I usually appreciate the thought). This was different. I was actively repulsed and shoved the box into a corner of my living room to deal with later. I foolishly gave it no further thought that day. 

The next day the problems started. A piece of scar tissue snapped in my ankle (kept me on a cane for days, extremely painful), a knife flew at me from my knife rack. I hadn’t touched it. Three or four cups and bowls flew from my hands or one time at my head and broke. I divined to see if I’d been hit by malocchio. Divination consistently said no. Everyone had pain and inflammation in the house out of the blue so much so there was one visit to the doctor to rule out medical issues. We divined when the doc said everything was fine and divination said it was partly physical – likely due to old injuries and damp weather–but partly something else. Ok. I do most of my main house div. on Sunday, so I had planned to ask about this at the end of the week. About the same time, our water heater, dryer, and a few smaller appliances all broke at the same time. Then the aggravation in relationships started. It was like something was whispering and twisting every interaction out of true, ensuring that we would misunderstand each other. It is difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced this kind of oppression but it’s a primary technique of a certain class of evil spirits and theologians have written about it since ancient times. We were experiencing the effect of the presence of an evil spirit of disruption. I realized what it was because I saw it ever so slightly. I had a discussion with my husband about it and he concurred—I always check and double check because it’s easy to get paranoid.

 That night, I skipped my protections and spent the night attacked in dreams. The next day, I fought it all day, sick and in pain. Eventually, my then-assistant asked a question –unrelated on the surface to this mess but perfectly timed—and divination opened up exactly what it was. The friend who sent me the altar items had received them from someone unclean, someone who dabbled in things not aligned with the Gods, someone who sought and seeks out people (especially women, I might add) who are devout and growing in spiritual power so he can derail and crush them, someone who had a deep jealousy and hatred for anyone solid in the Work. I’ve had my run-ins with this person more than once. I used to consider him a friend, until I learned how he butchers tradition, makes things up to cause harm and inflate his own ego, attacks and poisons the devout, and is ridden by addiction. He’s been known to plant really nasty shit in people’s homes, and to attack magically both men and women whom he perceives as rivals. 

When I was getting up to get rid of the box, I heard the whisper, “Give it to X.” My guess is that my friend had the same thing happen and so was moved to send it to me. If one isn’t used to the whispers, it’s painfully easy to be influenced by spirits. They take on the sound of our own inner voices and if one doesn’t know the texture of one’s own mind, how can one tell the difference? I immediately took everything outside, my assistant doused it with blessed salt, we prayed and warded the space, the threshold, the door, cleansed the house, called on the Holy Powers and restored order. *Immediately* we all felt better. Later I burned the items. It was a huge lesson in maintaining protocols even when I think I don’t need to (perhaps especially then), and knowing my inner landscape so that I know precisely what is my own thought versus that of something malignant trying to influence me. Evil spirits try this all the time. It’s why cleansing, warding, meditation, and prayer is so important. It keeps one balanced and properly ordered. 

Afterwards, it turned out my assistant had been having the thing whisper to her for days, and it had been trying to damage her relationship to one of her Gods. ALL of us had an aversion to the package, and none of us had wanted to touch it where it lay shoved into a corner. But because it came from a friend (who was appalled when I told him about what had happened, and who immediately got rid of everything the third party involved had given him) I’d neglected this. Have your cleansing protocols (and yes, I apply them to etsy and ebay packages too), and never, ever break them. 

So, cleanse the things you receive or buy. Don’t take gifts from frenemies. If you find out someone is gross, get rid of everything they’ve given you and by which they might work nasty magic on you. Know the origin of secondhand gifts. Cleanse, cleanse, and cleanse. Also, keep up prayer and devotion because in the end these are more important than any of this and also our best guard and protection.

Here’s your PSA for the day. 

Burn this. Clean it with fire. lol.

About ganglerisgrove

Galina Krasskova has been a Heathen priest since 1995. She holds a Masters in Religious Studies (2009), a Masters in Medieval Studies (2019), has done extensive graduate work in Classics including teaching Latin, Roman History, and Greek and Roman Literature for the better part of a decade, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Theology. She is the managing editor of Walking the Worlds journal and has written over thirty books on Heathenry and Polytheism including "A Modern Guide to Heathenry" and "He is Frenzy: Collected Writings about Odin." In addition to her religious work, she is an accomplished artist who has shown all over the world and she currently runs a prayer card project available at wyrdcuriosities.etsy.com.

Posted on January 28, 2023, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. So — “a heavily embroidered shrine cloth and a little statue” … was the small statue an agalma? I don’t know that I could ever bring myself to burn a divine image. Did you do some sort of de-sanctifying process for that? FWIW I’m not into magic, but de-sanctifying old cultic images is something that I’ve long wondered about, especially in an apartment situation where burial or other disposal methods are not easily available and it’s not the kind of image that could be gifted.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It wasn’t a deity image thankfully. That would have seriously complicated things. It was something my friend thought would be nice for my ancestor shrine. I have a lot of questions about deconsecrating holy images too…would love to discuss.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have a few citations that I saved to Zotero a year or two ago when I was trying to look into this in more detail. There’s a lot of information out there from South Asian traditions (and a lot of it conflicts), and there’s also some discussion of sacred image/waste protocols in Shintō, but not much else. If this were 2000 years ago, someone could have just gone to somewhere like Delphi to ask Apollon for an etiquette book … I think what complicates research on this is that a lot of things were never de-consecrated, but were stolen from active sacred sites and put in museums.

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  2. Thank you for the good advice, and for sharing these experiences.

    In my current living situation, rather than leaving things outside the front door, I’ve taken to walking around to the side of the house which faces south, so that I can set things in the purifying rays of Sunna at midday, along with a prayer to Her for this purpose. And also of course using holy water and other means as appropriate. Given the layout of the property (and the position of my neighbor’s home, etc), even though it’s the “side” it still doesn’t have the feel of a private space that’s included within sphere of the home proper; you need to get around fully to the back for that. It seems to be working.

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  3. Kaye, you’re so right about museums. I once took a new student to the Met for the first time and she passed out in the Egyptian wing. The energy from the sacred, consecrated statues and objects was so strong it hit her hard!

    When we have a statue break, we usually divine on what to do with it. Bury with honors has been the advice most often given.

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    • I remember the first time you took me there, not warning me. The closer we got to the temple area, the hotter I got. It was winter in NY, and bitterly cold out, and I started stripping as many layers as I could. Of course when we hit the temple area and the statues of Sekhmet, I realized WHY.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I always attributed how overwhelmed I feel in the Egyptian galleries to how crowded it is and my anxiety about whether or not items are coming from tombs, but maybe this is also part of it? I’ve been at the Met late in the day (on a late-open night) and the Egyptian galleries are so much better then. My favorite spaces to mentally regroup in the Met are in the mezzanine-level Greek pottery area and that one Moroccan(?) gallery with the fountain and benches. And ofc when I say “favorite spaces,” the last time I did a day trip into NYC/to the Met was February 2020.


  4. Thanks for sharing this. You’re right, newcomers don’t get the right advice and solitary devotees are possibly even worse off – I say this as someone who became a polytheist only 3 years ago and who’s been trying to separate the wheat of good/sensible spiritual practices from the chaff of “witchtok” et similia, ever since. I’ve been following your blog since last year and found a lot of valuable advice, so thank you for that.

    If you don’t mind my asking, how does silk work in protecting from spiritual energies/pollution? Your observation about using silk gloves rang a bell:
    I keep my tarot decks wrapped in white silk and stored in velvet pouches because I read this is the traditional way of doing things, but nobody so far has been able to tell me where this tradition comes from and if there’s any meaning to using white silk (besides the obvious correspondence white = purity)

    Liked by 1 person

    • re. silk, I honestly have no idea. raw linen works well too, though I find silk a tad better for this sort of thing. I really don’t know where the tradition came from. White tends to be purification and protection. When I have to go to a hospital, or do work that involves problematic space, or need to just be extra spiritually clean, I’ll wear white from head to toe including a head wrap. I learned this through Lukumi and spiritualism but I’ve seen it from other lineage streams too. White is like energetic personal protective equipment. black on the other hand is very grounding. I just did an uncrossing and protection candle for someone and I chose to use black, because it’s like bedrock, strong and protective. I have color taboos because of my work with Odin so I tend to wear a lot of black/blue/grey, white only when necessary. ymmv. I recommend Dion Fortune’s “Psychic Self Defense”, Denning and…Phillips (I think), “Psychic Self Defense,” and Sophie Reicher, “Spiritual Protection.” not necessarily in that order and with the caveat that the language of the first is very dated. Still, good stuff there. That, and my book on honoring the ancestors should give you a decent foundation (you can find a lot on my site under the tags ‘ancestors’ and ‘ancestor work’ though so don’t rush out to buy the book. there’s probably almost as much here if you look). having good mental habits, good prayer habits, and a practice of honoring the ancestors consistently will take you far. 🙂


      • I had always assumed it’s because silk comes from insects undergoing metamorphosis, as the fibers typically come from the cocoon they craft. Tied with those energies of death/life/transformation/change. The fibers also have the ability to reflect light, and insulate. It comes from natures spinners in a way already.


    • I think over time and working devotionally, etc. we build up stamina and get used to the presence of empowered holy things. I think my favorite place at the Met is the Temple of Dendur — surrounded by Sekhmet statues. 🙂


  5. re. traditions like velvet pouch and silk…if you don’t know what they do or how/why, I’d hesitate to change them. If it’s working, don’t muck with it. that’s my general rule of thumb. But if it’s not working for you, then experiment little by little.

    re. evil spirits. don’t fear them. Stand up and claim your space because you are a creature made by the Gods, kin to the Holy Powers, beloved of Them and there is no force in this earth bigger and stronger than our Gods. Be vigilant and smart, but don’t fear them. the little bastards are nothing compared to the power of our Holy Ones.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for replying, and for the book recommendations! I had found the one by Dion Fortune researching online, but a lot of people told me it was too dated, not just in terms of language, so that put me off a bit. I am definitely going to check it now, and the other titles. Ancestor work is another huuuuge thing. I honor them regularly but I am still struggling to connect most of the times. On those rare occasions when I actually “feel” something (a nod of acknowledgment, an image forming in my mind) it’s a lovely and grounding feeling. 🙂
      Re. the color correspondences and traditions, I am of your same mindset, “don’t fix that which is not broken”, lol. On the other hand, I like to know how things work, and also, I’m just naturally curious.


    • Velvet traditionally was made with silk fibers, so it’s still would be silk.


  6. Yikes!!! Thank you for sharing this.

    Are you’all feeling better?

    Question – did Elena have a reaction to the package? Cats are great wardens, maybe she sensed something from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This was quite awhile ago but iirc, she wouldn’t go near the box and avoided even the living room the entire time we had it here. She’s usually all over packages.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yikes! And good timing. I recieved a dropped off package today off weird items someone I know was using for a Deity that I work with, no explanation as to why they’re getting rid of the items and they hacked off all contact. Imma go pit that back on the porch.

    And as for protections and basics, fricken right. I’m still miffed that I paid a Lot of money, five figures, to learn under someone and was never taught grounding, or even checked if I could. Still miffed

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is a huge problem, Chavah. I’m all in support of the hierarchy between spiritual teacher and student — too much is at stake to mess around–but these days, any fool can set him/herself up and newcomers just don’t have any idea (nor should they be expected to) of what to ask, how to interrogate a would be teacher to ensure the training and character is there. More and more, I realize I was VERY VERY lucky in my own teachers.

      Someone who is teaching these things should have a good grounding in the basics: grounding, centering, shielding, warding, troubleshooting, cleansing. They should have a solid devotional practice. They should have a decent ancestor practice and know how to give concrete answers on how the would be student can establish the same. I want to see experience in ritual work, both creating and undoing sacred space and how to handle it when things go wrong. They should have at least basic div.. They need to be well read, and emotionally/mentally stable (rules out half of the community right there, esp. if they’re on TikTok or Tumblr). That’s what I’d tell to someone looking to how to vet a student, at least as a beginning rubric.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I wish I knew you three years ago. I can honestly and firmly say that Ive learned more from just your blog in this past year than I did from a full, paid apprenticeship or anything else Ive gone though, at least with the Pagans. And its not concepts, its content. I compared it recently for my husband, to having clear broth for a meal and then theres you and some others and its like… yall got meat and potatoes. ITs nourishing and I do, so much, greatly appreciate your blog posts.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. re. silk, raw linen works and is preferred in some traditions. So I don’t know. that it’s made from an animal metamorphosis might be a factor (the way silk is spun and milled is fascinating — you can find videos of the process on YouTube) but I could see that just as easily rendering it unusable in this way. Velvet is tricky — there are a lot of fakes on the market (using non natural fibers, which are basically plastic). ALWAYS check that your velvet is actually silk velvet these days. Silkbaron.com is a great place to shop, a dangerous place for the purse, but a great place.


  9. I think I know who you are referring to. I got zapped by them full force, simply because they found out I knew you.

    Since I do weekly housecleaning both physical and metaphysical, I didn’t suffer long. However, it was an object lesson in making sure you check your wards, and everything involving protection.

    I also clean and wash my doors for the Roman Door Gods. In Families of Gods, I don’t know of any other Pantheon that has a Door Family.

    As for flour, the Mesopotamians swore by barley flour for protection and cleansing. I forget the exact metaphysics why. They would circle their homes with flour. Demons could not cross the flour line.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This also works against those of us with Celiac or NCGS. Just put down a flour line and we instantly burst into flames on crossing it. (sorry, couldn’t resist 😅)

      Liked by 4 people

  10. Chavah Granovetter


    Liked by 1 person

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