Banishing Nasty Spirits (Baby Witch Bootcamp Ch. 19)

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If you’ve been following this series of posts, you know why a witch might work with spirits, how to establish a relationship with a spirit, and how to communicate with spirits. What we haven’t yet discussed is how to get rid of spirits that are bothersome, annoying, or malevolent.

I was planning to talk about pathworking and astral travel before getting into banishing, but in light of some asks I recently received on Tumblr, I think it’s important that we take a moment to discuss how to get rid of spirits that, for whatever reason, you don’t want around.

There are lots of reasons you might not want a spirit in your space. Just like with people, some spirits just aren’t a good fit for you and your practice. Part of being a spirit worker is cultivating a “spirit team” of beings that you can have healthy and beneficial relationships with.

Some spirits are mischievous and like to cause trouble. If you find yourself on the receiving end of lots of spirit pranks, you may want to gently encourage them to move along. And there are some spirits out there who just genuinely hate humans and will go out of their way to cause mental, emotional, and even physical harm.

Don’t get me wrong — malevolent spirits aren’t common. In my experience, the vast majority of unwanted spirits are more annoying than dangerous. I’m not saying this to scare you or make you paranoid. But these things do exist, and it would be negligent of me not to mention them in a series on spirit work.

There’s a reason that one of the most common truisms in witchcraft is, “Never conjure something you can’t banish.” If you’re going to be working with spirits, it’s a good idea to know how to banish them just in case. With that being said, here’s how you can clear out any nasties that may be lingering in your space.


The first step is to kick those unwanted spirits out of your space. There are lots of ways to do this, so choose the one that is the best fit for you.

Cleansing with fire and smoke is a very old and very simple method. If this is the way you decide to go, there are several magical substances you can burn to banish spirits. Burning sulfur or asafetida will clear out just about anything, but they both smell awful and are potentially toxic, so you’ll want to get an okay from the other people living in your home, burn a little at a time, and make sure you have lots of windows open. (Some people say sulfur and asafetida will banish all spirits, not just the unfriendly ones, so you may have to invite your spirit team back in later.) For something that smells a little more pleasant, you can try a mix of frankincense and myrrh resin, or burn a mix of dried rosemary, sage (garden sage, not endangered white sage, please!), and bay leaves — but again, make sure you have windows open, because these get smoky. Plus, you want the windows and/or doors open so the spirits have somewhere to go when the smoke chases them out.

If smoking up your living space isn’t an option for you, you can manually clean your space with a wash or powder. If you have hardwoods, you can make a floor wash with water, salt, lemon juice, rosewater, lavender essential oil, and either bay laurel or rosemary essential oil. (This is adapted from an uncrossing bath in the book Utterly Wicked by Dorothy Morrison.) Use this mixture to mop your floors, as well as to wipe down your walls and furniture. If you have a humidifier or essential oil diffuser, diffusing some of this mix would also be a good idea.

If you have carpet, you can make a powder by combining salt, dried lemon peel, dried roses, lavender flowers, and bay leaves. You’ll need to ground this really fine, so I recommend using a coffee grinder or food processor. Sprinkle the powder on your carpet, let it sit for a few minutes, and then vacuum it up. I would supplement this by also diffusing a mix of saltwater with rosewater, lemon juice, and lavender and/or bay laurel essential oil. If you don’t have a diffuser, at least sprinkle some saltwater around the room and on your belongings.

No matter which form of cleansing you decide to use, it’s important to verbally state your intention to banish these unwanted spirits from your space. Tell them out loud that they are no longer welcome here and that they need to leave. Don’t be rude about it, but be firm and speak clearly and with confidence.

After you cleanse your space, it’s a good idea to cleanse yourself as well to remove any psychic ties to the spirits you’ve just banished. The easiest way to do this is with a ritual bath. The floor wash recipe mentioned earlier can also be used as a psychic cleansing bath. Other options include a bath with salt, frankincense, and myrrh or a bath with salt, rosemary, sage, and bay laurel. You can use essential oils for your bath, or add the resins and herbs to a cheesecloth bag and drop it into the tub for easy diffusing and cleanup.

If you don’t have a bathtub, you can cleanse yourself in the shower. Place two cups of salt in a bowl. Add lemon juice, rosewater, lavender essential oil, and either bay laurel or rosemary essential oil. If you don’t have essential oils, you can add dried lavender and crushed bay leaves. Add some of your favorite body wash to create a scrub (if you don’t have body wash, use olive oil). While in the shower, use this mixture to scrub your skin — visualize yourself scrubbing away any psychic gunk you might have picked up. 


Once you’ve removed any unwanted spirits from your space, you want to lay down some protection to keep them from coming back. There are as many ways to ward off spirits as there are witches, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

One option is to create a ward. You can do this by anointing the door frames, door knobs, and window frames of your home with a protective oil blend and/or by creating lines of salt across your doorways and just inside your windows. You can use other protective substances if you prefer. As you lay down these protections, visualize a protective shield around your home, and speak aloud your intention to keep harmful spirits out.

Iron is said to repel spirits. Keep a railroad spike or other large piece of iron under your bed to prevent nightmares and to keep spirits from messing with you while you sleep. There’s an old superstition that says that hammering iron nails into the four corners of your home protects it from spirits — this may not be possible if you’re renting, but you can create a similar effect by displaying a piece of iron in each of the four corners of your home. Hematite is a crystal that is high in iron, so it can be used in a similar way to ward off spirits.

Aloe is said to protect from negative spirits, and to bring protection and good luck more generally. It’s also a common house plant that is easy to care for, so this method of protection is especially great for witches who need to keep their practice a secret. Keep several aloe plants in your home to protect those who live there.

For witches with a crafty side, making a witch bottle is another option for protection. There are lots of different recipes for witch bottles, but the basic method is to fill a bottle with sharp objects, add something from your body, and hide it somewhere outside your home (traditionally buried on the property, but leaving it in an outbuilding works just as well). The idea is that any nasty spirit that comes looking for you will be attracted to the bottle (because it contains part of your body), get caught by the sharp objects, and be trapped. To create a simple witch bottle, fill a mason jar about halfway with sewing pins, then add a bit of your hair and some of your fingernail clippings, and finally fill it with liquid (traditionally, this liquid is your own urine, but if that makes you uncomfortable vinegar will also work). If you want, you can also include some of your favorite banishing herbs, resins, or crystals.

Religious symbols can also keep nasty spirits away. If you identify strongly with a religion, display protective symbols from that faith in your living space. For example: a Christian witch might hang up a crucifix or set out a statue of Archangel Michael, a Norse pagan witch might hang up an image of Mjolnir, a Hindu witch might display a statue of Durga, etc. Sometimes the most effective way to keep nasty spirits away is to let them know that you’re under the protection of someone more powerful.

When dealing with unwanted spirits, the most important thing to remember is that you do not need to be afraid. You are a powerful witch, and you are more than capable of getting rid of them. Be confident in your abilities and know that whatever happens, you can handle it.


  • Southern Cunning: Folkloric Witchcraft in the American South by Aaron Oberon
  • A Green Witch’s Cupboard by Deborah J. Martin
  • Utterly Wicked  by Dorothy Morrison
  • Where the Hawthorn Grows by Morgan Daimler

One response to “Banishing Nasty Spirits (Baby Witch Bootcamp Ch. 19)”

  1. Thank you very much for these advices! ✨ ✨✨


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