Modern living and witchcraft can often seem completely at odds with each other. How are you supposed to feel witchy when you’re crammed into a small apartment with noisy neighbors on all sides and far less natural space than you’d like? As someone who’s been living in apartments in large cities for years now, I am well acquainted with this struggle. It can be so hard to feel connected to magic in this kind of environment!
I promise it’s not impossible though. Working magic in modern living situations simply requires a bit of adjusting, a little creativity, and the willingness to work with what you have available. There’s nothing more traditional in the craft than that! It’s important for us modern witches to remember, witchcraft was originally created out of need and availability. Witches sought solutions to their troubles outside of the mundane avenues available to them and they did it with what they had on hand. You can and should do exactly the same in our modern day and age!
The craft doesn’t have to be some archaic, impossible-to-obtain ideal that’s more carefully crafted aesthetic than usable magic. It can be a practice that springs naturally from your life and current situation. Today, we’re going to talk about some of the main troubles that come with practicing the craft in apartments and modern living in general and how you can solve each of them in your own life!
The Challenges Of Modern Witchy Living
For many people, and empaths especially, the close quarters of apartment living can be energetically challenging. What do you do about spell leakage? How do you create sacred space when there’s someone else living not 10 feet from where you’re standing? What do you do when it seems like you’ve always go someone else’s energy seeping into your space? Will you EVER be able to feel like you have energetic privacy again?!
The good news is, it’s entirely possible to create and maintain energetic boundaries to protect yourself and your magical work from this energetic leakage. All it requires is some careful maintenance and a few simple spells.
The first thing you’ll want to do is ensure you cleanse your space in some way very regularly. Cleansing allows you to maintain a neutral space that you can easily adjust to your liking for various types of spellwork and your energetic needs. There are plenty of ways to cleanse but in an apartment sometimes it’s not possible to burn incense or sage so I prefer to go with a method that I know won’t cause any issues in the small space and with my lease agreement. Music is perfect for this! Find some happy, upbeat music and play that in your house to help shake any negativity loose and perk up the energy overall. You might even consider making a playlist that you can turn on in the mornings while you get ready to go to work so that the energy in your home stays vibrant and clean all the time.
The next thing to do is learn to set up good solid boundaries for your home. In this case, it’s just as important to keep your energy IN as it is to keep the chaos of the people living around you OUT. This ward is perfect for doing just that.
It’s particularly effective for keeping spellwork under wraps, keeping spirits contained, or building up energy over time in a space that you don’t want to escape. This kind of ward can either be short-term or long-term so included with the ward itself is a spell for dissolving the ward when you’re finished, whether that be ten minutes or ten months after you initially cast it.
The Containment Ward
You will need:
- Air dry clay
- A candle
- Dried fennel
- Clay tools as desired
- Paint (optional)
This containment ward is simple to create, very long-lived, and easy to dissolve. You will need to first come up with a simple symbol that carries a meaning of containment to you. This can be a bird in a cage, a lock, a sigil, a shell, etc. You can even just write the word “contained” if that’s what works for you. The symbol should be fairly simple and easy to replicate either by pressing it into the clay, creating a stamp, or painting on dried clay. The choice is yours.
You will begin by creating amulets out of your clay. These can be any shape you like, small 1” circles are easy but if you prefer other shapes or other sizes then you should absolutely use them! These will also be reusable so if you make them fairly sturdy they will last and provide a quick and easy warding system for you to use for years to come. Another consideration is how you plan to mount these amulets in your space. Setting them on the floor or on surfaces can work for short periods of time but for long-term use piercing a hole in the amulet will allow you to thread a ribbon or string through it to hang it from the wall.
Begin by mixing a small amount of fennel into your clay to imbue it with protective properties. Next, you want to create 4 reasonably identical amulets in the design you’ve come up with. Allow them to air dry as per the directions on your clay. When they’ve dried, feel free to paint and decorate them as you like.
When the amulets are entirely finished, set up your altar with a candle in the center and the four amulets arranged around it in a diamond shape. Light the candle and as you do so, imagine a thread of light connecting each of the amulets. Sit and focus on this thread of light and watch it grow brighter and more solid. You may see the thread of light extend into a small sphere or not, it’s effective either way. When you feel that the containment field is strong enough recite the following words:
“Within is within,
and without is without,
by my hand, none may cross
save through my favor.”
Take each amulet to a separate wall on all four sides of your apartment or the room you wish to ward. If they need to be hidden they can go under or behind furniture and be just as useful. When each amulet is in place close your eyes and see the shimmering barrier created by the ward (if imagining light doesn’t work for you, feel free to replace this with a more applicable visualization such as a stone wall or an armored shell).
This ward is selectively permeable, only allowing yourself and those energies you wish to enter to come and go. The ward may not be able to physically repel other people (though it can discourage people from entering if strong enough) but it will ensure that any attached energies are left outside of the ward and that their energy will be shielded from sensing any of the magical activity within even if they enter physically.
Keep in mind that this ward does not allow energies to dissipate naturally. If you stir up a lot of nasty energy in this space with fights, depression, or by summoning nasty spirits that energy will linger indefinitely and affect you very strongly. This can be a good thing if you use it right but it can also act as a magnifying glass for nasty emotions so be careful to keep the space as clear as possible and practice good magical hygiene before and after working in the space to keep your own energy balanced.
Removing the Containment Ward
You will need:
- A bag or box that will fit all 4 amulets
- A cleansing method
When you’re finished with the ward, begin by removing any and all energy from inside of it. Banish influences if necessary, cleanse the space and get it as neutral as possible. When the space is cleared, take each amulet and set it in your container. The ward is still technically active but taking up such a small space physically that it will not drain any of your energy. You can think of this as placing the ward in standby mode. Whenever you need it again you can simply replace the amulets in your space and that will boot the spell back into action. This means that your ward is portable! You can move it from one place to another very easily and work in a variety of spaces easily.
Creating A Witchy Space In An Apartment
Creating a witchy feeling space in your apartment can seem nearly impossible if your lease comes with a lot of restrictions. No burning candles or incense, no plants on the balcony, no painting the walls, there’s a lot that apartment living can prevent you from doing!
There are still tons of ways to get that witchy vibe without bending any lease terms. One of my favorite ways to create a witchy atmosphere is with electric candles. Sure, they might not smell as good as a real candle, but there’s far less of a fire hazard, and some look downright convincing! I use flameless electric candles and they work beautifully. It’s easy to create a good vibe for a ritual with these kinds of candles and you won’t have to worry about your furry friends knocking them over!
Another good solution, if you’re after the scent of the candle more than the look, is to use an essential oil diffuser or even better, simply pop some fragrant kitchen ingredients in some water on the stove to make your whole house smell amazing. My favorite way to do this is simply to put a small pot of water on low on the stove and throw in orange peel, frozen cranberries, and a cinnamon stick or two. Your house will smell like Christmas. Rosemary, sage, lemongrass, vanilla, fruits, and so much more can all be used this way to give your home a lovely smell. These can double as spells and potions as well if you choose your ingredients carefully! Just be sure not to leave it too long without checking on it, you don’t want the water in the pan to run out as this can pose a fire hazard and generally smells very bad!
Decorating items can go a long way toward giving your home a witchy vibe as well. Tapestries, wall art, house plants (low light plants especially!), crystals, bundles of herbs, jars full of spell ingredients, and much more can all give your space that magical feeling that we’re all after.
Remember, your space only needs to feel magical to YOU! Just because it doesn’t look like some aesthetic photo you found on Pinterest doesn’t mean that it isn’t witchy enough. If it makes you feel magical then it’s perfect!
Do you want to turn your home into a magical sanctuary but don’t know where to start?
Despite what you may think, domestic witchcraft is not only for homemakers or women. It is just as applicable to male witches and people with active professional lives. Likewise, you do not have to own your home to practice domestic witchcraft. Whether your home is a single-family house, a rented apartment, a 6th floor walk-up in Brooklyn, or a van that you’re driving on a cross-country adventure, your home is your home. No matter what kind of home you have, domestic witchcraft can be used to create a magical sanctuary for yourself.
Your home is the seat of your power. It’s where you live, rest, play, and do your magic! Getting in touch with the inherent magic of your home can have amazing benefits for your magical practice. Just think about how much more effective your spells could be if you had the spirit of your home on your side. Or how much more peaceful your house could be when you use witchcraft in your domestic life.