Beyond Betrayal: Artifacts and Energy Cleansing

by Thraicie Hawkner & Jane Hawkner

How do we as individuals deal with items left behind after a core betrayal by a teacher, leader or by someone else we trusted?

As pagans, many of us are called as healers. One of our greatest concerns is that we fall prey to the instinctive desire to rush the healing process and be “as we were before.”  If you or those close to you are feeling betrayed please do not rush forward to a false healing or some pseudo-spiritual concept of forgiveness. Take time to experience the grief, pain and yes, anger which may come forth. This is not the same as acting out or lashing out due to those responses. It is a time to acknowledge the dangers of the forest we are seeking a way through.

Dealing with those reactions and coming to a true healing is beyond the scope of this article. But we are somewhere in this process when we look around and find stuff staring at us which reminds us of the person, was created by them, or gifted to us by them. This article is all about the practical magic of dealing with the stuff that is left behind; and our intellectual, emotional and spiritual connection to these artifacts.

Many of us own books or music or other physical reminders of someone who has brought pain. The items themselves function as artifacts or even talismans to bring forth events and energies we would prefer to leave behind.  One technique is to physically destroy or discard the item.  We’ll leave it up to you to chose the method you prefer to do this. But if you have valued them in the past, you can also cleanse and cutaway the energetic ties of that item.

It is quite possible for a flawed being to have brought forth creations and gifts which hold wisdom or beauty. These qualities can and do often transcend the being who brought them forth. If we can cleanse the personality or unrelated action of the creator from that which still has value in the creation, then we can rescue something of meaning or value from the entanglement of trauma and remove the taint.

To cut and clear an artifact

Gather these items together:

  • the items in question
  • a suitable size box to put them in or cloth to wrap them in, preferably black in color
  • plenty of salt
  • ribbon, string or cord to tie around the item(s), and
  • cut and clear oil or similar cleansing/clearing oil or wash such as Florida Water or Chinese Wash.

Cast a circle or prepare your working space in the manner of your tradition.

Take three deep cleansing breaths to clear yourself of the distractions of the day and prepare your body to work energy.

Place the items before you on an altar or table and speak to the items.  Yes, aloud. Speak to them about their intrinsic value and purpose. Speak to them about the unfortunate energetic connection or associations that you would like to clear. (i.e. cutting the crap.)

Take the item(s) and place in the center of the cloth or in the box.

With your dominant hand take your cutting tool of choice: Athame, wand, feather, or just your hand. Cut through the air around the item, as if you are cutting a web of rubber bands. Cutting counter-clockwise and away from yourself is preferred. When this web is cut, the energy will snap back from whence it came.

The item is now free of external entanglement.

Next, take the salt and cover the item(s). This will help to draw any remaining “infection” out of the item so it can heal cleanly. Note that some items may react chemically to the salt over time, such as some metals, and you may want to cover with salt to cleanse, then wipe and cover with another thin layer of cloth and put move the salt around this second envelope, then seal the box or wrap the outermost layer of cloth in such a way as to keep the salt contained with the item(s) and take your cord or string and tie it shut securely with three knots.

Now set the item aside in an out-of-the way place for storage (You will set the package aside for an appropriate period of time, often until you forget about it, which may involve a cycle of the moon or of a season or a year. When you come back the item should be cleared and ready for re-integration into your life. If not, it may be time to let it go completely.)

Once you’ve completed this ceremony, take down your circle or close your working space in the manner appropriate to your tradition. But you aren’t done yet. It is equally important to acknowledge the way artifacts affect us and cleanse ourselves of the remnant energies.

Perform a Ritual Cleanse

If you have a bathtub, fill the tub with comfortably warm water and add several drops of cut and clear oil, Chinese Wash, Florida Water, or whatever you use for a complete aura cleanse. Soak in the tub, physically scrub and take a few moments to focus on your breathing. Specifically, when you exhale, release any inappropriate energies that may have attached to your person. When you pull the plug, all the oook (energetic crud) flows down the drain.

If you don’t have a tub, a shower will work just as well, scrub and cleanse your body as usual when cleansing. Then step out of the stream of water andput the oil or wash in your hands, starting at the crown of your head, work your way down, envisioning how the wash is drawing out the ookie energy, when you reach your toes, stand up again and breath, focusing on the exhale as you step under the running water and let the water rinse it all down the drain.

When you’ve dried off, take three deep breaths, bringing in a self blessing. You may want to use your favorite incense or anointing oil to seal your cleanse. Take time to meditate in silence, listen to great music, or drink some water to put a finishing touch on the cleanse and move forward released from entanglement, at least of the artifacts.

Obviously, this technique only works for small portable items, and it only addresses the excess energies of the moment. There may be more work to do. There probably is. But sometimes a little practical magic, like cleansing, is just the thing to shift the energy into a direction you want it to go rather than one you are dragged into.  Blessed be.