As a parent there is nothing more upsetting than your young child having nightmares. Hearing them waking in the night screaming tears at you, especially when they say things like ‘get that man away’.
With my eldest we went through a period of weeks where she would wake screaming exactly that, and we were treated to a smattering of bangs and objects falling for no reason. Although I explained to her that what she saw, or thought she saw, could not hurt her it was still scaring her and I felt I had to take action.
As well as cleansing and warding my property to ensure that nothing with mischievous intent passed over my threshold I warded the bed itself. I personally believe that small children are ‘sticky’ when it comes to spiritual energies and that often energies will follow children with talent either out of interest or intent and whilst I didn’t want to block her abilities I wanted to ensure that she got a good night’s sleep.
Both my girls have a spell pouch hidden somewhere in the vicinity of their bed, out of sight and reach. My favourite spot is under the mattress as they aren’t able to lift it. Originally I ensured that neither of them were aware of what I did and of the pouch. I found there was an immediate impact on their sleep patterns and, baring illness or external disturbance, we’re blessed with undisturbed nights. As Freya has gotten older she has become aware of the pouch but the effects haven’t worn off and so far she’s understood my instruction to leave it alone to let it do its work.
Here is an outline of my spell pouches, in a little more detail than I usually share over messages in forums. As ever these are my suggestions and anything you should do should fit within your own praxis.
I like to use solid fabrics for my pouches, firstly because it means your unlikely to lose any herbs through the weave and secondly because it will take a stitch. It’s important that the finished pouch is secured against little fingers if you’re not going to hide it within something like a pillow or soft toy. I have put little cashes in the centre of crochet toys for the children of friends though not my own. Usually at home I hide them under the mattress so I have sewn them shut to dissuade investigation.
Association is always important so pick your colours wisely. You might want to tune the spell into your child by using their favourite colour or a colour associated with their birth month or sign. I personally would avoid patterned fabrics but there’s no real reason beyond aesthetics. If you’re handy with machine, needles or hook you could make your own pouch or if you’ve got a crafty older child you could ask them to get involved in making the pouch, or any stage if you want to involve them in the magic. I think its important for them to learn about personal protection at an early age and this is a good place to start.
It’s always a good idea to personalise spells of this nature, working on the principle of sympathetic magic. You want to protect a particular individual or group of individuals rather than anything generally. This is a personal choice but it’s something I like to do in protective magics. For spell pouches I keep it simple; a lock of hair, nail clippings or, if you want to get all Discworld a first tooth (Hogfather wiki).
Birthstones and Crystals
Another way to personalise the pouch would be to include a crystal or semi precious stone associated with your child in some way. The most obvious connects are going to be by birth month or sign but you can choose anything you like. Here is a good site with a comprehensive list of birth month and sign associations.
One thing I advise you include is a grounding crystal such as black tourmaline or jet to help ground and protect the area around the bed. I’ve always found jet particularly effective though as a Yorkshire lass who regularly visits the coast between Staithes and Robin Hoods Bay I’ve been fortunate enough to find Whitby Jet in the cliffs and sands from time to time. Choose the stone that works for you and your child in order to ground the energies swirling around them. If you feel this is too grounding you could partner it, or even replace it, with amethyst.
The ultimate form of personalisation is using a personal bindrune to identify the child. This is done by combining the runes linked to the child’s initials (or first recognised letter). How you incorporate them is up to you. I have sewn them into the material and burnt them into wooden tokens included in the pouch or simply written them on to paper.
Sunway Runes website is a great resource for anyone interested in runes but specifically information on bindrunes and charging runes can be found here and here.
I will blog another day about other ways to use personal bindrunes in everyday magic with kids.
There are three ways to go with choosing your herbs; herbs to promote sleep, herbs to promote protection or a mixture of both.
If you’re making a larger pouch or pillow I would suggest using herbs that promote sleep such as lavender and chamomile. This is partly because they smell much nicer than herbs associated with protection and are less ‘dusty’ in comparison. If you’re making a smaller pouch to be hidden or don’t mind the smell then herbs like agrimony, nettle and wormwood.
This is up to you, be guided by your own praxis. You can invoke deities for protection, use candles or other methods to charge the components with intent, cast within a circle or not as the case may be. However you want to work add the components to the pouch with clear focus and intent on protecting your little one during their sleeping hours. Once it is completed seal it and hide it away somewhere out of sight.
Renewing and Including
Some people like to renew protection spells moonly or at specific points throughout the solar year. Personally I renew my pouches whenever I feel that they are loosing there effectiveness, with a string of nightmares or night time visitation being a key indicator, or there is a significant change in the room. I tend to renew both pouches at the same time.
Spell pouches in general is something that you can get older kids involved in. You can get them involved with picking out components as it’s a great way to introduce magical associations (I’d suggest steering well clear of medicinal uses until they are of an age to fully understand their uses). You could also get them to help making the pouch itself if they have an interest in needle craft. It’s also a good point to talk about personal protection techniques if you think them ready.