When it comes to demonic possession, every culture has its own traditions and lore. We fear what we can't control, and what could be more frighteningly beyond our control than an evil presence invading our bodies and souls?
Terrifying possession thriller #Incarnate tells the tale of an unorthodox exorcist with the power to delve into the subconscious of a possessed person. But we're not all armed with such amazing gifts.
How can we, as regular people not gifted with extraordinary skills, protect ourselves from malevolent forces? Firstly (and rather obviously), do not seek contact with a demon or invite it into your life in any way. This includes making a pact to give your soul or child to a demon for worldly profit, using Ouija boards, holding séances, or other means to communicate with dark spirits.
If you wish to actively protect yourself against demonic possession, there are a number of methods handed down through different cultures and societies. These practices may offer security and peace of mind for you and other demon-fearing folk around you.
- Method: Burn sage in your home
- Tradition: Native American
Why it works: Smoke cleansing is an ancient practice to ward off evil, traditionally conducted using white sage. Create a bundle of the herb, light it and waft it calmly in repeated circular motions. Make sure to fan those cleansing tendrils into far corners and overlooked spaces to neutralize negativity and prove to any demonic forces that your sanctum is loved and protected.
- Method: Adjust the position of mirrors in your room
- Tradition: Greco-Roman culture, Jewish folk tradition
Why it works: Mirrors have a rich history of association with the unexplained, with various powers attributed to them. Can a mirror trap a soul, show the future or provide a portal to a demon dimension? One simple way to counteract the mysticism of mirrors is to periodically move them around, affecting the space available in a room, confusing a demon as to its entry point. Some say that a mirror at the foot of a bed creates bad energies, so perhaps avoid that positioning.
- Method: Sprinkle a little salt
- Tradition: Scottish
Why it works: Scots brewers would traditionally add a little salt to a batch of beer to ward off witches, who were thought to serve demons and dark forces. Today, a modernized version of the salt solution is used in guns that fire rock salt, used by paranormal investigators to dissipate entities. Still, you don't have to have anything quite so high tech. Keep ghosts and demons at bay with a few grains of salt in corners or beneath windows and doors.
- Method: Draw a protective symbol
- Tradition: Ancient Greek, Christian and Mediterranean societies
Why it works: Different cultures have different symbols, but one familiar example is the eye, which were painted on vases, paintings, sculptures and other items found in the home, often in the form of a highly exaggerated and stylized apotropaic eye. This was done to ward off the evil eye, with the presence of these symbols on drinking vessels in particular is supposedly a bid to prevent a demon from entering via the mouth.
Some people make their sacred markings more permanent in the form of a meaningful tattoo. Naturally, the most commonly used symbol to fight possession in movies is the Christian crucifix, but this symbol may not work for members of other faiths or for secular individuals, as the key to withstanding demonic possession is generally believed to be faith-based.
- Method: Maintain good physical and mental health
- Tradition: International
Why it works: This one benefits us all, regardless of the proximity of paranormal activity. Strength of body, including good nutrition and plenty of rest, keeps you vital and resilient against demonic possession. This goes for your mental health, too. Dwelling on negative thoughts or allowing negativity to grow weakens the spirit, making a more inviting target for a demon.
Incarnate is released December 2. Steer clear of demonic possession 'til then.
Have you ever attempted to ward off demonic possession with one of these simple techniques?
[Image Credit: Blumhouse]