Just like the influence of a waning moon magnified many times over, the seasonal tide of natural and magical energies turn to decline and decrease as the year winds down. Any magic and spellwork I do now until the winter solstice will be concerned with banishing, shrinking, and winding down. A healing spell performed in the spring will be concerned with growing health, for example, but a healing spell as winter dawns will be targeted at shrinking the disease. It is important that we recognise the flow of energy, and work with it.
As part of the preparation for winter, I take magical measures to safeguard my home and garden, using protective wards. Small mirrored ornaments are hung in the window to reflect back any negativity, along with little representations of eyes. I brought a number of ceramic eyes back from Malta, where eyes are painted on the prows of the boats, and some glass ones from Egypt. The eye reflects back evil to anyone (or anything) sending it. My outbuildings and sheds are protected with hag stones hung over the key holes. These are naturally holed stones, associated with the hag goddess herself, long believed to have a protective influence. They may sometimes still be seen hanging in barns, stables and other farm buildings throughout the UK. Sometimes a small one is added to the property’s bunch of keys.
Temporary threshold step and hearth stone patterns were once traditional in Britain, made with the aim of keeping out bad luck and evil influences. The step was washed with water, left to partially dry, then the patterns were made with sand or chalk upon it. They had to be made in a continuous line, without stopping, for the magic to work, making crosses, overlapping circles or diamond shapes, or sometimes they included designs such as lucky horseshoes, or prickly thistles to ward off ill-wishing,  while the tangled patterns were thought to stop spirits entering, since spirits always travelled in straight lines, and got ;lost trying to follow the tangled designs.
© Anna Franklin, October 2020
 Nigel Pennick, The Spiritual Arts and Crafts, Spiritual Arts and Crafts Publishing, Cambridge, 2006