Deliver Us From Evil: How Ancient People Protected Their Houses from Bad Spirits and Bad Luck?
Some people say it is not real, but try to tell them that bad spirits just entered their houses. They will feel insane and try to ignore it, but the unpleasant feeling will stay. In this case people haven't changed for centuries or even millennia.
Safety is one of the main needs of humanity. There is no person, who doesn't need to feel safe and well, protected of all the dangers, enemies and tragedies. Therefore, as long as humanity exists, people will try to find the spiritual way to find the state of keeping safe and well. They asked deities, created rituals and connections with the spirits. Many of the traditional, folklore and ancient ways stayed alive until now.
Protective Deities and Other Spirits
One of the most popular way of searching for protection had always been asking spirits and deities for help. The most natural to all of us way of connecting with the spiritual part of life had always been a conversation with our ancestors. There are evidences in ancient texts, that people searched for ways of honoring and connecting with their deceased relatives and authorities. However, some of these spiritual adventures started to be seen as another source of danger. The first legends about sorcery and unwanted spirits, which answered to the request of advice, seem to be as old as Sumerian civilization.
The pantheons of many different civilizations contained multiple deities, which were responsible for protection. In fact, the followers of the specific deities asked them to support their homes, families, etc. The idea of protection those times was exactly the same as in the modern religion, however, currently worshiped deities have lesser meanings now than it was in the ancient times. For example, goddess like Demeter or Hestia were recognized as the ones who took care of families and households. However, it didn't mean that the deities related to the war couldn't be protective. One of the examples of asking for support and protection was a use of helmets. The warriors, after the won battle, revisited the temples, where they were asking for support before. As Miltiades after the battle of Marathon came to the famous Temple of Zeus at Olympia and left his helmet as offering to the powerful god.
Demeter. Marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from the 4th century BC. ( Public Domain )
Angels of All Religions
Another way to get protected of bad spirit is asking the angels for help. Angels seem to be known in every existed civilization. While taking a look at ancient reliefs from Summer, Egypt, Greece, Rome, but also Maya and many other places on Earth, it seems that there is no religious system without the winged protectors of innocent people.
- Hermas as Guidance and Protection for Travelers in Ancient Greece
- Protection sought for mysterious Neolithic site of Burzahom
- Tibet fights to preserve culture through protection of ancient scriptures
Also, Plutarch and Meander believed in angels, the no-platonists followed it. Plutarch calls them good demons, and according to Hans Dieter Betz they seem to be ''guardians of the sacred rites of the gods and of oracles and prophetic shrines, prompters in the mysteries, and avengers of arrogant and grievous cases of injustice. The evil demons are cruel and vengeful brings who bring about pestilences and failures of crops, stir up wars and civil discords. In Early Christian Literature both Christ and the angels, like the good demons of Plutarch, have a meditating role. Christ's role as mediator surpasses any assigned to the demons in Plutarch, while the role of the angels is less important, that of being messengers from God to men.''
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel, created by Gustave Doré in 1855. ( Public Domain )
Anyway, due to their role of ''post men'' between the Earth and deities, they became very important part of beliefs. The conception of Guardian Angel, the protector, is known from the Christian theology since the 5th century.
Herbal and Symbolic Protection
Since the ancient times people used many different gifts of the planet to protection. Some of the best-known methods are based on the herbs, stones, trees and symbols. For example, prehistoric cultures in northern and western Europe used circular symbols, rings and spirals nearby the settlements, what suggests that they were used to protect the site. The same symbolism was used next to the entrances in case of important tumulus. The puzzle of the ancient symbolism are difficult to read, but the remnants, which survived until now suggest that they were very important to the tribes, which used these signs.