Anathema are a general way of getting hostile ghosts and parasites to stay away from you. They are symbolic objects, much like foci, but differ in that they are symbols that a spirit would place importance in, rather than you. The easiest example is money. A parasite focused on greed might latch on to money carried by a person rather than the person themselves. since money is so commonly carried, greed parasites are among the least dangerous, oftentimes just flitting around places where money is commonly exchnaged such as banks, stock exchanges and the like. There are many that are more difficult, however, Nightmares especially. Since a Nightmare is focused on fear, the best anathema would be a symbol of something you’re afraid of, but if you’re truly afraid of it, you may not want to carry it around or keep it at a waypoint.

Other common anathema items that prove effective are blood (spilled, not in one’s veins. Carrying a small vial or getting a paper cut) which seems to work to a small extent for many spirits. Ghosts seem inordinately interested in it, and for possible reasons why, one might look in “Theoretical Rambling”. Knives or weapons often help against spirits associated with anger. Mirrors seem to be a kind of catch-all for spirits, and work in a way similar to anathema for reasons I do not yet fully understand. The procedure for use of a mirror to repel a ghost is to spend a good time looking in the mirror, examining your face and the surrounding area, then abruptly move on. A ghost that has not been attached for long will be left standing at the mirror. it is in this way that many people inadvertently remove hostile entities from themselves.

The trick with Anathema is that they can cause a ghost to be drawn away from a person, but the ghost could just as easily come back if the person is made a more appealing target. carrying one’s anathema around with them is therefore a dangerous proposition. For example, let’s say a person owns a knife. An anger spirit uses the knife as anathema, but later on the person, still carrying the knife, is goaded into a fight. The hostile spirit would see the person as a more attractive target when radiating anger, and would enter them again. Compounding the problem is the fact that now, the person has a weapon at hand when their rage is being intensified by a hostile entity, causing potentially disastrous consequences.

The use of anathema to remove a spirit is therefore a “use and dump” process, at best. It may actually be a good idea to seek out anathema that you don’t own when you believe a spirit is affecting you, and then leave the area immediately after coming into contact with them. For instance, let’s say the person in the above example believes there is a spirit attached to them, causing them to be angry. He goes to a nearby army surplus store, and walks by a display case of weaponry and leaves the store. He would have left the spirit behind there.

Furthermore, anathema are not a perfect method. There is a window of around a month where anathema will be effective against an invasive parasite spirit, but after that, they will have become attached to the host and able to access their energy easily enough that an anathema, even a strong one, will no longer have any pull on the spirit. Therefore, when attempting to remove a spirit that you have detected in some way, anathema are best tried alongside other removal methods to be sure that you’ve got the parasite removed.