To Think Is To Shield
Many times I have met, run into, or communicated with beginners or uninformed practitioners about their not utilizing Shields. It is common knowledge in the Craft (in the very least the Wiccan version, to my knowledge) that Shielding is one of the fundamentals of Craft practice and know-how. I believe a Shield is one of the most important and versatile forms of Craft work Pagan spiritual paths must accomplish. For example, a psychic with too much information rushing through their mind can benefit just as much as a practitioner preparing to cast a spell. Such individuals need safeguards to prevent psychic and Craft misfires, and using a Shield in such situations can help calm the flow of psychic information or keep the caster and others safe from negative effects.
In my opinion, before progressing to more complex forms of spell craft, the fundamentals of the Craft amount to this: Meditating, Grounding, Centering, Shielding, properly casting and closing a Circle, and Protective spells and charms. I have always suggested these particular fundamentals to those entering the Craft, and I will probably continue to do so for the rest of my days. When I have children who may choose to follow the Path of the Craft, I will help them to learn these things, too. Unfortunately, these fundamentals remain much overlooked by many beginners, and I believe Shielding is among the chiefest of things forgotten.
What do I do to protect and Shield? I Shield by imagining my aura as a concrete thing, and I “harden” it and I expand it just beyond my skin about an inch. In my opinion, this is nothing more than basic energy work. It is imagining your “core” as color, this color being your body’s energy/soul. From there, you make it as hard as stone like Mother Earth, slippery or reflective like Water, elusive as Air, or burning like Fire. Other alterations to your Shield are extremely flexible; any other alterations are what you Will them to be.
To protect in general, imagining deified white light or generally positive energy filling you can do the trick. Imagining it in the form of the Shield I mentioned is just as easy, and may be an easier method for the basic layout of a Shield.
To protect otherwise, I tend to call on each of the Elements and utilize their individual powers in layers. I might conduct a protection spell or put together a protective charm. In desperate cases, I call upon my deity, Hecate.
Why do I Shield? When one comes into the mysteries of the Craft and learns about them, that is the end of psychic innocence and automatic, inherent Shielding. The Craft brings to light the how-to of such matters (spell craft, the pentagram and what it means, etc.), in addition to the other fundamentals I mentioned. While Wicca may be the gateway into deeper spiritual learning of the Craft to which I refer (which can’t be labeled easily, so I shall not attempt to do so). Thus, I Shield because it protects me from energetic, psychic, extra-planar, psychic-vampiric, and any other negative influence I acknowledge as harmful to my self and my self to others. In the case that the negativity is consciously focused from outside, make your Shield “reflective” as I mentioned.
Negative influences in general are what I believe I protect against. As I said, once you enter the Craft, your eyes are open. Negative influences are harmful, from as little a thing as thinking mean thoughts at a “bad” person (even a bully), to a spell cast awry because the practitioner did not take into consideration the result of their actions.
Shielding is one way for a practitioner to be responsible in his or her Craft. As I mentioned in passing, Shields not only protect the Shielder from negativity, but it protects other individuals from the practitioner’s inadvertent mistakes. Is a Shield such a “beginner’s” concept, and not a responsible thing for an individual of the Craft to achieve? For instance, in some cases, I know Shielding has even been outright disregarded by “advanced” practitioners. Why does that practitioner take their chances? Is a Shield so little a thing that it doesn’t matter? Whether a practitioner is a beginner or advanced, a Shield is essential; all actions have a reaction, and spell work is probably one of a number of potentially volatile skills Pagans use. Why risk negative effects when a circle doesn’t have to be overcomplicated beyond a basic toss-up of energy around the individual? To each his or her own, but just because you have lived thirty or forty years, does that mean you should stop watching for cars when crossing the street?
Now for the recap. Shields are essential to the beginning and advanced practitioner. Shields hedge in and reflect against extraneous or negative energies that could prove harmful to the practitioner and his or her surroundings and fellows. Shields are also a way of keeping one’s energy from intruding on others, be it through mental projections or spells gone wrong. Personally, I learned to Shield very soon after learning what my place was in relation to my Craft. If you’re going to practice spell work, it is responsible behavior to utilize a Shield. Think about it: street… car… looking before you leap… or get cut down at the knees because you didn’t consider the possible result. Knowing why you want to do something in the Craft—such as why you want to cast this spell or that—is something that should happen before a practitioner conducts a spell. The same goes for why a Shield should be used. It is, plain and simple, responsible behavior; and as practitioners who have opened our eyes, we must proceed with wisdom. As for the Shield itself, it is easy! Think of your body as a container filled with white energy. Extend that energy around you into the shape of a sphere. “Harden” the sphere. Know that the sphere is a permanent fixture that can maintain itself. And… Fini.
A problem (such as knowing how to Shield) is only as difficult as you believe it to be. One of the most important things to remember is to do what feels right. Use your intuition and you will stay afloat in this great ocean of experience, wisdom and learning — and in Shielding