Part 1 – Shields
Part 2 – Banishings
The Method of Shielding
In its most basic form, a shield is a wall of energy which surrounds and follows an individual, and is structured in such a way that it will deflect or stop purely energy based attacks. Some shields may be further developed to stop other kinds of attacks, such as vampiric drains, bindings, or general hexes, although this isn’t true of all shields. The ideal shield would stop all forms of attacks, including physical attacks, although shields of such power are rarely seen.
Shields are usually developed, at least initially, by manipulating the naturally occurring energy in ones aura. An aura usually consists of the energy that is normally shed by a person. This energy is still strongly connected to the individual, it tends to follow the individual around, and a relationship is formed between the energy and the individual where anything that affects one will have an immediate effect on the other. For example, when a person becomes emotional, the energy of their aura will change to match their emotions. This may be partially due to the fact that the person is constantly shedding energy, but it is also due to the fact that the aura energy is linked to the individual, and affected by their condition.
In the same way an attack against an individual’s aura can be felt by the individual.
As time passes energy moves further away from the individual, and the link weakens until it reaches a point where there is no longer a significant connection between the individual and the aura energy. Until the link becomes weak, the energy in a person’s aura can be easily manipulated by a trained practitioner. With Shielding, the basic idea is to make this aura energy more solid so that it becomes a barrier and prevents other things from passing through it.
Shielding and Wicca
Shielding is a very simple technique. It’s not hard to figure out, it’s not hard to do, and we can safely assume that most magicians through out history knew about shielding, could do it, and kept it as a tool in their magical toolbox.
However up until recently there hasn’t been much written about Shielding. Granted shielding is so simple that perhaps the old masters didn’t see much need to discuss it. Still, even within works that deal specifically with magical attacks and defenses, shielding is hardly mentioned.
But in recent times, and rather suddenly, Shielding has become THE magical technique. It’s offered up as the solution to nearly every spiritual or magical problem that exists. Entire books have been written on how to shield. New practitioners are often encouraged to concentrate on learning shielding and developing their shielding abilities. Usually that’s the only form of defense they are taught (other than banishing rituals).
The popularity of Shielding seems to have a direct correlation to the rise of Wicca, and it’s easy to see why. One of the main tenets of Wicca, which has been stressed again and again by practitioners, is harm none. Unfortunately, in matters of self-defense, harm none is one of the worst philosophies for a person to have. Once you’re in a violent situation, the best ways to defend yourself involve harming others, usually harming them a lot. In fact there are very few ways to protect yourself without hurting someone else.
Shielding has become so beloved among Wiccans, and other adherents of the harm none philosophy, because it is a method of defense that doesn’t hurt anyone. However it’s a very poor method of self-defense, one that doesn’t work very well when it’s done to the exclusion of other techniques, and one that if it is done too often will ultimately harm the practitioner. Not to mention that by focusing on shielding, the practitioner is leaving themselves extremely vulnerable to attacks, because they lack the tools to defend themselves when shielding doesn’t work.
Proactive vs Reactive Defenses
There are two different types of defenses against an attack, proactive defenses and reactive defenses.
Proactive defenses are those defenses which always need to be on. In order for these sorts of defenses to be effective, you need to be doing them before you’re attacked, and you can be attacked at any time. Shielding is a proactive defense. If you don’t have your shield up, and you’re attacked, your shield won’t help you. It has to already be up for it to work.
The second type of defense is reactive. A reactive defense is a defense that you only turn on after an opponent has already started an attack. When you move your arm up to block a punch, that’s reactive. When you throw a punch in retaliation, that’s also reactive.
When compared to reactive defenses, proactive defenses are inefficient. A proactive defense has to be on all the time. You need to expend energy to maintain that defense whether you’re being attacked or not. A lot of energy is currently being spent on shields that aren’t doing anything, because the practitioners who use them aren’t, at this moment, being attacked.
In contrast, reactive defenses only require energy be spent on them when a person is being attacked. You don’t spend your life with your arms covering your face. You put your arms up after a punch has been thrown.
Shielding is a passive defense. As already discussed, from a harm none perspective, this is shielding’s biggest advantage over a lot of other forms of defense. As a matter of self-defense though, it’s a huge disadvantage.
There is no inherent deterrent to shielding. If someone attacks you, and the shield successfully deflects that attack, nothing negative has happened to the attacker, and there’s no reason for them not to try a different kind of attack, and to keep trying different kinds of attacks until something succeeds.
Your best hopes with a shield are that the attacker will expend so much energy that they need to take a break and rest for a while before they try again, or that they’ll get bored trying to break your shield and move on to something more interesting.
Now imagine if your shield hurt the attacker every time they attacked you, if it caused them to feel pain. There’s now an inherent deterrent to the defense. This won’t make the shield completely unbreakable, or deter those that are absolutely determined to hurt you, but every time the attacker fails it will give them a reason not to attack you again. And if they finally do succeed in breaking the shield, the shield’s counter-attacks will have weakened them, which will make them easier to defeat with other methods.
This is why, with self-defense, it’s best to hurt your opponent. Even if you can prevent them from hurting you right now, you have to give them a reason to stop trying to hurt you, and if that doesn’t work, you have to make it so they can’t try to hurt you anymore.
Shields are not as powerful a defense as some practitioners make them out to be. I’ve seen a lot of shields, but I’ve never seen one that I couldn’t easily break. In fact the strongest proponents of shielding usually have some of the weakest shields.
I’d say at least 95% of all shields have a couple of easily exploited defects. As Spock pointed out of Khan, the practitioners who use these shields tend to think two dimensionally.
It’s common for a practitioner to imagine a shield and think of it as a wall that’s in front of them, and behind them, and wrapped around their sides (some, in fact, just see it as a wall in front of them, leaving their backside wide open). They assume every attack will come towards them in a straight line. They never think that someone will arc the attack over the shield so that it comes at them from overhead.
Some practitioners think of their shields more spherically though. In this instance, the shield is sort of like an egg that comes up off the ground and meets at an apex a little above their head. These sorts of shields protect the magician from having something lobbed over the shield. However these practitioners assume, usually without even realizing that they do it, that the floor will provide them some protection against a magical attack. This would be true of a physical attack, but in all but a few rare instances, this isn’t the case with a magical attack, and these practitioners can be easily reached with a gopher attack which moves underneath the ground and then comes up at their feet.
To make a shield properly, it either has to be a full circle, which extends underneath the ground you’re walking on, or it has to be enclosed around your skin, so that it’s human shaped and covers your entire body.
If you’re reading this right now, you can easily fix your shield so that it doesn’t suffer from these two common defects. Even so, shields are still incredibly easy to break. I literally have hundreds of other methods to go after a shield, and I can say with almost certainty that one will work. If fact I’d wager that most of them would work against your shield.
One of the biggest issues with a shield is that, in a lot of situations, it’s effective. A lot of weaker spirits, light magical attacks, and weak magicians can be successfully fended off with a shield.
But these aren’t the sort of attacks you should be afraid of. These are the sort of things that, if the shield wasn’t there, probably wouldn’t hurt you all that bad anyways. It might be annoying, even painful, but it isn’t going to kill you, or destroy your life. It’s probably not even something that’s going to take a few weeks to recover from.
The good things about these small attacks is that they give new practitioners some experience with being attacked and fighting back. A practitioner can use these attacks to learn how different attacks feel, to develop various defenses against attacks and actually try them out, and to formulate their own counter-attacks and see how well those counter-attacks work in practice.
Unfortunately when a magician is always shielding, the shield prevents these light attacks from getting through. Often times the magician doesn’t even notice when they are being attacked, and the only type of defense they’re developing is shielding.
Most magicians, if they practice long enough, will eventually come across something which is hostile or malicious and strong enough to break their shield. Once the shield is broken, a magician that hasn’t developed any alternate forms of self-defense against weaker attackers will be left completely defenseless against an attack that can seriously injure or even kill them.
Two Way Street of Shielding
A shield doesn’t just deflect attacks. In fact, a shield doesn’t just deflect. A shield is a barrier. It keeps things out, both good things and bad things. Also anything that flows in one direction must be able to flow in the opposite direction. So for a shield to be effective it not only has to keep things out, it also has to keep things in.
This results in a couple of things. First off, a magician with a shield isn’t going to be able to feel the world outside of his own shield. The energy flowing around him, his empathic abilities, his precognitive abilities, all of that is going to be cut off. To work, all of those things need access to the energy outside of the shield.
Secondly the magician isn’t going to be able to cast spells outward. If, for instance, the magician tried to counter-attack, the shield would prevent the counter-attack from leaving the magician’s little shield bubble, effectively stopping counter-attack in the same manner that it stops attacks from the magician’s opponent.
Some magician’s go to great lengths to work around their own shields. Usually this involves creating some sort of backdoor through which the magician can work. One common trick is to use an energy blend or filter. Basically the magician will create a shield so that certain energies can pass through it while others are deflected. Usually the pass-through energies are ones the magician views as non-violent, passive, or harmless.
In practice though a filter just adds a new vulnerability to the shield. Now an enemy can bypass the shield by keying into an energy that the magician has decided can pass through the shield. Many magicians don’t realize that energies like happiness, tranquility, and love can be turned into devastating attacks (especially in the case of love).
These backdoor techniques also require more complicated shields, which means more energy needs to be expended to maintain them. The more a magician wants to open up his shield, and the more he wants to guard against vulnerabilities, the more complicated the shield needs to be, which ultimately leads to even more vulnerabilities.
Other magicians, meanwhile, have such piss poor shields that they’re able to work through them to some degree without a backdoor.
No matter how well a magician develops their backdoors, and no matter how weak their shield is, they’re still not going to be able to feel energy around them as well as if they didn’t have a shield, and the magic they cast outside of the shield still isn’t going to be as effective as it could be.
This is the best argument I can make against shields. When a person uses a shield, it makes them a weaker magician. Having a shield up will degrades their magical ability. Worse, by degrading their magical ability, the magician won’t be able to practice at full strength, nor will they be able to take advantage of all the opportunities around them to practice their magical skills. Ultimately this leads to a retardation of magical and spiritual growth.
It’s the constant, daily practice of magic that, over a long period of time, builds up strength in a magician. Using a shield once in a while isn’t going to have an effect on ones spiritual growth, in the same way missing a gym session isn’t going to have any noticeable effect on a professional body builder’s physique. Constantly using shields over a long period of time, however, will result in the magician spiritually evolving to only a small fraction of their full potential. Because the effects aren’t immediate and only happen over a long period of time, the affected magician usually won’t even notice the damage being done to their spiritual growth.
When To Use a Shield
Enough about how horrible shields are, there are two instances where shields can be very effective, and in one of those instances a shield is probably going to be the best option.
The first effective form of shielding is an instant shield. An instant shield is a shield that only goes up after the attack has been made, but before it reaches the practitioner. The shield then goes down once the attack is deflected.
Imagine that I throw a psychic fireball at you. Right before the fireball hits you, you put up a shield to deflect the fireball, and then you immediately tear down that shield. This sort of shield requires a lot more practice and ability than a shield that is always up, but it’s far more advantageous.
First off an instant shield is reactive, not proactive. This means it only requires that energy be expended on it when it’s needed. Secondly, because the instant shield only goes up after an attack has been made, the attacker usually won’t have time to try to break the shield. By the time they realize a shield is up, the initial attack will probably have already been deflected. And lastly, unlike normal shielding, this isn’t something that is usually used as an end-all be-all form of self-defense. It’s one of a variety of tools that would need to be used to defend oneself during an attack.
The second time that you would need to use a shield would be during a strong continuous attack. By strong I mean an attack that is powerful enough to seriously harm or kill the magician, in which case the attack can’t simply be toughed out. In fact, during this kind of attack, shielding is really the only good option.
Some very powerful entities have an ability where waves of powerful and aggressive energy flows off of them naturally. It’s not even really an attack, it’s just an aspect of their being. If a magician gets too close to one of these entities, and stays exposed for too long, they could die just by being in proximity.
There are also certain areas, and even realms, that have a powerful drains connected to them. Weaker drains can usually be dealt with without shielding, but it’s much more difficult to do with very strong drains. Sometimes these drains can be so strong they can be fatal, or they can cause rapid decay or accelerated aging. Other times the drains can weaken the magician so much that if the magician is exposed, it can make it so the magician doesn’t have enough energy to do what they need to do. In a draining situation there are often times other options, but sometimes a shield is the best option available.
Better Alternative Strategies To Shielding
A quick overview of a couple of strategies that are better than shielding:
1. A Good Offense
A good offense is by far the best defense you can have. If you cause a malicious entity or magician enough pain through magical attacks, they will probably stop attacking you. If they don’t, eventually your magical attacks will probably kill them, in which case they’ll no longer be attacking you.
It’s also empowering to know that you’ve fought with powerful entities and defeated them. It gives you confidence in your abilities, it enables you to push yourself magically, and it allows you to still feel safe despite all the dangers that exist in the universe.
A lot of the entities out there that attack people unprovoked are relatively weak. Stronger entities, even very evil, violent, and malicious ones, tend to have more important things to be doing than randomly attacking folks. Once you start getting into fights with more and more powerful things, and winning, you start to become so powerful that those weaker entities get scared of you. Suddenly nothing is attacking you, because it’s all either too powerful to care about attacking you or so weak that it’s scared to.
2. Soaking It Up
In Dragonball Goku had a common strategy he employed against a new foe, one that was taught to him by the Turtle Hermit. He stood there and let the guy beat the crap out of him. In this way Goku was able to accurately gauge the ability of his opponent. He was also able to learn about his opponent’s attack. After receiving the attack, he could figure out the best way to counter it, and sometimes could even mimic it afterwards.
Goku’s technique is an excellent strategy. A lot of times the only way to learn an attack is to allow yourself to be hit with it. Once you’ve felt the attack and seen it used against you, you can usually sort out how it was done. Then you can figure out the different ways you can counter it in the future. Often times you’ll also figure out how to do the attack yourself, and it becomes another tool in your self-defense toolbox.
Plus if you want to be a magician, you need to not be such a wuss. Sometimes you’re going to get the crap beat out of you. You need to be able to handle that, and the best way to be able to handle that is through practice.