Shielding Part One

Hi sisters I am feeling an urgent need for shielding right now. As you
probably know there's been a crisis happening at Moonspells and I'm feeling
scared and shattered and vulnerable. I feel I haven't invoked my shield enough
and that I need to practise that more. I want to protect our circles and the
good magic we do, and the process of matriation we are about. So much of my
teachings, I am realizing as I type this, perhaps all of my teachings are
about matriation.

So I thought I would talk to you some about shielding, and this can be an
opening Discourse on this sacred subject. In this way I can be invoking the
energy of shielding, magically spinning a net of safety around me, you, and
everyone on the Rims... and I can be sharing some of its secrets with you.

MAGICAL SHIELDING IN THE OLD WOMAN WARRIOR TRADITION
Sacred Discourse, Cycle 3, Part 1, Introduction

The Shielding tradition that I learned, is called The Woman Warrior
Tradition. It is a Celtic. I learned about it in a book called Celtic Women's
Spirituality, and I would like everyone to get this book, if you possibly can.
Rianna said she found it for very little money online.

There are two chapters in this book on shielding.

Before I read these chapters I had thought I could never qualify as a woman
warrior. Even the word "warrior" which has "war" in it felt so not like me.
Xena, I thought...now she would be eligible. But I'm a gentle soul, more
inclined to flight than fight if danger approaches.

But this tradition isn't about being tough or mean or necessarily harming
anyone. It was about walking your talk. It's about integrity. It's about
protecting what's precious and tender. It's about risking for your truth.

I thought wow I do that every day. I actually am a warrior. I risk for my
truth...I walk my talk. I live on the edge for the Goddess and have done so
for many years. For the first time in my life I was able to own my woman
warrior self.

I still don't care for the term "warrior" and prefer to say "wild woman."

In this ancient Celtic tradition, we design and create a shield, choose
and/or create a magical weapon, select magical names, and consecrate ourselves
in
service to our chosen deity. The book also has instructions for acquiring a
"warrior belt," but I didn't choose to do that part.

I also feel a little uncomfortable with the word "weapon." Perhaps it would
be more appropriate to say "tool."

Shielding is done for the purpose of protection. We therefore include
symbols and pictures in our shield that represent things in our selves and our
lives that we wish to keep safe. It takes time and thought to come up with a
design, and the process is most successful when not rushed. This system is
much deeper than simply throwing white light around oneself, or an imaginary
bubble. Those techniques can work too, and are often sufficient. But
sometimes
we need deeper shielding that covers more layers of the Self and Psyche, and
deals with dangers that may be more complex or powerful.

Our magickal weapon is for the purpose of defense. What process or items do
we use to defend ourselves if we are being attacked? Many witches actually
consecrate a sword or other blade to be their magical weapon. This is not
necessarily about actually doing battle or harming anyone with one's blade.
It's a magical weapon, to be invoked in time of need. Possibly a time might
come when a blade-owning witch might actually have to use it that way, Goddess
forbid, but this is not it's essential purpose. Usually, if we employ
sufficient psychic self defense, it never has to go further than that. A
magickal
weapon is primarily for psychic self defense.

The Names we choose help to activate the power; the power of our shields to
protect us, of our weapons to defend us, and our wildwoman selves to stand
true to our dedication and purpose. When we invoke our shields, weapons,
wildwoman selves, and the deity we serve with our magical Names, we set their
qualities and abilities in motion.

The first thing to consider is who and what you are serving as wildwoman or
warrior woman. It's important to have a path and a purpose to which your
shield and your weapon will be dedicated. Do you feel drawn to a particular
Goddess? Is there a particular task or goal you seek to fulfill? Or perhaps
you are simply dedicated to women and wish to work towards their healing and
liberation... or a special person in your life... or a certain cause. Spend
some time pondering these questions, so that you will be clear about your woman
warrior path and purpose.

Next comes designing your shield. It's best to start with pencil and paper,
so you can make some rough sketches and play with ideas. What elements in
yourself and your life do you wish to protect? What symbols or images might
you use to represent them? How will you lay them in a design?

You also need to decide what materials you will make your shield out of.
There are many options, and witches have used all manner of media. Some
have made their shields out of wood, and painted their designs upon them. Some
have used leather stretched on a frame, like Native American shields, with
feathers hanging down. Some apply materials besides paint...inlaying stones or
other items...glueing or attaching in other ways. Some use heavy
cardboard... others ceramic. A shield could also be done in stitchery and
applied to a
garment or other fabric item. Or beadwork. One student of mine found an
old bas relief brass platter that she used for her shield that had a motif of
running horses. She wrapped the back of it in fur!

This tradition advises including at least one power animal in your shield
design. It also says to have one part of the design that's invisible...that
only exists in your inner eye. When you visualize your shield for invoking
purposes, you can include that secret part of the design, that no one knows
about but you.

You also need to think about what your magical weapon will be. Begin by
considering how it is that you best defend yourself. Is a sword or a knife
appropriate for you? Or perhaps a staff or wand? One of my students chose a
non-material weapon; her own strength. I do think it's best to have a physical
representation however. If she were to choose one, what would be a good
representation of her strength? Another woman chose her computer. Will your
weapon be something that you create yourself, or an item that you will purchase
or receive as a gift or find?

Lastly you will need to choose six magical Names. Each of the three to be
Named; your shield, your weapon, and your warrior or wildwoman identity
require two names. One of each of these sets of two is secret. This means
that
you never tell anyone your secret names. The other three names can be shared
in ritual and/or other appropriate situations. The shared names do hold some
power, but the secret names are more powerful and help enormously to
activate your weapon and your shield when uttered or whispered or just thought
upon
for invocation.

When you have completed everything; claimed your warrior/wildwoman identity,
clarified who and/or what you are dedicated to, created your shield, chosen
or created your weapon, and taken the six Names, it will be time for a
Blessing and Consecration Ceremony. If sisters here in the Grove would like
to
do this project, it would be nice if we could get together for the ceremony.
I will be happy to be a priestess for this, if anyone wishes me to...or
possibly we could all take a share of the priestessly responsibilities.

Next Cycle 3 Discourse I will tell you about my own shield and weapon and
wildwoman dedication, what items and materials I chose, and the Names I can
share.

Meantime, please consider the following questions. If you would like to go
ahead and answer them now, that will be wonderful. If you prefer to wait
until you have completed your Moonwheel Calendar project, that's fine too. I
think it would be good for us all to work on shielding before diving into the
Runes. As we go forward in this work, our psychic channels open, and it's
important to be safe.

I'm also thinking we might want to design a Grove Shield together. :0)

Resources:
Celtic Women's Spirituality by Edain McCoy (required)
Flight of the Seventh Moon by Lynn Andrews
Cycle 10, Rituals and Spells, in Ariadne's Thread

Questions to Ponder:
Do you believe in magical protection and that it can be effective?
Do you feel that you need magical protection?
Have you ever used a technique of magical protection?
If so, please describe and explain.
What dangers are you aware of that you feel would be prevented by shielding?
What makes you feel afraid or unsafe?
What makes you feel safe?
Have you ever felt threatened or attacked, and if so by who or what?
(No need to name names here; just describe the situation)
Do you feel a need to defend yourself?
Do you feel capable of defending yourself if the need should arise?
What dangers do you feel self-defense would help with?
How do you feel about the concept of the woman warrior?
Can you identify with this concept?
If so, what or who are you working for or serving?
Is there a Goddess you wish to dedicate yourself to as woman warrior?
Is there a Cause you wish to dedicate yoruself to as woman warrior?

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