Shielding Part Two

MAGICAL SHIELDING IN THE OLD WOMAN WARRIOR TRADITION
Sacred Discourse, Cycle 3, Part 2: Creating and Consecrating
Offered in the Grove by Shekhinah Mountainwater

For essential and relevant information on this topic, please be sure to
study Part 1 of this Discourse Cycle, archived in our message boards and linked
here:
_http://groups.yahoo.com/group/moonspellstudycircle/message/1493_
(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/moonspellstudycircle/message/1493)


To view Shekhinah's shield, come to this link and look on the altar:
_http://shekhinah.net/Aphrodite's%20Shrine.htm_
(http://shekhinah.net/Aphrodite's%20Shrine.htm)


In Celtic legends there are many woman warriors, such as Macha, Scathach and
Morrighan. They are powerful figures, and sometimes equally adept in magic
as they are in fighting. Interestingly, the male heroes of such tales are
always trained, initiated and armed by such women.

Sometimes warrior Goddesses were also mothers and could be as tender as they
were fierce. Patriarchal myth has usually divided such qualities, bestowing
only the tender upon its female figures, and only the fierce upon its males.
Or, if a female figure is fierce, independent or "uppity, she is usually
demonized and cast out, like Lillith. In our own Goddess movement this
tendency to love only the "acceptable" models of soft, compassionate Goddesses
has
been a mixed blessing. While it has opened a world of beauty and validation
for us that I would never dismiss, it has also tended to deny us full
expression and empowerment. Interestingly, the Amazon warrior image of woman
was
predominant in the beginnings of the women's movement, and helped to catalyze
much needed activism. Yet many women who expressed that righteous
revolutionary rage that oppression engenders, became locked into it. When they
finally burnt out on the anger and turned away from it, they also turned away
from
the struggle.

Ultimately we need well rounded pantheons that encourage us to be well
rounded women. This doesn't mean that every woman has to be all things, and
some
of us will always be more of one thing than another. But it keeps the
options and opportunities open, so that each woman can gravitate towards her
natural inclinations as well as choices.

To deny the woman warrior image is to strip women's liberation of important
qualities that are much needed, and keep us marginalized and submissive to
the status quo. Then again, to deny the compassionate and supportive images
can make women's lib what many have accused it of - based in hatred and
bigotry. As in so many things, balance - or equilibrium- is best.

This is one of the reasons I chose to make the five-armed pentacle the
central motif of my own shield. As a woman who has always been strongest in
my
watery, airy, earthy and psychic elements, I have needed to emphasize my fire
more. Occultists call this process of equalizing all the arms of the star
"the great work," and it is one of the meanings of the Temperance card in the
Tarot. Not that I will not always be predominately a gentle type- and I
encourage women to be who they are- but a little fire sure helps. :0)

I keep in mind Jean Shinoda Bolen's point that she brings out in her
discussion of the Psyche myth in Goddesses in Everywoman - that a gentle woman
can
find a gentle way to deal with violence or attack. She cites that part of the
myth in which Psyche is commanded by Aphrodite to obtain some of the golden
fleece from the ferocious battering rams up on the mountain; who do nothing
but clash horns all day long. Psyche learns to wait until they are at rest,
and to pluck the power from the neigboring bushes, where the fleece has been
caught during the gyrations of battle. Working through magic and "with harm
to none" can offer terrific solutions and preventions, and Magical Shielding
can serve this purpose beautifully. And- a woman who is of a more fiery
temperament can also benefit greatly, validating her abilities of direct
confrontation, as well as protecting her tender, caring side so that it can
inform
her activism.

Because the pentacle is a universal symbol for many witches, there are many
ways that it can be used in a shield, so you are all welcome to incorporate
it into your own shield designs if you wish. Pentacles include the five
elements of Air, Fire, Earth, Water and Spirit, and as such they can
symbolically
cover a mutitude of meanings and messages. In fact, the Pentacle itself, a
longtime sigil of magical protection, can be seen as a shield.

Since it took me so many years to finally embrace my wildwoman/warrior self,
I had the advantage of much accumlated knowledge and material to draw upon.
As it was, it took me many moons to complete the creation and consecration
of my shield. I am so thankful that I had already developed my rune system,
from which I drew most of my design concepts and messages. And my years of
study, devotion and experience as priestess and muse gave me a strong well of
resources for deciding on and implementing the creation process.

If you are feeling new to all of this, I suggest you take your time working
out the content, meanings and designs of your shield. Study and
contemplation are a great way to begin. Consulting with the Goddess,
especially if
there is a particular Goddess you wish to serve as magical warrior, is also a
very good way to start. Also sharing your process with your sisters here on
the
rim, asking questions, requesting feedback, and seeking the wisdom of the
circle are helpful ways to enhance the process.

Or perhaps you need to research some Goddesses. There is a goodly list of
deities in Celtic Women's Spirituality, along with some of their traditions
and stories. I also recommend The Book of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia
Monaghan, The Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker,
The Witches Goddess by Janet and Stuart Ferrar, and Eternally Bad, Goddesses
with Attitude by Trina Robbins.

It's also advisable to do some divination during the decision making
process. If anyone would like to work with me and my runes and tarot cards on
this,
let me know.

Almost all the design elements of my shield are made with Womanrunes.
Everyone in the Grove is welcome to do the same, and I will be happy to help
with
suggestions, information, and design ideas. This is one reason why we kind
of have both of these threads of Runes and Shielding going at the same time...

The five-armed star of my shield's pentacle is built into the Womanrune of
Faith, called The Moon and Star, so that one views a large star resting within
the curve of a crescent moonboat, taking up most of the field.& This rune is
alligned with The Star in the tarot, which I have re-named Muse. Since my
life has always been dedicated to the Muse, inspirer of poetry, music, and all
kinds of creativity, I needed a symbol of this to be the central motif of my
shield.

Within the curving lines of the crescent moon I have drawn a triple spiral.
This is a combination of The Serpent, Rune of Awakening, and the triple
spiral icon of ancient faery lore. The Serpent rune is a double spiral that
looks like a backwards "S" and represents the sounds of sss and zzz. The
triple
spiral is one of the pathways between the Faery realm, this world, and the
upper world, and can be travelled to all three in deep meditation.

In the corners of each of the five arms of the star can be seen short
straight lines that plunge into the points of the arms. This turns each of the
five triangular arms into The Yoni, Rune of Making, and the sound of "mm." In
the center of the star is The Dancing Women, Rune of Celebration and
Community, and the sound of "y" as in "yes."

The Moon and Star Rune has the sound of "oo" as in "moon." Altogether the
runic letters of this central design phonetically spell the word Muse.

Also within each of the five arms of the star are runes representing aspects
of myself and my life that I wish to keep safe and strong. In the Air arm
is The Winged Circle, Rune of Freedom, that my thoughts be kept free and my
mind open. In the Fire arm is The Labyris, Rune of Will that my will be strong
and alligned with the Goddess' will. In the Earth arm is a combination or
bindrune; The Tree, Rune of Abundance, with The Sun, Rune of Healing. These
are to help keep my earthplane and bodily experience abundant and to assure my
health and healing. In the Water arm is The Cauldron, Rune of Alchemy to
keep my emotions flowing and balanced or as it says in the verse I wrote for my
shield "sweet and deep." In the Spirit arm is another bindrune; a
combination of the Great Wheel, Rune of Infinity and The Circle, Rune of Self.
This
is to assure that I am infinitely at one with Goddess and whole in myself.
The five arms are vividly colored according to their elements.

Seated in the upper curve of the crescent boat, and between the lower legs
of the star, is my primary power animal, the Cat. S/he is a combination of
two cats who were with me in the past and have gone into spirit; Lady Snow and
Angus. S/he came out as a white kitty in the original sketches, looking very
much like Lady Snow...and a purple kitty on the final painted shield,
looking very much like Angus who was actually a red tabby. This cat also has
something unique in character, and is almost lionlike; looking strong and
friendly.

Surrounding the entire rim of the round shield is a circle of Dancing
Women... the Rune of Community, Celebration, and Solidarity, to express my
desire
to be surrounded and protected in the sister circle, as well as showing that
my shield helps to protect it always.

The Name of my shield that I share is Shasta Shadow Walker. It looks
wonderful written out in Womanrunes.

For my magical weapon I chose a pen. This is because I am most able to
defend myself with the written word. I found a beautiful glass pen in a small
magical shop that sells nothing but writing materials; handmade paper,
journals, stationery, and many kinds of pens and brushes. She was gifted to me
for
my birthday a few months later, by my dear friend Bear.
My pen is made of black glass with a clear glass fluted writing tip. She is
a dip pen and when filled with ink she writes and draws as smoothly as silk.
I wrote her name, Truthspeaker, along her side, in gold ink. I also found
an exquisite Japanese embroidered fan case to store her in, and a black
velvet jewelry box. Both Shasta and Truthspeaker live most of the time on my
main
altar in my temple space.

I created Shasta on a plate at a pottery studio called Petroglyph. This is
a place where you can go in, choose a pot, glaze it with your own design
using the studio's materials, and have it fired. I went in about five times,
and
spent several hours each time, applying several layers of glaze.

A few months later I called a circle of women, some of whom were my
students, who had also been creating their shields. We held a simple ceremony
in my
temple to consecrate and activate our shields and weapons. We declared the
three sacred names to one another, that we had each chosen and that could be
shared. My woman warrior name is Lwyneth Moonwit deMaya. We blessed each
other's shields and weapons, and each of us spoke to the circle for a while
about what the meant to us and how the creation process felt. We signed vows
in
moonblood with our magical names. At the end we stood in circle facing each
other, holding our shields before us; each recognized and honored for her
chosen path and who she was.

This is just one woman's experience of making a shield, choosing a weapon,
and dedicating herself as a magical woman warrior to the Goddess. I hope it
inspires you to discover and implement your own shielding process, in your own
way.

******************************

Some questions to ponder and respond to:

Would you like to make a shield?
If so, to what purpose?
If you have answered in the affirmative, please ponder and/or respond to the
following:
What materials would you like to make your shield out of?
What aspects of your life and yourself would you like to represent in your
shield?
What designs would you like to use to express them?
How do you best defend yourself when necessary?
What might be an appropriate choice of a magical weapon, and how would you
acquire it?
What deity or cause do you see yourself serving as magical woman warrior?
Have you found some magical names for your warrior self, your shield, and
your weapon, and if so what are the sharable ones?
Do you have any questions about magical shielding and defense?
Any comments about the above writing?
Do you like the tradition described above and feel drawn to participate? Or
is there another approach to shielding that you would prefer to do?
If so what is it?


Helpful reading:
The Maiden Cycle in Ariadne's Thread
Article by Shekhinah:
The Rise of the Dark Maidens at this link:
_http://shekhinah.net/DarkMaidenWritings.htm_
(http://shekhinah.net/DarkMaidenWritings.htm)