August 2011


I fell upon something I wrote right before starting to write ‘The Path of a Christian Witch’.  It is dated November 11, 2005. This was written barely a month after arriving up north. It was a time when I had done much studying already and I was wondering where I was supposed to take all this knowledge that had been passed on to me. It was a time when I took a stand and decided to come out of my shell and take a place in the world, own up to who I was as a Witch and a Priestess. Since many of you are witnesses of my journey through ‘The Path of a Christian Witch’, I though it fitting to share with you how I felt right before putting my life story to paper.

Where do I want to go….

In a room of sisterhood,
To be Clergy and light a candle in the dark,
Not for money or fame,
But to pass the flame one person at a time
To feel its warmth and solace,
To create a space, to create a race
That honors God.

To live like a Witch,
A life of knowledge and Mystery
In intimate harmony
With all that is.

This topic has come up a lot this week on the Christian Pagan Fellowship and it follows our progression of study exercises. I made a small hiatus in the world of magic and visualization and we will now combine the energy exercises of the last few weeks.
A few weeks ago, we worked on manipulating our energy fields. You practiced sensing it, knowing its boundary and how to expand and contract it. Shielding will combine the ability to sense your energy field and the visualization that we have just been working on with your apple.

There are a million different ways to shield. The way you put up a shield is extremely personal and it will only work if you do it in a way that makes sense to YOU. It will only work if it is built in a way that it can stay present in your mind. You must will it to be there, in the same way that you walked around with a word in your head while you were preparing the evening supper. It should feel the same way.

What makes shielding personal, is that you have to design the way it will look and feel. That is the only way that you will be able to keep it in your mind without effort. Here is an example: If I tell you to imagine yourself surrounded by a medieval armor (you know, like the ones standing in the hallways of mansions in movies), you may need to keep your attention very focused in the details of what such an armor looks like. If it is not a familiar shield, your mind will want to keep going back to adjust this or that detail that is slipping your mind, like the way the face looks, or how the hands are placed. It might even feel stiff and you movements will feel awkward. Anything that doesn’t feel right will break your concentration and decrease the effectiveness of your shield.

Also, the kind of shield you choose will highly depend on the situation you are facing. If you are going into a battlefield, you want battle gear. If you just want to walk around the office and want to be impervious to negative energy, a nice pink bubble might do the trick. There is such a thing as offensive and defensive magic or warrior magic. I suggest Wiccan Warrior by Kerr Cuhulain (who will be at In-Fest next weekend, somewhere in the Ottawa region, by the way…) if you want to know more about this path. I have studied martial arts for many years, so this a path that makes sense to me. It is not for everyone, so don’t feel pressure to try it out. But no matter what, everyone needs to know how to shield.

Take a moment to assess the situation. What kind of shield do you need and want. Right now, you are just practicing, so you can try out different shields. But in general, what will you need this shield for. Imagine the kind of protection you want. It should feel comfortable, easy to focus on, strong and it should make you feel safe. It can really be anything. It can be an extra layer of light, guardians that surround you, a tornado, a brick wall, a viking’s shield, a blanket… It all depends on you and on the situation. Obviously, summoning the 4 archangels to stand by you will require more focused attention than an extra layer of light. But it will also be no match if you are walking towards danger. Probably a little bit of an overkill for office politics, though! Imagine a few possibilities that you may want to keep in your ‘shield closet’. It will be easier to conjure them quickly if you have imagined them already. For the sake of this exercise, let’s try something light. We’ll just try thickening the border of your shield. You can choose to just make it more dense or add a layer of light around your field.
1. Center and ground. Grounding is especially important. That is your best line of defense, even without a shield. In karate, it is all about stance. If an opponent can make you fall over, the battle is lost, even before you cast your punch.
2. Test your energy field. Where does it reach. Do a quick scan of its margin.
3. At the boundary of your energy field, imagine your shield being formed. Visualize a layer coming in and surrounding your energy field. Draw up energy from your roots and direct it to the outermost layer of your energy field. See this energy transform itself to offer you protection. It may seem to harden, like the bark of a tree, or glow more brightly like a flame. Command this energy to do your bidding and protect your personal space. You should ultimately get a feeling of: ‘This is in here and that is out there.’? That which is outside should not come within.
4. Once you’ve visualized your shield, draw back into yourself, but without letting your shield collapse. Your focus is no longer on upholding the shield. It should uphold itself, the same way the word lingered in your mind during the visualization exercise. Will it to be there, and that’s it! The minute you question whether it is holding, you are casting doubt into it and weakening its presence. Conjure it, know it’s there and go on your business. This is not easy and it takes a lot of practice. Be forgiving of yourself and have fun with this.

Once you’ve practiced this, you can go on to trying different types of shields. Your creativity is the only limit. I’ve had elemental shields, music shields, mirror shields… The more complex your shield is, the more mental focus and attention will be needed. Try the basic shield above first so you have an easy option for ‘everyday wear’.

Feel free to post your comments and the different shields you have tried out. It’s always fun to discover what others have come up with.

All right! How is visualization going for everyone?

Here is a new exercise to get you through the weekend. And it doesn’t involve fruit!

Pick a word. It should be a random word, something neutral and not too emotionally charged. You can pick something like ‘Table’ or something abstract like ‘effervescence’ or a pretty flower like ‘chrysanthemum’. The word itself doesn’t really matter. But if you pick a word like ‘Love’ or ‘Compassion’ or someone’s name, you might get an emotional reaction that might distract you from the purely mental exercise of visualization.

So pick your word. Write it letter by letter in you mind. Notice the font you use, the color of the font. It might be floating or static. Notice your pronunciation of it. It’s your word and your mind. You are free to use it as you wish.

Now, open your eyes, but keep your word there, in your head. You might notice that it looks different, much as things look different behind a pair of sunglasses. You might feel it more than actually seeing it. The important thing is that your word remains present.

Here is the fun and tricky part: Keep your word in your mind while you are busy doing other things. Feel it linger there while you cook, or watch TV (please, not while you drive, OK?) or while you are on the bus. You don’t have to keep it in focus all day. After all, this takes a certain amount of energy. Periodically, during the day, bring your word back to the surface and let it hang around with you while you do other things.

We will chat about the meaning of all this next week. Hope you are having fun with this!

See your fruit.

Now we will add the taste of the fruit. Take a bite of your fruit. Notice every nuance of taste that you can identify: the sweetness, the tartness, bitterness… Notice the way the juice flows. Look at your bite mark and memorize every bit of it. See how your teeth marks are etched on the fruit, notice the color of the flesh and the bits of flesh that may be hanging from it. Commit all this to memory, from every possible angle.

Close you eyes and see your fruit. Smell your fruit. Taste your fruit. Re-create your fruit.

Now add the smell.

We’ve been working on elements, grounding, energy fields and so forth. I want to get started on a few exercises on magic. Most people will start with the how-to’s of spell casting. But I would like to start in a different place. We will get to spell casting, but I’d like to start with what I consider to be the basis for all magical work: the technique of visualization. When I realized that magic revolved around this skill, the whole world opened up, as if I had received a great secret that had been passed on from initiate to initiate. So here it is for you.

This will be a week long exercise. I will be posting upgrades every day. Bear with me. It is not as easy as it looks, so don’t get discouraged.

Visualization

Go to your kitchen and pick a fruit, a real one you can hold in your hand. Apples are easiest because they have a lot of variations in color and shape, but any fruit will do. Hold it in your hand and observe every little detail about it: its colored spots, its stem, its shape, its blemishes. Look at it from every possible angle.

Once you have committed your fruit to memory, close your eyes. Will yourself to see the fruit with your mind’s eye. See it exactly as you remember it, with its exact color and shape. Recall every little spot, every bump and every curve. Now rotate it: horizontally, vertically and diagonally. If you lose your image, you can open your eyes and look at your fruit once more. Try to really consolidate your fruit in your mind. Create a perfect twin copy and try to hold it as long as you can. Stay relaxed throughout the process. Forcing your memory or your attention will only stress you out and make it more difficult. Trust that the image is there in your mind. All you have to do is coax it out of hiding.

Stay tuned for the next step.

A reminder: all the exercises that I post are located in the ‘study group’ category. If you’ve missed some of them, you can simply open that category and they should all be there.

Enjoy!

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