Celtic Polytheism, Paganism

Crow Folks: Battle is Here

This month, as is my custom, I journeyed to speak to Na Morrigna on the dark moon. Last month they gave me questions, but this month we have returned to the oracular poetry they’ve been inspiring me to write on their behalf. Here is the poem:

Battle is here.
Slaughter is here.
Blood spatters;
The Morrigna dance above spears.

A steady eye, a steady arm:
These are the traits of the best warriors.

Magic flies like arrows.
Magic shields like armour.
Slice through your enemy’s magic;
Pierce your enemy’s armour.

Protect those you fight for;
Destroy those you fight against.

Battle is a dance long and winding;
War is a path lengthy and strenuous.
Rest and tend to the wounded after each encounter.
Find time for rest and sustenance as you go to war.

Crows fly in undulating waves,
Black birds in a murmuration.
Find your place in the swarm.
Find the proper time for your flight.

I will definitely be doing a working this weekend or coming week, and I’ll choose the time carefully. But a friend of mine recently posted some really wise advice on Facebook that I’ll paraphrase here:

If you’re going to do political magic or battle sorcery, your first step should be to cleanse yourself and your space if you haven’t recently, and to re-up your personal shields and wards. I’ve spoken about this before on the blog, though not recently, but: Xtians may not consider what they do to be magic, and they would probably doubly deny any accusation of banework, but that doesn’t stop the effects from being very, very real. We magic workers have allies, and so have they – and not all of theirs are who you might expect. So go into this work knowing that you have opponents who, if possibly not as conscious of what they are doing, are still largely effective. Much of my work has been to undo theirs, and while I do tend to find their work not always as precise as most of the witches I work beside, they do not lack for power. Do not underestimate their abilities.

Call on your closest allies as you do this work: the Morrigna, but also any other deities to whom you are devoted, any guides or guardians who might be able to aid you, and any Ancestors you work with, particularly if they fought against the Confederacy or the Nazis in their lifetime.

It may be difficult to build a new relationship quickly enough to do this work with anyone new, however, and be on guard against deceitful spirits, anyone claiming to be who they are not. Discernment will be key, and trusted long-term allies will be the most help.

After doing the work, be prepared to do a bit of aftercare. Ground, center, take care of any bodily needs, and check your shields and wards again. Make sure you have a plan for upkeep. Land spirits, if you are on friendly terms with them, can give assistance with warding spaces like your home and place of work. Don’t neglect shields on yourself and your car if you have one, and make sure that you are shielded against attack through your dreams and while you sleep.

If you do still find yourself being targeted or experiencing backlash, ask someone you trust for assistance, or reach out to myself or another healer for help. We Crows work better as a flock, moving as one, supporting each other in community.

Grimoire of a Blue House

Shielding

There are nearly as many approaches to shielding as there are paths in paganism and witchcraft. Some of the more popular include:

  • Carrying objects or materials known to be protective (such as certain types of plants, certain crystals, hag stones, or iron)
  • Using sigils or bind runes, inscribed either on yourself (in lotion, as a tattoo, etc), on a belonging (like clothing, shoes, jewelry), or on something small enough to carry with you (like a notecard, business card, or guitar pick put in your pocket, bag, or wallet)
  • Spoken spells, used daily or whispered when extra help is needed
  • Enchanting jewelry, clothing, or something you carry with you, like a keychain or charm bag
  • Spirit protection, provided by a familiar, a guardian spirit (often an animal, mythical being**, or ancestor), or a constructed thoughtform or servitor
  • And finally, by energy work, using energy to construct shields that aren’t anchored to anything but the practitioner themselves

As the last one is the way I create my own shields, that’s the way I’ll be focusing on in this blog.

The simplest way most people learn to make shields with energy is to imagine* an egg of bright light surrounding them. Most people will have heard this before, and you might have heard that it should be white or gold, but I’m here to tell you that it can be any color, or a combination of colors, or no color, and it can be bright or dark, provided that whatever color or not-color and brightness or darkness you choose is something you associate with the thing you want the shield to do. That is: to protect you.

But what kind of protection are you looking for? I think it’s important to be clear on that before we go any further. Do you want to keep every single type of energy that is not yours out? Probably not – that will keep out blessings and interpersonal connections and all sorts of things you probably want. Do you want an impassable barrier between you and spirits? Strange ones maybe, but gods are spirits, too, and if you’re a devotee I doubt you want to completely shield out the object of your devotions. Do you want it to keep out negative energy? But what counts as negative? Do you want to be completely unaffected to the point of apathy about the suffering of others? Do you want to be unable to tell when other people are anxious or angry? Again, probably not always. There are probably some things you always want to keep out, like intentional malevolence and non-consensual energy feeding, but other things you probably only want to keep out sometimes, or only keep specific types out. For example: it might be good idea to shield out angry or anxious energy coming off of strangers, especially in tight spaces like a commuter train, but you might want to be able to feel some of the same energies off your romantic partner sometimes, to help you empathize with them. Once you identify what you what you want the shield to do, at least in broad strokes, I have another tip for you.

It doesn’t have to be light.

You can make a shield with any type of energy. Light, darkness, void, elemental energy (using whatever element system you like), plant energy, crystal energy, WHATEVER YOU WANT. Promise. It just needs to be: 1) a type of energy with which you’re familiar enough to imagine clearly and work with accurately, and 2) something you think will be useful for protection.

So, pick something, imagine it, and then try to feel it. Build it the same way every day until it gets easy. I recommend trying to build it in the morning as you start your day. Maybe right after your alarm goes off, or in the shower, or right before you start your morning commute. Do it the same time every day and it will become routine, and as it becomes routine it will get easier and easier. Don’t worry if you forget one day – just do it when you remember, and try to be as consistent as possible. Once it gets easy (and I recommend waiting until you’ve been doing it for at least three weeks), you can try something more advanced.

Once you’ve mastered doing a single layer shield with one type of energy, you can try creating a sort of composite energy material from other types, or build up multiple layers, each with different types of energy. Let’s say someone, and we’ll call them A, decided to stick with white light for their three weeks of practice, but now A is thinking it would be nice to have something that would slow down the energy of their partner’s outbursts, without completely keeping it out, and something else to mask their presence from spirits, because A noticed that the white light seems to make them more visible. So, A thinks about it for a while, and decides that they’ll keep the white light, but make it the inner-most layer, and then outside that they’ll put a layer of charcoal for filtering, and then outside that, a layer of salt water. Now, they’ll spend three weeks focusing on building all three layers, until that gets easy, too.

As you experiment with other materials, you may also think about using reactive materials. In our mundane lives, we’re familiar with things like glasses that get dark when you walk into sunlight, or liquids that react in the presence of magnets. You can work with or create those types of energies, too. One I like to use is sort of a liquid one-way mirrored glass, that can get darker/lighter and more/less mirrored as I tell it to, or according to its programming. Programming is another thing you might consider: you can create shields with certain pre-sets, like “increase filtering of other people’s energy when I am in a crowd”, or “filter out spirit activity while I’m at work”. You can also think about programming in shortcuts so you can adjust the layers without having to rebuild the whole thing.

This, too, you’ll have to practice daily for a while: including all the programming. Once you’ve really set up the shield the way you want it and the building is both solid and easy, you can set it up to function permanently on a low or medium setting, and then just walk through the building once a week, and eventually once a month, as it learns to stay for longer periods of time. Because it is taking hits for you in its protective role, it will eventually degrade and need patching and cleaning, so I do recommend you release and rebuild it once a month, perhaps on the waxing crescent moon. If you find yourself forgetting, you should at least try to make an effort to clean and patch quickly every time you use your shield intentionally at a high level, as part of the wind-down process afterwards when you’re in a safe space and can lower your shields a bit. That might be best to check and do before bed. Left alone – unpatched and uncleaned – for too long, even the best shield will disintegrate and you’ll be left unprotected. But if you rebuild and patch and clean regularly, the whole process will become fairly automatic, and it will take less focus and less energy than it did when you first created your shields.Helpful tips for blindspots: build an egg not a wall. Fill it up with something. Different layers can fill each other’s loopholes.

Some final tips on shielding:

  • Make sure you’re building something that goes all the way around you, not a wall. Things can go over or come under walls. It doesn’t have to be egg-shaped, but it will work better if it goes around your energy bodies, too, instead of being skin-tight (though someone else entering your space should cause it to retract to the space between you, even if that space is microscopic).
  • Related: make sure your shield is consistent. That is: make sure you’ve got it just as thick at the small of your back and under the soles of your feet as you do in front of your chest. Try not to have seams or weak areas. Pay equal attention to all areas when patching and cleaning.
  • If you really want to use a type of energy but it seems to have a loophole or blindspot, pair it with something else that fills that lack.
  • You can definitely include weaponized elements in your shield (for instance, spiky protrusions or acid), but make sure that your shield isn’t all weaponry – you need purely defensive measures, too.

That’s all for now. Hopefully it helps! If you have questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below!

* By “imagine”, I mean you should attempt to visualize or feel [tactilize?] or hear [auditorize?] the energy, or even smell or taste it. Use whichever sense is strongest and most accurate for you when you’re sensing energy.
** That is to say, a being from myth, like a gryphon or a dragon. I don’t mean “mythical” in the sense of “fictional”/”doesn’t exist”, but if you’re a witch, pagan, or spiritworker working in a pop-culture paradigm, fiction is your myth, so go ahead!