Umbrella, photo by Gwenael PiaserThe theme of magical conflict is never complete without a discussion of shielding methods. The startling thing found when one searches for decent shielding methods is that one encounters shields that either appeal to one deity or another or rely on the basic goodness of the individual for efficacy.

The true Thelemic magician need not hide behind another be they god or person. Nor need they define their position as “good.” It is sufficient that it is their position and theirs alone.

What, then, may the student do to develop a shield in keeping with Thelemic philosophy?

Firstly, define “shield.” My arcane and trustworthy Webster’s states that a shield is “any person or thing that guards, protects, etc.” Note that it does not necessarily oppose or confront any energies directed against one. It merely protects one from those energies.

To protect one, a shield may affect one of three areas:

  1. the attacking force (opposition)
  2. the defending object (evasion)
  3. the intervening space between force and object (interposition)

To oppose a force effectively, one must use a force of equal or superior energy, potential or kinetic. (That is, energy that is at rest or in motion). This is the most risky of all shields as one never knows if one is being attacked by a single person or a group or how large the group may be or how strong the attacker is. No matter how strong you are, there is someone somewhere stronger.

Thus an opposing shield can be smashed or the shield can be worn down, as in a siege, until he drops the shield in exhaustion.

To evade a force is very good if one is capable of it. However, magical force makes no distinctions between “here” and “there” so physical distance or location is no evasion at all. Astral evasion is only effective against the most elementary attacks such as the science-fiction/fantasy inspired “magical bolt”.

Effective evasion, while the finest magical defence I have ever come across, is not easily available to the student, for it involves removing oneself from the attacker’s world. One must become completely aware of the reality that projects outward from one by Will.

At the risk of boring the Adept, I feel that a clear understanding of what is meant by Will is needed here to protect the student from assuming too much. Will, as is meant here, is the ever-present force that holds reality together. There can be no existence without Will. No existent thing controls Will, but rather Will controls all existent things. You do not have Will; Will has you. The definition is at best tenuous due to the uselessness of symbols in describing the equation 0=2. Failure to understand the definition entirely is an indication that this shield system is not yet for you. The ultimate test is that if you use it and it doesn’t work then you didn’t understand the concept. Don’t flatter yourself into an early grave.

If you are acquainted with this state of mind (or consciousness or reality) then you can easily see that no attack on you can occur because there is nothing that is not you. Or, conversely, there is Nothing that is you. How might an existent thing affect a non-existent thing?

However, most practitioners have not gone this far and aren’t familiar with non-symbolic thinking. As such, the best (and most popular) form of shield is the interposing type.

Familiars are often used as interpositional shields, taking the blow for their magician-owners. This can get expensive and demoralizing when attacks take place as the Familiar often cannot live through the experience.

Abstract shields, experience has shown, are more durable and more easily strengthened or recharged. They have the added feature of being non-living and thus less messy.

A good visual conception of mathematics can lead to a fine shield that borders on evasion but allows a “bubble” of ego-inhabited universe to exist. Language problems again. This shield is based on the concept of an unreachable mathematical limit.

Consider the statement 1/x. As x grows increasingly larger, the fraction 1/x grows increasingly smaller. Thus the limit of the statement 1/x as x approaches infinity is 0. As the denominator becomes larger the fraction becomes smaller. However, 1/x will never reach 0; it will always remain an eternally dwindling fraction.

Applied to distance, a limit could be defined by covering half the distance between two points, then covering half the remaining distance, and so on infinitely. You will find that you never arrive at a given point thinking this way.

What has this to do with a shield? Visualize this concept of limit within the shell of a hollow sphere around oneself. Imagine the shell as being one inch thick (an example, any thickness will do) with an infinite limit from the outside edge to the inside edge. No force or thought form can ever make it through that shield. Instead it will find itself travelling forever to cover one inch of shield.

To build this shield with minimum of figure-flipping, visualize infinite space, or if done ritually, invoke Nu. Use Saturnian force, or intelligence to compress the concept of space to an inch thick hollow sphere of predetermined size surrounding you. Recharge as often as your confidence in it wanes.

The shields described here have the advantage of not particularly needing ritualistic construction or formalized rigid symbology. They are simple and quickly activated and are extremely dependable and adaptable from tradition to tradition.

It is my hope that these methods find some use in a few magical repertoire.

key entry by Dark Star
taken from The Cincinnati Journal Of Ceremonial Magick