Recently, a fellow member of the FranzBardonMagi forum did a search through the archives for an old post of mine on the subject of shielding, all to no avail. So, here's a post on shielding that's actually titled "Shielding" which I offer in the hopes that it will be findable among the archives in future. I apologize for its length!
The first thing to be said on this subject is that there is no need for paranoia, especially if you're following a balanced path such as Bardon's. The universe is NOT out to get you! ;-) Many folks have put forth the idea that there is danger around every corner when you're pursuing a magical path, but this is simply not so -- unless of course this is what you are always expecting in the back of your mind. The thing is, when you set yourself up in this way for continual difficulty, that is exactly what will be drawn to you, but this has nothing to do with the following of a magical path.
Therefore, it is important as you work with shielding, to stay away from the inclination to paranoia. A shield is not a thing which should merely serve to assuage your fear; instead, it is to be a thing which promotes your self-confidence.
There is no avoiding the inevitable, so if you think that a shield will forever keep you from encountering unpleasant experiences you are just plain wrong. Even the strongest shield will not buffer you from the karmic consequences of your actions.
What a shield can protect you from are impersonal, stray influences and influences that are directed specifically at you by others. While the latter is rare, the former is quite common. For example, as you move throughout your day, you will inevitably encounter the foul moods of others or the emotional residue resident in particular places, etc. Repelling these influences is where a shield is most effective.
The philosophy (quality) that underpins a shield is important. Personally, I prefer a shield that alerts me to any incoming or ambient negative influences and then gives me the option to either let them in, or reject them entirely, as I see fit. We can learn many important lessons from our encounters with negative forces and unpleasant circumstances, so avoiding them entirely misses the point. It would be like living your life with your head buried in the sand -- it gets awfully hard to breathe and you miss so much of what goes on around you. ;-)
The influences that a shield can protect you from are, by nature, of mental and/or astral density, therefore a shield is composed of similar material. The best shield is energy based AND impregnated with a specific ideation. By extension, such a shield can protect you from much physical harm since by erecting a wall through which mental and astral influences cannot pass, you therefore avoid the physical consequences of those forces. But here again, this is only effective so long as these consequences are not of a personal karmic nature.
There are three basic types of shielding which I will now discuss: 1) Drawing down the Kethric Light. 2) Surrounding oneself with the Vital Energy. 3) Working with the Akasha.
1) Using the Kethric Light.
By this term I mean to indicate any shield that employs energy (Light) drawn down from "above". An example of this is the Golden Dawn's "Middle Pillar" exercise or the "Rose Cross". Both of these effectively draw down energy from a higher source than the individual and use it for the individual's protection.
This can, of course, be done in less formal ways. For example, merely through visualization the same effect can be caused.
Before engaging in any sort of shielding, a banishing of negative influences should be undertaken. Whether that be done through a ritual such as the Golden Dawn's "Lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram" (LBRP) or through other magical means, is of little importance, so long as it is done. A simple visualization will also suffice. The reason this is necessary is that it does not pay to bind any negativity to yourself, inside of the shield you will be taking such care to create. It is far wiser to wrap your shield around a cleansed space.
When crafting a shield from this higher Light, it should always descend from above your head and slowly wrap itself around your entire body, from head to toe. The Light should descend in a clockwise direction (i.e., it starts from your left side and rotates around your front, over to your right side, and then around your back to your left side, etc.). Your shield should stay in this constant circular or spiral motion.
Your shield MUST be impregnated with its underpinning ideation. Namely, that it protect you in the manner you desire and that it stay put for as long as you desire it to.
Unless you are establishing a very temporary shield, you will need to arrange for its replenishment. This can be accomplished in two primary ways: 1) You can keep it connected to its source. 2) You can disconnect it from it origin and direct it to replenish itself from the universal storehouse of Light. The latter is preferable.
2) Using the Vital Energy.
This is the type that I use for my permanent shield as it is the most versatile and is the easiest to maintain. By 'Vital Energy' I mean the energy that Bardon describes in Step Two of IIH.
In my experience, the best form of the Vital Energy to use for shielding is not the golden tinged variety but the clear, white variety. This seems to have less of an affinity to the human body and therefore is not disturbing to the nerves when surrounding the body for extended periods of time. However, it should be pointed out that creating a shield out of the Vital Energy is not exactly the same thing as accumulating the Vital Energy since here one does not permeate one's entire body with the Vital Energy as one does in the accumulation.
The initial procedure is as follows:
Sit comfortably, lie down or stand erect, as it suits you, and completely relax your body from head to toe. Banish all negativity from your mind and body, and concentrate upon the feeling of harmony.
Draw the Vital Energy to you so that it surrounds your entire body. Do not let it permeate your body, only let it surround you. If you are able, condense the Vital Energy to a very high degree.
Now set the Vital Energy in motion and let it rotate clockwise as before. Be sure that it surrounds your entire body, even under the soles of your feet.
Next, you must impregnate it with your ideation. Give to it its predetermined purpose.
And finally, arrange for its duration. Here you are faced with many alternatives. I recommend that you bind it to the universal storehouse of Vital Energy by directing it to constantly replenish itself from this source. If you do not do this, then it will dissipate once you redirect your attention away from it.
As for the duration of your shield itself, you can either make it a permanent thing or make it so that it will materialize only when you think of it, or anything in between. Don't forget that you can always change your mind later and modify it so that it better suits you needs.
Once these things have been taken care of, you can then return to your normal everyday awareness or you can proceed further. If you stop here, take a moment occasionally to sense your shield. The "further" steps require a bit more training than this simple procedure.
The first "further step" is to extend your shield to your astral body. This is done by first sensing the dimensions of your astral body and then creating the same shield of Vital Energy for it as you just did for your physical body. All of the same rules apply as regards rotation of the Vital Energy, impregnation with your ideation, replenishment and duration. End this step by joining your physical shield with your astral shield.
The final "further step" is to erect a shield around your mental body. The procedure is exactly the same except that here you must be able to sense the dimensions of your mental body. All of the same rules apply and you end the operation by joining your three shields together so that they act in unison.
As I said previously, I employ this sort of triple-shield for my own permanent shield. Within my underpinning ideation is the idea that this shield will alert me of ANY incoming influence. This provides me the opportunity of either accepting it or rejecting it at will.
For the most part, I am seldom conscious of my shield. But when I am entering a situation or space that I expect will be filled with stray influences of an unfavorable or unwanted nature, I have simply to focus on my shield and there it is, ready and able.
Until I had perfected the connecting of my shield to the universal storehouse of Vital Energy, I had to periodically replenish it. I suggest that you check the status of your shield periodically, especially in the beginning. As you work with shielding, this process of replenishing will become easier and much faster, and eventually, unnecessary.
If you care to, this sort of shield may be bound to a physical object and/or a spoken phrase. For example, my triple-shield is bound to three pinky rings that I always wear: my physical shield is bound to a simple silver band; my astral shield, to a simple yellow-gold band; and, my mental shield, to a not-so-simple white-gold band. All I have to do to ignite my shield to its strongest force is touch these rings.
I have also bound my shield to a simple phrase that I learned during my Wiccan studies. This phrase is: "I cast out all negativity [the banishing] and in its place let harmony be [the blessing]. I now invoke the law of three [this is where the three parts of my shield are ignited] and as I will, so mote it be."
I highly recommend this sort of Vital Energy shield to all students of IIH. It does not interfere with the training and it will help preserve you from harm. Of course, the greatest preservation from harm is the attainment of the Elemental Equilibrium, so it should never be assumed that mere shielding will do in its place.
3) Using the Akasha.
This is a more "advanced" technique that requires great facility with the Akasha. It also serves a somewhat different function than the previous two types of shielding. Here, the greatest advantage has to do with avoiding negative influences that are directed specifically at you. It does also offer protection from those pesky stray influences, but one who is capable of working with the Akasha in this manner is generally impervious to such influences already.
As before, this technique is of no use in attempting to avoid one's karmic debt. This is because karma resides within the Akasha and there is therefore NO escape from one's karma.
The particulars of this technique are very difficult to describe to someone who has no facility with the Akasha, and for someone who does understand the Akasha, any explanation I could offer would be unnecessary, so I will not be going into the particulars. Instead, I will speak only in general terms -- hopefully not too enigmatic!
Essentially, this technique involves wrapping oneself with the Akasha, but it is not the body that one wraps. Instead, it is a specific level of one's being that is encapsulated. I call this level "beads and threads", since that is how it appears to me. The "thread" is the individual lifeline and the "bead" is the present moment of the individual incarnation. Another appropriately descriptive name might be "spheres and rods".
At a perceptual level in this realm, incoming influences are seen as threads or lines that intersect the individual sphere/bead at an angle different than the individual lifeline. The degree of angularity indicates the temporal relationship of the incoming influence. For example, if the influence intersects on the horizontal (the individual lifeline runs vertical) then it is coming from a very recent source, but when the influence intersects at a nearly vertical angle, then the influence is very old and may even be karmic in nature.
At any rate, if you're capable of finding this "place" you will recognize my meaning.
At first, it is only possible to encase one's own sphere/bead with the Akasha, but with time, it also becomes possible to encase the rod/thread as well. Eventually, it is even possible to encase the beads and threads of others, and thus afford them a similar degree of protection.
Here's how it works: By encasing yourself, at this specific level, with the Akasha, you are, in effect, removing yourself as a target for any incoming influence. When such an influence finds no target, it dissipates. Therefore, this sort of shielding is NOT a rebuff of the force, nor is it a "return to sender" sort of mirror-shield. Instead, it totally and permanently dissipates the incoming force and the original energy behind the force is absorbed into the undifferentiated storehouse of raw energy.
I recommend this sort of shielding as being essential for any magician doing very advanced work, especially those doing the kind of work that, by its nature, elicits a strong negative, opposing response from those that are, by their nature, prone to such responses to extremely strong positive works.