When to be wary of gifts

Mike recently made an interesting post about how physical touch can be used to get around shields. It made me think of how else someone might try and get around magical shields and what came to mind is when someone gives you a gift, it can be the perfect opportunity to attach something to the gift that is malevolent. I can even think of a personal example.

A few years back another magician sent me a couple of rattles. I was wary about accepting them because my relationship with that person had soured, but nonetheless I did. I shouldn't have. I should have remembered instead how he'd tried to harm two people I knew, as well as trying to undermine me in a couple of other ways. I think I hoped he'd changed his ways, but knowing this person as I do, I should've known better. And by accepting his gifts, I was accepting his continued influence in my life, and also whatever he attached to those gifts.

I got rid of the two rattles a year or so later after I received them and I noticed a distinct change in my environment. I also noticed that my creativity improved. Now it could be psychosomatic, but nonetheless, just as Mike notes that physical touch can be used to get magical shields, why not also include gifts given, since if the gift is accepted, what is also accepted is what the person attaches to the gift.

I got rid of the two rattles by taking them out of my house and then burying them in the Earth, making them an offering to the land and asking that anything attached to them be recycled to the benefit of the land. And I did a banishing ritual in regards to that particular person, with the desire that he stay out of my life. I didn't feel a need to do anything else, nor a desire to.

That incident did teach me to be careful about the gifts I accept from people. While I'd like to believe that most people are motivated by a genuine desire to give something freely and with good intent, I can't help thinking of the poison apple given to Snow white. It looked good, it seemed like a wonderful gift, but one bite..,and she discovered that the gift had a bite of its own. So I accept gifts, I'd prefer to accept them from people I can genuinely trust as opposed to people who might have an alternative agenda.

Some thoughts on Magical protection

My wife was recently on a spiritual retreat and she told me that many of the people there didn't shield themselves and then were visited by the ghosts and had weird dreams. She shielded herself each night and had no weird dreams or encounters with the dead. I have to admit to feeling puzzled that any occultist wouldn't know how to or wouldn't think to shield themselves. But evidently this happens a lot, and I have encountered the occasional occultist who doesn't shield him/herself as a conscious choice. I was once even told that the person didn't shield because s/he wanted to experience whatever s/he encountered. I can't say that's a wise policy as you can end up encountering things you don't want to deal with, but if the person is willing to deal with the consequences...

Personally I'm not willing to go anywhere without having shielded myself and when I sleep in a hotel or anywhere else, I always have the space I sleep in warded. And I think what amazes me the most is that many of these occultists don't seem to know how to do even a basic shielding. I know there are books on the topic, so I'm not sure why they don't know, but its odd and it speaks to a fundamental lack of training.

When I first started practicing magic, one of the first activities I learned and performed daily was shielding. There were a couple techniques provided in Ted Andrew's books on working with spirits...They had you create a shield by vocalizing the names of gods and visualizing different energies enfolding your physical and spiritual surroundings with protective energy. I noticed that when I did that practice that I did feel a sense of protection, as well as a clearing of the space around me, so I did it everyday. I don't do that particular practice anymore, but I still do shielding each day, for the benefit of shielding, but also for the benefit it provides me in terms of starting my day. I feel good, and I feel focused. It takes me a half hour each day to do the practice, and its well worth the time.

Some people say that daily practice isn't that important, but I disagree. Daily practice is the application of your spirituality to your life. Shielding is one form of that, but there can be other forms. However when your spiritual isn't practiced diligently, how can you really know it or rely on it? The answer is you can't because its something you aren't applying to your life. Your mouthing the words, making the motions, but its not something you know. That knowing comes through daily work.

As for shielding...any person who chooses to practice magic knows that s/he is inviting a different awareness of the universe that brings with it possible encounters and experiences that can nonetheless be filtered out through shields. I shield so that I can focus on manifesting the experiences that truly speak to the core of my practice as a spiritual and practical application of my experience of the world.

What about you? Do you shield, or not shield? Why or why not?