What is Shielding?
Shielding, in psychic terms, is a form of protection from outside influences such as psychic attack and empathic overload. A shield is a layer of energy that you surround yourself with and that allows you to regulate what energy will affect you and how.
How do I make one?
The simplest form of shielding is a simple boundary shield. To make one, imagine your skin becoming full of energy, and imagine energy coming out of the top of your head and pouring down your body. Wherever this energy touches your energized skin, it solidifies. It turns into a solid shield of energy that can protect you. There. You have now made your first shield (albeit a weak one ). What other types of shields are there?
Lots. The most interesting in my opinion are the combat shields. These shields are defensive/offensive shields that are used in a psychic combat situation. There are also camouflage shields, which although very hard to master, render the user invisible or at least hard to find to other psychics. Shields can be used for many different things; I store my constructs in my shields. But you have to know what type of shields to use when. A boundary shield (like the one above) would be useful if all you wanted to do was prevent yourself from being empathetically overloaded.
To do this, as you make your shield just "program" your shield/imagine it filtering out all empathic signals as you make. For a mirror shield that would block out all energy signals and send them away, imagine this as you create it. I tend to almost mentally "talk" to my shield when I program it. Intent is almost everything. Almost. For more advanced shields, however, there is a factor of the structure of the shield as you create it.
Cool. But can you have more than one layer?
Of course. If you make yourself a combat shield, it would actually be far wiser to have several shields on top of each other, each to do a different job. This will constitute a shield system.
What are the main factors affecting shields?
Concentration and energy. Amount of energy, that is. Some shields require less concentration and more energy, some more concentration and less energy, etc. An absorption shield would require a lot of concentration but not so much energy; you'd have to program it to
- Detect incoming signals
- Perceive whether they are hostile or friendly
- If hostile, the signals must be caught and depatternized
- And must finally be absorbed into the shield
All this would take quite a bit of concentration and programming skill. Also, there is the skill factor. The more experienced you become with working with a particular shield type, the less concentration is required for it. Kind of like the computer game Diablo - the more experienced you get with a spell, the less it takes to do that spell.
Any last tips?
Once you've made your first shield, keep it up 24/7. Regenerate it several times a day. Once you can actually feel your shield on you, this means you've put enough energy into it. Now try something slightly more complicated, or try upgrading your shield, but using the skin-charging method I described above.
An Introduction To Psi Shielding
Once again, it is useful to define one's terms. In a field where very little has been openly discussed until recently, it is natural that there should be some variety in the words used to express the concepts, varying according to tradition and physical location. In this context, "Shielding" refers to the construction and maintenance of psychic, psionic, and/or magical defenses around one's person, most often within or along the 'edges' of the aura. Much as felis concolor is known in various regions as 'cougar', 'puma', 'mountain lion', 'panther', 'mountain varmint', 'gentleman longtail' and so on; so too are Shields also known as 'personal wards', 'bubbles', 'force-bubbles', 'force-fields', 'barrier-shields', 'psychic defenses', 'shells', 'cocoons', et cetera. Many of these terms may also refer of other kinds of defenses depending upon the usage at the time.
How important Shielding is depends upon one's situation. Obviously, anyone unfortunate enough to be embroiled in psionic combat needs thorough knowledge and a high level of skill in several kinds of Shields. People with a natural tendency toward telepathy or empathy, but otherwise secure, can probably get away with learning two or three.
Because many telepaths and empaths need to Shield almost continuously, they get lots of practice, but are likely to favor the less fancy forms that maintain themselves. Those who find themselves the victim of a psychic vampire generally tend to something in between these two groups. Everyone else involved in psychic or magical activities probably ought to learn at least one Shield, but is most likely to use it only on an as-needed basis. The mind has rudimentary Shields that occur naturally, and these seem to be sufficient for the average person in a normal situation.
Shielding is sufficiently standard a skill that practically any book on how to do magic or psionics, and most on psychic development, includes instruction on at least one method. There is little agreement on exactly when to start learning it. (Personally, I figure it ought to be taught in kindergarten, but I must admit to being seriously biased in this matter.) This little article is about psionic Shielding, simply because that is what I know, being neither mage nor witch. If you can produce a psi ball, you can make at least a simple psionic Shield. Once you can do a basic one, the rest is just practice, study, and playing.
Start with choosing your favorite method of making a psi ball. Next, consider exactly what you want your Shield to do. An example of a nice, basic, Shield intention is to "keep unwanted thoughts and energies from passing through from the outside, and keeping all but deliberate Sendings within". Now, form a psi ball while concentrating on our 'intention'. Put lots of energy into it. Allow the psi ball to grow, first enveloping your hands, then gradually your whole body, and a goodly amount of your aura as well.
Add more energy until it feels nice and strong. At this stage, visualize a shell forming around the edge of the ball, which is probably no longer round, but might be. Visualize the shell as being made of something strong that makes you feel safe inside it: it could be bullet-proof glass, bright light, titanium steel, diamond, thick bark,...whatever feels right to you. Make sure your shell is big enough not to make you feel claustrophobic. When its shape, size, and material all feel right to you, will it to stay put without further attention until you choose to dispel it. If you want to, you can state these intentions aloud, or even make it into a little rhyming ditty; or it can be entirely mental.
Dispelling the Shield is a simple matter. The method I use most often is to visualize the shell dissolving into what look like 'pixels' which gently collapse to the ground and are absorbed back into the Earth, while intending to release the Shield. This is often called 'dropping' one's Shields. Don't take the 'drop' part too literally, however. Letting a Shield collapse too quickly or too violently can result in a truly monstrous headache, and occasionally knock you senseless.
Visualize it rolling up like an automatic garage door, or rising open, or dissolving into nothing, or fading out...whatever you like. Just be sure the process is nice and gentle. As in the casting of the shell, a spoken component is optional. Likewise, you can incorporate physical gestures, if you want to.
Another common form of basic Shield is cast by, after going through the preliminary preparations, visualizing the protective energy forming a bell-shape or dome of thick glass or light around oneself. The dome may be called into existence whole, or gradually 'grown' around oneself. If you favor more solid-seeming construction, picture building the barrier, bit by bit, of bricks or stones, or sheets of metal being welded together.
As you can see, the construction of a Shield can have many variations. So can the Shield's programmed intentions. Rather than simply blocking negative energies, you can tell your Shield to absorb them to fuel itself. Or, you can make the outside mirrored, to send the negative energies back where they came from. For combat, it can even 'fight back', but that is a specialized application outside the scope of this article. Combat Shield configurations are certainly not for everyday use.
There are other specialized applications. For example, there are times when avoiding notice is desirable. Concentrating on diverting unwanted attention, on being totally uninteresting, while casting the Shield is often very effective. In fact, go ahead and concentrate on not being seen at all. I am not the only one who has used this to avoid physical attack.
On the other hand, sometimes giving the impression of being more capable than you are is the way to go, the way some animals puff themselves up to scare away an enemy. "Tell" your Shields to give off an 'aura' of strong, graceful self-assurance. There is no need to be cocky or obnoxious about it. the idea is to avoid a fight, not provoke one. No matter how good you are, there's always someone better.
If you happen to be 'into' visible psi balls, you may find it amusing to make your Shields visible, too, sometimes. They can glow, or take on any color or appearance you happen to feel like. Use your imagination. Most of these nifty special effects take a lot of effort and energy, so you probably will not want to use this variation often, nor for very long periods of time.
Among friends, extending a bit of a tendril from your Shield to brush gently against your buddy's Shield is a friendly hello. It is a little like a cat rubbing his cheek against his person, in effect if not in exact meaning. Just how friendly a greeting this is probably varies from place to place, and it is far from universal, so check local customs first, if there are any. Snuggling your mind, and therefore your Shields, up against someone else's is a greeting that goes rather beyond a friendly 'hello'.
In an emergency, it is quite possible to Shield another person's mind, in much the same way that you can Shield your own. This is a relatively advanced variation, and outside of combat itself very rare this is an unusual sort of situation: and exhausted and overloaded empath in the city, for example; or a telepath in poltergeist difficulties in the midst of his or her own personal tornado. Shielding someone else is a possibility of which you should be aware. However, it is unlikely that you would ever be in a position to require its use.
Common and Not-So-Common Shields
The best offence is a good defense. We've all heard this cliche associated with things like sports or martial arts, but it applies to the world of psionics as well. The most fundamental way of protecting oneself against the outside world is a shield. Just like psi balls, they can be programmed to do an unlimited number of tasks, ranging from simply stopping negative energy from entering your body, to interpreting different types energy and responding to each on an individual basis.
The average psion doesn't have a dictionary of hundreds of shields in their head for different situations - we each have a small database of regularly practiced shields that can be "tweaked" slightly to fit a given scenario. I, myself, use roughly three different types of shields on a given day, but also have a few advanced shields in mind "just in case".
The most common shield I use is referred to as the Bubble Shield.
Bubble Shields are easy to make and can hold up against everyday annoyances. I primarily use them for blocking "normal" humans' empathetic projections. Regulating how solid the shield is dictates how much empathetic information I receive from my environment. I've personally had trouble using them for blocking telepathic information, but keep in mind, my telepathic experiences are very limited. Bubble Shields are also useful against humans who subconsciously leach energy from others. Basically, in those situations, your shield has to only be more powerful than the person's next to you. The "leach" will generally go for the easy target and not even bother with you.
I use two techniques to create Bubble Shields (though sometimes I do outlandish things just to spice it up little ).
- The first is a simple visualization of a shell building from the ground to up, around your body, and finally meeting up over your head. Eggshells and plastic bubbles are typical visualizations.
- The second generates the shield from inside the abs, and expands it until it's around the entire body. This is useful for pushing energy off of you, while the first might trap it inside the shield.
Unfortunately, you can't just learn the Bubble Shield and be set for life. If you engage in any psychic combat, you'll find that your Bubble Shield doesn't amount to crap. A focused attack can go right through or shatter it, depending on the attackers skill and objective. Reconstructing and maintaining it during a fight isn't worth the effort. As mentioned above, the Bubble Shield is very basic.
It's great for everyday problems, but for more serious events, it's wiser to make a better type of shield, than trying to hold together a small Bubble Shield. One shield I'd like to discuss has a specific purpose. I invented it a year or so ago when I nearly got hit by lightning a couple times in a row, and still use it every time there's a storm outside. It has no formal name as far as I know, but I call it the Diffuse Shield.
As implied above, I use this shield for fending off lightning. It started when I was first dabbling in energy manipulation. The first time, I was home alone at night, and it was storming pretty heavy out. I was playing around with psi balls and throwing them around, when I bolt of lighting hit within 30 yards of my house. I didn't see it directly, but everything lit up (and I mean EVERYTHING - I was blinded for about twenty seconds), and my entire house rattled and vibrated. I was scared shitless, of course, so I stopped practicing psi balls until the storm was over. Thinking it could have been a fluke, I didn't worry about it after that.
After a couple of similar experiences, I didn't take any action until the last time (I think almost a year ago exactly). I was outside, and it wasn't storming at all. There were clouds above, but no rain and no lightning. I suddenly heard a "click click click" sound and looked up. For some reason I dove into the garage (I don't remember seeing anything), and the lightning nearly hit me again.
As before, everything shook and our house was rattling like crazy. Being nearly hit while it wasn't even raining made me think it wasn't just a "coincidence". I didn't know exactly how the lightning was targeting me, but I figured that I must be giving off a different charge (of some sort) than my surrounding environment. To solve this, I kept my internal charge the same (whatever it was), but made a shield to "diffuse" my charge into my environments charge.
Any energy I emitted would be the same as my environment, but my energy would still be the same. I assume it's worked because I've yet to have another experience like that, but I do have to create the shield every time it starts to look like it's going to rain. Of course, I'd rather do that than get struck by lightning, so I don't complain .
The technique is simple and the shield can be created in about the same amount of time as a Bubble Shield. First I create a thick Bubble Shield (not necessarily strong, just thick). Then I push some parts out to form a spike, and some parts in to form a spike. When I'm finished, it's similar to a furry ball - the spikes becoming so thin they're like fibers. It's made very "loose" and the fibers flow around freely. (I apologize for the cheesy animation , it's much easier to visualize than it is to draw).
I've yet to find another use for this shield other than the one stated. It'll fall apart in an hour or so (depending how you program it), and I can't think of any way it would be useful in a combat situation. Nonetheless, it's served it's purpose: I've yet to be struck . If you find yourself in a situation similar to mine, give this shield a try.
While the Diffuse Shield is made for a very specific purpose, the next shield I'm going to discuss can be used for a variety of applications. It's commonly referred to as the Mirror Shield because of its ability to bounce incoming energy in the opposite direction.
To be completely honest, I have little experience with this type of shield. I've used it on occasion while "sparring" with people, but I usually like creating something more complex (mainly because the Mirror Shield is kinda boring, in my opinion ). Despite my lack of interest, it is a popular and useful shield.
The technique is predictable given the name of the shield, but I'll go over it to be complete. Create it as you would any other shield, but program it to reflect incoming attacks. This can be accomplished by a nice "mirror" visualization or a slick silver color. There are some pitfalls to this shield that can trick-up a newbie.
The first is to make sure you create it so you can send energy out through the shield. It's no good if you go to attack and your attack bounces off the inside and nails yourself. Another is to make sure you make it's on the outside of all your other shields. The reason for this is that if you create it inside a Bubble Shield, for example, and the attacker breaks through part of the Bubble Shield, the energy will bounce off, and hit the Bubble Shield again on the way out. Two hits with one stone.
Though I personally don't find this shield "fun", it is very useful. A skilled psion can easily fend off a series of attacks with this one shield. The next shield is another simple concept, but a little harder to construct, in my opinion. I call it the Marshmallow Shield, though I'm not sure if that's the formal name .
The Marshmallow Shield is a thick, gooey, and sticky type of shield. Its primary purpose is to absorb attacks and hold them there for later. It can be programmed to de-patternize the simple attack or just spit it back out. It's hard to break because of its nature, but at best it can slow down a skilled attack.
One downfall (for me) is that it takes some time to construct properly. The visualization is simple, but it just requires a lot of energy. Basically, you want to picture a thick (probably at least one foot) wall of goo. Use semi-melted marshmallows for visualization. If you construct it in layers (which I do sometimes, to make it easier), you'll want to make sure the layers melt into each other completely - they can be a pain and separate on their own sometimes.
You might want to put some Bubble Shields on the outside and inside of it if you're making it really gooey. It should hold it's own shape for some time, but it might require some maintenance depending on how you make it.
As I stated above - it can take a while to make, even if you are somewhat skilled. It's not particularly good at handling sharp objects, but it's not meant to be used as the only line of defense. Combine it with other defensive shields to provide better protection. After it's made it can be repaired somewhat easily, so you can keep it up for long periods of time.
One shield that can be combined well with the Marshmallow Shield is the Force-Bubble Shield. It takes longer to construct, but provides some of the best protection.
Force Bubble Shield
In my opinion, the Force-Bubble Shield is one of the coolest out there . Just recently I've been experimenting with Force-Bubble Constructs, and the shield version is very useful and holds up against a lot of force. I can be used in combat or in any situation where you need to physically put force on an object. The downside is that it is pretty advanced and takes a lot of time to make (in most cases). Skill in telekinesis is useful.
The visualization is fairly simple but tedious. The one I use is to visualize a bunch of "psi-bricks" stacking up and forming a brick wall around myself. You'll also need some "psi-mortar" as well to stick it all together . Also, to incorporate the idea of force, I visualize a bunch of arrows pointing outwards on the bricks. In physics, force is usually shown by an arrow, so it works well for me (having a somewhat scientific mind). Think of something that means "force" to you and use it. The key isn't necessarily the visualization, but the practice. This shield takes a lot of skill to construct properly.
The Force-Bubble Shield is extremely useful and powerful. While the previous combat shields address the issue of dealing with an attack, the last shield's purpose is to help you not get in situations where you'll get attacked. It's known as the Cloaking Shield, or in some cases, the "Hedge" Shield.
I find this shield the most fun to play with. With it, you can walk up to someone while their looking right at you and scare the crap out of them (yes, that is fun! ). Previous experience with telepathic suggestion will help you with this shield's properties.
To create it, you'll want to form a mental image of what you want to project onto others. You can project yourself as "invisible" or something static (for example, a hedge, box, etc...). Whatever you choose, you should have a clear understanding of what the objects energy is like. You'll want to create a shield that emits this same type of energy. The goal isn't to physically make yourself look like a hedge, but rather to get the attacker to glance over you. Broadcast something like "Nothing to see here, just a hedge".
Another form of this shield would be to emit a "normal" human's energy field. When the attacker sees you, they'll either underestimate your ability, or ignore you completely. Obviously, visualizations of whatever you want to become work well for forming this shield. Remember though, you're not just creating a shield, your clouding the mind of your opponent. This is where telepathy is useful. Incorporate telepathic suggestion and broadcasting into the shield. Visualize your opponent becoming confused.
This isn't an easy shield to make, but it is useful. It doesn't take that long to make, just skill. With anything, practice makes perfect, and this shield is fun to practice .
Shields are essential to psions - from newbie to advanced. One last note: keep in mind that the two shields are better than one. Combine shields and layer them wisely to significantly increase your protection. Any shield can be cracked, but having backups for the backups ensures you'll have time to react to an attack.
Concerning Blocks and Internal Shielding
It is possible to erect Shields inside one's mind, in addition to the more usual defenses around it. This is a somewhat specialized technique, and probably only of limited use. Quite possibly the most obvious application is to keep one's most private memories private when mind-linking; while the most common is the subconscious repression of traumatic memories, as an internal defense mechanism...but the latter wanders into the field of psychiatry, and is well beyond the scope of an article of this kind.
A nice basic internal Shield is a slightly elastic Mirror configuration, with a smooth, glossy surface that bounces would-be intrusions harmlessly off its exterior. Such a Shield would dent inward a little if pressed, but immediately resume its normal form once the intruding thought-form was sent on its way.
Such internal Shields are constructed in the same manner as a regular Shield, and, in theory, any Shield you can construct normally you can make internally, too. In practice, however, the variety of internal Shields is more limited. This is the inside of your mind we're talking about here. In fact, some kinds would be physically inside your skull. You'll feel it any time the Shields touch anything (with a couple of odd exceptions), so you'll want something that's comfortable, right? Heavy-duty, strike-back-on-contact combat Shields could cause problems.
It may be wise to set a time limit when constructing an interior Shield, rather than simply wait until you want to drop it, to deal with dispelling it. Or, better yet, set it so that it will remain for a certain amount of time or until you choose to dispel it, whichever comes first. Otherwise, it is too easy to mess up the setting and have your own thoughts bouncing off it, thus unable to drop the thing, and that would not be good. (Can you tell that I speak from experience here? No need for you to repeat my error....)
A similar sort of block can be produced hypnotically, either in one's self or in another person. I tried a self-induced one out of curiosity, and it formed the sort of default-pattern Shield I mentioned earlier.
Dr. G.H. Estabrooks, in his "Hypnosis Comes of Age"*, mentions the use of a similar-sounding block in 'training' a kind of mind-controlled spy-courier in World War I. He took it a step further, and locked the blocking in place to prevent interference with, or even knowledge of, the block by anyone other than the courier's two handlers....specifically including the courier himself. Whether the block/shield produced no sensation in itself, or whether the courier had been hypnotically commanded not to feel it was not indicated in the article. The courier had been programmed to forget that he'd ever been hypnotized, and he had no idea that he was working as a spy, so it could have gone either way.
In fact, I am only guessing at the similarity in structure between the blocking Dr. Estabrooks' methods produced, and those under discussion here, based on my own experience (self-induced and otherwise) and descriptions of similar phenomena by other people who have experienced them. In the case of such descriptions of blocked memories, obviously the block eventually failed.**
It happens sometimes that blocking, of whatever nature, cracks or shatters after a period of months or years. If you have cause to construct such a block in your own mind ~ or someone else's, for that matter ~ you may want to bear that in mind.