The first person I ever met who shared my interest in magic and the occult was a young man I’ll call Shire. We were sixteen, maybe fifteen years old when we our curiosity blossomed into outright experimentation. I don’t remember, now, what his framework was, but I was already identifying as Pagan. I came from a generic Protestant background, more informed by the Boy Scouts and television than by any churching; his mother was a hardcore White Light New Ager. Our experiments began with the most basic elemental conjuration you can imagine: holding our hands over candles and bowls of tap water, trying to absorb and tune to Elemental Fire and Water. He was more sensitive; I was better at focusing and projecting power.
Like most young men with an interest in the occult, especially in the Midwest of the early 1990s, I exhibited a certain paranoia: I was convinced that there were spiritual forces arrayed against me, and I focused much of my time and attention on the creation of protection spells and psychic shields, and on developing ways to penetrate or circumvent them. To this day, I remain one of the most skilled magicians I know (at least in meatspace) when it comes to building and dismantling magical protections.
My first shields were formed by visualizing myself in a suit of armor. I don’t know where I got this idea. This was before I owned any books beside the “Simonomicon”, so if I didn’t come up with it on my own, I must have gotten it off of one of the message boards I was frequenting in those days. Because I was a serious geek back in the day, my armor looked something like this:
My earliest magical attacks were “swords” I held in my hands, soon replaced by a knife-like formation that I would throw.