Much like my ability to see/perceive auras, this propensity has always ebbed and flowed with my practice. With my magical practice escalating over the last couple years, so too have these psychic senses grown. the last months, apparently, my senses have reached a point where school is getting toxic. I know most of the things I want to know—and sometimes more—but the headaches and the vicarious mood swings are starting to become a little too apparent.
Since recovering from my burnout, my primary shielding technique—when I chose to employ one—has revolved around different ideas of compression and displacement. My long-time favorite technique basically involves treating my aura like a Hoberman Sphere. It’s simple, effective against a surprising number of psychic “weather” conditions, and has few, if any, unintended consequences—chiefly, it can put off a bit of a “not worth your notice” vibe. The downside is that it offers little in the way of direct defense and none in the way of preemptive offence, and it’s rather easy to forget about—left closed too long, I sometimes get the psychic equivalent of muscle cramps.
Most recently, I’ve been experimenting with layers. A layer of windows, as discussed before, as armor against psychic weather and the evil eye. Another layer, a bit deeper into the astral, of sensitive psuedopods to keep me aware of what’s going on. It’s been mostly effective, but oddly leaves me feeling more cut-off from the rest of the world than I actually am, as well as seeming to put off a bit of an aloof and unapproachable air. I’m trying to come up with a visualization that’s produces a warmer and friendlier sort of charismatic aura, maybe even incorporating that as its own layer “outside” or “in front of” the glass panes. I’m also trying to figure out what it is about those particular visualizations that leave me feeling so cut off.
Recalling my youthful experiments, I’ve also tried reproducing my bad-anime-armor-style shields. They make me feel like a badass … and ramp up my aggression by about ten percent. They also have the interesting effect of limiting the field of view in my astral sight in accordance with the shape of the helmet I visualize.
The astute reader will have noticed a consistent pattern to my shielding strategy: they are all rooted in visualization and imagery. Although I understand that other magicians code instructions into their shields, keeping out “negative” or “unwanted” energies … in this, at least, I cannot form anything for which I cannot picture a shape, color, and texture. I can’t form an image of a net that knows what I want to keep away and what to let through: I don’t know what that looks like. Aradia can do it—you should see the mad shit she can code into personal or house wards—but I don’t have the knack. There are, of course, those who say that this limit is self-imposed. I won’t even argue. Self-imposed limits are just as real as those imposed from the outside. I’ll overcome it eventually: it’s really just a matter of creativity, which is one thing I have no shortage of … just occasional bouts of (sometimes long-running) blockage.
In the meantime, I’m also looking to experiment with sigilizing personal wards and charging talismans. For a long time, I disdained that absurdly obvious and effective tactic as “too easy” or “a crutch”. (Y’all may have picked up that I have had, and still struggle against, a tendency to be an unmitigated arrogant ass.) This is bullshit. I’m a goddamn tool using monkey! Let’s use some goddamn tools.
It’s been a couple years since I’ve been inspired to go so far back to basics.