One thing I’ve noticed in recent years is that there isn’t a whole lot of information on Warding Ritual. And being a High Priestess of a public coven I feel that it’s kinda important information. So here’s my take on it, for what it’s worth, may it be of some use to some people.
While it is my personal belief that every ordained “preist/ess” and practiced witch should be able to ward a basic public indoor ritual, it is common trend that certain people will be more drawn to the work than others. Usually these are the people who take safety as the highest priority, tend to be grounding energies to be around, may very well lean toward the Warrior path. But it’s a skill that is worth the work and effort to getting good at. As it helps in all manner of situations in life and in magical work.
What is the difference between Warding and Shielding?:
These two words get interchanged a lot and there tends to be confusion about them because when talking about one you usually talk about the other. As a general rule of thumb, shielding is something you do for yourself or a person and warding is something you do for a place/location group of people.You ward
your house. You would ward
a ritual. You shield
yourself or the person next to you.
It is my general belief that in order to be a competent warder you MUST have your own competent shielding, but I’m sure there are some cases to prove me wrong. Shielding is one of those basic energy workings that I’m sure you can find tons of articles and information on the web, so I’m not going to bother at the moment. Just like I’m going to pass over warding your house, lots and lots of different ways to do it and lots of people talking about it. What people aren’t talking about is warding ritual. 😉
A lot of warding is pure preparation. Preparation is your first line of defense, gathering all the facts, identifying likely (and unlikely) problems/situations and developing strategy to handle them.
Where is your event taking place?
In a park?
In someones backyard?
At a Festival?
Wherever the location of the ritual is, will dictate the needs and ease of warding. You need to know your surroundings.
If it’s a park, how well populated is it? Will you need to have someone intercept stray soccerballs, and children? Someone to run interference on bystanders deciding to whip out their camera phones?
In someone’s backyard, is there a fence? If not, the same questions as above stand.
At a festival, is it outdoors or indoors? Who or what activity is going on before you or beside you?
If you are not on your own land, then you need to know the rules and wishes of your host/ess for the space you are using. It is the Warders job to ensure that these rules and wishes are respected.
Warding in space that is not your own:
And how often is this not the case? As stated above you should always respect the wishes and rules of the owner’s of the space that you are using. If this means no burning of incense, then you find other means to cleanse the space (bell ringing, water asperging). If this means certain statues and areas are sacred and off limits, you make sure everyone is aware of that.
The more open a space, the more chance for chaotic and unwanted energies to try to get into your ritual. Being indoors, on a mundane level, means you can shut/lock doors so people who weren’t invited can’t get in. On an energy level it provides already made channels and structure to charge and keep a energetic container as closed or open as you see fit. Fences and other physical borders can be used in the same way.
If you are outside with no fence, it is much harder to make the container, physically and magically.
There are things you can do to make it easier.
- Mark off a boundary with warding charms (energetically charged rocks,crystals. I’ve been using nuts recently but more on that another time). Use as many or as little as you’d like, I use a minimum of three. It is also good to have one of the charms on you, that can feed your energy easily into the circuit of all the charms.
- Meditative walk around perimeter of ritual (Prior to beginning): In outdoor rituals I’m a big fan of walking the perimeter during ritual when at all possible, but this technique takes place before the ritual starts. It involves mentally noting and imprinting the boundaries in your mind, and physically laying down your energies through walking. Animals do this all the time walking the and marking the boundaries of their territory. Just like trails become more visible and easier to tread the more they’ve been walked, the more you walk the boundary ahead of time the easier it will be for you to sense weakening/intrusions and send more energy out to bolster the container.
- Asking for help from your guides/totems or Deities. Depending on the size and heaviness/appropriateness of a ritual dictates who I will ask for help for. Obviously at a women’s full moon ritual I’m not going to be asking Dagda to help me keep an eye on people’s energy. But if it’s some heavy shit we’re dealing with where people are likely to maybe stray too far into the veil, I might ask Morrighan. Otherwise I kept it to my animal guides. For me that’s the raven and the wolf pack. They make an excellent team energetically. The raven is a scavenger by nature and easily can pick out and devour unwanted energy if there is call for it. And the wolf being a pack animal hones in on people’s emotions and whether they are in need of help or not. If you don’t know how to ask your guides for help while warding then I suggest you not attempt it and leave it till you get to that point in your path.
- Visualization, this is the basic technique used in personal shielding and can be applied to “shield” and ward a public ritual. Instead of focuses on seeing your shield around just you, your would focus it around the ritual itself. Visualization I mention last, because while it is the most well known of technique it is has several disadvantages.
- First being if you are not properly grounded centered to a greater energy force then you run the risk of burning out your own energy.
- Even if you are fully and properly grounded and centered you are still essentially acting like a circuit, and depending on how long and large the ritual you are warding for can & most likely will at the end feel like you’ve been completely worn out from the inside out.
- Sometimes the atmosphere and energy that you are warding off is just too much for your currently level of mental visualization.
This is not to discredit visualization as a warding technique, it can be used very effectively. Having more than one Warder certainly makes is more applicable technique. And in cahoots with the other techniques makes for excellent and sound warding practice.
An important note about warding in space you don’t own, it’s your job to make sure that the space is as good or better than when you came in. It’s your job to take down all your wards, help/make sure it’s all cleaned up. If you brought it in energetically make sure you take it out.
You’re prepared, ritual is about to start now what?
Warders, are the gatekeepers and guards of the fortress that the ritual is taking place within. Like all good guards they must be prepared for WAR.
Cheesy huh? But it’ll stick in your head and that’s the important part. And that my friends is the job in a nutshell. Warding means you are not going to be fully engaging in the ritual. If it’s a very major ritual you might be standing outside/walking the parameter for the entirety of it. If it’s not so major then you might be following along, but your mind will be on the people and not magical working. Scan the crowd, note where the families are, where the children are. If there was someone who came in giving off an on the verge of tears vibe keep an eye on them.You’re looking for fluxes and voids in people’s energy and the container of the ritual. You’re also making sure that physical things don’t interrupt the ritual. Like if there are sirens outside the building you should go see what’s that about. Make sure that candle doesn’t light things on fire. That’s the watching part.The Analyzing part is calculating whether or not what you see needs. Is it something you can fix energetically from a distance? Do you need to get up and go get the Tender for someone, or can you just use eye contact to let them know someone is on the edge? Is someone being TOO disruptive? This is where knowing the rules of the space, the wishes and rules of your ritual or group, and you’re own common sense come into play.
Then you React to that. It’s your job to do something. Whether that something is to send the energy, or get up and show someone to the door. As a warder it falls to you.
The Little talked about aspect of Warding: Appearance:
I’m not saying it isn’t possible for you to be a 5’4″ 135 lbs woman dressed as a flower maiden and be a Warder. As a lady who resembles those statures and has been bedecked in flowers it would be hypocritical of me to think so.What I am saying is that we are visual creatures, and that collectively we react to visual social cues. This affects Warders specifically because, part of your job is being VISIBLE. High Priest/ess wear crowns and BAM! everyone automatically knows to listen when they are talking. I am an advocate of Warders being given a physical indicator of authority (an armband, a sash, a belt, a big ass stick) at larger formal events, but on a more subtle casual note a Warder should just give off a presence of confidence and control.
What this means personally, is that you need to be in a state of complete comfortable confidence in your abilities to Watch, Analyze and React.
I am a personal believer in the power given to adornments to help you get into this state of mind. Be that a necklace/tailsman of your deity, armor/boots/charm/belt/superman underwear/jacket/outfit, if it helps you feel confident and in control, wear it.
This goes deeper than the obvious though. Yes, the lady in the black leather corset and multiple knives would give anyone pause to cause trouble just as much as the 6″+ brick wall of a man in the trench coat would. But it is as much about the way they carry themselves as what they look like.
They aren’t hiding, they’re vigilant even in conversation scanning the room, head turning towards commotion and ruckus. They head over to the group that might be getting a bit too wild with steady steps and diffuses things before they even get to a low boil. They move the candles before someone’s skirt can brush the flames, they watch as people come in and as they go. Their energy is present, firm, and strong.
You may not even notice these things consciously but you will subconsciously, and should you have a problem you will be able to find them to ask for help.
Here’s a little homework assignment, next time you’re at a that ritual, or even a party. Stop for a moment and just look around, see if you can identify who is Warding. Yes even at a party you’ll be able to spot someone who is, without even being told to (or maybe without realizing it). They’ll be doing all the things I listed above. Scanning the crowd, noticing when the doorbell rings, or a phone goes off. They’ll be the one making sure the people who have had too much to drink are getting home safely. That’s what warding is. Keeping an eye out and making sure everyone leaves the ritual at least in as good of condition as they came to it.
After ritual you may feel a bit lightheaded, or heavy limbed (or any number of physical attributes that comes with moving/holding/filtering a large amount of energy). Make sure that you take care of yourself. Drink water before ritual, during ritual and after ritual. Make sure you eat something before ritual and have something to eat after ritual. Know your body. If you get serious headaches from lots of energy work, take something. Take a few moments after ritual to re-ground yourself, stretch and relax.