Entire articles have been written on the related subjects of shields and filters. Having already discussed construct creation, we can skip the process of creation and look at what makes a good shield or filter, and why.
A shield is a construct created with the purpose of preventing something from reaching the practitioner. That “something” can be anything energetic, and commonly includes things like other practitioners, and energetic entities. The term “filter” is often used to describe a shield which keeps out input, such as telepathic or empathic emanations, while not blocking anything else. I tend to use the term shield to cover all types.
A great many shield articles describe fairly literal shield types. A good example is the bubble shield. A bubble shield is a bubble of energy which encases the practitioner, keeping nasties out. Another example is the marshmallow shield. This is a bubble composed of energy with a thick, soft consistency. A described benefit of the marshmallow is that it will absorb blows rather than shattering. A good attribute, if we were talking about physical matter. We are not. Energy will do, in essence, whatever you want it to. My attitude here might make you think that I disapprove of this kind of imagery, but the truth is that I don’t. By visualising a material, we are mentally describing the attributes we wish our shield to have. Marshmallow is soft. Soft means that there is a degree of “give”. By building the shield using such a material, you are programming your shield to likewise yield a little.
Time to relate a little story. Awhile ago I was surveying a shield I’d made and was feeling pretty smug about it. The only problem I’d ever had with shielding was getting the things to sit properly. I’ve always had problems with creating things around myself for some reason. I can create them behind, in front, to the side, above or below, but to hold a visualisation on all sides at once is something that has caused me some issues at times. To remedy this I would create the shield, then put it on. I’d been playing about recently with altering my perception of my devices, and for some reason I was reminded of an episode of Doctor Who I’d watched when I was little.
The Doctor and Leela are in the TARDIS, which is a sort of ship which travels through space and time. One of its more interesting attributes is that it is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Leela asks the Doctor how this is possible, and he illustrates the concept with a pair of boxes, one large and one small. He asks which one is bigger, and she indicates the larger of the two. Setting the smaller one a short distance away, he carries the larger to the far side of the room, and asks which is larger now.
Leela pointed again to the larger box. “That one.”
“But it looks smaller, doesn’t it?”
Leela admits that it does, explaining that that’s because it’s farther away.
“Exactly! If you could keep that box exactly the same distance away, and have it here, then the large box would fit inside the smaller one!”
“That’s trans-dimensional engineering!” said the Doctor severely. “A key Time Lord discovery!”
It is silly, but it got me to thinking. I looked at my huge, spherical construct, and switched my perspective, trying to view the shield as though it was a great distance away. From this perspective it did, of course, look smaller. Then I reached out and plucked the golf ball-sized bubble shield from the air. It had nothing to do with trans-dimensional engineering, and everything to do with a shift in perspective. What I did was chose to view the shield as small, and maintained that perspective when I mentally picked it up. Now I had a tiny shield, capable perhaps of keeping a beetle safe from energetic harm. The funny thing was, upon further investigation, I found that the shield still worked! It still blocked everything it had been programmed to keep from reaching me. It wasn’t necessary to have the shield actually around me in order to do it.
The key to the shield was the programming. The shield was programmed to block certain things from reaching me. I didn’t program it to block only those things between the shield and myself. If I had viewed the construct as a physical-type barrier, one which blocked things like a wall instead of blocking by virtue of the construct’s programming, I would have found that the construct no longer worked. The other thing this story illustrates is that things like size are largely irrelevant. A properly prepared construct the size of a match book can have the same effect as one the size of a car. It may assist you mentally to visualise your construct as something massive in order to reinforce in your mind that your creation is equal to its task. Once done, it’s very easy to shift perspective and “make” the construct appear smaller. A “smaller” construct is often preferable if it’s something you intend to keep on your person, and you’re not in the mood to have a tank on your shoulder. Bear in mind, also, that if your intent is for a construct to be large, it will probably be perceived by others as being large.
You’ll pick up more uses for shields as you progress in your studies in psionics. Below is a basic overview that you might find useful. There is no need to cover the how-to of shield creation as we’ve already discussed how to create a basic construct. The method is the same, and the only additional information you’ll need is the intent.
There are some who feel that a psion needs to be on guard against the world at all times, but I’ve found that this isn’t the case. If you don’t go actively seeking trouble you are very likely to find that trouble won’t come looking for you. As we’ve discussed, thought is what makes things happen. It may seem at first glance that anybody who has a nasty thought about you is sending an energetic nasty screaming for your blood. Realistically, your average “I hate him!” thoughtform isn’t going to do a great deal, and actual psionic attack is very uncommon. All of this being said, here is how to protect against both.
External energy is the best choice for protective constructs, as they tend to be long-term creations. While it’s a good idea to check your construct from time to time it makes little sense to use a long-term construct that will need to be frequently recharged. The construct must block all attempts to alter it by anybody other than yourself. It must block all attempts to reach or affect you on an energetic level. Be aware here that if you intend to interact with other psions it’s not a good idea to simply block everybody. You may choose to stop all attempts to harm you (an ambiguous sort of intent at best) or simply block everybody aside from a trusted few. It is certainly possible to block all interaction that is not initiated by you. That way you are free to interact, but it won’t allow contact without your permission. You may find it useful to create a construct to block all energetic interaction, and leave it inactive until you feel there is need to use it.
The energetic can affect the mundane. Magic in general would be a fairly pointless effort if this was otherwise. Charles “Uncle Chuckie” Cosimano’s Psionic Warfare contains a good example of protection in the mundane, where a mugger is dispatched by a falling air-conditioner, which just happened to come loose from its mounting at the right moment. A construct cannot break an assailant’s neck or stop an oncoming car. What it can do is manipulate circumstance, to make it more likely that that air-conditioner is going to make a bid for freedom at the right moment. It may cause you to feel an odd compulsion to walk a different route to the train station, or to slow down before approaching that intersection. There are a variety of ways in which a construct can offer protection that don’t involve direct physical inervention. Once again, the best energy source here is external. The construct’s intent is very simple: it is to protect you at all times from attack, accident or misadventure, using whatever means are necessary, but without harming anybody who does not intend you physical harm. The workman who drops his hammer from a scaffold above had no ill intent, and doesn’t deserve a three-storey fall. Simply ensuring you’re not in the path of the hammer is more than sufficient. The crackhead waiting in a darkened doorway is a different story, and while the construct’s mandate does not include punishing those who mean to harm us, I think it altruistic to the point of stupidity to worry about their safety when helping you avoid harm, especially when the easiest path may involve a sticky end for them.
Commonly described as filters, input shields are of particular use to the telepath and empath, especially when out and about. A trip to the local mall can be an exercise in discomfort for those who can can sense the thoughts or emotions of others. They key is to choose what you want to block, and what you want to let through. There is a major consideration here in the form of passive input versus input which is actively sought.
There have been times when I’ve put shields in place to block input from a certain person, only to find that the input still came through. There was nothing wrong with the shield and everything wrong with my approach. We gain input in two ways; passively and actively. Passive input is simply that which comes to you without your needing to seek it. This is the surface information that people cast off at all times without intending to. All one need do is simply focus upon it. To seek input actively is to attempt to read a person directly. If your shield’s intent is to block passive input, you will still be able to actively seek information. If you find that an input shield has failed, ask yourself whether you are still focusing on the input. It could be that the passive input is effectively blocked out, but you’re still actively seeking.
An input shield can be short-term or long-term, depending on what it is being used for. A shield to block input from one person during a temper tantrum may last for only an hour or more. In that case it may be easier to charge it directly and not worry about a permanent source of energy. If you are especially sensitive you may choose to put a permanent shield in place, in which case you would be better served by an external energy source.
Fields or wards are usually created around a specific area, and are programmed to keep people away from something. The most common ward I use makes use of colour symbolism, and I jokingly call it the “gtfo ward”. The visualisation is simply a very dense, ominous-looking black cloud or field of energy which is programmed to keep people out by making them feel uneasy and unwelcome. Fields of this sort are good for keeping people off your property at night, or away from your car when you’re parked. It’s very quick and easy to deploy, and for that reason I’ve used it for things as simple as guarding a can of Coke when I have to leave the room. The power source is usually nonexistent or ambient, depending on how long I intend to leave the ward. I’m sure you can come up with a lot of applications for this one. You can programme your field in a similar way if you are in a place where you want to be left alone. I usually deploy this at shopping centres to avoid being bugged by salespeople. Don’t forget to dispel it once it’s served its purpose, or you may find people avoiding you at home and at work.
Watcher constructs may or may not be sentient, and usually serve as early-warning systems to let the practitioner know of any trouble on the horizon, such as an unfriendly psionic observer, an approaching mugger, or even bad weather on the way. It is not uncommon to place a watcher construct around a student or loved one to keep an eye on them.
Guardian constructs tend to be sentient warrior-types that actively defend against psionic attack, in addition to the duties carried out by the watcher type.
I thought it a good idea to add something useful for those times when my readers are angry on the road, just so it’s known that there are ways of getting justice (or vengeance, at least) without resorting to violence or property damage. Besides, this is one of my favourites for when I’m in a temper over some teenaged hooligan on the highway. I hope you’ll find it useful, too.
As we’ve seen, the form can be just about anything that’s meaningful to you. I use a dome-light, like the ones seen in old cop movies where the undercover officer puts the light on the top of his car before charging off at full speed after the criminal. The intent is simple: to attract police officers, and make them very interested in the vehicle, and its driver. After years of saying, “There’s never a cop around when you need one,” I decided to ensure that there would be one around eventually, even if they’re not there at that moment.
After you’ve worked with constructs for a short time you’ll find that, if you do it properly, you’ll only ever have to create the blueprint once. Once created, all you need do is call it up mentally and then externalise it energetically. This saves a hell of a lot of time and effort, and means you can cast multiple constructs of the same design very quickly. If you want to change the construct later in some way then you’ll obviously have to re-plan it, but as long as you’re only doing minor modifications and not changing it in its entirety then this is a very easy matter. Pretty soon you’ll have a library of construct designs at your disposal, which you can cast at a moment’s notice.