Countless Shamanic, Tribal, Eastern, and Western forms of mysticism rely on a kind of animistic model in which things like illness, sickness, bad luck, misfortune, and overall problems are considered caused by negative spirits of some kind. This is a reality in those cultures and traditions, and its one we often don't talk about very much. There is a kind of worry that as practitioners we'll be practicing fear mongering when talking on such things. Likewise there is this predisposition by older and more experienced practitioners to dismiss the idea of negative spirits, curses, and just general attacks. This comes from being so well protected that it is no longer a worry.
At a certain level of practice, one's aura becomes like fire, burning anything hostile that would come within range. Beyond a certain point, we build castles, and have armies, perhaps of spirits recruited, perhaps of servitors made, perhaps from spirit allies who we have aided bringing protection to us, perhaps from talismans we employ and wear as habit now. Whatever the case, it becomes easy past a certain point to write off negative spirits, and negative energies as "non-concerns" when one gets past a certain level.
Likewise, as professionals, almost 90% of the situations where a client is convinced they have a major negative spiritual event, such as a spirit that is chasing them, are false alarms. These situations are, most often, where an attack had occurred and the spirit has moved on since then, but the injuries, pain, and memories remain. The remaining times, these situations may even be psychological issues a client is dealing with, things better suited to a doctor than a mystic. With such situations being so common for the "big things" people are experiencing, a habit of ignoring spiritual protection starts to form in the advice we give. This is while practitioners who have much time and energy invested into these arts still accumulate talismans, attunements, methods, spirits, or raw power for their own purposes. It is not an intentional hypocrisy, it's the nature of being so well defended we almost forget what it was like to be vulnerable.
When you walk around with an aura that is an invincible suit of armor, talismans that deflect all attacks, attunements that provide you raw protection, and a spirit army of unfathomably strong spirits, it is very easy to forget that others don't have these things. Still, as practitioners, we should never forget that the core of many methods of magick look at things like bad luck, illness, and life issues as negative spirits getting involved. They may be small spirits, quickly causing a problem, and then moving on so fast that they can't be detected, but they are there. Trying to pin them down may be impossible with readings, after all, they've already left. They get what they need from the pain and suffering, and move on fast. That's a hard thing to catch. So instead of trying to detect them, its better to prevent them.
Because of this, things like Guardian Spirits and Servitors become at least as important as Healing, Cleansing, and Manifesting ones. Talismans, and attunements that provide protection become as important for doing better in life as things like wealth, prosperity, and love talismans. After all, just aiming for a goal but not taking into account the difficulties and hurdles getting there is like shooting an arrow into a wind storm. With enough raw force we can still hit the target, but it is superior to also block the wind, to stop the disruptions that are preventing success.
I often wonder why I'm so drawn to Guardian spirits, and as time goes on, I think the answer is rather simple. Even if I'm conjuring a spirit more for prosperity, some part of me knows that lesser things will try to get in the way. A little bit of power to protect goes a long way. A powerful advisor who can still take a punch goes from being a little old man giving advice on the street corner, to something more like the Masters in the old Kung Fu movies, who's age hide an inner strength. This is also why the Soul Sword is such a top level recommendation from me to clients, because it ultimately takes a spirit not meant for fighting, and gives them a powerful ability to hold their own against a lot more, meaning when lesser things get in the way they can clear them out, instead of focusing JUST on the goal. This is a power multiplier. So how much protection should one have? For me, my rule is always "a little more" but, with respect also paid heavily to the rest of what I'm doing. If my goal is to heal someone, I may send over healing spirits, set up a powerful altar, utilize healing attunements, and line up talismans of great ability... yet I also go to my generals and warriors, I also call on more spirits to aid me in protecting not only my ally I aid, but myself and those around me. Even if it is just a small negative spirit hovering around drawing in on that suffering, removing it, doubles the work I do to heal. Many times for me as a practitioner that means directing my own powerful will and force of energy to remove the spirit myself, utilizing my talismans or attunements to clear a negative spirit, or things like that. One thing I do say to clients though, don't spend more than what is reasonable to your needs. Going into debt to order hundreds of conjures, talismans, and attunements just means you have new problems to solve, yet ignoring protection is a quick way to learning how big a part of it is out there.
So why the seeming shift in view points? It's not so much a shift, its a recognition that in an effort to NOT be like so many other practitioners who fear monger, I've been neglecting discussion on an area so important to my practice, that my old radio program The Labyrinth could have been called "A thousand ways to kick a Spirit's Rear, by Charles McBride." In an effort to ensure I'm not playing on the fear of people I care about, and I do care about my clients probably more than they know, I've avoided a deeper look at this.
It is my hope this article expands your views, and makes you appreciate the powerful protection you have, or helps you evaluate what you need as a practitioner. This is for all practitioners be they one who is working magick for their self, or one who works with spirits as a Spirit Keeper or Shaman, or simply one who relies on talismans to aid them. I think even if you don't "practice magick" in a ritual sense, once you start using the metaphysical you are a kind of practitioner, maybe not as deeply invested as myself and others who dedicate our lives to it, but certainly more than the common person on the street who knows nothing of what is happening in the spirit realms beyond!