This subject is indeed a little known, and even less understood part of Traditional Wicca. Built into the tradition are safeguards and protectors of all kinds, preserving, defending, and enhancing the teaching and its followers.
For the traditional Witch, fervent love and devotion to the Goddess and God, will afford the greatest confidence and inner strength for they are the living embodiments of Perfect Love and Perfect Trust, the ideals upon which the whole of the Craft is based. In other words, the ultimate safeguard and protection will lie in a balanced application of Perfect (unconditional) Love and Perfect (unrestricted) Trust which both arise from the feeling of oneness with all things. Indeed, by contrast, hatred and paranoia, will invite trouble as quickly as they will enrage a dog. Since these principles of Love and Trust are the central theme behind the Craft and its teachings, any contradictory ideas or forces are by definition effortlessly and ruthlessly excluded and barred completely from the brotherhood and from the teachings it carries.
Perfect Love and Perfect Trust: these are the Passwords of the Wicca, the Passwords of the Seven Gates of Hell attended by the Seven Guardians of the Ancient Wisdom. Through these Gates, by virtue of Her boundless Love and complete Trust did the Goddess herself penetrate, rushing in “where angels fear to tread” to the very depths of Hell in each of its four aspects. Thus must we also pass, if we are to become truly Wise.
Following her example of trusting love of all things, traditional Witches are friends of the creatures of darkness as well as those of light. The Owl and the Black Cat, the Bat and the Toad are all sacred symbols to the Wicca. They believe there are unseen creatures that live in the rocks and trees, or even in the walls and floors of your own home. There are Creatures that live in the breezes and draughts, the streams and lakes, and even in the light rays by which we see. To the Witch, the world is alive and aware, watching and listening from a billion eyes and ears. Among these, the Wicca have as friends and allies, countless armies of unseen entities, both natural and artificial, that live like thoughts and emotions in the One Cosmic Mind. These are Mental Beings, or even “Astral” Beings if you wish, seldom with physical bodies of their own, but finding expression through the lives and actions of humans and animals of a sympathetic nature. Some are light, happy and free, others are dark, dangerous and angry.
As protectors and defense, the Craft has mental traps and fierce mind-entities that devour and destroy the hidden aggressions and greed, the lust and envy of the hateful; obsessing and taking with them people who choose to nourish such thoughts and feelings. Of the artificial type are certain kinds of Elemental Servitors and Mind-Forms that are lovingly prepared by the Wicca and given a life and a will of their own to carry out specific goals. Among the Natural are the negative, destructive aspects of every god and every spirit entity that, like all destructive entities, cleaves and rots itself away, taking with it anything similar that happens to be near. Only those with the Passwords may withstand them and be purified thereby; others will rot with their own negativity.
Among the most interesting of Natural protectors are those born from the tendency of a Group-Mind (such as a household, a coven, a city, country or race) to solidify and manifest different aspects of itself, including the natural defensive and self-preservative instincts. In the same category, but on a larger scale are certain Mind-forms and entities that have evolved out of the Tradition as a whole. Some of these are very, very old beings – older, larger, and concerned with even more than the entire Earth, if we believe the legends of the Watchers, who come to Earth to teach the Ancient Wisdom. Such embodiments of the self-cleansing instincts might, for example, sometimes act like a fever when the Group-Mind is infected, producing a seemingly self-destructive Purification by Fire as in “The Burning Time.”
Beyond these still, are huge, god-like entities that are expressions of the entire Universal Group-Mind itself, indistinguishable from our very “selves,” our very awareness. They watch and judge from the most intimate Points of View, cutting off the very life-blood of repression and stagnation, of death and ignorance (whether these be self-induced or not.) In much the same way, the unconscious mind itself provides reactions to attract or repel, thus guarding as well as guiding the aspirant on his path, and the Wise on his way.
The style of Wicca itself is a repulsive barrier to some, and a fascinating challenge to others. The darkness and the primal images are blinding and fearful to the unconfident, to the untrusting and hateful, but they are infinite possibility, freedom and laughter to those who are full of Trust and Love. By themselves, the images and symbols of Wicca, because of their negative public associations, effectively prevent anyone from using them openly or desecrating them for power or prestige.
The Craft is rich with unspeakable Secrets and Mysteries well guarded by the fact that they cannot be expressed in words to those who are unready, for they will not be understood. There are veils of vagueness and uncertainty, of symbols and paradox through which no analytical armor may pierce. Of course, this does not mean the rituals won’t work for anyone who tries. They will indeed, but without the keys to Understanding, there is no control of what may happen, or when, or in what sense (ie. on what plane). Only those who see with their hearts will know for sure what lies in consequence, and until their hearts are awakened the others will wander in their own version of Hell, lost in the darkness of their own ignorance, which they themselves have invoked.
The popular, Outer image of the Craft is the first guardian that confronts the public. It forms an impenetrable barrier against those who have not the Wonder (that comes from unconditional Love), or the Daring (that comes from unrestricted Trust), to “rush in where angels fear to tread,” abandoning pre-conceptions to see for themselves what Wicca is. This Image becomes a barrier against those who do not have the motives of the Goddess, who are worried about their public image and personal comfort, placing self-centered ideals like their reputation above those of Truth, Trust and Love, and the welfare of all beings.
The make-believe Witches, sincere as they may be, are unable to pass the impenetrable barrier that is the Circle of the Gods because of their motives and their closed hearts. The Laws of Fate and Karma here build a rampart of the bodies of those who have fallen, as an example and a warning to those of weak and selfish motives. The linger on the fringe of society wearing the costumes and masks of what they wish they could be. Their loudness and their short-comings disgust and repel those critical or hostile to the ideals of the Craft. But these are perhaps the ones that crave Her loving attention most. So by building up their aspirations and devotion, meanwhile serving Her as protectors and guardians, they too learn slowly to overcome their shortcomings and eventually find themselves within the Circle of the Gods.
It is also true that the practice of Witchcraft amplifies in a person only That which is already there. Conscience, for example, is fortified and armed, passing judgment and sentence by defending and nourishing the true-to-heart yet cutting down and destroying the self-ambitious. Even when power is granted, the self-centered will always be their own first victim. Dare you invoke (the Laws of) the God of Unity, if you yourself be separatist? The strength of a force is after all, directed by the anchor to which it is attached. A weak anchor is swept away and the force comes to Nothing but the destruction of the anchor.
Because of all this, those who seek Wisdom and Power to command the forces of nature for themselves will never find it. Nature and Her legions will give way only when one has conquered and utterly destroyed any notion of a separate self, and has completely surrendered unto the Oneness of all things. Even then, nature follows not the command of the one person, but follows the One Will.
Whether you climb the Holy Mountain by the long and winding path of evolution, or the direct vertical path of the Wicca, you cannot storm the gates of Heaven and “get” god or his powers. God and Her legions will “get” you, for there is “That” in every man of which conscience is only a faint reflection: the Sun behind the Sun, the divinity in every one of us. There is that Greatest and most personal Guardian: the ongoing, irresistible urge of growth and change, and the desire to rise above and beyond what is merely human and animal, even should oneself get in the way. “That” is the Horned One in every man. “That” in everyone will every strive for what is higher, better, truer. “That” will stop at Nothing!