Grovedaughter Witchery

Notes on Active Protection vs. Passive Protection

Active protection is any protection that is proactive, counteractive, or reacts with some sort of offense or countermeasure when the circumstances you set for its’ use are encountered.

Passive protection is any protection that is put in place with the idea of deflecting, neutralizing, blocking, or otherwise keeping out harmful forces, persons, or events.

For instance, say you cast a spell to protect yourself from harm. It can go several different ways (and there is some overlap). The spell can:

  • protect you by preventing circumstances in which you’d be harmed
  • protect you by repelling individuals who would do you harm
  • protect you by repelling or neutralizing harmful magics
  • protect you by repelling harmful or malevolent energies
  • protect you by activating a counterattack if a threat appears

All of these are examples of active protection, and are generally used when an active threat or some manner of clear and present danger is expected, i.e. when you’re walking down the street at night or going traveling abroad. The threat could be small, but as long as it’s something you want to avoid, it remains a threat.

However, depending on how you cast it, the spell can also:

  • protect you by blocking the influence of harmful parties
  • protect you by hiding you from the notice of harmful parties
  • protect you by keeping out harmful magics or persons
  • protect you by shielding you from negativity or malevolence
  • protect you by sloughing off negative or malevolent energy

These are all examples of passive protection, and are generally used when a threat is not directly expected, but could arise at any time, or when a protection spell is meant to last, i.e. shielding yourself before you go on a haunted tour or putting wards around a house.

Think of active vs. passive as sword vs. shield. A shield will block and repel with a minimum of counter-activity aside from simply going, “Nope, you shall not pass.” The most you’re going to get from a passive protection spell is the magical equivalent of a shield bash or pushing something away. It’s very effective if all you’re looking to do is keep things out, or if you want your protection spell to last a long time with minimal upkeep.

A sword, on the other hand, will go, “Nope, you shall not pass, and I’m going to make you bleed for trying.” It blocks and repels, but it can also attack. Active protections will go to bat for you and will fight off whatever it is you’re trying to protect yourself from, to a certain degree. These are more effective when you want there to be consequences for anyone or anything that tries to cross that line you just drew in the sand, or when you want your protections to be a bit more aggressive in keeping out whatever unwanted party or influence you’re looking to avoid.

In my own magic, I find it’s most effective to include a little of both types, varying the content according to what I’m warding and how and for what purpose.

The views expressed on this website are the Unshared Personal Gnosis of the witch known as Bree NicGarran. They are not intended to be taken as absolute truth, nor are they intended to invalidate the religious views of the reader. They are meant only as a suggestion and are limited by the knowledge of the writer. Please always be sure to double-check your sources, refer to medical texts, and read critically before using any information in your own practice.
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