The idea of protection and defence in Pagan and Heathen practices is an old and common one. I would be willing gamble that there are more protective and defensive magical practices than there are any other, with perhaps the possible exception of the always popular love magic category. While I don’t have any problems whatsoever with protective and defensive practices, wether mundane or no, I do think that there is a crucial element to these practices that a large majority of Pagans and Heathens fail to address. This element is essentially as follows: In order to know how to parry, you must first know how to thrust.
What I mean is that in order to be able to protect yourself, you need to first know how to attack. Not because the best defence is a good offence, but rather because in order to be able to protect you need to be able to recognise an attack. Obviously, it is entirely possible to simply memorise every possible attack, however that doesn’t really prepare you for what it actually feels like to be attacked. My own approach and general philosophy in these sorts of matters stems from a strong background in martial arts, which should give a better idea of what I am working towards here. It is, in my opinion, far better to not only be able to recognise an attack but also be able to replicated it in order to fully understand what it can actually do. This allows for a better defence.
Where the problems start, for me at least, is that the majority of Pagans and Heathens don’t want to know anything about the ‘attacking’ part of things. I don’t really have an issue with this other than its kind of like trying to build an engine but with only half the tools and parts you need to do it properly. It might be doable, but there is a good chance that it just wont work as well as it could. The idea of attacking people is one which doesn’t sit well with a large portion of the Pagan and Heathen community, to the point where there are often serious stigmas attached to even KNOWING how to ‘attack’.
I don’t really have much more of a point beyond that however, except for perhaps wondering if there is room for improvement in this area of Paganism and Heathenry?