The directions & elemental correspondences in the Lorica above are suited to Topaz Drachen’s home in the southern hemisphere. These can (and should) be changed to suit your personal surroundings.
What is a Lorica?
A lorica is a type of prayer of protection (literally meaning “breastplate”) which was popular in Celtic countries. In legend and practice, the Celts called upon the forces of nature in its many diverse forms to serve and enhance themselves. One of the most famous of these is St. Patrick’s breastplate, or the Lorica of St. Patrick:
I arise today
Through the strength of heaven
The light of the sun
The radiance of the moon
Splendor of fire
Speed of lightning
Swiftness of wind
Depth of sea
Stability of earth
Firmness of rock.
(The verse above is only a small section of the full Lorica of St. Patrick.)
Druidic Training & Shapeshifting
The druids were among the highly educated priest class of the Celts who were responsible for an extensive oral history. They also underwent a rigorous 20-year training that included most of the shamanic initiations common to the indigenous world: fasting, sleep deprivation, ritual burial, forms of vision quest and extended periods of time in nature, trance/meditative states and ceremony. The purpose of these practices is to develop the ability to perceive and communicate with spirits of nature and the Divine. Druidic training was based in poetry, healing, prophecy and shapeshifting.
Though a Christian, Saint Patrick clearly had Druidic training. He used his famous shamanic breastplate to create a cloak of invisibility around himself and his eight monks in order to escape capture by an angry king’s guard. The guard did not find Patrick, and saw only nine deer slipping away into the forest. There are many similar accounts of shapeshifting in the stories of the Celtic heroes and saints.
The ability to merge with Nature by bringing one’s energy into synchronicity with that of the forest or an animal is the essence of shapeshifting. There are many degrees of success. One can merge to the point of being able to feel what it is like to be inside a bear’s body. Or, one can be attuned so as to know the instincts and knowledge of the eagle. More masterful still is the ability to align one’s energy with another life form so well as to be perceived as that life form. Finally, one could become so adept as to actually take on the physical form of another animal.
The Celtic access to the spiritual realms was through the thin places. These are points of transition where matter melds from one form to another. Thin places include the beach, where land and sea meet; doorways between inside and outside; dawn and dusk; life initiations, such as marriages, onset of puberty, birth and death; and the sacred places of the land where spiritual presence is felt. It was and is believed that it is easier to access Spirit in these times and places.
A Personalised Lorica
You may wish to try using a lorica yourself, for it is a powerful shamanic practice that gathers energy and protection from the forms of nature called forth. You may call upon power animals, angels, ancestors, trees, or guides.
First, sit quietly and center yourself. Focus your intention on invoking strength and protection. Then, set one form of nature in each of the seven direction (these include the four compass points, plus above, below and within yourself). For example, you might say, “Bear before me; moose behind me; wolf to the left of me; badger to the right of me; eagle above me; salmon below me; and the clear light of Spirit within me.” Most people feel a greater solidity and groundedness with using the lorica.
Naturally it is best to call upon animals with which you are familiar, so for instance, here in Australia we would invoke the strength and protection of different animals to those in the paragraph above, for example: “Kangaroo before me; barramundi behind me; goanna to the left of me; wombat to the right of me; eagle above me; echidna below me; and the clear light of Spirit within me.”
Calling on Dragons
The examples given above do not rely on a particular direction being faced when reciting the Lorica, however, my Draconic Lorica does relate to specific compass points and elemental correspondences. As already mentioned above, instead of saying “Dragon(s) of the North or Fire” etc, you could substitute the name of your own dragon(s) for each direction and their associated elemental correspondences for each quarter. When facing East (before you) North will be to your left, South will be to your right and West behind you:
Dragons of East (or the name of your dragon/s) before me
Dragons of West (or name/s) behind me
Dragons of North (or name/s) to the left of me
Dragons of South (or name/s) to the right of me
Dragons of Light (or name/s) above me
Dragons of Darkness (or name/s) below me
Dragons of Chaos (or name/s) all around me
Great Dragons of Spirit (or name/s) within me.
Mighty Dragons, I honour thee!
However, if your Dragon companions are not associated with particular compass points or elements, feel free to make your personal Draconic Lorica omnidirectional. 🙂
As well as being used for protection, reciting the Lorica (perhaps first thing each morning) could become part of your daily spiritual practice to acknowledge and honour your dragon companions.