Read an Excerpt
3 Deep Waters in Occultism and Religion
1. Stories of occult terrors are usually just that-stories. They are usually based on a lack of accurate perspective of historical facts, or they are outright fiction.
a. Many times there is nothing "occult" at all involved, but rather superstition, gullibility, and propaganda intended to place blame for an actual event other than where it belongs, or to foment antipathy toward an enemy nation or religion.
b. There are also genuine occult phenomena-such as "psychic vampires": ordinary people who lack vitality and drain healthy people of their energies-usually without conscious intention of doing so.
c. It is also true that a few malcontents, emotionally sick or immature persons have committed acts of vandalism or terrorism clothed in popular misconceptions about occultism to disguise their enjoyment of the resulting shock or notoriety. No occult power or genuine occult practice is involved. Organized occultism presents no cause for fear to people outside of it. Most occultists are too busily involved with their own self-development and with exploration of various modes of existence to be concerned with playing such games.
2. As in any other field, there are charlatans who disguise themselves as occultists to prey upon the weak and gullible-and the best defense is not to be weak and gullible. Again, genuine occultism is not involved, and these charlatans should be avoided.
3. As in any other field, there may be cases where a real occultist (more often a dabbler or rash experimenter), as a result of jealousy or imagined threat, will employ occult means in a genuine psychic attack on another person, usually another occultist.
a. In these cases, the Tower of Light fortification of the aura will provide a perfectly adequate defense, provided the attacker is not able to weaken the intended victim's aura from within by manipulating the defender's own imagination.
b. The common method by which attack from within is attempted is by inducing feelings of guilt.
c. The best defense is not to take such feeling seriously; and if you do have guilt feelings you can trace to a mistake you have made-forgive yourself.
d. One of the best psychic "antiseptics" is laughter-and you can always find the humorous side of almost anything.
e. In addition, the aura's defensive shield can be further reinforced with an individually chosen spiritual sign.
f. When religious people interfere with your life, your own expression of your spiritual direction will often win their respect and recognition of your right to freedom of belief.
4. Some occult students-especially in their earlier years of inner progress-will be the center of unsought psychic phenomena: various noises, poltergeist phenomena, isolated instances of ESP, involuntary out-of-body experiences, phantoms, etc.
a. If the person is a member of a genuine initiate order, the student will have ample guidance in such matters.
b. All such phenomena result from the uncontrolled release from the student's astral body of energy material-usually in response to the psychic development exercises undertaken, or-in the case of young people-as part of the excess of free-flowing energy that is a natural part of adolescence.
c. Sometimes groups-such as church congregations-also experience unsought psychic phenomena as the result of released, but undirected, energies.
d. Occasionally, such release of energy material at the astral level will attract "elementals."
e. In cases associated with psychic development work, stop the development program and practice the Tower of Light aura fortification three times daily.
f. In cases where the disturbances may be the result of out-of-balance ritual experiments, an "antidote" ritual can be the best answer.
g. In other cases, giving direction to the excess energies-as in healing prayers for specific people-will bring the unsought phenomena to an end as well as producing a worthwhile program.
5. Keeping a dream diary will often reveal the nature and source of psychic disturbances, whether of actual psychic attacks, or "astral bleeding," etc.
6. Psychic attack is never truly one-sided: the attacker uses something of yours to implant something of his or her own in your psyche-and this interchange opens a two-way channel you can use to "reverse the current."
a. To prevent attack, keep control over your personal possessions and castoffs from your body: hair, clippings, etc. Also keep information about yourself and your plans to yourself. Give nothing to your enemy.
b. Never extend hospitality to your suspected attacker, and take nothing from him or her.
c If you have something from the attacker, get rid of it. Look for small things that may have been "planted" on your person or in your home.
d. If you have to talk with the suspected attacker, be aware of your shining protective aura as a shield between you and the attacker.
e. Perform the Tower of Light every night before you go to sleep.
Does occultism itself constitute a threat to uninvolved people? Not at all.
If two countries go to war, other people get involved. Bombs can fall on noncombatants; food and other essential supplies may cease to be available to former buyers, and world prices are likely to be affected. The products of much explosion, combustion, and possible nuclear fission rise into our long-suffering atmosphere, and so on. Civil unrest, likewise, tends to spread among the innocent.
Occultism, despite some people's misgivings, is a much more self-contained world than that. Most occultists, like other folk, have little spare time these days, and they are far too busy giving what attention they can to self-development and to the exploration of various modes of existence to be concerned with attacking other people. Besides, dueling magicians, even when such exist, do not devastate countrysides with errant thunderbolts, nor is any innocent person likely to find his or her cutlery twisted up from a psycho- kinesis contest held by unknown persons on the astral plane overnight. Anyone who wakes in the morning to find his or her hair tied in knots, or a leering face scrawled on the ceiling, pretty surely has at least a suspicion of the reason why.
So, what about the stories one hears? What about uninvolved people being kidnapped and ritually murdered? What about the occasional desecration of churches or graves, with strange symbols left thereon? What of the continued (and rather eerie) persistence of such things as the Charles Manson cult? What about killings by vampires?
Here we have a representative assortment of very unpleasant mysteries that have equally varied backgrounds. Many of the older stories turn simply upon conflicting views as to the value of human life. A number come from the Middle Ages, or from more recent feudal settings, in which a feudal lord (such as the fifteenth-century Gilles de Rais for instance) was used to having power of life and death over the people on his lands, whether he employed that power for military purposes, occult purposes, or any other purpose.
Normally, the rights of such a man over his lieges, like the life-and-death rights often held also by parents over their children, were balanced by the equal power held by the religious and secular authorities over the lords and the parents; but where an influential man chose to flout those authorities, his score could only be settled when they ultimately trapped him.
The same situation, of course, applied to an influential woman. There was nothing really "occult" about the deaths of numerous young girls at the hands of the sixteenth-century Countess Bathory, even though she is often referred to as a "vampire." She was simply seeking to renew her youth and beauty by the use of their blood, just as at the present time, with more science but the same intent, a number of women of means avail themselves of the vital juices of unborn lambs. Indeed, many of us nowadays who have a more humane outlook would accord more rights to an animal than Bathory in her time would have supposed a peasant girl to possess.
Historical perspective is needed, too, in examining the story of the valiant but barbarous Vlad Dracula, the original Dracula. The Turks, wave after wave of them, were trying to overrun his mountainous homeland. He defeated them in battle after long and arduous fighting, but had no wish to spend the rest of his days repeating the struggle. So, with feelings of wholehearted rage and revulsion against the invaders, he had his Turkish captives-20,000 of them if the figures can be believed-impaled alive.
That he took enthusiastically to this method of execution and continued it for all manner of offenders, is quite likely true; but certainly, since he meant his reputation to act as a deterrent, he made no secret of it. There was nothing "occult" about it in any sense of the word. The only mysteries about Vlad Dracula were his immense vigor, courage, and resourcefulness, and the superstition of his foes. Even the superstition is very humanly understandable. No warrior willingly accepts defeat by a fellow man, but an antagonist with supernatural powers is another matter.
But do vampires exist? Experience in psychic investigation and rescue forbids a denial. The true vampire is rare. A classic case is that of Arnold Paole, who lived in the early eighteenth century at Meduegna, in a region that is now part of modern Yugoslavia. He attributed his "infection" to a sojourn in Greece, and this is of great interest: stories of vampirism occur in Greek culture earlier than elsewhere, being traceable back to the ancient blood offerings to the dead. Much more frequent are "astral" and "psychic" vampires, mostly human souls whether discarnate or incarnate that, from one or another identifiable cause, either cannot or will not draw their energy from their natural and rightful sources but draw instead on the energy of their fellow humans. In some cases the parasites are elemental beings that have become corrupted by human contacts. Of this latter class of "vampires" more will be said in the next chapter.
With regard to "psychic vampires" of the human and incarnate kind, there is little cause for alarm so long as you know how to deal with them, and so long as you avoid any degree of emotional involvement with them. Consciously or not, they will try to involve you.
They may or may not know what they are doing. Many of them have lost control of their actions, just as a panic-stricken person in the water may not be able to stop trying to seize his rescuer. They vary widely, from the "black" magician who has broken contact with his higher self and so seeks desperately to form a group of students whose energies he can release ritually and absorb, to the poor old dear who always feels better in the company of young folk and has not a clue why the friendliest ones get so sick and exhausted.
You do not have to shun people you suspect may be unconscious "psychic vampires." They may be old people, invalids, and people who seek your counsel. All you need is a technique to protect yourself:
Do not stand or sit directly facing the person; on meeting his or her gaze, concentrate only on his or her left eye.
Cross your legs or at least your ankles, fold your arms, and keep them folded if possible across your upper abdomen (solar plexus).
Speak slightly aside; when not speaking, keep your mouth closed, your head slightly inclined forward.Going back to the question of "ritual murders" and the vast amount of pseudo-history that has proliferated on this subject through the centuries, an important piece of real history needs to be noted.
In the days of Imperial Rome, a great deal of official tolerance was extended toward religions of various kinds that were not Roman. The imperial government, however, had no intention of applying this tolerance to any religion which was felt to be spiritually separatist or politically subversive; and since the principle of tolerance could not be publicly abandoned, those religions that were considered dangerous had to be declared guilty of abhorrent practices.
A list of such practices was in fact drawn up for the purpose, and included such things as ritual murder and cannibalism, sexual perversions at initiations or at secret ceremonies, and crimes of any kind involving children. Anything to alienate public feeling from the people whose religion was to be condemned was used. Among the religions against which parts of this list was used was the Druid religion (against which the accusation of human sacrifice, although still repeated by historians, only comes down to us from hostile Roman sources) and, of course, Christianity itself.
When under Constantine, Imperial Rome became Christian, the whole system of Roman law was taken over by the Church, including this old list of stock accusations. Since then, we encounter the list over and over, in whole or in part, but aimed now against those who in various times and places were considered to be enemies of Christian authority.
This has done untold harm in more ways than one. It has bred persecution and massacre from those times to these. It has created unspeakable fears, not only of spiritual harm but also of physical molestation, among neighbors of differing faiths and practices. Even worse, it has given a terrible code and pointed a hideous way for malcontents of every kind, social or religious rebels or outcasts, should they desire it, to act as was expected of them; and from time to time some of the weakest, or emotionally the most sick, have desired to act as was expected of them.
Besides these few extreme cases, there are always more who seek to give an appearance of such behavior, whether from bravado, or for notoriety, or to disguise an act of vandalism, or from an immature desire to see more vulnerable people suffering from shock and horror. Again, there is nothing whatever "occult" about any of this. In a few pathological cases there could be danger, but it would be physical, not psychic danger; if we feel afraid, it's important to identify the level of what we fear. In these nonoccult cases, the appropriate defense is simply the defense against threatened physical violence.
Organized occultism presents no cause for fear to any person who is and who remains altogether outside it and independent of it. There may sometimes be cause to fear the action of nonmaterial forces that are at large in the world, or even of a solitary "sorcerer," usually untrained, who makes trouble in curious ways; and it is one of the main purposes of this book to show the nonoccult man or woman effective methods of self-defense from all such forces; but that is quite a different thing from having anything to fear from organized occultism or occultists.
Above all we would emphasize, if you have a neighbor who burns strange-smelling incenses or who occasionally can be heard chanting strange words, this should cause you no alarm whatever. Such people, whether the system they are using be Eastern or Western, are just very intent on following their own inner course, and in fact they usually take pains to set up an aura of protection and peace around their abode.
The person who is on the inside of occultism is in a very different position. A member of a reputable order, or a pupil of reputable teachers, is well protected by these associates while developing sufficient knowledge and power to protect himself or herself. Knowledge and power, however, are of little avail without personal use and practice, and without personal cultivation of a supportive way of life. In the Llewellyn Practical Guides we set out to give not merely the essential means to achieve this or that goal, but also sufficient knowledge to enable an otherwise unaided student or group to build up a good lifestyle for developing the inner faculties.
In general terms, it can be said that the greater your psychic power and your practiced control of it, the more effective your psychic defenses will become. Physical exercise, meditation, psychic work designed for the systematic development of the centers of activity (chakras), everything that will generate psycho-physical energy and habituate you to controlling and directing it, is good. Anything that will help cultivate your self-awareness is good; anything, that helps you see your thinking mind not only as the rightful interpreter and director of your emotional and instinctual nature, but also as the destined vehicle and instrument of the higher self that is the source of all your powers and inspirations, past, present, and yet to come.
There is a time-tested secret known to those who are skilled in the art of living in this material world, a secret that has enabled many men and women to dwell safely in cities or districts reputed to be "dangerous." It consists simply in never being seen in public without evidence of a definite errand, and going purposefully and directly from place to place.
This is not an occult secret , but it can be used occultly. If you take thought to discover what you are about in this incarnate life, if you pursue your true purpose with wholehearted resolution, very little molestation, physical or psychic, will hinder you.
The people who are in most danger in the occult world are the dabblers, the unwary experimenters, and the rash novices who expect all privileges with neither experience nor training to support them. When they meet a "teacher" they do not ask for his credentials-they are only thankful he does not ask them for theirs. They truly learn the hard way (if they live to learn at all); they may have a right to do so, but they have no right to blame occultism for their troubles.
Since, however, even for normally serious-minded students of occultism a little sidetracking in life is almost inevitable, some of the possible results need to be considered.
The likeliest troubles are attacks from other occultists, either through jealousy (reasonable or otherwise), or in revenge, or as a simple demonstration of power. Extremely subtle and unscrupulous attacks are possible and have been known to occur where, for instance, a newcomer to a questionable order had by chance stumbled on an important scheme not meant for the light of day. Such subtle attacks will be considered in other contexts; they are not, however, likely where it is intended only to teach a perhaps overconfident associate a lesson which is meant to bear the "signature" of the giver.
The worst aspect of such lessons, prompted as they usually are by a violent impulse of personal emotion, is that they could really wreck the recipient's nerve; in some circumstances they could shatter his or her courage, confidence, or capacity for occult operation. Against this, however, it must be said that it is the business of a good order member to be "unsinkable," and to maintain a healthy self-image of himself or herself.
In such a situation, the recipient of the attack may well have anticipated trouble of some sort. He or she should have fortified his or her aura by the regular method of the Tower of Light; this is the finest defense, and will be totally adequate in itself, provided the attacker is not able to get inside it through the defender's own imagination. In the next chapter we shall show a number of ways in which this might be attempted; in the case we are now considering, the likeliest manipulation of the defender's imagination is to produce a sense of guilt and of inevitable punishment. This might begin with a succession of suggested feelings not only of guilt but also of fear, depression, and horror.
The very best thing the defender can do, of course, is to refuse to take these feelings seriously; a reaction that is not easy to achieve without considerable practice in "letting go," and that usually is only possible if the defender either knows the feelings to be unjustified or disproportionate, or at least suspects them to have been implanted. Cheerfulness, laughter if possible, is the ideal psychic antiseptic in such circumstances. If another occultist is making a drama over your having punctured his or her ego (for instance), there is no reason on earth why you should see it as an equally big deal.
If there is a matter over which you think a person of power may attack you, and you do feel rather guilty about it, very well. Admit you made a mistake (if you did) and forgive yourself. That is important. Do not brood. Do not let any emotion persuade you there is any magnitude to your blunders. Go out and soak up sunshine, or look at mountains or the sea, or anything that will restore your sense of proportion. Look with love and compassion (and good humor) at your lower self, forgive yourself, and start over. Be ready for life's next adventure.
Your life is like a circle whose center is the divine flame within you. Remember, wherever you may have gotten to, you can draw a straight line from there to the center of your circle and no one can take that from you.
If you make this truly your outlook in life, then you are invincible. Think of Wagner's "Parzifal," who makes one blunder after another, but who, instead of wasting time in despondency, goes on to each new experience as it comes. In the end, he understands everyone else's weaknesses through his own experience, and triumphantly resolves all their perplexities.
Nevertheless, should any lingering qualms remain in the defender's mind, the aura's defensive shield can be further reinforced. This is not objectively necessary, but is meant as a morale booster. For this reason, it has to be done in a way which is exactly right for the individual defender.
This reinforcement consists in adding a visualized sign at the level of the brow, after the aura has been charged with the light of the higher self. The addition of the sign is simply an additional affirmation, It has to be a sign that really means spiritual protection to the user. For some it may be the equal-armed cross, for some the crescent, for others the pentagram, for yet others the Star of David, and so on. Many signs have a long tradition of use as emblems of protection, and are associated with high and powerful archetypal forces in different cultures, but it is vital that each user should choose the one felt to be truly right for him or her, with no outside considerations influencing the decision; only entire self-honesty is good enough for one's psychic armory. The sign chosen should be visualized in brilliant blue light on the brow, and should be maintained in visualization, or at least in awareness, while danger lasts.
However, when it comes to "persecuting" occultists by trying seriously to implant feelings of guilt in their emotional nature, the activities of nonoccult people must surely be noted.
For perhaps each attempt by a fellow occultist, it seems there are at least ninety-nine very competent efforts by people (relatives mostly) who know nothing whatsoever about occult techniques. Fortunately, at the present time, it is recognized that "reprogramming" an adult who is neither criminal nor anorexic is an unjustified disregard of personal liberties.
The real level of the difficulty is psychological. The non-occult members of the family are entitled to defend their traditions and even to commend these to the occultist. The occultist is equally entitled to be politely noncommittal and to go his or her own way. But human emotions rarely keep the situation as simple as that.
On the one hand, there certainly are people who would pressure their families over anything. If their son or daughter had no concern with occultism, there would still be pressures exerted over a girlfriend or boyfriend, over the choice of a job, or even of a hobby. On the other hand, the accusation of exhibiting pressure is quite often brought by the occult-minded against their relatives where no persecution whatever is meant.
There are two main reasons for this. For one thing, the nonoccult members of the family usually represent a standard and an authority that the occultist has been accustomed from birth to respect; and such authority, when represented by people who are in any case loved, can make home life intolerable for a young adult who feels irresistibly impelled to follow his or her inner voice instead.
There is another important factor in this. The root of the occultist's interest in the invisible worlds (or the seer's or the mystic's, for all alike frequently share this problem of family coercion) is most probably a high degree of sensitivity at all levels that might astonish the more conventionally minded relatives. In that case, their most casual wishes can be interpreted by the sensitive as a command, and pressures can be acutely felt that were never meant as such. Love on both sides is the best solvent here.
If, as often happens, the early self-training of the occultist has included practices to stimulate the centers of activity (chakras), this, too, is likely to have increased sensitivity to other people's thoughts and feelings. During a time of family crisis, therefore, it is advisable to stop practices of this kind, and to concentrate instead on simple awareness, visualization, and fortification of the aura. The Tower of Light (regular or emergency method as occasion may require)-that uses none of the centers save that above the crown, is the most suitable and valuable practice for this state of things.
Outside the family circle as within it, the occultist can sometimes suffer violent and destructive criticism from the frightened, the skeptical, and the officious. Probably, we are not far wrong if we suspect all these people are more or less frightened.
The most seemingly hard-boiled skeptic can be the most frightened of critics: after all, just supposing any of the occultist's "far-out beliefs" should hold a grain of truth, what becomes of the skeptic's neat little floor-ceiling-and-four-walls world? It is useful if the occultist can bear this in mind. We are conscious of our own weaknesses, while other people usually do not admit to theirs; but it is a great booster to our morale, and can help us generally to a more mature viewpoint, if we realize the people who act most aggressively toward us are probably doing so to hide some fear or other.
When religious people interfere troublesomely, they can sometimes be brought back to their better feelings of tolerance if they can see you as a person of beliefs really different from theirs, instead of as one of their own who has "gone wrong." People who would feel it was their duty to haul back a strayed lamb, alive or dead, will often respect the liberty of a mountain goat.
An everyday instance of this will do very well, for it follows the same pattern as more weighty examples. Two women became friendly because they worked at neighboring desks in a large office. They did bits of shopping for each other, they shared sandwiches at lunchtime, and they chatted about the news, fashion, and their families. One of the two, Lucy, also had something to say from time to time about the church she attended, the choir, the Sunday-school, and so on. Her neighbor, Madge, never responded with anything similar, but apparently this was not noticed.
One lunch hour, three girls came in from another department, asking around for a wine glass they could borrow. Madge not only located a glass but also quickly found out why they wanted it, and went off to join them in the privacy of the telephone room for an hour of Ouija divination.
No sooner were they all engrossed than the door burst open and Lucy rushed in. Her face was scarlet, and her hair disheveled. Madge could hardly recognize her. In a trembling voice, Lucy delivered a torrent of violent and venomous incoherence against the party, and against Madge in particular, ending with a succession of misquoted biblical references to witchcraft and evildoing.
Much surprised, Madge, however, kept her cool. As soon as Lucy paused, she said firmly, "I respect your beliefs, but mine are different. I respect the Bible, but it is not my rule of life." Lucy quickly recovered control of herself, and left them. Later that day she took pains to "make it up" with Madge (who really had not been offended) and asked if she would one day tell her of her views. Madge had claimed the right to freedom of belief.
When such situations arise, we can often win more respect from people by making it clear, without any expression of disdain or rancor, that our beliefs are different from theirs, than by seeming to play along with them and making a poor job of it.
However, if your beliefs to a considerable extent are the same as theirs, you have a much more delicate problem. Again, fear enters into the matter.
If someone of your own general creed has become irritated or frightened about your occult views or practices, you should be firm but refuse to argue. Never mind about Urim and Thummim, the Witch of Endor, or any other points you could conceivably score. You have to make it clear that you are personally satisfied about what you are doing and quite happy about your eternal welfare. Do not, however, be drawn into any discussion, of the sort where you would be defending your interpretation as the right one (however strongly you may feel it is so). Your friend, evidently for one reason or another, is not quite ready for it. It is "right" for a tree to grow up vigorously, relying for strength upon its own wood and for protection upon its tough bark, but young or fragile trees sometimes need props and fences.
Your friend probably believes his or her prop or fence is the right aid to growth; do not be drawn into that same kind of exclusivism. Make your position clear, close the subject, and, in such a case, keep it closed.
These difficult situations with other occultists, with family and friends, with acquaintances, are not the only ones in which the student of occultism may feel the need of self-defense techniques. (At this point the question probably suggests itself, why does anyone ever become an occultist at all? We can give but one answer: "for love of the invisible splendors.")
One frequent problem is the occurrence (especially during the earlier years of inner progress) of unsought psychic phenomena: mysterious noises, especially at night; the overturning or breakage of objects in the home or elsewhere, perhaps when the student has merely looked at them; remarkable but isolated manifestations of telepathy; involuntary projection of consciousness out of the body, or (by contrast) apparition of the student's likeness to friends or relatives without his or her awareness of the incident; and generally a lot of what nowadays might easily be described as "poltergeist activity." An order member would be guided in dealing with this kind of problem should it be encountered, but the solitary student could easily feel thoroughly alarmed and bewildered.
In fact, the seemingly diverse phenomena we have listed above are all produced by the same cause: an uncontrolled release from the student's astral body of a greater or lesser degree of its energy-material, under the stimulation of the various exercises for psychic development usually commenced at this early stage.
Later, in occult training, when a program of regular activities will absorb or prevent the escape of this energy-material, there should be no such problem; for the beginner, however, its manifestations can be very troublesome. (As a close parallel, it should be noted how often poltergeist activities among nonoccult people are associated with adolescents or young adults who have much uncontrolled and free-flowing energy, especially those of "psychic" temperament or those suffering from disturbances of an emotional or instinctual nature.)
In such instances, physical exercise, the development of the centers, and the circulation of energy at both the physical and astral level is of great help in keeping the energy under control, just as in the physical body the normal degree of blood pressure helps control bleeding. This loss from the astral body-as opposed to the astral substance extruded but later reabsorbed-is, indeed, called "astral bleeding," and can cause great lassitude besides its other ill effects if it is allowed to remain unchecked.
It is not commonly recognized how often the originator of mysterious "spirit rappings" is the very person who hears them and who may, indeed, be alarmed by them. They occur most often at night, when physical activity is at a low ebb and substance tends naturally to go forth from the astral body.
Sometimes enough astral substance will be given out to form a vehicle for consciousness, and then involuntary conscious projection may take place. When a person prepares for voluntary projection, the extruded astral substance is formed into a replica "body"; but in an involuntary projection this shaping may not occur, and consciousness may undergo the unpleasant experience, which sometimes stays with us as a vividly remembered "nightmare," of drifting in a condition of complete awareness but being unable to move hand or foot, somewhat like being a swathed mummy.
A possible variation on this experience is when a replica body is formed but consciousness does not enter into it, in which case nobody will know of the occurrence unless the phantom happens to be seen by someone who can recognize the likeness. In folklore the creation of such a doppelganger is held to be very unlucky for its maker, although in most such cases the substance returns to its source with no harm done. Or again, consciousness can find itself temporarily transferred to a "workable" vehicle. For a study of out-of-the-body experience, with all necessary directions to develop controlled projection, see Llewellyn's Practical Guide to Astral Projection.
The chief danger with astral bleeding-apart from the resulting exhaustion, and the possible annoyance of getting one's possessions smashed in poltergeist activity-is the risk of intervention by elementals.
The craving that some of these beings develop to share in human energies, to the detriment of both parties, will be considered in chapter 4. It is demonstrated in many outbreaks of poltergeist phenomena, where objects are initially moved, and other manifestations occur, in a purposeless and relatively harmless way, but later, perceptibly, another cause of activity comes into play and the phenomena become purposeful and injurious.
At first, it is not always easy to distinguish these activities from those of impersonal forces that the student may unwittingly have aroused by ritual means; or, in a later stage, the activities of a debased elemental could be mistaken for occult attacks by an angry human.
In any case, if you have reason to think you are being troubled by something more than your own escaped energies, stop at once any practices you may be performing for the activation of the centers (of whatever type, rousing of the Citadels, Middle Pillar, or other). Cut back periods of solitude to a minimum, including times of meditation. Put off for the present any commencement of new and unfamiliar occult techniques, and give your entire attention, three times daily, to the Tower of Light. (The ideal hours are just after sunrise, just after noon, and just after sunset. Work as closely to these times as you can.)
This enables you, in nautical language, to "batten down the hatches," and to cut off communication with the unseen worlds until you find out what it is that has been troubling you, and can deal with it properly.
To reinforce this condition, make sure you eat well, maintain your spiritual links, but do not forget your sense of humor! Catch up on some nonoccult fiction or a non-occult movie, preferably on television.
If your trouble comes from an impersonal force you have contacted, you are likely to be able to guess what it is. You should recall having performed a ritual of one of the planets, or of one of the elements, which perhaps developed a special zest or which maybe seemed to soar right out of your hands. The remedy in such cases is simply to counter the overwhelming influence by performing a rite, or even a meditation, for the force that is the natural balance to that one. An elementary understanding of the Qabalistic Tree of Life will enable you to identify the force you require.
It is a basic concept of Qabalah that "evil" forces are only good ones that have become out-of-balance and disproportionate; Aristotle in his Nichomachean Ethics gives an account of virtues and vices indicating much the same point. Do not make the mistake, however, if you are overwhelmed with Jupiterian euphoria and indolence, of doing a massive rite of Mars to counter it. Begin by "taking your antidote" in mild doses-you can increase them if need be. One meditation may suffice.
Having dealt with the question of impersonal forces and put it out of the picture, how are you to know if you are suffering from any kind of genuine psychic attack? Presumably there will be a sense of there being at some level something amiss, or you would not be wondering about it.
The first thing necessary is to review your physical health. This needs to be done with a perceptive understanding of the interplay of the body with the psyche: particularly with the emotional-instinctual level of the psyche that has so great an effect on our sense of well-being, frequently affecting us just below the threshold of consciousness.
Even Dion Fortune sometimes underestimates that interplay. For instance, in her pioneer book, Psychic Self-Defense, she writes, "If the doctor finds . . . some com-plaint such as varicose veins that can obviously have no bearing on the mental condition . . . ." But in fact, varicose veins, untreated, have a very enervating and depressing effect upon the nervous system; and in the early stages when the trouble may be undetected, the sense of malaise and weariness, with the subtle conviction of an alarm being sounded somewhere just beyond awareness, can produce a very definite state of psychic distress.
Similar feelings of depression and alarm can be felt during the incubation phase of an infection such as influenza, particularly in the case of a habitually healthy person unaccustomed to recognizing sickness.
This resemblance between the early stages of incubation of an infection, and the early stages of psychic attack, is informative for us. The same kind of vague malaise, of depression, and of fear or suspicion, can be felt in either case. A bodily sickness, however, will not remain at that phase of development for long; within a week it can be expected to declare itself more distinctly on the material level.
Similarly, a psychic attack must, if it is to function at all, begin at some time to declare its nature on the psychic level.
As soon as you begin to suspect your trouble may be of psychic origin, begin seriously watching your dreams.
Begin keeping a "dream diary," with a record of every dream or fragment of dream you can recall. The way most people find effective is to keep a scribble pad at your bedside, so that on awaking you can at once jot down anything you recall of your dreams in rough form, perhaps with sketches, enough to enable you to go over the experience in more detail later. Sometimes it helps to carry a small notebook with you, so as to note any further details that may come back to you in the course of the day. The finished product should be the diary itself, written up from these notes, and containing if possible drawings or paintings-not works of art-showing as best you can any feature that impressed you with special vividness in the dream. You can add notes on special associations of ideas if these seem important, but do not attempt interpretations of your dreams. This is rather a different procedure from what is intended in therapy. The therapist wants to help you discover what impulses or images rise naturally from your own unconscious mind: here we are trying to get a clear view of anything that may have been implanted in your unconscious mind.
You may get just what your adversary intends. You may get only a few hints. You may get more than your adversary means you to, and this can be extremely useful in identifying the source of the trouble. Much depends upon your own degree of psychic receptivity, and also upon the patience and skill with which your adversary has observed you (probably by "overlooking" you astrally) and has devised material to fit into your personal idiom of feeling and imagery.
If the imagery or its underlying impulses were too alien to you, of course the attack would fall at once; but the attacker can avoid this if the nature of the attack allows the use of simply archetypal material (that is, feelings and impulses common to all human beings).
To individualize and pinpoint the attack, however, some amount of personal material is usually needed; either (as in traditional sorcery) physical material-hair, nail parings, a worn garment in the possession of the attacker, or psychic material based on an intimate understanding of the victim's weaknesses and deep-rooted idiosyncrasies.
If the attack is caused by a nonhuman agency it must be remembered that elementals, although not intellectually brilliant, and not native to the same bases of instinct and archetypal imagery as we are, have highly acute powers of observation plus a more-than-human talent for mimicry. Also, there are certain techniques by which a human attacker who knows the methods and who is sufficiently malign, can either work by means of an "artificial elemental" or can even dominate a natural elemental so that it will go and obsess the person the attacker indicates. Again, in such a case, the elemental has to be conditioned to the person, just as a bloodhound has to be given the scent of the person to be tracked, or as connoisseurs of radiesthesia like to place inside their pendulum a sample of the substance that is to be investigated.
One implication of this is that psychic attack is never truly one-sided. The attacker uses something of yours to implant in your psyche something of his or hers. If and when this exchange occurs, the chief difference between the attacker's condition and yours is that the attacker seems to be in control of the situation.
Psychic attack, however, takes considerable time, thought, and energy to carry through; and anyone who is so much concerned with you as to expend these valuables in attacking you (whether simply to cause you suffering, or to make you give up a job or a house, or from whatever motive) has already lost some degree of control over the situation, and the attack itself is really an attempt to regain that control. This consideration in itself may boost the morale of the victim. But morale boosting, precious though it is, is not all that is required.
Every psychic transaction that necessitates the opening of a channel between two beings has, or tends to have, its "osmosis": to give in one way is to receive, or at least to have the tendency to receive, in another. Orthodox psychology, for instance, knows the sadist is also at a deep level a masochist, and victims who have perceived this have sometimes "turned the tables."
In the case of psychic attack, such considerations show why the attacker frequently takes the precaution of working through an elemental (or, occasionally, through an unfortunate trance-medium). If the victim, or an adept working on behalf of the victim, simply "reverses the current," it is not necessarily the attacker in person who receives the counterattack.
Any information that can be gleaned from your dreams and otherwise (and in serious cases you should certainly seek a competent helper) may yield very clear indications as to what kind of measures will be needed to free you.
A current can be reversed simply by rejecting it, and turning it back. We shall come to that. Our chief concern here is to prevent the situation from developing.
Strengthen your aura with the Tower of Light, but do not do anything to "close down" your psychic awareness unless and until you feel threatened. The more sensitively you can perceive any possible danger, the more quickly and effectively you can escape from it.
There are, however, some precautions you can take (whether or not you yourself are an occultist) as soon as you know or suspect that a person likely to harbor a grudge against you possesses occult powers. There's no need to show hostility (which is anyway unwise, and you might perhaps be mistaken either about the grudge or about the occult powers); but you can exercise "reserve" in a few inconspicuous yet useful ways.
1. Be even more careful than you normally are about personal items. You would not of course leave hair-combings or a soiled handkerchief about; but equally, do not mislay your pocket-comb or mirror, do not leave snapshots of yourself around, and, if you smoke, do not leave stubs in the ashtray. Should you have to send a letter to the person in question, do not lick either the envelope or the stamp.
2. Do not give information about yourself, either to that person or to any friend who might unsuspectingly be quizzed. This includes information about your birthday. If your associates already know your birthday for celebration purposes, try not to give either the year or your exact age, or at least keep out of any talk that could lead up to your giving the exact hour of your birth. (One personal-security-minded lady, for years, gave her birthday as being about nine days earlier than the true date-which put her into a different sun-sign! After that the hour or the year of her birth could be given with impunity.) Your horoscope is important personal property. Also avoid saying, for instance, what hairdressers or barbers you visit; change the establishment if need be.
3. Do not let even the most skillful angling induce you to offer hospitality to that person: do not in any circumstances feel you have to offer him or her a drink, a meal or a lift, and above all never invite that person into your home. Supposing that person is occultly not guilty, and you seem to be lacking in the social graces well, too bad, you can't win them all and you can't afford the risk. Supposing that person is really trying to ensnare you, he or she will understand very well what you are about.
4. Having avoided giving anything needlessly of yourself to your antagonist, you should also avoid taking anything from him or her. There is a device sometimes used by sorcerers to disarm and entrap a person of the opposite sex, or by a sorceress to entrap another woman. It is, firstly, to fan an existing antagonism into a real quarrel. It doesn't in the least matter which party is "in the right"; after a suitable interval, the sorcerer apologizes most abjectly, and gives the other person some little token of regret for the occurrence; this may be any small thing, a brooch, a scarf, or even a piece of candy. But that object will have been charged beforehand, and gives the enemy a foothold. Best not to be drawn into the initial quarrel, tempting though it may be to express some of your feelings; such a situation needs playing as cool as you can keep it.
If you have any object that you have received in these or other suspect circumstances, or anything that seems to "get on your nerves" or to carry some inimical influence, get rid of it. Do not try to rationalize the situation. Burn the thing, if possible; if not, drop it in deep running water. If it needs weighting, attach the weight with nylon or something similarly durable. (If the object is very small, the quickest accessible way of sinking it in running water may be to flush it down the toilet.)
Remember, too, that small objects may be "planted" on you without your knowledge. If you are making a search for such things and you leave your coat hanging in an accessible place, do not forget to lift the lining and look between it and the cloth; also get rid of any unidentifiable keys. (It is well-known that most people will keep those for evermore). In the home, the old favorite hiding places for charged objects are under stairs, carpets, and on the underside of a table or mattress.
Such material objects are nothing in themselves; they can be important because they carry psychic influence that can act when the person you suspect is out of sight and you may therefore be "off guard." One hears sometimes of material objects being charged with great power, objects that because of their intrinsic worth would not be destroyed, like the Hope Diamond or certain Egyptian relics. Most of us are unlikely to be confronted with objects of either such exceeding value or such exceeding power; the great majority of malignly charged objects can either be gotten rid of or, in the case where they hold some value, occultly cleansed.
While you are talking to a person whom you think has occult power and have cause to mistrust, you should be aware of your shining, impenetrable aura like a thick sheet of blue glass between that person and yourself; you should be aware also of your special sign, radiant upon your brow.
When you are away from that person, if you have no feeling of his or her influence still being with you, you can let your aura fade from your awareness but still know it is there. Give your mind to any work you have to do, exercise physically, eat good food, rest; spend time in innocent pleasure, preferably among friends.
Last thing at night before you go to sleep, perform the Tower of Light while lying down, and enjoy a peaceful night's rest.
When you are talking to a person whom you mistrust, you should be aware of your shining, impenetrable aura and your special sign.
Having outlined the kinds of trouble that may center around students of the occult or may be caused by "sorcerers" (people with inborn and undisciplined occult powers), let us glance at some troubles of rather similar types, although generally given less notoriety, that are encountered in and around the world of organized religion.
The reason for the little notoriety is not so much a wish on the part of the religious to "hush up" anything that looks out of place in their accepted scheme of things, as an incomprehension, for the most part, of what may be encountered. Even nowadays for many people in organized religion (and in our context that chiefly means Christianity) there is only God, the Devil, and the myriad human souls that are either incarnate or following certain well-charted paths in the "hereafter." Children may be allowed a guardian angel, some denominations permit a discreet intervention of saints, while the alcoholic, the adulterous, and the irreligious may be considered as victims of the Devil; but there, for the majority of churchgoers, the range of nonmaterial possibilities would probably seem to stop. That is not to say hauntings and other strange happenings are outside their experience or at least outside their hearsay; but these are not given recognition and so have no effect on the accepted pattern.
The religionist differs from the occultist chiefly in relying upon prayer. This should not weaken the religionist's spiritual competence, but it often does.
One source of trouble is that although the faithful have a recognized duty of prayer, a number do not consider they should pray for anything in particular. An enlightened pastor can help by following up such words as "Let us pray for the sick" with a few sentences suggesting visual images of regained health for sufferers, and giving time for the congregation to get round to it. "Let us pray for ourselves," too, should be strong, positive, and certainly not apologetic: if a church member really wants to do some useful neighbor-loving and talent-improving, he or she should give at least enough reflective thought to self to have a clear idea where improvements can be made or where existing strengths and abilities need maintenance. The relationship of visualization to prayer has some important references in Llewellyn's Practical Guide to Creative Visualization; without some such practice one has chiefly the shapeless clouds of blue vapor that C.S. Leadbeater described many years ago as seen clairvoyantly, drifting about in churches. (It is not our business to tell people how to run their private religious activities; but if you honestly cannot think of anything you really need, then instead of a limp "Lord, you know my wants better than I do," the prayer time could be better spent in thanks or adoration. "We give thee thanks for thy great glory" is probably the finest such prayer ever devised).
For assuredly even the most inert prayer, like any other human activity, even if it fails to produce its proper effect, must produce something. What becomes of that "something" is another question, and the answer gives us the root cause of many of the psychic and emotional problems that people in organized religion often experience: released but unused energy.
Energy is simply energy. Just as the physicist has to recognize this fact, whether a given quantity of energy is manifested in heat, light, sound, or kinesis, so must we all recognize it.
Referencing human activities, we customarily use such terms as "human energy," "spiritual energy," "physical energy," "psychic energy," "sexual energy," and so on, because at the instinctual-emotional level, energy takes on the character of the way it is manifesting or the way it has lately manifested: just as a kettle that has been heated remains hot, or a shout that has been uttered will go on echoing among the hills radiating in sound waves. All these characters taken on by energy are transient, and just as there is no reason why energy coming from a waterfall cannot light a fire, so there is no reason why energy released in "prayer," if it is not an effective offering for its intended purpose, cannot manifest itself in bickering and quarrels, in sexual stimulation, or even in poltergeist phenomena.
The effective nucleus of well-led, energetic congregations in which all ages participate, membership is an inspiration, prayers are fulfilled, and the general tone is one of health and happiness, rarely encounter psychic unpleasantness. Anywhere outside that effective nucleus, trouble of one sort or another can brew up unexpectedly.
The traditional type of church whose members do not really want a religion that "works," who just want to say their prayers and to keep out of sin and to get through this "vale of tears" as unobtrusively as possible, can sometimes develop peculiar hauntings, or curious intensifications and warpings of even the most ordinary emotions; as in a stagnant pool, strange things move beneath the still surface, and the only cure is to open it up, let in light, and movement, and new activity.
At the other end of the scale are the hyperactive, revivalist-type groups where anything can happen and where most things do. It is these groups whose very existence makes the traditionalists thankful "not to be like those," and yet the trouble is apt to be the same in both extremes: undirected energies, whether in massive or small quantities.
What happens when a person with some emotional or other psychological problems comes into such a supercharged atmosphere? Such people tend to gravitate to religion, as also to occultism; but occultism is not bound to accept them.
Again, the root of the trouble lies in the habit so many people have of using the personal-unconscious level of the psyche as a trashcan. All the aspects of ourselves that we do not want, all the things from early childhood we wish we hadn't done, tend to be dumped into it. We can make ourselves forget them. Not only individuals do this: the people of a whole community can build up a tacit understanding, for instance, that they just do not have this or that fault. This often leads, as one very common result, to what the psychiatrists call "projection": the faults people won't own as even possibly theirs, they see as belonging to some other people, and especially to those they feel are most completely "other." Many prejudices gain ground in this way, against one or the other sex, one or another class or race.
The same process of disowning faults can, however, in a very impressionable and emotional person lead to the disowning of a whole area of the psyche that is judged to be undesirable by whatever standard; and when this "splinter" is thus outlawed, divorced entirely from the conscious self, since it still has living energy it can lead a completely irresponsible life of its own, independent of, and even hostile to the normal personality.
Some people whose feelings of guilt (usually fallacious or disproportionate) have led them into a sense of being plagued by "the Devil" have proved to be neither possessed nor simply deluded, but victims of this kind of dissociated "splinter" of their own psyche.
Such a problem is far worse when the sufferer is a member of a small, closely-knit but ineffectual congregation. It is in such a case possible for individuals with some degree of clairvoyance to actually catch a glimpse of the dissociated "splinter" as if it were indeed an independent entity, although an experienced occultist would see what it was. The "splinter" itself can gain increased strength and independence through the unused energies of the congregation. The sufferer will usually try to attend as many services as possible, "feeling so much better" then, because other energies than his or her own are being tapped. A so-called "mass hysteria" situation can easily develop in the absence of clear understanding and firm handling of the splinter being.
Free energy not effectively directed to its proposed end can cause or intensify a great variety of psychic ills among a congregation; but what of the leader of that congregation? Actors and actresses know the heady power that rises from an audience when the performer is "on the beam," the vigor and inspiration that is felt in creative stagework, catching, conditioning, and directing those billows of energy; but theater work is a somewhat different thing from religious leadership, and the same sort of allowances are not made for "artistic temperament" if a pastor gets energy-drunk.
Besides, if a person in that position is emotionally weak or has some undetected psychological hang-up, how many people are going to be affected by it?
If an actor or actress can condition the arising energies to a tragic emotion, so that caught at the appropriate level of response the whole audience is in tears, while concurring with the performer at a deeper level that it's all a play, that is fine acting; but if in predisposing circumstances a devoted congregation is caught up in its pastor's paranoia, then you have a Jonestown.
What, then, should be the standard for spiritual leadership and following, a norm that can be looked for and expected despite differences of creed, practice, or opinion that should be respected? Taking into account, too, that the range of psychological normality is very wide, and that the actions and interactions of human beings are not always predictable?
An important test, as experience shows, is that of maturation: no matter what obedience and discipleship may be expected of the followers in their various stages of instruction and experience, are they allowed the right to mature and grow out of that tutelage? Any normal adult is entitled to this. A religious leader, like a parent, should look forward, in the case of each follower, to the day when that person will not be a pupil but a friend, and will continue to adhere to the movement not through any inner or outer compulsion but from love and from a conviction of its worth.
Watch out for "psychic vampires." Remember, many of them are innocent, sick, or aged people who have no suspicion of how they pull energy out of others; you can help them in other ways if you protect yourself by the method given.
Continue strengthening your aura by the Tower of Light.
Do not loiter through life. Put your higher self in charge and follow your main purposes wholeheartedly.
Do not just dabble with occultism. Come right in and benefit by its protection, or stay in the clear.
If you have a special sign for protection, practice visualizing it in blue light on your forehead when you feel you need extra aid.
If you have done anything you feel ashamed or guilty about-look with love, compassion, and good humor at your lower self, forgive yourself, and start over.
If you think you may be suffering a psychic attack:
1. Check whether you may be causing your own distress by "astral bleeding" or by some physical malaise.
2. Watch your dreams. Begin keeping a "dream diary" to discover strange intrusions.
3. Practice a strict "psychic hygiene."
4. Give nothing to, and take nothing from, a person you suspect is psychically attacking you.
5. Cultivate your protective aura. If you join any organization, whether occult or religious, make sure it will let you "grow up."