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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                     PSYCHIC SELF-DEFENSE                     by =Carlin=
           One of the problems which faces the aspiring witch  or magician is
      an increased sensitivity to and awareness of the "unseen" forces of the
      world.   Usually  this sensitivity  is a  delight, but  occasionally it
      becomes a  nightmare --  in the  most literal sense  of the  word.   In
      particular,  this article  deals  with what  spiritualists and  shamans
      would  refer to as  spirit obsession  -- a  cluster of  "symptoms" that
      differ from possession, but that still can destroy the integrity of the
      victims <AND ALSO>  gives some background information on obsession, and
      then  outlines  a few  "generic"  techniques  that will  benefit  those
      subject to this form of "psychic harassment."
                        DEFINING OBSESSION
           Obsession occurs in  every nation and  subculture,and as a  result
      every  magical subculture has had it's own  way of defining and dealing
      with  the phenomena involved.   Modern medicine, with  the exception of
      Jungian and "New Age" psychiatry/psychology, tends to dismiss obsession
      as  either hysteria or budding schizophrenia.  The major religions, for
      the  most part, now  agree with this  evaluation.  Of  course, the "New
      Right"  fundamentalists are likely to  see a demon  in every corner....
      Either  of these approaches tends to disempower the afflicted person by
      destroying  her/his trust  in his  own inner  processes and  making him
      dependent on the "expert" who will control the attempt to cure him/her.
      Spiritualists  will  warn you  against  psychic  attack or  unprotected
      dealings with the  Dead.   Work  <?> will tell you that  the problem is
      either openness to astral influences or rebellion within the psyche <OR
      "ALL OF  THE ABOVE">.  There is more to  being human than the conscious
      mind, and  unintegrated and unrecognized "complexes"  within the psyche
      will  sometimes have  separate agendas  that can  lead to  "attack from
      within" if  those needs  are continually  ignored.     My own  tendency
      <PERHAPS  "BIAS"  OR "APPROACH"  IS A BETTER  WORD> is  philosophically
      Jungian-to-agnostic,but  practically   Shamanic.     I  tend   to  view
      such"entities" as  psychological.  However,  the techniques  I use  are
      more effective if the problem is "projected" outward and  treated as if
      it were the  result of attack by a sentient being.   Even if obsessions
      are  caused by "complexes", a  truly well established  complex takes on
      enough  "life" to be regarded as a "secondary personality" demanding of
      respect.  If someone is having to live with obsession, chances are that
      the  person is more interested  in resolving the  problem than debating
      metaphysics.   The  methodology  outlined below  is  designed to  work,
      whether  you  agree  with the  philosophy  behind  it  or not.    These
      techniques  are "homeopathic"  in  nature, contrived  with the  idea of
      strengthening the victIm's  "psychic immune system" to the  point where
      s/he no longer can be victimized. Without this increase in inner power,
      the person can  be temporarily  freed from the  obsession, but  remains
      vulnerable to "evil influence" in the future.
           Checking a person's personal history,  one will usually find  that
      obsessions  begin during  periods  where  stress,negative emotions,  or
      injury have  impaired that person's  natural self-protective abilities.
      Or  where  the  person   has  been  unprepared  or  confused   and  has
      intentionally or unintentionally "dropped his/her guard" around someone
      already  disturbed.  Or  where the person has  been abused and degraded
      since  early childhood and is consequently continually open to negative
      influences<LAST   THREE   SENTENCES   NEED   TO   BE  "SMOOTHER">.   In
      psychological terminology, old "complexes" are cathected during periods
      when the ego is  foundered in depression, weakening the  "auric shield"
      that normally will protect against "outside influences," as well as the
      physical body.  This auric shield can also be "pierced" during "psychic
      attacks," leaving a "hole"  through which invading astral-organisms can
      pass freely. In the same way, "evil spirits" are contagious. Emotional,
      sexual, or magical intimacy with someone already obsessed can allow the
      entity  to  pass over  to oneself.  And an  extreme  period of  rage or
      vengefulness can attract like to like, bringing one to the attention of
      "vengeful creatures" in the "lower astral."
                       SYMPTOMS OF OBSESSION
           Among the most common symptoms of obsession is a brooding fixation
      upon some negative thought or act.  The obsessed person being unable to
      "turn  off"  the voice  that urges  her/him  on to  self-destructive or
      vindictive acts. The idea that one is the Messiah or the rightful ruler
      of the universe, or too low to continue to live  may repeatedly intrude
      upon  consciousness.   To consider  much addictive  behavior to  be the
      result  of obsession by  "earth-bound spirits" or  elementals<???>.  No
      longer having physical bodies,  the "astral low-lifes" push susceptible
      living  humans into  overindulging  in whatever  the discarnate  entity
      still craves.    In other cases, the symptoms take  other forms.  Sleep
      can  be disrupted  by  repeated  nightmares  or  night  terrors.    The
      individual may awaken with no memory  of the contents of the dream, but
      over time  will develop insomnia  or a  fear of sleep.   Especially  in
      children,the shadows  of night  can resolve themselves  into terrifying
      images,  and there  can be  an overwhelming  sense of  being constantly
      watched.    Visual  "hallucinations"  may  force  themselves  onto  the
      physical plane or may manifest themselves solely upon the "mind's eye."
      At  times the obsession can be relatively benign. Budding magicians can
      "pick  up  hitchhikers"  during   their  initial  workings,  and  these
      "creatures" may well content themselves with acting as Guardians of its
      cases the  "entities" will only  "act out"when  the magician  re-enters
      trance or attempts to work  on the astral levels<PATCH IT UP>.   People
      who  work  with  divinatory  techniques  without  proper  training  and
      grounding are  especially vulnerable,  with the  Ouija board  being the
      worst offender.   This is  one reason that  the traditional  religions,
      which  do   not  want   the   general  populace   trained  in   magical
      techniques,urge people away from divinatory practices.  Obsessions that
      strike those  not trained to magick  are usually not so  courteous.  In
      the  more entrenched  cases,physical symptoms  other than  insomnia can
      manifest.  Especially  when one  is very  tired  or ill,  the obsession
      attempt  can escalate and begin to unbalance the homeostatic mechanisms
      of the  body.   Constipation,sinusitis and  migraine headaches are  the
      more usual manifestations, along with extreme pallor, edema, and mental
      confusion and  memory  loss.   Poltergeist activity  is also  sometimes
      reported.The obsessing entity can also color the impressions of others.
      One  can suddenly find oneself  being accused of  unsavory attitudes or
      persistently  misunderstood.     At  the  same   time,  truly  unsavory
      characters will be attracted to the new image and will begin to  pop up
      out of the woodwork.
                      THE MAGICAL APPROACH
           There are  many  things that  one  can  do if  one  suspects  that
      obsession  has occurred.   One  can treat  it as  a  demon and  turn to
      spiritual  authority for help.  One can  treat it as mental illness and
      turn  to  psychiatric explanations.    One  can ignore  it  as much  as
      possible, or begin to avoid the activities that call it forth.  One can
      also "raise one's  energies" using self-help  techniques such as  those
      outlined  in  following  paragraphs.Any  one  of  the  above  reactions
      cripples one as a magician, however.  From a ceremonial viewpoint,  one
      must pass the "Guardian on the Threshold" before one can pass on to the
      next  level of development.From a Jungian  standpoint, one must develop
      rapport  with and "reintegrate"  the rejected portion;  from a Shamanic
      standpoint, one must "turn" the entity and either dismiss it or convert
      it into a spirit helper<?>.
           Step one, using the magical approach, is to become acquainted with
      the "entity" and  engage it  in dialogue.In some  instances the  entity
      will turn out to be malevolent, in other's only "immature" or  confused
      and angry at being ignored.   Before engaging in this activity,  one is
      advised to ground and  center, and to shield  in whatever manner  one's
      tradition suggests. One  is also advised to  begin/continue in whatever
      other  spiritually protective exercises  one has  faith in.If  there is
      someone available to work  with the afflicted person, have  that helper
      prepare a  list of non-leading(Not  "are you a  demon?," but "what  are
      you?") questions.  Then drop  into light trance and Then let  the other
      person ask the questions while the  victim answers with the first thing
      that  pops  into his/her  head.   In effect,  s/he will  be voluntarily
      "channelling"  for  the  entity's  unconscious   and  perhaps  "denied"
      (officially) circumstances.If there is no other person, then the victim
      must  do whatever  form  of  divination  or  trance  work  he/she  have
      developed  to   contact  his/her   subconscious.    Those   with  vivid
      imaginations can simply  find a quiet moment and ask  "are you there?,"
      personifying  the  "entity"  in  the  same  way  that  children  create
      imaginary  friends.  Afterwards, no matter what the technique used, the
      obsessed  person is to be certain that  his/her aura is closed and that
      s/he is grounded and centered. AFTER  "CONTACT" At this point s/he  may
      have failed to  make contact.In which case there is  nothing to him/her
      to do but repeat the exercise until either it works or s/he is  sure it
      isn't  going to work.  If real contact  does not occur, then s/he might
      attempt to simply banish "it".  It is possible that the entity will not
      answer directly, but will  begin to up<INCREASE> its activity  level or
      bring a  string of  unusual circumstances  into  the obsessed  person's
                It is  more likely,  however, the<Y>  have begun a  dialogue.
      Sometimes "complexes"are  immature parts of our  own personalities that
      will calm  down and begin  to behave themselves  once "they"  no longer
      feel  that they are being ignored.If the  obsessing image is that of an
      animal, or even an ugly humanoid  being, then it may simply be  time to
      intensify one's spiritual  quest and  face down one's  power animal  or
      dark side.  Frequently, these allies will attempt to come to the aid of
      someone  undergoing   psychic  attack,  and  because   of  the  general
      atmosphere of  fear,will  be  perceived  as  threats  and  turned  away
      themselves.Eventually,   in  either  case   the  "entity"   can  either
      be"reintegrated" into the personality, or  "kept" as a spirit-helper by
      those with shamanic leanings.  If one is ALSO under psychic attack, the
      ally  will probably  help  in  the  defense  once  asked  and  properly
                              "LOST SOULS" AND WORSE 
           On the other hand, "it" may  claim to be a spirit or  other entity
      that  requires help.   If the request  is not  ridiculous <d>o consider
      honoring it. The author  has personally dealt with a  "poltergeist" who
      claimed to be a woman who had died of yellow fever  over a century ago.
      When questioned, the "spirit" was confused at first, then admitted that
      she had died in delirium  and had not realized that she  was dead until
      "awakened" out  of her stupor by some young people using a Ouija board.
      When  asked what  she  wanted,  the  reply  was "Pray  for  me."    The
      poltergeist activity ended as soon as prayers were begun, and the  last
      message received  from the spirit was "Thank God, I'm free."  Not being
      able to  make herself  understood on  the material  plane by any  other
      means, the "spirit" had resorted to knocking physical objects around to
      attract  attention.  If someone of "mediumistic" nature had been about,
      she  might have  obsessed  that  person  instead in  her  bid  to  gain
      attention.   The  obsession would  have become  malevolent only  if the
      obsessed person repeatedly blocked  her out or otherwise caused  her to
      <?>become cases  of obsession  in relatively "normal"persons  will fall
      into one of  the first few categories.In  rare cases, the obsessed  may
      have had  his/her attempt at  contact met with a  voice screaming "DIE,
      DIE, DIE."   Or  something  similar and  profane.   This  is where  the
      spiritual practices  suggested in the  following paragraphs will  be of
      greatest  benefit, followed by  professional help or  even exorcism, if
      necessary.   (Even  where  an  entity  seems  totally  hostile,  it  is
      sometimes  possible to  "turn" it  through raising  "light"as described
                     SELF-HELP WITH OBSESSION
           Not everyone  is a magician  and not everyone  wishes to  open the
      "can of worms"  of the subconscious.The  following activities are  very
      useful  in "uprooting"spiritual  obsession by  increasing "light".   In
      cases of  "mild" obsession  only a  few of  these measures,or a  simple
      ritual of  dismissal, will be  sufficient to  be rid of  the problem.In
      more entrenched  cases, these techniques  should be  continued for  the
      healing period, accompanied  by Inner Work, depth psychology,  or other
      techniques  that  promote  self-understanding.    Those suffering  from
      physical symptoms  should also work  to strengthen their  immune system
      and  improve their  diet  and lifestyle.    If possible,  the  severely
      afflicted  individual  should have  a  counselor,  teacher, or  trusted
      friend monitor his/her progress "just in case."
           For  a  period of  three months,  the  obsessed   should "cleanse"
      him/herself  daily  in  whatever  manner  her/his  spiritual  tradition
      decrees.   Grounding  and  centering are  excellent  techniques, as  is
      renewing oneself through visualizing the aura as  strong and untainted.
      One can draw  pictures of oneself expelling all darkness or meditate on
      the  same image.Prayer is useful,  as is catching  oneself thinking the
      old negative thoughts and declaring that one has "taken that out of the
      Law"  or "averted" the consequences.   If the afflicted has friends who
      engage in spiritual pursuits, send him/her mental support  and positive
      energy.   The individual is also advised to spend time in sacred places
      where evil is barred from entering, and to refrain from  the company of
      persons s/he knows  are bad  for her/him.If already  attuned to  ritual
      work,  the  victim can"cleanse"  his/her home  or  have it  cleansed by
      someone trusted.   Those who have  faith in Holy Water  should sprinkle
      and apply it liberally.   Afterwards, if the obsessed  is truly serious
      about being rid of a persistent  fixation, s/he can burn white  candles
      constantly  while awake  and at home.   This  will act  as a  symbol of
      the"light" one wishes  to draw  into one's  life.   The most  seriously
      affected  are advised to surround  their beds with  a protective circle
      and  never to  sleep in  a darkened  room.   Other religious/protective
      symbols can be placed in sight and called upon, and protective incenses
      such as sandalwood may be burned.  The important thing is to keep one's
      spiritual goal constantly in mind and the"entity<?> one's determination
      to improve. This may  seem like a great deal of  effort, but the effect
      will be  to "open" the individual to  positive influences, even if s/he
      doesn't  believe in  "demons".The individual  will be  "raising his/her
      energy" level to the point where  something "dark" cannot even bear  to
      approach her/him, and keeping the energy "high"for a long enough period
      that "it" will become  "discouraged" and fade from sight.At the  end of
      the  three months, the "entity" should either be weakened severely from
      being "starved" or  should be gone.   If  it is gone,  then a  ritually
      adept person can  do a  rededication wherein the  formerly obsessed  is
      declared sealed  against recurrences. If the problem still exists, then
      the  cause  may actually  be  mental  illness  brought  on by  a  brain
      imbalance or early trauma.  In any case, entrenchment of that degree of
      severity is beyond the scope of any self-help article to deal with.  In
      every  case the author has seen or dealt with however, vast improvement
      over the three month period<?>.
                              DIANISM IN A NUIT-SHELL 
                Recently, I got back in touch with my teacherafter nearly two
      years and dropped a  couple of bombshells on her:  I had changed gender
      identity and  had come together with  two other women to  form a Dianic
      coven.  When the initial shock wore off, Rita sent me a complete run of
      Protean Synthesis and a solicitation for this article.
                Several yearsago I subscribed toseveral stereotypes regarding
      "those  peculiar Dianics".   They  were thealogically  unbalanced, they
      hated men, they denied that men had souls, they were all lesbians, they
      couldn't  spell  (in the  orthographic sense;  no  one has  yet accused
      Dianics  of inability to work magick), etc.  etc.  When I came together
      with  my covensisters,  I  realized that  these  notions were  at  most
      partially true and some cases were patently false.
                Ibelieve there are onlythree valid generalizationsthat can be
      made about Dianics:   1) We are all feminists.   2) We all look  to the
      Goddess(es)  far more  than to the  God(s).   3) We  are all eclectics.
      Note  well  that  there  are plenty  of  non-Dianic  feminist  Witches,
      non-Dianic   eclectics,    and    non-Dianics   who    are    primarily
      Goddess-oriented.    There are  also  doubtless a  good  many feminist,
      Goddess-oriented eclectics who do not choose to call themselves
      Dianic.   In  my own  case I  use the  "If it  quacks  like a  duck, it
      probably is  a duck" argument, as well as  the fact that my HPS learned
      the Craft as a Dianic and runs Dianic rituals.
                Some of thestereotypical generalizations I can dismiss out of
      hand.   I don't know of a single Dianic who denies that men have souls.
      Even  Z Budapest doesn't  believe that piece  of tripe anymore!   It is
      true that  Dianism is particularly attractive to  separatists, and many
      separatists  actually hate  men.   Many  Dianics  are lesbians.    Some
      misspell words  like "woman", women", "egalitarian",  and "holistic" on
      purpose.   Not all fit these, however,  and I think that  Z Budapest in
      her younger, or spiritual bomb-throwing, days represents an extreme and
      a small minority.  There are a number of males involved in Dianism, and
      some of those are men [NB:  I use the terms "man" and
      "woman"  to indicate gender identity,  that is, how  one's heart, mind,
      and/or soul  are configured.   I  use "male"  and "female" to  indicate
      physical  sex, that is, how one's plumbing  is configured.  I hope this
      dispels confusion.].
                Thealogical and magickalimbalance isnot soeasily dismissedand
      needs to be addressed further, as that is the most valid objection that
      thoughtful  Witches have to Dianism.  The apparent imbalance comes from
      the Dianic emphasis on Goddess-worship, often to the complete exclusion
      of God-worship.  This  upsets many Witches' sense of  polarity balance.
      The  resolution of this apparent imbalance lies in the consideration of
      other  polarities than  sexual and/or gender  as the  primary polarity.
      There  are  indeed  many other  polarities  to  consider:   true-false,
      life-death,   dark-light,    rational-mystical,   creation-destruction,
      order-chaos, and good-evil, to name but a few.
      One problem with  the masculine-feminine  polarity is that  there is  a
      strong tendency  to express all other  polarities in terms of  it.  The
      Chinese  were particularly  fond of  this, and  mapped  everything they
      liked into the  yang side, and everything they disliked  or feared into
      the yin side, the patriarchal no-accounts!  
                One thingI have discovered isthat if you lookhard enough, you
      can find  goddesses to  fit both  ends of most  polarities.   Some even
      occupy both ends simultaneously.  Inanna, my matron goddess,  is a good
      case in point.  She is the Sumerian goddess of love, war, wisdom (which
      she won  in a drinking bout!),  adventure, the heavens,  the earth, and
      even  of death (in the  guise of her dark aspect,  Ereshkigal).  A very
      busy lady indeed is Inanna.  At this point it 
      becomes  largely  a  matter  of  personal  preference  rather  than  of
      polarity, whether one chooses a god or a goddess to occupy a particular
      place in a ritual.  
                NoDianic I know ofdenies the existence ofthe God.  Indeed, He
      gets  mentioned as the consort of the  Goddess with some frequency in Z
      Budapest's HOLY  BOOK OF WOMEN'S  MYSTERIES, which is close  a thing as
      there  is to a Dianic version of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows.  He is
      there, and  sometimes we will invoke  Him, when it is  appropriate.  He
      makes  His  own path,  and  we  follow our  own,  and  when they  cross
      naturally we honor Him  and do not avoid Him.  We also do not force the
      paths  to cross simply to lend an  artificial balance to a ritual where
      none is really needed.
                Now that I have spilled agood deal of ink over what Dianismis
      not, I  should now say  a few words  about what it  is:  a  movement of
      feminist, eclectic, Goddess-oriented Witches.  
                Feminism: This covers avast multitudeof virtues andsins.  Ido
      not  think the stereotypical radical lesbian separatist is as common as
      is believed.  Moderate to liberal feminism is probably far more common,
      even  among Dianics.  Certainly  my own coven  contains no separatists!
      There are too many nice  men out there, even though surveys  have shown
      that 70% or more of all  men are potential rapists.  The nice  ones are
      found among those who are not in that repulsive majority; you just have
      to look to find them.  One of  the places you might find such nice  men
      is in Dianic covens!  Some are  mixed groups, at least some of those of
      the branch founded by Morgan McFarland.  My 
      own is something  of a  mixed up  group, I suppose.   While  we do  not
      currently have  any men in the coven, two of  the three of us were born
      male and still have  original-equipment plumbing.  The Goddess  and our
      HPS accept us unreservedly as women.  
                Eclecticism:  If there isone dictum of Z Budapest's thatbears
      repeating to everyone in the Craft, and which gets followed by many, it
      is  "When  in doubt,  invent."   Dianics  tend toward  creative ritual,
      drawing from any and all  possible sources.  I have yet to see a Dianic
      equivalent of the Gardnerian Book of Shadows, nor do I ever hope to see
                Goddess Orientation: I've discussed this at some length while
      talking about polarity.  There are some wags who have said that Dianics
      are nothing  but matriarchal monotheists.  I tell you three times:  The
      Dianic  Goddess is  NOT Jehovah  in drag!   The  Dianic Goddess  is NOT
      Jehovah in drag!   The Dianic Goddess is  NOT Jehovah in drag!   A much
      closer  analogy would be that Dianics have taken the Classical pantheon
      and reclaimed most of the roles.  This, too, is oversimplifying, but it
      is not nearly as wide of the mark as the usual
      criticism.  At some point  I may write up a long exegesis on the Dianic
      Goddess, but not here.  My own personal involvement with Her comes from
      a great feeling  of comfort I do not find elsewhere.   She feels right.
      I have  a great deal of difficulty accepting known rapists (most of the
      Olympian  males are  this, especially  Zeus, Hades,  and Pan!)  into my
      personal pantheon.  I also feel a personal vocation from the Mother; it
      is rather incongruous to me to embrace a male deity wholeheartedly when
      the Goddess comes to me and calls me Her daughter.  This  goes doubled,
      redoubled, in pentacles, and vulnerable for lovers of women.
                Ihope thislittlediscussion ofDianism-in-a-Nuitshell hasproved
      enlightening to you.  It is not a path for everyone, but it is  a valid
      path for some, and in considering it I hope that you can now ignore the
      garbage that has been put forth in the past as "data" regarding it.
                                    Inanna Seastar
                                    Birdsnest Coven

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