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                    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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