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."
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."
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-lives" 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.
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 "channeling" 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 life.
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 recognized.
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 below.)
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<?>.
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