Extract from the Book
Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune
METHODS OF DEFENCE
THERE are two types of practical psychic work which may be used separately or in combination, the latter method, in my opinion, giving by far the best results, though the exponents of each are apt to decry the other. The method which we will distinguish as the meditative method consists of mediation upon abstract qualities, such as peace, harmony, protection and the love of God. It is the method of the New Thought school, and its value lies in the harmonising effect it has upon the emotional state and its counteracting of harmful auto-suggestions. The other method, which we will call the invocative, consists in the invocation of external potencies and the employment of formal methods for the focussing of their force. This method has many gradations of complexity and an infinite variety of technique. It ranges from the simplest prayer which calls upon Christ with the Sign of the Cross, to the most elaborate rituals of exorcism performed with bell, book and candle. The essence of the system lies in the attempt to dissect out from the general force of good the particular aspect of energy that is needed, and the use of some symbol to act as the magical vehicle of that force upon the plane of form. This symbol may be a mental picture of the blue robe of Our Lady; it may be the action of making the Sign of the Cross; it may be the consecrated water sprinkled for token of cleansing; or it may be some object specially magnetised to act as a talisman. In the invocative method the aim is to concentrate the force, and therefore some symbol of form has to be employed. In the meditative method the aim is to escape beyond the bounds of form into the atmosphere of pure spirit, too exalted for evil to enter, and therefore the use of any form or formula is eschewed as calculated to prevent the soul from rising into this pure air.
In my opinion, and with all due respect to the practitioners of this latter method, much better results would be obtained if the invocative method, with its utilisation of the efficacy of formula, were used to enable the mind to climb into the pure air of spiritual consciousness where no evil is. It is only those who are highly trained in meditation who can rise on the planes unaided. It is exceedingly difficult to “take off” from sense consciousness without the use of some kind of psychological device to act as a spring-board. There seems to be little object in refusing for purely academic reasons to avail ourselves of a method of proven efficacy. If we realise that the use of forms and symbols is merely a psychological device to enable the mind to get a grip on the intangible, we shall not fall into the error of superstitious observances. A superstition has been defined as the blind use of a form whose significance has been forgotten.
On the other hand, we shall be unwise to rely exclusively upon formal or ceremonial methods unless at the same time we use meditative methods in order to purify and harmonise our own consciousness. If we neglect this aspect of our work, we shall re-infect by our own vibrations the magic circle as fast as we have cleared it. It is not much use sealing a circle with the protective Names if we allow a panic- stricken imagination to run riot, picturing every conceivable kind of evil and leaving blank spaces for the possibility of inconceivable kinds. Equally, however, we shall find it very much easier to perform the harmonising meditation if we are working within the protection of a magic circle. To attempt to perform the work of exorcism solely by means of meditation is like raising a weight by the unaided effort of our two hands. The employment of the magical method resembles the use of a lever, or a pulley and block. Our muscles are still the sole source of energy, but by the utilisation of mechanical principles we have redoubled their power. Let us, then, in meditation, use symbols to concentrate our attention; we shall find this much easier than meditation in terms of abstract thought. Indeed, in times of stress and crisis, abstract thought may be impossible for us unless we are very experienced in its use; but we shall seldom reach a state when we cannot picture the Cross and call upon the Name of Christ.
Occult attacks may be divided into two types, those which take place by means of thought-forms, and those which operate by means of a current of force. But even in the latter case the current of force soon gathers to itself or germinates thought-forms congenial to its nature. Therefore in every psychic disturbance the thought-form is a factor which has to be considered and dealt with, and which, in fact, forms the readiest means of diagnosis; for it is by the perception of the associated thought-forms that the experienced psychic is able to detect the nature of the attack.
Thought-force is a thing which has no relation to geographical position, but is a matter of pure consciousness and of tuning in to its key-note. We can pick up the forces of dead faiths a thousand years after the death of their last votary, and upon the opposite side of the globe to that in which they flourished. But thought-forms are a different matter. They have position in space, and although they can be moved about with the speed of thought, and can be withdrawn to the subtlest level of the astral and there anchored to an idea and thus prevented from impinging upon the planes of form for all practical purposes, nevertheless, although they do not occupy space, they can be referred to definite positions in space. They can, for instance, be associated with a particular object, and will follow that object about, remaining within its magnetic field. The immediate magnetic field is anything from twelve to thirty feet; the remote magnetic field from a hundred to three hundred yards. Powerful holy centres, like Glastonbury or Lourdes, have a bigger magnetic field than this, extending possibly to a couple of miles; they are also inter-connected among themselves by lines of force. These things have to be taken into account in practical occult work.
When we are confronted by a disturbing influence emanating from a focus of power, such as the site of an old temple, we have got to deal with the remote magnetic field by means of ceremonial. As this is a method that can only be used by a high-grade initiate, we will not consider it here. For all practical purposes in a psychic attack it is the immediate magnetic field that has to be considered. The best method to deal with this is to make a magic circle. A mere banishing by itself is not so effective as a banishing performed within a circle, because the circle will effectually prevent the banished forces from flowing back again. There are various methods of performing this operation, but the principle of all valid ones is the same. The more potent conjurations cannot be given in these pages, because their effective use depends upon the grade of initiation possessed by the person who proposes to use them, and to possess a formula without the grade to which it belongs is as unsatisfactory as possessing a gun without any knowledge of shooting. The formula I will give will be found effectual for all ordinary conditions. Extra-ordinary conditions can only be dealt with by a person who has had experience.
In making the magic circle the operator stands upright facing east. He faces east because the magnetic current on which he proposes to operate runs from east to west. His first procedure must be to steady his own vibrations and purify his aura. In order to do this, he makes the Qabalistic Cross on breast and brow. Touching his forehead he says, “To Thee, O God (touching his solar plexus) be the Kingdom, (touching his right shoulder) and the Power (touching his left shoulder) and the Glory, (clasping his hands) unto the ages of the ages. Amen.”
By this formula the operator affirms the power of God as sole creator and supreme law of the universe to which all things must bow, and he establishes this formula magnetically in his aura by the action of making the Sign of the Cross upon himself. This Sign is not an exclusively Christian symbol, and can be used as readily by the Jew as the Churchman, for it is the Equi-limbed Cross of Nature that is being used, not the Calvary Cross, of which the shaft is double the length of the cross-bar, and which is the symbol of sacrifice. The Equi-limbed Cross refers to the four quarters of the globe and the four elements, and the formula associated with it proclaims the dominion of God over these, and thereby occultly formulates His kingdom within the sphere of the operator.
The operator next imagines himself to be clasping in his right hand a large, cross-handled sword, such as is depicted in pictures of Crusaders. He holds it point upright and says, “In the Name of God I take in hand the Sword of Power for defence against evil and aggression,” and imagines himself to be towering up to twice his natural height, a tremendous armed and mailed figure, vibrating with the force of the Power of God with which he has been charged by his formulation of the Sword of Power.
He now proceeds to draw the Magic Circle upon the floor with the point of the Sword of Power, and he should see in his imagination a line of flame following the point of the Sword, consisting of small flames, such as spring up when methylated spirit is spilt and ignited, but of a pale golden colour. A little practice should enable this circle of light to be formulated effectually. Keep on going round the circle until it is formulated. The circle should always be drawn deosil, that is to say, from east, to south, to west, to north, in the same way that the hands of a clock would move were the clock laid face upwards on the floor. The contrary way is widdershins, the way in which the witches danced at the Sabbats. The deosil movement affirms the rule of God’s law in Nature because it is the Way of the Sun; the widdershins movement repudiates God’s rule over Nature by moving against the sun. In resisting an occult attack the whole formula should be tuned to the key-note of asserting God’s dominion over all existence, the aim of the operator being to align himself with Cosmic Law and cause the Power of God to deal with the interference.
The Circle being formulated, the operator, ceasing to visualise the sword but still visualising the circle, clasps his hands in prayer, and raising them above his head towards the east, prays, ” May the mighty archangel Raphael protect me from all evil approaching from the east.” Turning to the south he repeats the same formula in prayer to Gabriel. Turning to the west, he invokes Michael. Turning to the north he invokes Uriel. Facing to the east again, and thus completing the circle, he repeats the formula of the Qabalistic Cross. This formulation of the magic circle is especially valuable for protecting the sleeping-place, the circle being drawn around the bed. It is not necessary to move about the room, or shift the furniture in order to draw the circle, it will be formulated wherever it is visualised to be.
It is necessary to reaffirm this circle each time the tides change; that is to say, a circle made after sundown will hold good till sunrise, and a circle made after sunrise will maintain its potency till sunset. After the circle has been affirmed a number of times in the same place its influence will persist for a considerable period, but it is advisable to re-formulate it morning and evening during the active phase of an attack.
Incense burnt within the circle is very helpful, but care has to be exercised in the choice of an incense. Joss-sticks of unknown composition should never be used, as they are usually compounded with a view to assisting manifestation. Good quality church incense, such as can be bought at most church furnishers, is safe and satisfactory because it is compounded according to traditional recipes; cheaper qualities may not fulfill these conditions.
In dealing with elementals or non-human entities the Pentagram, or Pentalapha, is the best weapon. This is a five-pointed star drawn in a particular way. Pointing the first and second fingers of the right hand, and folding the others into the palm and touching their tips with the thumb, proceed to draw the Pentagram in the air, keeping the elbow stiff and swinging the arm at full length. Start with the right arm across the body, the hand about the level of the left hip, the extended fingers pointing downwards and outwards. Swing it upwards, as if drawing a straight line in the air, until the fingers point straight upwards above the head at arm’s length. Now sweep it down again, keeping the elbow stiff, until the hand occupies the corresponding position upon the right side to that from which it started on the left. You have now drawn a gigantic V upside down. Next swing the hand across the body, on a rising incline, until it is stretched on a level with the left shoulder, pointing to the left. Bring it across the body horizontally until it is in the same position on the right, fingers pointing away from the body. Now swing it downwards across the body till the hand has come back to the point by the left hip whence it started. This is an exceedingly potent sign. The value of the Five-pointed Star, the symbol of Humanity, is widely known among occultists, but its potency depends upon the manner in which it is drawn. The method I have given is the correct one for banishing.
The potency of the sign may be illustrated by an experience of my own in using it, which the sceptical are at liberty to doubt if they wish; I merely mention it for the sake of those who may be interested.
I was taking part in some work with an Indian occultist when I became suspicious that all was not as it should be, protested, and was asked to withdraw. I did so, determined to watch proceedings from a distance, and if my suspicions were confirmed, to have an expose. A few days later I was sitting in my room one afternoon chatting with a friend; it was just getting dusk, and we were talking by the light of a gas-fire. Suddenly we were both aware simultaneously of a presence in the room and turned spontaneously in the same direction. My friend sensed an antagonistic presence, and I, being more psychic, saw who it was, and had no difficulty in perceiving the form of my Indian associate in an egg-shaped sphere of misty yellow light. I told my friend to quit the room and wait in the hall, and as soon as the door closed behind her, I made use of the Pentagram I have described, together with certain Names of Power that are unsuitable for disclosure in these pages. Immediately the appearance in the corner by the door shattered and vanished, at the same time there was a resounding crack, which my friend heard in the hall. I called to her to return, and as she entered she exclaimed, “Look what has happened to the door!” and we found that one of the panels had split clean in two. It was this that had evidently caused the loud crack we had both heard. I offer no explanation of this incident for the good and sufficient reason that I do not know what the explanation may be. I merely state what happened. My readers can explain it as they please. When it is not possible to seal the room, it is a very useful thing to be able to seal the aura. Stand upright and cross yourself, by touching forehead, breast, right shoulder and left shoulder, saying, “By the power of the Christ of God within me, whom I serve with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength (extend your hands forward as far as you can reach at the level of the solar plexus, finger tips touching, then sweep them round to the back and touch the finger-tips together again behind you, saying), I encompass myself about with the Divine Circle of His protection, across which no mortal error dares to set its foot.” This is an old monkish formula. It is very effectual, but its potency only lasts about four hours.
There are various other devices which are useful, not only in dealing with psychic attacks, but in any case of undue influence or domination.
If you have to interview persons whose influence you find overwhelming, imagine that they are separated from you by a sheet of plate-glass. You can see them, and hear them, but their magnetism cannot reach you. Visualise this sheet of glass until it appears to you to be absolutely tangible. If you have to associate with persons who distress you, but are not actually interviewing them, imagine that they are separated from you by a brick wall, and say to yourself, “You just aren’t there. I can’t see you or hear you, and you simply don’t exist.”
When dealing with a person who saps your vitality, interlace your fingers, and lay your folded hands upon your solar plexus, keeping your elbows pressed against your sides. Keep your feet touching each other. You have thus contacted all your own terminals and made of your body a closed circuit. No magnetism will go out from you while you maintain this attitude. Your friend will probably complain of your lack of sympathy, however kindly you may speak.
If anyone tries to dominate you by gazing intently into the eyes, do not attempt to return gaze for gaze, for this only leads to an exhausting struggle in which you may get the worst of it, but look steadily at the spot just above the base of their nose, between the inner ends of the eyebrows. If you are merely dealing with an ordinary bully, you will immediately have the upper hand. If, however, your antagonist has knowledge of mind-power, you may not be able to dominate him, but he certainly will not be able to dominate you, and the result will be a stalemate. Do not attempt to dominate him, merely keep your eye on the spot and wait for him to weary of his attempt to dominate you. You will not have long to wait.
By the use of the methods described in the preceding pages any person of normal courage and mentality, provided he avoids drugs, alcohol and long periods without food, can, if he does not lose his nerve, wear down any ordinary psychic attack; or in the case of attacks of abnormal potency, can at least ensure himself time to make good his escape and seek help.
The sacraments are also a most potent source of spiritual power, and a church where the Blessed Sacrament is reserved, or which is sufficiently old to have been consecrated before the Reformation, is an effectual sanctuary.
For further reading on Psychic Self Defence and Dion Fortune
7 Basic Psychic Self Defense and Energy Protection Techniques
Introduction to Psychic Self Defense