Extract from the Book
Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune
METHODS OF DEFENCE IV
THERE are so many stories of the appearance of guardian angels at moments of crisis that even the most sceptical must admit that there is a case to be answered.
There is a tradition in Devon that if Drake’s Drum, which is preserved at Buckland Abbey near Tavistock, is beaten in a time of crisis, Drake himself will return to lead the fleets of England. Newbolt has immortalised this legend in his famous poem.
“Take my drum to Devon, hang et by the shore.
Beat et when your powder’s runnin’ low.
If the Dons sight Devon, I’ll quit the port of Heaven,
And drum them up the Channel as we drummed them long ago.”
The idea of the hero who returns to lead his people, the guardian angel that appears in times of crisis, is sealed deep in the hearts of all nations, and nothing will eradicate it. Innumerable instances were reported by the men returning from the trenches during the War.
Let us again refer to the ancient wisdom of the Qabalah, that storehouse of occult knowledge. We learn here of the Good Angel and the Evil Angel of the soul of man who stand behind his right and left shoulder, the one tempting him, and the other inspiring him. Translate the Dark Angel into terms of modern thought and we have the Freudian subconsciousness.
But the Freudians fail to realise that there is also a Bright Angel who stands behind the right shoulder of every man. This is the mystic superconsciousness or, in other words, the Higher Self, the Holy Guardian Angel whom Abramelin sought with such ardour and effort.
We all know that, when caught off our guard, there comes a dark temptation from the depths of our lower selves, something atavistic stirs, and we think thoughts, or even do deeds, of which we would never have believed ourselves capable. We have heard the voice of the Dark Angel speaking.
Equally in times of dire stress, when we have our backs to the wall and we are fighting for more than our physical lives, another Voice makes itself heard, the voice of the Bright Angel. I have never known this to occur when a man was fighting simply for his physical life. To those who see beyond the veil, death is no great evil; but in times of spiritual crisis, when the very self is being swept away, then it is that the cry of the soul is heard, and Something manifests out of the mists of the Unseen, manifests in a form that is comprehensible to the one who calls. Whether intense stress induces a temporary expansion of consciousness, a fugitive psychism, or whether a Being of its own volition passes through the veil and manifests, I do not know; there are never any details available of these incidents. They take place only in times of dire stress and go as swiftly as they came, leaving no trace except upon the soul.
I maintain that even as the Lower Self can rise up in moments of temptation, so can the Higher Self descend in moments of spiritual crisis. It is the aim of the mystic to live exclusively in the Higher Self. It is the aim of the occultist to bring this Higher Self through into manifestation in brain consciousness, “In my flesh shall I see God.” Just as surely as the Lower Self can rise up and betray us to some horrible deed, so can the Higher Self come to the rescue, “terrible as an army with banners.”
I have already told of the mysterious voice which instructed me how to extricate myself from grave psychic danger. Upon other occasions of stress and strain I have experienced a sudden expansion or shifting of the level of consciousness. The Higher Self has descended and taken control. From being in the midst of turmoil one is suddenly raised high above it and sees all the circumstances of one’s life spread out like a bird’s-eye view, as one might see the land from a high place, and one knows intuitively the out come of the matter. All emotional turmoil ceases, and one is like a ship hove-to, securely riding out the storm. When this occurs to me, the memory of my past incarnations is always vividly present also. It is this simultaneous wakening of the past which makes me feel that the voice is that of my own Higher Self, and not of another entity.
It is my belief that in times of spiritual crisis the man that has faith in the law of God can rise up and invoke its protection and a seeming miracle will be performed for his benefit. Yet there can be no breach of natural law; there fore such a miracle must simply be an example of the working of a law with which we are as yet unfamiliar, just as an eclipse appears to the savage as a miracle, but to the astronomer as a natural phenomenon which he can forecast with accuracy.
What is it that induces this change of control in our lives? We are familiar with the fact that the engine of a car has three speeds and a reverse. May it not be that our minds are also geared, and that it is a changing of gears which induces psychism? Are there not times when we get into reverse and the ape and tiger within us take charge?
Behind the physical plane lies the astral plane, and behind the astral plane lies the mental plane, and behind the mental plane lies the spiritual plane, each plane acting as plane of causation to the one beneath it, and each in turn being controlled from the subtler plane above it. When we “change gear,” consciousness is shifted from a denser to a subtler plane and we begin to move among remoter and remoter causes of which the happenings upon the physical plane are the end-results; we manipulate these causes and the results are immediately effected.
When we change gear from the physical to the astral, we find’ ourselves upon the plane of psychic consciousness and the lesser magic. Supposing a psychic combat is taking place between two occultists, if one of them is of such a grade that he can change gear again, so that consciousness is lifted from the astral to the mental plane, he will be in the sphere of the greater magic and be in full control of the situation. The other can make no stand against him. But what happens in the case of the rare and mystic soul who can shift consciousness once again and engage the gears of a purely spiritual power? He has outclassed the adept. There are many souls who have this mystical spiritual consciousness although they have no occult knowledge. Between the higher and the lower modes of thought there is a great gulf fixed across which they leap precariously. If in a time of crisis they are able to rise up in faith and enter into this mystical consciousness and be still, they will have the upper air of any occultist who relies upon nothing save the technique of occultism.
The question of mystical consciousness is, however, outside the scope of our present enquiry, which is concerned with psychic methods and the traditional technique of the occultist. Different temperaments will employ different methods, and the mystical method does not appeal to everybody.
The occultist does not ignore the Christ-force, however; he recognises it as among the hierarchy of supreme forces of the universe, although he may not be prepared to assign to it the exclusive position which it occupies in the heart of the Christian mystic. In the Western Tradition it is symbolised by Tiphareth, the central Sephira of the Ten Holy Sephiroth of the Qabalistic Tree of Life.
The Christ-force is the equilibriating, compensating, healing, redeeming, purifying factor of the universe. It should be invoked in every operation of psychic self-defence where any human element, incarnate or discarnate, is concerned. Where non-human elements, such as elementals, thought-forms, or the Qlippoth, have to be dealt with, it is the power of God the Father, as Creator of the universe, that is invoked, His supremacy over all the kingdoms of nature, visible and invisible, being affirmed. God the Holy Ghost is the force that is employed in initiations, and it should not be invoked during times of psychic difficulty, as its influence will tend to intensify the condition and render the Veil yet thinner.
There is a very curious aspect of the occult field concerning which something must be said in the present pages, though not a great deal can be revealed, and, to be frank, I do not know a great deal about it myself, but only such aspects as I have actually come across. I have always heard it called the Occult Police; others may know it by different names but I believe it to be a very real and concrete thing, though its organisation is not upon the physical plane, nor, so far as I know, are its mundane activities gathered up into any single pair of hands. I have crossed its trail upon a number of occasions, and played my part in its activities, and I have talked with others who have also been concerned in it, and they have always said as I do, that it is the inner voice and circumstances alone that direct our activities when we co-operate with this mysterious organisation.
I think myself that it is organised in national units, for people seem to go in and out of jurisdictions, or to be passed on from one to another. In my experience it has no particular political bias, but concerns itself solely with occult methods applied to criminal ends and offences against society.
One or two illustrative cases may help to make the matter clear. Some complications arose at one time over an Indian occultist who was visiting this country in order to found a school. He was deeply involved in the politics of his own country, and there could be no doubt about it that he disliked the English and all their ways very much indeed. I think that I was the only pure-blooded Anglo-Saxon who was in touch with him. As far as I know, he did not concern himself with mundane plane political activities, his idea being to organise a meditation group which should pour the regenerative spiritual force of the East into the group- soul of the British Empire, which he declared was in a very bad way indeed. I maintained, however, that the group-soul was not dying, as he held, but very tired, for it was immediately after the War. Moreover, I could not see how any body who disliked it so very much was going to be able to regenerate it. Nor was I sure that the regeneration was going to be to our taste if we were to get it. This man, whom I will call X., was of an intense spiritual pride, and his root-idea was that England must acknowledge the spiritual supremacy of India and take her spiritual inspiration from the East. I was young and inexperienced at the time, but I began to ask myself what manner of spiritual force was going to be poured in through the channel we were constructing. Sup posing during the War a group of English Occultists had tried to perform a similar service for Germany, what line would they have taken? Would they not have tried to influence the German group-mind to give up its militarist ideals and concentrate on the League of Nations? Was it not more than likely that our Indian friend was trying to disabuse us of our Imperialistic tendencies? Would it not appear to him, smarting as he was under the race prejudice of the white man, that the world would be a much better place for humanity if the English cultivated their own garden and let other people alone? I got more and more uneasy, and X., being a good psychic, detected my uneasiness, and I was asked to withdraw from the group he was organising.
I felt quite convinced that something sinister was being attempted against the group-mind of my race, but I had no means of gauging its extent or potency. This was not the kind of tale one could take to Scotland Yard; moreover, several of my personal friends believed in the bonafides of X. and were taking part in the group he was organising, and I was very anxious not to involve them in any unpleasantness. In my perplexity I resolved to do nothing upon the physical plane and to invoke the Masters upon the Inner Planes.
At this time I was not of a grade which is supposed to have direct access to the Masters, but I determined to try and get them telepathically, though I did not know whether those to whom I was trying to telepath were human or non-human, incarnate in physical bodies or discarnate entities, for at that time I was not very advanced in my occult studies.
All I had to hold on to was an abstract idea and the knowledge that in previous difficulties I had been able to get in touch with Something on the Inner Planes which had proved a powerful friend.
In telepathing, the usual method of getting in touch is to visualise the person you want to communicate with and call him by name. I had nothing I could visualise and I knew no names. However, I determined to make the attempt as best I might and, metaphorically speaking, I put my head out of the window of this fleshly tabernacle and called for the police. And I got an answer. The Inner Voice replied to me very clearly and distinctly:
“You are to go to Colonel Y.”
I was taken aback at this, for Colonel Y. was a rather eminent person to whom I had once been introduced, and the last person in the world one would invite to go mare’s nesting. I had no desire to make myself ridiculous by bearding this forminable warrior in his den. My psychological studies had made me familiar with the workings of the subconscious mind and what it can do when dissociated, and I felt that the situation required handling with considerable caution because the results of a mis-step might be unpleasant. I therefore replied to the Inner Voice, “I cannot trust you unless you will give me a sign.”
The reply came through, “Colonel Y. will be at our next lecture. Tell him then.”
To this I replied, “I know that Colonel Y. cannot be at my lecture because his regiment is ordered abroad, and he will have left before it takes place.”
The answer came back, “Colonel Y. will be at your next lecture.”
“Very well,” I said, “that shall be my sign. If Colonel Y. is there, I will tell him, and if not, I shall leave the affair to take its course.”
The day duly arrived when I was to give a public lecture at a certain town. I arrived at the hall in due course, and the first thing I saw was Colonel Y. going up the stairs! So I determined to take the bull by the horns, and immediately after the lecture I went straight to him and said, “I have got a message for you.”
“I know you have,” he replied, “for I have been told to expect it.”
It appears that he was sitting in his quarters one evening with his two dogs. They suddenly became disturbed and began to investigate something that wasn’t there. He heard a voice saying distinctly to his inner ear that I should come and ask his help and that he was to give it. He was so impressed by this occurrence that he went to a mutual friend and asked her whether I was in trouble of any sort. At his request she wrote to me to enquire how I was faring, but mentioned no names, and I, not realising the significance of the incident, returned a non-committal answer.
He heard my story and told me to leave the matter in his hands, which I did.
This is a queer enough story of coincidence, but the sequel is even queerer. After leaving Colonel Y., I enquired once more of the Unseen whether I should take any further steps. The reply came through that for the present I was to do nothing, but that I would be told when further action was to be taken. I learnt afterwards that X. had left the country a few days after my interview with Colonel Y.
Nothing happened for about five months, and then one evening when I was sitting over my fire in the dusk I distinctly heard the Inner Voice telling me that now was the time to make a move in the matter of X., and that I was to go to Mr. Z. and tell my story. Now Mr. Z. was a very eminent person indeed, whom I knew of as being an advanced occultist, but whom I had never met. I replied to the interior voice that for me to approach Mr. Z. was impossible, I should merely be shown the door, and that unless they could open up the way from their end, I did not see how it was to be done. The answer came through very clearly that the way would be made plain. And it was.
A couple of days later a visitor was announced, an old friend whom I only saw occasionally, and after the usual greetings and exchange of news, he said, “I should very much like you to meet a friend of mine who I think would be interested in your work. May I take you to see him? His name is Mr. Z.” Needless to say I agreed.
When I came to the appointed meeting, I said to Mr. Z., after I had been introduced, ” I have got a message for you,” thinking I might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb. He listened attentively, and when I mentioned the name of the Indian, my friend who was present, exclaimed, “It is a curious thing that you should be moving in this matter at the present moment. X. landed in England a couple of days ago.”
It will be noted that as soon as X. left England, I was instructed to hold my hand, and as soon as he returned after an absence of five months, I was instructed to commence action again. Unless we are prepared to pull the long arm of coincidence clean out of its socket, we must conclude that some directing intelligence was at work. This is but one among many instances in my experience. Limitations of space forbid me to mention any more.
In addition to the Occult Police, who function solely on the Inner Planes, there also exist certain groups of occultists who have banded themselves together for the purpose of combating Black Occultism. I suppose they give themselves different names, but I do not know what these are; I have always heard them referred to generically as the Hunting Lodges. Upon various occasions I have skirmished on their flanks and looked on at some lively forays. I imagine them to be organised in conjunction with the Occult Police, and they certainly possess means of obtaining information which point to co-operation from the Inner Planes. They appear to possess alliances in unexpected quarters and to be able to pull a remarkable number of strings. What psychic weapons they use I do not know, but upon the physical plane they appear to rely largely upon newspaper exposes, and upon keeping undesirables on the move, never allowing them to settle down and organise. Knowing what I do of their methods, I have from time to time recognised their sign-manual in various transactions for which decent citizens have every reason to be grateful.
I came across them in a manner which serves to illustrate the way in which occultists can “call” for information they may be in need of, and the fortuitious train of circumstances that will supply it.
As a young girl, at the commencement of my interest in occultism, I came in touch with an adept whom I soon realised to be on the Left-hand Path, and with whom I soon severed my connection. Shortly after I broke with him, I was watching a gymkhana in company with some friends, among them a student of occultism, and we began to discuss matters of mutual interest. Impelled by I know not what impulse to confide in him what I had never told a soul, I told him of my experiences with the adept I have referred to. To my surprise he knew all about him. It seems that my new acquaintance was connected with a group of occultists who had taken for their work the hunting out of Black Lodges; they had already crossed the trail of my black adept and had compelled him to close down, and he had sworn not to reorganise his Order. They had had reason to believe recently that this oath was not being kept and that he had again organised a Lodge and was working his rituals, but they did not know where to lay their hands on him. Then here came I, a bit of human flotsam tossed up on a sports field to give them the information they needed at the very moment when they needed it. These things happen too regularly in occultism for one to be able to look upon them as chance.
It is my belief that It Is possible for anyone who has need of them to get into touch telepathically with this occult police force. The symbol I was taught to use was a black Calvary Cross with circle on a scarlet ground. This is pictured in the imagination, and while gazing at it mentally the call is sent out into the Unseen, projecting it from the centre of the forehead.
Various attempts have been made to prove that the occult fraternities are all directed from a single headquarters, said variously to be situated in Germany, Thibet, Mongolia and South America. Personally I do not believe it. I suppose that I have a pretty varied acquaintance with the inner workings of the occult movement, and I have never seen anything whatever that indicated any centralised control, whether for good or for evil. Everything, in fact, points the other way, and indicates that there is no connecting link save that of a common literature, a common idealism, and a set of symbols which, if not common to all sections, are readily translatable by means of well-understood equivalents. The position in the occult field is analogous to that of Protestant Christianity, not Roman Christianity. Occultism has no Pope.
Nor do I think that Bolshevism ever gained any foothold in the Lodges, though I believe it tried; as witness the application to my own fraternity. The average occultist is not interested in politics, his concern is with things invisible. Moreover, the occult fraternities are too inco-ordinated and scattered to be formidable political weapons even if they were imbued with Bolshevism.
It has also been said that the occult fraternities are controlled by the Jews in the interests of Zionism. This is quite untrue. There are very few Jews in the occult movement. It is true, however, that the Qabalah, the traditional mysticism of the Jewish race, is one of the principal sources of Western occultism, and that any occultist working on that tradition must know at least enough Hebrew to be able to transliterate Hebrew script. The study of the modern mystical Qabalah is almost exclusively in the hands of Gentiles, and orthodox Jewish scholars know little or nothing of its literature and nothing whatever of its mystical significance.
No one has said harder things of the occult movement than I have, and if I thought that there were any organised system of evil influence, I should not hesitate to say so, for I have the integrity of the movement very much at heart; but I honestly do not believe that there is any generalised organisation of the occult movement, whether for good or evil, whatever may be one’s conception of good and evil. One can, of course, only speak of that which one has seen, but I think it would have been impossible for me to have been as intimately associated with that movement as I have been and never to have crossed its trail at any point. I have crossed so many trails, and seen, I will not deny it, so much that was evil, but this particular evil I have not seen, and I do not believe it exists outside the imagination of people with bees in their bonnets. The true nexus of the occult movement is devotion to a common ideal, but this ideal is approached by an infinite diversity of paths, as many as the breaths of the sons of men.
I am sorry for the hypothetical person who has the task of organising the occult movement, for occultists of different schools cannot be induced to co-operate. Any technique which differs from that which they are used to is suspect; any unfamiliar contact is black. The great majority of the heads of schools that I have known have sat each in his own circle of light and damned everybody else. Like the old lady who watched her son march past with the Territorials, they exclaim, “They’re all out of step except our Jock.” I had once dreamed of a federation of occult societies with an annual convention, but I soon realised that it was unwork able. If occultists cannot be got to organise to serve their own interests, it is very unlikely that they would ever be got to organise to serve anybody else’s.
The most prevalent abuses of Western occultism are immorality, drug-taking and the bamboozling of silly women. Its worst faults are credulity, a slipshod scholarship that verges on illiteracy, and a widespread sappiness of intellect. Fortune-telling in all its forms and some very spurious spiritual healing constitute another slur upon what should be holy ground. It is difficult to do justice to ideals which one does not share, but it has always seemed to me that the highly-coloured humanitarianism with which certain sections of the movement are soaked is not an ornament. “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Such fruits of this as I have seen have appeared to me to be somewhat over-ripe. The finest minds in occultism are totally unknown outside their own Orders. A very common clause in initiation oaths binds the candidate not to reveal the names of his fellow members. If this oath were broken, the general public would get some surprises. Occultism not being in good repute with the general public, men in public positions cannot afford to have their names associated with it; their interest is therefore carefully concealed, and they only speak of it to those upon whose sympathy and discretion they can count.
Those who know what to look for, however, can pick them out readily. Anyone who is accustomed to the analysis of literary style can detect the regular reader of the Bible. Anyone who knows the occult rituals will detect their flavour in the literary or oratorical style of a man who is habituated to their use. Perhaps at this length of time I may be forgiven if I break the Oath of the Mysteries that binds to secrecy concerning the names of initiates and suggest that the key to the Bacon-Shakespeare controversy may lie in the fact that Bacon and Shakespeare were members of the same Order?
For further reading on Psychic Self Defence and Dion Fortune
7 Basic Psychic Self Defense and Energy Protection Techniques
Introduction to Psychic Self Defense