Psychic Self Defence Ch. 13 – The Motives of Psychic Attack. I


Psychic Self Defence - The Motives of Psychic Attack. IExtract from the Book

Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune



WE have noted in a previous chapter that the simplest way to find out whether the victim of an alleged psychic attack is romancing or not, is to seek for motives, and if they are not discernible, to give imagination the benefit of the doubt. The commonplace motives of greed, lust, revenge and fear of betrayal do not need psychic discernment for their discovery but are perceptible to the naked eye. There are other motives, however, that may be operative in occult circles but which would be passed by unsuspected by the ordinary investigator.

The old charm-books that have come down to us, mostly via the servants’ hall, are replete with recipes for securing the love of the opposite sex. The ancient grimoires supply more elaborate ritual prescriptions, and the reports of witch-trials contain frequent indictments of the wise woman who, for a consideration, undertook to direct people’s affections towards persons for whom they apparently had no natural predilection. Are such operations to be taken seriously, or should we class them with the anti-fat pills that reduce without dieting?

We have already referred to the old love-philtres. The ancients were well acquainted with the aphrodisiac drugs which excited sexual passion. Nor are the modems altogether ignorant of them, as carefully-worded advertisements in certain occult publications reveal. There are firms in France which specialise in the manufacture of chocolates which contain masked doses of these drugs. Publicity was given to their productions recently owing to the death of two girls and a man through taking overdoses. There are cocktails in use in this country containing so-called “tonic” ingredients whose effect is well known. If these are not “love-philtres,” what are they?

We are not concerned in these pages with methods that belong solely to the physical plane, but these matters call for mention because there are grounds for belief that upon more than one occasion, even in this country, aphrodisiacs have been employed as an adjuvant to occult practices. There was a certain firm which began to advertise extensively and was building up a nice business in what might be called “occultist’s sundries.” Among other preparations which they supplied was “Incense for the operation of Venus.” However, the firm came to an untimely end through the intervention of the police, both partners going to jail.

But apart from the use of purely material means, it is not difficult to see what uses could be made of mental influence in this direction. I have seen several cases that looked extremely suspicious, but in these matters it is very difficult to get at the facts. The manner of attack is intangible and leaves no trace, and the victim may be unsuspicious and entirely ignorant not only of the psychic side of sex, but also of its physical and subtler emotional aspects. Moreover, those who have suffered most usually talk least. One may occasionally hear of the attempt which was frustrated. The attempt which was successful very rarely comes to light because the victim has just as much motive for concealing it as the aggressor. When we come to purely occult practices, there are two ways in which the desired end can be achieved; psychic pressure may be brought to bear upon the desired person so that he or she shall come under the influence of the operator; or the psychic operation known as congressus subtilis may take place.

What exactly is congressus subtilis? We shall have to know a good deal more than we do at present about the occult side of sex before we can answer that question. In the first place, what are the facts, or alleged facts, of the matter? The ancients held very definite beliefs upon the subject, and these beliefs can very often afford us a clue, even if we do not accept the very anthropomorphic explanations by which they are accompanied.

It was believed that the arch-demon Lilith had a very great deal to do with these matters. According to the Qabalists, Lilith was the first wife of Adam, who used to visit him in his dreams while he was as yet alone in the Garden of Eden, and the Lord God became so perturbed at these goings-on that He created Eve as a counter- attraction. Witches were the recipients of similar attentions from the Devil. St. Theresa of Avila records that the Godhead Itself visited her. The Virgin Mary received the Holy Ghost. St. Anthony was tempted by apparitions of beautiful female demons. There are many cases on record of whole nunneries being attacked by the Devil, who visited their members. George Moore, in his exceedingly interesting study of convent life, Sister Theresa, gives an account of an outbreak of “Counterparts” among the younger nuns, in which they formed liaisons with angelic lovers, who were supposed to be the souls of those who were drowned in the Flood. We read in Genesis and in the Book of Enoch that the Sons of God mated with the daughters of men, and the demonic race was the result. The folk-lore of every country contains instances of the mating of humans with elementals, usually with disastrous consequences. Classical literature is full of stories of the visits of gods and goddesses to human kind. What shall we say of all such stories? Is there any element in them beyond fairy-tale and wish-fulfilment? We can readily understand the motive of the nun who, wishing to conceal the identity of her paramour, declares herself to be with child by the Devil. We can equally understand the psychology of the rest of the convent that take up the story and see the Devil in every corner.

Let me cite certain cases which have come within my personal knowledge and see whether in the light of these we can sift fact from phantasy. There came to visit me once a young man who was in love with a married woman. He told me that upon several occasions he had had a very vivid dream of visiting her, and she had simultaneously dreamed of receiving his visit. He was anxious to perfect the technique of this operation, hence the visit to me. I am afraid I was unsympathetic, consequently I did not obtain any further information concerning this curious experiment.

An even more curious case came to my knowledge some years ago. A woman told me that in the days of her youth she had been engaged to marry a man to whom she was very deeply attached, and who was murdered while working as a missionary in West Africa. Having lost the only man she felt she could love, she consented to marry a second cousin who had long been in love with her, and who was a semi-invalid. Whenever she had relations with her husband, she always visualised the form of her first lover. She herself was short, dark and petite. Her husband, a blood relation, was similar in type to herself, and a weed into the bargain. But her three sons were tall, upstanding blond men of the nordic type, bearing a strong resemblance to the dead man. The truth of this story was vouched for to me by a friend of the family.

I have know personally two alleged “changelings.” The male had the pointed ears of Pan, and if anyone was ever a son of the Devil, he was. The female was a curious and fascinating creature, essentially non-human, and when her child was born it came into the world with no more trouble than a kitten. Both these beings were conceived when their mothers were under the influence of drink, and both of them were characterised by a marked callousness, which in one case developed into deliberate cruelty. Although very peculiar to look at, neither of them was in the least defective, both being, in fact, possessed of considerably more than the average share of brains.

Anyone who has any knowledge of the esoteric aspect of sex knows that union is as much etheric as physical. It is this fact which constitutes the real difference between normal union and self-abuse, and explains why the former is vitalising and harmonising, and the latter is exhausting and nerve-wrecking. May we not conceive it possible for anyone who can project the etheric body, or a being whose densest vehicle is etheric, to play a part in unions under certain conditions? And if we accept the theory of medium- ship, or of obsession, which is a pathological form of mediumship, what shall we say concerning the possibility of a union while one or other of the partners is under control? What maimer of soul might come through into incarnation under such conditions? Medieval tradition recognised two classes of demons which invade sleep, and called them Incubi and Succubi. These were held to be responsible for lascivious dreams. Modern psychology discounts their services and looks nearer home. The psychic, however, is of the opinion that there is something in the old belief, and that the lustful imaginings of men’s hearts (and women’s too, for that matter) do indeed produce artificial elementals according to the method described in a previous chapter, and that these elementals are something more than subjective images, and have an objective etheric existence and play their part in the genesis of certain experiences. For instance, a person may have dreams and phantasies of a lascivious nature, and these may give rise to their characteristic thought-forms; these thought-forms, now existing independently of the mind that originally conceived them, and being in the aura of that person, give him suggestion just as any other thought-forms projected telepathically from the mind of another person might do. We little realise the extent to which we give ourselves telepathic suggestion by means of extruded thought-forms. We are, in fact, ensphered by our own atmospheres, emanated by ourselves. I remember being told as a child that if a bird-cage were hung immediately under the canopy of an old-fashioned four-poster bed, the bird would be found dead in the morning, poisoned by the carbonic acid gas exhaled by the sleeper lying below. We little realise the extent to which we are psychically poisoned by our own emanations of unguarded and unpurified thoughts.


It is well known that orgasm takes place in dreams, accompanied by appropriate dream-pictures. The ancients believed that such an experience was due to the action of demons. Moderns believe it to be due to physical tension. It is not so generally known that there are people, both male and female, who can produce the same reaction at will solely by means of day-dreams. May we not ask ourselves whether it cannot also be produced by means of telepathic suggestion, and whether this may not have played a part in the operations of many covens?

There is another curious phase of this aspect of the Left- hand Path, which was brought to my knowledge through a case which came into my hands. A young girl, simple minded and unsophisticated, living a very isolated life with a widowed mother, went to consult a well-known psychic, whom we will call Mr. X. In the circle in which both Miss Y. and Mr. X. moved there was another, and prominent figure, whom we will call Mr. Z., who had a reputation for a knowledge of magic. Mr. X. told Miss Y. that he had read the records of her past lives, and that there was a karmic tie between herself and Mr. Z., and that she could help him in his work by pouring out upon him her love and magnetism. She was instructed to meditate upon Mr. Z. every night as she lay in bed, until she fell asleep. This poor girl, lonely and unsuspicious, gave herself up unreservedly to this task. Presently, however, she began to grow uneasy. Her common sense asserted itself, for she found the meditations she was required to perform were having a very disturbing effect upon her; but Mr. X. allayed her fears and recalled her to her allegiance by assuring her that he had looked into the future and seen that eventually Mr. Z. would marry her. By now she had upon her hands a heart-breaking love affair which was making her very unhappy and unfitting her for work. A number of letters upon the subject were exchanged between Miss Y. and Mr. X., which I have seen. I did my best to persuade her to drop the whole affair. Mr. X. succeeded in persuading her to go on with it, playing upon her feelings and telling her how terrible would be the plight of Mr. Z. if she withdrew her psychic support, and renewing his assurance of a karmic tie which would result in an ultimate marriage if she were faithful. Miss Y., pitifully distressed and bewildered, betook herself to certain of the leaders of the organisation to which all three of them belonged. These people seconded my advice that she should discontinue these practices, but persuaded her to surrender the very compromising letters which were in her possession. Having secured these, they declared that the whole transaction was imagination on her part, and instead of turning this choice pair of scoundrels out of their ranks, let them continue to function as usual.

This would be a strange enough case if it were an isolated one, but it is not. Another woman came to me about this time in a state bordering on insanity, and told me that she too had been consulting Mr. X., who had told her that she had already received initiation on the Inner Planes, though she might not be conscious of it, and that her psychic faculties were on the point of opening (a stock remark of his), but if she wanted to make real progress on the Path she must cease to live with her husband and he (Mr. X.) would put her in touch with her astral soul-mate. The consequence of this precious advice was to break up her home and send her out of her mind. One day, walking in the Park, she met Mr. Z., and declared him to be her astral lover, a statement which Mr. X. confirmed, and embellished with the information that Mr. Z. was also the Master who would initiate her.

I tried to persuade her to bring the whole transaction to a summary conclusion and return to her husband, but she replied that she could never do this after the astral experiences she had had. Mr. X. re-established his influence over her, she left the address at which I had known her, and I have never heard what became of her. Her condition when I last saw her was deplorable – emaciated, wild-eyed and twitching with convulsive movements. Would anyone believe the story of such a woman? Obviously no one, unless they had seen the letters that I had seen. Nor is this the only case; a fellow-worker of mine told me of two precisely similar ones which had come to her knowledge in connection with Mr. X. It is cases such as these which make the honest investigator of occult phenomena thankful that there is upon our statute-book a law which enables magistrates to deal effectually with occultists who prostitute their powers. It is so generally known that no initiate may use the occult arts for gain that it is difficult to sympathise with people who pay some advertising occultist his half-crown or half-guinea and then find themselves let in for unpleasantness.

What conclusions may we draw from the incidents that I have related, for the facts of which I can vouch from personal knowledge? Four women are persuaded to embark upon a meditation process whose aim is to pour out force. The nature of the force that is to be poured out is indicated by the fact that the married women are instructed not to live with their husbands and the unmarried girl is encouraged to fall in love with the man who is made the focus of the operation. This man is the head of a group of people known to be occupied with practical occultism and ceremonial. The conclusion I draw is that an occult experiment was afoot, and that, regardless of the consequences to them, these women were being made use of in order to carry it out, the procurer being the well-known psychic, Mr. X., and the operator the notorious Mr. Z.

The same group have to their credit a recurring series of scandals in connection with unnatural vice. If this were merely vice as such it would not come within the purview of these pages, but it appears to be used systematically as a means of obtaining occult power. Those who have any knowledge of the deeper aspects of occultism know that sex force is one of the manifestations of kundalini, the serpent- fire that according to Tantric philosophy lies coiled at the base of the spine, or in the terms of Western occultism, the sacral plexus. The control and concentration of the kundalini force is an important part of the technique of practical occultism. There is a right way of directing it through thought-control, the technique of which I have explained in my little book, The Problem of Purity (Rider); but there is also another method, which consists in stimulating this force, and then directing it into abnormal channels where it will not be absorbed, but remain available for magical purposes. It is for this reason that in certain forms of the Black Mass the altar is the naked body of a woman who may either be still living, or have been slain sacrificially. A. E. W. Mason gives an account of such a transaction in his book, The Prisoner in the Opal.

Less expert operators, however, cannot control this form of force; as soon as they generate it, it has to go to its logical conclusion. They therefore employ another type of stimulus, not the woman, but the boy or youth. The practice of paederasty in connection with occultism is very old, and was one of the causes of the degeneration of the Greek Mysteries.

I have dealt with these subjects in some detail in another book of mine, Sane Occultism. Particulars of the actual cases can be found by reference to the files of Truth, the journal already referred to.

Further Reading

For further reading on Psychic Self Defence and Dion Fortune
7 Basic Psychic Self Defense and Energy Protection Techniques
Introduction to Psychic Self Defense
Dion Fortune