28 November 2011

Haunted Seattle – Harvard Exit Theatre

On Saturday a friend and I went up to the Harvard Exit Theatre to see Melancholia (good film, weird, but good).  The theatre is legendarily haunted so I was quite curious to see how it felt to me.  We made our way up to Capitol Hill and managed to find free parking only a block away, so I knew things were starting off on the right foot.  I’d been pass the theatre many times (the Hill being one of my favorite places), but had never actually seen anything there.

The building was originally built as the Women’s Century Club back in the 1920s.  It’s a pretty brick building covered in ivy that sits tucked around a corner from Broadway, giving it a cozy feeling.  You come in to a pleasant old-fashioned lobby with old couches, an antique movie projector, and a beautiful stone fireplace.  Right away I could feel that there was something more than ordinary going on.  When I’m in a place with strong metaphysical energies I tend to feel a charge, rather like static electricity.  It feels like there’s something coiled up and ready to release, waiting for some kind of trigger. 

The feeling was the same in the theatre room – a sort of expectant feeling.  The theatre is comfortable and rather pretty; a nice change from the sterile megaplexes I normally go to.  I didn’t experience any haunting phenomena while at the theatre, but the energy was such that it wouldn’t surprise me if things did go bump in the night.  In the theatre I could feel a lot of potent emotional energy just wafting around.  That much energy just there for the taking would make it fairly easy for ghosts and other entities to manifest and get our attention.  There’s something about the intensity of energy and emotion that theatres bring out of people that lingers long after the show is over that makes hauntings common.  I could feel that there were things waiting in the wings for the audience to go home so that they could come out and play.  I’d love to get in there some time after closing and see what I can find.

22 November 2011

Pantheacon Schedule Announced!

It looks like the schedule for Pantheacon has been announced and I can officially say that I will be presenting again this year!

On Monday the 20th I will be presenting a workshop on magickal self-defense called Magickal Munitions.  I'll post more information as we get closer to the date.  I hope to see many of you there :)

From the official announcement:
"The 18th Annual PantheaCon will be held Feb. 17 – 20, 2012 (President’s Day Weekend) at the Doubletree Hotel in San Jose, CA"

Thoughts on House Cleansings

A very special thanks to WSPIR for having me at their last meeting.  My presentation on Psychic Protection for Paranormal Investigators went over very well.  There’s nothing like presenting to an intelligent and engaged audience to really put the cherry on a good weekend.  Before my presentation I had the pleasure of attending their general meeting where several ongoing and recent investigations were discussed.  One of the issues that came up was house blessings/cleansings for clients and it got me thinking.

House blessings and cleansings are one of things I am asked about most frequently and one of the things most people have misconceptions about.  A house cleansing is not like having the kind of exorcism that you see in the movies or on tv, even the ones you see on “reality” tv being performed by “experts.” 

First and foremost, if you are experiencing a haunting of some kind a house blessing may or may not actually get rid of whatever’s causing the problem.  A house blessing/cleansing cleans out negative energies that are present in your house.  It does not necessarily address any of the underlying causes that brought that energy into your house in the first place and it may or may not ward against those energies coming back.  As Darren of WSPIR so aptly pointed out, doing a house cleansing is a lot like vacuuming; you can’t do it just once and expect to never have to do it again.  Energy flows; it changes all the time.  Sweeping out negative energy can stop the effects of a haunting, remove negative entities, and even positively affect your mental health for a time.  However, just like dust, energy moves around and negative energies can come back if you don’t do something about them on a regular basis.  I recommend that everyone, whether you think you’ve got a problem with negative energy or not, perform a house cleansing at least once a month (I prefer to do it on the new moon) to keep your home’s energy flowing healthily. 

As I mentioned, a house cleansing may or may not deal with whatever brought negative energy into your home in the first place.  Negative energy and entities can enter a home in a number of ways: it might have been there before you, it might be attracted to a psychic sensitive in the household, it might be attracted to negative energy given off by the household, it might drift in from a troubled neighbor, etc.  One of the things brought up at the meeting was the fact that many people who experience hauntings are actually psychic sensitives or empaths who simply do not understand what they’re experiencing and don’t know how to take control of the situation.  A sensitive could do a full house cleansing every day and still experience phenomena he found unsettling if he didn’t learn about his abilities and take control of them.  A person who constantly effervesced negative energy would probably attract negative entities regardless of how often she smudged.  A house cleansing will almost never make a situation worse, so please when in doubt perform a cleansing – just don’t expect it to be a cure all if that’s all you do.  

Sometimes what’s needed in a situation isn’t a house cleansing at all, but a cleansing of the person involved.  Sometimes it’s not the place that’s being haunted but the person.  Sometimes this is the result of attachment, though more often it’s the result of the person involved being shiny (certain people have energy that just attracts the paranormal – I call these people shiny because their energy is highly visible on the other planes).  In such cases a personal cleansing (often in the form of a mild hex-breaking) will help clear away energies and entities that have attached to that person, although it won’t keep them from coming back unless the person learns how to control their own energies (and that’s a whole different post).  And sometimes, if you’re really unlucky, you come across that terrible combination of mental illness and attachment.  Unfortunately, people whose personal energies are compromised by mental illness are both more likely to think there’s something pestering them if there’s not and are more likely to actually be afflicted by the paranormal.  Their mental imbalance actually makes them more vulnerable to the paranormal and there are many unsavoury entities that find them particularly tasty.  In such cases all you can do is work with their therapist to try and address both problems simultaneously.  A therapist alone can help heal the mental imbalance but won’t necessarily get rid of the attachments, while getting rid of the attachments without addressing the imbalance is only a temporary solution.  I generally stay away from these situations for fear of becoming liable if something goes wrong. 

House cleansings are both incredibly useful and important for maintaining a healthy environment, but they are not a magic bullet.  A one-time cleansing will make things better for a little while, but not forever – don’t expect it to.

16 November 2011

Seattle Area Event 11/20!

This Sunday, 11-20, I will be presenting a workshop on Psychic Self-Defense for Paranormal Investigators!

I'll be doing an hour long presentation at the monthly meeting of WSPIR at the Issaquah Library.  The meeting is open to the general public and has no fee and runs from 1-4:45pm.  I'm not sure at what point in the meeting I'll be doing my presentation. 

I'll probably be hanging around for a little while after the meeting, so bring your questions.  If there's enough interest I might just have a dinner round-table discussion on all thing magickal afterwards.

14 November 2011

Possession and Oppression

First a disclaimer – I am not a mental health professional.  I am not giving mental health advice.  I’m a witch relating personal thoughts and experiences.  Take what I say as nothing more than that.

Over the last few months I’ve had several people come to me with concerns that someone they cared about might be possessed.  At first I assumed these people were...well...overly concerned.  After all, possession is absurdly rare.  It’s far more likely that someone’s mood swings or changing personality are due to a mid-life crisis or simple growth than some kind of malevolent outside force.  Consequently, when I investigated further I was surprised to find that these folks seemed to be dealing with honest to gods actually cases of possession.  That’s what I get for scoffing.  I will admit right up front that cases of possession or oppression scare me.  More than any other magickal malady, possession and oppression cases have the potential to go very, very badly. 

Possession and Oppression occur when an intelligent malevolent entity decides it’s going to make someone’s life hell.  The entity will single out a particular person and systematically harass him until he can no longer function normally.  At that point the person is Oppressed.  Now, just because someone is experiencing paranormal phenomena that he or she finds upsetting does not mean that person is Oppressed.  The big difference between a malevolent haunting and Oppression is the focus.  Hauntings generally affect anyone who comes within the sphere of the haunting.  Oppression is specifically focused on one individual.  If several people are feeling the effects, then you are not dealing with Oppression.  In a haunting everyone (or at least everyone with sensitivity to the paranormal) will feel the cold chill, hear the disembodied voices, etc.  In a case of Oppression only the target will feel the chill or hear the voices.  Therein lies the primary difficulty – if only one person is affected how do you know that the person is genuinely suffering from Oppression or if they’re just hallucinating?

In my experience the only way to tell if someone is Oppressed verses dealing with a mental issue is to have that person examined by someone who can see psychic energies.  To someone with the sight, an Oppressed person will appear draped in foreign energy and that foreign energy will look awful (dark, splotchy, cracked, etc.) – and it will feel even worse.  That foreign energy will appear very distinct from the person’s native energies, and the native energies will probably appear pale and weak.  Even then, there are some mental illnesses (particularly schizophrenia) that can give someone very similar energies.  An experienced practitioner should be able to feel the difference in the energies by their intensities and the level of malevolence present.  However, even the most experienced practitioner can misdiagnose this.  It is for this reason that I always recommend that anyone who thinks they might be Oppressed seek professional mental care.  Even if your root problem is that a demon is trying to eat you, a good psychologist can probably do you some good (just be careful what you say – we wouldn’t want anyone getting committed unnecessarily), and in the more likely event that you’ve got a chemical imbalance it will do you a lot of good. 

Oppression can sometimes lead to Possession.  In my opinion Possession is just about the most unsettling thing that can happen to a person – and I can personally attest that it is highly disturbing to witness.  Possession is when a foreign entity actually takes over someone’s body and controls his or her actions.  I’ve seen someone whose demeanour, speech patterns, aura, and even eye color changed during Possession.  Sometimes Possession occurs after a long period of Oppression that wears down the natural defences; other times it happens seemingly out of the blue.    In all the episodes of Possession that I’ve seen, some kind of traumatic event that severely compromised someone’s sense of self and all his mental defences precipitated the Possession.  I’ve never seen someone with a normal, healthy mind and aura become Possessed (at least not involuntarily – voluntary possession by deity is a whole different issue).  I’ve also never seen someone become Possessed as a result of dabbling in the occult.   

Like Oppression, Possession can look a lot like mental illness.  Illnesses such as multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia look damned similar to Possession.  People can have radical mood swings, fugue states, personality changes, etc., while suffering from Possession and the similar mental illnesses.  As with Oppression, those who think they might be Possessed should seek out a mental health professional, and for the same reasons.  Like with Oppression, the only way I’ve found to tell the difference between Possession and mental illness is viewing/feeling the energies involved and that isn’t foolproof. 

All that being said - what do you do if you think you or someone you love is Oppressed or Possessed?  As I’ve mentioned, the first thing you do is seek the aid of a mental health professional.  If someone is genuinely ill and they are left untreated or their delusions fed it can cause serious problems.  If someone is genuinely suffering from Oppression or Possession they are probably being severely traumatized and could greatly benefit from counselling - I’ve seen a case of Oppression lead the target to a serious anxiety disorder.  Magickally, Possession and Oppression are nothing to mess around with.  Best case scenario you are dealing with a malevolent entity and deep seated emotional trauma.  Worst case scenario you are dealing with a malevolent entity powerful enough to destroy someone’s mind.  Only experts in energy work and dealing with malevolent entities should attempt to deal with serious Possession.

For most cases of mild Oppression or the very first seeds of Possession, a thorough and powerful cleansing should rid a person of the negative outside influence.  However, it will not address the crack in that person’s energies that allowed the negative entity to take hold in the first place.  That requires a full mental/emotional magickal healing – something I really can’t help you with.  (I seriously can’t do healing work of any kind, it all goes pear shaped.)  If personal cleansings are insufficient, then it’s time to move up to a hex-breaking ritual.  Hex breakings (such as those I outline in my book) are designed to sever ties between the target and outside energies, rebuild the person’s own energies, and ward against future intrusions.  In my experience Hex breakings are quite effective against most forms of Oppression and mild Possession.   

What if it’s not mild Possession?  What if you’re dealing with something powerful, insidious, and long standing?  Well, that’s when all amateurs leave the building and call in a professional.  The only way to deal with serious Possession is to flat out battle the entity doing the possessing.  If you’re religious you call in the appropriate clergy person, if not find yourself a local witch of good repute and let her work.  If you’re me then you suit up, grab your kit, and gird yourself.  On the one occasion I have personally gone to bat against serious Possession I gathered up my strongest friends, we all called in our patron deities, we all called in every outstanding metaphysical favour we were owed, we gathered every iota of banishing energy we could lay our auras on until we were bursting with it, threw everything we had at the entity and wounded it enough to make it leave our friend alone.  It was the scariest thing I’ve ever had to deal with.

If you think you or someone you care about it Possessed or Oppressed start with a thorough cleansing, then move to a strong hex breaking.  If that doesn’t work, get help.

10 November 2011


This morning as I got on the bus I had the pleasure of watching the full moon begin to set behind the clouds and it got me thinking.  One of the greatest pleasures of leading a magickal life is having wonder be a part of the everyday.  When you first start practicing magick it’s like the moment in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy steps into Oz for the first time and things change from black and white to Technicolor.  All of a sudden things you took for granted become filled with new wonders.  Something as simple as sitting under a tree watching the leaves change becomes a mystical experience as you see the whirl of dancing energies you never realized existed.  I remember a time back at Wellesley where I spent an hour out in the freezing cold watching energies swirling on the lake and pixies dancing with the swans.

Nowadays I’ve gotten rather used to the mystical being all around me all the time and I’ve lost a lot of my sense of wonder.  Do it long enough and even the most fantastical things can become routine and you start taking them for granted.  Magick is a wonderful thing that enriches our lives and it is a privilege to be able to see and feel it working.  Sometimes I forget just how great a gift I’ve been given in being able to lead a magickal life.  Magick has led me to new friends, countless adventures, and a sense of purpose and belonging that I’d thought was beyond me.  I am so, so grateful for the gifts that magick has brought into my life.  Taking these mysteries for granted is a profound insult to everything I hold dear and I’m heartily ashamed of myself.

So, now it’s time to pick myself up and recommit to all the things I’ve been letting slide.  I’ve made my daily protections sacrosanct (I couldn’t skimp on them if I tried.  I literally cannot fall asleep until I’ve done them correctly.); I’ll just have to do the same for daily thanks.

I thank you Dark Lady for the gifts you’ve given me.  I thank you for the joy and wonder, I thank you for the pain and sorrow.  May I see all your gifts for what they are and take lessons from them.  May I forever recognize your hand in my life. 

I thank you for all that gives me peace.  I thank you for the stillness of the mountains; I thank you for the sea of the stars; I thank you for the warmth of your fire; I thank you for the strength of your bones.

I thank you for comfort of your presence.  May I live forever in your sight.