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CHAPTER XVII


METHODS OF DEFENCE

I

IN writing for the general reader an account of the methods to be used in combating a psychic attack, I am reminded of those excellent manuals upon medicine and surgery which an enlightened Board of Trade insists shall be provided for the captains of ships, together with a cupboard full of remedies, harmless and otherwise. When an emergency arises, the worthy skipper reads through the chapter he believes to bear upon the case in hand and goes to work as best he may. On these occasions the personal factor is a large one.

So it is in dealing with psychic trouble. Wide experience is needed for diagnosis, and specially trained faculties and specially developed powers are needed to cope with the conditions that may be found. This book is more in the nature of a manual of first aid than a treatise on treatment.

We must also bear in mind that just as the potent drug is effectual in the hands of the expert but dangerous in the hands of the amateur, so do the more potent occult formula need special equipment for their use. Moreover, a formula that is used indiscriminately by the uninitiated is apt to lose its potency and become useless. The popular expletive which G. B. S. introduced into polite society in his play, Pygmalion, is the worn-out remnant of the once-powerful adjuration, "By Our Lady." Moreover, no two cases are alike, and the clear-cut, typical case is a rarity and treasure. Common sense, natural aptitude and experience are the exorcist's best equipment.

Having made his diagnosis and being ready to proceed to the handling of the case, the exorcist has to achieve three things: he must repair his patient's aura, clear the atmosphere of his environment, and break his contact with the forces that are causing the trouble. These three things are interdependent, and not one of them is first or last. It is next to impossible to get a damaged aura to heal if you do not clear the atmosphere; nor will the atmosphere remain clear for long if you cannot break the contacts.

Theoretically, the ideal thing to do is to break the contacts as a start. But unfortunately, in actual practice, these often take a good deal of finding, and a good deal of handling after they have been found. Meanwhile, something has to be done to keep the patient going. The exorcist has got to clear himself a place in which to work. Or if the victim of the attack is defending himself single-handed, he has got to throw up some temporary defences while he digs himself in.

The first thing to do when dealing with an occult attack is to make a temporary clearance of the atmosphere and so gain breathing-space in which to re-form the shattered ranks. This is more readily achieved by an organised ritual than by unaided will-power. Any act performed with intention becomes a rite. We can take a bath with no more in mind than physical cleanliness; in which case the bath will cleanse our bodies and no more. Or we can take a bath with a view to ritual cleanliness, in which case its efficacy will extend beyond the physical plane. We therefore perform certain physical actions not only as a means of clearing etheric conditions, but also as a means of definitely effecting astral ones through the imagination, a very potent weapon in all magical operations.

Physical objects become impregnated with etheric emanations and retain them for considerable periods as a knife will retain a smell of onions and taint everything that is cut with it. These emanations, magnetism as they are called in the terminology of occult science, profoundly affect any sensitive person who is in contact with them. There is something in the old superstition that it is unlucky to place boots on a table. It is equally inadvisable to place outdoor garments on a bed. You do not know whom you have rubbed shoulders with in bus or train, so why give their magnetism a chance to contaminate your sleeping place?

Fortunately for all of us, magnetism is a very fugitive force, and although it may be potent when fresh, it soon fades unless it has been deliberately created by means of ritual. The terrible atmosphere that surrounds the victim of an occult attack and permeates all his belongings is not difficult to get rid of, though it will rapidly reform unless the conditions which gave rise to it are cleared up.

The most effectual way of getting rid of magnetism is to move to a fresh place, taking nothing of one's old belongings with one. This, however, is a counsel of perfection for most people. Fortunately there are other devices which enable us to attain our ends nearly as effectually. If it be in any way possible, let the victim of an occult attack move temporarily to another environment, taking with him as few of his belongings as possible, and let him make the move in new clothes, or in clothes that are just back from the cleaner. Let him, moreover, keep his whereabouts a secret as far as it is convenient for him to do so.

There is an old superstition that a witch can be thrown off the trail by crossing running water. It is my opinion that many of these old folk-beliefs have a basis in fact, however overlaid by superstition they may have become. I once had a curious experience which gives support to this opinion. I was about to take part in an important piece of occult work to which I knew there would be opposition. A friend who was concerned in the matter asked me to dine with her on the night before the day fixed for the proceeding. We were both conscious of tension in the atmosphere, and she suggested that I should remain the night at her flat instead of returning to my own, informing no one of my whereabouts in order to throw the attack off the trail. The maneuver was not wholly successful, and we had a rather trying night, and I was conscious of a good deal of psychic tension next day. I decided therefore to walk to the appointed place across Hyde Park in order to refresh myself. When part of the way across, I suddenly felt that the tension relaxed, and I was able to go through the work in hand without interference. I told my friend of this experience, and she questioned me as to where I was when it took place. We looked up the spot on a map, and found that I had just crossed the underground conduit which takes the overflow from the Serpentine. I did not know of the old superstition concerning running water, neither did I know of the existence of the conduit. Nevertheless, the sense of relief was sufficiently marked to cause me to mention it when I saw my friend again, and to be able to indicate the spot where it had occurred.

We have very little exact knowledge concerning these subtle forces which are the basis of both occult attack and spiritual healing, but we have good reason to believe that in their nature they are closely analogous to electricity. They are not inanimate forces, however, but have in their nature something that is akin to life, though of a low type. It has been my experience that if we work on a blended analogy of electricity and bacteriology, we get pretty near the facts; as near, at any rate, as our present state of know ledge permits. In other words, if we act as if thought possessed the combined qualities of electricity and bacteria we shall have a sufficiently accurate method of steering by dead reckoning in the absence of certain knowledge and actual sight. If we consider the various methods used in folk-magic of all ages and races, we shall observe that they are in agreement with these hypotheses.

Running water, we know, has peculiar electrical qualities, as is witnessed by its effect on the divining-rod in the hands of a sensitive person. Whatever it may be that affects the diviner is probably the same thing that affects the occult attack. When we recall, moreover, that running water will throw hounds off the scent just as effectually as it will the alleged witch, we may feel that we cannot be accused of gross superstition if we give the old folk-tradition a trial and note the results.

Water, again, is the vehicle of purification. It is used in the rite of baptism by the Church and in the Preparation of the Place by the occultist about to perform a ceremony. Strictly speaking, there should be a trace of salt in the water thus employed, and both salt and water are blessed with powerful invocations when the priest is preparing holy water, whether for a baptism, or for placing in the holy water stoup for the use of the congregation.

As far as the occultist is concerned, salt to him is the emblem of the element of earth. It is also a crystalline substance, and crystalline substances, in their different forms, receive and hold etheric magnetism better than anything else. Water, on the other hand, is the emblem of the psychic sphere. These two realms, between them, contain by far the greatest part of occult evil. It is rare indeed that spiritual wickedness in high places will reach up as far as the airy realms of mind or the fiery realms of spirit. If we want to get into touch with, or operate upon a particular sphere, we use as base a substance appropriate thereto. Consequently, a solution of salt and water makes a better base than either salt or water could do separately because it enables us to cover the whole of the sphere of probable operations in a single act. It may be interesting to note concerning the magical properties of crystalline substances, that crystals are used in wireless apparatus to pick up the subtle vibrations of the ether. Once again we are close upon the trail of our electro-bacteriological analogy.

It is an excellent plan, when trying to break an undesirable psychic contact, to immerse oneself in a bath of water that has been especially consecrated for the purpose; re-dressing in new or at least clean clothing afterwards, and if it be by any means possible, moving into a different room. If this cannot be done, move the bed into a different position, taking care to turn it at a different angle; that is to say, if you have been in the habit of sleeping lying north and south, place your bed so that you will now be lying east and west.

The following prayers may be used for the blessing of the salt and water.

"(Pointing the first and second fingers at the salt.) I exorcise thee, creature of earth, by the living God (+), by the holy God (+), by the omnipotent God (+), that thou mayest be purified of all evil influences in the Name of Adonai, Who is Lord of Angels and of men.

"(Extending hand over salt.) Creature of earth, adore thy Creator. In the Name of God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of Jesus Christ His Son, our Saviour, I consecrate thee (+) to the service of God, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

"(Pointing first and second fingers at the water.) I exorcise thee, creature of water, by the living God (+), by the Holy God (+) by the omnipotent God (+), that thou mayest be purified from all evil influences in the Name of Elohim Sabbaoth, Who is Lord of Angels and of men.

"(Extending hand over water.) Creature of water, adore thy Creator. In the Name of God the Father Almighty, Who decreed a firmament in the midst of the waters, and of Jesus Christ His Son our Saviour, I consecrate thee (+) to the service of God, in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen."

"(Casting the salt into the water.) We pray Thee, O God, Lord of Heaven and earth, and of all that in them is, both visible and invisible, that Thou mayest stretch forth the right hand of Thy power upon these creatures of the elements and hallow them in Thy holy Name. Grant that this salt may make for health of body and this water for health of soul, and that there may be banished from the place where they are used every power of adversity and every illusion and artifice of evil, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen."

The water thus consecrated may be used as a bath, or for making the Sign of Cross upon the forehead, or for sprinkling about a place. When thus using it, the following prayer may be employed.

"In the Name which is above every other name, and in the power of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, I exorcise all influences and seeds of evil; I lay upon them the spell of Christ's Holy Church, that they may be bound fast as with chains and cast into outer darkness, that they trouble not the servants of God."

In pointing or making the Sign of the Cross (+), the first and second fingers are extended and the third and fourth are bent towards the palm of the hand and the thumb laid upon their nails. When the hand is extended in blessing over the salt and water, it is held flat, fingers together and parallel, and thumb stretched at right angles to the fore finger.

If there is sufficient occult force at work to produce physical phenomena, it is very advisable to take precautions to prevent materialisations taking place. The physical phenomena are of several types. They may take the form of noises, usually creakings, thuds, or more rarely bell-like notes or wailing sounds. If actual words are heard, auditory hallucinations should be suspected, for in the absence of a medium, spirit messages are given to the inner ear, not to the auditory nerve. Lights may also be seen, usually taking the form of dim balls of luminous mist drifting like soap-bubbles. They may be any size from mere points of light to considerable dimensions, some six feet or more in diameter. In these spheres of dim luminosity psychics can generally see forms, sometimes human, sometimes from the animal kingdom. Whitish-grey clouds can also sometimes be seen, rising pillar-wise from the floor like smoke. These are usually fixed to one place and do not move about the room as do the spheres of light, such movement as occurs being within themselves, like the eddyings of smoke caught under a tumbler. More rarely a distinctive odour may be noticed, and still more rarely there may be precipitations of powdery substances or slime. Light objects also may be overturned or thrown about the room.

There are certain substances which experience has proved to be effectual in preventing the condensation of etheric energy from taking place. Camphor dissolved in vinegar and placed in saucers about the room will cope effectually with low degrees of force, but for higher potencies nitric acid is the best thing to use, a small quantity being poured into a saucer and exposed to the air. It is best to use it well diluted to prevent accidents, for it is not the strength of the acid in the saucer that is efficacious, but its evaporation into the air, and it will evaporate just as well when diluted as when neat. In what manner it works I have not the slightest idea, but its value is well known among psychic experimenters.

The methods of occult attack employed in modern Europe are exclusively mental, so far as my experience of them has gone at any rate. That is to say, they work by the mind on the mind, and only affect physical conditions incidentally. In the East and among primitive people, however, other aspects have to be considered, as a much more etheric type of magic is in use under primitive conditions of life and upon virgin soils. For these etheric operations, material sub stances are required in order that the magnetism attached to them may be made use of. Hair-combings, nail-parings, cast-off clothes, objects in familiar use, all contain magnetism. Consequently care should be taken to see that such things are effectually disposed of when discarded. Combings and nail-parings should be promptly burnt. Cast-off clothing should never be allowed to go out of the possession of the owner till it has had at least three days' exposure to sun and air in the open. The magnetism will be more effectually dispelled if the garments be laid on the earth, especially freshly turned earth, than if hung on a line. The same applies to furniture. The chair that has been the accustomed seat and, above all things, the bedding, should be thoroughly aired and sunned before they are parted with. The same precautions are useful if any second-hand article has been purchased.

The disposal of night-soil should also be carefully arranged for and entrusted to reliable servants, abundant disinfectants and deodorants being constantly in use. Precautions should be observed to prevent any native obtaining access to fresh excreta. After the animal heat has gone out of it, its magical value has greatly decreased. A dirty handkerchief, too, is an effectual magnetic link, and so are dressings from a wound. Anything, in fact, that bears traces of any of the by-products of the body.

But apart from any question of psychic attack, there are two substances which are especially prized for purposes of magic, and these are seminal fluid and menstrual blood. The former is used in fertility rites and the latter in certain forms of evocation. These substances are exceedingly hard to come by in primitive lands, because the natives, knowing their significance, guard them most scrupulously; but the mem-sahib has no suspicions, and allows stained garments and bed linen to go into the hands of the washerman to be disposed of at his discretion, satisfied so long as the garments themselves return safely at the end of the week, and never thinking to enquire what becomes of the water in which they were washed. There are many parts of the world in which the sale of these magical substances is a profitable side-line of the laundering business.

In Europe, menstrual blood and feces are part of the magical substances of the Black Mass, being made up into patens with wheat flour.

A time-honoured method of clearing a bad psychic atmosphere out of a house, and one which I have known in my own experience to be effectual, is to strew garlic about the place, leave it overnight and then take it up and burn it. Among country people, an onion is sometimes placed in a vase on the mantelpiece as if it were a hyacinth bulb when unpleasant visitors are expected, and solemnly burnt in the kitchen fire as soon as they have departed, it being believed that the onion tribe have the property of absorbing noxious emanations. It is curious to note in this respect that in one coal mine to my knowledge the miners are forbidden to take onions down into the workings as part of their dinners because the onions absorb the underground gases and become poisonous. My informant told me that he and others had smuggled onions down and learnt from bitter experience the wisdom of this rule.

 

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