Obsession and BS

September 30, 2010

Obsession is a term that gets thrown around a lot in the magical community. It’s used a lot by Ceremonial Magicians and Pagans, and is often times the reason for not working with spirits or using extreme caution when doing so. So it’s surprising that the theory of Obsession was developed completely outside of the Ceremonial and Pagan communities.

Obsession has its origins in Spiritism. If you didn’t know, Spiritism is a fairly modern belief system developed in France that is very similar to the American and British developed Spiritualism. Spiritualism predates Spiritism, but not by much, and the two belief systems have a huge cross-influence. So much so that there are only a few minor distinguishing differences between them.

Although cross-influences are common throughout the metaphysical community, the fact that obsession has gained such high regard in Western ritual magic systems is, at the very least, confusing. The idea of obsession runs counter to the practices of the founders of modern Ceremonial Magic who were active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it runs counter to the practices of the Pagan founders who were active in the 50s and 60s, and it runs counter to the practices of the Medieval European magicians that these systems are largely based in.

There’s also a lot of confusion about what the definition of obsession is. Very few magicians can give you a clear definition that would help determine the difference between an obsessed individual and your normal practicing magician. However when the term first appeared in Spiritism, it was adequately defined.

Obsession simply means that your actions or personality have to some extent been influenced by a spirit. On the surface this may seem like a bad thing, but the definition is actually overly broad, and note that nowhere does it mention manipulation or control.

If, for instance, a spirit came to you and told you that in the next week you would be in a horrible car accident, and because of that warning you started wearing a seatbelt, you suffer from obsession. If a spirit comes to you and tells you there’s a great sushi restaurant down the street that you didn’t know about, and you go to eat there, you suffer from obsession. In both instances your actions have been influenced by a spirit.

The idea of obsession was developed by early Spiritists because they saw it as a real danger. A good deal of Spiritists and Spiritualists are not magicians themselves, but use magicians, in there case mediums, to facilitate their magic. The average adherent lacks the methods of protection and spiritual attack which are available to a person with a background in ritual magic. It’s also less likely that the average adherent will have taken time to develop skills in self-awareness, mental focus, and energy manipulation, all of which help prevent spiritual manipulation.

Meanwhile Western ritual magicians have always worked with spirits. We constantly communicate with spirits for information, we summon them forth, we revere and worship them, we fight with them, and we use them to achieve our goals. We have always surrounded ourselves with the spirits and allowed them access to our lives. And yes, you can practice a form of Ceremonial Magic or Paganism that doesn’t directly utilize spirits, but even so the act of doing magic will draw spirits towards you, so eventually you’ll get to a point in your practice where you have to deal with them.

As you can see, the idea of obsession as it was originally defined when viewed through the perspective of a ritual magician is absurd. Some people do hold true to this definition though. By associating with, talking to, and working with spirits they believe a person risks seriously harming themselves through obsession.

Because they don’t know the true definition of the term or its origins, many ritual magicians try to determine what the term actually means, which leads to all sorts of fanciful ideas. It doesn’t help that besides the Spiritist definition, there has never been a clear definition of what obsession is. All that is ever given are aspects of what obsession is. It involves working with spirits and becoming obsessed with them.

An idea has emerged that working with a particular spirit or spirits in general causes one to eventually become obsessed. This has nothing to do with the nature or type of spirit being worked with, it is simply a byproduct of working with spirits. There is also never a clear indication in the definition of when or under what circumstances a magician will cease to work with spirits in a healthy and productive way and become obsessed. There is never even much of an explanation as to why this would occur. It seems to be nothing more than a fanciful idea without any reason or evidence attached to it.

Certain spirits can be manipulative in their nature. There are too many stories to deny that this happens. Manipulation can be something as simple as a lie or as mystical as a thought suggestion or even outright possession. Whether or not a person is manipulated, and how badly they are manipulated, is going to be dependent both on the nature and power of the spirit and on the magician. It’s a danger, it happens. However it won’t inevitably happen just because someone works with spirits.

Sometimes we also see personality changes. These can be a lot harder to pinpoint as spiritual manipulation though. Anyone who is actively exploring their spirituality, such as through seances and evocations, would be experiencing personal growth, and this in turn can lead to changes in their personality. Connecting into spirits and becoming possessed by them can also modify a person’s personality, sometimes permanently. Often times magicians willingly allow spirits to do this to them in order to help them grow spiritually. Some spirits may also do this with the best of intentions, wanting to help the magician, but without permission. In either case there are a lot of pros and cons that must be weighed before we can even determine if what happened was a good thing or a bad thing.

These personality changes are also not as drastic as many like to believe. Often times spirits just work to nudge a person into a particular direction they were already swaying towards, or pull some aspect of their personality to the surface that they usually repress, or simply offer them a temptation that makes them do something they wouldn’t have done for free.

Lastly some people do have obsessive problems with magic in general. Most of us who have profound and surreal spiritual experiences will go through a phase where we give up on reality and immerse ourselves in our spiritual life. For most of us though that is just a phase, and we eventually come to some realizations and ultimately find a balance between the spiritual and mundane aspects of our life. There is a small number of people who never even try to achieve that balance, and instead just immerse themselves more and more into the spiritual aspect of their life as the rest of their life is left to deteriorate.

Although spirit contact may be involved, this has nothing to do with spirits. It has to do with practicing magic. Many of the people who fall into this trap have serious mental problems to begin with, everything from severe depression to schizophrenia, and instead of helping with their mental issues their spiritual path just exasperates them.

We also have to note that when we practice magic and allow spirits into our lives, they’re going to effect us in some way. If you joined some new club next week, started hanging out with the people in the club, making friends, seeing them all the time, it would have some sort of effect on your life. Your world views would change a bit. You might find yourself trying new activities. You would have new people in your life who would be calling you up because they need rides to the airport or someone to help them move. When you work with spirits you’re letting something new into your life, and your life is going to change because of it, and yes sometimes they’re going to do things to your life, and it won’t always be pleasant things.

So yes there are dangers when working with spirits. They aren’t really as big or common as the idea of obsession makes them out to be. It’s really similar to the dangers you experience whenever you work with magic. And the best defense is actually to practice magic. The more practical experience you have working with magic and dealing with spirits, and the more you grow spiritually, the stronger you will be and the less dangerous magic will be. On the other hand stronger magicians tend to pull stronger spritis and bigger problems towards themselves, so you never actually get to be safe.

The idea of obsession meanwhile is largely bullshit. It’s based largely off anecdotal evidence of a handful of people who had very bad experiences working with spirits. It’s being perpetuated by people who are, for the most part, novice practitioners and armchair magicians. These are not people who know about obsession because they have experience working with spirits and have been obsessed. These are the people who have never worked with spirits or only work with spirits while following strict guidelines for protection because they believe it is dangerous. That’s why the information on obsession is largely unclear, indefinite, and doesn’t follow logical reasoning. It is derived entirely from speculation and secondary sources, not from the practical experience of people who have actually worked with spirits.

iPad Ouija – Buy a Real Board

April 9, 2010

I don’t usually comment upon these things, but I thought I would this time. The original article is from Kotaku. It’s a good example of technology being blended into ritual where traditional methods work just fine and are actually far superior.

Lets start with the good. The app, as it will ship, will be entirely based on hand movements, not on computer AI. That alone could make the thing useful. Later editions of the app will retain this as a classic mode. Plus at $2 you’re saving yourself about $10 or so if you went to the store and bought a real Ouija board.

Now on to the bad. First off the programmers hope to update the app with an artificial AI that can spook you by sometimes moving by itself or doing other things. To me that sort of defeats the purpose of a Ouija board and turns it into nothing more than a novelty prank item.

Secondly this thing is made of plastic and synthetics and all sorts of other things. This is no where near as conductive to energy, spirits, and what not as a solid wood spirit board would be. Even a cardboard Ouija board would be better.

But most importantly, and I must stress this to anyone who wants to try using their iPad for seances, spirits have a tendency to break your stuff. Most don’t even mean to do it (although some do).

The good thing about a solid wood board is, unless you’re taking an axe to it or dropping it from very high up, it’s pretty difficult to destroy. Even the cardboard boards are a bit more durable than an iPad, and they only cost about ten bucks so if it is ripped to shreds, you can just go to Toys ‘R Us and get another.

Energy (like the kind spirits give off) can make things vibrate and does strange things to electronics. Plus some spirits, when they get upset, like to smash things. If you haven’t experienced it, you may have at least heard stories of people using a glass as a planchette on a board and having the glass suddenly shatter during an intense communication. It happens. Imagine that glass is your iPad.

In fact I recommend that you remove any electronics like cell phones and ipods from your person before performing a ritual. I’ve had issues with these specific devices in the past when I’ve left them in my pocket. Luckily for me the damage done was either minor enough that the device was still usable or could be fixed by resetting the device. But then I also wasn’t trying to summon spirits into my ipod and cell phone.

I think Ouija boards are like $12 at the store and you can get a good spirit board for like $20-$100 depending on exactly what you want. It’s a bit more than a $2 app, but you’re better off when you factor in the $500 you’d be out on a broken iPad (I’m pretty sure damages resulting from spiritual possession aren’t covered in Apple’s warranty).

Helping Ghosts Pass Over

July 30, 2008


This was a reply I wrote on a webboard a while back. It was in response to a question regarding saving the various ghosts that the original poster came across, and how to go about doing such a thing.

If you go around trying to save every ghostie you find, you’ll never get any peace. Most times you just have to leave these things be.

It’s important to remember that a person’s spiritual path doesn’t end with their death. Being a dead disincarnate spirit may not be the best situation to end up in, but the ghost is still spiritually evolving and eventually they’ll end up where they need to be, it will just take them a while. Most ghosts don’t last more than a few years. Although there are a lot of ghosts that are several decades old, they constitute a small number of all of the people who have died. Century old ghosts are really hard to come by, and I’ve never heard of one that was more than a few hundred years old. It’s because things don’t stay ghosts for that long, and on an infinite timeline even a few hundred years disincarnate isn’t a very long time.

Also ghosts are rarely sane and logical. Some are very insane and delusional. Some were crazy in life, and being dead just seems to amplify that. Many don’t believe they’re dead. A lot exist in a somewhat delusional state that may move between being somewhat lucid and being almost entirely caught in a dream-like state where they fall back on patterns they followed in life.

Even if you try to save something like that, there’s a good chance it won’t work. Many of them don’t follow normal human logic and they’re difficult to reason with on a human level.

And saving a ghost is rarely just a matter of getting that one final key to setting them free. It’s a process, and just like a person it can take an investment of months or even years and in the end still might not pay off.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about not helping. The ghosts are getting where they need to go, and there are forces out there that are designed specifically to aid them in that process. For the most part saving ghosts isn’t the spiritual path of incarnate people, and if you help every single one you meet you’ll never have enough time for yourself and probably end up neglecting your own spiritual path, which isn’t fair to you.

Tips and Tricks for Your Next Seance

December 4, 2006

Some time ago I figured my next little post would be an intro into past life regression considering how popular the topic seems to be. Unfortunately the post has proven more time consuming than I initially thought it would. Add to that my real life issues and that I had a very nasty flu this last month and it seems as if I’m never going to add another post to my blog.

So to add a post in here I’ve decided to write about something just as popular as past life regressions, but far more dangerous! Whether your looking to add a bit more realism to your next Halloween party or you just like the idea of living in a haunted house, these tips can help you show results at your next seance without having to move the planchette across the ouija board and claim it was a ghost. Unfortunately I’m not joking about the dangers involved here, and I take no responsibility for what might happen if you decide to make use of any of this information. You may end up with a very big mess to clean up. But there’s no danger involved in just reading this article. So, on to the tips:

1. First off, just because something is non-corporeal doesn’t mean it’s a dead person. It should be obvious, but a surprising amount of people don’t get the idea that there are other things roaming around with only astral bodies that never had an incarnate form here. So just because you’ve contacted something doesn’t mean it’s a ghost.

2. A person doesn’t gain intelligence, precognitive ability, or even spiritual insight through death alone. Dead people tend to be as smart as they were in life (and many happen to be insane and Ignorant too). Most don’t have much in terms of spiritual insight, because generally the people that do don’t get stuck as a disincarnate spirit for long. And being dead doesn’t magickally make one able to see into the future. I don’t understand why so many people tend to think the dead have this power.

3. People don’t remain as spirits forever after their death. Some move on to other things, some reincarnate, ect. Some may be around but able to resist being summoned forth. But there are also a lot of ghosts and a lot would be happy to show up. You’ll find you get better results at a seance if you try generally summoning forth the dead rather than trying to bring forth a specific person.

4. When summoning a specific person, time is very important. The less time they’ve been dead, the better the chance that they’re still around. Spirits that are more than a hundred years dead are rare. There are however lots of spirits that are several decades dead. But they’re still only a small fraction of all the people that have died. Most people will be unreachable before six months. Even among those that last beyond the six month mark, most will be gone within eighteen months of their death. Six months isn’t when the dead start departing either, it’s just your last good chance of reaching them. Many will leave long before then, and some may become unreachable immediately after they die. The sooner you try a seance after someone’s death, the better your chances are.

5. Just a note, it can be very detrimental to a dead person to continually summon them forth and to keep them here long after their death. There is a good chance that by bringing them forth you’re keeping them from their spiritual path in the afterlife, and every time you summon a person you risk creating an attachment to yourself or some other aspect of this world that could keep them here decades after you’ve finished with them. If you care about a person’s well being, it’s best not to summon them too long after their death, or to summon them more than once or twice. Actually, it’s probably best not to try to summon them at all.

6. Many things are reliant upon permission to do things, even to enter a home. A lot of times you can manage to haunt your house just by giving a general invitation for anything to enter it. You can also be more specific and only give permission to a specific type of entity. But remember anything that has been allowed into your home also has the ability to grant permission. This includes the people you live with, your pets, and the entities that may already be in your home.

7. Your body works a lot like your house. A lot of times the only thing stopping you from being a medium is you giving permission for an entity to possess you. This is very dangerous though, and the thing that makes a good medium isn’t getting the spirits into their body, but being able to get them out. Even then this is something that you’re probably better off not practicing.

8. Things may also need permission in order to manifest, do tricks, possess items, ect. If you use a ouija or spirit board, or if you have a spirit knock so many times, what you’re really doing is limiting what the spirit is capable of doing by giving them very specific limitations on how they’re allowed to manifest. This method is far from full proof, but it is a lot safer than simply asking a spirit to come forward and manifest. Likewise if you’re using one of these methods you have to be careful not to grant something permission, either by accident or because it asks you to.

9. As always, a free lunch will attract things. If you want entities, a good way to get them is to bring forth a lot of energy. Something will show up to eat it. Some things may be indiscriminate of what they eat, but a lot of the times you’ll find the rule of ‘like attracts like’ holds, and what you get is related to what kind of energy you put out. This is why if you’re depressed or scared you’ll tend to draw forth a lot of negative entities to yourself. Other energies will attract other kinds of entities. The more energy you can manifest, the more likely something will show up. Large amounts of energy act as beacons for many disincarnate beings.

10. In the same vein as #9, power alone will be enough to attract entities. Powerful practitioners tend to have entities around them simply because a lot of things tend to be attracted towards that power. One should be cautious when dealing with these entities however. A lot of these entities may be harmless and not malicious in any way. But some will no doubt try to manipulate the practitioner’s power for their own uses, or simply destroy the practitioner.