This section discusses the different entities which might be encountered and how they might be handled. This starts with the section below which serves as an introduction to the subject, following on from this are more detailed articles which discuss specifics regarding this subject in much more detail, links to which are at the bottom of this page.
An introduction to Entity Lore
As noted in the psychic questing section, some elements in the psychic landscape appear to manifest as entities and such apparent independence upon their part is in many ways a subjective interpretation made by the mind of the person perceiving such phenomena. However other beings such as ghosts and others spirits really do appear to be independent entities with a mind and motivation of their own, albeit one which can be very far removed from human concepts. In many ways it does not really matter whether an “entity” is an independent being, a facet of the sub-conscious or a local conceptualisation of an energy field, in that what is important is that they are acting as if they are independent and should therefore be treated as such.
There are theories as to what the nature of these beings are, and the reader is referred to John Greer’s “Monsters” and “Circles of Power” which provide an interpretation of these things from the energetic and magical perspective. This world-view sees a number of realms or realities all superimposed over each other, the physical, etheric, astral etc and these different worlds have their own inhabitants which, under certain conditions, can interact with the inhabitants of our world.
There are a number of simple common sense rules that need to be followed in dealing with such entities.
Always use caution when approaching the unknown.
Treat the entity with respect, remembering that whatever it is, it is still a scared being and a part of life.
Be aware of psychic and magical protections and be able to use them efficiently.
One should act towards an entity in the same way that one would act towards a stranger in an unfamiliar place. Be polite and respectful however do use caution. It is very possible that it will have nothing to do with the investigation or quest. However it may have an agenda of its own and be capable of lying or harming a person. Common sense is the key here, however remember the golden rule of “never ever under any circumstances invite it into either yourself or your house”.
Because of the very subjective nature of so many experiences it is often difficult to define exactly what an entity is. Consider the case of ghosts. Modern thought defines a number of varieties of ghosts, including the idea of an imprinted ghost and a ghost as an interactive entity (such as a spirit of a dead human). The former idea being that the ghost is a kind of recording; “the stone tape” theory; and the latter appears to be a genuine entity which can communicate after a fashion with humans who are able to perceive it.
The latter may very well be the case, however it is impossible to be sure of either based upon the available evidence. For example we cannot assume that a communicative entity is an external “spirit” based upon the fact that it is able to talk to people. In recent years computer software engineers have developed some very complex programs that appear to be interactive too. Examples of this include the talking paperclip in Microsoft word or the psychology program Eliza, both of which appear to possess a sentient mind and are able to respond to questions. However both are only programs, ie “recordings” with no actual mind of their own.
Conversely one cannot be too certain that some ghosts are recordings based only on their lack of communicativeness. A person in a state of sleepwalking often displays a similar lack of response to environmental factors such as a person speaking to them and we cannot be sure that a ghost is not in the same state. Recent films such as “The Sixth Sense” and “The Others” illustrate very well the idea that ghosts are very much in a world of their own and only partly in the physical world.
Matters get even more complex when we consider that ghosts exist in more varieties such as the poltergeist, the crisis apparition and a ghost of the living. Some ghost cases are so blurred in that what starts off as a simple apparition might evolve into a poltergeist activity and eventually disperse without prompting. All this very strongly serves to indicate that things are not what they appear to be.
When we consider the range of entities that folklore describes and that are frequently encountered to this day, such as Spirits, Elementaries ,, Faeries and even mythical beasts the problem becomes even more complex. Questions such as the nature of these forms, their origin and perhaps most importantly why are they only visible to a select number of people (psychics) and during a select times need to be answered.
There are some risks to consider when dealing with any non-physical entities that might be encountered. There is often a good chance that one might encounter such a being on a quest, perhaps meeting a site guardian or a ghost. Often psychic questing leads investigators to places of power such as sacred sites or locations placed on ley lines; such places appear to be magnets for these entities. Other possibilities might include an investigation of a haunted house or a site that has not properly been cleansed by practitioners of the more dubious kinds of magic. Some method of dealing with the more troublesome elements of the spiritual community is therefore required.
It is very difficult to give an objective guide as to how to deal with these things simply because so little is known and their existence is not recognised by science. A useful source of information is through local folk tradition, which is rich in giving advice in dealing with these entities normally with the use of a natural magic solution such as a banishing with salt. Generally there is a large overlap between the remedies of many different cultures, and it is found that they work automatically with no need for experience in magical processes. An excellent source on this is John Greer’s “Natural Magic” which covers this topic in great detail.
Another source of information is the Western Magical Tradition that contains many accounts of contact between such entities and gives advice on what they are and how to deal with them from a more rational basis. The only problem with this is that most of the magical methods of handling these things require experience in magic that is beyond the scope of this guide. This is because these techniques require the practitioner to have acquired a high degree of visualisation and concentration that can only be attained through continual practice.
Some of the simpler techniques are detailed below. However please remember that the “Buffy technique” of turning up with a grimoire and incanting a spell to banish (or indeed summon) an entity is fiction unless the practitioner has a great deal of experience and knows how to read between the lines of the spell books to make things work. The classical books of magic or grimoires such as the various Keys of Solomon were notebooks written by the magician to record the different parameters required for different rituals, and the practices that need to be followed to evoke such as entity using the book were never recorded, as they would already be well known and not require copying. Similarly a book on quantum physics would not explain how to use mathematics because the author will assume the reader could also handle the mathematics involved so would not merit repeating.
Other sections of this website will detail various exercises which after practice will begin to slowly switch on psychic awareness and attune one to the psychic environment.
Articles and further information
An essay on ghosts.
1. Elementaries are not the same as elementals. An Elementary is a spirit of the four elements of magic; Earth (Gnomes), Air (Sylphs), Fire (Salamanders/Aetneans) and Water (Undines/Nymphs) and there are whole branches of magical philosophy that describe them. An Elemental is a nature spirit such as a faerie. The application of less common terms of Aetneans and Nymphs to Fire and Water respectively is found in older magical texts such the papers of Thomas Rudd as edited by Adam McLean.
2. McLean, Adam [Ed]. A Treatise on Angel Magic: Magnum Opus Hermetic Sourceworks; Phanes. 1989
3. I am using the word in the sense that a phenomenon is taking the form of an entity. It is very possible that in many cases this is a subjective thing and what appears to be an independent entity is something else entirely.
4. Please see comments on Banishing in the psychic hygiene section of this guide
5. Greer, John. Encyclopedia of Natural Magic. Llewellyn. 2000
6. There are exceptions to this and there are systems that do seem to be able to produce off-the-shelf results with no training. However they are as dangerous as they are unpredictable and can be particularly damaging to psychics. When starting out with this practise I believe that it is best to stick to the ideas of authors such as WE Butler and John Greer who have a sensible down-to-earth approach that won’t lead one astray. Once a good foundation has been built on these ideas wider experimentation becomes possible. Aleister Crowley is also an excellent guide to magick, however he is quite advanced so would not really make a good first step.