Psychic Questing and Psychicism

This guide to psychic questing is written from the perspective of Western magic and psychicism.  The two together form a whole range of practices and tools that have been developed by a number of different cultures since civilization has begun and these have formed the bedrock on which folklore and religion and formed.   The term “magic” (sometimes spelt "magick") refers to the philosophies, tools and techniques that have been developed in the west since the Renaissance that are descended from an older body of lore that possibly predates the Bronze Age and links the mysteries of the human mind to the mysteries of the landscape and the greater cosmos. 

 “Psychicism” refers to the untapped abilities of the human mind that have been used since the beginning of time in probing and exploring different levels of reality, contacting spiritual life forms and predicting future or distant events.

 The focus of this guide is on western rather than eastern methods because these systems are more appropriate to the western lifestyle and mindset.  However many teachings used in the occident do contain techniques imported from the east such as the concepts of the chakras or tools such as the tattvas.  Occult organisations such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn have played a massive part in importing those techniques as are appropriate for our worldview and many modern organisations are descended from this order.

 Also included here is a description of some of the sort of experiences and entities that an investigator might hope to encounter (or avoid) in what has commonly become known as “Psychic Questing” or “Questing”; terms coined by author and researcher Andrew Collins [1]  in the 1980s to describe this kind of activity.  Questing methods can range from using psychicism to explore sacred sites and the psychic archaeology of Fredrick Bligh-Bond [2] and Jeffrey Goodman [3], to the use of such methods in investigating and resolving hauntings.

 In essence, questing is the use of extrasensory methods to lift the veil and allow another source of information to become accessible to the practitioners in this field.  It provides a compliment to more conventional means of information gathering such as library research.  The two really do complement each other due to the ambiguous and often symbolic nature in which psychic information often presents itself in, leading to the need to substantiate any channelled information that may have been received before it can be fully trusted and utilised.

A wide range of methods is available, many of which have been developed independently from what is commonly referred to as “magic”, which whilst being a complete system in itself and in potential extends far beyond the scope of this manual contains a number of safe techniques which can used to awaken and extend psychic awareness, protect users from supernatural harm and provide a set of tools capable of probing the hidden side of reality.  Besides magic, other tools such as dowsing, dream interpretation and studies of folklore can be added to the toolbox of techniques available. 

Psychic Questing is not a new past-time and its has been documented by many different cultures over history, ranging from the vision-questing in shamanic cultures to the use of spiritualism such as that used in the Glastonbury excavations by Bond.  One example of the form it can take is to be found in John Boormans’ film “Excalibur” where the Grail Knights went seeking the Graal through the use of dreams and portents.  The grail-quest section of the film finely illustrates the mythic dimension so regularly evoked by the use of aforementioned techniques.

It is my belief that the methodologies of psychic questing can be used to a wider degree than is currently described by Collins etc and that it can also be used to facilitate encounters with the entities described in folklore such as elementals and ghosts.  Folklore is rich with accounts of such meetings and whilst we must accept that many of these are grossly exaggerated or fictional, there is no smoke without fire and the personal testimony of many people, including the author, suggest that there is much here of value worthy of investigation and study.

Being and becoming psychic

 “Do not say it is only imagination.  The time to test that is perhaps later on” 

Aleister Crowley

 The key to questing lies in the use of psychic abilities that become our eyes and ears in the world that lies just beyond the reach of the five senses.  It is true that science still debates such abilities and over a century of psychic research has not produced that much evidence that they are real.  However let us not forget the testimony of so many people and follow the evidence wherever it might lead, despite the words of the more sceptical members of society who suggest that these abilities are simply a blend of fraud, fantasy and self-deception.  A little exploration will soon show that such abilities are more commonplace than generally recognised.  However the researcher must always be on guard in order to eliminate the possibilities of fraud and self-deception as much as possible.

 This manual makes the assumption that everyone is psychic to some degree although, this could be very deeply buried below the conscious threshold and some psychic development work may be required in order to draw these abilities out or enable the user to learn to properly control and develop these latent abilities.  Some people will find that these abilities are very near the surface and simply looking for them is enough to bring them out.  Others will need to work with some psychic development exercises such as described below.  In other cases simply being near a psychic person is enough to bring out the abilities (although proper training is still required).

Psychic adventuring need not be in the exclusive domain of psychics.  Open-minded people with no interest in personally developing these capabilities are still able to make valuable contributions to the quest.  In fact such persons are often essential in keeping a psychic sufficiently grounded so that they do not get too deeply immersed in the investigation and the experiences they are encountering.  It is an unfortunate fact that occasionally a psychic gets carried away in this manner and several psychics all “fuelling” each other can increase this risk.  However persons who are openly sceptical and serve as a dampener to the psychic effect should be avoided as this tends to diminish any channelled information that a psychic might receive. 

 

A fair proportion of occult lore is focused on the dormant abilities within the human mind that (with training) can be brought out as a controlled psychic awareness.  These latent abilities are based around a set of meditation and visualisation exercises as described below and have been developed from much older sources by the Golden Dawn.  Many modern groups have taken these ideas and use them to great effect.

 The use of the term “controlled” in the above paragraph is very important in psychic work.  It can be very disturbing and even dangerous to the individual if control of these abilities is not attained before they are put into regular use and as such a slow, gradual and safe technique must be utilised.  A close friend of mine is a natural psychic who has not yet learned to properly switch off and she tells me that this makes her life very difficult as she is constantly picking up impressions from people around her.

 

 The problem of self-deception

 The greatest problem to be encountered with psychic information obtained through questing is that of self-delusion.  It is essential that information received is as uncontaminated as possible and that procedures have been put in place to check its validity.  This includes keeping psychics working independently as much as possible whilst on the information-gathering phase of the investigation and also ensuring that where possible, two or more sources are pointing to the same thing.  It is not acceptable to go rushing to a hillside at the dead of night to find some long-lost relic or artefact simply on the basis of one unchecked vision or dream

 Generally a common sense approach is all that is needed in order to avoid this trap, however here are a few pointers that might help to reduce the likelihood of this problem occurring whilst on the research phase of an investigation

  • Ensure that all information is reported before sharing it amongst the rest of the group.  For example if information is being gathered through a meditation session then ask everyone to write down what they have perceived and then make it available.
  • Unless something very remarkable is happening treat all information gathered psychically as the beginning of the research not the end of the research.  Psychic information is often of a symbolic nature and can be very misleading.  However it can very helpful in forming a basis to start with.  Gather the psychic information and then hit the books to back up the data.  
  • Give the psychic as much freedom as possible when they are receiving information.  Avoid asking leading questions and if possible tape any dialogue or ask the psychic to write/draw what they are picking up.  Be open-minded but cautious until after the session when the data is being analysed.  Being sceptical whilst the session is in place will only serve to dampen the psychic’s ability.

The objectivity of psychic phenomena can be difficult to judge.  Consider the case of Philip, a “thoughtform” built by the Toronto group in Canada during an attempt by that group to create a fictional ghost with an invented history.  The group held a number of séances to contact him, eventually succeeding and getting him to manage a number of feats including table rapping and levitation, although they did not appear to get as far as managing a full apparition [4].

 Tom Lethbridge [5] makes the point very well in Ghosts and Ghouls.  He discusses the fact that creatures of faerie are encountered the world over and he does not doubt that such visions or meetings are subjectively real.  However he goes on to make the point that the actual form which is perceived is often a result of a cultural conditioning process.  It is as if we mentally have a set of symbols that are then used as templates by our minds when experiencing such phenomena.  A modern example of this is the UFO abduction phenomena.  A number of authors such as Greer[6] and Keel[7] have suggested that experiences such as a close encounter of the third kind are a modern cultural interpretation of what in the past might have been called meeting the faerie races.

 As John Keel[8] says

The psychology of the elementals or ultraterrestrials is well known and fully described in the fairy lore of northern Europe and the ancient legends of Greece, Rome, and India.  In fact we know almost everything there is to know about the entities and their games.  Unfortunately, most of this valuable information has been buried in the beliefs of various frames of reference and clouded by obscure terminology.

Kenneth Grant [9] has also suggested something similar, comparing the extraterrestrials of UFO lore with spirits and occult contacts obtained throughout history by occultists.  Consider the case of the image of the entity called Lam [10] contacted and painted by the English occultist Aleister Crowley contacted and note how similar it is to a classic “Grey” found in UFO mythology.  Andrew Collins [11] also makes point very well in Alien Energy again pointing out the similarity between the greys and the faerie races. 

This idea certainly makes sense on the surface and admittedly there are a number of similarities in experiences such as time distortions, memory loss and mysterious illnesses common to both traditional faerie encounters and modern UFO lore.  However much more research is required before it can be ascertained whether this hypothesis is correct.  For example presumably these entities are encountered as “little greymen”[12] because the modern mind is adding a “science fiction” context to the experience.  We need to establish whether non-technological cultures such as aborigines encounter UFOs as spaceships etc, or whether then have more culturally significant experiences such as perhaps meeting their ancestors or encountering totemic spirits.

All of this would suggest that psychicism is a part of an environmental process created by an interplay between variables such as upbringing, worldview and suggestibility and that which is actually out-there.  It does not deny the fact that there is an external aspect to the experience.  The use of the term “suggestibility” is not to be seen as a negative factor in that it also implies that the psychic is able to pick up on subtle factors in the environment (either subconsciously or through a currently unknown process) and take them as a temporary truth long enough to be able to psychically drill down to the details and gain a deeper insight into the world.

 

The psychic landscape and the shamanic world-view

One of the concepts behind questing is the idea that the individual and the psychic landscape are not really separate from each other but forms part of a whole through which each form a sympathy influencing the other.  A psychic is more aware of this in a sense and can pick up on energies that are often (but not always) dormant in the environment and interpret this as the forces or beings that are often described in mythology and folklore.  This is not to say that such things are not as they appear to be because the impression is often a subjective one.  Several psychics may pick up on an energy and then interprets it in a different (although often related) way.

 There are some trends that we can pull from pre-existing literature regarding this.  It has been noted by Alfred Watkins [13 that many prehistoric monuments, pools, cathedrals, sacred sites etc all seem to follow straight lines or leys.  One interpretation of this is that these are energy[14] streams embedded in the landscape that follow straight lines.  Our ancestors were (possibly intuitively) aware of these and built structures over these sites many of which have had cathedrals and churches placed over them in more recent times as a part of the later takeover by Christianity.  Ley lines appear to be a modern interpretation of what has in folklore been described as Dragon lines or more simply Dragons, although more correctly, dragons are the energetic astral overlay that exists over the physical ley[15]. 

 Another concept often found in the literature regarding the sacred landscape is the idea of a site guardian.  These are apparent entities of a spiritual nature whose task it is to maintain the site.  Although it is possible that they can take a direct hand in repelling invaders etc, in questing lore they have also been known to recruit psychics to actually help clean up a place.  There seems to be no fixed rule regarding how a site guardian will act.  Some appear to have been created as a part of a deliberate act perhaps by the creators of a site to exist as a guardian.  Others appear to have been created as a by-product of the fact that a site has been used for religious or devotional worship and yet other guardians appear to be the ghosts of long dead persons strongly associated with these sites.  A site guardian is often referred to as an “egregore”[16].

 

 The psychic landscape is such a world where illusion and fantasy along with psychic experience blend to create a landscape that superimposes itself upon mundane reality in order to create a more multi-faceted picture of reality.  The 1980s series “Robin of Sherwood” illustrated this quite accurately as did John Boorman’s “Excalibur”.

 It is important to consider that both the shamanic and the occultist world view is one of service and submission.  To outsiders a magician is sometimes seen as a man of power who can act arbitrarily in making changes in the environment.  However this is not the case and a magician recognises the need to serve the land and is trained to think before acting.  Shamanic ideologies take this concept further and cultivate a philosophy of love, respect and acceptance towards all things, whether light or dark and acknowledging that they all have a place in the universe and a right to exist.

 This worldview is what must be adopted whilst questing.  Remember that questers are asking the Universe to reveal some of its mysteries to them and it is not going to do this unless that is a part of its purpose.  Certainly if a quest is approached with the idea of personal gain or profit, things will not work and the psychic channels will remain closed.  This theme is clear throughout the questing culture and is also visible in myths such as illustrated in the aforementioned Excalibur and Robin of Sherwood programmes.  Attitude is therefore of paramount importance whilst on a quest and surrendering to the will of the universe is the key to experiencing some of its inner wonders.

 This becomes more complex because every participant is different and that everyone involved will have a different karma and reason for being alive at that particular place and time.  This means that some people will not be ready for all the experiences the universe has to teach and that opening up to certain forces or entities might result in a frightening or potentially damaging experience.  Everyone needs to be aware of this and act responsibly for everyone else to ensure that this does not happen.  One way to do this is to build a protocol at the beginning of each quest requesting only those experiences that are for the highest good be encountered.  

 The example set of affirmations below will serve to align the questers to the Universes’ higher purpose and helps participants in achieving the unity with this purpose required to channel information and be a part of a quest.  Here the word “light” is used to mean the Universe or the Source of things.   Of course this is only an example and every person following these techniques should formulate their own affirmations.

 Before the quest
• I wish to surrender to and serve the Light in this experience
• I authorise the Light to heal any blocks I might have that may be preventing the above from happening.
• I ask permission before connecting to beings or helping them pass on.
• I am asking the Light to love my ego so that it steps aside and allows me to clearly receive true information and guidance.
• I ask the Light to manifest everything as it should be to be able to go into this experience with love and respect and that it will be a positive experience for me.
• And may the Light manifest within and around me and all beings present all the right attitudes and understanding so that this can be a positive experience for everyone’s highest good.

Before entering a site
• I ask the Light to manifest everything needed to enter this place with love and respect. 
• If I need a guardian may there be a guardian. If I need guide may there be a guide. If I need healing may I be healed.
• I ask that this is a positive experience for me

 

This theme if accepted sincerely will enable the Universe to control the experience and on a psychological level will help prevent anyone tripping into a negative experience unless that it what is necessary for their evolution.  Participants should bear this in mind before questing but be aware that everyone in the universe has a shadow-side that occasionally needs to manifest itself.  Wonderland would not be so without its dark side.

 In surrendering to the Universe in this way it is important to be very critical of ones self and listen to what the inner voices say.  Use lots of common sense here.  It is not necessarily a questers job to jump in and clear sacred sites or exorcise entities unless a contact suggests this or permission has been asked.  Often those entities have a right to be present and interfering in these things might not be part of the greater good.  It is important to step aside from such naïve behaviour and look towards working with the site to understand as much as possible before committing to any action.  It will often be found that any action is unnecessary.  

 Be prepared to experience strange things when opening up to this world.  It is very unlikely that you will get into trouble within the psychic worlds unless you go looking for it.  However strange phenomenon will begin to frequent your life.  The author has had a number of strange experiences that frankly keeps life rather interesting.  One of the oddest incursions into normal reality is described below.

 Several years ago, I was spending a quiet Saturday night in my flat in Islington.  I had spent the early part of the evening meditating and working with the exercises given below, and was spending the rest of the evening watching the entertaining film “Big Trouble in Little China”.  About halfway through the film I went to make a coffee and returned to the living room to see a mouse run across the floor.  I was annoyed but as I was in a Georgian townhouse presumably riddled with mice not too surprised and simply made a note to contact the landlord the following Monday and have them removed.  I finished watching the film and went to bed around midnight.

I was awakened about about 2am and found myself out of my body.  There was a white glowing form in front of me within which glowed a number of lights[17] giving the form the rough shape of a humanoid figure.  I felt that it was trying to pull me further out of my body, and I was getting quite scared.  I started visualising golden light pouring into it as a magical way to break-up and banish the energy-form.  It soon faded in front of me and I settled back into my body and into sleep.

Next morning I found the mouse.  It was in a very gruesome state with its head under the fridge and its limbs stretched out from the squashing - most unpleasant.  The fridge was quite heavy and it would be impossible to do this to the mouse accidentally and there was no way for the mouse to do it to itself, unless it could lift the fridge with its forepaws, put its head under the edge and drop it, which is absurd.

There are a number of possible explanations for this kind of phenomena.  It is possible that there was something out there, which initially tried to attack me and upon failing this (due to my banishing) chose to take things out on the mouse.  However an alternative explanation is that the “entity” was a facet of my subconscious personality that detached itself whilst I was asleep and killed the mouse.  My conscious mind caught it (either on leaving or returning) and misinterpreted it as an independent being.  

 This secondary explanation seems more plausible given that (from the exercises given later in this manual) my aura should have the pattern which as I saw.  This also illustrates much of the ambiguity in this subject in that the dividing line between our different personas and the different (apparent) entities we encounter is very fine.  In magic self-knowledge is seen as the first virtue on the path and an understanding of where our personal boundaries lie can be of great importance.  This experience also serves as a lesson in the control of fear.  Approaching an experience with fear in mind can quite easily trip things into a negative encounter so it is very important to remain mindful at all times and learn to approach everything with love and respect, even the dark side.  That is not to say that caution is to be ignored.  Act towards everything as if one is meeting a stranger in an unfamiliar place.  Their motives will be unknown so caution is necessary but politeness and respect should always be offered.

 

Psychic Hygiene:  Techniques to Banish and Protect

 Psychic hygiene is often overlooked in manuals of psychic development and this is unfortunate because the opening of these abilities can touch a person on a very deep level and if they are left open in an uncontrolled way they can lead to frightening experiences, panic attacks and possible psychic damage.  There is nothing dangerous about using psychic abilities provided some sensible rules are followed.

The most important thing is to ground as a group where possible because as psychic awareness can be switched on by being in close proximity to another psychic, grounding can also be accomplished as more experienced psychics switch off.  In this way the more experienced persons can help the less experienced persons work.

If there are any natural psychics in the group, before teaching them anything it is important that they are taught to properly switch off their abilities before they begin working with any of the exercises given [18].  

 

 Banishing

Please also see the section on magical techniques for a ritual called the Lesser Banishing ritual of the pentagram (LBRP).

The term “banishing” is an unfortunate one and is largely a product of western magical practice from the middle ages taking too much of a tendency to control things [19].  There are occasions where banishing becomes necessary and a clean space is required to work within in order to prevent stray forces and entities intruding when they are not required.  Generally this will be within a personal space such as where a meditation is going to take place. 

 

There should be less need to banish outside however because any energies or entities that are present will be ones that were already there, so the rule should be to leave it alone unless there is a reason to remove it.  Be guided by the Light and any guardians of the place and do not simply jump in with astral guns blazing.  Anything present might have a perfect right to be there and be nothing to do with the investigation in hand.  Do not change things unless you have permission and know what you are doing.

 Another problem with banishing is that it is very one way.  It is accepted that there are occasions when an entity is in the wrong place at the wrong time and a “banishing” technique will be required to help it move.  However simply firing the LBRP at it whilst clearing a space will not help it very much and this sort of work should also be carried out with a request to the Light that this is for the higher good and that with love and respect any entities be returned to the best place for them within the Universal purpose. 

Having said this, psychic hygiene is essential and after doing any work it is good to check oneself and do a banishing about oneself to clear anything that might be attached to one.  If doing any indoor work [20] a banishing and Rose Cross consecration is recommended to ensure that the area where the work took place is scrubbed of any influences that might linger from the psychic work.  Do this before grounding either individually or as a group effort.

 

Grounding

Psychic awareness should never be left switched on in an individual and control should be sought in order to ensure that these abilities are only used under conscious direction.  It is also important after doing any psychic work to close the channels and focus awareness back on to the physical world.  One way of doing this is to use an item of jewellery such as a ring; where the ring is worn when psychic abilities are used and removed when everyday normality is required.  If psychic perceptions start when the item is not being worn it is important to resist them and force or repeat shutting down until the psychic sense is switched off.  It is essential that discipline is maintained; otherwise the psychic awareness will come uninvited and effectively be out of control [21].

 

To ground, first relax and get into a state where you are aware of the aura.  Feel each chakra switched on as it was in the middle pillar exercise and starting from the bottom to the top imagine each energy centre close [22].  Once you have closed the crown centre feel any residue energy in the aura, circulate it once and then imagine it leaving your body and being accepted by the earth.  Alternatively the energy can be grounded into a tree, or a large stone that has been rooted into the ground such as a gravestone or monolith, although check whether these have presences attached to them and if so ask permission.

Then perform a strong physical action such as clapping the hands or stamping a foot.  Clap so hard the hands tingle and be very aware of the sensation this creates to remind yourself that it is the outer world you are now focused on.  If possible have something to eat and a drink.  Basically take the time to chill out and relax either as a group or individually.

In all psychic work it is each persons responsibility to ensure that everyone else is grounded and back to earth before departing.  If anyone looks or acts as if they are still out there then it will be necessary to double check and make certain that they are properly focused on the physical world.

 

Clearing ghosts from the Aura

 A practice that should be performed regularly after investigating any location that might be haunted is to check the aura for ghosts that might have been picked up.  Relax and be aware of the self, scanning the body and aura for any odd sensations.  Look for slight aches or trembling and focus upon each point systematically.  Inspect each point and try to sense whether there is a presence there or not.  If not pass on to the next one.

If a presence is felt try to communicate with it and get a sense of who it is, what its beliefs are etc and speak to it.  Tell it to be aware that its guide is near by and that it is aware of it and that its guide is taking it to its proper place.  Ask it to look beyond the guide to where it will see the principals of its religion waiting, for example if the person is a Christian, beyond its guide there might be Jesus and some pearly gates etc.  Tell it to go with love and compassion, encouraging it to pass on to its proper place.  You will find a sense of lightness and the ache etc will pass.  Sometimes the ghost can be quite agitated so be patient with it and try to calm it as much as possible.


References

1.See the works of Andrew Collins and Graham Phillips in the bibliography

2. Bligh-Bond, Fredrick, Gate of Remembrance (1918). Oxford Blackwell.  1918, 1921

3. Goodman, Jeffrey, Gate of Remembrance (1918), Wildwood House, 1978.

4. Owen, Iris M, Sparrow Margaret,  Conjuring Up Philip:  An adventure in psychokinesis”.  Harper and Row.  1976.

5. Lethbridge, Tom.  “Ghosts and Ghouls”.  Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd.  1961

6. Greer, John Michael.  Monsters: An Investigator's Guide to Magical Beings.  Llewellyn.  2001

7. Keel, John A.  Operation Trojan Horse: Exhaustive Study of Unidentified Flying Objects.  Abacus.  1973.

8. Keel, John A.  Operation Trojan Horse: Exhaustive Study of Unidentified Flying Objects.  Abacus.  1973.

9. Kenneth Grant.  Outer Gateways (Skoob Esoterica).  Skoob Books, 1994

10. There is a picture of Lam in Grant, Kenneth, The magical Revival, Muller 1972. pp84

11. Collins Andrew.  Alien Energy: UFO's, Ritual Landscapes and the Human Mind.  Eagle Wing Books Inc.  1994

12. Interestingly enough the term “little green men” seems to apply as much to an elf as to an alien.

13. Watkins, Alfred. The Old Straight Track: The Classic Book on Ley Lines.  Abacus, 2001

14. I am using the term energy in a very different sense to how a physicist would use the would

15. On example of how a dragon exists in folklore can be found amongst the myths surrounding St Alban.  The good Saint is supposed to have taken stones from the Roman Verulamium and bound a dragon with them.  The historical truth of the matter is that St Alban built his chapel on the site of the current cathedral using the stones from the Verulamium.  However when we consider that a ley runs through the site we can see how the myth arises.  In a sense a dragon was bound and perhaps it is its energy that gives the site such power. 

16. Egregore simply means “watcher”.

17. I learned afterwards that the lights formed the colours on the Qabalistic tree of life in the Briatic scale.

18. A lot of nonsense has been said and written about a psychic needing to open fully before being able to close.  Believing this can be highly dangerous and leave the psychic unnecessarily exposed for a long period of time.

19. Unfortunately far too many occultists are control freaks.

20. Such as a designated place of meditation, and is not applicable to haunted building etc which might be encountered.  In the latter case the guidelines around banishing as described above should be followed.

21. Another method is to make a request to the Light to open enough awareness to perceive the situation as it is.  Again ask the Light to control the awareness and keep it switched on or off as necessary for the greater good and with the idea of service.

22. Some people use imagery such as an open or shut eye over each point to help reinforce the concept of shutting the channels.