Thursday, August 29, 2013

Linwood Sleigh’s witches: Miss Heckatty, Mother Withershins and Winnie Jago

The Boy in the Ivy by Linwood Sleigh is yet another very good book I remembered as containing modern-day witches and wanted to re-read. It is out of print; when I saw how much was being charged for the few copies available, I decided to forget it. After a long time, I felt a sudden impulse to search once again just in case, and found a copy on Amazon at a very reasonable price. When it arrived, I found that it had been signed by the author!

Three of the witches it contains are of especial interest to me.

Miss Heckatty
When she first appears, Miss Heckatty is presented as a selfish, inconsiderate, annoying character, a ‘horrid old lady’. She moves some items a boy left on a window seat on the train to reserve it, and takes the seat herself. She knits during the journey and keeps jabbing the boy beside her with her elbow.

Miss Heckatty is a learned lady: she is the scholarly type of witch, like Dr. Melanie Powers in L. M. Boston's An Enemy at Green Knowe. She too is hunting something – an extremely rare flower with magic properties as opposed to occult papers - and just like Melanie Powers, goes to tea with a family because it provides a pretext to get into a place where she hopes to find what she is looking for. The visit provides opportunities to look around and do some investigating. Witches often have ulterior motives for what they do.

She is greedy: she takes the biggest cakes, but unlike Dr. Powers she does this openly. She is unkind to her worn, miserable, downtrodden students.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Unseen influences: sugar and factory food are our enemies

Dick Sutphen lists sugar and the cumulative effects of food additives such as artificial flavourings, colourings and preservatives among the unseen influences that adversely affect our lives. I strongly agree with him: cutting down on these things has resulted in a big improvement in the way I feel.

I was made addicted to sweets from an early age: I was not given enough food, and what I got was not very nutritious, but I was always given plenty of sweets. Without realising it, I suffered from low blood sugar for much of my life. It is interesting that the astrologer and esoteric philosopher Dr Douglas Baker said something about low blood sugar being an occupational hazard for people who are involved with esoteric subjects.

I have a vague memory of reading something about some people who contacted the spirit world via an Ouija board and were told to eat a lot of sugar.

A time came when I tried to improve my health. I lived for a while on plain, mostly unprocessed food, partly in an attempt to simplify my life and improve my health and partly to save money. Certain food items tasted very different after the exercise, and not in a good way. For example, I used a sachet of tomato sauce that was in my store, and was amazed at how sweet it tasted.  I bought a carton of a soup that I used to add salt to as I found it rather bland: this time around I found it very salty without adding any more.

I was on a short break when I did something I said I would never do again. I had an hour to kill before catching my coach home and decided that as it was going to be a long journey, I should have some hot food. I went to a vegetarian café that I knew about, but it was closed. I wandered around looking without any success for somewhere suitable that was not too expensive. I eventually decided to lower my standards and go to a burger café I found – an independent one, not a popular chain.

They had a good meal deal so I chose a veggie burger, chips and a free drink. The drink was orange juice and it was very good quality: not too sweet and full of real oranges. The other things were not like real food; I did not enjoy eating them at all and I felt ill afterwards.  I have had a few similar experiences while eating out. The better quality the food that I eat at home, the less I can tolerate processed food such as ready meals and snack food.

Rudyard Kipling said “who having known the diamond will concern himself with glass?”  I used to believe that people only ate rubbish food because they had never experienced anything better so had no means of comparison, but I now suspect that some of them are so addicted and collective minded that they actually prefer it. The question to ask here is: who or what benefits?

I remember reading about someone who had high standards about what she ate. She was very much against America’s involvement in Vietnam. One day she slid back, abandoned her principles and bought a burger from a popular chain: she said that after eating it, the US’s foreign policy no longer seemed important. The implications of this are frightening.

Another anecdote I read was by someone who at one time could eat as many as twenty doughnuts at once. She started reading New Age books and trying to make herself into a better and healthier person.  She soon found that eating just two doughnuts brought her to the same queasy and bloated state as the twenty had before she started the exercise. Reading alone was enough to greatly increase her intolerance for unhealthy food; this too is my own experience.

I had a lapse and bought a bag of traditional boiled sweets to celebrate finding the new Harry Potter book at the cheapest possible price. I settled down happily with the book and the bag of sweets, and started to devour both of them. The colourings and flavourings were artificial, and I felt terrible after eating a handful or two. I got dizziness and pains in my chest.  I suppose that I never noticed the adverse effects of excessive sweet eating much earlier in my life because I always felt bad - from many causes – and had never been in a healthy state.

There may be such things as bad food and bad cooking, but someone who is sea-sick is the last person to make decisions about what is good and what is not: almost everything will seem nauseating and disgusting to them. Conversely, someone who is clean, healthy and aware is like a guinea-pig or a canary down a mine; their reactions to various foods are a good indicator of the value or otherwise to us of those foods.

Incidentally, it is not only junk food that I can’t tolerate: the more my knowledge and understanding of unseen influences grows, the better my mental diet and inner state, the less I can bear most modern entertainment and entertainers, TV programs and conversations about celebrities.  Most advertisements make me feel as sick as that burger meal did: I usually switch the sound off during the breaks when I am listening to the radio or watching TV so I don’t have to listen to false, unpleasant voices and meaningless drivel. I have always been like this, but my dislike of much of modern culture has been increasing year by year. It seems to exist on a completely different plane from the one I live on and to be targeting a very different type of person.

There are no mental vitamins in what people say when they don’t speak from the heart, just as there may be no vitamins in much of the food that we eat. I am aware that many people say that vitamin supplements are a waste of money and that people who recommend them may be trying to sell something, but vitamin pills may be better than nothing. One poster on a forum I found said that he always perks up after taking vitamins, and that is exactly what happens to me.

Aspartame and coca cola may be our enemies; a bowl of porridge oats each morning is our friend.  It is a better protection against some negative unseen influences than any number of protective rituals and items such as cords, talismans and crystals: good nutrition is better than superstition.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Karen Kingston: De-cluttering as a Defence Against the Dark Parts

I vaguely remember a scene from one of Dennis Wheatley’s occult novels in which a group of people spends the night inside a protective circle (or perhaps it was a pentacle). They have bathed and are wearing clean pyjamas:  complete cleanliness is an essential part of their psychic defence operation. The evil entities arrive and attack as expected:  one actually manifests inside the circle, which was designed to ward it off. The cause is soon discovered: a member of the group had found some papers and, forgetting the rules, had brought them into the circle with him to examine, thus providing the entity with some ‘impurities’ that it could fasten onto and use to materialise.

What are we holding onto that enables destructive influences to invade and sabotage our lives?

While psychic garbage in our energy fields and psychological garbage in our subconscious minds may attract trouble and victimisers, garbage in our external surroundings may also be responsible for reducing our quality of life. Skeletons in our mental closets may attract energy vampires; such things as never-worn clothes and items in bad states of repair in our physical closets may also be drawing unwanted people and experiences into our lives.

Keeping our home environment clean, tidy, attractive, organised and in a good state of repair is an important aspect of psychic self-defence:  cleanliness and orderliness may help to attract good influences and deter ‘astral bacteria’, ‘hungry ghosts’ and other undesirable entities. It is probably no accident that witches are frequently depicted as living in chaos and squalor, nor that some very holy people live very simply in small cells with few personal possessions. The evil dark lord in The Lord of the Rings is called Sauron: this name is said to be linked to an Old Norse word for filth.

Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston makes a few good points and contains some statements about clutter that resonate strongly with me.  She says that clutter presents an obstacle to the flow of energy; it creates disharmony; clutter has a sticky, unclean feel; it smells musty and unpleasant; it is stagnant and unwholesome.

Clutter makes people who live with it tired, depressed and lethargic; it may affect their weight; it may affect the way they take care of themselves; it makes them continually procrastinate; it makes them confused and ashamed; it makes them live in fear of exposure; it makes others treat them badly; it puts their life on hold; it keeps them in the past.

I couldn’t get interested in the Feng Shui aspect of this book, but think that what she says about clutter makes sense; it applies as much to psychic and psychological garbage and unfinished business as it does to physical clutter. It is important to care for and respect both ourselves and our homes.  If we don’t treat ourselves, our belongings, our surroundings and our affairs well and with respect, how can we expect others to treat us well and with respect? Like attracts like.

Keeping the energy moving seems particularly important. Corners and shelves need to be attended to from time to time to disperse stagnant energy, which builds up in the same way that dust does.

I once had a high shelf that was full of books and old course units; they had been up there for many years. I eventually decided to dispose of as many as possible and started bringing them all down. I had bad dreams with flashbacks for a few nights. I would wake up feeling very drained and unsettled after being forced to relive the painful past.

I wonder whether the bad feelings and experiences I had at the time I was reading the books and studying the course material had become thought forms that clung to the books, and that moving the books disturbed them so they attached themselves to me and were responsible for the bad dreams.

I know that re-reading an old diary made me feel really terrible: I went right back into the state of mind at the time I wrote in it. This too gave me some bad dreams about the past.

I had the same experience a few more times after moving items that had been stashed away and not touched for a long time.  Not only that, but I kept encountering a neighbour whom I had not crossed paths with for many years.  She was very much in evidence in the bad old days before I became aware of unseen influences and other dimensions; she mostly disappeared from my life when I used my knowledge to move to a better psychological area. It is very interesting that, just like the times when my dropped firewall attracted trouble, the bad energy I had picked up attracted her into my life again.

I have got rid of a lot of my belongings, and now ensure that nothing is neglected or forgotten and everything is moved and cleaned regularly.

There is a saying that not having money is much worse than having money is good. I think that the same principle applies to our home environments. Unlike Karen Kingston, I don’t think that clearing our clutter and applying Feng Shui principles to the layout of our homes will have very positive if not magical effects on our lives, incomes and relationships. I do think that clearing clutter is rather like paying off debts: it will decrease the negativity in our lives and will bring us closer to healthy normality. Having good home conditions does not give us any particular advantage, but having bad ones is a huge handicap.

Our living conditions are a major unseen influence in our lives.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Three fictional modern-day witches

I have always liked reading stories about witches, especially modern-day witches.

I no longer read such fiction just for enjoyment and escape: I am looking for examples of and information about various types of unseen influence.

I remembered some books I read long ago that feature modern-day witches, and have been re-reading them in the hope of finding relevant material. I already have enough for several articles: there are many connections to be made between some fictional modern-day witches and people I have encountered, and there are scenes in these books that remind me of incidents I have experienced myself.

It is interesting that some of these witches were created by men, although two of them are often assumed to be women on the basis of their first names.

I will start with three very different modern-day witches of interest created by three very different authors.

John Masefield’s witch: Sylvia Daisy Pouncer
The Midnight Folk and The Box of Delights, two children’s classic fantasy novels written by John Masefield, contain a character called Sylvia Daisy Pouncer, who is publicly a governess and secretly a witch.

She is said to have been modelled on Masefield's aunt, who raised him and his siblings after their parents died. She disapproved of his love of reading: she sent him as a teenager to live on a naval training ship to cure him of the filthy habit! She is also said to have been inspired by a hated governess who taught Masefield and his siblings.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Obedience and the truth: some illuminating observations

One characteristic often found in energy vampires and manipulators is that they habitually ignore essential points, central issues and fundamental truths. They are out of touch with reality.

Even if someone is able to confront them by telling them some home truths, hell will freeze over before they admit that they have done anything wrong, never mind apologising. They are like vampires: they cannot or will not see themselves in mirrors; the truth is like garlic to them; they avoid daylight and operate in the darkness. It is best to leave them behind in the remedial school and move ourselves on by learning some lessons that our victimisers will never learn.

Anyone who has been controlled or preyed upon by such people may need to spend some time aligning their ideas with reality, which involves learning some new words and concepts along the way, and investing some time in mastering the rudiments of critical thinking.

One of the best ways to start is by getting back to basics. There are some people who tell it like it is: their insights are weapons that disperse smokescreens and expose the underlying dynamics of sick relationships. The following statements about obedience are good examples:
  • A forced obedience is no obedience at all, but rather it is slavery.
  • A manipulated obedience is no obedience at all, but deception.
  • A purchased obedience is no obedience at all, but bribery.
  • An obedience rendered in fear of adverse consequences is no obedience at all, but self-preservation.

Quoted from Anna Valerious's blog Narcissists Suck.

I found the above observations very true and very inspiring, so much so that I came up with some similar ones about the truth:
  • Believing something to be true does not make it true.
  • Wanting to believe that something is true does not make it true.
  • Desperately needing to believe that something is true does not make it true.
  • Loudly and/or repeatedly insisting that something is true does not make it true.
  • Avoiding, ridiculing, attacking, persecuting or destroying anyone who questions the truth of something does not make it true.

When these sets of observations make sense and we accept that they are correct, the victimiser’s evil spell will start to dissolve.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Defence Against the Dark Arts Part III: More from Vernon Howard:

If there are any energy vampires and emotional blackmailers in your life, you may find the following defences useful:

•Don’t dump your trash on my desk.

•Who said I had to explain myself to you?

•If you want to fight, find another enemy.

•What if I made the demands on you that you make on me?

•I won’t lift a finger to solve the problem you have caused.

•I was not born to be the ear to your chattering mouth.
•No, I don’t owe you a thing.     

•You are several years too late to play that trick on me.

•How evil of you to try to drag me down to your low level.

I think that nos. 4 and 8 are particularly effective: if only I had been able to say this to the victimisers in my life…it is too late for me but perhaps other people will find this list useful.

Friday, August 9, 2013

White magic and black magic and the books of Stella Gibbons

My first encounter with the books of Stella Gibbons
It was my stepmother who introduced me to many of the works of Stella Gibbons. I have never much liked romance novels nor books that are primarily about personal relationships, but my stepmother was so enthusiastic about the books that I decided to give them a try.  I felt an attraction that I could not have put into words at the time. I found them civilised, elegant, witty and interesting; I liked the glimpses they gave me into other people’s lives: this expanded my horizons; I liked the descriptions of London and the natural world. I was only ten years old at the time, so I was too young to understand the undercurrents and subtle references to dark topics. This was the stage when a foundation was laid and seeds were sown for the future.

My second encounter with the books of Stella Gibbons
A time came much later in my life when I decided to return to the past and salvage some good things I remembered. This operation included renewing my acquaintance with books I had enjoyed reading many years earlier.  I re-read many of Stella Gibbons’s novels and short stories. I also found some of her books that I had never read before in second-hand bookshops.

I got much more out of reading them as an adult with some experience of life than I had in the past as a child – the reverse was true for some of the other authors I re-visited.  I do not agree with her opinion that domesticity and care-giving are of supreme importance to women nor do I share her traditional religious views, but apart from that I liked Stella Gibbons’s insights into people and attitude to life. I liked her sympathy for and understanding of her characters, especially young women.

She described painful feelings and states of mind that I had experienced myself. Much of what she wrote about contemporary lifestyles was fascinating.  I enjoyed reading her descriptions of areas of London that I had come to know well. 

I had a feeling that there was something still to come, something more to be learned from her books, something of particular interest to me. It was some years before I realised what it was.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Curse or coincidence? Two more cases from real life

A few years ago, while making a short train journey, I picked up a discarded copy of a free newspaper called Metro. There was not much of interest to me in it, so I just skimmed the pages until I suddenly came to an article about something that was very much on my mind: putting curses on people.

It was a copy of an interview with a crime writer called James Ellroy. I had never heard of him, perhaps because I am not a fan of most crime novels. This extract speaks for itself:

“James Ellroy, 62, is an American author whose crime novels include The Black Dahlia and LA Confidential, both made into films. His mother was murdered when he was 10 years old, three months after he put a curse on her. It remains an unsolved case.”

“What kind of curse did you put on your mother?” 

“On the occasion of my tenth birthday, in March of 1958, my mother - a 43-year-old, good-looking, tall, red-haired, alcoholic, registered nurse, divorced from my dad for two and half years - sat me down and said ‘You’re ten - you can live with your dad or me.’ I said ‘my dad’. She hit me. I fell off the couch and hit my head on the glass coffee table. She hit me again. I called her some names; blood trickled into my mouth. I read a book on Spells, Witchcraft and Curses at Christmas 1957. I recall the book. I issued the curse; I wished my mother dead. She was coincidentally murdered three months later.”

Other sources confirm that the perpetrator was never found.

I wonder whether it was just chance that made me pick up the paper, or whether I was ‘meant’ to find the article.

It reminded me of something I had read about Sylvia Plath many years earlier.  When Ted Hughes left her for another woman, she became insane with fury and deliberately tried to put a curse on this woman – Assia Wevill.  She danced around the table in a deliberate attempt to perform black magic. It may be just coincidence that Assia Wevill later killed both herself and her and Ted Hughes’s little girl.

It seems that to be a creative writer or a poet is to play with fire. To be deliberately involved with dark aspects of the occult – Ted Hughes is said to have learned some of these from his mother - is even more dangerous. Both together can be lethal for the people involved, and those close to them.

One or two such incidents may be explained away, but after reading about many more and encountering a few myself, I believe that some people really do have the power to effectively curse others.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Defence Against the Dark Arts Part II: Terry Pratchett’s books

I have found that Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books brighten the atmosphere: they are ideal for driving away black moods and dispersing the dark clouds of depression.

I particularly like the books that feature his three main witch characters, Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick. The three witches in Macbeth were the inspiration for these ladies: he said that three is a natural number for witches. It is just a coincidence that when I was at school, someone likened me and my sisters to the three witches in Macbeth!

Not only do these books entertain, amuse and raise one's spirits, they also contain material that seems to me to be relevant to some topics on this blog. I have already made a connection between the effects that Terry Pratchett’s illusion-creating elves have on humans and the effects that some glamorous energy vampires have on their victims. Some of what Pratchett says about magic and how it attracts undesirable entities could apply to unconscious or psychological black magic and how it attracts – or is even caused by - forces that sabotage the lives of the practitioners.

From Lords and Ladies:

 “Don't try the paranormal until you know what's normal.”

I interpret this as advice to use natural methods as much as possible to achieve goals and get through life: do what a normal, decent person without special powers would do.

“There is something about the woman’s tone. The smile is pleasant and friendly, but there is something in the voice – too desperate, too urgent, too hungry.”

That last quote immediately made me think of human sharks and energy vampires. Beware of people who seem to be hiding a desperate need for you to do or give them whatever they want.

From Equal Rites:

“People interested in magic and mysticism spend a lot of time loitering on the very edge of the light, as it were, which gets them noticed by the creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions who then try to use them in their indefatigable efforts to break into this particular reality. Most people can resist this, but the relentless probing by the Things is never stronger than when the subject is asleep.”

“If you use magic you draw attention to yourself from Them. They watch the world all the time. Ordinary minds are just vague to them, they hardly bother with them, but a mind with magic in it shines out like a beacon. It’s not darkness that calls them it’s the light. They want life and shape: they have no life and shape themselves other than what they can steal. They couldn’t live in this world. They hate us because we are alive.”

“They are reflections: you can’t beat your own reflections as they are always as strong as you are. They feed off magic, so you can’t beat them with magic. They draw nearer to you when you use magic, and they don’t get tired. Not using magic because you can’t ….. is nothing, but not using magic because you can, that really upsets them. They become scared and weakened. They hate the idea, because when people stop using magic, the Things die.”

“If magic gives people what they want, not doing magic can give them what they need.”

Again, my interpretation is that it is best to use normal methods for getting what you want and getting along in life. If you have the ability to unconsciously influence people and use it, you will attract attention and the consequences will be unpleasant; if you realise that you have this ability and refrain from using it, you will confound the evil entities. It is better for people’s welfare to learn how to negotiate with others than to use mind power to influence them or drive them away.

I have encountered people who get away with a lot: no one ever confronts them. These people give out subtle, unspoken messages such as “If you confront me you will pay for it.” They often have a hypnotic influence too: no one notices their wrongdoing. Such smokescreens and defensive force fields come at a high price: the perpetrators get deeper and deeper into debt and have to pay more and more only to get less and less in return. As with payday loans, short term benefits turn into long term nightmares.

People who habitually practice psychological black magic end up in a very bad state.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Kathleen Raine and Gavin Maxwell: curse or coincidence?

The poet Kathleen Raine was involved in an unsatisfactory, tempestuous relationship with Gavin Maxwell, the naturalist who later became famous for his books about otters. She cursed him after he pushed her to the limits of endurance; he suffered a series of misfortunes then he died.

I would like to believe that the misfortunes would have happened anyway, but after learning about the effect that some creative people had on those close to them I think that her ill-wishing actually worked. Poets are closer to the subconscious – or unconscious – and she was pushed right to the edge at the time.

One difference between this example and others I have written about from personal experience is that both of the people involved were aware that a curse had been launched, and one at least believed that it had been effective.

From articles I found online
“Their relationship burnt itself out, however. Banished from the house during a raging storm in 1956, a weeping Kathleen Raine cursed Maxwell under a rowan tree:

"Let Gavin suffer in this place as I am suffering now."

Within the next few years his pet otter was killed by a workman, his house was destroyed by fire, and he himself was diagnosed with terminal cancer.”  
- From an obituary

“Maxwell wrote: "Whether or not your curse has been responsible for this terrible disaster I don't know or should never know. If it was, I can only say God forgive you... Your Silver Stag [Raine's description for Maxwell] has indeed fallen - as you willed - and possibly beyond recall. If you really believe in your own powers of destruction you must consider yourself to have been successful at least twice."
- From an article about their dark love

"She had always believed that she possessed great and terrible occult powers, and in that moment of hatred, she had not doubted her ability to blight the years ahead of me."
- From an article about the rowan tree curse

“The agony that Kathleen Raine underwent thereafter, expressed in her poetry and prose, seems never wholly to have expiated her guilt for a curse that so rebounded on herself. As a woman, she reviled herself as loveless and destructive of other lives; as a poet, she castigated herself for not writing more, or better - for neglecting her daimon, as she called her gift and source”
- From an article about Kathleen Raine

Autobiographical references to the curse
Kathleen Raine produced three volumes of autobiography. Some of the things she wrote about life as experienced by creative people and her relationship with Gavin Maxwell resonate very strongly with me: I could have written it myself, although she expresses herself far better than I ever could.

In The Lion’s Mouth, the third volume, she goes into detail about the relationship and the cursing episode. It is very painful to read. The following extracts speak for themselves:

“A curse always recoils on the person who utters it…such an invocation cannot be revoked by the mere recovery of temper. It has a life of its own; when a passion is so powerful as to stir those depths, we awaken forces beyond human control…”

“…there are many murders besides those committed with arsenic or pistol

Arsenic and pistol may sound like the title of an Agatha Christie novel, but Kathleen Raine’s words confirm what many other people have said. Unseen crime, or psychic crime, exists; curses and cursing are real. When we are hit on a very deep level, we react from that same level, often with tragic and unforeseen results.