Monthly Archives: November 2013

Magical Experience: A Walk In The Moonlight

This post should have gone in a while back since the events described happened on 18 November but, as I have said, I am squeezing these blog posts into a busy life.

As a pre-script of sorts to this blog, I moved to the Capital Region of New York in August of this year. I had lived, previously, in the Columbus, Georgia area while my wife finished grad school and, prior to that, I had lived in Western New York. When my spouse was first considering the job that brought us back to New York state, we, of course, came to visit the area. Both of us came away with the feeling that this would be a good move for us; my wife had never experienced the stultification of living in the so-called Bible Belt and was more than eager to be on her way. I had noted, with senses other than the ordinary, that this new area was literally alive with spirits of all types and that, plus the pre-eminence of deciduous trees, mountains and rivers, made the place well nigh irresistible to this magic worker with a strong pagan bent.

As I have noted in my posts entitled, Kaaterskill Falls and Missing 411:An Interesting Psychic Impression, the Land where I now live has already provided me with some interesting experiences and the little story that follows is a new one for that collection.

I am a life long martial artist and, though I have never earned the coveted black belt, I continue to train regularly. Given our car situation, this sometimes means that I have to drop the car off for my wife at work and then walk to class, a distance of about a mile and a half. She then joins the class later and we drive home together from the dojo.

On the night in question, the temperature had moderated into the 50’s from the very cool temps we had been experiencing the week before and the moon was just past full, shedding her glorious light over the town as I walked briskly toward my destination. Those of you familiar with the magical arts will know that the full moon and the times right around it are times when the magical currents are high and, on this particular night, I could not help but feel the energy in the air. There are days in a mage’s life when he seems to trudge along, doing magic, and then there are nights like this one where he becomes magic. Needless to say, I was smiling to myself as I made my way through town.

As with the incident with the Black Dog described in the post linked above, I was not in a deep trance but the repetitive motion of walking allowed me to move in a sort of light trance. I’ve actually experienced whole shamanic voyages during a run (not recommended unless you are running in a place where there is no vehicular traffic) when I was much younger and often find that a walk will clear my head and allow things to surface from my subconscious or other senses.

As I moved up a hill, I became aware that I was seeing a figure standing on the bridge some distance off and that this figure seemed to be wearing a dark robe with a hood. Now, this is a college town and there is an active gaming community so I thought that I might be looking at some role playing wizard. I glanced away and then looked again and the figure was gone.

Now, understand that the figure was standing on a bridge that overlooks a steep drop. Pedestrians are protected by a tall fence that would prevent any but the most determined from getting over it. The figure was standing at the entrance to the bridge so, in order to “disappear”, it would have been necessary to run the 100 meters in under a second, clearing the bridge and ducking into the neighborhood beyond. If the figure had come toward me, there was no place for it to hide on a street lit by both the brilliant moon and sodium vapor arc streetlights. It is barely possible that the figure could have scaled the fence and dropped over on the other side but I find it highly unlikely that anyone other than a trained athlete could have accomplished this. Then there is the matter of doing it in a flowing robe and the rather long drop on the other side of the fence. Perhaps I encountered a robed version of Spiderman but I rather doubt it.

While my skeptical side is prepared to admit that there is a distant possibility that this could have been an ordinary human, my magical side knew that I had just had another encounter with one of the numerous spirits that walk the land where I live. I proceeded cautiously to the spot where I last saw the figure and took a good look around. Nothing. I did not sense any threat or hostility so I am inclined to think that this might have been a spook. The little town where this happened has a history that dates back to the Revolutionary War period and was even the site of a little skirmish. My robed figure could have easily been a person in a long cloak with a hood or I might have spotted one of those interesting “ghost monks” that are common in European castles and the like.

Regardless, I continued on my way and, as I walked on that magical evening, I noted that many of the homes in the area, which now serve to house students, also serve to house a lot of residual energy. I would bet that any poor college student who happened to live in one of these places and happened to be a bit fey would have some interesting experiences. While I can not claim to live in “Spook Central”, I can certainly state, unequivocally, that the area has a huge potential for hauntings.

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The Conjuring: A Different Perspective

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I sometimes listen to paranormal podcasts when I am doing mindless data entry functions at work. I happened to catch an interview with Andrea Perron, the oldest (I believe) of five daughters of Roger and Carolyn Perron, and experiencer of the so-called Harrisville, RI, haunting. This haunting is now quite famous since it was the foundation for the recent hit movie “The Conjuring”.

Ms. Perron is obviously on the circuit trying to drum up readers for a series of books that she is writing about her family’s experience. She comes across as very smooth, polished and scripted but, when your family’s story has been the basis of a 100+ million dollar movie, I imagine that you learn PR very quickly. I say this not to diminish Ms. Perron’s experiences – obviously some of them were quite frightening – but so that readers who happen across one of these interviews will be forewarned. I had to get past my prejudice against obviously scripted testimony before I could really listen to the interview.

I can not know what really went on in the Harrisville home of the Perron’s thirty years ago but what really caught my attention in this story was Ms. Perron’s dramatic account of a “seance gone bad”. According to this witness, when Ed and Lorraine Warren became involved in this case, one of the first things that they did was try to contact the spirits through a good old fashioned seance.

Now, I have noted that I have some issues with the Warrens. While Ed Warren died in 2006, Lorraine Warren is, to my knowledge, still active in the paranormal field. In their heyday, the Warrens styled themselves demonologists and Ms. Warren is still called into situations in which there is the possibility of hostile entities or demonic influence. For the sake of fairness, I have to note too that this case occurred early in their careers.

According to Ms. Perron, the Warrens brought a psychic medium into the Harrisville home and attempted contact with the spirits in the house. The end result was that Carolyn Perron, Andrea’s mother, appeared to be possessed or at least strongly influenced by a disharmonic entity which proceeded to fling her across the room. Andrea Perron states that she was positive that she had seen her mother die that night but, fortunately, Mrs. Perron seems to have sustained no permanent damage.

If you are wondering why I am strongly against aggressive tactics in hauntings, here is a good example of what might happen. Not all spirits are namby pamby ghosts, folks, some of them, no matter what you want to call them, can and do effect the physical plane and they can hurt you. If this story is even partially true, I am amazed that anyone who bills themselves as a demonologist could possibly be so irresponsible.

A little back story. Before the Warrens became involved in this case, another paranormal group had already been on scene and had determined that there were hostile elements to the haunting. Carl Johnson, a member of the first paranormal group, PIRO, had gotten a strong set of physical phenomenon in the upstairs part of the house when he invoked the name of Jesus and stories told by the family as well as the experiences of the investigators led them to believe that the house was not only haunted but that there were negative entities present.

So, the “demonologists” come in and promptly throw the equivalent of a paranormal party and invite everyone in? I am a big fan of neither Ouija boards or seances for precisely this reason. Both techniques are the astral equivalent of firing a signal flare in the Otherworld and seeing who will show up. It is bad enough to do this sort of thing in a non-haunted space but doing it in an area where you know there are entities hostile to humans is downright foolish. I would think that anyone who knew anything about demonic/spirit oppression or possession would know that.

People involved in the magical arts understand that spirit communication and work is something that has to be carefully targeted. If a mage is seeking the advice or services of a specific spirit then he or she learns all that can be learned about that spirit and invokes or evokes that specific being taking great care to clear the area and then to test the spirit to make certain it is the correct one.

Even in religious practices that utilize spirit possession, such as Voudou and the other ACR’s, great care is taken to follow the order of the service so that the Ways are opened properly and that guardian spirits are present to keep out the riff raff, so to speak. Of course, if the fete is for the dead then things can get pretty rowdy but no entity truly hostile to the people at the feast would get past the spirits and lwa who protect such a site.

My word to paranormal investigators out there is simple. Treat a haunting as you would treat walking through a neighborhood. Some neighborhoods are nicer than others. In some neighborhoods, you might be safe wearing your Rolex and in others you might want to drop it in your pocket, out of sight. Never assume that you are in a nice neighborhood, spiritually, until you have had a chance to spend some time on site and get an intuitive feel for the place, heard the witnesses’ stories, worked with the tech to see what sorts of EVP’s, pictures and other evidence come up and researched the history of the place. As the sergeant on Hill Street Blues used to tell his officers before every shift: be careful out there.


Stepping Down Activity

Due to:

1) involvement with and commitment to two magical groups

2) inner work and contacts that are requiring more and more of my time (see 1 above) in meditation, offerings, ritual work etc.

3) a strong desire to do more inner investigation and reporting on this blog and thus a need for time to do the work and write it up

4) a spouse who is trying to work full time and finish a PhD program

5) commitment to a martial art that requires practice time

6) a need for some down time in order to keep up my health . . .

I am going to step down my posts on the blog to once a week or so for the next little while. I do not want to fall into the trap that I see many bloggers falling into, desperately trying to find enough content to post and time to post it. I fall definitely on the quality end of the quality v. quantity range.

Keep you eyes peeled, more good stuff to come!

Stormeye


Kaaterskill Falls

I promised, a while back, that I would provide periodic updates about my new home territory so I thought I would follow up on that promise.

I have been extremely busy of late and have not had a lot of chance to research the area but I have been making a point of getting out on the weekends and doing some hiking before the weather gets a lot colder and the snows begin to fall. I am known to bundle up and go out even in the dead of winter but there is not generally as much activity, either in this world or the Otherworld, in the cold season.

Recently, I went with a group of people to one of the more popular destinations in this area, Kaaterskill Falls. For those of you who are interested, there is information on this site on-line. I encourage you to Google the area and check out the images if you do not happen to be within striking distance of the falls themselves. While the falls lack the sheer awesome grandeur of the better known Niagara Falls, they are quite beautiful and set in the heart of the Catskill Mountains near some of the higher peaks in the range.

The falls are located on public land and the trail that leads up beside the creek bed is well marked and reasonably easy to traverse. The daring can continue past the terminus of the trail up to an area that I believe is called the Amphitheater. I did not make it to the top – a hike the day before had left me with sore knees and I decided not to punish myself anymore – so I ended up guarding packs and camera bags for some of my group that made the ascent.

This little break, of course, gave me a chance to look at the site with other eyes. I had been very aware of being watched as I made my way up the trail and, given my experiences out in these mountains so far, I was reasonably certain that the faery were out in full force. As I sat catching my breath, I allowed myself to sink into a slight trance and take a look around. I saw . . . nothing. Still, I was very aware of presences all around me and I surmised that the spirits of that land were firmly hidden.

I listened intently with my inner ears and found myself humming what sounded like a Celtic jig and the atmosphere darkened for a moment (passing cloud?). I had the clear sense that the faery of that area did not want to be seen and that they were none to happy about the constant intrusion in their realm. I offered the little tune in my head to them and tried to explain that, for the many humans who could not see them at any time, this was one of their only opportunities to actually have contact with nature and learn something about its beauty and preciousness.

I do not think the faery were placated but the atmosphere did seem to lighten a bit. I tried to put forward the idea to these local fey that they could help educate people and make them more respectful of the Earth if they chose to do so but I think it is going to take a lot more than one session with these spirits to make a real impact. Hopefully, though, if enough people who can feel their presence talk to them and work with them, they will see that not every human is incapable of seeing past the end of their nose.

Folks, if you happen to be go out to any wilderness area, please remember that you are sharing that area not only with the local flora and fauna but with the spiritual ecosystem that underlies all the growth. Even rocks have spirits attached to them. You do not have to be paranoid, but please, be respectful of where you are and, if you are so inclined, make an offering to your favorite place or places. Traditionally, in Celtic Lands, the fey were offered things like porridge and cream, but I think that an offering of water to a tree or a few nuts to the local wildlife, if given with a spirit of respect, awareness and gratitude toward the local spirits can go a long way toward repairing relationships that have been increasingly damaged as humans have moved further and further from the land.

I would also strongly encourage you to listen to your gut when you are out in the wild. You do not have to be a full fledged psychic or practicing mage to recognize that certain areas just do not feel right or feel as though you are intruding. If you happen across such a place, then respond to that intuition and leave the area quietly and, again, with that attitude of respect and possibly an apology for intruding. There are a lot of reasons why that gut level danger warning activates and none of them are healthy for humans.


Stormeye’s Real Life Adventures: A Wiccan in Trouble

A while back, one of my faithful readers challenged me in comments to relate some of the real life incidents that lead me to state that I sometimes felt like Dr. Taverner in Dion Fortune’s famous occult novel.

Many moons ago, in the days when I might be spotted wearing a black turtleneck and silver pentagram (I think every young mage goes through such a phase at some point, mine happened to be in my early thirties), I was a very open member of the Wiccan community and made part of my living doing Tarot readings on weekends. As such, I chanced to meet a lot of “interesting” people . . . some of whom I would have liked to “unmet”. But, that is another story.

In this case, I was working in the local New Age bookstore one day when a pleasant looking middle aged lady came to me for a reading. As I recall, she asked a couple of general questions about her finances and prospects for love but I could tell that her heart was not in it and that her mind was elsewhere. Finally, I set the cards aside for a moment and asked her what the matter was.

After some hemming and hawing, she told me that she had talked to the owner of the store and asked if they had anyone “on retainer” who might deal with a magical problem. The owner, kindly or not, referred her to me since she knew that I was Wiccan and knew something about the magical arts. I explained to the lady that I did, in fact, have some experience in the magical side of things and again asked her to tell me what the problem was. She took a deep breath and launched into a story about her daughter, who had gotten entangled with a supposedly Wiccan group in another state but who had fled the group, running all the way back to her mother in Arizona (a thousand or more miles away).

At this point I stopped the woman, not wanting to get involved based on hearsay and asked the worried mother if she would bring her daughter to see me so that I could get the story straight from the source. “Mom” was only too happy to comply and, in fact, brought the daughter back to see me that afternoon. I am going to call this young woman Leila though that is not her real name or even near to it.

After the requisite introductions, Leila told me her story. Briefly, she had become involved with a coven in North Carolina about two years before our meeting. At first, things had gone well and she was delighted to be part of a nature based, Goddess oriented religion that not only accepted females but, indeed, honored them and allowed them to become priestesses in their own right. Her studies had gone well and she had been initiated into the coven after the traditional year and a day. That is when things started to go wrong.

As sometimes happens, the original leadership of the group had to resign. It seems to me, all these years later, that there was a work issue that forced a move to another part of the country but I might be mis-remembering that part. Wiccan covens are often led by a High Priestess (HP) and, in this group, that was the tradition so a new HPS was elevated. Unlike the past HPS, the new leader of the group was less than egalitarian. Long story short, the coven quickly devolved into a semi-cult in which the HPS exercised almost complete control, up to and including insisting that all the members get matching tattoos as a way of further binding the group together.

Leila had gone along with most of the HPS’ demands, including getting the tattoo, but she became increasingly uncomfortable, especially when the magic the group was working took a turn to the dark side. Understand that Wiccans live by a simple ethical code – “an ye harm none, do what ye will” – and most Wiccans strive to accomplish their goals with the least amount of harm to themselves and others. When the HPS started leading her coven into curses and other magic of malevolent intent, Leila decided that it was time to cut her losses and get out. When she tried to resign from the group, she was basically told that leaving was not an option and it was made plain to her that magical means would be used to force her compliance if she tried to exit stage left.

At this point, she was frightened enough to pull up stakes and haul herself to Arizona. One of the sabbats was coming up (Spring Equinox, if I remember) and Leila was convinced that the group was going to track her down magically and do her harm for daring to leave. I had no way of checking Leila’s story via more conventional means (this was before the explosion of the Internet, when almost every group was on-line) so I asked to see the tattoo. Fortunately for me, the device was on her arm and not some more sensitive place. I shifted my perspective a little so that I could get a more psychic view of the tattoo and found that this young lady was indeed “tied” to her coven by means of the symbol literally engraved in her flesh. Since that “cord” could, indeed, be used to send magic of influence in her direction, it was needful that we sever the cord and set her on a new path. I asked for her specific permission to do just that and her response was telling – all she wanted to know was how soon it could be done.

I set an appointment for later that night, and with the help of a local Wiccan priestess of my acquaintance, we set a circle, worked to sever the tie to the Leila’s coven, did further energy work to render the tattoo neutral and then performed a rite of initiation with strong birth symbolism to magically birth Leila into a new persona that had no ties to the old group or any other. We finished the night’s work, exhausted, with some work for Leila’s psychic protection and healing and then passed the young woman off to her mother. The spring equinox passed without incident and Leila checked in with me a few weeks later to report that all was well but that she was going to remain firmly solitary for a while.

Looking back, I would have liked more independent verification of Leila’s story but, given the level of fear that I was sensing, and the fact that both the mother and the daughter seemed fairly well balanced outside of this incident, I felt that there was a strong case for acting, if only to relieve psychological anxiety. Given, what my psychic senses were telling me though, I feel reasonably certain that there was some threat to the young lady and I could not stand for that.