I have spent a lot of time, in the past few posts, talking about the idea that not only do spirits lie at times but that they also can effect human perception such that the human believes that one thing is happening when, in fact, something completely different is going on. My discussion, up to this point, has been around the idea that spirit communication is something that should not be done willy nilly but that the would be spirit communicator should be well trained in basic magical practices, especially banishing and work designed to align the magician with his or her Hidden One, before attempting evocation – the calling forward of a specific and well-researched spirit for a specific purpose.


With the best case scenario above, the magician has done the research on the spirit in question so that he or she can test that spirit and ensure that the being presenting itself is indeed the one the magic worker is looking for. No mage worth his or her salt will take any spirit at its word; their discernment process involves testing the spirit for responses in line with what is known about the spirit, their own native psychic impressions of the being they are dealing with and the input of the magician’s Hidden One (however you like to call that) and well-established spiritual allies. Evocation is not a process to be undertaken until the magician has at least managed to establish some contact with that Hidden One, has gained at least one good spiritual ally and has managed to settle their mind through meditation.

The above is the best case scenario. What we have with paranormal witnesses of all sorts, is the worst case scenario, an individual with little to no training encountering ‘something’ and having a perception of that ‘something’ which may be in real time or may be a wholly cast glamour. I am going to work with this idea from the assumption that the reader is the witness and walk you through the steps I might take to discern what it is I am actually seeing (or not seeing, as the case may be).

First of all, know that some things you will not be able to test. If you are walking in the woods, and you have a chance encounter with a Sasquatch, chances are good that the Big Fellow is not going to hang around long enough for you to do much more than point and exclaim and, even if it did, such encounters usually happen at a distance and are not typically interactive. The same thing can be said of most of the “monsters crossing the road” phenomenon that we see in paranormal reports. The witness sees what he or she sees and then it is gone. The creature might have been ‘real’ – in the sense that the witness saw an actual manifestation of something – or it could have been a glamour. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell.

Let’s say, though, that you find yourself in the midst of a full blown incident of some sort. Let’s use as an example one of the classics of paranormal literature, the black eyed kid. There are a number of theories about what these beings are ranging from children playing a hoax to alien hybrids and straight through to vampires. Their pattern is pretty similar, no matter what they are, the BEK (or BEK’s) approaches a person in a car and asks for a ride or knocks on the door of someone’s home and asks to come in.

You are home, alone, of an evening and a knock sounds on the door. You open the door and see a child, usually dressed in a hoodie, nondescript pants and shoes, standing on the doorstep. The child asks to come in to use the phone but something strikes you as “not right” and you hesitate.

Ding . . . spiritual discernment lesson number 1 – always listen to that inner voice. Whether it is the subconscious analyzing the situation and determining that there is danger or your Hidden One yelling at you to look out, if something seems ‘not right’ about a situation, I can assure you this is true. At some point in this scenario, you will realize that this creature has completely black eyes, including the irises. Take a psychological step back from the situation and use all your senses to determine what has cued up your defense systems.

I do mean all your senses, too. Look carefully at what is before you, listen to its voice and any other sounds it makes, scent the air around you and determine if it has a smell. Obviously, you are not going to taste it and I do not recommend touching such a being. Take a deep breath and try to center yourself. If you have a psychic bent, call upon whatever you hold sacred to allow you to see clearly what is before you and why you feel threatened. I recommend, too, invoking (calling into yourself) the Sacred since this provides protection as well as letting spirits know that they have been discovered. Facing off a BEK or other entity can be really scary, let that adrenaline wash through you but don’t let it rule you. Use the fear reaction to clear and sharpen your senses so that you can focus them. Used those focused senses to ‘look over’ whatever it is that is before you.

It is well known in faery and spirit lore that looking straight at a being does not yield the best results. Instead, regard the critter in your peripheral vision and chances are, with your focused senses and the protection of your invocation, you will get an idea of its true form. If this really is not a child playing a trick on you, it will become quite evident at this juncture. Everyone is different so I can not claim that you will get a crystal clear view of being but your perception will be clearer than it would have been if you had not taken steps to clear your sight and you should have a good notion of whether there is really something standing before you or if it is a projection coming from another source.


About stormeye60

A place for discussing the interface between magic and things that go bump in the night. View all posts by stormeye60

2 responses to “Discernment

  • Dan H.

    Reading this, and comparing it to religious practices, I rather think I discern why modern religions don’t really “work”. It helps somewhat if you compare ancient and modern religions to each other.

    Back in the ancient world, very few people interacted with gods to any real extent. The priest went into the holy sanctum, and he (or more rarely she) did the interaction; the congregation worked through the specially-trained and selected priest/magician. This got results, because the god or spirit was approached in the correct, time-honoured manner by someone who knew what they were doing, and what not to say.

    Compare this to modern Christianity. If you think about this, you’re letting most of the congregation try to deal direct with the spirit, and to make matters worse look at the primary symbology of Christianity. They’re using the imagery of their god dying on an Iron Age torture/murder device!

    So, Christians are not using a specialist, and they’re deliberately calling their god’s attention to the one time in his life when he really messed up, the time he got murdered in an appalling manner by the heathens, and the time when he couldn’t do anything about it.

    They’re reminding their god about the one time he would really, desperately like to forget about.

    Would you respond to such a thing? I wouldn’t, and Jesus was human-ish once, so his psychology would be human-ish too, and therefore predictable.
    So much for Christianity, then.

    • stormeye60


      I am approving this comment – with a slight edit for language – even though I have serious issues with several points that you make here:

      a) While it is true that, throughout the pagan world, there were priesthoods that specialized in contact with specific gods, it seems to me that the archaeological evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that common people not only interacted with their gods and spirits regularly but that this was commonplace. From Egypt to Ancient Greece to Northern Europe, we see countless examples of house shrines and devotions of varying sorts to the native gods. In Northern Europe, there were very few specialist priests and most religious devotion was handled within the family.
      b) The correct way to approach a god or spirit is not set in stone. There are time honored parts of a tradition, yes, but the tradition will also evolve according to the instruction and assistance of the contacted beings. For example, animal sacrifice was once far more common than it is now. This fact is a simple matter of the gods/spirits realizing that such sacrifice is really no longer necessary – for a variety of reasons, both theirs and ours.
      c) I would argue that, despite the talk in some sections of Christianity, of having a personal relationship with “God” and “Jesus”, Christians are not, for the most part, encouraged to have a relationship with their deity. Instead this task is normally, passively, left in the hands of the ministers or priests whose job appears to be to direct the services and tell people how to behave. I think that what is lacking from most Christian worship these days (with the possible exception of a well performed Catholic Mass) is the energetic/magical connection to that deity. In one way or the other, most Christian sects seem to have lost the ability or desire to do invocation or evocation and instead rely on emotion to try to fill that gap.
      d) If we follow the Christian perspective, Jesus supposedly made a conscious decision to accept the crucifixion. I am not going to debate that since I am not a Christian. While I agree that the crucifixion was not Jesus’ finest hour, Christians would argue that the crucifixion was necessary so that the glory of the resurrection could take place. Again, something I could never accept but which generations of people have believed. I do not think that we can dismiss this thinking since it has had and continues to have a profound effect on the West.

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