Category Archives: Occult

Opening the Way

Legba

In my last blog, I talked about an episode that occurred back in 2012 when I gave a Fortean researcher some advice on how to open a way for possible manifestation of the Sasquatch phenomenon.  That person, even though they did not follow my instructions specifically, seemed to have some limited success.  I mentioned, too, that if I were giving a researcher such instructions now, I might do things differently.

Orion Foxwood, author of several interesting books on Faerie Seership, Southern Conjure and Traditional Witchcraft, defines spirituality (and I am paraphrasing slightly) as finding your place in the world of the spirits.  I have become more and more animist in my views as I get older; my world, when I pay attention, is a rich melange of spirits, ranging from the dead and ancestors to the spirits of place that might be called faery by some to spirits of animals and other Powers that I have been privileged to meet in my wanderings.

The other day, as I walked my dog on the nature trail behind my apartment, I detected movement and looked up in time to see a raptor unfurl its wings and take flight.  The bird soared from trees some distance from me to land on a bare branch about 20 feet over my head, then sat looking down at me with some interest.  I moved slowly until I was standing directly below this juvenile red tailed hawk and stood for a moment savoring the experience.  As my dog was restless to be on his way and do his business, I could not stay long but, as I walked away, I thanked the hawk for showing himself to me and asked that any lesson he wanted to teach me come to me in an obvious way.  I am still not sure what I was to glean from that meeting but I know from long experience that I will smack myself in the head in the next few weeks and say, “Oh! That is what Hawk was trying to tell me.”

If I were going to instruct that researcher today, my first step before discussing any sort of ritual would be to ask them who the crossroads figure or opener of the way is in their culture or belief.  Whether we are speaking of a being as obvious as Legba Atibon (whose veve is above) in the spiritual practices of Haitian Vodou or Hekate in the work of some pagans or Saint Peter in the beliefs of some Christians (the keeper of the keys to the kingdom and opener of the door to heaven), every culture had gods and spirits that serve to open the way into the spirit world and who must, in some sense, be passed if we are to work there.  So important is this function in Vodou, that no ritual or ceremony can begin without first offering a prayer and perhaps a cigar, rum,coffee or food to “Papa” Legba so that he will open the way to the world of the lwa (spirits).

Going a bit further afield, in spiritualist practice, which focuses heavily on communication with the dead, the medium is trained to contact and work with a spirit guide often known as a gatekeeper.  This guide’s job is to allow solid contacts with spirits that will be helpful the medium and to deflect ‘negative’ spirits away from the medium.  In essence, this being opens a safe path into the spirit world for the practitioner.  In neo-shamanic practice, this place is taken by a power animal who guides the practitioner in his or her journeys and, again, acts to keep the practitioner safe from spirits that might not be wholesome or which they are simply unprepared to deal with.

So, now, before providing any ritual structure, I would want a researcher who was interested in taking the step from observer to practitioner to cultivate a relationship with one of these way opening spirits.  Much would be dependent upon the soul of this new practitioner but I would always counsel them to begin with the spirits that they grew up with unless they (like me) simply could not abide that belief system.  In that case, things become trickier since the person will have to find a way opener that appeals to them and who is willing to work with them.  Just because one thinks that the Dark Rider at the Crossroads of conjure fame is a cool concept does not mean that the Dark Rider is particularly anxious to work with that person.  The person who wants to be a practitioner needs to patiently and respectfully experiment until he or she finds the way opener who will work with them.

The important thing to remember, when looking at any of these way opening spirits, is that your beliefs about them are irrelevant.  Thinking that you are protected because Hekate is simply a part of the collective unconscious is a recipe for having Her demonstrate to you how wrong you are.  Even if you have this belief, it is imperative that you act as if Hekate or whatever being you are trying to work with is a real and separate person and personality existing in a realm other than the one you normally live in.  Then, approach that being with respect (no need to grovel), ask if they would be willing to work with you in your endeavors and ask for a very clear sign of that willingness, one that you can not miss.  I guarantee that if you keep sincerely putting the energy out there, you will find what you are looking for (assuming that you are not a power tripping idiot looking to order spirits around like pawns on a chess board) and the relationship with this way opening spirit will take you to the crossroads where a whole new world will open up for you.

 

 

 


Enoch: A Bigfoot Story

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I really considered giving this blog another title but, in the end, I decided I could not.  This is a post about the book by Autumn Williams and my thoughts on what she and her witness “Mike” had to say but I want to state, up front, that this is not a review.  This book was written back in 2010 so some of the information in it may be outdated but I do not think that what I gleaned from the work will be effected by the age of the book.

First of all, I want to offer belated congratulations to Ms. Williams for what is a very well written first book.  She does an excellent job of blending her internal dialogue and struggle with the stories and opinions that “Mike” is sharing with her and I think that she handles the narrative like a professional journalist.  I had just completed Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air previous to reading Enoch: A Bigfoot Story and I think the two compare favorably.

That is as close to a review as I will get though.  Anyone who has been reading the blog for a while knows that I am of the opinion that Sasquatch is not a native of this particular plane of reality.  Looking back at the archives, there are so many articles with bits and pieces of my thinking on Sasquatch that I can not cite just one that outlines my feelings on the matter.  I think that, given some of the witness reports, at least some of the giant creatures that are being seen out there are more on the paranormal end of the spectrum.  “Flesh and blood” creatures do not disappear in a flash of light when shot at, for example.

Regardless of my opinion though, I read Ms. Williams and Mike’s words with great interest.   It is quite obvious to me that Mike is either the mother of all tale tellers, weaving a story so complex that I, a fiction writer of sizable novels, would need Evernote to keep track of what happened when, or he has had an ongoing set of experiences with something.

Is his interaction necessarily with a giant ape / relict hominid?  No.  I could very easily make the case that Mike has stumbled on or close to a portal to the Otherworld and he is dealing with manifested creatures from that realm.  There is no reason why a Sasquatch in entering our realm could not bat Mike into the swamp and Mike’s behavior : leaving food offerings, being, for the most part, very deferential of Enoch and others of his kind, not overstaying his welcome, developing a loving friendship with the being  and a willingness to go into a really wild place to interact with the being(s) could just as easily describe the life of a Faerie Seer as it could a Sasquatch witness.

Long story short, though, whether he was interacting with a giant ape, a relict hominid or some species from the Other Side, his experiences are valid and instructive.  Ms. Williams’ small appendix at the back of the book giving advice to people who think they might have Sasquatches on their land could be a primer for people seeking to interact with the spirits of their land but that is not really the point I wanted to make in this blog.

I have taken the spirit view of Sasquatch for some time but I have always said, too, that I am willing to be surprised.  What I found most pleasant about this book was the repeated advice from the author to would-be witnesses not to chase these creatures.  I have said on more than one occasion, and Ms. Williams supports this on almost every page of her book, that the person most likely to view a Sasquatch is going to be living like a Sasquatch.  Why do you suppose that hunters seem to see these creatures all the time?  Because witness testimony seems to indicate that the Hairy Ones are hunters.  If I am looking for deer and the Sasquatch is looking for deer then chances of our paths crossing increase exponentially.

Mike, of course, really did create the perfect storm of opportunity to see and interact with one of these creatures.  He basically plopped himself down in a swamp and stayed there for long periods of time, not running around hooting and hollering and banging on trees, but simply living.  As he and Ms. Williams both note, his temperament was such that extended separation from humans did not bother him and it shows in the way that he took himself out to camp and simply stayed.

Once he learned his lesson about technology and the Sasquatch, he also quit trying to film the creature and simply relaxed and enjoyed his company.  I agree with Ms. Williams wholeheartedly that all the tech in the world is not going to ‘prove’ that Sasquatch exists.  Nothing, short of a body is going to ‘prove’ to the scientists and other skeptics that these creatures are real and such a scenario would be a nightmare for the creatures and for the human who brought the creature in (not that I think that a human with a gun could manage it).

In Native cultures, the Hairy One may be scary monsters used to keep children in camp but they may, just as easily, be seen as guardians of the woods.  The First Nations folks see these beings as a separate people, a spiritual people, in much the same way that Europeans, a little more than a century ago, understood the Faery to be a people who lived side by side with them and sometimes interacted with them (and even interbred with them – try that without some sort of physical interface).  In Iceland, to this day, there is tremendous respect for the elves who are believed to live in stones and other natural features of the land.  There is a common theme here; it is a theme of relationship.

As I said earlier, the Celts and other European peoples, not so long ago, behaved toward the “Little People” much the same way that Mike behaved toward Enoch.  They offered food on a regular basis, spoke about them with respect (and obliquely so as not to draw too much attention), interacted with them when given the chance but always kept in mind that these were a strange and powerful people that you did not want to anger.

I have hammered at the idea of respectful interaction with spirits in these pages and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my urgings to the creature known as Sasquatch.  Folks, I do not care whether the Hairy One is a giant ape, a relict hominid, a spiritual creature or some combination of the above or none of the above, interacting with such a being would be a sheer privilege and that privilege should be treated as such and not squandered in the provision of some concept of ‘proof’.

 

 

 


Re-Blog: Tulpas, Thoughtforms and Monsters, Oh My!

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This is a blog that I wrote back in 2013 but, given some of the rumblings about thought forms I have been hearing on-line, I thought this was a good time to re-post it.  

I am an inveterate podcast listener. The job that puts bread on the table can, at times, be very repetitive, requiring little in the way of thought, so I often spice up my day by listening to one or the other of the paranormal podcasts on the Web. The other day I was listening to an interview with the noted paranormal author, Nick Redfern and the discussion turned to the place of tulpas in monster lore. I realized, as I listened to this show, that while I had referred to these beings obliquely in some of my posts, I have not dedicated a post to this subject.

First off, a point of definition. In my view a tulpa and a thought form are the same thing. The only difference is that the term tulpa originates with the Tibetan esoteric tradition while thought form is used in the Western traditions to describe the same process. You will also sometimes see Western magicians refer to a thought form as a servitor. While some people will quibble and say that each of these concepts is a slightly different thing, I am going to throw them all into the hash together and refer to them, from here on out, as thought forms.

So what is a thought form? Pared down to basics, a thought form is a being of desire, visualization and imagination (see Magical Use of Thought Forms: A Proven System of Mental & Spiritual Empowerment by Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki and J.H. Brennan). To create a thought form, the magician pulls an image from his or her inner storehouse of images (imagination), visualizes it powerfully and in Technicolor detail (visualization) and empowers it to perform a certain task or tasks according to his or her desire. Simple enough until one realizes how flabby human visualization skills have gotten since the advent of television and film. The other skill that the magician must master in order to work effectively with thought forms is the skill of placing limits on them and de-constructing them once their purpose is finished.

What can a thought form be used for? Almost anything. As I mentioned, some modern magicians refer to these creations as servitors because that is precisely what they are supposed to do – serve the will of the magician. Thought forms have been used for everything from helping a writer with inspiration for a project (no, I do not use thought forms for this purpose) to providing a soldier with actual physical protection in battle. In general, a thought form is not visible to the majority of people (some psychics can see them) but, if you read enough magical lore, you will find stories of magicians who created thought forms that were not only visible but were able to physically interact with this world. In chapter 3 of the excellent book I mentioned above, one finds the story of a Tibetan lama who, after considerable effort, managed to bring a yidam, a type of meditation deity, into physical manifestation as part of his movement toward enlightenment.

That chapter is instructive not only in telling the reader about the possibilities of thought form creation but also in bringing to the attention the knowledge that the process of thought form creation is not as easy as it sounds. In order to do this type of work, one really has to be able to make an image real in the mind and then be able to infuse it with all the force of desire, directed by magical means so that the being is limited in its scope. This is important since magical lore also tells us that a thought form created without proper limits can take on a sort of life of its own.

One of the best known stories in this regard also comes from Tibet. One of the early theosophists, Alexandra David Neel, journeyed to Tibet and, during her stay there, worked on the creation of a tulpa (thought form) in the image of a short, fat, jolly monk. After several months of meditation and practice, this tulpa manifested and was seen by David Neel and others. David Neel also reported physical contact from this thought form on a number of occasions. Eventually, though, the monk began to take on a darker aspect and David Neel was forced to learn how to take the thought form apart and re-absorb it. I suspect that this had to do with David Neel’s not having a clear desire for the thought form when she created it; the being was an experiment and so did not seem to have a distinct purpose other than to assuage her curiosity.

Now, how does the creation of these magical beings tie into the world of the paranormal? I think that an excellent example might be some of the Manwolf sightings around Native American mounds in the Wisconsin/Michigan area of the United States. Archeologists argue about what purpose the mounds served but they are agreed that these were sites of importance to the indigenous people of that period. I think it is entirely possible that some of the Manwolves reported in those areas are actually thought forms, created by ancient shaman as guardian spirits for the mounds. If such a thought form were created by a group of shaman, given the assignment to guard the mounds indefinitely and then turned loose to do that bidding, there would be no reason for the thought form to dissolve. Over time, it would take on a single minded life of its own and the only thing that would prevent it from doing its job would be a lack of energy. It would have gotten a powerful shot of energy in its creation and would have been “fed” periodically by its creators but when those people died or moved away, the thought form would have languished and dissolved unless it found alternate ways to feed itself – such as scaring the heck out of people and feeding off that energy.

As with all the theories I discuss on this blog, I do not think that thought forms constitute the universal field theory of the paranormal but, given what is known about them, they should certainly enter into the consideration of any paranormal investigator.


Opening to the Paranormal

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Between blog posts and my fiction writing, I have been putting in some hours getting words on the page lately so, when the evening rolls around, I like to watch an hour or so of TV to let my mind unwind.  Of course, some of the things that I watch are back episodes of paranormal shows and, of course again, watching those shows queued me up for yet another blog post.

If you have been following the blog for a while, you will know that I am all for people doing paranormal investigation (and I include things like looking for Sasquatch here) as long as they do it in a safe manner.   Safety starts in the physical world with using your common sense and staying out of crime ridden neighborhoods and old unstable structures, not trespassing, having survival gear packed if you are going into the woods and so on.  I should not even have to mention this but the tragic stories that come out, now and then, about people who are injured or killed because they ignore basic safety precautions encourage me to remind folks to be careful out there.  Chasing ghosts and other things that go bump in the night does not obviate the need to pay attention to what is happening on this level of reality.

Watching these paranormal shows, though, I am struck, over and over, by the need for investigators to follow some basic energetic safety protocols.  I can not count the number of times I heard someone on one of the shows talk about opening themselves up to whatever was going on in the site they were investigating.  As I have pointed out, again and again in these pages, you want to know what you are opening to before you make such an invitation.  It is the height of idiocy to walk into any haunting, especially one that is being presented as hostile and open yourself to whatever presences are there.  Even mediums, who work day in and day out with spirits, know that there are basic protocols to follow when making contact with the Otherworld and that those protocols help to keep them safe.

Safety is not gained by trying out your new Shakti Helmet in the midst of a haunting where  a young girl is being plagued by a being described as a ‘lady vampire’.  While, in actuality, this entity did not turn out to be one of the astral predators that feed on energy, the investigator in this case did not know that at the time that he undertook this experiment.  As I have pointed out on a number of occasions as well, safety is also not gained by going into hauntings with a deliberately provocative and belligerent attitude.  Such behavior may stir up activity and make for good television but there is a reason why magicians have a saying that one should not call up what one can not put back down.

In a very real sense, the paranormal investigators who are walking around, calling out to spirits that are supposed to be in a place are practicing a rough form of evocation that can lead not only to paranormal activity but to attachments and worse.   I am minded of one investigator who stated that he was effected for several days after a particular encounter.  This should not happen; investigators should, at a minimum, have the tools to cleanse themselves energetically after ghost hunting.

Every occultist has favorite techniques for protecting themselves but, if you have no experience in this realm then I encourage you to read Michelle Belanger’s The Ghost Hunter’s Survival Guide: Protection Techniques for Encounters with the Paranormal.  Occultists of all stripes love their ‘tech’ and, reading some of the books out there on psychic protection and/or self defense, you might become convinced that you have to become a practicing witch or ceremonial magician to take care of yourself energetically during a paranormal investigation.  Ms. Belanger approaches psychic hygiene from a non-denominational viewpoint and allows anyone with an open mind to learn how to work with energy and how to use it to protect and cleanse themselves in the ghost hunting milieu.  This is a good book to get the rookie ghost hunter started in protecting themselves and makes a good companion volume for Ms. Belanger’s other book, The Psychic Energy Codex: A Manual for Developing Your Subtle Senses, a book that will get the novice started on developing the sensitivity to know what sorts of energies they are coming into contact with and what level of protection they might need.  Sometimes, with some wrathful entities, it is better to back away and re-group than to stay.

Be aware though that, in my experience, once you have developed some talent for energy work, you begin to ask “well, what else can you do with this stuff” and the next thing you know your bookshelves and Kindle are crowded with books on esoteric subjects.  You have been warned, the rabbit hole awaits!!

 


Otherworld Influence in Crime

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I sometimes think that the Powers that Be place things in my path to write about for this blog.  In the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of reading Audrey Brice’s Outer Darkness, a fictional book that deals with the restless spirit of a suicide victim who influences some unbalanced individuals to try to kill the heroine of the story.  I also happened to listen to the Into the Fray podcast about serial killer John Patrick Addis who, amongst other things, claimed that he sometimes saw small people running about when he was in the woods.  In different ways, both of these pieces of media got me thinking.

How many times, when you have heard of a particularly heinous crime, have you said something along the line of “that person was just nuts” or “he had to be crazy to do that”.  I fully agree that people who do terrible things often suffer from mental illness, if we think about the interesting theory that the brain is a signal receiver for consciousness, and not the source of consciousness, then is it not possible that certain influences can create situations where the brain is receiving information other than what we normally perceive in our consensual reality?

I had a friend, many moons ago, who was an exorcist.  Not the holy water splattering, cross waving type of individual who charges into a bad situation and can make it worse.  No, this person was intimately involved with the spirit world and quite capable of removing the influence of spirits that did not vibrate in harmony with the person they were influencing.  This individual also worked in the mental health field so he understood mental illness.  He told me, on more than one occasion, that he kept ‘demon traps’ (large chunks of specially programed dravite – a brown tourmaline) at the door to his office and that, on many occasions, a very disturbed client would be brought into his office, past the traps and suddenly become much calmer.  He shrugged this off as the client leaving their detritus at the door but I think that he was on to something.

Science has spent a lot of time looking at the neuro-chemical foundations of mental illness and those working in this field have made great strides in discovering what the physical roots of ‘madness’.  Part of the intensity of this quest has been the scientific desire to ‘prove’ that mental illness is simply another physical disease and not, as was thought in more ‘superstitious’ times, the result of interference from spirits of various kinds (depending on the culture we could be discussing the djinn, faery, demons, etc.).  Mental illness can therefore be treated like physical disease, using the pharmaceutical model of changing the body’s chemistry to produce a healing effect.  If, however, we take the position that the brain is a consciousness receiver, a theory that is just as relevant as the idea of brain as consciousness producer, we immediately run into my friend’s assertion that mental illness can be caused and/or exacerbated by spiritual influences.

As with most ideas that I discuss on this blog, I do not think there is any one answer.  Some mental illness is certainly the result of brain chemistry imbalance (perhaps that imbalance impedes the normal reception of consciousness?) and can be treated by careful alteration of the chemical balance in the brain to a more ‘normal’ level.  Some mental illness, such as forms of schizophrenia, may be caused by the brain’s inability to filter out the myriad sense perceptions that we normally screen to prevent ourselves from being overloaded with input on a moment to moment basis.  Interestingly, some of the input that is screened out may be psychic perception so, in some cases, the mentally imbalanced person may be perceiving things outside the realm of ‘normal’ consciousness, thus adding to the notion that they are out of touch with ‘reality’.

Finally, though, we have to consider that some forms of mental illness may be caused by spirit influence, in other words, contact with the spirit may cause the imbalance, or the brain chemistry may already be off and the contact may be exacerbate the issue.  We know that an untrained medium basically sends forth a beacon on the astral that attracts spirits and one of the medium’s tasks in life is to learn how to deal with the extra input, screen out ‘undesirables’ and organize the spiritual input in a way that they can deal with.  What if certain brain chemistry imbalances draw in beings that have no care for the best interests of humans?  I do not think it is a long step to theorize that some of the particularly heinous crimes we read about could come about as a dual process of mental illness and the influence of disharmonic entities, working in synergistic effect.


Why Do We Need A Sasquatch?

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I’ve noted previously that I listen to a podcast hosted by Shannon LeGro, Ryan Sprague and Sam Shearon called Into the Fray.  The linked episode is the St. Patrick’s day edition of the podcast and features an appearance by well known podcaster Micah Hanks of The Gralien Report.  The show ranges widely over a number of topics and is well worth a listen.

I was intrigued, however, by a question that Micah Hanks brought up during the course of the discussion.  He asked, setting aside the ‘reality’ of Sasquatch and the hunt for evidence, even supposing that there was no actual physical creature that we could point to and call a Sasquatch, why is it that human beings have had some version of this creature in their folklore for literal centuries?  I think that is quite a good question and it got me to thinking.

As with all good questions, this one does not have a single answer so follow along as I jump down this rabbit hole for a moment.

I think that Mr. Shearon has a valid point.  Since the human being became more ‘civilized’ and spent less time being afraid of being eaten in the night, it seems that our species of hominid has delighted in scaring itself.  From the ancient ‘fairy’ tales and ghost stories to big budget, epic scare-fests like Jurassic World, we seem to delight in scaring the beejesus out of ourselves and those around us.  What better way to spice up a trip into the woods than inventing a creature that moves through the forest like a giant wraith and might just snatch you when you are not looking?

In relation to the idea that we like scaring ourselves, that fear can also serve a useful purpose as Sasquatch makes a terrific booger man.  In cultures where human children do not spend all their time indoors, glued to video games or cell phones, stories often arise that are designed to prevent kids from wandering too far from home or going into certain areas.  I suspect that Sasquatch, along with a host of other creatures serves this purpose in some societies.

I think that another factor that springs up, also related to fear, is the fact that the wilderness, particularly at night, can be a scary place.  Even if there are no giant bipedal apes running about, there are still plenty of sounds and movements in the bush that get our attention and make our imaginations run wild.  While our logical mind seeks an explanation for what we are sensing and for the creepy feeling of being watched that humans sometimes get, our story telling brain cannot help but invent monsters like the Sasquatch to fill the dark corners of our mind.   Again, we circle back to the fact that we love to scare ourselves.

I think, too, especially amongst modern victims of the ‘we now know almost everything there is to know’ scientific establishment, there is a need for mystery, a driving need to have something that can not be easily explained, dissected, put in a box with a custom label, archived and forgotten about.  I think that there is a strong desire, despite our apparent worship of science and technology, to thumb our noses at the establishment and what better way to do that then by believing in and developing lore about a creature that so-called science dismisses outright and with extreme prejudice?

Related to this idea, is the thought that, humans are explorers by nature.  I see no reason why the species would have spread as it has if we did not have some instinctual chip in our heads that made us constantly ask, “I wonder what is over that hill?”.   Linked to this desire to explore is a curiosity that makes us want to see what actually lives in the deep ocean and possibly even the vast reaches of space.  Why would we be excited about going to Mars or some other planet unless we truly are a curious and exploratory organism?  Unless we have been paralyzed by the instinct squelching ‘publish or perish’ atmosphere of academia, humans have displayed a talent for contriving reasons to go ‘over there’ and one of the reasons we see more and more today is the search for Sasquatch.

In short, I feel that there are numerous reasons why Sasquatch is found in human lore.  The Hairy Man represents something visceral and real to us.  In my own view, it is a representative of the very spirit of the forest and this is why, if there were no such creature and even if there were no such legend, I believe that people would have invented it.


Protection Dogs of Another Sort

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Here is a picture of the newest addition to my family.  As of this writing, we have not decided on a name yet but he came from rescue called Nato so that is what we are using for now.  He was a stray, found and dropped at a high kill shelter with an embedded harness requiring surgery.  The outlook was pretty bleak for him until a local rescue organization picked him up, got a vet to treat him and then put him up for adoption.

This is one of my personal crusades.  Although I love pure-bred dogs like Golden Retrievers and Irish Wolfhounds, there are so many dogs of mixed heritage that need homes that I can not, in good conscience, do anything but rescue when I need a canine companion.

My last dog, who passed over in December, was a rescue from the pound local to us at the time.  She was a Border Collie mix who went on to work search and rescue and to be a faithful companion for thirteen years.  We knew we could never replace her but we also knew that we missed having dog energy around so, after giving ourselves a little time to mourn, we started checking Petfinder and found this little fellow.

Now, here is the interesting part for all you magical / Fortean / paranormal folks out there.  Nato had not been in my apartment more than a couple of hours before he stopped playing (he is very much a prey/play driven pup), sat down and stared at the space around my protection altar, cocking his head and very cutely letting me know that he could see and/or hear the house protector spirits.  I politely asked my spirit guardians and ancestors to accept him into the family and he went about his merry way.

It seems to me that I once saw a ghost hunting team on TV using a dog as a detection device.  There is something to be said for this idea.  Dogs have a long history in the lore of strong association with the dead and liminal places.  Dogs also have senses that detect things in ranges we could not even imagine, both visually, aurally and olfactorily.  There is a reason that police officers and special forces personnel use dogs as part of their arsenal; dogs can detect danger much earlier than a human and, if properly trained, will alert to it and even go after the source.

In much the same manner, most books on psychic and magical protection will tell you to watch animals in the house, particularly dogs and cats, for unusual behavior if you suspect the presence of unwelcome spirits or magical energies.  In my own experience, this usually entails repeatedly going back to a particular spot, staring, ear twitching, abnormal aggressive behavior such as growling or teeth baring or abnormal fright behavior such as tail tucking, ear lowering and crouching.

If your normally confident and outgoing dog, stands and stares at a spot in your house (or elsewhere), suddenly drops his tail and ears and slinks away or begins barking and showing teeth for no apparent reason then you might have a spirit incursion or strong concentration of negative energies that needs to be sorted out.  Remember to be sensible and check for mundane reasons for the behavior (you might simply have mice in the walls) but, if you can find no logical reason why this behavior happened and, especially, if it continues, then you might want to seek professional help or at least take up a regular banishing practice until it resolves.

While I never encourage people to ‘freak out’ about spirits and magic, acknowledging that most things can be banished by laughter, I also strongly encourage people not to ignore these things and hope that they go away.  Many haunting and curse stories start with an pet being unaccountably upset and then progressing to manifestations that the humans sense.  View your animals and particularly your ever-faithful dogs as a valuable early warning system in times of psychic trouble just as you count on them to alert you should someone burgle your home.