Dangers of Questing

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    This was something that (I think) Mad Dan raised in relation to the Green Stone and the general reaction was that Questing was essentially harmless so long as it wasn’t Black Questing.

    I disagreed at the time and it’s something that I’d like to revisit.

    Again on the most general level, if we are somehow digging into our own unconscious we risk any number of psychological difficulties and actually confronting some of the archetypal images can sear us like Icarus flying too close to the sun.

    However, on a more specific level, I believe that you can also run the risk of “attracting dark powers”. Now this is not just a knee-jerk conservative attitude to all things “occult”, I really do believe that engaging in this type of activity does carry risks.

    Daniel Pinchbeck in his 2004 Burning Man lecture eloquently describes how, after taking the drug DPT, he believed he unleashed a demonic force from within himself. In a short space of time thereafter people he knew started dying around him and his unborn daughter was found to be handicapped. He ultimately performed a reverse exorcism where he re-integrated the demonic force (sucked it back inside himself) and everything was fine thereafter.

    It is this kind of naive “tresspass” or “unleashing” that I’m talking about. Graham Phillips, I seem to recall, had something similar happen in the Green Stone/Eye of Fire quest where one of the gang thought that they were going to die unless something was done quickly.

    So two questions: (1) Does anybody else agree that there are dangers or am I being alarmist? And (2) if there are dangers what are the basic precautions that should be taken to avoid them?




    I can’t remember what (if anything) I contributed to the earlier debate, so if I contradict myself then I’ve changed my mind or dabbling has made me crackers (or both).

    My more fundamentalist co-religionists point to those who have had bad experiences and say that it’s proof that such things are ‘of the devil’. Some mystics warn that the dangers are more subtle, that engaging with otherworldly things are a diversion from the ultimate goal of divine union.

    I agree that there are potential risks to engaging with the things behind the surface of ourselves and the world around us. But you have to remember that there are potential risks to engaging with the surface itself. This world can be an ambiguous place, and it appears to me that the otherworld isn’t much different. I would guess that just as some people lead a charmed life while others run into all the crap, some never encounter any trouble on a psychic level while others do. But to avoid engaging with the otherworld altogether would be the psychic equivalent of not going out of your house in case you get run down, catch a disease, attract a psycho, or because nipping down to the shops is taking you away from your meditation.

    So that’s my reponse to (1). As far as basic precautions go, wasn’t there a discussion on this a while back? Do you need to use protection such as the kabbalistic cross, cone o’ power, magic circles, etc, and does it do any good? And if it does do any good, can you still get unlucky? And if you do get unlucky, what can you do about it? As you can see, I’m not attempting that one!

    My best to you all,



    I agree with all of Michael’s sentiments.

    Just to be Devil’s advocate here though,

    ultimate goal of divine union.

    Who say’s that the ultimate goal is ‘divine union’, and on what authority do they make this claim… its not an ‘end result’ that I personally find desirable.

    The desire for ‘divine union’ firstly is an ego-centred need, as such is self interested and therein lies the fault… keep falling down that sphere of Daath and start all over again!

    I used to be Kabbalistic; was a student of the International Order of Kabbalists before James Sturzaker died; but these days I find the simplicity of Taoist philosophy much more real and useful… Everything is ‘unfolding’, life and the universe, outwardly expanding… the return to the divine source (for what purpose?) seems stagnant to me… To be in the presence of the glory of God forever, and do what other than just ‘be’… I have no desire for this ‘ultimate’ result… does that then make me evil?

    What is evil?

    Simon started this thread with a question of the dangers of questing. The world is dangerous full stop. That we stand on the threshold of the paranormal; we can have our eyes open as opposed to the great majority of the ‘stagnant asleep’ who work all week to pay their bills and keep their minds closed in denial of any otherworld, by escaping into tv soap operas or getting drunk throughout the weekend. If I had to point my finger at ‘evil’ I’d say that deliberate, state encouraged spiritual apathy was ‘evil’.

    A fire can keep you warm, and keep the feral creatures at a safe distance from your children, but get too close to the flames and you’ll burn; people have been destroyed by fire… fire isnt evil… to me the otherworld is the same… enjoy its warmth, be inspired by it, but keep a safe distance also, treat it and yourself respectfully. Be foolish and you’ll get burnt…

    Rights and wrongs, good and bad, only you can decide… I believe alchahol abuse and drug abuse, and spiritual (Cult type) brain washing causes more ‘possession’ than ‘dabbling’ with the otherworld.


    I half want to defend my comments and say that I was contrasting two ‘negative’ approaches to the otherworld, one which regards it as evil and the other as merely a distraction. And I did say ‘some’ mystics. However, I did make something of a generalisation there; divine union is just a single experience on a spectrum of ‘mystical’ experiences, and a single goal among many. My wrists have been rightfully slapped. Ow.

    Re divine union

    I have no desire for this ‘ultimate’ result… does that then make me evil?

    Well Yuri, yup, I guess it does :wink: Just kidding! To label someone as evil because you disagree with them is an evil.

    There are any number of views on (1) what is meant by divine, and (2) what is meant by union. I’ll leave (1), because it would be wildly off-topic and because I go with the apophatic school that says that the divine is ultimately beyond description and understanding. As far as (2) goes, union doesn’t necessarily have to be absorbtion, or ‘hanging around’. I don’t know what the International Order of Kabbalists teach, but there isn’t a single Kabbalistic idea either. The way I see it (and my views are subject to change, so don’t hold me to this forever), divine union is already an ontological reality. All things subsist in the divine, they wouldn’t exist if they did not, and are a manifesting or unfolding of the divine (though there might be some flaws). So, to me, divine union is more the conscious realisation of this – not in the sense of cognizing it as a ‘fact’, but in the sense of truly knowing it in one’s entire being: the kingdom of God is within and among you. The desire for that is indeed an ego-trip; like the Buddhists say (or some Buddhists), the desire for enlightenment is itself attachment and needs to be put aside. It is a goal that is to be sought but not desired. Now, I’ve not achieved this, so I could be completely wrong about it all. But I trust that the divine, or the universe, or whatever, doesn’t mind (or care) if I have the wrong idea about things.

    The question of what is evil seems relevent to the thread, seeing that so many of my dear brethren and sistren would see my interest in what the Mrs calls ‘my dodginess’ as putting my hapless soul in eternal peril. It is a hard question though, it is so easy to be glib about evil and try and make it something that’s not really all that bad. I agree with Yuri though, I think state-sponsored spiritual apathy qualifies, along with all that corporate advertising that wants us all to be little more than ‘consumers’. At least part of the problem is un-consciousness, so opening up to the realities hidden in the otherworld can only be a good thing.

    I find this sort of stuff really interesting, but I’m starting to go off-topic again. Granted that there are dangers, as there are in all life, is there anything we can or should do to protect ourselves against some of them? I like Yuri’s advise:

    enjoy its warmth, be inspired by it, but keep a safe distance also, treat it and yourself respectfully. Be foolish and you’ll get burnt

    However, when it comes to otherworld are we like children? It can be a familiar environment but also unfamiliar, and do we always know what is dangerous and what isn’t? Perhaps we just have to learn through experience, but what can we do if we do get badly burned?


    I have no desire for this ‘ultimate’ result… does that then make me evil?

    Well Yuri, yup, I guess it does Just kidding! To label someone as evil because you disagree with them is an evil.

    Lol; we’re both evil then! Great company… go find some goats and I’ll light the bonfire :twisted:

    Second thoughts, I’m a veggie, so best make then quorn goats!

    I reacted the way I did (above) because I met a fundamentalist once whose soul desire was to live in the presence of god, in attendance, forever… this struck me as insanely stagnant.

    I do believe in pursuing a ‘one-ness’ with all things… is this ‘divine union’? maybe?… but to achieve this I’m not even sure if you need to be ‘divine’; I think its just a matter of trying to reach affinity and empathy with, to ‘feel’ all things. Yes, the problem or the ‘evil’ is,

    the problem is un-consciousness

    I think awareness and learning to feel, is the way away from this, the ‘wakening’ so-to-speak. As for getting burnt a little by the Otherworld; I’m all for it really; you’ve hardly had a great ramble in the countryside if you havent been scratched by twigs and stung by nettles a little; just dont go falling off any cliffs!


    Every Ying has its Yang I guess, maybe this is unavoidable and this otherworldly contact will have us get stung along the way! Although these negative aspects seem to confirm that what we are doing is having a very ‘real’ affect on the world around us.

    How do you know when the cut off point is, if what you are doing attracts bad luck etc? Maybe this means you are on the right track and the proof is with these opposing forces working against you. Should you fight back, or give in and let the quest fail?

    Is this simply a test as part of a quest, to see if we have the dedication to continue!? Perhaps it is a process all questors must undertake and important lessons can be learnt. We can only teach ourselves as part of the process, hopefully becoming stronger and more resistant to evil/wrong/bad influences as a result.

    Again reflecting what others have said I would agree that it is wrong to ignore all these influences and purely judge them as evil/wrong, but keeping things safe and at a distance may not be that controllable!


    Yuri, I’m veggie as well so quorn goats will be just dandy; Beltane’s comin’ up, it’s time to keep your appointment with the Wicker Man.

    G, I like your point – if something bad starts happening, at least you know what you’re doing has some sort of reality. Reminds me of an anecdote I’ve heard about Crowley, saying that it’s quite something to be knocked over by a demon whose existence you had doubted only minutes earlier :D

    As for knowing when enough is enough, I guess that would depend on how bad things were getting and how much of a masochist you are.

    We seem to have been discussing dangers in terms of bad things that can happen (madness, illness, injury, death, Dan’s time-travelling satanic dentists, etc). I’ve been wondering about more subtle dangers, if danger is the right term. If you seem to be in contact with entities, or are being led to this, that and the other, is it possible you’re just being spun a yarn and used as a plaything by denizens of the otherworld? Makes me think a bit of AC’s ‘Morphians’. Are they guiding us, or just mucking about? Anyone ever felt like they were being led a merry dance?



    Me again – I had other things to do for a while. this is interesting – it ties in with what I was getting at earlier. Here we’ve got somebody taking powerful mind-altering drugs and, as a result, becoming convinced that he is under attack from demons which he blames for everything wrong with his life, including a kind of “spiritual radioactivity” which causes major health problems for those around him. By what stretch of the imagination, exactly, does this constitute a “danger of psychic questing”? Sounds more like a “danger of taking psychoactive drugs” to me! The point is the same whether or not these alleged demons actually existed – it seems the fellow didn’t take the drug with the intention of a friendly wrestling-match with astral entities which got a bit out of hand, he just took it, and bang! – demons!

    Similarly, the whole “crossing the road is dangerous but does that mean we have to stay indoors for the rest of our lives?” argument is totally useless. Crossing the road is a necessary risk which is very small indeed unless you’re very careless, and unavoidable unless you’re going to live a hopelessly constricted existence – I’m reminded of the Ancient Egyptian proverb about a rich man who, informed by astrologers that a terrible danger awaited him on a particular day, had a completely empty room with thick stone walls built, into which, on the appointed day, his servants sealed him so that nothing could possibly get to him. The next day they unsealed the room, to discover that he’d suffocated…

    I think a more useful question would be to first bear in mind that walking around Baghdad with a rifle and a British Army uniform right now is an incredibly dangerous activity, but not one which anybody is obliged to do, unless they voluntarily joined the army, knowing full well that if there was a war, they might have to go somewhere and risk being shot at and killed. Is psychic questing dangerous like being a soldier in Iraq, or is it dangerous like crossing the road?

    Returning to my unfortunate old buddy – apparently I have an overly narrow definition of just about everything! COME ON, Simon! If somebody told you that he was being persecuted by Winnie the Pooh, who followed him everywhere waving a machine-gun and muttering threats and obsenities, but always hid behind lamp-posts whenever anybody else was looking, would you, for even one second, assume that this was literally true? Especially if you knew already that this guy had taken extremely large amounts of acid in the sixties, and since then he’d been in the habit of running out of the room during horror films in case ghosties came out of the telly and got him? There comes a point where you have to admit that the poor bloke is a few hags short of a coven! Unless you’re suggesting that there’s no such thing as mental illness, and anybody allegedly suffering from it will be right as rain after a good exorcism…

    That’s the trouble with definitions – in this lark, there don’t seem to be any! I’ve occasionally wondered why there was never a “How To Go Psychic Questing” handbook, but I used to think that the reason was that the method was made very clear in Andy C’s books. Obviously this is not so. Although Andy needs the assistance of people with massively-above-average psychic talents, this isn’t necessary after all; I can become “psychic” myself just by deciding that I want to be, and absolutely everything I do apparently counts as a “quest” just because I say so. Andy didn’t always get the results he’d hoped for, but there was generally some sort of pretty dramatic and frequently tangible outcome to his quests, which I’d kind of assumed was necessary at least some of the time to show he was on the right track – apparently not.

    I’d also assumed that there was some element of Destiny, or being chosen, since rather a lot of important-sounding discarnate entities involved in the process. Apparently not – I can just make one up, assume it’s telling me how to do a psychic quest, and then do whatever I fancy for a bit, so long as I can kid myself it has some symbolic meaning; and it seems that there’s absolutely no way of telling whether or not I’ve actually achieved anything, other than my own personal feelings on the matter…

    Do I take it that absolutely everything said by anyone under any circumstances whatsoever is quite likely to be true, so long as they genuinely think that it might be? Do I therefore take it that, because the number of people on this planet who sincerely believe that an entity called God who created the Universe told them that dabbling in the occult is evil vastly outnumber the people who honestly think that that well-known selfless altruist Aleister Crowley came back from the dead to tell Andrew Collins where to find the Holy Grail, they’re right, you’re wrong, and everybody on this website is destined to burn in Hell for all eternity? Or is the yardstick of whether a belief-system is in any sense valid purely whether you, personally, right now, want it to be so?



    Hi Mad Dan and welcome back.

    Plenty to discuss.

    “By what stretch of the imagination, exactly, does this constitute a “danger of psychic questing”? Sounds more like a “danger of taking psychoactive drugs” to me!”

    I think that both Psychic Questing and psychoactive drugs can take you to the same place. Note that “psyche” is the root of both terms. I have little experience with drugs but (as I think I posted elsewhere) I did once have a very scary experience where one member of the party apparently got possessed and then straight afterwards I felt that “evil entities” were pulling my etheric(?) self out of my body. The first half of this was triggered by a guided meditation/past life regression (absolutely no drugs were involved not even alcohol), the second which came maybe thirty minutes later happened after smoking a joint which may or may not have been dipped in something stronger. Two paths, the same destination.

    I accept that the immediate threat to one’s sanity is greater with drugs but for that very reason I think that a knowledge of their effects can help should you should stray into the same territory on a quest.

    As far as demons go, if you consider them to be flesh and blood creatures living permanently in our world then clearly I would be very sceptical. However, if you put it that they exist in other “dimensions” (for want of a better word) and if we find ourselves in those dimensions (or bring them into ours) then we are susceptible to attack from them, then I am less sceptical. If you further put it that through psyche-intensive activity of whatever sort (dreams, divination, active imagination, magickal rituals, psychic intuition) you can unleash unhealthy energies which can have a detrimental impact on either ourselves or those around us then call me a believer.

    My starting point on all of this was that, in another thread, it was suggested by many posters that you could blithely quest all you wanted without danger and I felt that this was perhaps missing the darker aspects to it all and that, particularly, if novice questers were reading this they should be alerted to the fact that there are real risks associated with it. My question was whether these risks can be mitigated (because I do want to cross the road and I guess others do too). Obviously you can never make anything 100% safe (like your story of the entombed rich man) but I wondered if there are “tricks for younger players” which might protect them from some of the worst pitfalls?

    My starter for 10 (from the personal experience mentioned above) would be: unless you really, really know what you are doing, don’t mix questing and psychoactive drugs. Anyone got any others?

    As to your other points: re the fried buddy. I do have some experince with schizophrenia and everything I know about it makes me feel hugely sorry for the person suffering. Do I take what they say as literally true? Probably not. However, in their predicament might they “tune into” some worthwhile information (be it symbolic or mystical) that isn’t available to ordinary consciousness? I think yes. Jung also took their hallucinations seriously and Terence McKenna (whose brother I believe suffered from it) considered it a process which was actually helping the self reach a better state of being and which should be left alone as much as was possible.

    This merges into your last point which I think relates back to my theory of ambiguity. I’m not proposing a completely relativistic universe. I do believe that there is some kind of material reality out there which we can all see and touch. But the laws of Quantum Physics tell us that when it’s not being observed a wavicle exists as a smear of probabilities – only when we observe it do we force it to collapse into a particular location. Amit Goswami describes it as follows: “Suppose we ask. Is the moon there when we are not looking at it? To the extent that the moon is ultimately a quantum object (being composed entirely of quantum objects), we must say no…When we are not looking, the moon’s possibility wave spreads albeit by a miniscule amount.”

    My take on this is that, when observed, the object must collapse into a particular position/state but what if we muddied the observation (introduce ambiguity)? Could we (a) collapse the object into a novel state, one which although not impossible was not heretofore likely; and leading on from this (b) like nudging a pinball table to get the ball to bounce a little more in your favour, can we influence which state the object will fall into? If yes to either of the above then we are entering a very interesting world indeed. And the nature of psychic questing makes it more likely that such effects will be seen in this area then in many others.

    So that’s all clear then? :wink:


    Some simple experience.

    I have been to many dark places, with the potential of either being haunted or where there may be bad spirits (demons, if you like)… from old buildings to wierd primordial landscapes off the beaten track, Western Isles of Scotland, Inner Wales, Bodmin Moor are favourites. I’ve never encountered anything I would call ‘evil’ or ‘demonic’… I have encountered things that have frightened me or have felt hostile to my presence there, and so I have quickly left.

    Once, many years ago in Cornwall, one night; I was sitting in the living room up late. All of a sudden (and I hadnt been thinking anything negative) I suddenly felt a strong feeling that something horrible and aggressive was in the room with me… it was so instant and I reacted almost ‘out of time’ I found myself sitting on the floor and my memory fixed upon a statue of the archangel michael that I had seen on Coventry Cathedral, a dynamic pose with his arms outstretched… I mimicked this posture. sitting on the floor with my arms outstretched and somehow embodied Michael (I’m not a Christian, this was just an instant automatic pilot condition of ‘good verses evil’… something was around me, something protective and defiant and I felt the bad energy leave my home.

    I often think about that, what happened?

    I just went into ‘auto’ had no rehearsed protection or talisman or incantation but just ad-libbed and my mind picked heroic Michael.

    What if I had been ‘under the wheather’ or psychically unbalanced, or pickled on drugs… would I of been able to protect myself?

    I’m still not sure if I belive in ‘evil’ as a force in its own right, but I think that there are hostile spirits; but that they are farely rare… hopefully.

    sitting on the floor with my arms outstretched and somehow embodied Michael

    I think you might have hit the nail on the head re the question “What can you do to ‘protect’ yourself?” From my own ritual experiences I would say that what is trying to be achieved in ritual is an identification with archetypes, energies, whatever – embodying those things if you like. Perhaps possession is mostly an unfortunate case of embodying negative forces, which isn’t to say that actual entities may be able to use people in this state (as ‘lighter’ entities may be able to operate through people embodying more positive qualities). You don’t need rituals to do this; they are mostly tools to tune the consciousness, and I happen to enjoy them, but a positive attitude probably does the trick most of the time.



    Hi all

    The reintegratin of the ‘entitiy’ back into this man’s body sounds very much like to me a passage in Dion Fortune’s ‘Psychic Self-Defence’ when, lying on a bed brooding about a female friend who had done her wrong, she ‘accidently’ expelled a wolf/man type figure. in the book she says that she had accidentally stumbled on a method of producing though forms. the wolf then proceeded to haunt the petrified household for a day until Dion successfully reintegrated vack into herself.

    As I seem to recall she was no worse for the affair but did them have a healthy resepct for her thoughts.

    Just my 2p!


    surely this is a case of doing your home work , you would nt jump into the lake with out having learnt to swim if you didnt know how deep the waters where .so why take on the spirit world ( bad choice of phrase) with out learning your protections . We had a serious run in with a Black covon operating out of Lincolnshire and we encountered two incidents which were definantly wrong , Fortunatly in the first instance we had placed our protections around the house and although a very impressive spell definantly “landed”, it hit the wrong person and to spare the lady`s blushes we will leave that one alone .On the second occaision we were just returning home having completed a series of rituals which were the culmination of three years work when our car was written off literally on our door step by a little old guy in a ten year old BMW which was his pride and joy ,who had for some reason overtaken four cars and a 30 ton artic lorry on a series of blind bends and who immediatly put his hands up to the police as he sat on the kerb shaking with the immortal words of “” it was my fault ,I dont know why I did it, i never drive like that “. The funny thing was that at the very last moment we had decided to conduct the rituals the day before we had originally planned to , had we stuck to our original plan that car would have hit us head on ! Both of these attacks though were organised on the human plane .
    Looking back to the Seventh sword ,green stone ,eye of fire etc the only occaisions when Andy and Graham end up in trouble is when they blindly walk into situations or get the protection wrong, Andy got his protective circle wrong at St Bennets abbey and his psychic nearly paid the price , Graham and his Party never even attempted any form of protectection when trying to find the Rampton Bell untill it was too late .
    To be honest it has always amazed me just how little protection Graham and Andy and the rest actually use .
    If your intentions are pure the Gods will normally protect you ,but remember the gods help those who help them selves.

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