Before he locked himself away on his marathon writing session, Andrew Collins very kindly agreed to answer a number of questions that we put to him regarding psychic questing. We are extremely grateful to Andrew for taking time out to do this and we were also fortunate that Richard Ward happened to be present as Andrew was answering the questions. What follows is an extremely interesting, detailed and, I hope, up-to-the-minute account of Andrew and Richard’s thoughts on psychic questing and their own questing activities.Click on Read More… below to go straight to the interview.
AC: Andrew Collins
RW: Richard Ward
PQ: All of us get funny dreams, experience strange coincidences and possibly get given certain information from unusual sources. However, we rarely put in the effort to take this any further. How do you know when to make the jump to a full-on structured quest?
PQ: All of us get funny dreams, experience strange coincidences and possibly get given certain information from unusual sources. However, we rarely put in the effort to take this any further. How do you know when to make the jump to a full-on structured quest?
AC: I think that from my point of view, it’s probably having worked around psychics for the last 25 years that’s actually educated me into recognising what might be called “psychic prompts” – that is picking up on material in dreams or within meditation or synchronicities or whatever. With practice you begin to realise that all of these things can point you in a certain direction.
RW: What you’re saying is “It’s experience that tells”.
AC: Yes, That’s it. However, you always have to be looking out for it and I think that most people have a closed mind when it comes to making anything of their dreams (let me just use that example) and it’s a case of trying to re-educate yourself to keep your mind open. I think that there is probably some psychic content appearing in our dreams all the time but people just miss it. With synchronicities, some things just keep cropping up on a particular day and you think “I’ve gotta go for this”. The motto of psychic questing is “Go with the flow”, and you just have to learn to act whenever something prompts you.
PQ: And if people do want to act on something, what advice would you give to help them start a structured quest themselves?
AC: Well, ideally they would go to psychic questing classes but unfortunately there aren’t any at the moment. Hopefully, one day, I can do a psychic questing workshop where I can actually take people through everything they need to know, from the use of meditation to the interpretation of dreams for psychic questing – things like that. This is the sort of thing that I’ve done in America, but I’ve not done it over here. It’s something which does require proper planning and which needs to be done right, particularly in London where the costs are quite high. But it is worth thinking about.
PQ: What resources, books, conferences, etc., would you recommend to people who are interested in getting more actively involved in psychic questing?
AC: Obviously The Black Alchemist, The Seventh Sword, The Second Coming, Twenty-First Century Grail as well as Graham’s books The Green Stone, The Eye of Fire and obviously any material that supports this idea. Most important of all is The Hidden Teachings of Tibet by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche, which is a bible of the Tibetan terma tradition. Activities, which we would now call psychic questing, took place for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in Tibet. It was specifically part of the Dzogchen teaching passed on orally and still practiced today and is mostly found within the Nyingma-pa, ‘red hat’ schools.
And it’s essential that people know that psychic questing is not something that’s a modern invention – that it’s been going on in the West from at least the classical Greek and Roman eras. This tradition then carried through to early Christian saints and Holy Men who had dreams and visions to go and find either the bones of saints or holy relics. The Christian holy man Peter Bartholomew during the first crusade was led through dreams of the saints to retrieve what he believed, and others too believed, was the Holy Lance that pierced Christ’s side. This was found following the siege of Antioch in 1099 and involved the top figures that were taking part in the Crusade at the time.
Joan of Arc, of course, is another example. She was led by visions of saints – particularly of St Catherine – to retrieve a sword which was found beneath a chapel altaroly men who had dremas and visions at a place called Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois somewhere in France. The sword was believed to belong to Charles Martel and he was the folk hero who saved France from the invasion of the Moors in the 8th Century.
You also had Joseph Smith the founder of Mormonism. Loads of material exists to show that he was following dreams and visions in which he saw Native American Indians who would lead him to certain mounds that produced artefacts – he knew he was going to find things. Indeed this caused the beginning of Mormonism itself, because in 1827, guided by psychic means, he claimed to have found a set of gold tablets inside an Indian mound and it was these tablets that comprised the Book of Mormon which became the foundation of the Mormon religion.
RW: The only other one I’d probably add is Hamlin Garland’s Mystery of the Buried Crosses which had psychics being taken out into the landscape and working with researchers to track down hidden artefacts supposedly left by certain Indian tribes in California. The book came out in the 30s or 40s I think it was – quite early . Also the other one is Jeffrey Goodman’s Psychic Archaeology  which again is exactly what it says – people using psychic means to retrieve artefacts.
AC: There’s a chapter on people and psychics; objects actually being sealed and psychics seeing whether they’re able to find them. And then obviously you need books on the very basics of magic and occultism and meditation. Things like Dion Fortune’s Psychic Self-Defence  or Practical Techniques of Psychic Self-Defense  by Murry Hope are perfect for starting off.
There are other modern questing books, for instance Bega and the Sacred Ring by Alex Langstone , The Sun and the Moon: The Hill and the Well done by some people who we knew up in the Midlands, it was a Research Centre for psychic questing [Michael Alan Smith, 1997].
PQ: I’ve used the word “structured” twice now to try and suggest the purposeful following of a trail as opposed to ad hoc synchronicities that we experience without taking further, but is there really a consistent structure to a quest? If so, can you elaborate on this structure?
AC: That’s an interesting one and again you [Richard] can probably add to it. You need what we call a “cue” or psychic clue and that will come through a dream or vision. The way to take that forward is this: firstly you’ve got to record these and to do this it’s essential to keep a magical diary – every weird and wonderful thing that happens to you, try and record it down. It doesn’t have to be in huge detail – just enough because there’s no question that in a few month’s or a year’s time, something will happen and you’ll think: “I had a dream about that!” and then you’ll be able to go back and consult your diary and it will all make sense. After that, you really need to share it with whoever you’re working with and throw it into the mix and just say, “Look, I had this weird dream the other night about, say, a strange castle. There was some sort of figure there. I think he was beckoning me. I think that it’s trying to suggest that we go there.” What do you do? Well, clearly, if it’s local, there’s no reason not to visit it and just see what happens. Just do it on a social level then take it from there. Or try a meditation when you actually get there. When it’s a long way away, then you’d have to think a little bit more carefully about plans. Especially if somebody has a dream about something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to clear off to the other side of the country – or further!
You just have to see if it develops. If something’s trying to get through, it will repeat. It will keep coming back and it will be fully clear and other people will also get signs relating to it as well. So before I go any further are there any things that you, Richard, would like to add?
RW: Could I just say that if it’s somewhere that you’ve managed to check out and establish is a real place, then obviously the best thing is if you and your mates get together and do some kind of remote viewing meditations using some sort of cues to enhance your state of mind and visualise the places you’ve had in your dreams.
AC: That will produce hopefully more material and will begin to allow you to understand why you might be picking up on it. Ask yourself, “Why am I picking up that?” To start off with, it may be that there’s an artefact there, although it may be simpler than that. It may be you feel that if you go there, something will happen, that you will be given information which will be important to you – perhaps to do with a bigger research project, psychic quest, whatever.
We feel that we need to do certain things and sometimes in a certain order. It’s almost like punching the right co-ordinates into a computer to get certain results out. But you do have to actually do that thing (whatever it is) – or you won’t get anything back out. It’s like an action/reaction thing. The way I look at it is that by doing the thing you’ll gain the favours of the gods and they will give you another piece of the jigsaw.
For us, the most important thing about questing, other than our love of taking part, is that there’s a huge high when something checks out or you find an artefact. But beyond that, it’s about progressing of knowledge. That’s what life, the universe and everything is all about. If you’ve been brought to a certain place then it’s for a reason. It’s part of the research project on which you’re engaged. We’ll understand things better if we go there. We’ll be told something, we’ll see something. You never know what that will be – it may be a piece of art, for example in a Church, or something like that. But something definitely triggers off something else when we get there; and that second thing will be…
AC: Meaningful. And it may well be that we are led onto a subsequent find. Or sometimes, rather than moving on to a different site, you might have to go back to somewhere you’ve been before but on a certain date – possibly to do what we call a “sketch”. The term has been around since Graham Phillips and I started using it back in nineteen seventy eight or nine.
RW: I think you should clarify what a sketch is.
AC: Well, OK. It’s essentially a ritualistic act. It could be as simple as a meditation or as full-blown as an occult ritual complete with candles and props and whatever else – although that isn’t necessary most of the time.
PQ: Right. Have you any tips and tricks for first-time questers that could get them past blocks they are likely to encounter early on? Are there any “laws of questing?”
AC: Not really. I mean everybody is psychic to a greater or lesser degree. What I call the “direct information” psychic or “super psychic” can be as accurate, or should I say, regularly accurate, as much as 90% of the time. I think the highest that I recall was working with Bernard, of Black Alchemist fame, who was something like 92½ % accurate at one time. And you yourself, Richard, you’ve certainly been 90% accurate on occasions.
RW: I think one of the laws of questing is definitely “go with the flow”. I would always advise that you shouldn’t be scared of the information you receive or try to decide if it’s right or wrong. Certainly when I started I used to say “well that was absolute nonsense”, but then when other people started getting the same information I grew increasingly confident.
PQ: Are there any dangers that inexperienced questers should be aware of?
AC: Yes. I mean, generally psychic questing is good for your health – it gets you outside. However, the one thing that I would warn against is doing what we call “black questing”. That is not good for your health. Every single psychic I’ve ever worked with…
RW: Could you clarify what you mean by “black questing”?
AC: Okay, “black questing” is trying to uncover the activities and trace the fixing markers of occultists or whoever who are carrying out nefarious activities at certain sites, usually ancient places of power, for personal gain. The Black Alchemist is the obvious example and when I was working with Bernard, he would find artefacts and regularly be sick. He was often ill and eventually, as a result of black questing, he got high blood pressure and had to give it up.
And every other psychic tends to suffer in the same way. Richard here will give you a couple of examples of things which are certainly not good for your health. Remember any? Certainly you had some terrible dreams from which you woke up retching in the middle of the night, and had to get out of bed to actually be sick. It can affect your metabolism, there’s no question about that. That’s why we avoid black questing.
Here’s a good example: on one of our quests we went to a site at Binsey where we found the ancient key (the story as told in Andrew’s Twenty-first Century Grail), which we found on the feast of Frideswide, 19th October, 2002. While there one night, we encountered twelve figures in robes as we hid by the well. We went back a year later, the robed figures came back again which was a bit spooky. Now, we could have got involved in a black questing on that occasion. Richard was picking up that people were up to mischief at Binsey and we could have chosen to try and pick up information about what they were doing. This would have started off a quest where we would have gone back there and we would have found something like a fixing marker, which could have been as easy as a few symbols written on a piece of paper or inscribed stones or other artefact or whatever.
But we chose not to because, to be honest, not only is it not good for your health, but we didn’t have the time – other, more beneficial quests beckoned and there was no point in hanging around there. Though if there are people in the area around Oxfordshire that read this, by all means check it out. Stuff is going on there, quite regularly.
PQ: With your last published book, you discovered a – possibly even “the” – Holy Grail. How do you follow that up?
AC: Firstly, I think that, as far as the Marion Chalice – or the Hawkstone Grail as it’s referred to now – goes, it’s probably the closest that I will ever have come to encountering the Holy Grail. Obviously, it was something that began with Graham Phillips. It came into our possession for a while, and is now back with Graham. Clearly if we got information about the Ark of the Covenant or the Spear of Destiny or whatever we’d follow it up but we don’t feel any need to “better” it.
RW: The important thing is that you work with the information you’re getting, whether it involves the Holy Grail or something very, very simple. You never know what’s going to happen.
AC: Not only that, but we needed to work with that Grail for a while, and it was made available to us for a period of time. So we took it to various sites and I did a lot of research with it. I took it to museums and archaeologists and that was that. For that particular stretch of time, it was made available.
I think the other important thing here is that it shows that we are not alone, that there exists out in the landscape, up in the aether, co-existing with us all the time, entities, Spirits, Gods, Goddesses, Angels, Demons, whatever we want to call them. Also, importantly, they want – and are trying – to communicate with us.
PQ: Obviously, by the time a book is actually published, its contents lag about two to three years behind the present time. Are there any hints you can drop about what you have been engaged in since the events in “Twenty-First Century Grail” were described?
AC: I have revealed at questing conferences over the past few years some of the artefacts that we have found. The only trouble is that so much happens to us in a year that it’s impossible really to try and get it into a single one hour lecture. What’s more, this year  I won’t actually be doing a lecture at Questcon on questing. To be too precise is very difficult because if you went into all the details of a quest it would take too long.
I think that one of the most impressive artefacts we’ve retrieved over the last few years, with Richard here’s great help, is the brass box which we found in Danbury churchyard, somewhere that will be familiar to anybody who’s read my books from The Knights of Danbury onwards. And what’s so impressive about it is that we knew that we were going to find it at a certain time, and that if we didn’t find it at that time it would never be retrieved or that it would never have even been there. It took us into the realms of parallel dimensions, time windows, elementals and things. But with regards the time window, there was a particular place and moment when it was available for us to find and that was was inside a box tomb in the churchyard at exactly 3.33 pm on a certain day. It was extraordinary, but I’ll ask you, Richard, to explain what you found when you reached into the ruined tomb.
RW: Well, it was strange from the point of view that I led us to the spot or, rather, I was led to the spot where this artefact was located by an elemental form and you initially put your hand in where I described this elemental was indicating and you couldn’t actually find anything. But then when you took your hand out and I was just about to put my hand in to see if I could find anything, we heard a distinct metal clunk which was literally, we think, this artefact falling into a physical manifestation. I put my hand around the back of the brickwork where you had already tested and even though it hadn’t been there before, it was there when I checked and that to me is just unfathomable by the normal laws of science.
AC: But I think what’s even more of a mind messer is that we actually made up the artefact to find – almost as a joke, initially because we hadn’t found the previous artefact that we were looking for. And you were in a bit of a mood, and said “alright, let’s make up an artefact to find.” And you said to Sue “What’s it going to be?”, and she said: “a box”. And you said to me “what’s it’s going to be made of?” At first I said … what did I say?
RW: You said gold first and then changed it to brass.
AC: “Gold. No Brass.” Very quickly, just like that. And you said, “Okay, and it’s got a design on it of four angels.” Actually it turned out to be five angels but we won’t split hairs. Weird thing was that five angelic heads actually did crop up along this quest (in psychic information from you, Richard) before we found the box. Obviously, we didn’t fully understand the significance of the heads until we found the artefact. And when we found it, it was exactly as we had imagined.
RW: At that specific time. And we worked out that the clunk was heard at exactly 3:33. So what we’re saying is that somehow…
AC: I think it was actually 3:34 because it actually manifested itself at the very end of the minute.
RW: Yeah. Okay.
AC: You’ll be asking “what has this artefact got to do with this?” Well, the reason why we thought that we needed this artefact was that we were working on a quest for “the Head of God”, which we believe is a silver reliquary containing a fragment of the skull of John the Baptist. We knew that we would be looking for this artefact in France during the summer of 2003. However, we had to make certain preparations.
One of the preparations was to conduct a sketch, for which we needed to get together some bits and pieces to use in a recreation of a medieval ceremony. This Templar-style ritual was significant because it was during the same kind of ceremony, albeit one performed in 1349, that the object we were seeking was concealed in a part of a French chateau. What was inside this box, when we finally opened it during the ritual, was a scent – the very last essence of what we believe was spikenard. Whoever had possessed it in the past believed that it was used in the embalming of the head of John the Baptist. I say “spikenard” now because since opening the box I’ve actually smelt spikenard and that’s a very, very distinct smell, pungent and weirdly flowery. And that appeared to be exactly the scent that came from the final part, the very final part of some embalming fluid. Overall a lot of weird things happened and various artefacts came up during that quest, the most significant of which was the box.
AC: That’s an exclusive!
PQ: With the current popularity of your back catalogue, have you any plans to re-release any titles? I know that at one point you were looking specifically at “The Black Alchemist”, which is obviously your best-known book.
AC: Yes. There will be a fresh and limited edition of The Black Alchemist done eventually. The problem, as always, is time. It will take a good couple of months to produce the proofs, then do the re-editing, then put it within a publishing programme and then get everything ready for printing. The problem is finding the window to be able to do that. I hope that I will do it sometime in 2006, but don’t hold your breath.
RW: Good that’s something to look forward to, then.
AC: But beyond that, yes. I would like to republish The Seventh Sword, re-edit it and put in a number of chapters which were removed by the publisher the first time round.
PQ: There appears to be a renewed level of interest in psychic questing, certainly if the book prices for your books on eBay are anything to go by. Do you see this as a genuine, grassroots resurgence in the pursuit of questing, or possibly a by-product of the “occultisation” of pop culture sparked by books such as the Harry Potters and “The Da Vinci Code” and films such as “The Matrix”?
AC: I think the easiest answer as far as books on eBay goes is that they were limited in number originally anyway. Now what I mean by that is that the initial print run was limited and now they’re out of print, so that in itself makes them sought after and explains the high prices.
But having said that, both Graham’s books and my books do fetch a hell of a lot of money so the fact that they are sought after in the first place must be an indication of the level of interest in psychic questing. Is it genuine interest? I don’t know. Certainly if you type “psychic questing” into a web search engine the hits are going up each week [currently, 380+ hits on Google]. With so many sites I think it is becoming popular and I think it will get even more popular. But I’ll ask you, Richard, to comment on the book [The Black Alchemist], what do you think?
RW: Certainly books like The Black Alchemist are always popular because you self-published it, so therefore the print run wasn’t massive and it did sell extremely well. There are still a lot of people who want to get hold of that book. Likewise with The Seventh Sword – obviously not a massive print run with Century [Random House]. There were times when it was actually remaindered, which seems incredible now considering prices for the hardback are £100 upwards. Admittedly, some of the more recent works like The Second Coming and The Circlemakers can still be found in second-hand bookshops at reasonable prices
AC: I saw a copy of The Second Coming advertised recently for £60.
RW: Really? That’s going up in the world then.
AC: But that was in trade paperback format. So there were only 3,300 of those.
RW: Certainly it seems to be your psychic questing books that attract the higher prices, rather than the more historical ones. The same is true for Graham’s books The Green Stone and The Eye of Fire – they’re both very difficult to get hold of now.
PQ: Another question. Is there anything that you can see which needs to be done to strengthen and grow the questing community?
AC: Well obviously websites like your own [psychicQuesting.com] is very, very important to expand people’s awareness of psychic questing, not just because people are hitting it but also to show that it’s not just focused around me, which is what a lot of people seem to think. They think that the only people doing psychic questing are me and my mates.
The reason why generally it’s me and my mates is that ever since the mid-90s or probably the early 90s, I’ve been very, very reluctant to get involved with other people’s claimed psychic experiences or even other psychic researchers. This is because I nearly got burned quite badly through the activities of two individuals who attempted to try and fool me into believing that they were working with a psychic and looking for an artefact at a location very close to where I live, and tried to fool me to go out searching for the artefact myself, which they concealed and wanted me to find in order to bring down psychic questing. Their names were David Taylor of a group called Parasearch, and Clive Potter, a guy who lives in the Midlands. They got together and concocted all of this.
If you have people you know and trust come to you, and say, “I’m working with a psychic,” and then give you transcripts of what that psychic is picking up, and keep you informed of what was going on every week, what can you do, but accept them at their word? My natural inclination is to accept them at face value. So, I’m afraid, their actions have made me extremely reluctant to listen to anybody else’s alleged psychic questing activities because I don’t know whether they’re just trying to fool me or not.
What eventually happened was that they tried to get an editor of a journal of mysteries involved and tried to get him to take the hoax further. Thankfully he wouldn’t play ball and contacted me. The reason he didn’t play along and contacted me instead was because he’d met several of the people involved in psychic questing and, in fact, he’s now actually married to one of the main early psychics, Gaynor Sutherland. His name is Andy Roberts and he knows that psychic questing is genuine, so that was the end of the charade. But it had got to the extent that I was going to allow David Taylor to give a lecture at the Questing Conference.
PQ: Okay. Let’s examine some of the deeper implications of questing. In the earlier anecdote about the brass box it seemed that, in some weird way, the visualisation exercises undertaken were somehow “creating” the future. Have you had any further insights/experiences of this fascinating phenomenon?
AC: Yes. As I said to you earlier, there are certain necessities with this business. Firstly, you’ve got to believe in your own psychic powers and those of the people around you. It’s no good just being totally sceptical. Open-minded, yes, but not unshakeably sceptical. Secondly, you need to believe that we are not alone, that there are entities, whatever they represent and however you perceive them, who can help you. In other words, you’re not working solely off your own head and it’s not just a remote viewing thing but that there are “intelligences”, if that’s the right word, ready and willing to get you to work on their behalf as – and this is the term we use – “agents of fate”.
Now, there’s one other thing which is certainly a bonus to accept (and it’s something which the Buddhists would back up with their philosophical doctrine) – that the world we live in is essentially an illusion. What I mean by this is that, although we exist within time and space and abide by its physics and laws, it’s not quite as fixed as the scientists would have you believe. Apports are a classic example. That’s apports as opposed to asports. Asports are objects that go missing, whereas apports are objects that appear out of nowhere – and these occur relatively frequently. Obviously when an object appears out of thin air – or you think it does – you always have to explore every mundane possibility first. Could it have been dropped by somebody or even been planted? If you eventually rule out all of those possibilities then there’s a good chance that it’s an Apport. And if apports exist and are real, then they themselves are perfect examples of the fact that reality is not fixed.
A classic case here is the discovery of the two Meonia swords by the Paddon family back in 1985. Colin Paddon – as described in The Seventh Sword – kept having this recurring dream about an angelic figure with a blue glow holding two swords up in the middle of a clearing in a wood. Eventually he found out where the wood was and went there with his own family, which included two kids, and another family, who also had two kids. Under bizarre circumstances Colin managed to identify the clearing and when they got there, they ripped up the moss-like grass in the middle of the clearing and underneath it were two swords stuck perfectly downwards which nobody could pull out. But when Colin Paddon himself tried, they slid out like knives through butter.
Now what the hell’s going on there? By the way the swords were in perfect condition and clearly had not been in that wood too long and yet the clearing seemed undisturbed. The party had to break down heavy bracken to get to it. The clearing was only discovered by each of the four adults coming up with a bearing that they should take while walking. So the first adult would say something like, “I think that the first move should be forty degrees” and then the second adult says “and then when you hit a certain thing move to sixty degrees” and it continued on in a seemingly random way like that. I mean you’d have so many factors going on…
PQ: So, as you follow a quest, do you believe that it is moving the questers towards a psychological prize as well as a physical price? Or do you view it purely as a form of psychic treasure hunt?
AC: Definitely not just a psychic treasure hunt. There is a much deeper motivation for all psychic quests. The finding of artefacts, as I explained earlier, is merely a nod that you’re going in the right direction. And often these artefacts, as with the box we described, are given to you as tools to use, or they are clues.
Some of the greatest rewards are what we call “downloads of information”. These happen where you are led to somewhere (or something) and, by actually going to the site, you’ll suddenly be downloaded with a whole lot of new information – just like a computer programme. You won’t even necessarily be able to express the information in words at the time; you just know something’s happened. It could even come [i.e. be visualised] in the form of an object entering inside you or it could be the guardian of the site handing you a key of some kind. In our “Head of God” quest, we found a physical key but it was almost more significant symbolically, as a sign that gates were being opened, specifically opening into France on that occasion.
And the downloads are very, very important. Certainly for me they are very important because they inspire me to write my historical works. They’ll give information suddenly and afterwards you’ll come back from the site and start thinking very heavily along certain lines and then begin scribbling stuff down in the middle of the night. A lot of that inspiration provides the foundation for exploring more orthodox historical matters, which end up in the other books I write. That’s the important thing for me. But still, finding artefacts is great and the high you get from finding them is just incredible. The first time it happened was when we found the Meonia sword back in 1979 and that was an incredible buzz. What about you Richard, how would you describe the first time that you found an artefact?
RW: Disbelief, I think, because it was something that had been described psychically and then was actually found. It still gives me an incredible buzz. Although there are always get-out clauses that go through your mind like whether somebody might have put it there previously. Even if you believe that, though, why would someone have chosen to put it exactly there? There are a lot of unanswered questions. But you still get the buzz…
AC: Was that the last question?
PQ: It was indeed. Thank you, Andrew, and Richard, very much for your time.
[Portions of this interview have been edited for publication]