Psychic Questing FAQ

What is Psychic Questing? (psych remix)

Psychic Questing, as we have seen, can be thought of as a psychically driven treasure hunt and on this level it can yield absolutely concrete, tangible results, most strikingly in the form of artefact retrieval but also in obtaining information of varying nature.

However, for me, there is another, psychological and symbolic dimension to Psychic Questing which exists simultaneously with, and complements, the physical quest. This symbolic dimension is the individual’s ongoing search for meaning in the world.

On the one hand we are unfortunate to be born into this particular time for, as Edward Edinger describes:

“We seem to be passing through a collective psychological reorientation equivalent in magnitude to the emergence of Christianity from the ruins of the Roman Empire. Accompanying the decline of traditional religion there is increasing evidence of a general psychic disorientation. We have lost our bearings. Our relation to life has become ambiguous. The great symbol wich is organized Christianity seems no longer able to command the full commitment of men or to fulfil their ultimate needs. The result is a pervasive feeling of meaninglessness and alienation from life. Whether or not a new collective religious symbol will emerge remains to be seen. For the present those aware of the problem are obliged to make their own individual search for a meaningful life.”

On the other hand we are actually lucky to have this freedom that is pressed upon us. For as the Gnostics realised:

“No one comes to his true selfhood by being what society wants him to be nor by doing what it wants him to do. Family, society, church, trade and profession, political and patriotic allegiances, as well as moral and ethical rules and commandments are, in reality, not in the least conducive to the true spiritual welfare of the human soul. On the contrary, they are more often than not the very shackles which keep us from our true spiritual destiny.”

And James Hollis, speaking of the need for personal individuation, spells it out even more clearly:

“The more you are like others, the more secure you will feel, yet the more your heart will ache, the more dreams will be troubled and the more your soul will slip off into silences. Finally, one day, you will have forgotten that you have a soul – you will rise, drive through the traffic, arrive at work, and not remember how you got there.”

Regardless of whether we want it or not, we have been forced on our own personal Grail Quest. This is our curse and our blessing. We can take up the challenge and follow the Quest wherever it will take us or we can allow ourselves to be distracted along the way and choose comfort over adventure.

We are human needles in a gramophone and the world is a vinyl record. As we follow our true path, banging off the world, we send out our totally unique music. Of course this is hard and painful – there is plenty of our blood on these tracks – and we never run a true course across the record. We scratch, hiss, skip grooves, get jammed, even run backwards but, if our general motion is to follow our bliss, this disturbance is only feedback in the single of our lives. If the Angels emit a constant stream of perfect notes then we humans are more Jesus and Mary Chain. But, as Jung reminds us, God loves human beings more than Angels.

The dancer Martha Graham puts it more succinctly:

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.

And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate YOU. Keep the channel open…”

And this is where Psychic Questing has such an important role to play. In the absence of structured guidance from the traditional religions or from society in general, it is at least an exercise that snaps us out of the glamour that holds us in thrall to the mundane and puts the red thread back in our hands. It forces us to follow our whims (the first law of Questing is ‘go with it’); it physically re-connects us to the countryside and uses us to map new lines of power over the landscape; it forces us into the inner space of our psyches to confront the demons and spirit guides that reside there; it fosters creative, active imagination so necessary to the replenishing of our impoverished symbolic life; it teaches us history and, by focusing us on the lives of individuals in other ages, gives us a sense of place; it counteracts the tyranny of the rational; it trains us to silence the inner critic and listen to the nervous whisperings of intuition; it evidences the power of the individual.

At its best, Psychic Questing is an art and a way of life, a way of staying on the Quest to find the Grail.


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