About the Author

Kerr Cuhulain

A former Air Force officer, Kerr Cuhulain (Vancouver) has been a police officer for the past twenty years, and a Wiccan for thirty. He's served on the SWAT team, Gang Crime Unit, and hostage negotiation team. He travels throughout North America as a popular speaker at writers' conferences and Pagan festivals, and he has been the subject of many books, articles, and media interviews. He is the author of The Law Enforcement Guide to Wicca.

Books by this Author
Full Contact Magick

Full Contact Magick

A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior
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Magickal Self Defense

Magickal Self Defense

A Quantum Approach to Warding
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Psychic Attacks






All I’m trying to do is
not join my ancestral spirits just yet.


—Joshua Nkomo




A true “psychic attack” occurs when a person deliberately projects a clearly defined malicious intent upon someone else. This attack may affect the victim’s mental state, caus­ing stress, anxiety, and sleeplessness. This in turn affects the victim’s physical body, causing disease and, in extremely rare cases, even death, because the attack is affecting the victim’s nonphysical energy field. Psychic attacks range from short, sharp, highly emotionally charged onslaughts linked with a clear desire for negative consequences to extended, elaborate, rituals of negative magick. Whichever is used by the assailant, the principles of psychic self-defense are the same.


I’ve heard many people advance the argument that “the ancient warriors knew that any purely defensive battle is doomed, if it goes on long enough.” Usually this is a lead-in to an argument that “the best defense is offense.” Psychic self-defense books and articles are full of examples of psychic attack techniques.


During my twenty-nine years as a police officer, I learned how to defend myself and others without becoming aggressive. This was essential, as police officers are criminally liable for any excessive force that they use. The insights that I gained from this experience, combined with my thirty-nine years as a Pagan as well as my martial arts experience helped me to develop strategies that are as effective in psychic self-defense as they are in physical self-defense. You don’t need to attack in order to defend yourself from psychic attacks.


In the physical world the Warrior avoids getting into bat­tles. The Chinese general Sun Tzu taught us that “those who win every battle are not really skillful—those who render oth­ers’ armies helpless without fighting are the best of all.” I don’t want you to get into a psychic battle. Nor do I want you to enter into a protracted cycle of attack and counterattack between you and some cretin who doesn’t like you. I want you to win without going to war. Sending your own negative energy at your assailant can certainly affect them. Unfortunately, the effect often includes motivating the assailant to retaliate. The techniques that I will show you in this book are assertive with­out being aggressive. They will shut down the assailant’s attack and hopefully leave them unwilling and probably unable to attack you again.


Ormungandr, writing from his perspective as an Ásatrúar, put it this way:


Psychic Self-defense is not about being isolationist or being afraid of the world. Nor is it making what we feel or think


As I pointed out in my earlier books, being a Warrior is not about using your hands; it is about using your head. It’s about taking charge of your life. We can find examples of this con­cept in all places and ages. Let’s look at some examples:


In the fifth century bce, the Greek historian Herodotus said that “where wisdom is called for, force is of little use.”


In the final ritual of the Masai manhood ritual, the senior tribal elders encourage the graduates to “drop your weapons and use your head and wisdom instead.”


In the seventeenth century ce, the Samurai philosopher Miyamoto Musashi wrote that the “trained martial artist . . . truly acts only in response to aggression. He does not seek it out. When made, his responses are nonresistant and nonviolent. He is a man of peace.”


Christopher Penczak advocates “compassionate defense” in his book The Witch’s Shield:


When you send harmful energy away, realize that there is no “away.” When you sever an unhealthy connection, you are still connected. We are all one in our uniqueness and diver­sity. Instead of severing, cutting away, isolating, or blocking the experience, seek to heal it. . .  It is easy to label the enemy as evil, but when we rise above the ego, we often realize that things are not as cut and dried as simple good and evil.?


Again, this book isn’t about being aggressive. It is about being assertive. There is nothing wrong with assertiveness if it comes from your center, without a desire to appear strong or make the other person appear wrong. Power doesn’t come from accu­mulating energy and/or defenses. True power comes from mas­tering your situation. Master yourself, and everything else in your life will take care of itself.


Part of taking charge of your life is taking responsibility for your life. As I mentioned in the introduction to this book, people have a very bad habit of seeking excuses for the prob­lems in their lives. Instead of recognizing that they’ve made a mistake or brought about an uncomfortable situation through their neglect or carelessness, they seek to find someone else to blame. They’d like to park the blame in the lap of some trickster god, some nasty elemental force of nature, or even fate. Many people try to attribute their misfortune to psychic attacks. Our misfortunes are often our own fault. The Wiccan Rede and the Nine Noble Virtues of Ásatrú teach us to take responsibility for our actions. Before you blame your misfortunes on a “psychic attack,” take a close look at yourself. It could be that you are the author of your own misfortunes.


The psychic attack situations (both real and imagined) that I’ve encountered over the years fit into one of four categories:


1: Local influences


The individual having problems may be located in an area where elemental forces are concentrated. Checking the local geography and consulting a map for nearby sites of power often reveals the source of the problem. Sensitivity to your sur­roundings forms the basis for psychometry and divination. If you haven’t trained yourself to deal with this sensitivity, it can cause problems for you. Natural or elemental forces are not “evil,” but they can exert a powerful influence on you.


Another possibility is that what you may be experiencing is leftover residue from novice or unskilled occultists in your area who are not grounding their energies properly after rit­ual. This is a possibility if rituals or magick were recently con­ducted at the location that is causing you the problems. I will speak about grounding such surplus energy in a later chapter.


The immediate effects of the energy field of such a loca­tion or object can be felt within twelve to thirty feet of its loca­tion. Lesser effects can be experienced out to between 100 to 300 yards from such objects, depending on your sensitivity. If your sensitivity to the location is the problem, then avoiding elemental areas such as ley lines or power centers may help, at least until you’ve learned how to deal with them. Urban dwell­ers often find that cities can create a “buffer” for elemental energy like this, but it comes at the cost of becoming discon­nected from powerful elemental forces that can be of great help to Pagans practicing magick. This is a problem if you are trying to connect to elemental energy, but can provide some protection to those who are overly sensitive.


If you are sensitive to the energy around you, then places where human suffering has occurred are locations for you to avoid. The problem should resolve itself if you remove yourself from the influence of the location or item involved. The nega­tive energy created by dramatic events dissipates slowly. The more traumatic the event, the longer its effects will linger in an area. Sensitive people in the vicinity will become aware of it in some way or another. For example, most people who visit the Auschwitz death camp can still feel the suffering of the people who were murdered there.


Examples of places with negative energy include casinos, sleazy pubs, family and bankruptcy courts, and criminal hang­outs. I sense a quiet desperation around such places. You may be sensitive to the nasty energy of constantly quarreling neigh­bors (especially in apartment buildings or condominiums). The anxiety surrounding the psychiatric wards of hospitals can also have a strong effect. If you must go to such places, keep your barriers up. As I’ve mentioned, my experience working the mental-health emergency services car for my police department gave me some experience with this.


This negative energy can be detected in all kinds of com­mon things in our everyday lives. Who made the clothes you are wearing, the house you live in, or the car you drive? What were these people thinking or experiencing when they made these things for your use? Were they manufactured by depressed, disgruntled, and impoverished people working in appalling factory conditions? Were some of those workers alcoholics or drug addicts? Did some of them leave work, go home, commit acts of violence on their wife and children, and build your car the next morning? Everything that we come into contact with can hold some of the thought energy of those who were in con­tact with it before you. If you are overly sensitive to such psy­chometric energy, then this can have a negative effect on you.


Negative energy can accumulate in a household, but there are many ways to deal with it. A clean and orderly house allows the energy or chi to flow properly and does not let negative energy accumulate. Negative thought-forms accumulate in messy environments. Squalor leads to depression. Physical gar­bage attracts psychic garbage. Messy environments resonate with the chaos represented by such disorganized states. An organized household fosters an organized mind. An organized mind is much more capable of defense than a disorganized mind. You do more than just emptying the garbage pail when you take out the trash.


Another possibility for sensitive people is the presence of curios, paraphernalia, or items once used in magick. Having these objects in your vicinity may cause adverse effects. Of course, if you really are under psychic attack, there is a pos­sibility that such magickal objects were deliberately left there. Objects in your vicinity that are unfamiliar are suspect. This is talismanic magick, a very old technique. The idea is that the object left in your vicinity will help to create a link with you through which your assailant can focus the attack. A talisman of some sort is made and then brought into contact with the victim. It may be placed in your house or a room that you fre­quent. It may be placed in your yard or buried in a path that you frequently use in your everyday work. I’ll explain in more detail in chapter 11 about how to deal with talismans and amulets used as links or point d’appui.


2: Human influences


By human influences I mean people directing negative forces at the victim. This isn’t always a conscious process. Deliberate psychic attacks are a comparatively rare occurrence. Even when they can be traced back to an individual, in most cases such “attacks” are unconscious: the “psychic assailant,” while pos­sibly aware of their ill feelings toward you, is actually unaware that they are sending negative energy and influences at you. There are many negative people out there, and some of them may have it in for you. Most of these people have no training in any magickal disciplines. They simply have a natural talent that allows them to project their negativity in your direction. Keith Randolph, in his article “Psychic Self Defense,” observes that “ . . . fierce, concentrated anger can trigger malevolent psychokinesis or bring an evil elemental into the picture, even if the human agent doesn’t know that such things are pos­sible.” On rare occasions there may be bonds between victim and assailant from past incarnations that facilitate a negative energy transfer between individuals.


The “psychic attack” that you perceive might be the energy thrown at you by extremists in your neighborhood fer­vently praying for the salvation of your soul. This could be an unconscious attempt to impose their will on you or a deliber­ate attempt to force you into the pews of their church by any means necessary. Many Pagans of my acquaintance would con­sider that negative magick. Fortunately most people in revealed religions such as Christianity and Islam are inclined to put out positive energy, not hateful energy.


One must consider the aggressor’s desires and their motives for attacking you. The aggressor’s perception of you or of their situation may be flawed. The aggressor’s anxieties may have no basis in reality. This is especially true if these anxieties arise from mental illness. Of course, real or not, this may not prevent the aggressor from feeling justified in initiating an attack. Of course, this flawed perception of the assailant may also make it difficult for you to identify them, as it may not be a perception that you are aware of. As the perceptions of the aggressor and victim can differ, the victim may have no understanding of the motives or scale of an unprovoked psychic attack. This is where it is important to let go and let your intuition guide you. I’ll have more to say about intuition and threat awareness in the next chapter.


3: Overextension


Overextension occurs when the victim has ventured beyond their capabilities in magick. Overextending yourself leads to problems. There is an old magickal adage: don’t open the door unless you know how to close (and lock) it. When instinct is at work, we experience emotional energy. Those new to New Age or Pagan pursuits often find themselves experiencing new things. These new experiences can often lead to unfamiliar feelings. Magickal training increases levels of sensitivity, which in turn makes you more susceptible to energy and emotions in your vicinity. The more experience you acquire, the more you will become aware of the previously undetected energy of oth­ers surrounding you. This might feel like a psychic attack to the uninitiated.


People attend Pagan festivals for various reasons. Some go to such gatherings in order to socialize, some to learn, some just to drum and dance. A lot of random energy is being gen­erated at Pagan gatherings. Think of this random energy as white noise or static. Some of the people creating this energy are new and/or untrained and not at all capable of controlling their personal energy. Even those who are trained sometimes forget about grounding and warding until something negative happens. When you are in close proximity to others, you will exchange energy with them unless you’ve done something to prevent this exchange. Direct contact such as hugs or hand­shaking enhances energy exchange. Such intimate activity usu­ally occurs between people who care for one another, and you know the pleasant feelings such positive energy exchange can bring. You’ve probably also experienced the unpleasant feel­ings that surround people who are disagreeable or negative. If the person you are in contact with has negative energy, then such contact may not be a good thing.


When you first attend large Pagan gatherings, you may get “psychic indigestion” from energy you are unused to. Pagan author Patricia Telesco warns that “as you begin to attend fes­tivals you’ll also start to notice that there’s a lot of psychologi­cal and spiritual drama that occurs at these events . . . typically in the last day or two of the gathering.”  Typical symptoms of this “overload” can include:










It is important to be aware of your health, energy levels, and emotional states at such gatherings.


4: Health problems


Health problems may occur when the victim is suffering from a pathological condition which opens their “aura,” allowing negative influences to get in. As I mentioned earlier, health problems can also occur when the victim is suffering from a mental disorder that gives them the false impression that they are under psychic attack.


At the outset of any investigation into a perceived psychic attack, one should always eliminate the possibility of psychosis and/or delirium due to a medical condition. Strong emotions such as fear can become conduits for negative energy. Drunks and addicts attract such energy. In turn they can exude a nega­tive energetic atmosphere that affects all those around them. This can lead to paranoia and fear. The paranoid victim starts hurling magickal thunderbolts at all manner of imagined


threats, which invariably causes even greater problems. The whole subject of “psychic protection” needs to be approached with caution.


At one time or other, everybody experiences one of these four situations. Keep these four scenarios in mind when you are trying to identify the source of the unpleasant energy you may be experiencing.


The psychic attacks that I will be teaching you to defend yourself against originate in the second category: human influences. As I pointed out, these psychic assaults can take the form of an overt attack from someone who is angry with you. They can take a more subtle and insidious form when somebody silently and secretly sends you negative thoughts and emotions or ill will, whether they are aware of it or not.


Negative psychic energy can “contaminate” you. It can deplete your energy. It can cause you mental, emotional, and physical distress. This, in turn, can prevent you from achieving your aims and objectives. Psychic attacks can cause physical, emotional, and mental disease. Later in this book I will teach you techniques to protect yourself against such attacks. Also, in a later chapter I will go into more detail about how your health affects your ability to defend yourself.


Negative energy is not something to be ignored. As you can see from the list of four influences above, there is a lot of negative and chaotic energy in the world around you, and it can affect you adversely if you aren’t cautious. It is certainly possible to harm another person with magick. If you do noth­ing but sit and dwell on your concerns, you’ll only make them worse. You need to take responsibility for your life. But I’m not urging you to become obsessive about defending yourself from negative energy. Psychic self-defense is about finding a way to balance the energy around you to lead a healthy, happy life.


Fear is what allows destructive magick to get a hold on you. Destructive magick can’t work on you effectively if you don’t fear it. Sometimes the lack of fear renders magickal attacks utterly impotent. To deal with psychic attacks you need to learn techniques like those listed in this book. The difficulty is that until you learn these skills, you will likely lack the con­fidence to use these defense techniques effectively. People fear the unknown.


To help the beginner deal with this, I am first going to teach you some simple techniques that you can use until you have developed sufficient power and confidence to do without them. You can think of these techniques as a form of armor, like the body armor a police officer wears on patrol. Armor can be overcome, but it does provide a level of protection against the consequences of the unexpected.


Later I will show you an approach to psychic self-defense that is based on using the attacker against himself. Those of you who have studied martial arts will recognize this approach, which forms the basis of push-pull techniques in Japanese arts like Aikido or Jujitsu and the hubud techniques in Escrima. I’ll show you how to redirect destructive energy directed at you back into the universal pool from which all energy comes.


Symptoms of Psychic Attack


Recognizing the symptoms is the first step in overcoming psy­chic attacks. The symptoms of a psychic attack vary from one individual to another. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, the following:


A feeling of weight pressing down on you while you are asleep or dreaming


Continuous and intensifying sense of oppression or fear while awake


Nervous exhaustion or wasting away when there is no medically diagnosable physical cause


Repetitive nightmares, which may ultimately make the sufferer reluctant to sleep. These nightmares may have themes such as:


Being chased or assaulted


Being confronted by some person or agency that feels somehow external to you


Forecasts of doom


A sense of foreboding


A sense of being watched or stalked when there is no one around


Physical manifestations, including in extreme cases:




Obnoxious odors that come and go with no apparent physical cause. (These odors will be noticed by anyone who is around when they are present.)


Auditory effects: bell, snaps, clicks—often indi­cating something trying to manifest physically






Fear and/or feelings of isolation


The intuitive or visible presence of a manifest thought-form or simulacrum (more on this later)


An inexplicable numbing, followed by paralysis, begin­ning at the feet and extending gradually up the body


Jabbing or prickling sensations, typically in the hands, feet, lower legs, or back


Rapid onset of constant choking or a feeling of suffoca­tion with no apparent causes


A real psychic attack is usually associated with a person or rela­tionship. If you start experiencing any of the symptoms above, the next thing you need to do is identify the source. There will be some sort of motivation that can be discerned in the details. People don’t usually consciously engage in psychic attacks unless they have a strong motivation: conscious psychic attacks are hard work. People don’t normally engage in such activity for trivial reasons. If the psychic assailant is unconsciously sending negative energy at you, it should still be possible to identify the assailant’s emotions and feelings that are fueling the psychic assault.


You need to pay attention to these symptoms. Psychic attack can lead to a negative state of mind and/or depression. Depres­sion, in turn, can weaken your defenses. Emotional, sexual, or magickal intimacy with others under attack can transfer some of the negativity from the victim to those around them. Nega­tive emotions like rage and anger can create and attract nega­tive energy. Thus it is important to recognize these symptoms and to take action in a timely fashion.


So far I’ve discussed the sources of negative energy and the symptoms of psychic attack. In the next chapter I will show you how to develop the safety awareness that will help you to identify the source and nature of such attacks.



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Pagan Religions

Pagan Religions

A Handbook for Diversity Training
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