This is the final and for me most difficult installment of the four little essays I have written exploring the nature of evil and bad things happening in a good world.

So if you are a confirmed skeptic you might move on to other posts and other bloggers. I will be describing things which I have encountered, but which our sturdy skeptics can banish in a moment (to their own satisfaction at least) with their magic words of power: “Coincidence!” and “Delusion!”

Far more than in any other posts I have ever written, I describe personal experiences.  I think anyone who ventures to write about spiritual evil as real or not needs to fess up to more than simply having read books.  So I give some descriptions.  I give no names and the reader is free to take what I relate at face value or not.  If you are eager for strange experiences of your own, I will not tell you how to encourage these encounters and strongly suggest you not seek them out.  But in a world where malevolence appears so common in men and women of power, and where amoral nihilism seems a defining trait of our economic and cultural elite as a whole, anyone who cares deeply about the world and about other people needs to come to some sort of terms with what they see around them.

I hope I have made the case that very bad things can happen to very undeserving or good people in a good universe where the ultimate spiritual reality is good. I hope I have also made a good case that well-meaning but not particularly wise people acting with inadequate knowledge of why others around them do what they do can also end up doing very nasty things to one another.  Wisdom comes from experience, we do not start out with it.

What remains is the issue of spiritual evil.  Does it exist?  I use the term ‘evil’ to refer to aggressive ill will, a malignant attitude towards another.  My answer to the question is a qualified “yes.”

My perspective is not narrowly NeoPagan, although it is rooted there.  It also includes over 25 years of work doing shamanic healing first within a group working within a Brazilian context and later alone, as an individual as well as within groups I led. But I never became a truly full time practitioner nor do I think of myself as deeply skilled.  I was always also involved in academia, writing and at one time running a business, all of which require a kind of focus I did not find conducive to shamanic work. Maybe in another lifetime.  But what I will write is rooted in this work, and is more based on trying to make sense of my experiences than in trying to read books, though I’ve certainly done plenty of that.

If we look at the history of Pagan cultures or cultures that have preserved earlier Pagan lore on such things, the occult traditions that emerged from them, and also at hunting and gathering shamanic cultures, we universally find that spiritual powers have been used to do bad things to others, and that spiritual powers can do bad things to others apparently on their own initiative.  I use the lower-case “spiritual” to indicate that realm of energies that is not physical in our sense of the term but need not necessarily refer to deities or the ultimate nature of reality.  I have had personal experience on occasion with such energies, including one encounter that nearly made an end of me.

What might these things be?  There are at least three (I do not claim this list to be exhaustive):

1. Thought forms

2. Spiritual ‘critters’

3. Malignant beings that I do not think are thought forms in the earlier sense.

Thought Forms

I suspect a great many spiritual phenomena, including bad ones, are what we call “thought forms.”

Thought forms are focused mental energy with enough coherence to have a kind of independent existence.  They subsist off energies directed their way to support them.  I was taught they are a kind of psychic robot, something with a very narrow range of motivation and choice, qualities given to it from the outside.

One way to get a sense of thought forms is to think of the atmosphere of some place you are acquainted with. Energy fields interweave and coalesce to give particular places particular “feels.” Usually this kind of energy spreads out, and gradually dissipates as we get farther away from its center.  Depending on our sensitivities and what attracts us or repels us, we can pick up on these fields.

I think the atmosphere of cities is of this nature.  When I was a young political activist in the 60s, I was very attracted to having as well as opposed to “Power.” I visited Washington, DC on some project or other and could literally feel the thrill of Power in the air.  It permeated the place.  At times I felt like I got high on it.  I can easily see how people attracted to power get entranced in the “Beltway Bubble” and lose touch with the rest of the world.

Upon returning to Kansas, and getting some distance from the place, I realized I would soon become addicted to Power myself were I to move to Washington, DC.  I was later told I could get a job working in a Senator’s office – how serious the offer was I’ll never know because I turned it down.  I knew that if I went I’d end up like those I opposed.

Power junkies, like junkies of any sort, will sacrifice anything to keep or get their fix.  They rationalize whatever it takes to live with themselves and deny their reality.  Most politicians should be seen as energetic drug addicts.  Ultimately they are pathetic, but in ways that hurt many people beyond themselves.  There are exceptions, but I suspect they are rare.  One indicator of addiction to Power is that very few national politicians return to the district or state they represented when they retire or lose an election. They usually stay in DC.

Of late, after many years of serious spiritual engagement, when I visit Washington, that intoxicating atmosphere is gone. I no longer feel its allure.  It’s just a city where a lot of addicts live as well as some very good people. I still don’t want to live there, but now because it’s too hot and humid, not because it’s a center of power. (I’m far from a realized being, whatever that is – but I am no longer attracted to Power.)

This kind of energy focus is poisonous and destructive to those attracted to it.  They will do horrible things to other people to maintain their fix.  But it has human roots.

But perhaps this quality of energy such as I felt in Washington could be concentrated into a far more focused form, and imbued with a simple motivation? Many thought forms are deliberate creations by those who know how to make them, often serving as protectors and the like.  But, as my post on Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and Grimjack suggests, many can arise when a great deal of mental and emotional attention is broadly focused on a single image, even when few if any doing the focusing intend such a form or have the training to create it deliberately. These spiritual entities appear to be separate from those who feed them, and in a sense they are.

Politically some might be wonderful, such as that which coalesced around the image of the Statue of Liberty.  But others might be truly dreadful, as I suspect the energies coalescing around “Uncle Sam” are likely becoming. Increasingly he is admired by Americans besotted with images of our power rather than the best of our Founder’s’ principles and the hope they held out to the world as a whole.

If this is true, the realm of spiritual entities becomes far more complex because the human imagination is continually contributing to them.  Indeed, increasingly I suspect that one “purpose” of human physical existence may be to creatively enrich existence at this level  because probably a majority of these ‘creations’ are not bad in any sense.  As Yevgeny Yevtushenko wrote, we are the creators of worlds.  But that’s another essay.

We can be grateful that for the most part angry or malignant people do not know how to create such things, and that even if they did, they are usually so unfocused and undisciplined in their mental abilities that what they might create will not be very powerful.  Otherwise such things would be more common.  But they do exist and when deliberately created are an element in Black Magick.  I would suspect that malignant ones would be particularly attracted to places such as Washington, DC, because of the ruthless amorality of so many who live there.  I believe thought forms are far more influential in human life than most of us imagine, but ultimately they are creations of human beings.

Astral critters

There seems to be another kind of spiritual entity that can mean us no good.  When I first began studying the occult (after a dare to a magician to show me “some real magic” had been successfully met, shattering my newly minted Ph.D. worldview) my teacher told me that as I increasingly “worked” on astral planes, I would attract attention from the local denizens.  As a result “stuff” would show up to check out “the new kid on the block.”  Some would be unpleasant, either intrinsically so, or because they fed off emotional energy, and fear was the easiest strong energy that could be quickly gotten off a person.

Within a month of his warning nightly events had gotten pretty lively in my Berkeley apartment.  It was a good opportunity to learn magickal self defense and combat, and I did.  It was fascinating but it wasn’t much fun.  Even so, I never got the impression I was dealing with anything approximating malevolence or ultimate spiritual evil.

To use my teacher’s analogy, these “critters” were akin to mosquitoes on a Sierra Nevada backpack – with proper preparation they were a minor annoyance whereas had I ventured out minus insect repellant my experience could seem hellish.  Mosquitoes are not evil, and neither, I think, are such things as these. But they can be most unpleasant. It’s best not to mess with them without knowing what you are doing.

My teacher introduced me to one kind that could be found in the Berkeley Hills, and we later encountered them elsewhere.  It was what I called a “shadow being” – something that manifested visually like a swiftly moving shadow at the edges of my sight.  (We see differently at the periphery of our vision, and stuff that is invisible when looking straight at it can become visible there. For a mundane example, I noticed this was true for comet tails a few years back.)

One evening I miscalculated the time while alone up in the Berkeley Hills.  As I walked down a fire road to where my car was parked I noticed a “shadow critter” was following me as the sun set and it got darker.  I sped up my walk, but by the time I got to where pavement began, and my car was parked, it was fairly dark.  A street lamp illuminated a circle of pavement below it, after which it got dark pretty fast.  I decided to try an experiment and stood in the dark, a quick jump away from the light.  I waited for the thing to contact me.  When it did I felt a chill run up my back, a chill that would I have been out in the woods I would have associated with fear.

Perhaps these things are a kind of “energy vampire” and the chill of fear is them taking a nip.  If we succumb to terror they then take a swig.

Later I read a Lakota medicine person’s interview in Shamans Drum magazine.  I no longer remember which issue.  In it he described what appeared to be the exact same critters, and strongly recommended they be avoided.  My scientific side was delighted: here was that elusive “inter-subjective verifiability!” People from different cultures who knew nothing of one another described the same things and agreed they were to be avoided.

David Hufford’s The Terror That Comes in the Night is an excellent study of another kind of astral critter: the night mare phenomena, and gives plenty of attention both to the argument that they are simply “sleep paralysis” and to the argument they are astral attacks.  Read it and draw your own conclusions.  Based on my own experiences from when I was a small child until I learned magickal self-defense, I’m choosing the “it’s real” position.

Like my “astral mosquitoes” they often appear to be “energy suckers” attracted by fear.  I had had the visitations every week or so for most of my life.  By light of day the events took on an air of unreality, and for decades I never mentioned them to anyone.  After I learned magickal combat and was no longer afraid of night mare phenomena, there was one final visitation which must not have been any more pleasant for it than it was for me, and then they stopped.  That was over 20 years ago after having being plagued since I was a small boy.

Why me?  Why was I singled out?  Night mares of this sort are not universal but neither are they all that rare.  In retrospect I think people who are relatively open to these realms appear to have more permeable energy boundaries than those who are not.  Strong skepticism in particular creates its own shield in a way somewhat analogous to how a thought form is created.  On the other hand, those who are open but unlearned in what is going on are most at risk of having a bad time.  This is not a column on psychic defense but I will say that one way of disappointing such critters is to not be afraid.

Energy barriers

Another metaphor is helpful here.  We all have energy bodies that among other things serve as a kind of energy ‘skin.’  The energy vibration appears to help keep stuff out that should be out, just as a whirling fan constitutes a barrier.  If you toss a wadded up ball of paper at a fan, it will bounce off the whirling blades.  But if the energy vibration slows, it appears to weaken the barrier, and so things that ‘slow the vibration’ should be done with some care as to place and atmosphere.  Fear slows the vibration.  We feel weak, vulnerable, and ‘shrink’ into ourselves.  Not good.

For particularly sensitive people other factors also increase vulnerability.  Bars where a lot of drinking takes place are places where our normal energy ‘skin’ can become temporarily weaker.  They should be evaluated for their psychic atmosphere as well as their other more tangible qualities.  If it doesn’t feel good sober sensitive types should give them a wide berth.

Really Bad Stuff

But there are critters and critters.  To return to the backpacking metaphor – we can enter very safe and beautiful country without mosquito repellant and have a truly terrible time.  Or we can go prepared and enjoy ourselves over and over again.  We can also embark on more adventurous trips, maybe to Yellowstone’s back country, where grizzly bears live.  They are not common, but the penalties for coming across one in the wrong way are far more severe than a mosquito bite. It’s best to know how to avoid getting mauled or worse before venturing there.

Shamanic cultures warn almost always that the equivalent of grizzlies are out there, At times I would do the equivalent of traveling in grizzly country and occasionally encountered some really nasty stuff. It happened because I am curious to a fault and I think also because I got deeply involved in shamanic healing work.

Hate and anger are very strong emotions.  They can be used to create thought forms, they can apparently become elements within a collective thought form such as Darth Vader, and they very well may simply befoul the psychic atmosphere and provide sustenance to stuff that can make use of the energy.  I know I have been capable of ferocious anger, though I hope I have overcome the worst of it.  I have met people with intense levels of hate, usually tied up with self-righteousness.  Such people give off plenty of energy.  There are lots of mental-energetic resources around for beings that feed off of and make use of hate.  But I think it is a human product, and when humans cease to hate they no longer feed or strengthen such energies.  I suspect one of the more esoteric reasons why spiritual paths value love so much is that it dilutes, transforms, and ultimately dissipates these energies. But again, that’s another essay.

But I think we flatter ourselves to imagine that all that is really dangerous out there is of our creation. It might be true, but in my view anything that inflates our egos is worth being skeptical about.  If people can become malignant and nasty, the same could be true for entities existing in other realms, and sometimes those realms appear to intersect with ours. I see no reason to believe that we live on a simple cosmic ladder, and have some reason to suspect it’s more complex by far.

Most negative “haunts” do not seem all that strong, and in my experience a good psychic cleansing often does the job of eliminating the problem.  But one I encountered near Walla Walla, Washington, at an agricultural laborers’ camp, was not so easily dealt with.  It scared family after family out of a small apartment in a low-end triplex.  A friend of the complex’s manager had been to a healing event I had conducted, and suggested I check it out.  When I did I was able to find where it entered the place, but was unable to seal it off.  (The family that moved in after I did my stuff there left hurriedly a day or two later, proving my failure.)

I asked a friend who knew much more about such things than I did what I might do.  He suggested staying up at night there and contacting it directly.  I was less than thrilled.  But ever the investigator, I told the manager that I would stay up there all night and try to contact the thing and see what its issues were, but that I wasn’t looking forward to the experience. (I was busy teaching college and besides, this thing was scary).  However, if someone would spend the night with me, watching my back, I’d do it.  Happily no one wanted to join me, and so I’ll never know whether I could have handled it. I don’t mind not knowing.

I suggested to the manger that she have only Indian families live there or contact a medicine person on the nearby reservation. It did not attack Indian workers apparently, because at one time it infested two of the apartments in the triplex, and after a Native American family moved in to one of the two, trouble ceased. Only Mexicans seemed to attract its attentions.

I have no idea what happened afterwards.

Such beings are definitely malignant.  I personally doubt something like that was a thought form because it seemed very much an independent operator. If entities are independent and of limited awareness (like us) I see no problem assuming that some can becomes as nasty as some people can become. But perhaps it was some kind of Indian protector spirit that ended up there, who took its job as seriously, and with as much discernment, as a Fundamentalist preacher takes his.

A Near Lethal Attack

This last episode I will describe happened a few years before my Walla Walla adventure.  At the time I was deeply involved in shamanic healing and had been for many years, first for six years with an organized group, and later as a single operator.  At one time many people were coming for treatments, and I had a shed I had set aside out back of my little house for handling the heavy stuff.  Sometimes it got pretty intense.  But I encountered nothing I would think of as malignant.

After some months of that activity some good friends lost their house in an electrical fire.  I helped organize a benefit at the local community center, and many musicians, artists and businesses contributed stuff for a raffle, including some very fine hand-made musical instruments. At the benefit three women stealthily traded in stuff they had won early in the raffle (like a bottle of wine) for the finest stuff that we had been saving for later in the evening, to raise as much money as possible.  (I am sad to say they identified themselves as Pagans – but no tradition lacks its jerks.)

When I found out about it one of them had not left yet. I confronted her, explained we were saving the best stuff till later and she had to give it back.  She grumped and said it was unfair because she was “a musician.”  A voice in my head said “be careful.”  I ignored it because she impressed me as a pretty pathetic person, and I thought I was just being judgmental.  I persisted firmly but politely and finally she gave it up.  Trying to defuse the situation, I gave her a quick hug.

That was a big mistake.

I immediately started feeling weird in a not good way.  Minutes later a friend involved in Brazilian shamanic work asked me what was wrong as it was obvious to him something was amiss.  (I like Sonoma County for many reasons, and that people like this are around is one of them.)  I explained what had just happened and he did a quick “energy cleansing.”  To no avail. The weirdness persisted and got stronger.

Several of the worst days of my life then ensued, with enormous suicidal depressions coming out of nowhere (depression was my weak suit then, but these were off the chart).  The night after the initial encounter I awakened in a state of deepest bottomless despair, got out of bed, went to my altar, took my athame, a ritual knife that should never draw blood, and started to cut my wrist.  All in a kind of daze.  With a final burst of will at the last minute I said “NO!” out loud. IMMEDIATELY the feeling vanished completely.  No depression, no daze.  Nothing.  I was just standing by my altar in my bedroom.  The feelings of despair and worse vanished as fast as if I had flicked a light switch – only to come back again hours later when I awoke in the morning.  I knew something very bad was up and suspected that the person at the benefit had served as a conduit, one completed with the hug. (I did not think then nor now that she had the capacity to actually work black magick that powerfully.)

Two days later I was returning home from where I had gone for my morning coffee.  I was near tears and having trouble breathing. (Like any good example of a midwestern male of the era, I do NOT cry – but this was different.)   At that moment I saw a guy I had not seen in months walking down the sidewalk towards me. He worked with native American healers on California’s north coast. We met and he asked how I was.

I told him.  He said something had recently been attacking Native American healers, had killed at least one (he did not say how), and then he checked me out.  As soon as he did I was knocked back a couple of feet without having being physically touched.  So I stood against a car.  I couldn’t be knocked through that.  He proceeded to “look.” He said that it was as he had heard about with the native healers – something had taken an energetic swipe out of me through the heart and lungs.  He tried to fix it, and my breathing got markedly easier.

By the time I got home it had become difficult again.

Very alarmed, I built a puja fire in the back yard and did everything I knew to escape a black magick attack.  I called on every ally I had.  Every time I threw some herbs into the flames my body involuntarily lurched towards them.  Eventually the worst of the mental despair and pain went away and did not return – only to be replaced by physical pain.  I could barely raise my arms out above my shoulder.  A couple of days later I went to a Brazilian Umbanda ceremony, seeking aid.  When I approached  before I could say anything the trance medium’s first words were “You are in trouble!”

I answered “I know.”

She did some cleansing and gave me some herbal bath instructions.  The next day I got the herbs, took the bath, and the pain disappeared immediately.  It never returned.

That was been my only major experience with really nasty stuff, and the only one that came close to doing me real harm.  But one was more than enough, and it made me far more conservatives as to what I taught others.  It seems that attacks like this target people who are active in a shamanic sense and targeted where we are already vulnerable.  I was prone to depressions at the time, so that’s where it went.

What was it?

A traditional thought form does not seem likely to me, not that I’m an expert on them.  Assuming my friend who worked with California Indians was right, it was targeting healers.  It had attacked his teacher.  Presumably it looked for ways to get through energy barriers which shamans try to keep in good shape – hence the likely use of when I hugged the woman as a means to get to me.  Was that what happened? I don’t know for sure.  But it fits the pattern of events. And it’s a good story, so I’m sticking with it till a better one arises.

My encounter was either with a thought form of a particularly nasty kind, or it was some other kind of entity that was a kind of astral predator.  It obviously was not common – this is not a day to day kind of thing – but my experience does fit accounts by traditional shamans who say that when you move into serious healing work at that level, it can be dangerous.  So I am inclined to treat my experience as an encounter with the astral equivalent of a major predator, rare but dangerous.

What I took away from the experience was a certainty that warnings and teachings about safety and protection are based on very real dangers, but that these things seem to be rare and are not normally encountered unless someone is doing a lot of work  “out on the astral,” perhaps work of a healing sort.

I hope it’s clear by now that I am not an “it’s all sweetness and light” New Agey Pagan.  I have very personal reasons for not making light of spirit nasties, but neither do they seem to be evidence of any basic realm of ultimate malevolence or evil.  They do not come close to the Christian idea of the devil, or the religious right’s concept of God for that matter (which seems quite demonic to me).

With this preamble establishing my credentials, let’s look at the Christian argument that some ultimately dark evil force exists.

The Absurdity of the Devil

Let me start with a passage from a famous sermon.  What kind of spirit being would fit this description?

[This being contemplates your destruction] “much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire . . . you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours.”

You could be forgiven if you think it a Biblical description of the Devil.  Actually it is a description of his God by Jonathan Edwards, an important early American theologian.

I have always found the common conservative Christian idea of the Devil incomprehensible.  Many people go through a part of their lives where anger and envy are big parts of their motivation, only to eventually come out the other side. I’ve experienced periods like that.  Why should a being many regard as second only to God be caught up in such unpleasant and self-destructive emotions that it cannot do at least as well as many people in seeing the foolishness of this path, and do something about it?  After all it has supposedly had thousands of years to figure it out.

Some Christians say “pride” blinds Satan, preventing spiritual evil from seeing the error of its ways.  But great as it can be, pride only blinds to a degree before the object of its captivation becomes immensely stupid for all intent and purposes. The behavior of many of our ruling elite is an excellent example.  And more than a few people puffed up with pride are clever enough to finally notice when their attitudes have brought them low.  The Bible depicts in advance everything Satan was supposed to do before the “end times.”  I suspect a being widely thought by believers to be second only to God can read.  That being so, if Satan had wanted to obstruct God’s plans, he would have ensured Jesus died in his bed of old age. That would have been easy because all he would have had to do was to do nothing.  Given conservative Christian theology, THAT would have been a victory for the Other Side. If I can figure that tactic out I’d imagine Satan could as well.

The entire concept of Satan as ultimate evil seems to me childish and helps people avoid taking responsibility for themselves.

Real Satanism

I believe the closest analogy to the Christian idea of Satanism in the US is among a great many self-described Christian groups on the Christian right.  They worship a deity that commands total obedience on pain of eternal suffering, has a record of endorsing genocide repeatedly as well as killing members of your own family when they are insufficiently submissive, and claims omnipotence but can only forgive its followers for sins they acquired simply by being born because other humans murdered his sinless son. It plans to destroy the world through immense suffering, even for the newly born and carriers of zygotes, after removing its worshippers to safety. If such a being were a person it would be locked up for life, yet they worship it.

As to their own spiritual practices, they claim to want to protect “human life” when it is a zygote, often even if doing so means the mother will die or give birth to the child by her rapist.  When in political power they demonstrate their real attitude towards human life by cutting prenatal and childhood care programs and urging our engaging in wars without end, wars where many innocent people will die.  Among the innocent victims are women with zygotes. The only people they seem to really care about are those who are not human in any sense that matters.

This monster’s worshippers actually look forward to the violent end of the world during which most of us will suffer incredibly while they look down in “rapture.” Many seek to speed the event up by seeking to fulfill prophecies they think lead to the “end times.”  (All this sounds to me a bit like a description of Chthulu’s minions.)

I doubt that there is an actual independent entity that combines such degrees of nastiness with any great level of power and superhuman intelligence.  But it is likely  a very powerful thought form.  So from my perspective Satanism is alive and well in the US, but not in the way those who preach against it most fervently imagine.

With that statement I want to give a short note on “Satanists” in the occult community. Years ago I read Anton LaVey’s The Satanic Bible. It impressed me as Ayn Rand plus magick. I also have met people who had known him, though I never did.  As with juvenile readers of Ayn Rand, LaVey’s “Satanism” might be therapeutic for some people with a poor sense of themselves, and who want to gain a sense of their own efficacy.  But this would be true if applied only as a brief mental tonic hopefully soon outgrown, again rather like with Rand’s more discerning readers, who liked her for a little while and then outgrew her.  LaVey was hardly evil in the sense of being malignant.

The real Satanists in the popular sense are elsewhere, and far more respectable. Unlike LaVey’s most well known followers they do not have to hide their “religion.” And they dare to call the rest of us servants of or deluded y the Devil.


Any conclusions I draw about the issues of spiritual evil have to be tentative.  I am still learning, and I distrust book learning in these areas. That is why I have given so many personal examples.  They give you the experiential basis for my views.  I do not claim to be an occult tough guy. I suspect a great many are tougher than me and with deeper understanding. That said, certain points seem reliable both with regard to my own experience, and with that of others I know or have heard about.

1. Wiccan circles and such, done competently, are safe. The same is true with other established traditions that have roots in work with the spirit realm, such as experienced traditional Native Americans, Santeria, Candomble, and Voudon.  Less well established approaches depend heavily on the groundedness and good sense of the leaders, and I’d be very cautious.

2. Unless you are a sensitive medium (like “Lark” with Vader) you probably will have no problems with spirit nastiness unless you really go looking for it, and I can think of no intelligent reason to do that. Be intelligent.

3. Ouija boards can lead to wonderful experiences, wastes of time, or terrifying experiences.  They are best left alone unless you are working with people who know about shielding and the like, and who impress you as level headed. They are not a toy.  They appear to increase a sensitive person’s openness a lot, and the more open a person becomes the more good sense they need.  Based on what I have heard, Ouija boards are rarely used with good sense.

4. Basic psychic healing work is mostly safe.  However, as you move beyond working with energy flows and coagulations, with basic ‘chi,’ I think people should do so only after working with someone with considerable experience. My work with a Brazilian shaman was as tough as my getting a PhD at Berkeley. Different, but tough.

5. There are good reasons for the emphasis on safety by good teachers, but the importance of their emphasis gets increasingly important as you get more deeply involved.  Not having anything bad happen is no more a sign of wise actions than making it to the other side while walking across a highway with your eyes closed is a sign that there aren’t cars out there that might hit you. Depends on the car, the driver, their state of mind, and your luck.

6. Sensitivity to this realm does not seem to be correlated with being wise, discerning, or level headed.  Too much sensitivity might push you in the opposite direction unless you can find a teacher or other way to get grounded as to what is happening. If you are sensitive that doesn’t make you superior in any way but that you are sensitive, and in this society that is not necessarily a blessing.  If you are not sensitive that doesn’t make you spiritually slow. The quality of your heart is more important than your sensitivity to mediumship or shamanic skills.

This completes my Beliefnet discussion on the nature of evil in a good world.


(Small stylistic improvements made on 6/11)


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