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Psychic Self-Defense Paperback – March 1, 2001
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Top Customer Reviews
If you want to read an excellent first hand account of psychic attack, and the development and mistakes of an occultist, then read Dion Fortune. She is great, the writing is wonderful and witty. She gives tons of information, and she was one of the first people to write on the topic. I recommend this book for those reasons. Plus the stories of her experiences in the beginning of the book are fascinating to say the least.
Much of her work here hints at a magickal or occult theory of mental illness; there are attempts here to offer magical explanations and occult treatment for people whose psyches are under attack (whether from within or without).
However, Fortune is far more practical than a number of modern writers; the glamorous supernatural approaches aren't emphasized at the expense of the prosaic stuff that works.
Among other recommendations, she suggests that people troubled by psychic attack stop their magickal work, take a vacation, and spend their time in mundane pursuits. (She recommends Charlie Chaplin movies, a reminder of just how long this book's been kicking around). And it's far more palatable than "Stop whining and forget the whole thing," because Fortune's able to provide a sound magickal theory that explains why, precisely, watching Charlie Chaplin ought to do the trick.
There are downsides. It's incredibly Christian in perspective, and it's colored by Fortune's intense aversion to anything Aliester Crowley ever did. And it's too dated to serve as a primary guide for dealing with the delicate space between magick and psychology/psychiatry, since both fields have changed enormously in seventy years.
All that aside, it was worth digging through the attic for.
Psychic Self Defense is a prime example of both Fortune's strengths and weaknesses. The book contains a great deal of good information and advice as to what one should do if they suspect an occult assault of some kind. Thankfully, it also includes a warning to avoid jumping to conclusions. Really, most of the information on how to deal with the attack is spot-on and very useful.
It's the part where she illustrates where these attack are likely to come from that makes one cringe inwardly. Fortune's repeated insistance that the "witch-cult" is behind a large number of these assaults is annoying at first and completely laughable by the end. The fact that she cites Montegue Summers as a reliable source should tell you something. Her argument is based on the assumption that any occultist not approved by the Masonic Brotherhood of Holy Innefable Ango-Saxon Tea-Totalers (or the Knights Who Say NEEE! as it were) is automatically a member of the "Left Hand Path", and thus to be suspected and avoided. That and "there can not have been so much smoke (during the witch hunts) if there hadn't been a fire". This is the sort of statement for which the word "sophistry" was invented. What is completly bewildering is that Fortune never accuses the Mideval Church of any sort of psychic wrongdoing. Creating an entity (Satan) and impregnating it with your repressed sexual desires, mobid fears, and prejudices in order to enslave an entire civilization seems like a psychic attack to me, but I could have misinterpreted.
There are mainy statements in this book, about Africans, Indians, and even (for crying out loud) Buddhists, that are just plain racist. The story of her encounter with the "Occult Police" implies that British Imperialism in India was justified.
It is a shame that good information has to be buried under such a heap of total garbage. Luckily, Fortune is in spite of it all, a superb writer. She is quite witty when she wants to be, and a very good storyteller. This redeems the work in many places, and keeps you reading where you might not if her prose were inferior.
I would reccomend this book just for the information on the signs of an unscrupulous organization, which are farily prosaic and common sense. Much can be learned, if you just tune out the static and listen for what rings true.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Also, fantastic and very useful book