How I Ended Forced Possession in My Mediumship Group

 

In my local area, the problem of spirits and powers foisting non-consensual slavery on people and individuals experiencing uninvited possession is pretty damn bad. I have been exposed to homes of practitioners who have had to ward their homes so strenuously that I couldn’t walk into them without getting a migraine.
I wanted a non-ward solution for a few reasons.
1. Ow ma head.
2. Warding creates a tolerance effect. Think about it like this: you don’t ward because you expect that the random spirits passing through are going to respect your group and your space. You ward because you believe you need wards to be safe. In a sort of pavlovian way, once you’ve been exposed to the idea of wards, you want to put them everywhere. You feel unsafe without them. Just as fast as your mind can concoct the imagined consequences of a lack of wards, the astral responds to your will, and astral stuff happens in the rough shape of what you are imagining.
3. If I call you over to my house, then lock all the doors and windows so you can’t get in, hang up the phone and start talking to you, who am I talking to? Myself. That’s who I’m talking to. I’m talking to myself. I have been in too many spaces that have warded out the actual deities they wanted to invite in and venerate.
4. Energy naturally circulates. Until you cut yourself off from it. So, if you have a bunch of people doing a devotional, and they are all out off from the natural sources of energy outside the circle, they are mostly tugging on one another’s energy. That energetic dynamic, translated socially, is drama. It’s the constant trying to be the center of attention because it is the only thing that feels spiritual or up-lifting. Your aura, until you start monkeying around with it, is a self-cleaning thing. It’s only when you set off it’s delicate balance by jamming unnatural stuff into it, or wrapping it too tightly, that you are likely to get an infection. Purifications are important, but so is cultivating natural stability.
5. How the hell is it that Jews in synagogues raise all that damned power by chanting divine names, and no one ever gets a negative spirit or something stuck to them? They do not cast circles. They do not use wards (unless you count the mezuzah — though I’d argue that it’s meant to simply be a visible reminder of the tribal contract). People roll in and out during every part of the service. Children run in and out of the sanctuary during services and throw candy wrappers everywhere. And everything is fine. The problem has got to be with our expectations.

My Hypothesis: If I Clearly Communicate The Expectations In The Context To All Humans Involved, The Expectations Will Be Respected By Both Humans and Spirits.

I had my community agree to the following community guidelines and rules, shortly after Pantheacon 2016:

Article I. Divine Affiliations

There are three levels of participation in this contract for spiritual beings. The same levels apply for our dead, the fae, certain spirits of place, spiritual familiars, spirits of various types, dragons, and deities.
1. Acquaintance. This means that you are welcome in our working space, but we will not be doing any active spiritual work with you in the context of the group. You may or may not have devotionals hosted for you, and you may or may not receive offerings.
2. Friend. Once you have proven that you can be trusted to respect our boundaries, we will start to do active spiritual work with you, provided that you desire this. This may include slightly higher woo devotionals, guided meditations, and rituals to purify our individual and group connections to you. This level of participation may or may not involve trance, if individuals have that sort of relationship with you.
3. Patron. Once the group has worked through its filter with you, we will begin to work with you more intensely. This might include private or public trance parties and/or devotionals. If you make it to this level, and you are a Greater Spirit (dragon, deity) we will create an initiation for you, or perhaps several.

Article II. Rules of the Road For Spiritual Beings

Entering into our space implies the following agreement:
  1.  You will not harm anyone in the space
  2. You will not force anyone into anything. You will not force people into contracts or agreements. You will not force people into altered states that were not planned during the session. You will not forcibly possess anyone. You will not initiate any sort of physical or spiritual intimacy that was not asked for.
  3. If you are asked to depart from your channel, do so as quickly and gracefully as you can.
  4. You will obey the terms of short-term contracts that are drafted for the purpose of our workings if you signed them.
  5. You will not follow anyone home unless they specifically verbally state that they wish for you to do so at the event you attended.
  6. Don’t make anyone sick. Do not give them headaches unless you are a deity of headaches, or nausea unless you are a deity of puking. Endeavor, to the best of your ability, to prevent and/or fix this sort of thing.
  7. Do not passive-aggressively tolerate a person’s behavior when they are with us, then maliciously “punish” them later. Use your big kid words instead. We are all adults here.
  8. Do not consume foods that your channel is allergic to. Respect their dietary restrictions and taboos. Do not drink if you are riding a person who is in recovery. Do not take any sort of prescription or illegal drug unless it is specifically stipulated in your short-term contract with your channel.
  9. When you are riding a human, you are a guest in their body. You are a guest in our space. Don’t be rude to your hosts. Don’t demean people. Do not reveal embarrassing information about those whom you are riding. Don’t use their body in a way that they do not want it to be used.
  10. When riding a human, you will not delete the entire contents of their memory for the time that you were present. Please do delete from their memory any private conversations you have with other humans. Likewise, don’t go blurting people’s private business to other humans.
  11. Don’t ride the people responsible for monitoring the channel or the energy of the space.
We reserve the right to suspend rules under certain circumstances, but this can only occur if all present agree to it by a unanimous vote. This can happen quickly, if need be.
If you are invited into our space and subsequently fail to follow these rules, we will investigate whether or not you were responsible, or whether the group or individual filter might be at fault. If you are found to be guilty, or if this happens more than three times, you will not be invited back into the group setting.
There are no acceptable circumstances for violating these rules without discussing it with us. If you have reason to request a suspension of the rules, please signal us by “muppeting” (scream and flail). This will alert us to a problem, and we can listen in more detail. If it’s not important enough to warrant screaming and flailing, it is DEFINITELY not important enough to ask us to break the rules for.
As an aside, we have never, not once, even had a *request* that our rules be changed or suspended. As a Universalist Polytheist group, there were Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern, Irish, Gaulish, and Norse deities involved over the course of that year. We worked with deities who are, elsewhere in the community, reputed to frequently violate people’s consent. There was not one complaint of any kind. NOT ONE.
In short: none of the gods had some grand spiritual need to do us harm. All of them were willing to play ball once the expectations were clearly articulated. 

Article III. Rules of the Road For Humans

The humans in the group are also responsible to one another.
  1. Respect no. If, for any reason, a person says no to participating in a ritual, having a particular experience, being touched, or consuming any substance, that “no” will be respected.
  2. Respect yes. We are not here to second-guess each other’s life choices or spiritual paths. If a person is in a consensual relationship with any sort of entity, we must respect that choice.
  3. Be honest. If you are non-amnesiac during full possession, please disclose that to the group. If you are not sure who you are channeling, or whether you are actually channeling, please let us know. We are here to help each other with that sort of thing. If you anticipate a problem with an activity or exercise, tell us. If you are having strong emotions and think they might be coloring your perceptions, tell us.

Article IV. SIGNS OF DISTRESS

  1. If, during a trance session, the body scratches its left wrist with the first two fingers of the right hand, that means that whatever is riding them needs to leave.
  2. If you are feeling overwhelmed by energy and need help grounding, raise your hand.

Results: Problems Extinguished… Unless We Had Guests

For a number of months, we had a stable group with no additions and no subtractions, and we had no problems.

The very first time we added someone new, she began to experience a spirit being pushy about carrying. I scolded the spirit, saying, “I don’t know who you are, and I don’t want to know. But that is how you get yourself banned from this group. Back off, or I might get curious about your identity, and add you to the no-fly list.”

Whoever it was backed off immediately and without hesitation. I had the new person read the contract, and we rolled along without any incident.

Until more new people came in. This time, one of the old-time members was feeling some unidentified spirit push to be carried.

“No.” I told the spirit, “This is not trance mediumship time. We ban people for violating our boundaries.” Again, whoever it was backed off. And so we shared the contact with our guests, too, and the problem, again, ceased.

In other words, when new people brought their old expectations in, it generated problems such as we see elsewhere in the community. The problem is cultural.  

In future, we plan to simply read the terms of service to people right after they walk in the door. 

Conclusion 1: Spiritual entities try to ride humans to get attention and forge relationships. If it is made clear that the group has no qualms about putting spirits, deities and powers on the “no fly” list for certain behaviors, those behaviors will not be evident in the context. 

Conclusion 2: **Whether or not the humans have been made aware of the rules for spiritual beings mattered. New deities did not need the rules read for them so long as there were no new people. New people brought a change in the way spiritual entities manifested. Acculturating the humans profoundly changes the apparent behavior of deities, powers, and other spiritual beings.** IE, this rape culture nonsense is definitely filter.

 

9 comments

  1. mirron91

    That’s really interesting, and it makes a ton of sense. It just fits based off of what I observe in general. I think what is most interesting is how the filters impact spirits in terms of personality and such beyond the nature of consent. Like… hard to explain, but just their opinions on things, things like that. There are certain central things that stay consistent, but there are other things that are more flexible.

    Finding it hard to word, but it’s an interesting effect is the best I can say.

    • Thenea

      Yeah, sometimes I think it is hard for deities to express how they experience the world to us.

      Does a deity mean, “I like beer” or “I like the emotions and personality characteristics you associate with beer”? Do they mean, “I dislike being in a space you didn’t purify with khernips,” or instead, “I dislike how you behave and approach me during rituals where you have pointedly decided not to do this.”?

    • Thenea

      A related effect, and very telling: Look at my Hymns page. Not all of those deities were deities I had good working relationships with at the time the hymn was written. As soon as I dove in and wrote about their best qualities, those were the qualities that were suddenly emphasized in my interactions with them.

      • mirron91

        This is definitely much closer to what I was thinking of. I was thinking back to experiences I had read about people working with spirits that are… for lack of a better term, highly polarizing. The differences seemed really stark, and the personal element, the filter influencing it all makes sense. It’s a bit overwhelming to try and grasp, it’s why I really appreciate these examples.

  2. crow

    I think some of this has to do with setting boundaries. A ward is just an indiscriminate boundary. Just like our relationships with people, a healthy person has solid and clear self-boundaries; this strength then allows them to have selective permeability to allow functional and meaningful intimacy with others. Sometimes in an emotional crisis a person might “block” everything because they need to take space to protect themselves, but it is always temporary. With the damaging parts of our culture currently, a lot of people are in need of learning the skills of self-boundary, and to heal the causes of damaged and dysfunctional boundaries (be they too weak or too solid). I’d say this is exactly the same thing on a spiritual level. (Which makes sense of course.)

  3. Limnaia

    This is fascinating. I’ve always wondered why I don’t need to ward my home or person as assiduously as many people I know. I always assumed it was because I am on the less sensitive end of the psychic spectrum and just less attractive to mess with.

    Now I wonder if it’s because the first thing I did when I moved in was address any spirits who may have been in the vicinity, offer energy/drink/food and explain I was the new owner, anyone who wanted to try building a working relationship was welcome to, but that these were my ground rules for remaining, these were the potential consequences of disregarding them and this was their warning to go away if they didn’t like it, with the offering as a farewell dinner of sorts, and that if anyone remained and then caused trouble, I’d feel justified whipping out the biggest guns in my arsenal to get them out of my family’s home.

    Five years, never so much of a whisper of a problem, and the house spirits are some of the strongest working relationships I have.

  4. aoibheall52

    Do you think that the deities behave as they do in relation our expectations? We expect Hermes to be a certain way, and in order for us to recognize him as Hermes he acts /looks that way? I was wondering if the expectations of the newcomers caused the deities to act out, in order to be recognizable. Also, I wondered if it was otherwise law abiding deities or new deities who came in with the newcomers who did the forcing. I hope I’m making sense – we just arrived in our next home and I’m frazzled.

    • Thenea

      Well, we can reason it out.

      We’ve got to start by assuming that all people, spirits and deities are rational actors, to some degree. Whether or not they are good or fair or virtuous, they follow their incentives.

      I could see a deity saying, “Hey, I don’t want to hurt anyone, but this world needs my message. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.”

      It’s less easy to imagine a deity saying, “I know that this will get me zero name recognition, and that if anyone finds out it was me, I will be immediately de-prioritized, and other deities who don’t do shit like this will get stuff and I will get nothing…. but what the hell! Hurting people is fun!”

      Any actual deity who has worked with us in the past knows the score. They know we won’t tolerate it. They know we won’t let them talk. They know that we’ll be less likely to work with them in the future. They know that there are lots of gods, and that we have no qualms sliding the requests of consent-violators to the bottom of the pile, and that the requests of rapists get put in the circular filing cabinet. Being recognized isn’t a part of it. They got no recognition out of it, because I didn’t even bother investigating who it was. I never will. Mentioning a Name is powerful motivation to do something. It’s why I don’t.

      Whatever it was, though, in neither case was it energetically radiant. Likewise, at devotionals I have been to where the deities are described as “not giving a crap about humans” and also simultaneously as being wont to force people to worship them, the entities radiated nothing or absorbed energy from the mortals. The violatey ones are of a type. I’m happy just labeling them “kakoi” and being dine with it.

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