Drawing Down the Spirits, 12-13










Keeping the Community







Keeping the Community


pp. 239-40, 242 a personal account (by ShD of becoming spirit-possessed by an unidentifiable (p. 243) unpleasant spirit [evidently not by "Damballah, the great white serpent who straddles heaven and earth" (p. 239), for "When Damballah comes in possession, He never speaks." (p. 240)]

p. 239

"I was participating in the dancing and ... songs ..., when I found myself starting to trance, and my

p. 240

limbs starting to numb. I could feel the port/base of my skull starting to tingle ..., and my chin lifted upward, and my arms lifted ... . I began to lean back, and back further still ... . I found my eyes rolling back, and a distinct breathing change -- heavy, rhythmic ... . ...

The Being or Beast came in ... . ... I could see, but only sporadically ... . ... I raced about on my belly, hissing and snapping my teeth".

p. 242

"It took me about six months after the incident ... to heal properly. ... I had injuries to my heart chakras, down to my root {Mula} (which was enflamed ...)."

p. 243 "[R.K.] eventually did some heavy shamanic work on [ShD] to clean up the mess left when someone gets forcibly entered without preparation."

pp. 243-5 how to evade being suddenly invaded by an unidentifiable unpleasant spirit while conducting a spirit-possession caerimony in a milieu of unrelated Pagan ritual invocations

p. 243

"This fet ... was held in the middle of a Pagan festival, in a site that had seen hundreds of ritual calling down

p. 244

... the Unseelie Court ... . Some of these rites had happened literally earlier in the day ... . ... Before you do any rite involving [spirit-]possession in a ... place ... that has been used at any time in the past week for [praeternatural-]energy-raising purposes, take precautions. Talk to the land-spirits ..., and ward, ward, ward. ... Check with the gods and spirits before doing any ritual where They might be present. ...

The next year, the same rite was done at the same Pagan gathering ... . First, the space was cleaned, cleared, and warded by the staff ... . Divination was done to see what else might be needed ... .

p. 245

... It was an open pavilion ... cleared, cleansed, and warded ... . ... One individual did start to act strangely ... . It turned out that he had a small guardian spirit who inhabited him ... . When one of the lwa, in another body, noticed it and called it forth, it became frightened and took over his body, trying to flee."

p. 247 calling attention to diversity in Neo-Paganism

"point out that one of the beautiful things about Neo-Paganism is its great diversity, with many different sects and traditions ... .

There are groups who work skyclad {such as Digambara Jaina-s} and those who don't;

there are apolitical groups and those who build their rituals around civil disobedience;

there are ones that are high-ceremony formal and those who are earthy and loose;

there are polytheist, pantheist, and archetypist groups."

pp. 248-9 [according to Heathen spirit-worker G.K.] conveniences for the possessee while entring into, during, and immediately after deity-possession

p. 248

"In terms of etiquette for witnessing : do not interrupt a possession. It [interrupting] can cause damage to the [possessee] to have the process broken off abruptly before the deity is fully seated. ...

Some people have a hard time getting out of possession, not just getting into it. There are techniques to help bring a person back ... .

For me, calling my name,

{This may explain why deities who are assisting a person to exit a dream may call out the person's name while that person is involved in the process of entring the waking-world.}

touching me while calling my name (just touching or eating won't ... do it because ... deities will put me

p. 249

extremely far under so they can eat and drink and touch while in my body), and removing ritual regalia often help. Know that when the deity is physically present {viz., present in the material body of the possessee}, you are standing on holy ground {because the deity is temporarily sanctifying even the very ground}. ...

After the deity departs, many {possessees} will have no memory of what happened, or at best only the vaguest of memories."

pp. 250-1 enraged deities

p. 250

"If angered, the gods are capable of doing you gross spiritual and bodily harm. Depending on the deity, it can also be easier than you expect to anger them. ... InAfrican-diaspora faiths, and in existent Paleo-Pagan religions (and, for that matter, ancient European pagan cultures), ... God and spirits could cause damage, and

the tales all tell of how lack of knowledge of the rules didn't count for anything. ...

{Ignorance of the law is no excuse (no legal defense) against being convicted for violating it.}

Do everything in your power to keep your spirit guests happy. Be aware of and honor their quirks ... . ...

Good worshippers are hard to come by".

p. 251

[Heathen spirit-worker G.K. ] "Yes, gods can come angry. ... My experience with a totally amnesiac possession occurred with a very angry goddess -- in my case, the Morrigan. While this hasn't happened often ... it can and does occur. ... I have never once experienced or witnessed a possession that did not have beneficial results, including the experience with the Morrigan."

pp. 251-2 [according to Heathen spirit-worker G.K.] the emotive effect on spectators of witnessing a caerimony of spirit-possession

p. 251

"I was invited to horse Gerda {Gerda} at a public ritual while another spirit-worker was horsing her husband Frey.This ... time I really understood ... that for the majority of people, this is the only time they will ... see two deities interacting with each other. It's not like being a shaman or spirit worker, where the gods are an almost constant presence. After that rite, I had people telling me what a

p. 252

profoundly moving experience it had been and what a tremendous impact it had on them.

{Surely the people who told of this were expecting to receive some great blessing from the divine couple involved as a reward for so flattering that divine couple.}

Prior to that, I'd always done possessory work because this was what the gods required of me. It was a service to the gods. It never ... occurred to me to consider that impact it might have ... from the human perspective."

p. 252 [according to Heathen spirit-worker G.K.] greatness of [possessing-]deities

"The gods are real.

They do not owe us anything. ...

They have every right to demand things of us. ...

They are bigger than we are.

They are stronger than we are.

They cannot be controlled by us."

pp. 254-5 mindfulness of appurtenances of deity, and of that deity's pertinent epithet, in conducting a public caerimony of deity-possession

p. 254

"let's imagine that ... the god Odin {O`dinn} is to be invoked into a willing {possessee}. Divination has been done and the omens checked, and Odin {O`dinn} is pleased with the time and the place ... . The priest or priestess running the rite has ... to check and see what .. food, drink ... Odin {O`dinn} likes, ... by research and ... by contacting other groups who have brought him through. However, ... Odin {O`dinn} has many heiti, or titles ... . If you don't specify, you'll get

p. 255

whatever ..., ... not ... what the priest or priestess had in mind, especially if they are {he or she is} looking to give the congregation feelings of reverence and devotion, and not merely terror."

pp. 256-7 peculiarity of Gnostik spirit-possession

p. 256

"Some Gnostic magical groups ... have very strict boundaries around divine possession. In their rites, the deity is allowed to come down through a particular chosen priest or priestess, but may do nothing but beam their energy out over the crowd. They may not speak, or perhaps speak only once, and

p. 257

they may not get up and walk around. ... Obviously, it must be good enough for some of them, because they never lack for deities {the >lohi^m?} to come and beam their energy out."

pp. 258-61 Goetik invitations to spirits

p. 258

"Vodouisants (and followers of many other traditions) believe that we are all surrounded by spirits -- and that ... those spirits take a direct, personal interest in us. Whether ... we believe in them is of no consequence; they believe in us. If you have worked with magic .... the "archetype" or "egregore" you work with may very well be a spirit being. ...

p. 259

If you've summoned entities using books like the Goetia and various Necronomicons,

p. 260

you may want to take some time for purifications, fumigations, and general banishings before attending a [spirit-]possession ritual. ...

Still others have been exposed to the various strains of "Faery" magic and have become acquainted with the Good Folk ..., while the Fae are notorious for separating people from their bodies, then failing to bring them back. ...

p. 261

Carefully warding the area of a rite ... will not keep out a spirit whose right to enter is tied to an audience member. In other words, if someone walks in with an indwelling spirit ... whom they have formally given the right ..., it will pass your wards. (In the event that your wards are formatted in such a way as to keep out such spirits, they would also exclude the human beings who carry them or the relationship to them. ...)"

p. 265 how to refer to personal revelations about the nature of deities

"The transmissions and suggestions received from divine sources have become known in many circles as Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis or Unverified Personal Gnosis -- or, for short, UPG. ...l Some folks are now referring to the concept of Peer-Corroborated Personal Gnosis, or PCPG. PCPG happens when you discover that others have independently arrived at UPGs that resemble your own."

p. 266 incompatible same-sex rival-pairs of deities

"In Lukumi, Oya and Yemanja are never allowed to appear together,

nor are Ogun and Chango. ...

Similar conflicts ... in other religions : Ares and Hephaistos ... over Aphrodite, while

only the most foolhardy will call Loki and Heimdall

or Set {SWTH^} and Horus {H.R} to the same event."

p. 273 how to address an unidentified deity

"If you don't know what sort of deity you've got, address them as "My Lord" or "My Lady" ... or at the least, ... "Honored Guest" or "Sacred One.""





p. 276 deities who smite, and/or lay claim to, particular mortals

"deities can be offended. ... .

... belief is not required in order to receive a smiting, although ... deity X might take your actions as offering yourself to be their servant, and they might just show up and claim you. Among some pantheons, mimicking a god for the public is lawfully offering yourself to that god, and they might just show up and make it a reality -- and then you won't be able to back out, because you put the sign on your forehead."

pp. 283-5 viewing deity-possession with 2nd-sight (psychic seeing-ability)

p. 283

"If you do have the Sight, god-possession is hard to miss. The human standing before you no longer has a human aura. Some gods shine

p. 284

so brightly that it's been described as trying to stare at something too bright to bear with the eyes.

Some (especially some death-gods) are like black holes.

{A goddess (not an aura) did once (in B., GA) appear standing immediately in front of me (only about a foot away, in the kitchen of our trailer) so very black that no surface-features of her body were at all visible; only the outline of her body (smaller than even my mother) was visible. I immediately assumed that she was black goddess Kali, and concerned myself (assuming that she could read my thoughts) with wishing for her welfare (figuring as I did, that that would be what she would expect to her from me in order to please her). [This occurred not long before I left the woman (L.E.) with whom had been cohabited for some years, when I was planning to do so and to come to C., SC, instead.]}

Some gods have auras that expand out ten feet or more in radius around the body that they are wearing. Some of the really older and less human-personal gods have auras so large that they may take in an entire field or woods {forest}, which may look at first glance as if the body is simply standing around with no aura at all, until you look further and notice how huge the situation is. Those who can't See have described the sensation of being near someone who is god-possessed as "standing right next to an electric fence turned way up." Some particularly talented spirit-workers have described how they looked at the horse and their Sight "telescoped out" to see the figure of that god "through" the physical body."

p. 285 quaestion as to whether theatrical-style acting-out as if a deity were in possession of a person may be useful or a valid act of piety

"Still another ... is having someone with the Sight who does a lot of energy healing to take a look at the {alleged possessee}'s astral body".

"If ... it becomes clear that the alleged possessee} had no rider {manifest deity praesent}, ... Remind them that faked possessions are bad form and that the spirits find them insulting. {Is this assumption "that the spirits find them insulting" based on some form of evidence -- the authors cite no such evidence --, or is it pure conjecture? Could it not be more insulting for the the deities to be manipulated to be forced into mortals' bodies, than for such to be merely acted out theatrically?} ... it is more tactful to tell them that you are assuming for overenthusiasm ... ."

{If the allegation of deity-possession be part of an effort to induce a deity to arrive (in some which mode) by acting as if the deity were already praesent, then this would merely be the same method as it usually and customarily employed in most commonplace religious rites, where there is no indication that a deity is praesent nor noticing the rite, but where it is assumed that if the participant[s] act as if the deity were noticeably praesent, then the deity will be pleased with this attitude, and will enact a blessing in accordance with the saying "Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have believed". (It may be wise in such cases to specify as part of the rite that such is what is being done, and to ask as part of the prayer that the deities grant favor on the basis of faith in the absence of noticing the deities' manifest praesence.)}

{If the deities are actually invoked in order to accomplish some subversive insurrectionary scheme, it would be unwise to requaest that they (the deities) demonstrate their praesence, for such a demonstration could provoke a hostile government (against which the rite-scheme is being performed) to take some drastic action against the subversive-insurrectionist ritualists, who would otherwise likely be simply ignored by the government. The reason why witches were violently suppressed by goverments in mediaeval Europe was that they demonstrated manifestations of employment of supernatural powers for the intended overthrow of government -- whereas if they had not demonstrated such, they would have simply been ignored by governments (instead of being violently suppressed).}

p. 287 can ordinary people consider themselves shamans?

"For thousands of years, ... prospective shamans did everything they could to avoid the profession and became shamans only when they had no other choice.

Today, anyone who can afford to buy a few books and attend a couple of workshop can become a self-proclaimed shaman.

{That which it doth mean is that they are (think of themselves as, consider themelves to be) admirers of actual shamans. This high degree of admiration for actual shamans is, in and of itself, commendable.}

That doesn't mean that they have actually made contact with the spirit world".

{In shamanistic parlance, the spirit-world is the dream-world, so that anyone having dreams (along with, of course, having high regard for dreaming) is a little bit of a shaman already.}

p. 291 aspecting (Pagan spirit-worker A.)

"I've seen so-called possessions where the individual was just aspecting and didn't know the difference. ... Aspecting -- bringing the energy of the deity through while acting as the deity -- ... gives people a ritual focus, and if they speak to the person who is aspecting that god, the god does listen and hear them".

pp. 292-3 possible degrees of consciousness during spirit-possessions by African deities

p. 292

"both the authors of this book have had possessions that created total unconsciousness, and also possessions where there was some sort of partial consciousness. We are both convinced that the latter sort were just as real as the former, due largely to our clear ... awareness of the Presence ... taking the steering wheel in our heads while we were relegated to the backseat."

p. 293

"elder priests and priestesses claim that someone who is initiated to Asogwe {Asogbe} level (the highest rank in Vodou) will never completely lose consciousness during a possession, even though the lwa has complete controf their body."

pp. 294-6 possible degrees of consciousness during spirit-possessions by European and by Levantine deities

p. 294

"many European deities seem to enter more slowly, and may or may not entirely "black out" their mount, depending on their particular proclivities. ... Some Western deities prefer to have the body to themselves; some are fine with the {possessee} being somewhat conscious so long as they don't interfere; some will even talk to the {possessee} in the backseat while "driving" their body ... . ...

p. 295

We've noticed that it's common for a deity to block out the hearing of a {possessee} while the god is speaking one-to-one to someone else, because it is private and not for the {possessee}'s ears.

Certainly for weddings of deities with their mortal spouses, the {possessee} is as a matter

of course "stuck in the trunk.""

{This would apply to weddings of deities with mortals other than the mortal being then

possessed by those deities.}

[Pagan spirit-worker F.T.] "If the gods have come for a specific purpose, either because they are being honored in some ritual sense or because they have a specific message to give to someone, I rarely have any memory of what happened. ... I could see the mouths move, and I can occasionally hear what the god is saying back, but it doesn't stay with me."

[Pagan spirit-worker W.T.] "Loki was an interesting ride in that I had pretty much no warning beforehand. ... He tossed me in the trunk ..., and left me there. ... The Loki rides left me feeling more crazy than they usually do, because of the suddenness of it, and also because of something in Loki's energy.

I {was possessed by} Ba<al once, but it was very intense. ... It took me a lot more work to let go enough to let Ba<al come in, and once he was in, I totally lost all awareness of anything. ...

p. 296

One thing that stands out with him is that he left me with difficulty of talking for [some] time, as he spoke in a voice very different from my own, and it tore up my throat."

p. 296 "partnered" spirit-possessions

"the folks who are full-time spirit-workers, in service to their religious communities and in constant communication with a variety of deities and spirits as allies, helpers, and masters, may have an experience that is more "aware" and "partnered," especially when the deity or spirit is one of "their own," so to speak. By "partnered" we are ... referring to ... an experience where the deity establishes a connection, warns them that they {he or she} is coming, allows them to open properly, moves into them with ... grace ..., and then may actually communicate with them while riding their body, separately from anything that is happening to the body or outside world.

p. 296 not all spirit-workers are possessees

"Of course, not all -- [n]or even most -- spirit-workers are {possessees}, and {becoming possessed} is not a test of being a spirit-worker (or shaman ..., seidhworker, volva, vitki, ...). Real spirit-workers show who they are by their other works, and if they are {possessees}, that is only one of many responsibilities."

p. 297 being "altered" by spirits, as to possessibility

"Those who are {possessees} have sometimes reported having been astrally "altered" by their spirits so as to be more easily possessed, or in some cases less easily possessed by anything except their particular patrons. However, all report that in those cases when they were partially conscious, it was clear that they had been "allowed" to be so by the possessing deity."

pp. 297-8 peculiar expectations by deities of extinct religions for spirit-possession

p. 297

"Just as different gods goddesses of disparate pantheons may have varied attitudes on, for example, whether or not to take a nonconsenting human as a god-slave (the Netjer {/NTR/ in usual transliteration, aequivalent to S^emitic /NS`R/, Akkadian deity >ans`ar} place a high value on consent and won't forcibly take a person who refuses, whereas some of the Norse gods seem to take veritable glee in grabbing up anyone it is lawful for them to take ...), they may also differ on what boundaries are appropriate for possession. These boundaries seem to be based largely on what was done in the time before the

p. 298

thousand-or-so-year {1000-year for Norse, but some 2000-year for Kemetic and for Hellenic} gap of lost worship and lost connection; ... with little attention (or caring) paid to that gap of continuity."

p. 299 "A community always has the option of praying -- and if it [be] a public prayer, so much the better -- [in order] that it be shown, as a group, the best ways to honor its gods and to make plain their presence".


Kenaz Filan & Raven Kaldera : Drawing Down the Spirits : the Traditions and Techniques of Spirit Possession. Destiny Bks, Rochester (VT), 2009.