I wrote a blog recently about the High Priestess and it was all sexy and delved into realm of dance and evoking instinct through the senses – the play between reader and client which doesn’t usually come up in books on Tarot. Now that’s all well and good, but of course the other side of this trump is that the High Priestess is also, of course, extremely spiritual in a way which has nothing at all to do with sexuality. And that, my friends, is what I have been contending with lately. I say ‘contending’ because this aspect is much harder for me to connect with in some ways – as it requires dedicated commitment and discipline, both of which I unfortunately lack in abundance.But when you are travelling the path of spirit, you cannot avoid forever those challenges which are part of the journey – they will always come up in some form or other and won’t go away until you face the truth of what they are trying to teach you.
My wake-up call came most unexpectedly in the form of an intense experience at work last week. I had gone into work feeling happy and high in energy, looking forward to a day of serving in the shop and working with the lovely Mia, open to whatever and whomever came in for some magic or fun. Now, working in a witchy shop, you always get a wide variety of people, from the curious tourists to the deep and dedicated pagans. Each and every person who comes into the shop has a different energy, and for me, personal energy is so real and I tune into it so instinctively, that it is almost tangible. Over the years I have learned to identify and adapt to so many different people’s vibration that I can usually work with them, choosing accordingly how much to open up or close off depending on what I’m picking up. It’s like having a finely tuned antennae, and it is what I use when I am reading. It is a crucial part of the High Priestess, of intuition (tuition = learning and wisdom) and insight (sight=vision beyond the mundane or superficial appearance). Most people operate within a fairly normal range of energy, and when you connect to them with a high vibration of friendliness and open-heartedness, will automatically rise to match your own. It can be as simple as smiling genuinely at someone and sending them love or warmth, and usually it is highly effective. However, this applies to most people, not ALL people, and in the mix you always get your share of the seriously deranged. And unfortunately, dark or low energies are often attracted to you when you are full of light and good energy, like a moth to the flame.
You can usually tell within the first minute of meeting one of these people of dark energy that something is not right, and with this particular woman, it took only about ten seconds. As she walked into the shop she immediately focused on me and locked her gaze intensely into mine. There is a huge difference between someone just looking at you, and when someone intensely locks you in – it is a demand, an invasion, rather than an invitation to connect. Normally I would cut off immediately and move completely out of the vicinity of such a person, as it feels to me akin to being physically held against my will. However, in the shop, this is not an option, so as she approached I decided just to handle it as it came, and work around it as best as I could. Without hesitating she said she had come in to get a binding spell and proceeded to tell me that she was a very powerful witch who had descended from a long line of other witches and they had all been waiting for her birth because of a whole list of reasons I didn’t really hear because the alarm bells in my head were so loud. I took a deep breath and as she showed no signs of pausing, but was intent on continuing to unload her royal witch bloodline history on me, interrupted her politely to advise she get a personal spell made up at the Dispensary when it was open next week, as there was no spell in the shop that fitted her needs, and as she could see, the shop was full of people waiting to be served. One of the most common signs of this kind of energy is that these people have no awareness of others except as it suits them. They exist in some sort of toxic bubble in which their reality is the only one that counts.
I hoped at this point that she would leave the shop, but of course she didn’t. Instead, she started questioning Mia and myself as to the meaning and symbolism of whatever she found – then arguing about it and trying to prove how much more informed she was about everything. Ridiculous. When she yelled across the shop at me whilst I was talking to another customer, asking me which St Catherine the talismans represented, because there were over 40 St Catherines, and only one of them had any real power, and blah blah blah, I felt the back of my neck burn so hot that I knew I had to physically remove myself from her presence. I told her I didn’t have a clue, I wasn’t Catholic, (and mentally, that I didn’t give a shit) and excused myself to go upstairs. My heart was beating so fast, and I felt so angry that her energy was getting to me. When your body starts physically giving you such strong signals, you know you are dealing with a challenge on the psychic/spiritual level – the only trouble is, you often don’t know what it’s exactly about, or how to deal with it. I took some deep breaths, and visualized myself in white light and asked for protection. I know I’m strong, but I felt like somehow this woman had found a weakness or ‘entry point’ into my energy, and it had thrown me. I felt emotionally vulnerable though I wasn’t sure why or how this had happened. I didn’t believe this woman was stronger than me, in fact I thought she was mentally ill, but whatever it was about her, it was getting to me, and part of me was panicking. I tried to center myself and went back downstairs.
Of course, she was still there, and as soon as I came back down she tried to engage my attention again, even though Mia was serving her. It is an interesting fact that when it comes to energy vampires and psychic attack, they will inevitably attempt to get some emotional response from those they want to ‘feed’ from. The art of remaining detached and unaffected when this is happening to you is one which I realized I need to cultivate right then and there. As I served another customer, I could hear her saying how there were no turtles in this jar of talismans, and that was baaaad luck, a very bad omen. The seriously deranged are prone to intense superstition – and if they have a penchant for magic, it’s just fatal. Their vortex of fear and negativity knows no bounds. I could feel her presence behind me, sending out poison cords into my energy field and again, the heat rose in my body and especially the back of my neck ( a strong ‘entry point’). Then I heard her say – and it was almost like an intimate whisper, which made it all the more creepy- “You are very passive aggressive.”
I can tell you right now that the “passive” part was about to go. What I wanted to do more than anything was push this bitch physically out of the shop right then and there. When I think about it now, it seems like the classic temptation of the hero in so many myths, when the forces of evil offer us power – and we so want to crush, kill and destroy. (“Come to the Dark Side, Luke!) But to do so is to have lost the battle, because the enemy is not embodied in another, it is actually within our very self, is part of our shadow, and the very reason it effects us so much is that it reflects or mirrors this part of our own being. Just like Harry Potter, who had a piece of Lord Voldemort in him, representing his shadow and over which he had to triumph as part of his quest for true freedom. If we give in to it, the power is so great that it becomes impossible to control – myths warn over and over again how addictive this kind of power can be – and also how it ultimately will consume us, because we are working with the energy of hate, anger and fear. Moreover, to kill off the thing that is attacking us will only give temporary relief, but is bound to re-emerge in another form later. It is the kind of energy that just finds a body to work through, but is not actually inherent in that being. Our lesson is to learn how to deal with it, to use our tools or abilities to handle it without emotionally succumbing. As I said, to remain detached and centered and calm would have been my victory.
Alas, I can’t say I came out of the encounter as the victorious High Priestess of incredibly awesome power and self-control. I did ignore the comment, but when I went back behind the counter and she was still standing there just staring into me, refusing to budge, I turned to her and said, “Okay, you can stop doing that energy shit to me and leave the shop now.” There’s nothing like this kind of sentence to instantaneously hush the thronging masses, it’s almost as if a spotlight comes down from above and there you are, center-stage, all pumped up with adrenalin and wildly improvising the Theater of the Absurd. I didn’t feel particularly strong, it was more like a weird mix of anger and fear (later, Mia had said I looked like a rabbit with a fox about to attack me. Not exactly the heroic vision I’d have chosen for myself…) The woman’s response was mock horror (or maybe real shock, who knows? Who cares?) as she started telling me how she had always thought she could come to other witches in her time of need, but look what she got instead – she’d never felt so hurt in her life! She then proceeded to paraphrase her dead grandmother who had warned her against “people like me”. Really, I said, well you’d better get out of here then. Even as she backed out the door, she would not stop looking at me with those swampy dark eyes, shaking her head the whole time.
The thing is, when you get drawn into any kind of negative exchange like this, especially when you are in the psychic industry, it is as though you take on the other person’s energy. If they get to you, they’re in – and even if it’s just that you are thinking about them, they can have a hold over you. Part of the discipline then becomes not to think about them, to cleanse yourself and your mind of the whole thing. As my wise friend, the Cat Woman, said to me, “They only have power if you let them.” Simple but true indeed. Part of me was worried that this woman was exactly the kind of person who would seek revenge by casting some spell or hex, but if I went down that path of worrying about it, I knew very well that I’d eventually end up just like her, a victim, convinced the world was somehow against her, thinking I needed binding spells and protection spells forever against the endless stream of enemies in my own head. It is the way of lunacy, not enlightenment, to get tangled in the occult in this way. It is the kind of darkness that holds no appeal to me whatsoever. It is the swamp of no return.
So, anyway, I write this not to re-hash the experience, but to expose it and analyze it for the benefit of others who encounter similar energies. There is a lot of talk and a million books on psychic attack and defense, and it is wise to know how energy works between people and within your own self, but I think it is imperative to remember the still, calm nature of the High Priestess as she sits between the black and white pillars of knowledge and experience, of instinct and reason. Grounding oneself in reason is a fine antidote to the terrors of unknown possibilities and the potential manifestation of our own fears. To harbor resentment or anger towards this woman would not serve me well, on the contrary it would keep me connected with her. What I choose to do instead is to thank her for playing her role so well in waking me up to the fact that I need to do some work on myself, most notably in the form of daily meditation – a practice very much associated with the High Priestess, but one which I have been neglecting for too long. The deep inner work of the soul, opening up to higher energies and learning new skills so the next encounter won’t be quite so disarming.