“It is with a sense of the seriousness of the issues involved that I set myself to the task of writing a book on psychic attack and the best methods of defence against it. The undertaking is beset with pitfalls.
It is hardly possible to give practical information on the methods of psychic defence without at the same time giving practical information on the methods of psychic attack. It is not without reason that initiates have always guarded their secret science behind closed doors. To disclose sufficient to be adequate without disclosing sufficient to be dangerous is my problem.
But as so much has already been made blown concerning the esoteric teachings, and as the circle of students of the occult is becoming rapidly wider every day, it may well be that the time has now come for plain speaking. The task is not of my seeking, but as it has come into my hands. I will do my best to discharge it honourably, making available the knowledge which has come to me in the course of many years’ experience of the strange by-ways of the mind which the mystic shares with the lunatic.
This know ledge has not been attained without cost, nor, I suspect, will the divulging of it be altogether free from cost, either.
I have endeavoured to avoid, as far as possible, the use of second-hand material. We all know- the person who has a friend whose friend saw the ghost with her own eyes. That is not of very much use to anybody. What we need is to have the eye-witness under cross-examination.
For this reason I have not drawn upon the vast literature of the subject for illustrations of my thesis, but have preferred to rely upon cases that have come within the range of my own experience and which I have been able to examine.
I think I may fairly claim to have practical, and not merely theoretical, qualifications for the task. My attention was first turned to psychology, and subsequently to occultism as the real key to psychology, by the personal experience of a psychic attack which left me with shattered health for a considerable period.
I know’ for myself the peculiar horror of such an experience, its insidiousness, its potency, and its disastrous effects on mind and body.
It is not easy to get people to come forward and bear witness to psychic attacks. Firstly, because they know there is very little likelihood of their being believed, and that they will be more likely to earn themselves a reputation for mental unbalance than for anything else. Secondly, because any tampering with the foundations of the personality is an experience of such peculiar and unique honor that the mind shrinks from the contemplation of it and one cannot talk about.”
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Psychic Self-Defense by Dion Fortune