Monday, March 7, 2011

Strange and Dangerous Creatures by Emily Carlin

When I first entered the world of magick and metaphysics I was delighted to find the spiritual and philosophic satisfaction that I had never found in more mainstream systems of belief. In my naïve eagerness I dove in head first, with little thought to the strange and dangerous creatures that might be lurking beneath the surface. I learned the hard way that some old wives tales are true and that there are things that go bump in the night. At the time I had a very hard time finding information on how to deal with and protect myself against such things. Now, many experiences later, I’ve written the book I wish someone had handed to me all those years ago.

Defense Against the Dark introduces the reader to the darker denizens of the magickal world and the dangers they present (yes, there are plenty of friendly creatures out there but you hardly need me to tell you how to deal with friendly creatures that want to help you – do you?). In the book you learn the common lore surrounding malevolent creatures and malicious magick and how to deal with them should they be encountered. For each entity or magickal occurrence detailed in the book you will find information on how common they are, how dangerous, what other names it might be called, the common symptoms that give evidence of their presence, and concrete, practical methods for alleviating the danger they present. In other words, this book tells you all about things that go bump in the night and then tells you how to bump back.

Beyond stating what negative entities and magick do, this book also clarifies what they do not do. Unfortunately, the magickal world is full of misconceptions and misinformation. Common misconceptions, and how to avoid them, are included in the lore for many entries. Learn how curses actually work, that faeries aren’t always nice (Red-Caps, need I say more?), and that vampires do exist but really aren’t all that dangerous, at least the ones you’re likely to encounter.

For example, the book contains a thorough entry on what I call Modern Vampires. This entry includes information on human energy takers (people that feed on the energy of others because they want to), psychic vampires (people that feed on the energy of others because they have to), sanguinarians (people that drink the blood of other people – for various reasons), and lifestylers (people who enjoy and immerse themselves in the trappings of vampirism).

The most common symptom of having been near a Modern Vampire is the feeling of being drained or tired whenever you interact with a particular person. While that does not always indicate that the person is a vampire of some sort, it does warrant caution and further investigation. I rate these Modern Vampires at a danger level of 3-6 (on a scale of 1-10), meaning that they range from annoying but mostly harmless to quite frightening and capable of causing some physical harm. On a scale of 1-10 they have a rarity of 5, meaning that some people, perhaps 1 in 10, are likely to encounter this kind of creature (though human energy takers are more common than the others). I give Modern Vampires a difficulty of removal of 8 out of 10, meaning that they are very difficult to remove, because they are people just like the rest of us and thus have to be dealt with fairly and respectfully (unlike a pixy or ghost that can simply be banished).

In the lore of Modern Vampires I debunk several common misconceptions, such as the belief that psychic vampires are all evil and will attack people willy nilly or the belief that sanguinarians are demonic. I then give several magickal and mundane ways of dealing with these people, such as having basic shields, not feeding into the ego of a drama queen, and the basics of cutting metaphysical ties to another person.

One of the features of the book of which I am most proud is the Index of Symptoms. There is an index in the back of the book that lists all of the common symptoms that malevolent magick and creatures create and list what might be responsible. With this tool you can readily identify the most likely magickal culprit in any situation and then just flip to that entry for information on what to do about it. However, use this with caution and don’t let yourself be carried away. Just because you experience symptoms commonly caused by a goblin doesn’t mean that it isn’t just bad curry and lack of sleep. Most of the time there is a rational mundane explanation for what you experience. This book is for the times when the rational explanations fail.

Knowledge is power and with this book that is my gift to you.

Emily Carlin has been a magickal practitioner for more than a decade. She is the Grey School of Wizardry’s Dean of Dark Arts, specializing in defensive magick and creatures of the night, teaching magickal protection to people of all ages and skill levels. Emily also holds a BA in philosophy from Wellesley College and a JD from Seattle University School of Law, and is a member of the Washington State Bar. Carlin is a lifelong resident of Seattle, Washington.

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