General Questions and Concerns
Q) Is this Witchcraft, or Satanism?
A) Absolutely not–psionics does not involve any religious practice, and does not involve summoning or working with spirit entities of any kind, whether good or bad.
Q) What kind of power is this? Where does it come from?
A) The energy used in psionics comes from within a person–it is present in all living people as a byproduct of the functioning of the nervous system. Psionics simply makes use of this energy in order to do work.
Q) I don’t believe in ANY of this stuff. Why should I let my kids get involved with it?
A) At the very least, it’s a harmless pasttime. If none of this exists, they aren’t going to be harmed by trying it. It’s not drugs, alcohol, sex, or violence–in fact, these things are discouraged. Friends can be made, ideas explored, and imagination exercised. So, why not?
Other Common Concerns
Those three most common questions having been answered, I’ll move on to a few other concerns parents might have. I’m also creating some guides geared toward parents who hold specific religious beliefs, which I hope will explain psionics within those terms, and address specific concerns related to those religious beliefs.
Psionics is use of energy generated by the mind and nervous system to accomplish tasks–this energy is not one that is currently accepted or recognized by science, but there has been sufficient evidence gathered to point to the existence of an unknown energy or force at work which can be directed by the human mind.
The more commonly known abilities which occur and which people can learn include precognition (sensing or seeing future events before they happen), telepathy (sensing others’ thoughts, or causing them to know yours without any conventional means of communication), empathy (like telepathy, but dealing with emotion instead of thought), remote viewing (seeing events that occur far away, or behind barriers that block normal sight), seeing or sensing ghosts or spirits, telekinesis (moving objects), and many more that you may never have heard of.
What does it mean if a child suddenly begins to develop psi ability without any training?
In most cases, this means that the child has inherited the genes that trigger this, which are most often recessives. While a genetic link hasn’t yet been proven, there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that it exists–psi runs in families, very often on the female side. In a few cases, it may be triggered by some trauma, or exposure to psychic events.
Why not leave well enough alone? Why try to develop these abilities further, just because they’ve manifested?
The primary problem with that is that active psi ability very often leaves a person mentally and physically more susceptible to the effects of psychic events and abilities than a non-active person would be. In addition, uncontrolled sensing abilities, such as telepathy, can be prove to be more of a torment than a gift–imagine being in a room with a hundred people shouting, and never being able to escape the noise. Most psis who develop abilities spontaneously cannot shut them off, and without training they usually have some difficulty coping. Some may be misdiagnosed as having a mental or emotional illness, and placed on medications which affect mood and personality. In both the short and long term, lack of training is more dangerous to an active psi than the training could ever be. Training does not merely involve increasing the strength of abilities–it involves learning to control, dampen, and direct abilities, and develop defenses against events and actions which most other people would be unaware of, but which could cause them mental or even physical distress or harm.
Finally, psi training does not involve any sort of deprivation of food, sleep, activity, or social contact. It does not involve giving up religious beliefs, or adopting new ones. While it does require time and effort, actual training periods are generally less than 10 minutes in length, scattered throughout a day, and many can be conducted while a person is engaged in other activities. Side effects are usually minor, and so far as we have seen, do no lasting harm–they may include migraines, nerve spasms, and energy surges (which feel something like a hot flash). These effects, if they occur, generally go away or reduce to ordinary levels (many born-psis experience occasional migraines or nerve spasms anyhow), as training progresses.
Specifics for Wiccan or Pagan Parents
Isn’t this just magick, using different terms?
Not really–there are substantial differences. The type of energy used, the way it is used, and the way a person approaches a task are usually quite different.
Does practice of psionics mean a person can no longer be Wiccan, or pagan?
No, it doesn’t. Psionics doesn’t involve religion at all, so the religious aspects of the practice of Wicca or paganism would be unaffected. All that would be affected would be working with energy and magick.
But all energy is the same…how can there be a difference between psi and magick?
While in some respects all things in the Universe are made of the same stuff, it’s also true that on the level we humans usually operate, things can be quite different from one another. Water and hydrogen peroxide both look alike. Both can be used to clean things–but of course, one you can drink, while the other is better at disinfecting wounds. Both are useful. However, they smell differently–to a person surrounded by both, it could be hard to tell them apart, because the smells would mix. For a person used to working only with one, the smell of the other would be obvious and inescapable. It is the same way with psi energy and other energy types such as earth energy. To a person who works with earth energy, they seem the same. To a person who does not, they seem very different.
They also operate differently, and need to be handled a bit differently. Some types of energy are more alike than others–psi and earth energy are actually fairly similar, but even so, if a person is not careful, mixing them can result in unexpected effects. This is why the Guild recommends that this not be done.
The most noticeable problem with using more than one type of energy is desensitization–losing the ability to tell one type of energy from another. It’s difficult to prevent the aforementioned unexpected effects if you aren’t sure what you are dealing with. Secondly, it takes twice as long to learn to manipulate two different types of energy as it would take to learn the use of one. Since no one is likely to master the use of a single type of energy within their lifetime, it seems counterproductive to try to deal with multiple types. The same effects can be accomplished with any given type, by using it in a different way. Thus, psi can be used to do anything that could be done with earth energy–but sometimes a person may have to use it very differently to accomplish the same effect.
This is why students are asked to forgo the use of earth energy. Circles, shields, etc–all can be created using psi. If earth energy is absolutely necessary for something, then at more advanced levels, it is possible for a person to manipulate the energy externally, without taking it into their body and nervous system. This is how many of the Wiccan psis I am aware of choose to operate.
Magick and Psi Mentality
The easiest way to explain this is by example. For most practitioners of folk magick, such as is used in Wicca and most types of paganism, the approach is to visualize your goal, and send energy out to affect the change. For most psis, the approach is to decide exactly how you are going to affect the change, and then make the attempt to do so.
Say a magick practitioner wishes to change a traffic light from red to green. The procedure is likely to go something like this–first, the person visualizes the light as being green. They project energy toward the light strongly, picturing it being green. The goal is to make reality conform with their will–altering probability, or letting the energy take the easiest path to accomplish the goal.
Now, a psi in the same situation, wishing to change the traffic light. First, the psi will locate the control box–that’s where the equipment is located that causes the light to change. Then s/he decides how to change the light–by mechanically flipping the switch, or electrically triggering it, or by causing the sensor to function better to detect his car, or so on. Then s/he will send energy to the box, attempting to do exactly that.
Ideally, the result is the same–the light changes, and the person drives on their way. But the way that each person went about changing it involved a different psychological and energetic procedure.
All of this means that a psion learns to think about the world around them differently than a practitioner of magick does–it’s a difference that is not related to religion, but it is a very noticeable difference in mentality. The mentality which works best for dealing with magick is not the one that works best for psi, and vice versa. Thus, trying to switch between the two ways of thinking could cause confusion, and inefficiency–in a stress situation, it would be easy to use one type of practice with the wrong type of energy to effectively accomplish the task that way. Those are the primary reasons why students are asked to forgo use of outside energies and deal only with psi, which is internally generated–and why they are asked to forgo the use of magick.
In conclusion, psi practice can be made to fit into a Wiccan or pagan lifestyle, but a few things involve some compromises–the styles of magick and energy working that Wiccan and paganism involve are incompatible with psi practice. But these things are not central to the religion itself, therefore psi is not inherently incompatible with Wicca or pagan religion.
Specifics for Catholic Parents
Q: Doesn’t the Church strictly forbid all this?
A: Actually, no. This isn’t witchcraft, and it doesn’t involve consorting with “other gods”. However, Very Rev. Kevin Michael Quirk, JCD, knows much more about this aspect than I do, so I will refer you to his comments on the Holy Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston Website.
Q: Does the practice of psionics mean that my son/daughter has left the Church?
A: Again, the answer is no. Much like Math or Physics, Psionics in itself is basically irrelevant to Catholicism and vice versa. However, what a person does with Psionic abilities ought to be governed by the same ethics and morals that govern the rest of his/her conduct, of course. It is a set of skills, and may be regarded as a tool. What is done with the tool is up to the person wielding it.