Top critical review
One person found this helpful
worked on many different levels- i would give it a 3.5, but
on January 30, 2006
An interesting characteristic of "Psychic Self Defense" is the way it works on several levels at once. First, it's full of very amusing stories about psychic attacks, weird poltergeist phenomena, and black magic activities. Second, for people interested in practicing magic it can be read as a very practical guide for how to defend against various types of psychic attacks. And third, if you read between the lines, it presents excellent and valuable insight into occult philosophy of the mind and different planes of reality, dealing with things such as elemental powers, thought forms (entities that are created by our imagination and take on a life of their own- a very common theme in Chaos Magic), the astral plane, how talismans work, and more. Also, because the book is a bit old now (1930) it read well as a kind of historical document, giving insight into the mindset of a post-Romantic era occult mentality and worldview- somehow it gave me the feel of a cultural anthropology text, in a good way.
While I was reading this book, my girlfriend would occasionally pick it up and was totally fascinated by the stories of psychic attacks- so the book seems to work well simply as pure entertainment. The book would make an excellent inspiration for writers, because it presents a unique worldview and good to draw upon. What I found to be the best element of this book was that, if you read between the lines and put together a general sense of what the authour is saying, you can pick up a lot of information about occult matters that are not directly related to psychic attack, and get an interesting overview of magical philosophy.
The basic theme of Fortune's approach to psychic self defense is that psychic attacks are perpetrated through the powers of the mind (usually involving intense concentration and intent), and often take place through/upon the astral plane. Often, psychic problems occur through the working of our subconscious mind (psychic... psyche), and her brief treatment of "suggestion" (i.e. implanting thought viruses into our subconscious mind, so they effect our behaviour, attitudes, beliefs) gives particularly interesting insights into magic and psychology, and how they interrelate.
I would read particular sections of this book again, and reflect on them for a while because they provide great material for meditation. Overall, it was an easy and entertaining read, though some people may find her writing style a little too old school. I would give it 3.5 stars because it deserves a bit more, but it wasn't good enough for a 4. I would recommend Dion Fortune's "The Mystical Qabalah", it is an absolutely phenomenal book which anyone seriously interested in the kabbalah or magic or mythology can read over and over again.
If I am ever attacked by a black magician, an entity, or a vampire I will be very happy I read this book.