Psychic War Syndrome
"Hey Julie, there's a spirit here trying to [insert something heinous]
and we gotta stop it!"
Ah yes, cue REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It" please, because it happens about as often as that song is played, and it's just so darned appropriate. All over the world there are budding magic workers (or experienced ones who haven't broken out of it yet) who are in constant battle with "the forces of darkness." Now, in some cases these are quite legitimate situations - I'm the first one to warn there's a whole lot of Nasty out there. However, a whole lot if it is something I call "Psychic War Syndrome" or "PsiWar Syndrome" or just simply PWS.
Psychic war syndrome often starts when a budding mage's subconscious starts getting bored. She's learning how to use all these neat toys, most especially thoughtform energy, and is just itching for a channel for it. Or maybe she's bent on combat scenarios, and just needs an outlet for it. Perhaps she has a low self esteem and needs to feel important somehow (probably my "excuse" in my time). For any one of a number of reasons that subconscious gets out of control and starts making threats. To which the budding mage responds with either open or hidden excitement that "Wow, something Supernatural is happening to ME!" And thus the cycle begins.
Often the "enemy" is practically unbeatable. Why? Well, often because the ultimate creator of the scene needs to feel challenged. Perhaps if it's a circle involved there's a single member who thinks "That just won't work." Since the "enemy" is really of the fighter's own making, perhaps it "knows" things about the fighter that it "uses against him." Shielding doesn't always work - most people just don't think to shield against themselves! It's basically a tempest in a teacup - but if you happen to be in that cup those waves can still capsize you.
One of the biggest mistakes I see that some people make is scorning PsiWar Syndrome and its participants, because they don't see that they're doing it to themselves. In my experience, this doesn't necessarily make it any less dangerous - if you've ever faced your darker side you may understand what I mean. If a person involved in one of these wars is taunted with their fears and insecurities by the enemy, it can still cause depression and psychological damage. And if the participants really believe they can be hurt by it - they can. It's a serious situation to those involved, if only within their own worldview.
I tend to treat PsiWar Syndrome as a bit of a training ground. I got started with a situation I had to handle magically. While I still don't really know if that situation was real or just my first PsiWar, it led to many others and many situations that at the time I thought were untenable. I didn't really know myself too well, so I was easily fooled by my own reality-painting. But when I broke away from it I realized that I'd learned some rather useful skills in my pursuits of the PsiWars, and ultimately it made me stronger and more able to deal with real situations.
How can you tell the difference? Well that's the tricky part, because you've got to know yourself really really well. This is actually one of the reasons I came up with and started functioning under my six dimensions theory - because it gave me a unique identifier to know my own energy, even when disguised. Knowing you're susceptible to it and the reasons for your susceptibility can be useful too. Finally, look around and see if anyone unconnected is affected. If you think you're seeing a major war, and yet there's not a single person outside the group involved who has so much as a bad dream about it, it's a good bet that you may have PWS on your hands. Knowing that can be three-fourths of beating it.
And just to close with a disclaimer (again) - not everything is PsiWar Syndrome. There are real nasties out there, and they can be quite harmful. I've found that it's often an even bigger mistake to assume that anything is PsiWar generated first than to take it at face value until you can check it - if you try to absorb something that's really real and out to get you (for whatever reason) you could end up with quite a stomach-ache.
July 16, 2007 - Adding a quote from Terry Pratchett's The Light Fantastic that doesn't really fit on the Pratchett Quote page but fits in perfectly here:
"It is well known that things from undesirable universes are always seeking an entrance into this one, which is the psychic equivalent of handy for the busses and closer to the shops."