Mental Health and the Occult

Someone qualified should write a post explaining what are the right things to do when people in our occult circles start exhibiting symptoms of a mental health crisis.

I won’t pretend to be qualified.

Back when I was all into being Rufus Opus, I offered “Hermetic Counseling,” in which I offered to help people get through their personal issues using Hermetic principles. Mostly by just doing conjurations of relevant spirits, but also divinations and such. I think that lasted almost a week and a half, at which point I realized that being a “certified” hypnotherapist is not the same thing as being qualified to provide therapy.

I thought I was just offering to help people get in touch with planetary intelligences to balance out their spheres. In real life, I had people with real issues coming to me for help that I couldn’t give. I stopped before I hurt anyone with my good intentions, thank goodness.

It turns out that here in Minneapolis, you can call the police when someone is exhibiting signs of mental crisis, and they will just take them to a hospital for immediate treatment and further evaluation without making any charges. Sounds harsh, but it beats the hell out of having to deal with someone hurting themselves or others for the rest of my life.

That’s probably not something we can all do, though. The police can be scary, and people in mental health crisis aren’t necessarily going to react well to officers’  attempts to help.

Most of us just try to “be there” for our friends, offer shoulders to cry on, listen to people and try to express our love and support, our understanding and our care of them in whatever situations they may find themselves. It’s super easy to think that our own love will be enough for them, or our wisdom, experience, and advice will actually make a difference.

But it’s super vital to remember, we aren’t all professionally trained mental health providers. Bloggers can tell people what we think all day long, it’s a free country, but that doesn’t make me any kind of expert on what people are going through. I’m super good at talking people down from drug-induced hallucinations, I’ve had to do it several times throughout my life. But that doesn’t mean anything when it comes to actual mental illness. Nothing at all.

We have to know our limits, and contact people who are better equipped than we are when we see people in crisis. We can’t just pretend like they’ll be ok.

As a Thelemite, I also have to balance out that whole Liber Oz thing that makes room for people to do a whole list of things that are within their Will, while also trying to figure out if people are in any state to understand, communicate, or enact their Will. It’s a fine line, and I don’t have any answers about it.

Fortunately, I have several people I can contact if I have any concerns, people who are older, wiser, and professionally trained. The O.T.O. has a Psychology Guild, and if you’re going through any issues with yourself or your friends, reaching out to them is an excellent way to get the kind of advice that we need when we’re dealing with this kind of thing. Contact info is on the web site at the link above.

I’m glad I don’t have to deal with this kind of thing alone.

Rufus Opus

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