The Eight Demon Thoughts/Attacks on Man

Evagrius Ponticus is probably not well known of by many people in this day and age. This is sad, as he was such an important influence upon the early Church. William Harmless, in his book Mystics, tells us that Evagrius was the son of a Christian bishop and that he was well known among the more important Christian figures growing up. He would later become a lector and eventually a deacon. Eventually he would become a cenobitic monk. He did a great deal of writing and, despite eventually being condemned as a heretic, his writing survives to this day. (pgs. 137-140).

Perhaps one of the most profound and interesting thing which Evagrius Ponticus wrote about was his ideas and concepts regarding both demonology and the eight demon thoughts or attacks upon monks and man. It is not hard to understand the reasons that his thoughts and work here were so profound, as it eventually became the foundations for what is known today as the seven deadly sins. These eight thoughts or attacks have a great deal to do with the destruction of both the world and the people within the world. The eight demon thoughts, according to Evagrius and as reported by Harmless, were/are gluttony, fornication, avarice, sadness, anger, acedia, vainglory, and pride. (pg. 143).

Before taking a look at each of these, it is important to understand the reason why knowing about them, identifying, and overcoming them is so important. Harmless says “We tend to be uncomfortable with discussions of demonology. Some readers may accept the existence of demons, some may not. That is beside the point here. The issue is how demonology, at least in its ancient form, fits in with the mystical. For Evagrius and his contemporaries, Christianity is about journeying to God. Evagrius sought to plot out not only what moves us along the path to God, but also what diverts us from that path. This is where demons come in. They are roadblocks. They divert us. They send us on winding and potentially deadly detours. They use our own consciousness against us.” (pg. 145). By know how some of these demons/thoughts may attack, we can better equip and prepare ourselves to deal with them.

The attacks on the rational mind are pride and vainglory. (Harmless, pg. 147). According to Merriam-Webster online dictionary vainglory is “Excessive or ostentatious pride especially in one’s achievements.” Pride itself is defined as “A feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people.” ( In a sense, what Evagrius is saying is that when we believe we are above or better than others, this is dangerous and not conductive to living a Godly life. Additionally, these behaviors hamper us from thinking clearly in any given situation.

The attacks on irascible mind are acedia, anger, and sadness. (Harmless, pg. 147) By irascible mind it appears that Evagrius meant our emotional disposition in life. We all know what anger and sadness is, but to quote Merriam-Webester again – angry is “Having a strong feeling of being upset or annoyed” while sad is “Affected with or expressive of grief or unhappiness.” ( Thus Evagrius is telling is that to allow ourselves to be strongly upset, annoyed, or unhappy is detrimental to our connection and path to God. Accedia requires special attention and boils down to what Harmless describes as boredom. (pg. 144). Evagrius is talking of a special kind of boredom. That kind were we can’t focus on our work, wish we were somewhere else, daydream, and eagerly await the clock to reach a certain time. This not only interferes with our wordily duties, but also interferes with doing what God wants us to be doing. (Harmless, pgs. 143-144). Wikipedia additionally indicates that sadness and acedia can at times fold into each other. Sadness is especially dangerous as it can lead one to willfully refuse joy in the things that God does give and eventually stop a person from loving God with their whole heart, mind, and sould. (

Finally we have what Evagrius calls the attacks on the concupiscible, which are avarice, fornication, and gluttony. (Harmless, pg. 147), These are, in essence, the attacks which can occur either on the body or in the physical world as opposed to the mental or emotional. Returning our attention to Merriam-Webster we see avarice (also called greed) is “A strong desire to have or get money.” Fornication is defined as “Consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other.” Finally, gluttony is “The act or habit of eating or drinking too much,” ( In essence, all three of these attacks deal with excess of all types. Wanting/desiring too much money, wanting/desiring too much sexual pleasure, and wanting/desiring too much food or other sensory indulgences. Again, Evagrius would say that resorting to any of these is to interfere with being Godly and will disrupt one’s path to God.

In reality, these are some very important things to pay attention to and be aware of within the self. You just have to watch or read the news to draw a parallel between various evil acts and the “psychological” motives or causes of them. In pretty much the majority of cases it is going to boil down to one of these eight thoughts/demons. When we are young we are lucky if we have parents that “police” us and keeps these inline – but sooner or later we have to take it upon ourselves to recognize and control the dangers that are in inherit within these eight thoughts, otherwise the impact (karma/consequences) in this life may be not only detrimental spiritually, but even physically.

Finally, if you wish to know which actual demons were eventually assigned to each thought, according to Wikipedia and Peter Binsfeld, they would be Beelzebub for gluttony, Asmodeus for lust or fornication, Mammon for greed or avarice, Satan for wrath or anger, Belphegor for sloth/laziness/boredom, Leviathan for envy, and Lucifer for pride and vainglory. ( No direct demon appears to be associated with sadness or depression.


1. William Harmless. S.J., “Mystic as Desert Calligrapher: Evagrius Ponticus,” in Mysticis. (New York: Oxford University Press 2008).




What is a Mystic? What are Mystical Experiences?

I have had the domain name mysticjohnculbertson for almost ten years now. During the whole time I’ve had that name I’ve given classes and workshops, have advised many, and have composed my first books and blog posts. Yet, I’ve never once ventured into the reason I chose that name.

Though I’m sure some out there in our world feels it was purely a gimmick, the truth is that I do consider myself to be a mystic. Oh sure, I know I’m not on par with say the likes of Thomas Merton, but I have been exploring mysticism and having mystical experiences since I was five years old. Those experiences and revelations, however, are topics for future writings.

In today’s blog post I’m going to take a look at what a mystic is and what mystical experiences may be. First, however, I want everyone to ponder a quote by the famous Rosicrucian Ralph M. Lewis. I consider it one of the most beautiful and profound quotes which puts into layman terms what a mystic is.

If you would know a mystic, do not confine your search to monasteries and temples, but look also on the highways and byways, in towns, hamlets, and in the hustle and bustle of the great cosmopolitan centers of the world. When you find someone who is industrious, studious, compassionate, loved by friends, and neighbors, tolerant in religious views, and who can point out to you the magnificence and efficacy of God in the simplest of things, you have found a mystic. With these qualities, whether one is attired in sacerdotal robe or in the overalls of a mechanic, one is none the less a mystic.” – Ralph M. Lewis

From Misunderstanding to Basic Understanding

The concept of mysticism and that of the mystic are, unfortunately, greatly misunderstood in our day and age. This is especially true in the Western part of the world such as the United States.

Mysticism is not theological, at least not in the classic sense of theology, Even though many people tend to think about and even have their first experience with mysticism by virtue of Christian theology, the truth is that mysticism need not have a theological backing.

I realize this may be complicated to some. After all, for a great many years mystics were considered to be mostly Christian or Buddhist Monks. A person has never and will never need not be a monk to be a mystic or have mystical experiences.

Despite the fact one need not follow a particular religion to engage in mysticism, any sort of theology will, however, help one to sometimes better grasp and understand some of the insights and experiences that can be held through the virtue of the mystery of the Higher Power.

Mysticism is about connecting with God – whatever your name for that Higher Power to be. You can call it God, Yahweh, Alla, Enlightenment, Bramah, the Goddess, Father Sky, Universal Consciousness, or by any other name for the same energy of the Universe. Mysticism is having a personal, inner, intimate, connection to that. It is what the Catholic Christian Jean Gerson defines as “an experiential knowledge of God that comes through the embrace of unitive love.” (1).

The great psychologist William James also weighed in on mysticism and what it is. According to James there are four components that make up a mystical experience. These are Ineffability, Noetic quality, Transiency, and Passivity. In reading William Jame’s work it is discovered that of these four, only the first two are true requirements of mysticism. The other two, though they may also occur and usually are found, are not necessary for an experience to be considered mystical.

James indicates that Ineffability “defies expression, that no adequate report of its contents can be given in words. It follows from this that its quality must be directly experienced; it cannot be imparted or transferred to others. In this peculiarity mystical states are more like states of feeling than like states of intellect. No one can make clear to another who has never had a certain feeling, in what the quality or worth of it consists.” (2)

He also indicates that noetic quality is about direct experience. He says “mystical states seem to those who experience them to be also states of knowledge. They are states of insight into depths of truth unplumbed by the discursive intellect. They are illuminations, revelations, full of significance and importance, all inarticulate though they remain; and as a rule they carry with them a curious sense of authority for after-time.” (2)

On the Tolerance of the Spiritual Development of Others

In our modern era, many people are starting to move away from organized religion (at least in practice) and are more interested in the spiritual. At the very least, they want to maintain their traditional religious heritage while seeking out alternative paths to exploring their own personal connection to the Higher Power. In the process of pursuing the spiritual, especially on one’s own, more and more people are going to be having what Gerson and James consider to be mystical experiences.

It is important that people learn to approach the subject of personal mystical experiences with these individuals in a very tolerant and understanding manner. The whole point of understanding mysticism is to foster a deeper understanding of the methods and ways in which people, for eons, of many different faiths, have come to personally know their Higher Power.”

Perhaps one should work to adopt the idea that your experience may not be my experience, but that doesn’t mean your experience doesn’t hold value or truth for you. Just as William James would say, many of us may feel that other people’s experiences don’t hold any authority over ourselves, that doesn’t mean those experiences are not awe inspiring, authoritarian, and valid to the one having it.

But What is Mysticism?

So what is mysticism? It is the internal experience one has which allows them unification with the Power to Be and in which, as a subset, may bring with it unique experiences not always understood or accepted by the average person. These experiences may include, but for most people usually won’t include: ecstatic trances, levitation during prayer, strange visions, heavenly voices, miracles, fortunetelling, prophecy, and communicating with the dead.

Most importantly, however, is the fact that anyone is capable of being a mystic and having their own personal mystical experiences and revelations. Most people just need to learn to search, listen, and be more intimately aware of the presence of the divine in all components of life.

Select Bibliography

1. William Harmless. S.J., “A Theology Called Mystical: Jean Gerson and William James,” in Mysticis. (New York: Oxford University Press 2008), 5.
2. William James., The Varieties of Religious Experience. (, 371.


7 Lesson Psychic Challenge – Lesson 7: Scrying

What is the Psychic Tool of Scrying?

Scrying, more commonly known as crystal ball gazing, is the process of looking deep into an object and allowing images to form that provide information to you about the past, present, or most commonly the future.

All of us have done scrying at some point and time in our life. Do you ever remember being outside on a nice summer or spring day and looking up at the clouds. Do you remember how as you gazed at the clouds they started turning into shapes and how those shapes began to take the form of images.

“I see a dragon!” “I see a baseball.” When we saw these images, that was a type of scrying and a type that you can still practice and work with to this day. In fact, I want to encourage you to practice scrying into the clouds before you decide to move on to some of the other scrying tools which we’ll be talking about in this last lesson.

How Does Scrying Work?

When we scry we are tapping into subconscious symbols which provide us information. If you don’t know how to interpret a symbol right now that is okay. Just write the symbols that you see down. Later you can go to a dream book/dictionary and look up the meaning to the symbols. Consider what the symbol may be saying to you.

Of course, before we actually sit down to do any scrying where we are going to be asking our guides for answers, we should perform our protections that have been previously outlined and invoke our guides to be present with us during the process. We also should have either a recorder on hand or paper and pen so that we can write down both the question(s) we are asking along with the images that appeared while scrying for that question.

Once we have finished our session, we should thank our guides and then go about researching the symbols that were presented to us so that we can understand the information we have been given. This is a very important thing to do, as later your guides will be giving you information through symbols. The better you work to learn the meaning of symbols now, the easier your communication process will be in the future.

Not All Scrying is Symbolic

I should make mention that scrying isn’t always symbolic. There are times when you will receive actual visual images of what is going to happen or what has happened. A good example of this was when I saw the large building being crashed into via an airplane. That was a month prior to 9/11. My question had simply been: “Tell me something important about what’s going to come in the next few months.” Of course back then I didn’t know that’s what was being referenced, and this is the reason why it’s important to keep good notes on everything you see during a particular scrying session.

What Are Some Scrying Tools?

Besides clouds there are other objects that can be used to successfully scry. These include:

  • The White of an Egg
  • Tea Leaves
  • Water and Food Coloring
  • Water in General
  • Bubbles
  • Ink Blotches (Yes, the Rochester Inkblot Test can be used to scry!)
  • Mud
  • Mirrors
  • Crystal Balls (The most well known and popular item to use)
  • Glass
  • Rocks
  • Another Person’s Eyes (My personal favorite!).

Of course, someone that has been doing scrying for a while can scry into almost anything, but the objects mentioned here tend to be some of the easier ones for a beginning student to start working with.

The important thing is that once you have found something which works for you it’s a good idea to not change it. You will need to spend some time working with it to build energy around it. The more you work with it, the better the results are going to be in the future.

Learning How to Scry

So how does on effectively scry?

Well, the best way to do it is in a dark room or a place with low lighting. The exception is when you are working with the clouds, then almost any type of lighting is appropriate. You’ll also want to make sure you aren’t going to be disturbed as you are scrying, as that’s a sure fire way to not get anything or, worse, get misleading information.

Clear yourself, ground yourself, use all your protections, invoke your guides, and then do a progressive relaxation and light meditation to help yourself get into that alpha state, the state of mind when you are going to be able to perform scrying the best.

After you have opened your eyes, take some time to look into the object you are scrying into and simply gaze at it. Don’t stare, rather allow your eyes to soft focus just as though you were attempting to see an aura. Be patient. It can sometimes take a while for images to begin to form.

Also, don’t forget to ask a question prior to scrying, otherwise your guides won’t know how to best direct the images to you or even which images/symbols might be best to help answer that question.

Anything you see should be noted. It doesn’t matter if it’s an image, a color, a flash of light, anything may be important. Keep careful notes.

After about 15 or 20 minutes you should stop. You don’t want to get too lost or even frustrated with scrying. You can always try again another day or at another time. Do allow sometime between scrying sessions for your eyes and mind to rest. Also, don’t forget to thank your guides, no matter what the results may have been.


Again, scrying really isn’t hard to do, it’s just a matter of practice and patience. It’s a great way to develop your clairvoyant ability and to start learning to work with your guides on your own personal symbolic language. This is a language that you started working on a long time ago when you began doing dream interpretations.


Congratulations on reaching the last lesson of the seven lesson psychic challenge series. You have no “real” homework this time around, just remember to continue with all the great work you’ve been doing up to this point. Start to add scrying sessions into the work you’re doing.

If you have questions about any images that may come up in scrying and would like a second opinion on what they may be, feel free to contact me.

Also, if you enjoyed the seven lesson psychic challenge series, you should check out my book Improve Your Intuition – as it contains many of these lesson and much more for you to add to your toolbox of learning.



3 Reasons to See a Professional Psychic

To many individuals, seeing a professional psychic seems to be an odd thing to do. The rise of various technological breakthroughs has changed the beliefs and lifestyles of people from all across the world and seeking advice from a professional psychic is the last thing in their minds. However, there are still some who believe in psychic power. They turn to professionals for advice believing that doing so will help them avoid the negativity that await them in the future.

Three Reasons People See a Professional Psychic

1. To uplift one’s spirit. One of the most common reasons many people see professional psychics is because they want to feel empowered. Talking to a psychic professional usually leaves them feeling that they have more options and because of this, they can achieve peace of mind. It helps people sort out current options and situations giving them a thorough understanding of their past and more possible outcomes in the future. Our future depends largely on how we choose the path that we want to follow. If a person has been following the same direction, outcomes become very predictable. Seeing a professional psychic helps them understand the changes that they need to make in order to change the outcome of the situation.

2. Wiser career decisions. A psychic professional can offer personalized career guidance based on astrology and by reading the astrological birth chart or using psychic powers like clairvoyance. In fact, these professionals can advise those without jobs or careers about career possibilities or job opportunities. Unlike other career advisers, intuitive professionals will concentrate on one person. They also consider an individual’s career background and evaluate their personality. After this, that’s when psychic readers help the jobless choose the right path. If a person would like to consult about career advancement or career development, keep in mind that people do not always like everything that they hear during a psychic session. The psychic professional will give constructive advices that can help a person advance in their career.

3. Attract possible relationships. Another common reason why men and women see psychic professionals is because they want to ask questions about love and relationships. Professional psychics are not fortune tellers, but they use several tools like astrology and tarot cards to help find a compatible partner. The professional psychic will give advice as to which romantic partners are most compatible and which are just flirtatious players that should be avoided.

Whether a person believes in the idea of seeking psychic help or not, the important thing to remember is that man holds the keys to his future. Every outcome depends on how a person choose the paths that they want to follow. Psychic professionals are only here to give us general advice and guidance.



What Is a Relationship Psychic?

Did you know that psychics tend to specialize in certain topics? One of the most popular areas for an intuitive to focus on is relationships. Learn more about what a relationship psychic is and isn’t.

A relationship psychic is a person with intuitive abilities that has decided to focus on the area of relationships, romance, and love in an effort to help people work through, understand, and heal difficulties in these areas of life.

Many psychics, fortune tellers, and clairvoyants choose to specialize in the category of relationships. It is, after all, one of the areas of life that people become the most distraught and emotional over. Even though a relationship psychic can be of great help to couples, the separated, and the single they also have a great deal of responsibility to their client. A relationship psychic must aid their client in coming to an understanding about complex relationship and romantic issues while at the same time not destroying their hopes, dreams, and emotions. A task that is not easy by any means!

Most of the time people that call themselves a relationship psychic have little to no understanding of actual relationship dynamics or relationship psychology. Some even lack common sense in the dating games that men and women constantly play in our society. This is a great disservice to clients, for they make predictions and offer advice and suggestions which can be disastrous to the love struck or emotionally suffering person. By the time a client finally does find a psychic that actually has an understanding of how relationships work, the relationship they were hoping to work on/out is usually so far gone that the attention must now be spent on healing the self as opposed to helping the relationship.

Making predictions concerning upcoming love interests is something else which a relationship psychic is known for. A good relationship psychic will never blatantly tell a client if a person they are seeing or they want to be involved with is good or bad for them. True, there are exceptions. For example, if you’re involved with someone that is abusive, you’re likely going to be told in a around about way that you need to leave the relationship.For the most part, however, in the average relationship scenario you won’t be directly told if you should or shouldn’t be involved with the person/

Always remember that most romantic relationships have the potential to develop into healthy and positive relationships. A gifted relationship psychic will outline both the strong and weak points of an upcoming or current relationship and allow the client to make their own decisions, now empowered with information, on if they feel it is worth pursuing the love interest.

In all cases, a client would be wise to avoid a relationship psychic which makes claims of bad or negative energy being in the client’s life. Likewise, talk about chakra centers being blocked or curses are warning signs that the client should terminate their time with the current psychic and find a more trustworthy psychic. This is especially true if the psychic they are seeing wants to charge them a large fee to protect them, heal them, open the chakras, or remove curses.

Also, it’s important that clients be aware that the relationship psychic can’t use magical means to summon or control a person for the client and even if they could they obviously shouldn’t. Likewise, a client shouldn’t expect the relationship psychic to pass along advice or information about magic rituals of this nature. Love that is found in such a way never makes for a long lasting relationship.

Additionally, always remember that a relationship psychic will never take the place of a marriage counselor or other certified or licensed professional. If the client is in that kind of distress or trouble they should speak to a professional that has spent time and effort learning and training in the appropriate skills to deal with those problems.

So why use a relationship psychic? As has been stated, when the average person finds a good one with the appropriate background, that intuitive can help them to work through, understand, heal, and see both the positive and negative aspects of current and past relationships as well as be alert to possible future or forthcoming relationships of importance.


WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15