Negative spiritual experiences: encounters with evil

Jakobsen, Merete (1999) Negative spiritual experiences: encounters with evil. UNSPECIFIED. ISBN 9780906165324

Available under License CC-BY Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (664kB) | Preview


As I looked at the present spiritual climate and did field-work in neo-shamanic courses in England and Denmark it became clear to me that there was, if not a denial, then definitely an understatement of the evil or negative aspects of human spirituality. Although some of my informants had, indeed, experienced frightening and destructive spiritual encounters they mostly did not share them with their fellow participants as the atmosphere of the courses was that of benevolence emanating from the spirit-world. In the lower world the spirits seemed to be waiting readily for the course participants who were then generously supported by the spirits in their endeavours. A sort of ecologically correct lower world paradise was displayed. This was in such conflict with my understanding of the traditional shaman, that I decided to look at the archives at the Religious Experience Research Centre founded by Alister Hardy in 1969 and search for negative experiences to discover if there was evidence of modern Western people having had encounters that somehow were a manifestation of evil, destructive spirits, or the devil. There are about 6,000 letters, of which I looked at over 4,000, as the archive is presently being updated and the records put on computer. These letters were sent to the Research Centre by people who responded to the call for descriptions of spiritual experiences by Sir Alister Hardy and others involved in the research from the 1960s onwards. In this collection I found about 170 accounts or discussions of evil. I initially decided to use the word 'negative' instead of evil in my title for this collection, but as I worked through the material, I reverted to the term that most writers use themselves: evil.

Item Type: Book
Additional Information: Series: RERC Third Series Occasional Papers;1.
Uncontrolled Keywords: religious experience, evil
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Divisions: Alister Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre > Third Series of Occasional Papers
Related URLs:
Depositing User: John Dalling
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2014 15:47
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2016 11:48

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only