The Power of Egregores: An Interview with Mark Stavish

From New Dawn 176 (Sept-Oct Dec 2019)

Diane Fraser speaks with Mark Stavish about egregores, their existence and power in our lives, and how they can help or restrict us. Mark shares practical advice on how to determine if an egregore has too great a hold on you.

Mark Stavish is a respected authority on Western spiritual traditions and the author of over 26 books. His most recent book is Egregores, The Occult Entities That Watch Over Human Destiny. This book provides information on the history and use of egregores, true accounts of disengaging from egregores, and how to free yourself from one when you realise it’s no longer working for you. His book has gained considerable attention among various politicians in the United Kingdom and the European Union. 

An egregore is an autonomous thought form or psychic entity created when two or more people are focused on the same idea or image. Thoughtforms are purposely developed to serve the aim of a group or individual. They’re also created organically when people who are not necessarily connected in a formal group focus on the same ideal or image, like entertainment characters that go viral and become icons. Spiritual, occult, religious, political and other groups with specific aims create egregores, using symbols and rituals to focus and draw upon the energy of individual members/believers/fans/participants to fuel it. Their energy helps to sustain the psychic entity, and the psychic entity then influences the individual in some way through this connection. 

Egregores Exist on Three Levels

It is believed that only humans can form egregores, but once formed they exist on three levels: the material, the astral, and the celestial. On the material level the thoughtform is connected to symbols, icons, images, talismans, relics, ritual objects, rituals, or materials that represent and connect to it. We live in a world of symbols and icons, from the simple forward pointing arrow that means ‘go this way’ to the ubiquitous Coca-Cola symbol and religious symbols like the Christian cross. Every symbol has an egregore associated with it, and that psychic entity exists on the astral plane, in the realm of emotion, spirits, and thoughts. The entity’s vitality is fed and nurtured by the emotions and thoughts of the individuals who connect to it. 

What is the connection between egregores and the celestial plane? I wasn’t sure, so I asked Mark about it. 

MARK STAVISH (MS): On the celestial level, egregores are connected to cosmic principles. These could be deities, god forms, archetypes, or abstract principles like beauty, harmony, or war. For example, any Parisian or Italian fashion show will have a connection to the ideals of Venus such as beauty and harmony, regardless of how ridiculous the outfits might be. Every football team’s egregore has a relationship to the archetype of Mars, and its characteristic competition. Egregores are connected to the celestial plane, whether to specific deities or to the much broader ideals that they represent. The thing we have to remember is that these entities have their own agendas. We don’t know what their agendas are, all we can do is try to understand them. One takes a serious risk if they think they can control it. It’s better to take the approach of developing a relationship with it, with the understanding that the relationship is going to be tricky. Anyone who thinks they can control one is foolish. These things have their own agendas and if yours doesn’t match theirs, you lose.

Egregores Ban be Used for Positive and Negative Purposes

“There is no such thing as good or evil, only ideas and their consequences.”1 Egregores are utilised by people every day, they just don’t call them by that name. Instead they call them by the name of a sports team, a political party, a political leader, a church/temple/spiritual group, by the name of an entertainer, or activity, or by an ideal as broad as justice. Egregores can have positive, negative, or neutral impacts. These psychic entities can be positively used by individuals when they’re seeking change or specific results that a particular group can help them attain. For instance, there are many people who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction. In their efforts to maintain recovery, they may join a group like Alcoholics Anonymous. Becoming a part of this group and tapping into its ideals and thoughtform can help them overcome a harmful one – the egregore of addiction. Some personal changes require the use of one powerful force to overcome another.

There are instances, though, when people are devoting their time, energy, and resources to a group and the leader(s) of the group may be using them for selfish purposes, or funnelling resources to activities that individuals in the group may not agree with. Other times the group requirements can become too burdensome to their members, the group values and focus can change, but because they’ve been so enmeshed in the group they find it very hard to leave. This is when a relationship with an egregore can become limiting and inhibit personal growth.

DIANE FRASER (DF): Every person is connected to several egregores, all the time, is that right? They’re connected to them through their relationships with politics, sports, entertainment, religion, culture, jobs, corporations, brands, beliefs.

MS: Yes, that’s right. Think of egregores like uniforms. They exist because they’re useful to us, they have a purpose. The question for any individual is when does that purpose no longer serve you and when do you serve it? People grow and change and seek new experiences. When you decide you want to experience something new and different, you’re going to make new friends. You go to new clubs, new scenes, you become exposed to new cultures and absorb those. At some point you settle down and then you go on to something else and you absorb all that. You do this several times in your life, depending on what’s going on and your level of enmeshment in these groups. Every uniform is connected to a group, they’re a package deal with their own beliefs, mores, and ways. However, we often do not realise the full package that we’re identifying with when we don a uniform. 

With collective ideas and ideals, there is a strong call or pull on us to identify with them. Whenever we say “I am __________” we’re associating ourselves with an egregore. Think of all the things that are supposed to go along with that uniform, the whole package. They can be religious, political, or social terms that we’re using, but as soon as we say, “I am this,” the whole package comes along with it. These uniforms are control mechanisms.

Social control mechanisms are dangerous because they don’t want you to choose outside of them. They only want you to choose them. That’s where the restriction comes in. But if we’re really careful, if we’re paying attention, we might realise that we don’t need to identify with the whole package. Hopefully we realise that we have the power of choice and free will to varying degrees. Clearly one has little choice once they’ve joined the military; one has more if they joined the local Rotary, and there are varying degrees in-between. 

Egregores Can Take on a Life of Their Own

In his book, Mark makes an important point that “egregores who have existed for a period of time will become independent and no longer obey their earthly masters.”2 This sounded intriguing and ominous to me, soI asked Mark for some examples. 

MS: When you have any dream that you seek to manifest in your life in terra firma, it has to take on a life of its own to some degree. You begin with an idea, for instance you want to write a book. When you work on it, that book goes from being just a notion or an abstract idea to becoming closer to reality. You notice it takes on a life of its own because there are things involved in creating it that you didn’t anticipate. You aren’t aware of them when you begin, but there’s a lot more involved. Suddenly the book becomes bigger than you, bigger than itself. We can also look at different spiritual groups that we’re involved with or even something like a counterculture movement – at some point in your involvement you might realise that what the group is doing now isn’t what you signed up for. We can have good unexpected experiences with this too. When we’re involved with something and discover it’s very different from what we thought it would be – in a good way – it’s so much better and more than we anticipated. 

Ideas are like anything else. Once they get rolling and moving, they seek to expand and grow. We have to do the work to direct and restrain and control them so that they actually become a functioning force in our life. I’ll return to the example of writing a book. I have a very good friend who was writing a book and at some point I had to say to him: it’s a book, not an encyclopedia – stick a fork in it. It’s done! The point is, we have to take control of our relationship with these forces or they can and will control us.

Some Egregores Exist Just to Distract 

DF: That brings me to the subject of entertainment and the egregores of TV shows, movies, and games. What are these doing for people? What are they influencing them to do?

MS: TV and movies give people an escape, a distraction from daily life. They keep them from seeing reality as it is. And what is enlightenment? It’s being able to see reality for what it is. I’ve dealt with a lot of folks who served in the military and in law enforcement and people don’t understand just how difficult that is, being involved with violence on a regular basis. One guy said to me, “you know, we grew up on a steady diet of World War II films and stuff like that.” But the reality of military service isn’t like the movies. There is an element of propaganda in entertainment. One of the best movies out there about war is a movie called Attack! (1956), with several stars in it who were World War II combat veterans. Normally in the 1950s one could get a lot of free stuff to make these movies, but this one was denied support by the Pentagon because it painted the officer corps in a bad light. It was a pretty gritty film for its time and provided a harsh look at political competence in the military and what that meant for the guys on the front lines. So they made that movie in a month on a really low budget on a back lot. 

On the other hand, there are franchises like Star Trek. Star Trek is constantly telling us that we can technology our way out of any problem. It tells us there isn’t any problem we can’t solve through warping around the solar system. Now we have this belief that technology is so fast and we can do anything we want. I can be anything I want simply because technology is able to make it so – at least superficially, right? We get a lot of notions about human behaviour and activity through entertainment. It’s a particularly American phenomenon that we always like our movies to have happy endings. And hey, I like them too, they’re fine. You don’t see that in a lot of other places, but then again, how does that affect the social views of countries where that’s the case? Americans tend to be more optimistic. 

Egregores Can be destroyed 

Freeing oneself from an egregore is entirely possible – it takes effort, action, and mindfulness. Depending on one’s relationship with it, disconnecting from it may require several levels of disengagement. There’s a chapter at the end of Egregores: The Occult Entities That Watch Over Human Destiny that provides instructions for severing one’s relationship to an egregore, or ‘DIY deprogramming’. There are also a few personal accounts in the book of individuals who belonged to spiritual or occult groups who discovered the power of the egregores when they tried to leave those groups.

One of the instructions in Mark’s book for freeing ourselves from these psychic entities is getting rid of, or in some cases, destroying the icons and symbols in our home or personal space that belong to them. The same tactic is sometimes used by invading armies to disempower their targets. When they invade, they destroy the religious or political icons that belong to that culture, thereby weakening the egregore and the people.

As we talked about the destruction of egregores, I thought of the recent fire at Notre Dame in Paris, and asked Mark about it.

DF: A lot of people in metaphysical circles are talking about the fire of Notre Dame because it’s such a huge symbol. It’s a symbol of the Roman Catholic Church, of France, of Mary. Could this fire be related to some kind of battle of egregores or was it really just a terrible accident?

MS: Even if it were an accident, we would say that it was an egregore because Notre Dame is its own egregore seeking dominance. It’s connected to several broader ones: the church, the alchemical milieu, the notion of the black Mary, among others. About a week before it occurred, I had a vision of Notre Dame being on fire and I kind of dismissed it. The same thing happened the day of 9/11. I woke up and I wrote it down because it was very particular. A few hours later we saw it happening. My point is that when these energies reach a certain threshold, they become perceivable to people who have clarity. To answer your question about Notre Dame, I think all we can say right now is that it wasn’t an accident. The active destruction of a vital symbol like that has many layers to it. I’d need another whole interview just to discuss it!

Back to my point about clarity. A lot of contemporary occultism and esotericism that’s out there is so skewed and misguided in its false idealism. It’s filled with a lot of false idealism. I jokingly said to someone, “How do you know if you need a new spiritual teacher? Well, if your teacher was telling you that Trump wasn’t going to win (the 2016 election), then you need a new teacher.” If they have that much obscuration, do you really want them to be your teacher?

How to Determine if an Egregore is Holding You Back

MS: Figure out where you put a lot of your time and energy on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Take a month off from it. Take everything associated with that activity – books, posters, email newsletters, apps, magazines, channels, etc. – and put them away in a closet or make them inaccessible to you for a month. If it’s a group activity you are involved with, take a break from it. During that month off, don’t talk about the subject with anyone. Just don’t talk about it. Get off the email list or autosave them in a folder so you can’t see them. Remove the app from your phone. Then notice how much free time you have. Notice how neurotic you suddenly get because those control mechanisms that were filling your mind and time are no longer there. They may be trying to call you to go back – notice where you’re pulled. Notice if and how your friends and family treat you differently when you withdraw from these activities, or when you say no and do something else. 

Notice how much influence other people were having on you.

This article was published in New Dawn 176.
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Footnotes

1. Mark Stavish, Egregores: The Occult Entities That Watch Over Human Destiny, Inner Traditions, 2018, 112
2. Ibid., 53

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About the Author

Diane Fraser, a student of Mark Stavish, is a writer who practices the hermetic arts. She was a recent graduate of Grub Street’s Memoir Incubator Program and is currently working on a memoir about her experiences using the hermetic arts to overcome family narratives around spirits, mental illness and violence. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AtelierDuCoeur.

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