By Father Andrzej Trojanowski TChr,
Love One Another! 8/2007 → Magic, idolatry, spiritual threats
More than four years have passed since the conversion of the author of the above testimony, yet the woman continues to wage a fierce spiritual battle and stands in great need of moral support. Much good has been accomplished in her family. Her daughter has also made a clean break with occult activity and made her confession. Her physical and psychological problems are clearly subsiding. The family radiates peace and joy, despite the hardships and adversities it still faces.
It is rare thing for people, who have been involved in divination, sorcery, or other occult practices, to regain their spiritual and psychological balance so quickly. All too often, even after they avail themselves of regular confession, they continue to manifest a peculiar tendency toward magical thinking. They continue to use esoteric vocabulary, have difficulty facing reality and taking responsibility for their lives. By their own admission, the women are still tormented by demons (unseen and yet possessed of some mysterious materiality), who beat them, prod them, make noises, or seek otherwise to destabilize and frighten them.
Former practitioners of divination, the horoscope, and numerology often complain of evil spirits provoking them with “strange phenomena” which rekindle their interest in the spirit-world and prevent them from facing the concrete realities of everyday life. Former touch-healers complain of a painful numbness or burning of the hand or hands with which they used to touch their “patients” (the latter, in turn, experience similar pains in the parts of the body that used to be touched by those “healing” hands). The experiences of people who practice divination or sorcery, or avail themselves of these practices, are truly terrifying. These people are consumed with fear and anxiety. They feel internally broken. Blasphemous and suicidal thoughts torment them; in addition, they suffer from loneliness and lack of understanding from others. Some go to psychiatrists and seek out therapy.
People who strike out on the path of conversion must wage an intense struggle with evil, especially in the early stages of their return journey to God, when the demons refuse to be beaten and wreak their vengeance upon them. The courage and endurance displayed by these people in the face of such attacks evoke our greatest admiration; they also inspire in us a sense of gratitude to God for the great work that He is accomplishing in the souls of these tormented and often very brave individuals. Above all, they need a patient priest at this time; a priest who can listen to them with understanding (such people often seem like psychologically disturbed eccentrics), administer the sacraments to them, pray for them, and sometimes even refer them to a qualified exorcist.
The preceding testimony stands as a warning to all those who blithely dismiss their involvement with horoscopes, tarot cards, and divination as a childish amusement or a way of killing time. If it really is nothing more than a form of amusement, then let these people try to do without it altogether. They will see for themselves how much effort faithful adherence to their decision will cost them. The fact is that these “innocent pastimes” have a way of drawing people into the realm of magic and the occult — a domain of extraordinary seductive power. The person who enters this domain suddenly feels master of a new world of possibilities in directing his own life and the lives of others. He thinks that he has found the key to solving a whole range of seemingly insoluble problems. He thinks that he has “befriended” mysterious spirits, forces, or energies on which the shape of our lives and destinies supposedly depend. People involved in magic and the occult are typically unable to recognize the real spiritual dangers that lie hidden here; what is worse, they do not see that they are actually cooperating with evil spirits. The author of the above testimony states the truth of the matter very aptly. “By allowing these things to happen to me [i.e. terrible torments and sufferings–Fr A.T.], God wanted to show me who I was really dealing with, since psychics consider their mediums to be protective spirits, good spirits, angels.”
There is, however, something much worse and dangerous here than the question of ignorance, be it vincible or invincible; and that is when a person willfully decides to cooperate with the forces of evil in the various forms of magical and occult practice. A person senses – or knows – that he is dealing with the world of demons; he knows that he is sinning by breaking the First Commandment; he knows that he is acting contrary to the teachings of Holy Scripture and the Church, and yet still he does it. From the supernatural point of view, that person is in a state of mortal sin; he is dead spiritually. Willful attachment to the works of Satan through occult activity can be called actual demonic enslavement. As proof, we can adduce the fact that such people often require the solemn rite of exorcism in the Church, in order to be able to begin or continue the process of their conversion and regain their freedom of will. If the author of the above testimony was not so enslaved, it must be because in her heart of hearts she had not completely separated herself from God and realized the nature of her sin. Even so, she suffered a great deal.
Let us all rejoice that there really do exist in this world sufferings that have the power to save us from torments infinitely more dreadful in the other world; sufferings that have the power, in fact, to speed our way to heaven.