By Father Andrzej Trojanowski TChr,
Love One Another! 4/2004 → Magic, idolatry, spiritual threats
Those who sell the Atlantis ring assure their buyers that this amulet provides extraordinary protection against all sorts of evils: assault, accidents, theft, as well as curses and spells.
What is more – they tell us – the ring wards off many (if not all) illnesses or simply makes one proof against them. In short, the ring is supposed to bring happiness. Clearly, there are many people who believe this, since they buy the ring and wear it on their finger.
Now the question immediately suggests itself: what or who, or what kind of power is supposed to be at work here? When it comes to crosses or holy medals bearing images of Jesus, His Blessed Mother, or a saint, there is no problem in answering the question. Why do I wear devotional articles? I wear this medallion to signify the fact that I have entrusted myself to Our Blessed Mother. Her image helps me to trust in her constant presence, especially in times of temptation, doubt, adversity, etc. I do not believe that the medal will “magically” protect me from a mugging, a theft, disease, etc., but I do trust with all my heart that in these or other misfortunes – should Providence permit them to occur – I will not suffer the real and worst of misfortunes: rejection of God and the loss of eternal life. In wearing a holy medal I do not ask for happiness; only that I can abide with God in every – even the worst – situation.
As for baptized persons who wear the Atlantis ring, I wonder who they place their trust in? I suspect that they do not really know. In any event, the talisman points to a lack of trust in God – my Father, in Whose hands my entire life rests. If I expect the wearing of this or any other amulet to bring me happiness, then my faith can be expressed in the following way: I trust not in You, Lord, but in someone or something else; I expect my good fortune to come not from You, but from something or someone else. Perhaps this spiritual attitude does not immediately result in the rejection of religious practice. What does happen, however, is that a living faith is inevitably transformed into a “practice” of Christianity in which the heart is turned away from God. Meanwhile, religious practice that lacks trust in God becomes empty. What value is there in saying the Our Father, if the prayer is never enlivened by a spirit of Divine childhood. The hope that a magic ring will protect me from adversity and guarantee me good fortune is a deception that preys on our human tendency to believe at times in anything. Besides, is it possible to live without experiencing any adversity, hardship, or suffering? Our daily experience tells us no, and no amulet can change this fact. But to maintain a naïve belief in the amulet’s efficacy destroys our ability to face adversity in the Christian way, that is, with trust that every cross carried in life has deep, redemptive meaning. Often we do not see this meaning, but it is precisely at such times that this trust in God’s love – despite one’s feelings of abandonment and desolation – proves to be a life-saving force. By wearing an amulet the Christian destroys precisely this essential and most delicate tissue of our religious life – the ability to trust in God. Of course, the process of spiritual and bodily ruin does not immediately make itself known. Nevertheless, it does occur. The first sign of this process is an unconquerable resistance to prayer. Strange, groundless fears and mysterious physical and psychological ailments also begin to manifest themselves. A person who wears a talisman finds himself readily attracted to horoscopes, tarot cards, witchcraft, and similar practices that are clearly in violation of the First Commandment.
For exorcists the Atlantis ring is a familiar part of the spiritual warfare landscape, especially in countries like Poland. It plays its part in the early stages of a person being drawn into various forms of occultism, which in turn lead to enslavement by demonic spirits. The case of one nineteen-year-old girl gives an exceptionally clear picture of the degree to which an evil spirit can take control of a person. After wearing the Atlantis ring for several years, she had to work extremely hard to be freed of its effects. She made frequent confession and renounced her occult practices despite intense spiritual resistance. She even received Holy Communion. But when asked to remove the ring from her finger, she hid her hand behind her back, protested feverishly, and grimaced unnaturally. Once again she is being tormented by the devil and is now being treated in a psychiatric ward.
Despite their apparent harmlessness, amulets, by virtue of their symbolism, represent a green light not to God, but to evil spirits. Ultimately, the Atlantis ring is nothing more than a sign of openness and attachment to that malevolent world. As redeemed creatures we ought not, even in the most innocent way, to associate with this world.