The Occult - What Exactly Is It?
The occult can be defined as phenomena, events, and religious practices engaging a practitioner in a realm of the supernatural that is rooted in things secret or hidden. More specifically, the term frequently refers to certain practices (occult “arts”) that include divination, fortune telling, spiritism, and magic.
The term occult is derived from the Latin word “occultus,” which means to cover up, hide, or those things which are hidden or secret.
Many people, even professing Christians, easily get seduced into different aspects of the occult, thinking they are tapping into God’s mysteries. Many also think occult practices are “gifts” to be grateful for as they attempt to gain power over their own lives, as well as the lives of multiple others. They truly believe that they can tap into the spirit world, and that's exactly what they will do - tap into the forbidden spirit world of darkness and evil!
A Strong Warning
Much confusion reigns in the area of discernment for the occult, simply because people don’t know exactly what it is. However, God hasn’t left us uninformed about occult practices, because there is a comprehensive list of its various practices in the Bible. God strongly warns His people about any participation in the occult!
“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead."
--- Deuteronomy 18:10-11 ---
Passing sons or daughters through the fire
We see this mentioned in Deuteronomy 12:31 - the practice of sacrificing sons and daughters by burning them "in the fire to their gods."
“You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods."
The art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers.
Jeremiah spoke of the false prophets of his time who practiced divination - "Then the LORD said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds" (Jeremiah 14:14).
The exercise or invocation of alleged supernatural powers to control people or events, typically through sorcery or magic.
Jezebel is an example of a woman who practiced witchcraft - "When Joram saw Jehu, he said, “Is it peace, Jehu?” And he answered, “What peace, so long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?” (2nd Kings 9:22).
An omen is a sign used by diviners to predict the future.
God frustrates the plans of liars who interpret omens - "Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the earth all alone, causing the omens of boasters to fail, making fools out of diviners, causing wise men to draw back and turning their knowledge into foolishness" (Isaiah 44:24-25).
The practice of magic, enchantment, witchcraft, or divination with the assistance of evil spirits; the power of commanding evil spirits.
In order to duplicate the miracles that God performed through Moses and Aaron, "Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts" (Exodus 7:11).
A spell is a series of words with magical powers. If someone casts a spell on you, then what you do is out of your control - your thoughts and actions are dictated by the spell.
God gives this dire warning to the Chaldeans - “But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure in spite of your many sorceries, in spite of the great power of your spells. “You felt secure in your wickedness and said, ‘No one sees me,’ your wisdom and your knowledge, they have deluded you; For you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’ “But evil will come on you which you will not know how to charm away; And disaster will fall on you for which you cannot atone; And destruction about which you do not know will come on you suddenly" (Isaiah 47:9-11).
Mediums and Spiritists
Mediums serve as channels between the earthly world and a world of spirits. Spiritists claim to speak with or for the dead.
"Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God" (Leviticus 19:31).
"When they say to you, “Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter,” should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living?" (Isaiah 8:19).
Calling Up the Dead
This is called Necromancy - the practice of conjuring up the spirits of the dead for purposes of magically revealing the future or influencing the world of the living. When you think you are talking with a deceased loved one using a Ouija board, you are actually speaking to demons and are opening yourself up to demonic possession.
Manasseh, a king of Judah (687-643 B.C.), did much evil by participating in several of these occult practices thus provoking the Lord to anger - "He made his sons pass through the fire in the valley of Ben-hinnom; and he practiced witchcraft, used divination, practiced sorcery and dealt with mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him to anger" (2nd Chronicles 33:6).
Nobody needs to be ignorant about these occult practices. Not only are these things detestable to the Lord, those who practice these things are also detestable to the Lord.
“For whoever does these things is detestable to the LORD; and because of these detestable things the LORD your God will drive them out before you. “You shall be blameless before the LORD your God."
--- Deuteronomy 18:12-13 ---
Modern Occult Practices
Even though the terminology in the Bible sounds outdated and archaic, it covers every single aspect of the occult. Today, we see these in several occult practices:
Angel Wisdom - puts you in touch with the warmth, encouragement, and insight of your heavenly helpers every day.
Aura Healing - a type of channeled positive energy healing that counter the negative energy that is also 100% safe for anyone to receive, including pregnant women, and it’s even better for the sick and elderly.
Astrology - a type of divination that involves the forecasting of earthly and human events through the observation and interpretation of the fixed stars, the Sun, the Moon, and the planets. Devotees believe that an understanding of the influence of the planets and stars on earthly affairs allows them to both predict and affect the destinies of individuals, groups, and nations.
Channeling - a psychic healing art in which the channel receives and conveys love, healing and guidance from the higher realms by the power of spirits.
Crystal Healing - an alternative medicine practice that uses semiprecious stones such as quartz, agate, amethyst, or opal to boost low energy, prevent bad energy, release blocked energy, and transform a body's aura. There is no scientific evidence to show that this is nothing more than a costly (to the patient) placebo.
Dream Works - a deep, comprehensive therapy where the practitioner puts a patient into an Alpha, Beta, or Theta State of relaxation in order to heal the patient by interpreting that person's dreams. It's used in psychoanalysis - a system of psychological theory and therapy that aims to treat mental conditions by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind and bringing repressed fears and conflicts into the conscious mind by techniques such as dream interpretation and free association.
Enneagram of Personality - a model of human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. From a spirituality perspective, enneagrams are presented as a path to higher states of being, essence, and enlightenment.
Fortune Telling - the practice of predicting information about a person's life.
Inner Work - the psychological and spiritual practice of diving deep into your inner self for the purposes of self-exploration, self-understanding, healing, and spiritual transformation. When we do inner work, we are shining the light of awareness onto our inner landscape which is composed of the various layers of our mind: the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious realms.
Psychic Abilities - psychic power with the ability to connect with a universal spirit. This power is available to those who recognize and accept that there is a higher realm of knowing and communication beyond their own physical bodies. These abilities include Astral Projection, Clairvoyance, Divination, Mediumship, Telekinesis, Telepathy, and numerous others.
Reiki - is a Japanese word that means “universal life force energy”. Reiki is used to restore harmony in the mind, body and spirit. By using gentle touch, the energy in your body will be balanced, thereby creating healing.
Rolfing - a type of therapy that involves deep manipulation of the body’s connective tissues. It may help alleviate both muscular and psychological tension to realign and restore balance in the body. The course of therapy involves a series of ten sessions, each of which has different areas of focus.
Shamanism - a religious practice that involves a practitioner (shaman) interacting with what they believe to be a spirit world through altered states of consciousness, such as a trance. Shamans claim to have the ability to heal the sick, communicate with the underworld, to escort the souls of the deceased to "that otherworld."
Tai Chi - an ancient Chinese discipline of meditative movements practiced as a system of exercises. In Chinese philosophy, Tai Chi is the ultimate source and limit of reality, from which spring yin and yang and all of creation. Yin is the passive female principle of the universe, characterized as female and sustaining and associated with earth, dark, and cold. Yang is the masculine active principle in nature that in Chinese cosmology is exhibited in light, heat, or dryness and that combines with yin to produce all that comes to be.
Tarot Card Reading - a form of cartomancy whereby practitioners use tarot cards to gain insight into the past, present or future. Cartomancy is fortune telling or divination using a deck of playing cards. A regular tarot deck consists of seventy-eight cards, which can be split into two groups, the major arcana and minor arcana. An arcana is a profound secret or mystery known only to the tarot card reader.
Transcendental Meditation - a technique for detaching oneself from anxiety and promoting harmony and self-realization by meditation, repetition of a mantra, and other yogic practices, promulgated by an international organization founded by the Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1911–2008).
Yoga - a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India. Its aim is to control (yoke) and still the mind, recognizing a detached witness-consciousness untouched by the mind (Chitta) and mundane suffering (Duhkha). There is a wide variety of yoga, practices, and goals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.
And much, much more!
If you are uncertain whether or not something you do or encounter is an occultic practice, do some research and, more specifically, find out what God's word has to say about it. All kinds of “therapy” taps into the occult today, as spiritual charlatans take advantage of biblically ignorant masses. The list of these practices is now in the thousands! God has given us REAL gifts when we come to Him with faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, for salvation. They are gifts of the Holy Spirit given to benefit all true believers as they eagerly wait to be with Him in His Kingdom forever!
Any degree of occult involvement can produce problems of oppression, depression, despair, hopelessness and many physical problems, sometimes bringing self-destruction, even death.
Demonic influence can produce obsession, phobias, bizarre behavior, violence, homicide and sexual perversion. Worse, it can deceive a person into eternal darkness. The occult is a form of idolatry and is expressly forbidden by God.
Do not be deceived dear friends! Remember ...
"Satan disguises himself as an angel of light" (2nd Corinthians 11:14).
Read, study and LIVE God’s Holy Word.
May He richly bless all of you who belong to Him.
A Special Thanks to a Dear Friend
I am extremely grateful for the contributions made by my dear friend and sister in Christ, Agusta Harting. She provided much of the content for this blog. All I did was put some additional context to what she gave me.
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth"
2nd Timothy 2:15
Unless otherwise noted, all scripture cited in this post is taken from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update.