Why do people turn to what is clearly harming their souls – the occult, extrasensory, and frank witchcraft? What moves them in wanting to join the “secret knowledge”?
We tried to analyze this problem and came to some conclusions. In our opinion, people who turn to the occult can be classified into the following five categories. These are completely different classes of persons (although mixed types are possible), one way or another in contact with “secret knowledge”.
The first is people who are called secret detectors, lovers of everything unusual. Their main driving force is curiosity, in the absence of clear spiritual guidance. In childhood, they liked to read about treasure hunts, their imagination was fascinated by enticing stories and adventures, and now for themselves they have found new treasures – extrasensory. Their curiosity is not attracted by the ordinariness of the gray world, but I want to comprehend the mysteries of the otherworldly. They are inquisitive researchers, at least at the level of dilettantes, and as if the representatives of an extreme sport are ready to try the conquest of occult heights on themselves. With delight, they notice the first achievements, for example, in seance sessions or in personal “self-development”, and delightfully tell about this to their friends and acquaintances. The very curiosity of such people, their very attention and trust in the occult already opens the doors of their souls to an unknowable dark influence.
The second is ideological fans of superpower. They know why and for what they turned to “secret knowledge”. The pride and thirst for power here are the primary motive. Oddly enough, they are often stimulated by a feeling of their own weakness, insufficiency, often they are even physically weak, often endure oppression from others and therefore experience an inferiority complex. Such people are aggravated by resentment, they want to have leverage on others. Thus, in occultism, they fill their personal inadequacy with “hidden forces” and with sweet pleasure notice that now their “spiritual” power is in full swing (and beats, alas, on their own head).
The third is selfish pragmatists. These are people who, in general, have no interest in the occult sphere, but for the sake of business promotion, elimination of a competitor, getting a loved one, and similar mercenary goals, they are not averse to using occult support. “How can I aggravate a competitor? I’ll appeal to the sorcerer, suddenly he will help me, ”argues a man of such a warehouse. The magician, respectively, requires a decent amount for the performance of such a responsible task. It is not the curiosity of “spiritual” quest and not the proud desire of a mysterious force that serves as a driving stimulus, but an ordinary earthly gain, so that the occult itself is not the core of existence, but perhaps a temporary means to its own advantage.
The fourth is people desperate in the hardships of life who turn to the occult for the sake of recovery, the return of a departed spouse, the dispensation of their own and their loved ones and
Fifth – perhaps the most unfortunate occultists – hereditary. The unfortunate because they did not choose how to be brought up and learn, they were inculcated with magic from childhood, and the “mysterious force” easily sticks to them as the immediate successors of its carriers. However, this does not mean that such people are lost to God, the special power of their temptations does not prejudge them to eternal death, and a sincere appeal to Christ frees them from the power of “bad heredity.”
The fifth category stands somewhat apart, but the first four (curious, ideological, pragmatic and desperate) are very significant. It is not difficult to guess that behind all of them are, in general, two identical characteristics – the oblivion of God and selfishness. Closing his gaze only on himself and turning away from God, man naturally turns to methods that contradict God’s commandments and serve his personal self-interest.
A former magician familiar to us (this man repented of his activities, now leads a serious church life), told about himself how a woman came to him asking to bewitch a man (
The magician also recommended repeating the spell every six months: since witchcraft has only a temporary effect, it must be renewed. The woman came regularly, but once it turned out that the again perfect love spell did not work. The magician said: “It cannot be just like that. So, something radically new has happened in your person’s life. What has changed? ” “He started going to church,” the woman replied. “Then I can’t help you with anything,” concluded the magician. On that they parted. Separated and a sorcerer with a woman, and the beloved man with her. In this regard, a clear question arises: what was the point of denying God if everything went to pieces and no happiness turned out to be? And if witchcraft showed its powerlessness before the Church and the grace of God, then maybe it was worth initially to seek help from God?
Nevertheless, we would like to draw attention to the most common, as it were, the excuse motive of turning to psychics, sorcerers and medicine men – this is despair in the misfortunes that have befallen (fourth category). Most clearly this is reflected in the loss of health, the loss of a loved one and panic attempts to arrange their own destiny. We will focus on the problem of disease and healing.
Indeed, people often turn to the occult in connection, as they themselves consider, with the hopelessness of their position. The soul cannot cope with the burden of its problems, it does not find comfort in the means of the natural order, it has not come to God yet, and therefore turns to psychics, magicians and traditional healers. Thoughts desperately arise in an incredible soul: what if it happens, because life (or personal well-being) is already in the balance. Huge money is ready to give people for the desired healing or success. And just then the occult offers a miracle cure for a quick and effective solution of the problem.
In this regard, it must be said that modern man is, first of all, a lover of comfort. Earthly well-being for him is paramount value. Therefore, any serious illness, distress, trouble, he perceives as an obstacle to happiness. Accordingly, he seeks to remove this obstacle at all costs, if only to prosper. But St. John the Prophet uttered a deep, important idea for all of us: “It is not good to pray for healing, not knowing what is good for you” .
Of course, God’s Providence about the fate of people is a mystery that can only partly be revealed to us. But the apostle Paul has these words: With many sorrows we must enter the kingdom of God (Acts 14: 22). Hence, by Divine Providence our illnesses and sorrows are included in the salvation of our souls. And everything that happens to us – not only good, but also bad – is the conditions in which a personality is formed for future eternity. For the true well-being of a person, it is perhaps more useful to suffer, be ill, experience life failures and temptations from the fallen angels, rather than use calm calm, living here happily. Suppose a person is on the verge of temptation, or his soul is already swayed by passion, and the afflicted illness instantly makes him sober. The Lord sees the hearts and intentions of people, and therefore knows to whom and when to let go of illnesses. Consequently, the main attention of the soul should be directed to God and his Providence, and not to the feverish search for a way to make oneself heaven on earth.
St. Ignatius Bryanchaninov has very important arguments about miraculous healings. The saint shows that even genuine healing received from God can be misunderstood and thus harm his own soul: “Carnal wisdom recognizes ailments to be a disaster, and healing from them, especially wonderful, is the greatest well-being, not caring if healing is associated with for the soul or with harm to it … Having miraculously healed the illness, many did not pay attention to the blessing of God and their duty to be grateful for the blessing, began to spend a sinful life, the gift of God about atili to harm himself, alienated from God, lost their salvation. For this reason, miraculous healings of bodily ailments are rare, although carnal wisdom greatly respects them and would very much desire them. Say and do not receive, ”says the Apostle,“ because you do it not for good, but to consume for your desires (James 4: 3). The spiritual mind teaches that the afflictions and other sorrows that God sends to people are sent according to God’s special mercy: like bitter healing healing to the sick, they contribute to our salvation, our eternal well-being, rather than miraculous healings ”(Ascetic sermon / Creations. T. 4. – M., 1997. p. 316 – 317).
Without noticing the value of sorrows for the salvation of his soul, a person, naturally, does not notice the danger of an occult way to solve his own problems.
The Gospel testifies: What is the use of a person if he gains the whole world and damages his soul? or what ransom will a man give for his soul? (Matt. 16:26). If the soul is more precious than the whole world, if immortality is above transient goods, then all the more salvation of the immortal soul is more expensive and higher than the temporary bodily well-being gained by the occult way. St. John Chrysostom, reflecting on the value of the human soul and the temptations of the occult, said: “As traffickers of slaves, offering small children pies, sweet fruits and the like, often catch them with such lures and deprive themselves of even their lives, as well as magicians, promising cure a sick part of the body, drown all the salvation of the soul “. And there are unfortunately similar examples.
An eminent preacher, Bishop Alexander (Mileant) († 2005) in one of his works gives a very vivid example of the influence of the occult on a person who voluntarily agreed to accept magical healing. Moreover, it seems to us that not everybody on the spot of the mentioned person would find the strength to refuse occult help. Judge for yourself what would you do in the place of a suffering person: “In one of the villages of Thailand there lived a native peasant who was an active member of his Christian church. Once he had damaged his arm with something, from which a purulent wound had formed on it. In tropical climates, the inflammation began to spread rapidly, and soon part of the arm was covered with a large dark red, almost black spot. However, since it was quite far from the nearest doctor, this peasant tried to cure his hand with home remedies. Finally, when the gangrene almost reached the shoulder, he went to the doctor. The doctor told him that it was necessary to urgently amputate his arm, otherwise he would soon die from gangrene. The Thai exclaimed in panic: "But what will I do with one hand? Who will plant for me and collect rice?" A terrible confusion overwhelmed the Thai. Then he remembered one old Hindu who treated people with some mysterious force. Although he knew that Christians should not turn to sorcerers, his desperate situation prompted him to turn to a Hindu for help. It turned out that this Hindu was far from a charlatan, and his magical powers did the impossible. The purulent inflammation was stopped and the arm was saved. But soon after receiving help from the sorcerer, the Thai stopped going to church and returned to the pagan faith of his ancestors. So he paid for his salvation with his soul ”.
This example reveals especially vividly the values of modern people, for whom the extension of earthly life is above the good immortality of their own soul. And Bishop Alexander (Mileant) draws attention to the fact “which is rarely mentioned in the scientific studies of occultism, but extremely important, which reveals the true theomachistic nature of occult spirits: this is the inexplicable aversion to God and everything sacred that a person experiences after receiving from them help or bio-charging. A believing person is especially perceptibly abruptly changing his spiritual mood. As soon as he receives some help from a psychic or an occultist, any desire to pray, read the Holy Scriptures, go to church and
We repeat that for a modern person, physical health, rejuvenation, earthly harmony, life comfort, prosperity are a kind of shrine, for which he is ready to sacrifice everything else. However, the pursuit of earthly well-being to the detriment of its immortal soul ultimately turns into the collapse of all life hopes. A person loses his heart’s peace, comes into communion with fallen spirits, but often does not receive external well-being.
A person wants to get relief right away – he performed a ritual, uttered a conspiracy, made passes, and so that the disease would disappear like a hand. The traditional method of treatment seems too long and tedious, praying to God with proper faith lacks mental strength, and the occult seems simple, affordable and easy.
In the ancient Russian church collections there is a word that corresponds to the name of St. John Chrysostom – “About healing diseases and magic” (sciences are magical nodules; the above-mentioned work is based on the true word of St. John Chrysostom “About illness and doctors”). This word shows that a similar problem occurred in ancient Russia. The author of the text instructs: “When you fall into a fierce affliction, many will persuade you to go to the sorcerers or magi, you, trusting in God, suffer, knowing that these torments bring you a crown and relieve you of future torment, if you endure the disease, thanks to god. If we are Christians, then we obey Christ and do not go to the enemies of God – the Magi, the sorcerers, for they are the enemies of God. What good is the body to heal, and to destroy the soul, what purchase, there is little consolation to take, and then sent to be with demons in torment and eternal fire … If anyone suffers troubles and serious diseases in this age, then he receives a great bribe in the Kingdom of Heaven. Consider, man, that the sorcerers will not get rid of the disease, but only commit a great and serious sin. If, leaving God, you go to demons, what mercy will you receive from Him and how will you call Him in prayers? Why are you destroying your soul and what will you answer to God if you leave God to the Magi because of a small illness? How will you stand in the church, how will you take Communion, how will you listen to the teachings? O man, if you gratefully endure the disease or any other misfortunes, you will be crowned with the martyrs on that day, for they have suffered torments, and you endure illnesses and misfortunes ”.
Of course, to undergo a natural course of treatment is the duty of every Christian who has undergone some kind of illness. We are called to keep in order not only the soul, but also the body, because both are entrusted to us by God. Both the soul and body are called to become the abode of the Holy Spirit. Recovering from illnesses, we get a new opportunity to build good in our world, help and do good to others, and not hang around their necks with a dead weight. Therefore, you need to take care of the purity, strength and health of not only the soul, but also the body. And although the disease is a visit to God, nevertheless, health is an undoubted divine gift. This gift must be kept by all means. Not always we are so strong spiritually to entrust the recovery of miraculous help from above. Rev. Barsanuphius the Great instructed: “To give everything to God is the work of the perfect, and a feeble thing to show yourself to the doctor, because it is not only not a sin, but also a sign of humility. But even then one must admit that without God and the doctor cannot do anything, if God wills, He will give health to the patient. ” This is a truly Christian attitude towards sickness and healing, but not an appeal to the dark, crafty power, which is ready for the eternal death of the soul to give a temporary healing effect.