Killing Us Softly: Seduced by the Occult

Let no one be found among you...who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. (Deut. 18:10-12)

When my daughter first starting scrawling all over her papers with a black crayon, I was immediately concerned. She was about 14 months old, but she had been "drawing" for months. She favored bright colors, soft shapes, and a multitude of dots. The images were always cheerful and sweet in their total innocence. But one Friday when I picked up a sheaf of papers and saw her intense, ragged black scrawl, my heart leapt with fear. What could be troubling her, I wondered?

I was seeing a chiropractor every week, and whenever I had an appointment, I always brought my baby along. The massage therapist there loved my little girl, and would talk with her and encourage her to draw with her crayons while my back was being adjusted. It was at the end of one of these appointments that I picked up her papers and saw the disturbing product of my daughter's frenzied work on page after page after page.

The black scrawling continued on all her drawings, without exception, until we attended Mass two days later. Once we were inside the church, she settled into the pew and started coloring as normal, in bright, gentle shapes and dots.

The following Friday, when I was scheduled for another spinal adjustment, I decided to leave her home with my husband, who didn't have to be at work until later on. But even before I left the house, the black scrawl reappeared. And again, it continued until we attended Mass that weekend.

At my appointment, that morning, I pulled the massage therapist aside and asked her, "Do you have anyone new working in your office?" "No," she said. "It's still just me and my husband." I asked, "Are there any new spiritual influences in your life at the moment? Anything new that you're trying or getting involved in?"

At first she shook her head. But then she said, "Oh. I had a Reiki adjustment a couple of weeks ago..." and then she proceeded to tell me how wonderful it was, how the Reiki master had cured her of a nightly sensation of "burning feet," telling her that she had been a witch in a past life, and burned at the stake.

When she was finished talking, I very gently told this kind, sweet lady about my daughter's recent behavior. I apologized sincerely for what I was about to say, but I terminated our relationship. My daughter was too young to be prejudiced, I decided. And she was telling me something loud and clear. Something was very wrong. I never went back and the scrawl never recurred.

You've probably all had something like this happen to you: A close friend or a relative suddenly changes on a dime, their personality suddenly altered. Upon closer inquiry, you find that he/she has been seeing a psychic or having Reiki adjustments. Her faith, formerly growing and acquiring the humble trust needed for real advancement is now plagued with doubts.

Becoming visibly more prideful and prone to irritable outbursts, perhaps she even pooh-poohs spiritual realities made evident through the life of her own favorite saint, but she can't see the inconsistency. She is too "modern" to believe in such things. They are outdated notions. She can't believe you really think the way you do!

I'd like to share part of an interview by the Italian journal "30 Days," with Fr. Gabriel Amorth, who was the Chief Exorcist in Rome for many years and who has written books on his experiences.

30 Days: You fight against the demon every day. What is Satan's greatest success? 

Fr. Amorth: To succeed in making people believe that he doesn't exist. And in this he has almost succeeded. Even within the Church. We have a clergy and an episcopate who no longer believe in the devil, in exorcisms, in the extraordinary evil that the devil can cause, nor in the power that Jesus has given us to drive out demons.

It is time for us to pray and fast. This is spiritual war. Necromancy (contacting the dead), Tarot cards, witchcraft, Reiki (or "healing touch"), psychics, astrology, and other occult practices are all forbidden by God because He loves us and wants us to come to Him, to live in Him, and to be truly happy and at peace.

These practices are dangers, not little pleasures or wonderful secrets. They will first steal away your faith in soft, pleasant stages, then destroy your peace, and if you don't get help from the Church, will mortally wound your soul.

Here's what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say:

CCC 2117 "All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or a when they have recourse to the intervention of demons."

3/27/2012 4:00:00 AM
  • Catholic
  • Be an Amazing Catechist
  • Occult
  • Parenting
  • Reiki
  • Spiritual Warfare
  • Witchcraft
  • Christianity
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Lisa Mladinich
    About Lisa Mladinich
    Lisa Mladinich is a Catholic wife and mother, catechist and workshop leader, and the author of the popular booklets, "Be An Amazing Catechist: Inspire the Faith of Children," and "Be an Amazing Catechist: Sacramental Preparation" available from Our Sunday Visitor. She is the founder of