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What is the Occult?

Occultism is a distorted spirituality in which, instead of listening to God and strengthening His grace, man strives for affirmation with the help of "hidden" forces. Occultism always appeared in periods of crisis, social upheavals, when people wanted to solve their problems with some kind of invisible help, to find out future, to remove troubles from themselves in a simple, magical way, and that was used by those in love with easy money.

We will start with a short, true event. When the child comes home, the whole floor is covered with rice. "Mom, what happened?" "It's me, son, I'm expelling bad energy from the house," she answered, explaining one of the practices of some kind of Eastern mysticism, according to which the floor is sprinkled with colored grain. Who could have thought that in the 21st century, along with the development of electronics, the latest types of technology and promising branches of science, the old, superstitious interest in occult knowledge would remain. It is known that modern singers and actors are interested in Kabbalah, for example, Madonna, who personally founded the Center for the Study of Kabbalah in London, and following her example, Elizabeth Taylor, Mick Jagger, Paris Hilton, Courtney Love, Philip Kirkorov, Lolita Milyavskaya and many others the second. In 2010, Norwegian Princess Marta Louise openly declared her devotion to esoteric teachings and spiritualism. Businessmen carefully listen to astrological forecasts, politicians and athletes rush to consult fortune-tellers and soothsayers before serious events.

Occultism (from the Latin occultus- secret, hidden) are mysterious teachings and cults that express the aspiration to penetrate the spiritual world, find out otherworldly powers and master them. It seems so mysterious, like the creaking of an old door opened in an abandoned shed that it is both scary and interesting for children to look at. Occultism believes that mysterious, supernatural forces are present in man, nature, and the cosmos, which can be discovered and found. Occultism calls for the mastery of these forces and thus to reach a more perfect life on earth. But doesn't religion also call people to that? In religion (by which we mean, first of all, Christianity as the true faith), knowledge of the spiritual world inextricably follows communion with God. In occultism, man tries to break through to spiritual forces without God. "When I started to deal with the occult, - told the author of this article, a former witch doctor who reached extra sensory abilities, - I was amazed by that effect and the possibilities that magic revealed to me. People who came to me for advice and asking me to help them were obviously convinced of an invisible force, which acted on them through my practice." In occultism, the spiritual world itself is perceived as an instrument for personal happiness, and egoism is the basic driving force of occultists. Therefore, the life motto of a successful occultist is: "I am not like others; what is inaccessible to the environment is possible for me". Occultism is most obviously reflected in magic. Magic is an attempt to master supernatural and natural forces with the help of witchcraft, rituals, and special mystical actions.

When did the occult appear? An ancient Acadian monument dating back two thousand years before the birth of Christ has been preserved. It is a cylinder on the middle of which is drawn a tree with seven branches and two fruits. On the sides of the tree sit two people with outstretched arms, judging by the headdresses on their heads, a man and a woman. A snake is depicted behind the woman. It is the oldest image of the sins of our forefathers. The specter of the occult is directly related to original human sin. The devil deceived our first parents by saying that after tasting the forbidden fruit, they would receive secret knowledge with the help of which they would become powerful, in a word, like gods: "But God knows that on the day you taste it, your eyes will be opened, and you will become like gods and know what is good and what is evil" (Genesis 3,5). What was so special that the devil could suggest to the first people? Because man was called from the beginning to become like God, and God gave the first created people the authority over the earthly world anyway: "And God blessed them, and God said to them: Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and rule it, and be masters from the fish of the sea and from the birds of the sky and from all the animals that move on the earth" (Gen. 1, 28). But preserving that power and imperial dignity was possible only on the path of unity with God, that is, it required effort, work on oneself. The devil whispered to them, it seems, a simpler and easier way: he told them that the fruits themselves possess a magical power that makes man equal to God. "And the woman seeing that the fruit on the tree was good for food and that it was a delight to look at and that the tree was very dear for the sake of knowledge, she picked fruit from it and tasted it, and gave it to her husband, and he also tasted it." (Genesis 3) , 6). At the urging of the serpent, Eve tasted the forbidden fruit, precisely wanting to gain the special knowledge that was supposedly hidden in the fruit itself. The mistake of the first people consisted in the fact that they looked at the tree of paradise as some mysterious talisman, which if they forcibly master, they can instantly become independent rulers of the whole world.

In this way, the sin of the first created people became the starting principle of occult practice, the basis of magic and the search for secret knowledge. If before the sin man was in the closest inner communion with God and if his happiness depended on it, then with the original sin God ceased to be a hidden treasure for man that sanctified his life from the inside. Now the forbidden fruit, that external but tempting object for man, began to be perceived as a "golden key" with the help of which it is possible to independently achieve happiness and be self-sufficient masters of one's being. If the power of the first created man over the world could be realized only with his personal harmony with God, then now man tried to reach perfection by entering from the "back entrance". Since then, we meet people who wanted to master secret powers, abilities, to invent such magical rituals or formulas in order not to influence the world, to become "like gods" without God. People acquire secret knowledge and are proud of it, and then, like our ancestors, they lose absolutely everything.

When you enter the magician's place, the first thing you will notice is a special, enchanting atmosphere - mysterious twilight, candles in candlesticks, a crystal ball, and also the visitor will be given a special, relaxing tea. In this kind of atmosphere, a person's initial distrust towards the witch is stifled. Then, with some actions, the magician arouses the visitor's concentration, attention and interaction. He makes his authority and ability concretely felt. The patient already feels completely dependent on the "miracle worker" and quickly agrees with every recommendation that the "specialist" makes convincingly. Thus, the sorcerer gradually bewitches the visitor, just as the snake bewitched Eve.

In Russian Orthodox practice, there is an Act of renunciation of occultism. After a detailed confession of one who has repented of occult practices, before the opening prayer, the priest asks the question: Do you admit that you are interested in different types of occultism, bioenergy, non-contact massage, hypnosis, folk healing, non-traditional medicine, removing spells, witchcraft, sorcery and soothsaying, spiritualism , astrology, contacting a "higher mind", with UFOs, connecting to "cosmic energies", parapsychology, telepathy, "deep psychology", yoga and other Eastern cults, meditation and other forms of occultism, lead to a deeper cooperation with fallen spirits? Answer: I confess and repent for those actions."

In this way, occultists become all psychics, folk healers, psychotherapists, who use the hypnotic method of suggestion, bioenergetic therapists who act on people with their "bio-field", sorcerers, magicians, astrologers, fortune-tellers and all the like. Psychics themselves claim to heal people with the special forces they possess, which they call bio-currents, bioenergetics, accumulated cosmic energy, and the like. Many of them believe that they rule by the power bestowed upon them by God himself. In essence, occultism is a God-forbidden connection with the invisible world of evil spirits, occult knowledge "leads to deeper cooperation with fallen spirits."

Occultism never raised people to true spiritual heights but limited their existence in the sphere of emptiness and immateriality, which is far from the holiness of the world, and whose inhabitants are the same fallen ones, like man himself. Occultism is generally alien to Divine Revelation. The famous theoretician and practitioner of occultism, Rudolf Steiner, wrote: "When an occultist speaks, he does not give dogmas, but recounts what he has seen on the astral and spiritual plane or what his teachers have revealed to him." For example, the authoritative magician Aleister Crowley wrote his "Book of the Law" in a trance state under the dictation of an invisible spirit. And the famous psychic Alan Chumak in his book "To those who believe in miracles" says that he was trained with special abilities by the voices that spoke in his head "which took dictation in shifts". He recorded what they revealed to him and was guided by this in his medical practice. In which, as Chumak claims, the voices taught him to use only his own abilities to heal people and allegedly not to harm them, and they also told him about the structure of the world.

All in all, occultism is a distorted spirituality in which, instead of sharing God and strengthening His grace, man strives for affirmation with the help of "hidden" forces. Therefore, occultism always appears where true spiritual life is scarce or missing. As a substitute for materialism, occultism appeared in our country in the early 1990s, which, like a stream from a broken sewer, flooded Russia with its unpleasant content. The emergence of occultism always took place in periods of crises, social upheavals, when people wanted to solve their problems with some kind of invisible help, to know the future, to remove their troubles by magical means, and this was used by lovers of easy money.

Occultism has its own principle: do so and so and you will surely get what you asked for. Unfortunately, this is often transferred to faith, when church rites and prayers are perceived as protective rituals that in themselves give a person all possible treasures. Already the first son of Adam and Eve, Cain experienced religion in terms of magical protection from earthly misfortunes. Having lost God's blessing, he said: "Here you are forcing me out of this land today to hide before You, and to wander and fight in the land, so whoever strikes me will kill me" (Genesis 4:14). That is, if I had not fallen under Your wrath, then I would not have been deprived of special protection and my earthly life would have been beyond all dangers. He perceived faith itself only as a means to earthly well-being, as a magical key that opens the lock of earthly happiness. Likewise, people with magical knowledge want to achieve earthly prosperity at the expense of faith, when they absolutely do not need God himself. Christ spoke to such people: "Truly, truly, I say to you: do not seek me because you saw miracles, but because you ate bread and were satisfied" (Jn. 6, 26).

A man with magical knowledge would like to get such a golden key, such a magic wand with the help of which it would be possible to reach all possible treasures. For example, a modern worshiper of Kabbalah (and magic in general) may be known by a red woolen thread on the forearm - it is believed that a man who loves you should tie the thread at seven ends and say a special incantation, according to which, the person supposedly becomes protected from other people's envy, backbiting and other negative actions. Everything comes down to a certain ritual or a verbal formula, like some technical instruments with which it would be possible to turn your life from illness to health, from suffering to happiness.

Christian spiritual life is built on completely different principles. In man, above all, his immortal soul is precious, and therefore the primary happiness is spiritual and not physical, significant heavenly treasure and not earthly. Man was created in the image of God and therefore he can be truly happy only with God. Living conversion to God with repentant rejection of sins is the core of spiritual life. Fulfilling God's commandments with sincere, warm prayer, confession and participation in worship gives the soul that freedom and joy that nothing in the world will give them. And if the occult gently lures you to power and then enslaves the soul to demons, then Christianity, through fulfilling the will of God, makes a person really strong, because when God is with a person, there is no lack in that person - inner wealth complements outer poverty. Of course, here you are not enveloped by the breath of mystical ascension, and when you are interested in the occult, the soul thinks it is soaring upwards, but in fact it is only falling into ruin.

A true spiritual life is built calmly, naturally, simply: gradually transforming the soul and inspiring it with a pure, clear, and designed life. It is that path of ascent that restores the heavenly harmony and unity with God that was once lost due to the endearing temptations of the occult.

It would be said that hypnosis - a widespread form of treatment, used by many psychotherapists, is permissible, for example in the case of alcoholism treatment. In fact, it is an entirely occult act, the scientific nature of which is very doubtful. A hypnotized man becomes a kind of living robot that fulfills all the orders of the "boss" without his will. Hypnosis is the immersing of a person in the world of illusions, and therefore this world is false in its essence. Man experiences his surroundings and himself, not in their reality but as suggested by the hypnotist. In the case of receiving hypnosis, he becomes receptive to any influence. Demonstrating the paralysis of the will in a hypnosis session, a person is more susceptible to the influence of dark forces.

Even world scientists will agree that one of the strongest sides of the human psyche is the ability to analyze one's condition, the art of evaluating one's own behavior. This view of myself from the side: how I think, how I receive solutions, what is happening to me in general - helps a creative approach to one's life, to move forward and not stay in one place like a frozen statue. Thanks to the activity of our inner eye, which keenly observes everything that happens in our soul, we can remain ourselves and not be sad marionettes to whom something is imposed and suggested all the time. Sober assessment of information that comes from outside and everything that originates in us is the basis of real health and life activity. Therefore, voluntarily subjecting oneself to the influence of the hypnotist and the occult influence in general brings the soul, against the background of the first improvements, only monstrous failure, and discomfort.

Valery Dukhanin


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