This year marks my 7th year as a Catholic, years that include a lot of frolicking through rowdy pastures and learning the hard way only to come into a startling awareness of just how much God has endeavored to rescue my heart and refused to give up on my soul. Now that grace is worn like a warm coat against the cold of life, and I know I will die if I cannot be cloaked in His Precious Blood, it seems prudent to reflect on where I came from and why my choices made in free will where I said “yes” to God had such a tremendous impact on the ultimate destiny of my immortal soul.
Sometimes when understanding how darkness has operated in your life and recognizing these interventions of grace, God can only show you so much at a time, often just the tiniest sliver of the thing at a time, otherwise you would not be able to bear it. Although these past seven years have been no picnic, they have been quite shielded from understanding the enormity of my past mistakes before my conversion, in part because there were many exterior battles I had to fight with the strength of my refreshed gift of faith before my attention could be turned to my interior defects. Already being spiritually starved by the time I was ready to convert, it would have been cruel to demand a fast for the newly returned prodigal daughter and instead in divine mercy, I was given a feast. Such a gratuitous giving was essential for the imminent trials ahead, as it would be necessary to recall and experience the goodness of God so acutely in the face of the absence of God. Interior purgation would come later, when the time was right, as Our Lord and Lady know best.
Well, the time is ripe now and the season for joyous purgation in the pursuit of total freedom has led to a set of new tools, such as the prayer for “Commission of the Soul and Body” from Deliverance Prayers for the Laity. As someone who often suffers from insomnia or nightmares, there’s a line in this prayer that specifically asks your dreams to be directed if God wills it. The direction my dreams have taken after the earnest recitation of that prayer has steered my dreams into a kind of symbolic school of learning, wherein I am able to understand the gravity of terrifying realities without fear. For seven years I did not much dwell on the idea of spiritual warfare much less how it fit into the practice of Catholicism, but my library on the matter has grown exponentially in the past few months during the lockdowns and so much of what I have experienced and known to be true is reflected back in these manuals on the operations of darkness.
One thing I was kept from fully understanding, is how grave the mistakes are for one who participates in practice of the occult. In order to understand how one even ends up at the footsteps of forbidden knowledge and begins to knock, it’s important to know what directed your steps to that threshold in the first place. In my case it was a classic wound of spiritual trauma via the sins of other Christians. Being rendered allergic to anything resembling Christianity for over a decade, yet still retaining a desire for the spiritual, this wicked cocktail did nothing but get me punch drunk on perdition.
My true Achilles heel however, was that of the sin of curiosity. Never have I even heard a whisper on the idea that curiosity could be sinful until reading a random article in a Christian magazine one day that planted the faintest remnant of that idea in my memory, until recently when it has become an all-out theme in my spiritual life both waking and sleeping. Part of the reason curiosity can become sinful is in my case, because the natural gift of intelligence can be used for good or ill, and I have a difficult time resisting the meditation of a complex idea. There is a very particular kind of pleasure and enjoyment that comes from all the wheels turning in your mind, until that very idea can conjure an experience of transcendence. Not having a mind and imagination filled with the things of God, this chasm was a void the devil was more than happy to fill. I enjoyed the exercise of letting my mind loose on spiritual ideas more than anything, because I was keenly aware they possessed a unique power that meditation on other subjects simply did not merit. I wanted to know hidden, secret things, and receive explanations for the confounding mysteries in my life.
A few days ago during a Sunday afternoon nap, I had a dream about the black magic I was involved with prior to my life as a Catholic, and how those spirits were operating in my life. Catholic exorcists often mention the need to identify the doorways of entry for demons, so they can exit for good and set to work repairing those vulnerabilities from future attacks. Curiosity as mentioned, has been one of my greatest downfalls, as has putting my trust in others who appear to have special spiritual gifts only to learn those gifts have a demonic origin. Breaking this attachment to sinful curiosity has been so difficult because of the familiarity of these temptations: you just get acclimated to being uneasy, you overlook red flags, or my high tolerance for pain entails I tolerate things I should not. In this dream, I found myself in front of a very heavy-feeling house, almost like I was being pushed towards its enchantment in a gravitational pull and I felt revulsion in response to this feeling of pressure. The house was even this somber dark green and black color that did not bode life but rather reminiscent of something old and moldy, long forgotten in a jar now poisonous if opened. However, I found myself in front of this house because I had lost my way chasing a man, and was unaware that my heart was the game piece being played. I somehow understood the man I was chasing was inside the house, and steeled my nerves, leaned into the noxious gravity, and opened the door. Once inside, the man I was chasing quickly put me through a kind of psychological maze of challenges, which was like giving drugs to an addict in my case, and utilized this to earn my trust and surrender my defenses. Eventually he took me to the room of a old, bedridden man – who was blind and tied to the bed – both prisoner and powerful all at once – and the man I was chasing asked the tortured, bedridden “oracle” for the name of the demons who were tormenting me – which he spoke despite the misery of being forced to speak, but the names remained fuzzy to my ears in the dream, like words obscured in clouds of sound. After further trust was established, I was led up this staircase where there was a kind of inanimate male coven dressed in strange vestments of primary colors, and the man I was chasing asked me to pledge the allegiance of my soul into the pool. Illustrated flames of fire rested upon the top of the pool, and when I turned to the man I was chasing, once considered handsome he suddenly transfigured into a very old and decrepit and horrible creature. I had a proper shock of horror, saw through the deception, screamed “NO!” and ran down the stairs, out the door, and awoke from the dream.
As spooky as this may seem, I can fathom the horror of the kinds of black magic I was involved with prior to my conversion from a perspective of grace. As I mature I can better understand how Jesus defeated Satan and why Catholicism is the terror demons, and why my awareness of the powers of the dark only make my experience of the triumphant power of God that much greater. One thing people do not realize is that those who practice the dark arts, the “left-hand path”, or rebuke God for the prince of this world often have a greater belief in the power and existence of Jesus and His Holy Catholic Church, so great is the essence of their spirituality being a direct response and rebuttal to the goodness of God the Father through their choice of submission to Satan. It would be wise for any practicing Catholic to take note of this, and utilize that awareness to pursue the truth of Christ as King with the totality of our lives. No genuine Christian worth their salt should have their spiritual fervor outshined by that of one who waywardly worships a counterfeit of God.
It’s really a wonder that I ever became Catholic, because it is indeed a more strenuous path than that of other options to the spiritual, and requires things that we usually cast off as annoyances rather than treasures like patience, self-control, and surrender. But reaching a kind of crux as to where the practice of the dark arts goes, it was in a tête-à-tête with a psychic in the middle of RCIA that pushed me over the fence and into a choice that has proven to be the correct one.
Because there was so much bizarre phenomena going on at this time in my life, and I couldn’t figure out who to consult about it, a friend recommended that I get in touch with her renowned psychic friend who has also experienced what I was going through, and could perhaps offer some clarification and guidance. As well as undertake some kind of diplomatic peace-keeping mission, as per my friend’s suggestion when she warned me that this psychic possessed a rather strong contempt for the Catholic Church. Not even being initiated into the Church yet, I found this curious and sort of tabloid-esque in the likely redundant reasons for the hatred, as the news does not favor the Church, and I pressed on for a meeting, curious and hungry for insight and trusting in the referral of my friend.
Prior the visit were detailed commands to follow, and there was a mini purifying ritual you had to do upon entry to her house, designed to create an idea that you were approaching something holy. After a warm reception at the door, I fulfilled these instructions dutifully and when we sat down in a room entirely consecrated to these sessions, she first had to re-arrange the room in my presence and take the flowers on the table off the table between us, as if I was a kind of luminous repellent that she voiced out-loud as: “You have more light in you than anyone I’ve met!” Confused by her flattery mixed with fear at the time, I took notes in my mind and later understood this to be a clever attempt at appealing to any pride in my ego. How smart is it, to give the impression that one is going to pay homage, only to arrive and be treated like the queen? One particular grace that remained steady throughout this psychic reading was a grounded sense of reason, that in retrospect seems like my guardian angel insisting on my behalf that logic remain in attendance during this slippery foray into the “mystical”. So I ignored her seemingly turning the tables, and shortly thereafter she pulls out a book from a nearby shelf written in a spellbinding foreign language about her grandfather who had prophetic gifts and utilized them to save an entire town from destruction in a land far away. On the cover there were portraits of the gilded chariot that the townspeople gave her grandfather as a thank you after they heeded his prophetic advice, and she made a point to look deeply into my eyes as she explained how that generational spiritual gift has now been passed on to her.
Because my cousin of an Olympic athlete means that I too can win gold medals. Because we’re family.
This logical fallacy aside, there is something to be said for generational spirits and how these spirits can often have elements of prophecy attached, although it is imperative to understand that demons cannot predict the future with exactitude only make connections from their knowledge of the past to craft predictions of the future. They also know us better than we know ourselves, so there’s that. But so do our guardian angels whose sole task, born from love is to keep, guide and protect us and specifically us in our lives. So one need not be discouraged, but rather pay attention and lean on your guardian angel for help in all things. Do not dismiss that calm voice of logic when your guardian angel speaks, otherwise it will turn to a faint whisper unable to be heard over the cacophony of chaos in your life.
When the “reading” began in earnest, she began with a prayer of invocation to the names I understood through the strange language: the archangels of Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael. I relaxed, trusting in the names that she was invoking, and figured she must be a good religious girl after all (whatever that means). Much of psychic readings involve the highlighting of your gifts by a stranger, whether they be dormant or apparent. I was told all kinds of things, especially deeply satisfying things like how surprisingly funny and creative I was (“You are a writer… you have two plays in you, at least…”) and how I was benevolent by nature, particularly here to help women and children. As I took in observation after observation, it occurred to me why people can get addicted to this stuff, because it’s like paying someone to tell you secrets about yourself. I filed that red flag about potential addictiveness away in my mental notebook, and pressed on.
During the reading, depending on the topic I did notice that she would speak in different voices and tones, and could not help but notice the multiplicity of spirits speaking through her. I didn’t allow myself to be totally creeped out by that at the moment, but chalked it up to being like an anthropologist in a strange jungle, and that I shouldn’t pass judgment on the strange as a guest. But filed that away in my invisible notebook I did as well, whilst I continuing to invest my trust despite any perception of risk. I became deeply grateful when she very clearly spoke out against certain toxic personalities and choices I was making, and gave me a stern warning on the burnout that I was imminently destined for, which I received as truth. Incredibly supine to her now after this taste of truth, when I was asked this question: “Do you want to be submissive to this vice or submissive to God?” it managed to shatter my world so intensely and became the only question in my entire life worthy of asking, and was a question so powerful that its effects were akin to an addict walking away cold turkey from the needle. “Who are you submissive to?” is to ask yourself whom or what you are under the mission of. Whose lead are you following?
However endeared I felt by her taking notice of my soul’s condition, that contempt for Catholicism did eventually rear its head, and after telling her I was a “mystic Catholic” (whatever that means), she responded she could see that, and went on a diatribe against the faith anyway. Because I had been receiving some fairly sound catechetical instruction in RCIA and was giving my formation an earnest go, the foundation of her words were based in no more than vapor, and I could clearly see through her protests as unworthy of adoption. In addition to the chain-breaking question of who I wanted to be submissive to, her repulsion towards Catholicism only created a kind of steel backbone in my spiritual body that did not previously exist.
In the middle of receiving that empowerment in the thick of opposition, after knowing with my total heart that I would choose Catholicism and be received into the Church, I saw the face of this psychic transfigure. So that I could better understand the source of her power, and the full consequence of choices, I saw what was a beautiful, classical face collapse into something that words can only describe as “ancient Transylvanian witch that feasts on the blood of innocent babies.” That seems so over-the-top and really, those words do not at all encapsulate what I saw, rather I needed to see something to make me understand that the source of this enchanting power was: ancient, vampiric, and malevolent.
Very clearly I saw how her natural gifts of intuition, beauty and charisma led to entanglements with destruction and slavery to evil, and the visual experience became something of a living parable. Her receptive response to me was indeed a bit unusual, she and I did look related and it did occur to me that I could easily do what she does: utilize my gifts of intuition to “read” people for a living. There’s a lot of money to be made not to mention the prestige, as she even counsels celebrities and wears a tall crown of spiritual royalty in this strange land. But the idea of these rewards were the opposite of appealing to me, and I knew I could choose better. Shortly afterwards she offered me a paid job as her assistant, and when I turned it down I knew I would never regret saying no. I never have. Saying “yes” to God and “no” to Satan is the wisest choice one could ever make, even if I have to continue rebuking darkness as it reveals itself and will the love of my “yes” against any obstacle to heaven as long as my heart can beat.
This tête-à-tête with that psychic which made me a true believer in Christ as the head of the spiritual hierarchy also revealed to me how vulnerable people are when they are seeking spiritual counsel, and how that vulnerability is so easily and mightily taken advantage of by a whole variety of charlatans and predators. That addictive feeling of being paid such close attention to after a life of neglect, being offered seeming ways out from pain, and cultivating a passion for power can so easily corrupt a person’s natural desire for God by offering divinity knock-offs. We usually think of encounters with the demonic as being very aggressive, frightful affairs and they can indeed be but usually we do not understand that the demonic will take full advantage of our desire for comfort in troubled times. It can take too long to recognize that teddy bear you’re holding is really a cactus. With poisonous spikes. Some never realize, and go to their graves persuaded by deceit. But what grace exists for those whose eyes are opened and choose the plain and simple good from all the other tantalizing options to evil.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. – 1 Jn 4: 1-4 RSVCE
The most important decision we can make in life is the choice of our master. Whose mission do we want to serve? The variety of many masters may seem a more appealing way to view our options but when it comes to the king of your heart there is only one throne. Whether the King of Kings or a myriad of false crowns, the choice is yours.
Deliverance Prayers for the Laity – w/ Imprimatur
Fr. Ripperger’s talks on Generational Spirits
Adam Blai – History of Witchcraft and Wicca
carry clarification into your mind