The Occult Phenomena

What is the Occult? (cont.)

you really consider that this will not warp young minds?
Fortune telling: This also includes other forms of divination, such as Palm Reading, Tarot Cards, Reading Tea Cups. These are clearly forbidden in Micah 5:12. They are also contrasted with seeking God in 1 Chronicles 10: 13-14.

Again, Dr Koch's files on fortune-telling or soothsaying are revealing:

'Since I have written about fortune-telling in other books, Between Christ and Satan and The Devil's Alphabet, I will give only a brief account here.

1. History

The oldest form of fortune-telling is the use of rod and pendulum. (see later section.)  Rod and pendulum can be traced back six thousand years. The second oldest form is astrology (see 3 in this section). Astrology may be traced back five thousand years. The third form is palmistry, which goes back about four thousand years. Palmistry was practiced by the priests of ancient Babylon. The fourth form of fortune-telling is that involving the use of cards. The Romans had little wax tablets with symbols carved on them, which they used for telling the future. The practice of card-laying is about two thousand years old. A fifth form of fortune-telling is psychometry. Here the fortune-teller holds an object belonging to the person in his hand and then gives information concerning the person. A sixth form is fortune-telling with the aid of a crystal ball. A good example is that of Jeane Dixon … Every pagan nation practices fortune-telling. In the Old Testament, too, we have continual warnings against taking part in these pagan activities. One thinks of passages like
Deuteronomy 18: 10-12, or Leviticus 19:31, 20:6, 20:27. I will quote the last three passages:

"Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God. .. . And the soul that turneth after such things as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a-whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people. . . . A man also or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them."

2. Examples

I shall not here deal with the forms of fortunetelling to which special chapters in this book are devoted. Let us begin instead with palmistry.

The fact that palmistry is related to astrology is evident from the division of the palm into seven planet mountains. From the index finger to the little finger these are the Mercury mountain, the Apollo mountain, the Saturn mountain, and the Jupiter mountain. Below the thumb is the Venus mountain and the Moon mountain. In the lines of the hand, four main lines are distinguished: the heart line, the head line, the life line, and the line of destiny. According to this system, one can speak of intuitive palmistry and suggestive palmistry.

In this account, we are concerned only with genuine cases, not with suggestive or fraudulent cases.

Ex 58 My informant is a Christian woman with a university education. Her cousin lives in Riigen. One day a gypsy woman came to him and read his palm. "Your father," said the gypsy, "will win a great sum of money one day. Then he will die at the age of sixty." The young man laughed, and then she said: 'And you will have to die at the age of twenty-seven.'

One day the young man received a letter telling him that his father had won DM.50,000. Then, on the father
's sixtieth birthday, a telegram arrived to say that the father had had a fatal accident. The son became anxious. He was afraid that he would die when he was twenty-seven - and that is what happened. Here we have a genuine example of prediction of the future.

Ex 59  When I was preaching in Graz, a doctor's wife came to me for counseling. This woman had studied medicine. While she was a student, she had joined a student group going to Hungary for the weekend to taste the Hungarian wine. On the way back they met a gypsy woman. The young people were in hilarious mood and let the gypsy examine their palms and tell their fortunes. In the case of one young man, the gypsy refused to say what the future held for him. The group went on their way. A young lecturer who was with the group went back to the gypsy and asked, "Why did you refuse to tell the young man's fortune?"

"This young man will meet a violent death in the next six weeks," replied the gypsy woman. "I did not want to tell him that."

The young man was not told about this prophecy. He was not, therefore, influenced by suggestion. The six weeks went by, and then the young man received a telegram calling him to go and see his father who was dying. Two of his friends went with him to Graz railway station. He got on the train for Salzburg. A few hours later, a special announcement was made that the two rear coaches of this train had been derailed. Among those who had died in the accident was the student. Here we have another example of genuine prediction of the future.

I return to the doctor
's wife who told me this story. She too was told her future by the gypsy woman. The prediction caused this woman many years of unhappiness. I will not go into the details.

Occasionally fortunetellers give a person genuine information, for which the person will pay dearly. The effects of occult practices are the subject of the second part of this book.

Questions are also raised by what is known as psychometric clairvoyance. The clairvoyant who uses psychometry concentrates on an object for a few seconds and then gives information about the circumstances surrounding the object and the past, present, and future of its owner. Some parapsychologists like Rtische, Osty, Price, Gumpenberg and Gatterer, think that a person impregnates his clothing and all the objects he uses with aspects of his personality. On this view psychometric clairvoyants have the ability, when in a trance or semi-trance, to read and interpret these mental impressions. One would have to admit the possibility that this theory might explain statements made about a person
's past. But psychometric clairvoyants are also able to give information about the future. And the future cannot be tied up in a person's clothing. It is impossible to account for this phenomenon of psychometric precognition in terms of parapsychology (the science of occult phenomena).  One could more readily accept the theory of Carl Gustav Jung that at a higher level, past, present, and future are all present. If one goes on to ask how a person can reach this higher level, Osty and Hartmann would reply by saying that people who are psychic have the ability to attain a mystic union with the world soul. The world soul contains all the plans and life histories of men, and these can be discovered by tapping it.

From a Biblical point of view, this is an impossible process. For us, the world soul is the living God, and He does not allow fortune-tellers to pry into His secrets. It is always the same. Learned men bring out the most absurd theories in order to escape facing up to the truth. The Bible describes the whole complex of fortune-telling as a demonic practice which stands under the judgment of God. Those who get their guidance from the Bible will not be impressed by these strange para-psychological theories.

I will give two examples of psychometric soothsaying. One of them concerns a pastor
's family, the other a doctor's practice.

Ex 60 A French pastor's wife came to me for a talk. She had been suffering for years from depression. The depression could not be accounted for medically. The pastor's wife told me the story of her life. It included a case of fortune-telling. One day when her son (now grown up) was ill as a baby, a man from the parish came to the door of the house. "I know that your son is ill," the man said.

Please give me something that belongs to the child. I am able to heal him."

"What do you want to do?" asked the pastor's wife. "We have a doctor. I should like to talk it over first with my husband. He is away at the moment."

"I have heard," said the man, "that your child has a high temperature." The mother replied that the baby's temperature was 1040 F. The man said, "You can see how urgent it is. If the child dies, you will be responsible, because God has given me the ability to heal diseases."

A mother who is anxious about her beloved child is, under some circumstances, open to persuasion. So she went into the house and brought one of the baby
's dresses. The man went home with it. A short while later, the fever abated and the child recovered.

But the child
's development was unusual. He was not normal. He was very clever and went to the high school. But when he came home from school he would stand against the wall and, for about two hours, knock his forehead against it. He could not be persuaded to stop this. His mother also had spiritual problems. She was hardly able to pray or to read the Bible, and she started to suffer from depression.

Ex 61 Now for the example from a doctor's practice. It is not only quacks and amateur healers who use occult methods of diagnosis and cure; there are also a few occultists among doctors. The doctor in question is not only a fully qualified M.D., but is also a psychometric clairvoyant, clairsentient, and fortune-teller. He takes a drop of blood from his patient. This blood sample is not tested in a laboratory. It suffices for the doctor to hold the drop of blood up against the light and to concentrate on it. Then he gives his complete diagnosis. Undoubtedly many diseases can be diagnosed by examination of the blood. I have had a blood test myself. The doctor had the blood tested in forty different ways in the laboratory. It is not possible to do that with just one drop of blood, and some of the laboratory checks take a long time. This doctor is an occultist. All the patients who undergo this occult diagnosis come under a ban [TCE: a curse!].

While we are talking about doctors, I will mention another example. I was told in the course of counseling about a school doctor who asked for samples of urine. He does not make the usual urine tests for protein, sugar, hemoglobin and so on, but he uses it like the doctor in the last example. He concentrates for a few seconds on the urine, without sending it to the laboratory for examination, Harms, the former chief pastor of the Michaelis Church in Hamburg, became bishop of Oldenburg. He is not known worldwide like Lilje, but he maintains a clear witness. After visiting a certain church, his closing words to the minister were, "You have kept back the Gospel from your people." We need more bishops of this caliber, who do not allow their judgment to be clouded by the mirage of modern theology.  Neo-rationalism spells the death of the Christian Church. In the New Testament, an end is made of all the cleverness of the de-mythologizers.

"God made foolish the wisdom of this world" (1 Corinthians 1:20).
"He taketh the wise in their own craftiness" (1 Corinthians 3:19).
Holy Scripture
's answer to the neo-rationalist theology is "Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:2-3).

Parapsychology: Dr Koch comments:

'Parapsychology is the science of occult phenomena. This is the definition given by Hans Driesch, the philosopher of Leipzig, in his book Methodenlehre published in 1932. Professor Hans Bender of Freiburg University, who is regarded as the world's leading parapsychologist, has this to say: "Parapsychology attempts to carry out factual, unprejudiced research in the controversial area where believers in the occult and their opponents stand in irreconcilable opposition. By believers in the occult, he means spiritists, witches, and all who engage in occult activities. By their opponents, he means rationalists who dismiss as make-believe and charlatanry everything which does not fit in within the narrow limits of their horizon. I belong to neither group. I investigate the problems on the basis of a wide experience of counseling. I have observed for many years how people suffer damage as a result of occult activity. My task is to make these things known, to warn, and to give pastoral advice as widely as I can.

1. History

As a science, parapsychology has a history of about one hundred years, although occult activities have been going on for thousands of years. In about 1850, the spiritists became prominent in the USA. The spiritist séance movement spread around the world. Out of desire to conduct a thorough investigation of the phenomena, the English Society for Psychical Research was formed in 1882. From the outset, the parapsychologists made efforts to have their subject recognized by the universities. They were not successful in this until about fifty years later. Then in 1934, a laboratory for para-psychological research was opened at Duke University, USA, under the leadership of Professor J. B. Rhine (author of
The Reach of the Mind). In the same year, a Dutchman named W. H. C. Tenhaeff was given a lectureship in parapsychology at the University of Utrecht. In 1954, a chair of limited areas of psychology was set up at the University of Freiburg under Dr. Hans Bender. In 1960. Leningrad University followed suit with the establishment of an institute for research into paranormal remote influence, under Professor L. L. Vassiliev. In 1964, Professor Onetto was given a lectureship in parapsychology at the University of Santiago. In 1975, Dr. M. Johnson became Professor of Parapsychology at Utrecht University.

... Thousands of cases reveal that occultism in any form, even in a scientific form, harms people. This applies even to scientific parapsychologists who attend spiritist seances in order to study the activity of the mediums. The Scriptural command to have nothing to do with spiritists applies, not only to ordinary people, but also to parapsychologists who work by scientific methods. In fact, we know of no parapsychologist who is a convinced Christian. It will be objected that Professor Rhine, for instance, was a churchgoer. To be a Christian and to be a churchgoer are normally two different things. It is possible to be both, but usually it is not so. The word of God says:

"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
"Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8: 9b).
"No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" (1 Corinthians 12: 3b).

To be a Christian for tradition
's sake is to be a nominal Christian, unless a personal decision for Christ has been made. I cannot believe that a Christian, who has really given his life to Christ, would be able to take part in para-psychological experiments involving the use of mediums.

These words will perhaps be thought hard and arrogant. I believe, however, that the time has come for plain speaking about these facts. Even in Christian circles today, we have books about occult phenomena which make the whole problem seem harmless. For example, Dr. Kurt Huttens
Seher, Grübler, Enthusiasten is an excellent source of information. What is absent from the book is any warning against many occult movements. That was not, of course, Dr. Hutten's intention. A reader, however, would refer to this book and then say that things are not nearly as bad as the evangelists say.'

National Federation of Spiritual Healers:  The Federations own literature records that it is a registered charity with at present some 7,000 registered Spiritual Healers in Great Britain. They do not always charge for their services but they do expect a voluntary donation. The movement was founded in 1955 by Gordon Turner and Harry Edwards. They saw a need to have an organisation that would win public respect and credibility for the way it was organised because until then people had worked as individuals. Some 'healers', by their bizarre methods, had bought the whole area into disrepute. We are not given the details of these methods but apparently one of the less bizarre methods was going into a trance. The potential spiritual healer does not have to hold any religious beliefs or strong moral beliefs, and many practitioners would assert that no particular faith is necessary for the healing work and faith can, in fact, be a hindrance!

The Federation do not encourage praying aloud because they claim it creates barriers, perhaps triggering off theological arguments in the patients mind. A potential healer has to spend at least a year learning with a qualified healer. Seminars and various courses are all part of the training.

Many of the healers in the Federation are also involved in New Age therapies and so much of their philosophy is based on the belief that 'man' is in control and 'man' is his own divine source of healing. In one of their leaflets they state that although they see the source of healing as divine, they respect the rights of each individual to their own interpretation of the source.

Crystals: There is nothing wrong or inherently occult about a crystal.  They can be used in the same way as other traditional occultic divination methods and have been associated with the occult for many years, e.g. the gypsy crystal ball, the looking glass, and the seer stone (the latter used by Mormon cult founder and 'prophet' Joseph Smith to 'translate' the Book of Mormon').

Paganism: Some contemporary pagans in Britain are looking for acceptance for their religion and belief systems and the 'Rev' Susan Leybourne, a 'white witch', was appointed as the country's first pagan university chaplain, giving talks and guidance in 'magic', rituals and worship to students at Leeds University.  She was ordained as a pagan priestess at the Circle University of Springfield, Louisiana, and is a minister of the Congregational Church of Practical Theology - a religion that encompasses pagan believers (The Times, 12 December 1994).  Paganism has many 'denominations', as do many other religions,  but the worship is clearly of 'man-made' pagan gods (the Bible makes it clear that they are not gods, for there is only One God - 1 Corinthians 8:4-6) and clearly nothing to do with the one true God of Christianity.

Witchcraft, Black Magic: Note: there is a major difference between white witchcraft and Satanism.  Having established this to be true, it is clear that many in these groups are fully aware that they are deliberately calling on Satan's power and some openly admit to be seeking to curse Christians, e.g. the Maranatha Community in Manchester produced a fact sheet on the placing of magnetic tapes full of curses around church buildings etc.

Astrology : Astrology is a word is derived from two Greek words, astra meaning star and logos meaning word, thus it actually means 'the word of the stars.'  Astrology is the study of the relative positions of the various heavenly bodies in order to predict how these will affect the behaviour of human beings. Astrologers believe that there is a direct link between the combination of these heavenly bodies at the time you were born and your behaviour and destiny while you live on the earth.

Astrology claims to have its roots in Mesopotamia about 5,000 years ago. Archaeologists also claim that the Tower of Babel, mentioned in Genesis 11 was a ziggurat (astrological pyramid shaped monument). There is evidence of an abundance of astrologers in most other major ancient civilisations, including the Egyptians, the Incas, the Greeks and the Romans. Some say that modern astrology actually began with Ptolemy, a Greek living around AD 150.

The history of the zodiac, the twelve divisions or houses of the astrological world, appears to have first come into being in Mesopotamia around 2100 BC, and there are clearly different levels of involvement just as there are in all religions.  The newspaper style astrology is found in many national newspapers and magazines and most people claim they do not take this type seriously.   A small number of people go further and obtain a more detailed prediction using their particular birth sign.  Finally an individual might receive a personalised prediction for their date and place of birth. It is normal for people who get this far to check their horoscope before any major decision and many in the world were horrified when they found that the most powerful leader in the world at the time, Ronald Reagan, was not allowed to make some decisions on certain days because of  Nancy Regan's dependency on astrology.

Some claim that astrology is scientific and was the first science known to man.  By claiming that the positions of various heavenly bodies give information about personality, actions, and choices affecting individuals it is argued that drawing such charts is a science involving careful mathematical calculations, but the science of drawing a chart to show the alignment of the planets when someone was born is just the beginning for the un-scientific part of interpretation is the main work of astrology.  When a chart is drawn, several factors are considered. Of primary significance are the zodiac signs showing which area the sun is in, the sign rising above the horizon, which zodiac sign each planet is in, the relationships between the planets, and the favourability or otherwise of certain angles are all to be considered.  The interpretation of the planets showing most prominently then begins and this is based on ancient myths and legends relating to that particular character or god.  Referring to 'Jupiter' does not mean the actual planet but the legends that refer to the god Jupiter and his relationships with others.  For instance Jupiter and Venus are assumed to be favourable whereas Saturn and Mars are not.  Similarly zodiac signs refer to a group of stars but the interpretation is based on legends that do not stand the test of time and critical inquiry!  When you read your newspaper today you are not relying on 'what the stars are saying today' but on what the myths said hundreds of years ago.

The astrological world was thrown into confusion in early 1995 by the discovery of a thirteenth constellation, Ophiuchus. The new accurate zodiac was outlined by Dr. Jacqueline Mitton in the six-part BBC television series on popular astronomy. The Daily Telegraph reported on 20th January 1995: 'Between 2,000 and 3,000 years ago the dates on which the sun appeared in the different constellations were worked out by apportioning one twelfth of the sky to each constellation. Those dates are still used by astrologers for their predictions. Because the stars are only visible during the night most people have to take the astrologers' word for it when they talk about being 'in' a particular star sign: that is when the sun is in front of a particular constellation. Unfortunately for astrologers, the constellations cover different sized areas of the sky, according to the International Astronomical Union. 'Some constellations cover much bigger areas than others,' said Dr. Mitton. This means that each zodiac sign should, in reality, cover a different number of days. Worse still, in the intervening years the direction of the earth's axis has been slowly changing. This causes the seasons, and thus our calendar, to shift with respect to the star's positions.'

It is claimed that the hexagram (also known as the Star of David or the Crest of Solomon) was in use by the occultists of Egypt long before the Jews adopted it during their Babylonian captivity, and occultists regard it - in all its many forms - as having considerable magical power.  But in the ancient Hebrew alephbet, the dalet looked like a triangle [A] and the Star of David (also called the Shield of David) was made up of these two triangular dalets which the Israelites chose to use - the two dalets containing the first and last letters of King David's name.

Additionally, the Jewish Star of David always has a top and bottom point lined up vertically whereas the star used in occult rituals is the 'Star of David' rotated so that the two side points line up horizontally. Occult symbols usually have a circle around them, so a six pointed star with a circle around it represents a hexagram, while a six pointed star without a circle around it represents the Star of David.  A five pointed star with a circle around it is a pentagram and a five pointed star without a circle is just a five pointed star. A six pointed star not enclosed in a circle is therefore the typical Jewish symbol called the Star of David and most people would recognize it as a completely distinctive Jewish symbol.

Home Page   |   Expositor History   |   'Orthodox' Heretics   |   Other Religions   |   Cults  |   New Age Movement   |   Rome & Ecumenism   |   Breaking News