Exorcism Course Reveals Changing Face of Evil

Regina Apostolorum in Rome where the week-long course “Exorcism and the Prayer of Liberation” is being held. (Wikicommons)

More than 250 people from 50 countries converged on Rome this week to attend a week-long course on exorcism and discuss the changing face of evil in our day.

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Ann “Goody” Glover: Witch or Catholic Martyr?

More than 300 years ago, a kindly Irish Catholic woman living in Boston was accused of witchcraft by a group of anti-Catholic authorities, but the facts of the story point more to a woman who was martyred for her faith, not her witchcraft!

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Witchcraft Rising

A recent story about wicca/witchcraft becoming one of the fastest growing religions in the Hudson Valley sheds light on the rising popularity of “the Craft,” thanks in part to pop culture which presents the occult as being “hip” rather than what it is – extremely dangerous.

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Wind Chimes

SH writes: “I really enjoy wind chimes.  I had some friends of my sister who are Christian (non-Catholic) visit me and they told me I should get rid of them because they are used by witches and occults to draw in bad spirits.  I would like to know if that is so.”

Unfortunately, this is true. Wind chimes, also known as “magic bells,” are said to have originated in China where they were suspended on the corners of large pagodas with the purpose of scaring away both birds and evil spirits.  In some sections of Asia, they are believed to bring good luck.

Perhaps the most detailed occult use of wind chimes comes from the practitioners of Feng Shui, which is a form of geomancy/divination that is concerned with deciphering the hidden presence of positive and negative energies (chi) in buildings. Chimes made of copper, bronze, aluminum, brass and steel are thought to be especially powerful in correcting energy defects if placed in certain corners of the house. Ceramic chimes placed in a southwest corner are thought to attract love and luck in romance. They are also used for protection, purification and to enhance “chi” in certain areas of a building.

Some believe the sound of wind chimes, like any other kind of music, has an effect on the brain that can produce feelings of pleasure, relaxation or peacefulness. 

I have read about witches who string old keys onto red strings to make a wind chime that is said to attract “beneficial opportunities.”  Others believe chimes can be used to guard one’s home against unwanted guests and/or “negative energies” and attach a spell to them before hanging that will insure these protections.

Some New Age dream therapists say that hearing wind chimes in a dream means either harmony and tranquility, or symbolizes past memories and the passage of time.

As you can see, chimes originated in non-Christian cultures and were used for purposes that are not associated with faith in God. 

Dowsing aka Water Witching

CS asks: “What do you know about a technique called dowsing or water witching, supposedly to locate water under the ground, but also to locate things with a rod in a Y shape?  It does not seem like something harmful to be in search of water.  However, there is also something called dowsing with a pendulum made out of a metal like brass or other materials that is attached to a string.  Apparently, you would tell it that if it swings in a circle, this means ‘yes’ and if it swings in a straight line, this means ‘no’; and then you ask it a question and your answer is the direction that it swings.  I have seen this done and it seems like something one should not be doing.  I am not sure if I should tell the people that are doing it that it is wrong or not.”

CS, you would be performing an act of charity if you asked the people using the pendulum to stop because they are indeed dabbling in the occult and are exposing themselves to many dangers, both physical and spiritual.

As for the dowsing/water-witching, this is also one of many forms of ancient pagan practices of divination which are forbidden in Scripture.

In the form of dowsing mentioned in this e-mail, a person known as a “dowser” walks across a stretch of land with a dowsing stick and waits for it to be forcefully thrust downward at the location where water is said to be found.

According to Elliot Miller, editor of the Christian Research Journal, dowsers are thought to possess some kind of special ability or “divine gift” that consists of a natural sensitivity to alleged earth magnetism, water “radiations,” or some other natural phenomenon.

“They believe their dowsing stick or other device (often an occult pendulum) somehow ‘focuses’ or otherwise identifies this energy so that one is able to find water or other substances or things that one is seeking — including oil, treasure, and lost persons or objects,” Miller writes.

He goes on to report that many Christians also believe in dowsing as a divine gift and attempt to justify the practice by appealing to the Bible. Unfortunately, the scripture passages they cite refer only to digging wells or searching for water – never dowsing – which they claim is because the verses were mistranslated. If they were correctly translated, they would supposedly mention dowsing.

However, there is only one direct reference to dowsing in Scripture and it’s hardly an endorsement. “My people consult their wooden idol, and their diviner’s wand informs them; for a spirit of harlotry has led them astray, and they have played the harlot, departing from their God” (Hos. 4:12).

Dowsing, in any form, including the pendulum CS mentions in her e-mail, has always been considered an occult art, and one that is often associated with witchcraft, which explains the alternate term of “water witching.”

Practitioners who possess this gift tend to be involved in other psychic practices as well. For instance, many dowsers put themselves into a trance before dowsing. They are also called to “have faith” in the power behind the dowsing rod and to have a personal interaction/response with it. 

These and other facts about dowsing “suggest that the force behind this practice is personal, intelligent, and desirous of human interaction,” Miller writes. “If men were only dealing with an impersonal force, it would never require respect, or faith, or personal communication. But these responses are exactly what spirit guides require and demand of their human mediums. Many illustrations of this kind of spirit-human interaction could be cited from those who use Ouija boards, the I Ching, rune dice, tarot cards, or who employ ceremonial magic and other forms of the occult.”

CS describes people who are using a pendulum to discern “yes” or “no” answers much like what is done with the planchette of a ouija board. She is correct to discern that this is also form of divination andm therefore, an occult practice. A partial list of other practices that fall into the same category as dowsing would be horoscopes, tarot cards, ouija boards, runes, I Ching, divining rods, pendulums, palmistry, crystal-gazing, geomancy, and any derivative thereof.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives a very specific and easy to understand explanation of the dangers of all of these methods of divination in Sections 2115-2117. It is well worth taking the time to read.