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How the Occult World Works: Ritualism at the Center

The previous chapter defined what the occult world is from a Christian perspective. Two important areas of the definition were noted. Here again is the definition of the occult:

The occult from a Christian perspective is firstly, any practice, activity or entity which serves the role for tapping into the spirit world that is outside the biblically authorized spirit realm. Secondly, it is any practice, activity or entity which has spiritual symbolic value that is outside the biblically authorized spiritual practices or activities.

This chapter will describe how the occult world generally works. The chapter basically applies the definition of the occult covered in the previous chapter. In practice the two parts of the definition work hand in hand. They are not as easily separable in practice.

The best way to understand how the occult world works is to look at how Christianity itself works. Like Christianity the occult world is simply a mixed collection of thousands of beliefs and practices on spirituality, or matters of the spirit world. Some are outright evil with a focus on earthly glory at all costs, while others constitute innocent religious beliefs for getting to heaven (or avoiding coming back as an animal, like a hated cockroach or mosquito). Since they all are not Judeo-Christian beliefs we lump them into one big spirituality group called the occult. The next chapter will make some important distinctions among them.

Centrality of rituals in the occult, a contrast to our Christian sacraments

Like with Christianity the occult world has materials, instruments, symbols, practices, activities and entities that make each group unique from the rest. These do not merely serve to differentiate a particular group from the rest. They serve to fulfill spiritual objectives that each group best understands of how to fulfill its spiritual and earthly pursuits.

Even in Christianity all our religious input and obedience to follow matters stipulated in the bible are intended to fulfill Christian spiritual objectives. They are not just for entertainment or just to pass some time (for those that have time to pass).

We take Holly Communion as a way of putting on the redeemed nature of Jesus Christ while taking off our condemned nature that came through Adam and Eve. We read the bible to grow in understanding of God’s ways. The bible is God talking to us in a clear way. We pray and fast to talk to God, to have a closer fellowship with him, and to seek God to intervene on matters of concern. We assemble together at church, bible study and other Christian congregations to share God’s word, to learn God’s word, to encourage one another in our Christian journeys, and to facilitate the effective use of resources for outreach to believers in need and to nonbelievers. And so on.

You name it whatever it is that’s part of our Christian faith it has at least one or more major spiritual purposes. We also have proof through the bible, through church history, and through our own lives that fulfilling these Christian disciplines does work to fulfill the intended spiritual purposes. God does amazing things in the realm of the spirit as we fulfill our Christian disciplines with a pureness of heart!! As Christians the focus of our disciplines is on God, not on some unknown spirit, some god among many gods and goddesses, some angel, some spiritual force, some cosmic energy, and so on.

The Roman Catholic Church has what it calls the Seven Sacraments or rituals and ceremonies through which God’s grace is poured upon believers. These are:

1. Baptism (Christening)

2. Confirmation (Chrismation)

3. Holy Eucharist (or Holy Communion)

4. Penance (Confession/Reconciliation)

5. Matrimony

6. Holy Orders (ordination of bishops, priests and other ministers)

7. Anointing of the Sick (also known as the "Last Rites")

(Felix Just, “The Seven Sacraments” of the Roman Catholic Church)

The first three constitute the rituals or sacraments of “Christian initiation.” At his website Felix Just, a Catholic reverend, has an easy to understand table of the Catholic’s Seven Sacraments. The address is catholic-resources.org.

As evangelical Christians we do embrace these important spiritual practices. However, unlike Catholic Christians we do not have a set number we call as sacraments. We know they are sacred mysteries but we do not have specific numbers of disciplines of such sacred mysteries.

In addition, concerning penance or confession we repent to God, not to a church minister. We consider sacramentalism to only work in reinforcing legalism since it values the sacred spiritual practices above the state of the heart of each person. Sacramentalism is the placing of excessive importance to sacred Christian rituals without a balanced view on the interrelation sacraments have with the state of the heart of each person.

The case for Christian sacramentalism was given as an introduction to reveal that the occult world is not that different from our Christian ways. They too have sacramentalism or religious rituals that include rites of passage to initiate new members and various rituals for fulfilling different spiritual purposes. Such an illustration is meant to make it easier for readers who may see the occult world as a complete mysterious world.

What are rituals?

Rituals are basically religious disciplines that like Christian sacramental disciplines are specific practices and activities of a particular group that its members customarily participate in for different spiritual purposes.

Ritualism is at the core or center of the occult world. Here is how the occult world sees the purpose of rituals. The statement below is taken from the Llewellyn Encyclopedia, said to be the most authoritative New Age and occult encyclopedia:

“Ritual is like a door opening in the middle of the air in the spirit world, the world of magic. If the doorway materializes regularly and often enough, the spirits will come to expect it, and will gather in anticipation of its opening. Bear in mind that this is only a metaphor for the response I have observed in spirits. The same virtue of repetition holds true even in acts of magic that apparently do not involve other spiritual awarenesses. Repetition increases the force and the speed of the ritual outcome,” (Llewellyn Encyclopedia, “What Is Involved in Ritual Magic,” by Donald Tyson).

About the definition of rituals from an occult perspective the Llewellyn Encyclopedia says, “Almost by definition, ritual actions are designed to be repeated in the same sequence and manner many times without variation. It is debatable whether a ritual performed only once can even be called a ritual. Rituals gather power through repetition. Were a ritual to be fundamentally changed each time it were conducted, it would remain impotent. It is my personal opinion, based on experience, that the spiritual awareness or awarenesses interacting with the ritual learn through repetition to recognize it as intended for them and come when called, just as a dog will only respond to its name after it has become familiar with it,” (Llewellyn Encyclopedia, “What Is Involved in Ritual Magic,” by Donald Tyson).