James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.
The Occult Defined
How can you explain the explosion in occult mania we see in America today? I mean, are we not in the ‘scientific age?’
The word ‘occult’ means ‘what is hidden, concealed, or secret.’ Astrology and Witchcraft are its most common arenas, but there are plenty of others. All are based on the belief in spiritual forces that we cannot see but can be put to use by practitioners. Interest in the Occult has now reached an all-time high.
There are about eighty different practices that are considered occultic. Soothsayers supposedly predict the future utilizing physical signs, such as in tealeaf reading or stargazing. A medium consults with ‘familiar spirits.’ Wizards claim to know a mysterious religion of secret knowledge.
One who seeks information from the dead is a necromancer. A sorcerer induces magical effects by drugs or some potion, generally accompanied by incantations and appeals to esoteric powers, with the use of various charms, amulets, etc. Black Magic is the practice of the occult arts under the power of evil spirits.
The famous pagan occultist Eliphas Levi defined the Occult: “Behind the veil of all the mystical allegories of ancient doctrines, behind the darkness and strange ordeals of all initiations, under the seal of all sacred writings, in the ruins of Nineveh or Thebes, on the crumbling stones of old temples and on the blackened visage of the Assyrian or Egyptian sphinx, in the monstrous or marvelous paintings which interpret to the faithful of India the inspired pages of the Vedas, in the cryptic emblems of our old books on alchemy, in the ceremonies practiced at reception by all secret societies, there are found indications of a doctrine which is everywhere the same and everywhere carefully concealed.”
Arthur Ford and Bishop James Pike
The occult craze in America commenced in 1967, when a medium named Arthur Ford went into a trance on live television to communicate with the dead son of Bishop James Pike. People were enthralled. If a famous man of God would seek out the Occult, there must not be anything wrong with it. That is precisely the kind of high profile convert the Devil needs. The occasional Hollywood starlet doesn't hurt either.
Two years later, Bishop Pike would publish a book about Spiritualism, The Other Side, and many Americans were hooked. He became an outspoken supporter of abortion and homosexual behaviors; repudiated the Virgin Birth; denied Hell existed; and became a serial fornicator while holding the office of bishop in the Episcopalian Church.
His sad son had been infested with demons that would destroy his life, which ended in suicide. The good bishop’s live-in lover would also kill herself. Pike later said malevolent spirit beings haunted him because of his pursuit of the Occult.
By 1986, the New York Times reported: "Working its way increasingly into the nation's life is a surge of interest in new metaphysical religions, mediums, the occult, reincarnation, psychic healing, Satanism, spirit guides ushering in what they call a ‘New Age.'”
The Occult is thriving all around the world today. Businessmen in Turkey consult mediums, which is strictly prohibited by Islam. There are men on Wall Street who let their astrologers tell them when to buy or sell. The World Health Organization sponsors witch doctors in Kenya, who put their patients into a trance where they are taken over by spirit beings that speak through them. There are Episcopal priests holding séances to seek advice from dead people who were quite ordinary while living but now in death are ‘all-knowing.’
Astrology is the art of determining the influence of stars and planets on men and women. From its birth in Babylon, it became the rage in Egypt, before spreading to India, China, and Greece. The Greek city of Alexandria, Egypt, would become a haven for astrologers and other occultists. The Romans took these arts seriously, and we notice from history that the lower the morals sank in Rome, the more prominent became Astrology, the oldest and most influential of the occult arts.
During the first 300 years of Christianity, astrologers stirred up persecution of Christians in the pagan Roman Empire. By A.D. 500, Christianity had vanquished Astrology. It was furtively kept alive, first by Jewish mystics, who had picked it up while exiled in Babylon, and later by Arab Muslims.
Astrology came back to Europe during the Renaissance, and Catharine de Medici brought it to France in the 16th century. Her court stargazer was the magician Nostradamus, a man who published what is still today an authoritative text of the art.
Many astrologers would find fame employed by kings and princes before the craze flamed out in the 17th century. Even some popes had hired astromancers, believing that the Antichrist would come when Jupiter aligned with the Moon. It would be up to the Hippies in the 1960s to bring Astrology into mainstream American culture. But it has no scientific basis—it is pure superstition.
Hundreds of thousands of astrologers operate today in America and Europe. They claim to foretell the future by the position of heavenly bodies. Millions of Americans believe that horoscopes can accurately predict your destiny. Thousands of American newspapers and magazines carry regular astrological columns.
In a similar fashion to how we use latitudinal and longitudinal lines, astrologers use the zodiac to fix positions in the heavens, divided into twelve sections known as the signs of the zodiac. While there are constellations with the same names, they do not correlate to the signs.
According to Astrology, you will be happiest married to someone of the opposite zodiac sign as your own. Therefore, before you date anyone, you would be wise to make sure they are compatible with your sign, since it is believed that your character, personality, and ultimate fate is determined by the position of planets at the moment you left your mother’s womb, which is mapped out on a horoscope (birth chart).
The modern astrologer uses a period of 26,000 years divided into twelve sections, each representing a sign of the zodiac. 10000-8000 years Before Christ (B.C.) they call the Age of Leo, a time of sun worship. Next came the Age of Cancer, marked by the Great Flood of Noah; then the Age of Gemini (6000-4000 BC) with the advent of written language; followed by the Age of Taurus, during which men worshiped bulls, and built the pyramids, as well as the Tower of Babel. Next up was the Age of Aries (2000-1BC), a time of massive wars.
The Age of Pisces began when Jesus was born, and Man started to stress service to others and unselfishness. Jesus chose fisherman as his first disciples, and they used the sign of a fish, the sign of Pisces, as their dominant symbol.
In the year 2000, we would finally enter the long-awaited Age of Aquarius, when men will all be brothers and live in harmony all over the world—a New Age. Unfortunately, Astrology states that at the end of 26,000 years, the whole cosmos will go back to the beginning and do it all over again.
Psychics, Fortunetellers & Tarot Cards
Now, it must be admitted that the vast majority of fortunetellers are phony. As longtime spiritualist M. Lamar Keene revealed in his book The Psychic Mafia (1976), two thousand mediums nationwide created a network to exchange information about people prone to partake in such activities. Dossiers were kept at Camp Chesterfield, Indiana, the ‘Hub of World Spiritualism.’
However, it is also true that in a small minority of such events, people do communicate with spirit beings. But they are not dead people. They are not extraterrestrials. They are evil entities that pretend to be who you want them to be.
Psychics, some of which use crystal balls, allege they see the future. Others who claim clairvoyant powers say they can see things and persons that are invisible. And the ‘gift' of automatic writing involves messages dictated by spirits.
No doubt most who dabble in the Occult play around with what they chuckle about as ‘harmless fun.’ And among the supposed practitioners there are more phonies than those authentically involved.
Here we find a multitude of swindlers out to make a living pretending to have occult powers. Famous people, even scientists, and judges have been known to flock to psychics. Incredibly, even some churchmen have pursued séances, tried out telepathy, sought out astral bodies and attempted astral projection.
Of Americans who consult psychics, 80% are women.
When I was a boy, the most famous psychic and astrologer was Jeanne Dixon. She was into everything; numerology, palm reading, et al. Dixon said her career began when, at age eight, a Gypsy fortuneteller gave her a crystal ball and deck of Tarot cards.
Tarot cards first appeared in Europe in the 14th century, supposedly an ancient key to the darkest arts known in Black Magic. Its adherents claim the cards came from the oldest book in the world, written in Egypt. The idea is to help people foretell their future by what it said by the cards, which supposedly possess powers of divination.
Mediums and Séances
Trying to communicate with the dead has been a worldwide phenomenon since time immemorial. Plenty of prominent people in the past have been regular customers of mediums and attendees of séances, such as Queen Victoria, Gladstone, Thomas Edison, James Fennimore Cooper, Horace Greeley, and President Abraham Lincoln—a devout Christian who held séances in the White House! It is said that Lincoln and his cabinet witnessed stupefying appearances of poltergeists.
The Ouija Board was created to communicate with the spirits of the boys who had fallen in World War One. In 1967 it would become America’s best selling ‘game.’
The famous medium Eileen Garrett allowed herself to be analyzed over a span of thirty years by prominent psychologists and psychiatrists in Paris and Rome, and at Duke University, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins. She was desperate to know the source of the four spirit beings that possessed her. Psychologists Lawrence LeShan and Ira Progoff at first thought she had split personalities, but that was ruled out because the spirit entities spoke through her vocal cords in ancient languages she could not have known.
Mediums often bring forth violent manifestations, and the answers that spirits give are frequently blasphemous. When a medium purports to make contact with the dead, she is really in contact with a demon that knew the deceased person so well as to know things only that person would have known.
There is no communication with the dead, only with ‘familiar spirits,’ so-called because they were quite familiar with your dearly departed. Who could better imitate a dead man than a demon that was intimately familiar with him for 70 years?
Isn’t it odd that familiar spirits always encourage everyone to believe in Pantheism and reincarnation, while they discourage believing in the divinity of Christ, the Atonement, and Judgment Day? Any such message must be compared to God’s Word. Does the spirit ever say, “Pray for forgiveness in Jesus’ Name; repent of your sins; preach the Gospel; go to church; and study the Bible”?
Spiritualism—communication with the souls of the dearly departed—assumes the existence of a spirit world. In its organized configuration, it aims to establish a worldwide religion that is for ‘spiritual, not religious' people, free of any creed, dogma, doctrine, or morals, with salvation to come by secret knowledge that leads to a higher plane through clairvoyance and mesmerism.
Spiritualism dates from 1848, founded by the Fox Family in upstate New York.
Every year, 22,000 people visit the Spiritualism headquarters in Lily Dale, New York. You can see a medium there that might be able to tell you the physical characteristics and personality of a dead relative, and maybe inside information, you will think no one else could know. At least one spirit entity knew your dearly departed well enough to have this information.
I have read about many of these cases, including some that are heartbreaking. One woman desperately wanted to reach her daughter, who had committed suicide at age 20. The woman felt guilty that it might have been her fault and was very anxious as to whether her daughter was in Heaven, or not. A medium assured her that her daughter was with God, and having a swell time in the afterlife.
Ruth Montgomery, the ‘Herald of the New Age,’ was used by spirit beings to write books. What is remarkable about her story is that before this began she was the most famous female journalist in the world, working with six U.S. presidents.
Montgomery would write about reincarnation, detailing the ‘past lives’ of many famous people, such as Jacqueline Kennedy and Ernest Hemingway. And she wrote a lot about aliens from outer space that she claimed to have met on more than one occasion.
Spiritism, Channeling, Holistic Healing, Parapsychology
Spiritism has become a religion of sorts, founded by a Frenchman about 150 years ago known as Allan Kardec. He said he was under the influence of invisible ‘guides’ who aimed to abolish Christianity and thereby lead the world into a brighter future.
Most spiritists today are women. Many are charlatans, but a real spiritist can indeed tell you about your past or the past of a deceased loved one. The accompanying lie is that “your beloved is in between reincarnations at the moment” and therefore available to speak to you. A demon impersonates the dead loved one and talks through the medium.
Channeling is a newer form of Spiritism, and part of New Age Religion. Through it, the claim is, you can communicate with the ‘Great Spirit of the Earth’ from Indian religions, as well as nature spirits, water spirits, fire spirits, fairies, elves, goblins, and gnomes. I kid you not.
Holistic Healing is also based on the Occult—as is so-called New Age Religion.
In 1970, the Journal of the American Medical Association said: “The new occult craze—and that is just what it is—has given rise to all manner of flimflam and hocus-pocus with people’s health. In this Age of Aquarius, quackery is thriving as a surprising number of people, young and old, are fleeing into superstition and unreality.”
Making it ‘scientific,’ under the field of parapsychology, has made the occult realm more respectable.
It also has taken advantage of American laws, such as when palm readers changed what they call their practice to ‘spiritual readings’ and themselves a Church of Palmistry, to avoid arrest and paying taxes.
What Does the Holy Bible Say About the Occult?
The Bible strictly forbids any kind of occult activity.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one’s service, are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to unveil the future. Consulting horoscopes, Astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots; the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums.”
If someone claims to have had a vision or dream of prophecy, how can you tell if it is demonic or from God? Easy. If the message agrees with the Holy Bible it is from God; if it contradicts the Bible or teaches a different gospel, it is from the Devil.
The directive from the Occult and New Age Religion is always the same: The Bible is wrong; Jesus is not the Savior; there are no morals, there is no right or wrong; God has no opinions about human behavior and will never judge us; sin does not exist; God wants us to do whatever makes us feel good; there is no Satan; there are no demons; believe in the Theory of Evolution.
Now there are plenty of people in America who are involved in the Occult but insist there is nothing evil about it. They laugh and scoff at the very suggestion.
Some believe they inherited psychic powers from their mother or grandmother, and consider it a gift from God. One woman, in particular, mentioned in a book by Hal Lindsey, made this claim while wearing a ring with a ram’s head on it. She confessed deeper into a conversation that she often got depressed for no reason. When this would happen, she would sit alone in the dark, and a spirit would come and take control of her, sometimes making her convulsive.
The Occult is the home field for evil spirits. They enable its practitioners to perform their black arts.
Occultism is the corruption of religion and often appears most robustly as decadence accompanies a falling civilization. It originated in Babylon (Chaldea) as Pantheism, Astrology, and Polytheism. Worldwide it is strikingly similar: the power of words, secret names, and incantations. It is devil worship implicitly or explicitly.
This is an excerpt from the book by James A. Watkins, What Does the Devil Do All Day?
James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 05, 2019:
Thank you, Vivian, for your warm words of encouragement. I am enjoying writing Hubs again.
Vivian Coblentz on May 04, 2019:
Well, James, I'm upset about this talk of you being back at Hubpages "for a season." You have become the ring leader around here, so you simply must stay!
Congrats on publishing 3 books! What an accomplishment! I hope they are resoundingly successful!
James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 04, 2019:
Vivian Coblentz ~ Sorry about my brisk pace. I took an eight year break from writing articles to concentrate on my publishing books, three of which are out now. I had started on my fourth book but scuttled it and decided to return to HubPages for a season. I have a backlog of ideas I'd like to express I guess.
Well, I appreciate you taking the time to peruse my work. I always enjoy your comments on it. I especially like this that you said, "this occult stuff is the devil's way of imitating the truly prophetic, which is of the Lord. People's fascination stems from the fact they yearn for spiritual things ..." Amen.
As you said so well, "people spurn and ridicule the good plan God has for them and choose death! It makes no sense! Just goes to show how blinding the influence of evil is in a person's life."
James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on May 04, 2019:
T ~ Thank you for reading my Hub. Your story in response is fascinating. Yes, I have heard of the Urantia Book. Their headquarters are here in Chicago. You should write about it. I have wondered why you do not produce Hubs?
There used to be a guy who would post the exact same promo about Urantia on all my Christianity Hubs.
I appreciate you sharing that with me.
Vivian Coblentz on May 03, 2019:
You are cranking these out so fast, I can hardly keep up! They are always fascinating!
Once again, this occult stuff is the devil's way of imitating the truly prophetic, which is of the Lord.
People's fascination stems from the fact they yearn for spiritual things, but the devil tricks them with an irresistible detour. God can speak to them about their future and reveal spiritual things to them that bring light, life, liberty, encouragement and hope. Why they choose the route that leads to darkness, death, destruction, and torment is beyond me.
The irony is that these people spurn and ridicule the good plan God has for them and choose death! It makes no sense! Just goes to show how blinding the influence of evil is in a person's life.
I've been a Christian since I was 6 years old, but there was a time around middle school that I started reading horror books. I had not been taught about this opening a door to the occult, but I started experiencing strange things in my home as a result! God brought a woman into my life who operates in a prophetic ministry who helped me, and that portal was shut forever! She taught me about the familiar spirits you referenced too.
There's nothing that can compare to tapping into the heavenly realm, so for anyone reading this who is in bondage, I hope they will shut the door in the devil's face and turn from darkness to light!
The Logician from now on on May 03, 2019:
Everything you ever wanted to know about the occult! (Or didn’t want to know)
Well it will be interesting to see if the occultists on HP, and there are a lot of them, have anything to add to this James.
Speaking of automatic writing, have you ever heard of The Urantia Book. I encountered it on my search for the truth as a young man. I met an x-con (sent to prison for threatening to put LSD in a hotel's water supply unless $320,000 in old one-hundred dollar bills was paid in a specified manner) who claimed he was spiritually reborn when introduced to the Urantia Book in prison. He was so taken by it he wrote a trilogy based upon it while in prison - he thought this trilogy was going to usher in the second coming of Christ and he tried to enlist my help as a stockbroker to fund his project!
This is a book produced by a psychiatrist whose patient would go into a trance while spirit beings wrote revelation through him as a collection of essays that the psychiatrist put together as The Urantia Book, Urantia being the spiritual language name for the planet earth!
“The first account of the origin of The Urantia Book lies within its own pages. We are told the papers were authorized by high deity authorities and written by numerous supermortal personalities. These papers are designated as the Fifth Epochal Revelation to our planet, Urantia. Dated from 1934 A. D., the five epochal revelations are: (1) Dalamatia—500,000 years ago; (2) Adam and Eve—37,848 years ago; (3) Melchizedek—1980 B. C.; (4) Jesus—7 B. C.; and The Urantia Book —1934-35 A. D.
The authors (revelators) acknowledge the difficulty of portraying the realities of eternity in the language of time. We are told severe limitations were placed on the knowledge they were permitted to share with us. They explain that all time-space revelation is partial and incomplete, needing to be periodically upstepped in the process of planetary development.
In general terms the authors discuss the problems they encountered communicating between their spiritual level of universe reality and our material level of mortal existence. They reveal that they made contact through the Thought Adjuster (indwelling spirit of God) of a particular human being on our world. We are assured, however, that this Thought Adjuster's communication technique is not related to "spiritualism," "mediumship," or "channeling." Specific details are not discussed.”
Anyone unaquainted with the real lord Jesus interested in a mind blowing trip for some this book was it! I met people called Urantia Book readers in regional meetings. Some readers of the book actually named their children after the “spiritual names” of solar systems and other places described in the book. All of them were into drugs.
I could write an interesting story about this and how it led me to discover the truth of the Bible and miraculous answer to my prayers, but I doubt anyone would believe it.