One of Satan’s favorite weapons against us is occult involvement. Occult involvement occurs when an individual seeks to gain knowledge or power from a spiritual source other than God. (“Occult” means to conceal, or cause to disappear from view, secret, mysterious, supernatural). It is a combination of deception and rebellion. The scripture (1 Sam 15:23) says rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Witchcraft can be defined as “demonically inspired manipulation and intimidation for the eventual purpose of control and domination”. The special danger of occult involvement is that it appeals to our spiritual hunger, which is our innate desire to find the Lord, and it diverts us from right relationship with Him into the occult underworld—which opens people to the demonic.
Satan and his dark angels continually labor to rob the Lord of praise, worship, and devotion, and to usurp or seize these for themselves; they try to keep us from knowing and experiencing God by deceiving people and leading them into the kingdom of darkness. But God desires “truth in the inward parts” (Ps. 51:6) and that we be set (made) free from all the dark influences within our lives.
Though at times an individual’s pursuit into the occult is intentional, most often people become exposed to the occult unsuspectingly, such as when they innocently have their palm read, they visit a fortune teller, or they play with an Ouija board or a visit to a witchdoctor. When an individual seeks understanding, guidance, truth, etc., but inquires through occult means—rather than those means designed by God, they are opening their “spiritual hedge of protection” to the dark side, allowing this act to create chains and bondage.
The ensnared person then becomes dependent upon these dark angels, returning to them again and again for guidance, healing, power, and satisfaction of their personal desires. By so doing, these unsuspecting individuals receive the illicit attention and worship they so strongly desire, although it isn’t from God.
The Bible (in a number of passages, such as in Deut. 18:10-12, Is. 47:11-15, Acts 8:18-20 and 2 Thes. 2:9-11) strictly forbids occult participation. There are 110 scriptures about God’s curse placed upon those who practice occultism. Occult practices use “the powers of darkness” rather than “the power of God” to accomplish the desired end.
When we open ourselves up to occult practices, we become guilty of idolatry, and therefore violate the first Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). Occult practices, whether participated in ignorantly or not, always have consequences. There is no “safe dabbling.” These are sins of a most serious nature.
C. Peter Wagner and others have divided “spiritual warfare” into three separately-identified levels, as stated below:
- Ground or Personal Level: where the casting out of demons from an individual (commonly called deliverance) is practiced. This procedure is more thoroughly covered in a separate section titled “Healing from Influences of Darkness.”
- Occult Level: which deals with demonic activity occurring in objects, such as is practiced in Satanism, witchcraft, shamanism, curandero, and freemasonry (as discussed in several other sections within this material).
- Territorial Level: spiritual warfare which deals with powerful principalities and powers over houses, neighborhoods, city, territories, regions, and nations (and is likewise further discussed in the section on “Setting Your Church Free”).
Many believers who come for prayer and deliverance have “dabbled” with minor forms of the occult, such as fortune telling, Ouija boards, certain books and games, and the like. Even these minor exposures will often allow a demon to inhabit the believer. These exposures can prevent the Holy Spirit from communicating with the seeker for the healing they desire in other areas of need; they act as serious roadblocks and must, therefore, be dealt with early-on in the healing process.
Those individuals whose exposure in the occult has run deeper and is more serious (such as regularly taking part in séances, making Satanic vows, being involved in witchcraft or Satan worship, etc.) will require more serious prayer and attention. Addressing this expanded involvement is beyond the scope of these teaching materials. In such cases an experienced intercessor or deliverance team is advisable.
Francis MacNutt, in his book Deliverance from Evil Spirits (page 212), makes a listing of the following degrees of occult involvement.
- The unwitting entrance into Satan’s Kingdom: by engagement in spiritualism or other occult practices (for example, using with an Ouija board or playing the game “Dungeons & Dragons”) without intending to contact Satan
- Knowingly seeking spiritual power to harm or dominate someone: by such practices as casting spells (for example, going to a voodoo practitioner or witch, because you seek success or want to curse an enemy)
- Becoming a channel or witch: allowing a spirit to take over part of your life (for example, through the practice of automatic writing)
- Commencing a knowing, direct relationship with Satan: by, for instance, making a pact with Satan
- Becoming part of a coven, engaged in Satan worship: a coven is “an assembly or band of usually 13 witches” with the most severe levels of evil involving sexual orgies, torture, blood sacrifices (animal or human), and parodies (distortions) of Christian worship
Names of the occult spirits change as they graduate up the scale. MacNutt suggests these highest levels of spirits are, for at least four reasons, especially hard to cast out.
- They rule over entire families and clusters of spirits which they have brought with them.
- They have supernatural attributes (the demonic reverse of the “gifts of the Holy Spirit”), attributes such as knowledge (enabling them to read into your past or into your imagination) or communication (enabling them to influence another spirit inhabiting someone else for the purpose of making an eruption in another part of a meeting or church, thereby distracting you from your prayer and/or frightening bystanders).
- They have the capacity to draw power from other spirits which are higher than they are in their spiritual hierarchy.
- They are protected by a number of blocking spirits which surround them with a rebellious, lying defense system.
People get involved in the occult for a number of reasons, some of which are listed below:
- Power and/or control
- Desire for healing
- Impatience (in waiting on God)
Noel & Phyl Gibson in their book Freedom in Christ, chapters 8 & 9 suggest that occult activities are progressive. They feel many innocent people who “dabble” in occultism graduate on to witchcraft, then become Satan worshippers. However the exposure or participation is categorized, it requires very serious deliverance.
Why are occult activities so dangerous?
Exodus 20:3-8 contains a list of the 10 commandments. I believe they are listed in order of importance. Note the first three:
v1 You shall have no other gods before (or beside) me.
v2 You shall not make for yourself any idols in the form of anything in heaven or above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
v3 You shall not bow down to them or worship them.
To break these commandments gives full spiritual authority for Satan to dominate the person, as well as placing them under God’s curse.
v5 is of particular interest. “for I the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the gathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me”. This provides the basis for generational or heritage sin.
Symptoms (Possibly Indicative of Influence from Occult Spirits)
- Psychic abilities, clairvoyance, divination (the feeling of having special powers)
- Inward perception of a separate personality, name, or voice, that prompts undesirable thoughts or behaviors
- Fearful, repetitive night visitations by an evil presence, sometimes of a sexual nature.
- Separation of the mind from the body (spacing out, dizziness)
- Inability to focus on and retain Biblical truths
- Difficulty staying focused or participating in prayer (agitation, nausea, anger, rebellion)
- Uncontrolled thoughts or impressions (for example, sexual perversion, cursings, violence)
- Uncontrolled compulsive behaviors (sexual sin, anger, chemical indulgence)
- Preoccupation with thoughts of death, despair, hopelessness
- Uncontrollable and irrational or paralyzing fear
- Unusual, non-typical emotional expressions (laughter, sadness, crying, anger)
- Extreme nervousness (at the mention of the name of Jesus, while reading the scriptures or while in prayer)
- Can’t say or pray the name of Jesus
- Thoughts about committing suicide
- Headaches occurring for no known physical reason
Other Symptoms Which Indicate Serious Occult Influence Include: (identified from Blinding the Evil Eye, page 46 Ministering Freedom from Occult Bondage by Doris Wagner Editor 2004)
- Repetitions of raps and other sounds
- Movements of objects (tables, chairs, etc.) without contact or with insufficient contact to explain the movement
- Apports (the paranormal transference of an article from one place to another or the appearance of an article from an unknown source)
- Moulds (for example, impressions made upon paraffin or similar substances)
- Luminous appearances (For example, sometimes images come to people: vague glimmerings, light, or faces—more or less defined. Some of the people may be already dead or be in some other geographical location. The images are seen as glimpses—dim, not definite, but with enough of an image that they know who they represent. The image may appear unclear, observed partly in a shadow or in poor lighting.)
- Levitation (the raising of objects from off the ground by supernormal means)
- Materialization or the appearance of a spirit in visible human form
- Spirit-photography (where the feature or form of a deceased person appears on a plate along with the likeness of a living photographed subject)
- Table-rapping in answer to questions
- Automatic writing or slate-writing
- Clairvoyance; descriptions of the spirit-world
- Communications from the dead
The Occult Trap by James S. Wallace (see reference material at the end of this section) has an excellent list of primary and secondary symptoms (pages 212-216).
It is important—in the process of healing from the occult—to know exactly what the occult involvement was (the root of the problem) and when it first occurred, in order to confess, repent, and pray for the eviction of the specific intruders.
As you read through the following list, ask the Holy Spirit to recall to your mind every occasion of involvement you have had. Keep in mind that many of these activities are clearly occult but the occult nature of others may not be as evident. Mark all items that apply, even if there is a question in your mind as to their having (or not having) an occult nature so that you are confident that you have renounced all possible occult or demonic influences in your life.
(Check those in which you are or have been involved.)
Soothsayers, Fortune Tellers (Deut. 18:9-16, Dan. 2:26-28, Is. 47:10-15):
- Had your fortune told by tea leaves, palm reading, crystal ball, etc.
- Read or followed horoscopes or had a chart made for yourself
- Been hypnotized or practiced self-hypnosis, Yoga, or Transcendental Meditation (TM)
Necromancy, Spiritualism (1 Sam. 28:7-11, Is. 8:19, Lev. 19:31 and 20:6):
- Attended a séance or spiritualist meeting
- Believed in reincarnation or had a reincarnation reading
- Played with an Ouija board, tarot cards, a crystal ball, or played the game “Dungeon & Dragons”
- Played games of an occult nature (using ESP, telepathy, hypnotism, etc.)
- Consulted a medium or a numerologist, had your handwriting analyzed, acted as a medium, or practiced channeling
- Sought healing through magic spells or charms, a Christian Scientist, a spiritualists, or a psychic healing, or had psychic surgery
- Practiced table lifting, levitation of objects, pendulum swinging, lifting bodies, automatic writing, or soul-travel
- Used a charm or any kind of protection or “good luck” piece, or been superstitious
- Practiced water-witching to find out where to dig a well
- Practiced Transcendental Meditation or Yoga or connected with its spiritualist attendant
- Sought or communicated with apparitions that were not of God or with persons who have died
- Worshipped in pagan shrines or temples
Possessed or read books on any of the following (Acts 19:19-20):
- Astrology, the interpretation of dreams, Christian Science, Unity, Scientology, or Science of the Mind
- Witchcraft, fortune telling, magic, ESP, psychic phenomena or possession
- Anything in your home given to you by someone in the occult or of an occult nature or items made in non-Christian countries (which might be idols)
- Followed the writings of Edgar Cayce, Jean Dixon, Shirley MacLaine, L. Ron Hubbard (Church of Scientology), or any other New Age author
- Interest shown in demonic types of movies, such as “The Exorcist,” “Rosemary’s Baby,” “The Omen,” or been drawn to things like horror shows or scary movies
- Accepted the humanist theory, that man is self-sufficient, not needing God
Sorcery or Magic (2 Kings 17:17 and 21:6, Is. 47:9, Mal. 3:5, Acts 8:11 and 13:4-12):
- Practiced mind-control over any person or animal, cast a magic spell, sought a psychic experience or contacted a psychic in person or through a psychic hotline
Devil Worship (2 Chr. 11:15, Ps. 106:37, 1 Cor. 10:20-22, Rev. 9:20-21):
- Made a pact with Satan or been involved in (or witnessed) Satan worship or Black Magic
- Attended the meeting of a coven
- Attended a Black Mass
- Made a promise, pact, or blood compact with Satan
- Have been (or are) a victim of Satanic ritual abuse
Witchcraft (1 Sam. 15:23 and 28:7, 2 Ki. 9:22, 1 Chr. 10:13, Is. 8:19, 19:3 and 29:4, Mic. 5:12, Gal. 5:19-20):
- Attended witchcraft or voodoo activities
- Visited or was taken to a witch doctor. (Africa)
- Participation in tribal ceremonies such as at birth, circumcision, weddings or calendar celebrations. (Africa)
- Using traditional medicines (Africa)
- Listened to hard rock or acid rock music with a Satanic influence, as in KISS, Black Sabbath, 9” Nails, etc.
- Visited or worshipped in a shrine or temple of a non-Judeo/Christian religion, or have in your possession any books, articles, or statutes from a non-Judeo/Christian religion
- Been involved in freemasonry, Eastern Star, DeMolay, or Rainbow Girls
- Wished somebody else was dead or wished you were dead
- Planned or attempted to take your own life
- Hoped someone else would die
Contact with Objects:
- Have you any object, image, charm, statue, bracelet, necklace, jewelry, or book(s) in your possession or in your home, that may bring an evil presence or influence with it; has someone involved in the occult given you any amulet or object?
Generational Bondage (Ex. 34:6-7, Num. 14:17-19, Deut. 5:8-10, Josh. 22:16-29, Ps. 33:11, Jer. 11:10-13, Acts 2:38-39):
- Have any of your ancestors been involved in witchcraft, pagan religions, or fortunetelling?
- Has anyone in your ancestry been a member of the Masons (see the section on “Healing from Freemasonry”)?
I have found that occult spirits are most difficult to dislodge if the parents or ancestors have dedicated off spring to Satan, the person has made a contract with Satan, or is married to a deceased person. It is extremely helpful if there is a member of the ministry team that has a high level of the discerning of spirits gift, who is able to discern the initial experience in the ancestry of the seeker, and the circumstances in which the spirit received authority to move in. In some cases, it is necessary to gather a number of experienced ministers together who have a high level of spiritual power. The greater the dark influence available at the time of entry, the greater the spiritual power needed to remove it. In some cases it is necessary to mentally visualize the perpetrator and the initial experience, and pray against the perpetrator until he/she turns white, usually beginning at the head and eventually out the feet. Then the influence is broken for good.
Release from Occult Influences
First, destroy all books, jewelry, statues, objects, and paraphernalia associated with any cult, occult, or false religion source (see additional section on “Healing Objects and Places”).
Pray the following prayer aloud, specifically against each separate type of occult activity:
Lord Jesus, I recognize and confess _________________ as a sin in my life. I am deeply sorry for this sin and I repent of it. Please forgive me.
I renounce Satan in this area in all his ways; I take back any spiritual territory I have given him and I now give it to God. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
After confessing and repenting of these sins, pray the following prayer aloud just once:
In the name of the Lord Jesus, I repeat my baptismal vows and commit my life to Jesus. Lord, I claim and thank you for all of the blessings made available to me because of your death on the cross.
Lord, you gave us power over the adversary. I therefore release myself and my family from any hold which any of these occult activities have, or have had, on our lives.
I cancel any curse against me or against any member of my family. And I claim the protection of the blood of Jesus over my mind, body, and spirit. I close the door on you Satan, never to be opened again. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
- James S. Wallace, The Occult Trap, 2004. ISBN 1-58502-040-0. (The best single book available on this topic—some of the material for this section has been taken from his book.) Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7 pages 69-133. (It has an excellent list of primary and secondary symptoms pages 212-216.
- Don Basham and Dick Leggatt, The Most Dangerous Game, 1974). ISBN 0-8007-0726-5. (May be out of print but available as a used book through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Alibris.)
- Peter Horrobin, Healing Through Deliverance, 2008. ISBN 978-0-8007- 9451-4. pages 330, 353-354, (Appendix 2 Magic, the Occult and the Bible, and Appendix 3, Glossary of Occult Terms is thorough glossary of occult terms.)
- Francis MacNutt, Deliverance From Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual, 1995, ISBN 0-8007-9232-7. Chap 16, pages 203-222
- Noel & Phyl Gibson Freedom in Christ 1996, ISBN 1 874 367 53 1, Chapters 8 & 9 pp 82-104 (See appendix I of this study)
- Doris Wagner, Editor, Ministering Freedom From Occult Bondages, 2004: p46. ISBN 1-58502-039-7. (now 4 booklets are combined into one 332 page booklet entitled “How to Minister Freedom”, Wagner, Doris, 2005 ISBN 0830737251, 30 contributors)