Several wonderful posts, beginning with Fr. Joseph Homick's post God and god, have been circulating around the Catholic blogosphere today relating to the dangers of New Age and the occult. (I will link the other posts at the end of this one.)
If you have read my reversion story, then you know that I dabbled a bit with the occult and things New Age. It began around the late eighties~early nineties and continued right up until my return to the faith in 2002. While I did not go as deeply as some others with this, I went dangerously close to the edge. The truth is, there is no safe range when it comes to the occult. Make no mistake, New Age and Occultism are really two sides of the same demonic coin.
In my case, I was led to the writings of Edgar Cayce. He had a lot to say on nutrition, was said to diagnose people and heal them without ever meeting them. He also wrote much about reincarnation.
Now while I don't remember being instructed in the dangers of all this during my Catholic school years, I was taught that we die once and either go to heaven or hell; we don't get another chance to try it again. As I slowly became immersed in all this, I seemed to forget my Catholic faith and all that it taught.
Around this time, Shirley Maclaine's book and TV movie, Out on a Limb came out. I read the book and watched the movie as well, and I was hooked.
I have to say that I read more about all this than actually practiced it, but the beliefs were taking root. I read everything Ms. Maclaine wrote and it all seemed to make perfect sense.
I still believed in God, but I wanted Him on my terms, not His. When I look back on this now, I see that this was mocking Our Lord. It was saying to Him: "You are not God nor a King." I was no better than those soldiers who crowned Him with thorns and mocked Him during His passion.
You see, that is what New Age spirituality does. It tells you that you are the center of everything. It replays the scene in the Garden with Adam and Eve and the devil telling them they can be gods. In one scene in the movie Out on a Limb, Ms. Maclaine and one of her new age "mentors" are standing on a beach, arms outstretched repeating over and over again: I am God. That is just plain blasphemous!
My reading would become even darker, I began to take an interest in witchcraft. I never became a full fledged witch, but read enough about their customs and rituals that I probably could have.
I believed crystals had healing power. The fact that I nor anyone I knew was ever healed by these pretty rocks should have convinced me otherwise.
What I really found enticing about all of this was that I felt that I no longer needed to fear hell because there wasn't one. My way, not God's was just fine.
It was in the middle of all this dark thinking that I had my abortion (1988). I didn't realize it at the time, but I needed something to get me off the hook for all I had done~ the abortion and everything that led to it. New Age did that.
Fr. Joseph mentions the Neale Donald Walsch books: In Conversation With God. I read these as well; they became my new "bible". The God he describes is no God at all. It is Satan in disguise saying: "Whatever works for you is just fine with me." Our God, the one true God, does not work that way. He is mercy and love, but also justice. He never condones sin. Mr. Walsch's god not only condoned it but encouraged it as well.
It is only by God's grace that I was delivered from this dark mess. I honestly do not know where I would be today if I did not receive that letter from my friend in 2002 telling me to get a Bible( a real one) and a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
It wasn't easy, especially on him; I resisted with everything I had. There was no way I was going back to that "judgemental God". My friend loved me enough and had patience enough not to give up on me. He literally re~ catechized me.
When I finally made the decision to accept Christ back into my life, on His terms now, not mine, I still had the abortion to deal with. God led me to Rachel's Vineyard where I could receive the healing from this horrible sin. I believe it did much to heal me of the New Age filth as well.
I still have to be careful. Satan knows that I love to read, and he will use this to try to put New Age material in my hands. It is all about guarding the senses. Satan knows our weak spots better than we do. We may forget about them, but he doesn't. It would be very easy to get lured back into his lair.
After I made my Rachel's Vineyard retreat, I felt compelled to attend daily Mass. It wasn't that I just felt like going~ I had to go. I believe that the Eucharist has much, if not everything to do with cleansing me of these demons.
In hindsight, I realize I had been looking for God and that personal relationship with Jesus all along; I just didn't know it. I truly was lost. I thank God and my friend for loving me and having patience with me.
We Are Not gods and Moira Noonan's Story by Mary at The Beautiful Gate
Full Truth and Nothing But by Nancy Shuman at The Cloistered Heart
*Both Mary and Nancy link to the Vatican Document: Jesus Christ, the Bearer of the Water of Life. I highly recommend not only theirs and Fr. Joseph's post, but also this Church document.