The term “occult” comes from the Latin occultus or “hidden.” Generally the word is used of secret or mysterious supernatural powers or magical, religious rituals. The word “occult” is used to describe any attempt to gain supernatural power or knowledge apart from the God of the Bible. Generally it refers to witchcraft, Satanism, neo-paganism, or various forms of Psychic discernment (astrology, séances, palm reading, tarot cards, etc.).
Divination Practices and Occult Games (Source)
Description: Divination is the attempt to predict or control one’s future, or to gain access to hidden information (e.g., psychically) by the assessment of various “indicators” (such as the occult meaning of numbers), or use of particular implements (such as the Ouija board). Examples of divinatory methods include interpreting the positions of the heavenly bodies (astrology) or the symbols on cards (tarot), analyzing dreams (dream work) or the flight of birds or liver markings, casting stones or coins or other objects (I Ching), interpreting hand markings (palmistry), and seeking information from dowsing rods, idols, or oracles (Ezekiel 21:21). Occult games are not necessarily divinatory; however, they attempt to introduce players to occult philosophy or practice in a fun and exciting manner through playing a “game.”
Founder: Varies; some are unknown.
Scientific evaluation: Science cannot evaluate claims to see into the future, although it can test the predictions of diviners. This often reveals fraud or a poor record of divining, or that psychic powers fluctuate greatly under stringent conditions of scientific assessment. This is not to say that these methods are never accurate; to the contrary, their persuasiveness is often found in their divinatory power.
Examples of occult potential: Psychic development, spiritism.
Practices and Terms
- Astrology: The concept that one’s future is dependent upon the precise location of the sun, moon and planets at the time of birth.
- I Ching: an ancient Chinese oracle book which can be used to foretell the future, answer questions, etc. The practitioner generates a number from 1 to 64 by selecting sticks, or casting dice or coins. The oracle book assigns different meanings to each of the numbers.
- Numerology: the practice of assigning a digit to each letter in a person’s name, and deriving a series of numbers which have special significance to the person.
- Palm reading: foretelling a person’s future by the creases in their palm and shape of their fingers.
- Runes: a group of from 16 to 31 (typically 26) letters of an ancient Northern European alphabet. The letters are inscribed on small rocks or pieces of paper or (shudder) plastic. A group is cast, and the future foretold from the runes that land inverted and not inverted, as well as from their position.
- Scrying: a technique of producing visions of the future by gazing into a crystal ball, black mirror, bowl of water, hot coals from a fire, etc.
- Tarot cards: fortune telling through the use of a pack of 78 Tarot cards which can be divided into four suites (wands, cups, pentacles and swords). 5 Each suite has number cards (ace to 10), a king, queen, knight and knave. In addition, there are 22 additional cards which form the greater arcana; they include the Chariot, High Priestess, Juggler, Lovers, Moon, Sun, Strength, Death, Devil, etc. The cards are shuffled; a few are dealt and laid in a specific formation (circle, cross, square, etc.). The cards are interpreted according to their inherent meaning, as modified by the significance of their location.
- Teacup reading: foretelling the future by the shapes formed by tea leaves after a cup of tea has been consumed.
- Other methods: Future events have been predicted through the use of dice, dominos, dream interpretation, pendulum movements, playing cards, etc.
Medical and therapeutic techniques:
- Various holistic medical processes
- Visualization (guided imagery)
- Aura reading
- Essential oils
Some games have occult terms and activities (casting spells, potions, charms, calling on pagan gods, runes, Tarot, etc.). What the games do is desensitize people to occult practices. Beware because this can cause spiritual and emotional damage. “It is a comment on how far this culture has come that what should be innocent and cheerful games for young girls are instead fraught with evil themes and depictions of what should be scary but are presented as fun, glamorous, or sexy. Doing evil is actually depicted as inviting and/or powerful.” —Marcia Montenegro
Occult games: Ouija Board, Magic the Gathering, Tarot cards, Illuminati, Pokémon, Yu-Gi-Oh, Occult Wars
Fantasy role-playing games: Dungeons and Dragons, Fable, Star Wars, Spycraft…more
Leaders – Twentieth Century only, in no particular order. Many more not listed here. (Source)
- Anton LaVey, occult author, founder of the Church of Satan
- Nikola Tesla, often connected to UFOlogy, and new age occult theories
- Timothy Leary, psychologist, member of the Illuminates of Thanateros
- Gerald Gardner, author and founder of the religion of Wicca
- Carlos Castaneda, sorcerer, writer, anthropologist
- Carl Jung, psychologist, sorcerer
New Age/New Thought
- David Spangler
- Joseph Campbell
- Ken Wilber
- Shirley MacLaine
- Oprah Winfrey
- Helen Schucman
- Marianne Williamson
- Matthew Fox
- Dr. Mehmet Oz
- Deepak Chopra
- Eckhart Tolle
- Rhonda Byrne
- Have Christians Lost the Art of Biblical Discernment?–Marsha West
- The New Christian Enneagram Trend: Helpful Tool Or Godless Wisdom?–Chanshi Chibwe
- Why God Hates the Occult– Bill Randles
- How the occult has been fully integrated into many Christian lives and fellowship–Sandy Simpson
- Open occultism and millennial magik–Joe Torres
- 10 Serious Problems With Jesus Calling–Tim Challies
- A Course In Miracles
- The “Bethel Board”–Encounter God With This New Game (No, it’s not a Ouija Board you religious Pharisee!)–Steven Kozar
- Our Pagan Children–Peter Jones
- Season of the witch–Michelle Goldberg
- Why Millennials are Ditching Religion for Witchcraft and Astrology–Kari Paul
- More students, young Americans turn to paganism
- Harry Potter Books—Berit Kjos
- Going Against God “just for fun”–Marsha West
- Carl Jung: Psychologist or Sorcerer?—Marsha West
- What do you think about all this Satan Stuff?–Marsha West
- Dangerous Spirituality for Teens—Marcia Montenegro
- English Occult: A look back at black magic in Great Britain—CBS News
- Kundalini: Frequently Asked Questions and Selected References—Kurt Kuetzer
- Rick Warren introduces “The Devil Plan”—Marsha West
- Secret Things Are No Longer Secret—Kjos Ministries
What the Bible teaches:
“There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this (Deuteronomy 18:10-14). (emphases added)
The Bible details the occult practices that are expressly forbidden by God. He banned sorcery then and He bans it now. Moreover, those who practice these sorts of things are an abomination – detestable. In the case of the Israelites all charms for diseases, all amulets or spells to prevent evil, fortune-telling (looking into the future), contacting the dead – any of the magic arts were considered wicked.
Views expressed by individual authors and/or sources don’t necessarily reflect those of Marsha West or Christian Research Network.