|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©1999|
|The occult is an umbrella term which includes many practices and belief systems. These beliefs are usually based on the idea that everything is or contains energy…, and one can access, change, channel and/or manipulate this energy (or force) for the purposes of gaining information, healing, or bringing a desired situation or thing into material reality. (Marcia Montenegro, "The Occult: Brief Explanations of Various Terms and Concepts," cana.userworld.com)|
Marcia Montenegro, herself a former occultist, says that spirit contact, divination and sorcery are major forms of occultism. We have documented in another article that each of these are practices that God has condemned.
Many critics have said that no actual occult practices or teachings can be found in the Harry Potter books. Others have said that, while there may be things that resemble actual occult practices, they are harmless.
We believe that both statements are incorrect. We believe that readers, including children, are finding out about genuine occult rituals and, in fact, are being shown that these practices have actual power they can learn to use in their own lives.
Furthermore, should the reader’s curiosity be aroused, there is readily available information on the Internet, in bookstores or in the public library where one can learn more. In doing research for this magazine, we checked a local branch library and found literally dozens of books about witchcraft that were written especially for children!
Below we have selected a few terms and practices regularly associated with the occult. With each one we have given a brief definition from Marcia Montenegro. (More complete definitions, along with other terms can be found in "The Occult: Brief Explanations of Various Terms and Concepts" at cana.userworld.com.)
We also give examples—by no means exhaustive—of how these practices are woven into J.K. Rowling’s stories about Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Animism—A spirit(s) or life force inhabits all creatures & nature, sometimes inanimate objects as well.
Dualism and Polarity—The belief in two equal, opposing forces; or a belief in two forces which appear opposite but are actually complementary.… The belief that opposing forces are complementary and necessary to each other is sometimes termedpolarity. …Good and evil, or other opposites, may also be seen as part of each other, or as mirrors of each other.
Altered State of Consciousness—A trance or light hypnosis brought about through…meditation; chanting; drugs; dancing…; breathing techniques; sensory deprivation; repetitive movement (pendulum); focusing on one point; suggestion; guided visualization….
Amulet—A charm (object, drawing, word, or symbol) believed to contain special powers or magick which is worn or carried as protection against misfortune.
Astral Travel—Also known as out-of-body experience (OBE), this is a practice in which a person believes their astral self separates from the body and travels to other physical locations or possibly to an astral realm.
Astral Projection—used by those calling themselvespsychic vampires,who believe they can leave their body and in astral form secretly feed off the spirit or energy of another person.
Astrology—The belief that the planets, sun, and moon are external and internal signposts for individuals or society to follow in order to understand themselves and choose the best options.
Automatic writing—A method of spirit communication and/or divination. Many who practice this believe they are communicating with the dead or evolved spirit beings.
Black Magick—The use of sorcery or magickal powers for evil intentions or selfish gain.
Channeling, Spiritism—Contact with spirits through methods such as summoning, channeling, evoking or invoking, using a spirit guide, using drugs, using a Ouija Board, worshipping spirits, or various rituals.
Clairvoyance, ESP—a way in which one perceives or receives information beyond the five physical senses of sight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. The information can be about the past, present or future. (includestelepathy,precognition, andclairvoyance). This is sometimes called the "sixth sense" or "the third eye."
Divination—Also called "fortunetelling;" the art of retrieving information about the past, present or future using psychic or occult techniques, or spirit contact.
Energy healing—form of healing based on accessing, channeling, balancing and/or manipulating energy
"How’s your arm?" said Harry. "Fine," said Neville, showing them. "Madam Pomfrey mended it in about a minute."
Familiar(s)—A spirit often assuming the form of an animal, or an actual animal used as a helper for sorcerers or witches. A familiar can also be conjured by a sorcerer for protection or aid; sometimes this is called a thought-form and has a quasi-independent existence.
Magick—Practices which may include casting spells, using or summoning energy for a desired end, invoking forces or spirits, and/or calling on spiritual entities for aid. Occultists differentiate betweenblackandwhite magick, claiming thatblack magickis the use of magick for bad whilewhite magickis the use of magick for good.
Neo-paganism—Umbrella term for contemporary revival of pagan nature worship; practices include some or all of the following: revering nature, polytheism (belief in many gods), divination, magick and casting spells.Neo-paganismviews life as cyclical, not linear.
Psychokinesis—Considered a power of the mind allowing one to move objects with one’s mind, or otherwise influence things and events in the material world through the mind. This includes the alleged ability to materialize and dematerialize and to levitate.
Reincarnation—Generally speaking, the belief that one lives many lives, returning after death to life in another body, time, and place.
Scrying—A form of divination by gazing into an opaque surface such as a crystal, glass, water surface, or dark mirror.
Sorcery—Manipulation of energy or forces to bring about a desired end through visualization; invocation or summoning of powers/spirits; ritual;
Talisman—An object, drawing or symbol which is believed to confer power on the owner for a specific purpose through magickal or supernatural means. It may also attract good luck health, love, or power. Used in magickal practices. Whereas an amulet is passive, a talisman is seen as possessing an active force.
TelekinesisorTeleportation—A form of;psychokinesisin which physical bodies or objects are moved over distances, and in which solid objects are materialized and dematerialized in order to pass through matter.