As traditional Christianity has lost its appeal for many people, growing numbers have sought to fill that vacuum in their lives in other ways. Some turn to alternate religions popular in other parts of the world. Some turn to witchcraft and pre-Christian paganism. Some seek answers in the occult. A few even knowingly turn to Satanism and evil spirits.
Some are simply curious; others are very serious. But whether they recognize it or not, all are dabbling in dangers that likely are well beyond their limited comprehension. That’s why these dangers are often referred to as the occult—things that are secretive, mysterious and concealed.
You’ve likely never directly seen Satan or his demons, but certainly those familiar with the Bible recognize their influence in this rapidly degenerating world. No wonder the Scriptures describe Satan as “the god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
His influence is not new, but its prevalence in modern society certainly is. What was once banned or very limited in dealing with the dark spirit realm is now mostly out in the open. Satanism is rampant in movies. And movements based on it, such as Wicca, Santeria, voodoo and consultation with mediums, are thriving, especially with the young.
The apostle Paul tells us that we should be wary of such practices, “lest Satan should take advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
Wicca, Santeria and voodoo
One of the fastest growing movements in Western nations is Wicca, a modern version of witchcraft.
Wicca, from on an Old English word for “witch,” incorporates many of the trappings of ancient British witchcraft practices. Some, but not all, covens, or groups, practice casting spells, divination and magic. Wicca is an umbrella group or movement that gathers under its fold very different beliefs and practices— but is at its core a thinly disguised type of oldfashioned witchcraft.
Santeria is a Caribbean religion based on mixing African witchcraft with Roman Catholic beliefs—similar in many ways to voodoo or pure African witchcraft. Its followers practice animal sacrifices and perform feverish dancing during Santerian rituals that can lead to possession of a person by an orisha or “saint.” The individual then is said to speak and act as that “saint.” If this is an actual spiritual experience, it is nothing more than demonic possession.
All of these practices have this in common: Satan is their originator, and they should be absolutely avoided. God, who knows exactly how Satan and his demons work, emphatically warns us not to have anything to do with them. He tells us to not “give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27, NIV).
We should not consult with people associated with these practices. God says: “There shall not be found among you anyone who . . . practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord” (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
Mediums and familiar spirits
What about mediums and people who use such things as tarot cards and Ouija boards to consult with the spirits?
Mediums—also sometimes called “seers” or “clairvoyants”—are people who may be used by the fallen angels the Bible calls demons. They might appear normal and helpful, but those who are not charlatans (and many are) can genuinely have contact with deceitful spirits who seek to attract and use human beings for their own evil purposes. For this reason these evil angelic beings are called “deceiving spirits” in the Bible (1 Timothy 4:1).
They sometimes pose as the spirits of the dead. Yet the Bible tells us that the dead have no awareness, sleeping in unconsciousness until a future resurrection (see Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Job 14:10-15; Daniel 12:2; and read our free booklet What Happens After Death?).
Familiar spirits, in reality disguised demons, can have an intimate knowledge of people, alive or dead. They have at their disposal supernatural abilities and an extensive network of information from fellow demons who are more than willing to share their knowledge with the deceived “host.” In this way, they will entice many more people to be deceived and hooked—ending sometimes as pawns to these spirits.
This is the grave danger of participating in any of these practices—at first these spirits appear as willing servants, but inevitably they end up as harsh taskmasters. That is why we should avoid coming into any contact with people who claim they can communicate with the dead.
Tarot cards and Ouija boards
Some use manual devices such as tarot cards or Ouija boards to consult with these familiar spirits themselves. These objects should be avoided at all costs—they are not innocent “games” but ancient ways of attracting these spirits.
Think of these instruments as potential passports into your mind—possibly opening an entry to the zone that should only be inhabited by your own thoughts and God’s Holy Spirit. If you do not invite these evil spirits, they cannot enter. Yet sometimes even an unsuspecting invitation through these devices can give demons a green light! Sadly, many people have unknowingly invited evil spirits into their minds— never to be quite the same again.
As the Scriptures reveal, these spirits need to be cast out by genuine ministers of God. Acts 19 records an instance where some would-be exorcists tried to cast a demon out of a person and the demon turned on them, saying, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are you?” Much to their surprise, “the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:15-16).
This is therefore no laughing matter or cute entertainment—it is deadly serious! Scripture records several instances of people falling into such forbidden practices with disastrous results.
Simply say “No!”
We must simply say “No!” when enticed to play with this dark spirit world. Don’t fold under pressure from friends, family or anyone else. Put God and His Word first! Literally, your life and your mental welfare could depend on it!
God, who knows exactly how Satan and his demons work, warns us not to have anything to do with them. We should not consult with people associated with these spirits in spite of any stated intentions to help us. God’s Word is clear: “Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:31).
Ask, “Would Christ approve of this?” He certainly would not! So we should avoid all contact with mediums, fortune-tellers, witches and their devices—and not be fooled by whatever means they might use to try to entice us.