One of the most prevalent evils is that of divination. Divination has existed in all cultures throughout history. Its basic idea involves foretelling the future or accessing occult information by various means. Traditionally, the person who practiced divination was regarded as having supernatural powers. Despite its frequent modern reformulation in psychological or parapsychological terms (e.g., receiving information from “the unconscious” or “higher” mind), historically, divination has always been an attempt to communicate with the supernatural or “divine” realm in order to secure information from the “gods.” Its fundamentally pagan and spiritistic nature has never changed, regardless of how “modern” its practices have become today. Called by different names such as "channeling" or "mediums," people contact the dead (formerly called necromancy) hoping to seek information about their deceased loved ones and "talk to them again," often receiving information about the future from them. Others use Tarot Cards, Ouija Boards, and Rune Stones (pictured at the top of this post) to foretell their future.
These practices even get invited into the home via television. John Edward, Theresa Caputo, and Tyler Henry are just some of the "mediums" that have appeared on American television claiming to "channel the dead."
The questions arise, "Why is it wrong to seek to talk to a loved one who passed and find closure"? "What's wrong with trying to find out what the future holds for me"? This post will answer those questions and give a critique of the specific divination practices used today.
The Future is for God to Know
The reason that divination and mediums are forbidden is quite simple: Almighty God forbids it and finds it detestable. Some people claiming to be "Christian" or "Catholic" will (similar to Satan in the desert with Christ) quote from Scripture to justify their divination practices. They reject and/or purposely misinterpret Church teaching and the Bible's clear prohibitions on such wickedness. In the Old Testament, there were times when God had to communicate His will for specific reasons, and He chose particular methods. Thus, in the Bible, certain exceptional methods were used to discover God’s specific will, such as the Urim and Thummim, dreams, through the Old Testament prophets, and casting lots (See Exodus 28:30; Acts 1:24-26). These methods are replaced by other means (See Hebrews 1:1-2). We now have everything we need to know via the Deposit of Revelation and the Magisterium.
As Traditionalist Catholics, we are to trust in Christ's Church and in His sovereignty over future events, both in our own lives and in the final outcome of human affairs. For very good reasons, God has not and does not reveal our specific, individual futures. For example, no one likes pain, and if we knew the future, most of us would try to avoid unpleasant situations, suffering, and tragedy. These things may be God’s will for us, and we are avoiding what God has wisely determined is best for us from the eternal perspective. People grow in their faith and in their ability to endure things. God’s Will that cannot be endured at one point in life, may be able to be endured or accepted at another. Likewise, contact with the dead is forbidden. God allows it in extraordinary cases (e.g., the soul of St. Maria Goretti appearing to her murderer in prison to effectuate his conversion), but it is not the norm to be performed by "special people" (i.e., "mediums" or "channelers").
The condemnation of divination comes to us from the passages of the Bible (as rightly interpreted by the Magisterium) and the Church of Her own authority. According to theologian Slater:
On Divination. We here suppose that the devil, a wicked spirit of great intelligence and power, but subject to God, exists and continually interferes in the affairs of men in order to ruin them. This truth belongs to the Catholic Faith and cannot be denied without sin. The sin of divination is committed when the devil is invoked expressly or tacitly in order to discover what is secret and hidden. There is express invocation of the devil when his aid is expressly implored. The devil is tacitly invoked when altogether inadequate means are used to find out what is occult [hidden], means which are not sufficient for the purpose naturally, and which have not been ordained by God for that purpose. The devil is eager to be appealed to in order the more easily to attain his own ends, and anyone who uses such inadequate means to find out hidden secrets virtually appeals to the devil to help him. A great variety of such means of divination has been in use from the earliest times among all nations; and periods which have witnessed a decay of faith have also witnessed a recrudescence [recurrence] of these superstitions...The devil sometimes takes possession of the body of a human being and manifests what is secret through it; this was called pythonism. The devil had his prophets as God had. In necromancy the devil answers through the dead called to life again...Divination is mortally sinful, for it is a great insult to God to hold intercourse with and seek aid from the devil, His bitter enemy; and besides, it is most dangerous to the parties concerned. He is wont gradually to insinuate himself until he has his victim within his power, and then he works on him his evil will. (See A Manual of Moral Theology, , 1:141-142; Emphasis mine).
Therefore, let no one say to you that divination (in any form) is "harmless," or "only used as entertainment," or is OK if you believe in God because He protects you (God will never protect someone who deliberately exposes himself to evil through sin). The Bible is very clear as to what God thinks of divination:
Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD; because of these same detestable practices the LORD your God will drive out those nations before you. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).
Do not practice divination or sorcery. (Leviticus 19:26).
He sacrificed his sons in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced sorcery, divination and witchcraft, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the LORD, provoking him to anger. (2 Chronicles 33:6).
Then the LORD said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds" (Jeremiah 14:14).
And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain girl, having a pythonical [telling the future] spirit, met us, who brought to her masters much gain by divining. This same following Paul and us, cried out, saying: "These men are the servants of the most high God, who preach unto you the way of salvation." And this she did many days. But Paul being grieved, turned, and said to the spirit: "I command thee, in the name of Jesus Christ, to go out from her." And he went out the same hour. (Acts 16:16-18).
Several Methods of Divining
[I will list my sources for this section of my post at the end---Introibo]
The following popular methods will be explored:
- I Ching
- Tarot Cards
- Ouija Board
Runes. Runes are ancient Teutonic and Norse alphabet sigils (signs or images) placed upon tiles that are seen as having magical and divinatory properties. The word “rune” derives from the Indo-European root “rw,” meaning “secret” or “mystery.” The Nazis employed two runes extensively: the swastika (originally a Norse magical symbol known as Thor’s hammer) and the sigil [a stylized “s” or lightening bolt] used by the SS troops, originally a symbol of the Earth Mother and the sun. The Nazis were deeply into the occult and most were sodomites. Runes are used as follows:
Concentrate on a question. Focus on finding the answer. You may imagine yourself walking down a path or looking through a field of clover, trying to find one with four leaves. Whichever visual helps you focus your attention is up to you.
Once you feel clam and receptive, reach into your set of runes and choose one that feels right. Sometimes you may want to imagine you are feeling for a certain color or trying to find the one that is warmer or cooler than the others. Anything you can do to focus on picking the “right” rune will help you.
Inspect the rune in your hand and reflect on all the possible meanings this single rune has.
1) Did I draw the rune right-side-up, or up-side-down?
2) Are more of the symbolic meanings positive or negative?
3) Is there one of those meanings that applies directly to my question?
4) Does the sound of the rune fit in my answer?
The o-rune, whose name was ooila – meaning inheritance, was used as a symbol of "Blut und Boden" (blood and soil), and the t-rune as a symbol of war and struggle, after the god of war, Tyr. It became popular in the Nazi youth organization Hitlerjugend--the most famous member of which was Joseph Ratzinger; the future "Pope" Benedict XVI. The R-rune became the symbol of either life or death depending on whether the diagonal lines were facing up or down.
The consequences of the Nazi’s portrayal of themselves as a supreme race are well known--and it came from the occult.
Palmistry. Also known as Chiromancy consists of the practice of evaluating a person's character or future life by "reading" the palm of that person's hand. According to one source: "Is the person reading your palm well-trained in palmistry? Sure, anyone can grab a palm reading book, but that doesn’t mean they have any professional experience." (See https://azbigmedia.com/lifestyle/consumer-news/the-truth-about-palm-reading-revealed/). How does one become "well-trained" in reading palms? It's as asinine as claiming a doctorate in knowledge on Bigfoot. The subjective nature of palmistry leads to the general and ambiguous characteristics of many of its prognostications. People then can read into it. "You will have great fortune." You find a $20 bill, ergo the palm reading was correct. In addition, there are those predictions that are uncannily accurate. This is demonic in nature. "Psychic palm readers" can also use demons as a false pretext for scamming people:
Somerset police have arrested a psychic palm reader, accusing her of tricking a client out of over $70,000 by convincing her that her daughter was possessed by a demon. Tracey Milanovich, 37, of Somerset, has been charged with six counts of obtaining property over $250 by trick, larceny over $1,200 and intimidation of a witness. She was arraigned Monday at Fall River District Court. (See https://www.cbs58.com/news/palm-reading-psychic-accused-of-tricking-client-out-of-70-000-through-demonic-possession-scheme).
Tarot Cards. Tarot cards probably originated in Italy in the 14th century since the earliest known explanation of their usage dates to 1391. The pack of cards, known as the Tarocco, is made up of 22 major enigmas, whose figures represent a synthesis of the mysteries of life; and 56 minor images incorporating 14 figures in four series (gold, clubs, swords and goblets). The 22 major enigmas correspond to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet and the number of hieroglyphs the ancient Jews used in divination. Each major enigma has an image with a particular meaning, e.g. Enigma I is the Minstrel, which signifies The Being, the spirit and creation; and Enigma XV is the Devil, which signifies magic, eloquence, commerce and mystery. Enigmas I through XI comprise the solar way, which is active, conscious, reflective and autonomous; while enigmas XII through XXII denote the lunar way, which is passive, unconscious, intuitive and possessed. The four series of the 56 minor images have the following significance: gold signifies intellectual activity; clubs, government; swords, military career; and goblets, the "priesthood." Practitioners of Tarot believe that these enigmas, images and series represent the sum of the knowledge of all sciences, particularly astrology, and in the permutations in "dealing the cards" are capable of revealing the future and solving all problems.
An ex-tarot card reader admitted after she broke away from the practice, “It was after getting rid of them that there were several strange happenings, I began to feel the presence of a spirit, which kept visiting me between May and August. I realized the cards had actually connected me with ‘something,’ as I started to feel a presence which kept coming to me, very often, almost weekly. It came at any time … because I had finally broken the connection, and it was trying to keep it.” (See https://newagedeception.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/danger-of-the-tarot-cards-testimony-of-tina-an-ex-tarot-card-reader/).
In 2002, a sniper who murdered several people left a tarot death card at the scene of one of his shootings along with the blasphemous message "I am God." The tarot cards were (of course) defended by an occultist. If a serial sniper sought by police left the "death" tarot card found near a shooting scene in Maryland, he or she likely doesn't have much of an understanding of tarot, says a woman who's produced instructional audiotapes on the fortunetelling cards.
"Anybody who knows tarot [knows] the death card is a good card in the deck," said Tori Hartman, writer and narrator of 12 Step Tarot and Learn How to Read the Tarot in an Hour. "It is basically transformation and it tells you that old ways of thinking are transforming." Transforming into something from Hell no doubt. (See https://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=89996).
I Ching. The I Ching is a collection of practical wisdom, pertaining to every conceivable situation. It originates in ancient China and is the oldest Chinese classical text. "I Ching" means "Classic of Changes" or "Book of Changes." (While mostly the spelling "I Ching" is used, "Yijing" is, in fact, the official modern spelling).
There are 64 different main kinds of situations in the I Ching. Each one is indicated by a hexagram, which is a symbol made up by 6 lines, each of which can be broken or unbroken.
To obtain "advice" from the I Ching about one's current situation, one can consult it as an oracle. To decide which hexagram is related to the situation at hand, a "random" hexagram is obtained by throwing coins (or yarrow sticks, that traditionally were used). The "random" hexagram is supposed to not be random at all, but to coincide with the situation. The notorious Satan worshipper, Aleister Crowley, once commented that “other systems of divination are often manipulated by demons who delight in misleading the inquirer,” and he felt that the I Ching was somehow above such duplicity. But he still conceded that the oracle was manipulated by personal intelligence: “The intelligences which direct it show no inclination to evade the question or to mislead the querant.”
Numerology. Numerology is another modern method of divination, one that attempts to discern the occult significance of numbers. It too is a popular form of entertainment. Like palmistry, numerology is thousands of years old and strongly associated with the occult. The practice of using tarot cards and the Kabala are rooted in numerology, and astrology also bears a relationship. As with other forms of divination, there are two principal aspects: (1) character assessment and (2) divining or predicting the future. Numerologists claim they cannot only help people to understand themselves better, but that they must also help them to make important decisions in all areas of life.
According to numerologists, the day you were born certain powers were bestowed upon you that will be with you your whole life long, and since this date is unalterable, its personal vibrations shape every event or incident in your life span. From the first day of your life to your last, you are governed by the destiny bestowed upon you according to the date of your birth. The numerological value of this birthdate will reveal to you the path of your destiny and suggest the line of personal development to help you attain all you wish from life. Like practitioners in other divinatory fields, numerologists may claim that their "profession" does not involve the occult. Main advocates insist that numerology is merely “a science of the numbers of life.” Yet no one can explain how this "science" works, nor is it subject to the scientific method.
Each of the basic numbers, 1-9, has been assigned a list of key personality characteristics, much like the "astrological houses." But do such lists, as supplied in different numerological texts, always agree? No, they don’t agree. This means, for example, that the number 2 may be given different characteristics in different texts. Thus, since the “meaning” of the numbers is not uniform, the one seeking a reading may receive conflicting readings from different numerologists. It is susceptible to the same subjectivism as all divination; and when it works, it's due to the demonic forces invoked implicitly.
Ouija Board. Manufactured by Parker Brothers and sold with other children's games, such as Monopoly and Clue, the Ouija Board is anything but harmless fun for kids. It has its wicked origins in the 19th century, when "table rapping" was the way occultists attempted to contact the dead during a seance. Those who participate would ask questions and wait for the table to "rap" out a prearranged number of times to spell out words using the alphabet (e.g. one rap for the letter "a," two raps for "b," etc.). In 1853, an occultist named M. Planchette, invented the triangular object (now named the planchette) which has three legs. One of its three legs had a pencil to spell out answers on the board posed by a person who was touching the planchette. The modern board has the letters of the alphabet to make the process of contacting the dead easier; the planchette simply points to each letter. The board also has the words yes and no as well as goodbye.
This modern Ouija board got its start in the United States with inventor Elijah Bond who filed for a patent in 1890. William Fuld bought the rights to it in 1892. According to Fuld, the board itself told him to patent it under the name "Ouija" which comes from the French "oui" and German "ja" both of which mean "yes." It is an invitation to let spirits (demons) in. The board told Fuld to manufacturer it, and he became wealthy as the game caught on. Ironically, Fuld died in 1927, falling off the roof of a building the board instructed him to build.
Parker Brothers bought the rights in 1966, and by 1976 it was the #1 selling board game in the United States. I remember the Christmas commercial for it which asked, "It's only a game--or is it?" There are WAY too many stories associated with the Ouija board to be dismissed. I personally knew a woman several years ago, who told me that in college, she and her sister used a Ouija board. She said it was fun and it "really worked." Things she had never told anyone were spelled out on the board in response to her questions. Then, one night, while asking another question to see how much the board knew about her past, the planchette spelled out, "I saw you naked in the shower." (She had just come out of the shower). After two more "answers" involving her naked body, she screamed and ran out of her dorm room. She warned her sister never to use it, and they gave it away to someone they knew, requesting they never mention it or bring it back.
Inviting this kind of demonic activity into your life is dangerous beyond description.
[Sources: Geri Tully, The Secret Powers of Numerology (1977), Joyce Wilson, The Complete Book of Palmistry (1978), Alfred Douglas, The Tarot: The Origins, Meaning and Uses of the Cards (1972),David and Julia Line, Fortune Telling by Runes, (1985), John Blofeld, I Ching (1968), Richard Cavendish, ed., Encyclopedia of the Unexplained: Magic, Occultism and Parapsychology , (1976)].
What's the Attraction?
What draws people to the occult practices of divination? There are several.
- The desire to feel special with esoteric knowledge
- The need to feel closure and cope with grieving the loss of a loved one
- Hell and right/wrong are effectively denied, so they don't need to follow the Commandments. Everyone who consults these items of divination and/or their "practitioners" is told they are "good" and their loved ones are "in Heaven"
- The Vatican II sect does not speak against such things, leading people to think it is ok
The results of the above are most serious. There have been people who commit suicide to "see the wonders of the other side," and people defrauded of large amounts of money when doing as allegedly directed from someone they knew "on the other side" when told so by the medium, Ouija board, etc.
Do not allow yourself and those you love to be drawn into divination practices. They are mortally sinful. Even when the result of chicanery, the very attempt at trying to "see into the future" or "communicate with the deceased" is mortal sin. According to theologian Jone, "Spiritism claims to be able to communicate with the spirit world and endeavors to establish such commerce with it. Although spiritism is for the most part fraud, still the intention alone to enter into communication with spirits is gravely sinful. Therefore, it is mortally sinful to conduct a spiritistic seance or to act as a medium." (See Moral Theology, , pg. 100; Emphasis mine). Theologian Slater, cited above, teaches that "Divination is mortally sinful, for it is a great insult to God to hold intercourse with and seek aid from the devil, His bitter enemy; and besides, it is most dangerous to the parties concerned."
Let us leave the future in God's Hands, Who Alone knows what it will bring. Be content with facing each day in Faith and hope being in sanctifying grace. God will take care of the rest. "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (St. Matthew 6:34).