You may have heard of gateway drugs before. Drugs such as alcohol and tobacco are often called gateway drugs. The theory is that some of the less destructive drugs lead to harder drugs.
There have been numerous studies conducted which support the gateway theory, as well as numerous studies which do not.
Whatever the studies show, most people who have used a variety of drugs are aware that there are few people using hard drugs who did not use alcohol or tobacco first.
That is not to say that these drugs necessarily lead to harder drugs. It's just uncommon to find a person on crack or meth who has never smoked a cigarette or had a drink of alcohol.
At the very least, substances that are considered gateway drugs change your social landscape. People who drink are more likely to spend time in bars with other drinkers. People who smoke are more likely to meet other smokers outside, in designated smoking areas.
It is interesting to note that the drugs which provide these gateways are typically the ones which are either legal or considered more socially acceptable.
As in so many other ways, the spiritual realm mirrors the physical and many of these same physical struggles also occur on a spiritual level. C.S. Lewis referred to occultism as a drug, as he was once an "addict" of the preternatural.
I too experienced occultism as a drug, especially when I went through "withdrawals" after quitting and renouncing it. I literally craved yoga poses, Tarot cards and mantras the way some people crave chocolate.
It took a long time for me to stop experiencing those knee-jerk reactions to everyday situations. Just as an acoholic might struggle to stop habitually walking to the fridge for a beer after dinner every night, I had to make a conscious effort to stop old habits.
I couldn't learn a birthday without automatically sizing a person up astrologically.
My head still wanted to figure up and break down every address and phone number numerologically.
I continually caught myself pressing my tongue to the roof of my mouth whenever I was relaxed, like I'd been taught to do in Reiki. I found this was especially the case in church whenever I was getting absorbed in a sermon.
I had been on the hard stuff and some of my withdrawals were literally physical. Kundalini withdrawal is not a pretty thing. They're not kidding when they refer to it as a serpent. There is actual real, physical pain involved when you turn your back on that entity.
I have observed a phenomenon in occultism similar to the gateway drug theory. I have found that there are certain spiritual "drugs" that are more common and mainstream. These are typically the ones which are generally considered acceptable, "legal," or "safe," by a good portion of Christendom. These spiritual drugs often precipitate deeper involvement in the occult.
That's not to say that these things will necessarily lead to "harder" spiritual drugs, but they certainly increase the likelihood of it happening.
For example, rarely will you find a professional psychic who has never read his or her horoscope. You would be hard pressed to find a practicing witch who has never used a good luck charm. And there are few die-hard new agers who have never explored breathwork on any level.
Undoubtedly, spiritual gateway drugs can change a person's spiritual landscape. When you practice yoga, play with a Ouija Board or take a Feng Shui class, you are going to gravitate more toward occult-oriented people, and they to you.
This can lead to greater exposure to deeper degrees of occultism and deeper degrees of deception, and with that, spiritual imprisonment.
However, unlike physical gateway drugs, with spiritual ones, there is a paranormal component as well. Spiritual gateway drugs are actual spiritual doorways which invite living beings into your life - unclean spirits that have capabilities far beyond the realm of human capabilities.
Here are some things I have come to recognize as spiritual gateway drugs:
- A Course In Miracles
- acupuncture, acupressure
- angel worship, or obsession with angels
- Ayurvedic medicine/diet
- Bach flower remedies
- belief in karma
- belly dancing
- binaural beats
- chain letters, chain emails and chain posts for good luck
- circle prayer
- color therapy
- crystal jewelry
- dancing around a Maypole
- dowsing rods
- dream boards
- dream catchers
- fairy/elf lore
- Feng Shui
- fortune cookies
- fractal imagery or mandalas
- ghost hunting or visiting haunted houses
- good luck charms, amulets, or talismans
- handwriting analysis
- homeopathic medicine
- Kirlian photography
- messages to dead loved ones
- muscle testing
- occult books and movies
- Ouija Boards
- out-of-body travel
- pendulum diagnosis
- power animals and medicine animals
- Reiki, therapeutic touch, energy healing
- sacred geometries
- soaking, contemplative prayer
- sound and light machines
- The Law of Attraction
- wishing on stars, eyelashes, or anything else
- yin and yang
And these are just a few. This is by no means a comprehensive list. I've also written an article on spiritual deception that mentions some of these items as well as a few others.
As occultism becomes more and more mainstreamed, the numbers of spiritual gateway drugs will increase.
I know some of the things on this list seem obvious but you might be surprised at how many people think they are compatible with Christianity. Actually, they might be compatible with Christianity, but Christianity is not compatible with them.
I'm going to go "out on a limb" and say that it's highly unlikely you'll ever find a person involved with occultism in any way who has never engaged in at least one of the things listed above.
You might not become a witch if you experiment with one or more of these items, but the likelihood of that happening certainly will increase.
Your children might not become possessed, but they might become oppressed and find themselves led more into temptation.
Your family might not fall apart, but it might become strained and suffer undue hardship.
You might not go to hell but you might end up feeling like you're already there.
The biggest danger in all of these things is that the enemy can step up and take advantage of the opportunity to make a believer out of someone.
What happens when your horoscope is strangely "on the mark," or a dead loved one seems to be answering your message, or your bad dreams actually go away after you hang a dream catcher over your bed?
These are the places where deception begins.
As much as people would like to believe they are spiritually safe, no one is protected once they walk through a gateway into occultism. Occultism is the enemy's territory, and when you're in his territory, he's the one who calls the shots.
Let's remember, no meth addict ever thought their first cigarette would lead to such an extreme. And any ex-occultist like myself will tell you that they never would have guessed those first stages of experimentation would lead to where they ended up.
Your best bet is to never take that first step. Never open that first door. Like my dad told me about smoking when I was a child, "You don't have to quit if you never start."
No matter what payoff you might imagine lies behind that door, Jesus is enough and His grace is sufficient for you.
Let Him be your only door and you'll never have to worry about ending up where you don't want to be.