Monday, April 15, 2013

The Temptation of Power

"Your fear is your power."  This was a popular mantra in certain pagan circles when I was attending rituals.  The idea was that we could draw from our fear to muster spiritual power within ourselves.  Incidentally, "Your fear is your power," is also a quote by Charles Manson.

It is also said that knowledge is power and in many cases, it is.  Why else did Adam and Eve desire the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil?  They were promised it would make them like God.  Power. 

Power assuages fear, or at least it promises to.

In my work as a new age spiritual counselor and life coach, I was all about "empowering" my clients.  It was clear to me that many people's "personal power" had been violated, and some had even given it away.

Politics are very much about power.  Nations rise and fall as the fruit of power plays in leadership. 

We can see Kim Jong Un abusing his power in North Korea.  We see him starving his people and dictating even how they wear their hair while he eats what he likes, keeps over 100,000 people in prison camps, and vies for rulership over South Korea.  The abuse of power in North Korea is so extreme, it has been reported that its citizens are one to three inches shorter than those residing in the south, due to nutritional deficiencies.

Usually, our initial desires for power are innocent.  We desire the power to have our physical needs met, to love and be loved, and to keep ourselves and others from being treated unjustly.  Even as adults, many times our desire for power is driven by a simple desire for the ability to do good.

Power is nearly always abused when humans have too much of it, even when intentions are "good."  Think of the crusades, the Spanish inquisitions, slavery in America.  Even Hitler believed his intentions were for the good of mankind.

Perhaps not everyone who gets involved with the occult is seeking power but I know that in retrospect, that was certainly a big motivator for me.

As people delve deeper into occultism, they are taught not to seek the reward of power.  Rather, occult adepts will generally redirect aspirants toward "higher" pursuits such as self-realization or oneness with all that is.  They are taught to seek to be more of who they already are.  They are taught, also, that what they are is love, and that the so-called "real" goal should be to become love. 

Nevertheless, no matter what they claim the goal is supposed to be, the desire for power is nearly always an initial temptation that leads people into the occult.  And one is always informed however inadvertently that occult powers will be a natural byproduct or benefit of seeking of the "right things."

Occultism promises many powers that tempt people to dip their toes into the pool of spiritual darkness.  You or someone you know might be tempted by one or more of the following:
  • The power of increased perception, such as telepathy or the ability to see spirits.
  • The power to know the future.
  • The power to prevent bad things from happening - to change the future.  
  • The power to heal and to raise the dead. 
  • The power to manifest or materialize objects, create things out of thin air.
  • The power to attract what you desire - love, money, health, success.
  • The power to bring peace and harmony to situations.
  • The power to get people to do what you want them to do.
  • The power to know God's will or to know His purpose for your life
  • The power to feel another person's feelings, to connect with another person, heart-to-heart.
  • The power to transcend the pain of life and to rise above the matters of the flesh (mind over matter)
People are attracted to horoscopes because they desire the power of knowing what the day holds and thereby ordering it accordingly.

People are attracted to yoga because they desire the power to overcome or prevent illness or injury.

People are attracted to labyrinths because they desire the power to obtain peace and a sense of purpose.

And these are just a few of the different types of power that tempt people into occultism.  People will do a lot of things to allay the feeling of powerlessness.

At one point in my years of occultism, I actually sought the power to become immortal.  I know that might sound absurd, but I was taught that not only was it possible, but also that it was wise to pursue it, and unwise not to.  To pursue it ultimately meant to attain all others powers in existence.

Fundamentally what all these powers mean is freedom from pain in one way or another.  We all want to escape or avoid pain, and many occult powers promise to alleviate that pain. 

Occultism can give us certain powers, but with power always comes responsibility, and we are not always mature enough for that responsibility.  I believe this is one of the reasons we are admonished in God's word against occult practices.  The responsibility of occult power is a burden that God never intended for us to carry.  We were not designed for it. 

Many sins are offshoots of the lust for power.  From disobeying parents to lying, from stealing to murder, countless sins are committed in efforts to preserve or attain power. 

Furthermore, when we are seeking our own power, we are not trusting in God's power.

What a liberating revelation it was for me to finally grasp that God is sovereign over all, that He holds us in His hand, that He is the only one who is all-powerful.

One of the most simultaneously challenging and amazing things to me about becoming a Christian was the idea of relinquishing all power over to God, dying to self and trusting Him to direct my steps.

A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

It's an exhilarating leap into the unknown, but the reward is eternal.  God is capable of carrying the weight of His power.  When we give up that burden and trust Him with it, our yoke becomes light.  And I believe that's the way it was always meant to be.
Image courtesy of [renjith krishnan] /


  1. "The power to attract what you desire - love, money, health, success." It's ironic that this like also describes prosperity gospel preachers. The occult crawling into Christianity.