Friday, July 15, 2016

Facing My Racism: A Testimony of Grace

As a child, I was criticized for having black friends and was called "n - lover." In high school, I won Best of Category at the Indiana State Media fair for a project on the Levi Coffin house, a house that was part of the Underground Railroad that helped slaves to freedom in Canada. After winning my prize, I donated my project to the school library, so other young people could learn about slavery and the Underground Railroad. As an adult, I have had many black friends, not to mention a black boss, a black lawyer, even a black surgeon who delivered my daughter by C-section.

When I wanted a man to have lunch with me and one of my black girlfriends, afterward, this man said to me, "You didn't tell me she was BLACK!" It never occurred to me that I should. I was "color blind," and happy to be so. There have actually been times I have mistaken black people for white and vice-versa. Someone told me once that my color blindness was racism in and of itself. I laughed and said something clever to put the intellectually challenged, "sensitive new age guy" in his place.

Fast-forward to July 2016, just days after Philando Castile was killed. I'm looking at my news feed and I see an article about why it's so hard to talk to white people about racism. Several times, I see this article and blow it off. Of course I don't need to learn anything about that. I've been a HUGE advocate for black people all my life. Finally, something stirs in me a desire to know the truth (if there was any truth I was missing) and I read the article. One article leads to another and before I know it, I feel a layer of hardened scales being lifted from my eyes. I begin to see how racist our culture really is - toward black people in particular, and I begin to face how I've contributed to this culture of racism in so many small but hurtful and destructive ways.

I bring this before God, sorrowful, pained, and broken. How could this be? How could someone as accepting of racial differences as myself - be racist? But now, the biases in myself and the world around me were becoming glaring. I could see it. I could see that God could see it too, and I could see that it broke His heart. Indeed, even my color blindness was saying, "Your blackness isn't important. Let's forget about it," even though, for many, that forgetting is not an option. Internally, I had proudly praised myself for forgetting something that is an unforgettable burden to others. How wrong I was. I could no longer live with that.

God showed me what to do - to educate myself, to listen and learn, and to really open my heart to the personal, daily, harsh reality of many people - a reality that I had been shutting out all my life. The love that began to flood my heart was exhilarating. So, this is what He meant by bearing one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). This is what He meant by bearing your cross (Luke 14:27). Opening to the possibility of being wrong, repenting of that wrongness, picking up however much of that burden you can carry, and carrying it. Funny how the weight of it doesn't seem to weigh me down, but somehow seems to lift me up - lifts my spirit and fills me with indescribable joy.

My prayer is that others - even if only a few - will begin that journey as well. I know how confusing and painful it can be at first, but I have found it to be oh-so worth it to push through and learn how wrong you've been, to face it, to bring it to God, to be relieved of the burden of it, and to be filled with a new, deeper, more genuine kind of love. It's part of what Jesus died for. 

Copyright © 2016 Pennie Reese. All Rights Reserved

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stupid People

I'm going to say something that is likely to step on a lot of people's toes, but it's for the best. 

When I first started interacting with people on social media, I quickly grew impatient with people who didn't know what I knew or didn't understand what I understood, and I began to repeat the popular mantra, "I can't stand stupid people."  It was actually a problem I'd suffered with for many years, but being on social media magnified it.  Stupid people really got on my nerves.

Over time, the Lord began convicting me.  One particular event played into this, and that was the tragedy at guru James Arthur Ray's Sedona retreat.  In this tragedy, a number of people had paid up to $10,000 each for a retreat with the guru, and this retreat ended when three people were literally cooked to death in his sweat lodge, and several others were injured. 

Having been an affiliate promoter in the past for the book and movie, "The Secret," which featured Ray, I had a personal interest in the case and followed it closely.  And as I read the articles and watched the videos, I began to notice a pattern.  People in the comments sections loved to decry the stupidity of the people who had attended this sweat lodge, as well as all those who followed new age teachings.  Sadly, many of the people saying these things were professing Christians.

Having been in the occult for twenty-six years and having known a lot about the people who attended this retreat, I knew that simply was not true.  Not only were the attendees of this retreat highly intelligent, educated professionals, but so were the vast majority of my clients when I practiced as a professional psychic, healer, spiritual counselor, and life coach.  And so were the vast majority of the people I knew in the occult, in general.  Most of them could "out-intellect" any Christian, any day of the week.  I knew this for a fact, and it was one of the things that kept me from Christianity for so many years.

The Lord showed me that not only was it erroneous to presume a person stupid for such things, salvation had absolutely nothing to do with intellect.  Salvation was a gift from God and had nothing to do with me.  Furthermore, I was not stupid when I was in the occult.  I was deceived, and that can happen to anyone.  Anyone.  No one is too smart to be deceived. 

And then God showed me something that hurt even more.  Many times in my life, I had either been called stupid directly or had it implied by people who were looking down on me for not knowing what they knew.  It's probably happened to most of us.  But what God showed me was that every time I looked down at my nose at someone for being stupid, I was really just trying to redeem myself and make myself feel smarter. 

I began to also see that, in this age of information, people everywhere are trying to prove that they have read more and know more than anyone else.  The Internet seems to be everyone's opportunity to "out-intellect" everyone else.  And as I observed, surprisingly, the people who cried "stupid" the loudest were actually the most ignorant ones of all.

Slowly, I began to curb my use of the word stupid.  I still use it from time to time.  I'm not perfect.  But I have learned that most of the time when people are looking down their noses at me or anyone else for being "stupid," it's really about them, not the people they're looking down on.  And the same goes for me, when I do it. 

Yes, sometimes it is frustrating and annoying when someone can't understand what I'm saying, or worse, refuses to accept it.  But I'm not here to be intellectually superior to them.  I'm here to share what I do know - my experiences, my testimony, and the gospel, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest. 

So now, I really try not to use the word stupid or even think that way about people, especially when it comes to spiritual beliefs.  My intellect did not get me my salvation and it didn't rescue me from deception.  Jesus did.  And that wasn't because I just all of a sudden "smartened up."  It was because of His grace, which none of us deserve. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Child Sexual Abuse and the Church


I am a survivor of child sexual abuse.  With my first abuse memory starting at age five, I was sexually abused by eight different perpetrators - a half-brother, two cousins, a stranger on a porch, a Santa Claus, a friend of the family, an adult friend of a girlfriend, and a young man at a party.

At age ten, after reporting and testifying to have one perpetrator sent to prison, I was given court ordered counseling.  This counseling was nothing more than reliving something I much preferred to forget.  I forgave my perpetrators, and after talking about it numerous times to law enforcement and counselors, I was no longer traumatized by the thoughts of it.

As an adult, while seeking help for some relationship problems, I stumbled across some information about how sexual abuse breaks boundaries and how those broken boundaries affect relationships.  It was then that I realized there was a lot more to recovering than just talking about what happened and how it made me feel.

After a significant amount of recovery work and progress, I began working to help others.  I started as a volunteer through the Kempe Center and an organization called WINGS (Women Incested Needing Group Support).  I helped with research and fund-raising, led orientations for new members, and eventually went on to work with women in groups and one-on-one as a new age spiritual counselor, under the title of clergy.  Sexual abuse recovery became one of my areas of expertise and many of my colleagues referred clients to me for work on those issues.

I participated in the "Believe the Children" campaign, which involved selling buttons and bumper stickers at fairs to raise awareness that when children speak of sexual abuse, they should be believed.  I attended the meeting at the Presbyterian church in Denver where Roseanne Arnold first came out with her story of incest.  And I was given the honor of meeting Marilyn Van Derbur Atler, the former Miss America who survived incest and has worked tirelessly to help others.

What I learned from Marilyn was that our greatest weapon against child sexual abuse is talk.  I learned that sexual abuse thrives in silence, and speaking out is like casting a light into a dark room.  It makes it more difficult for perpetrators to do their dirty deeds, and silence perpetuates the problem.

Not too long ago, sexual abuse simply was not spoken about.  It was often said that sexual abuse was not taboo - only speaking about it was.  Now, it's not quite as taboo to speak of it, but it certainly is not acceptable for survivors to admit any actual, lasting harm was caused.  If they do, they are looked down upon as unforgiving people who must have mental health issues.

You would not believe the pressure on survivors to "forgive, forget, and put on a happy face."  Survivors are allowed to talk now, just as long as it's censored.  The old rules of child sexual abuse, "Don't talk, don't trust, and don't feel," still stand.  Don't talk about how it has damaged you.  Don't trust anyone enough to be honest with them about the negative impact it has had on your life.  And don't feel that impact.  Pretend everything is still okay, or risk being labeled mentally ill.

Denial is still rampant - denial of the gravity, the depth, the severity, the permanence, and the complexity of the crime.  Society says, "It's okay.  You're fine.  Brush it off, leave it behind you, and PLEASE, whatever you do, don't TALK about it - or at least don't talk too HONESTLY about it or admit that there was anything destructive about it!  That's your personal, private business."  As if we're the ones who did something unspeakable.  We get lumped in with our perpetrators, all too often.

With help and God's grace, I have learned to say, "It's not my secret to keep.  I did nothing wrong and I have nothing to hide."


After years of listening to countless other people's stories and continuing my own "maintenance" work to stay mentally strong and socially healthy, a deeper picture began to emerge.  I already knew that sexual abuse is not about sex, but about power and control.  Sex is merely the weapon being used to achieve the goal of exerting power and control over another person.

What I began to realize was that there was a spiritual component, to all these stories.  When a perpetrator sexually violates a person, especially a child, the perpetrator is making a spiritual exchange.  He or she is taking all of his or her ugliness, filth, wickedness, darkness, and shame, and injecting it into the victim.  Inversely, the perpetrator is taking all of the victim's beauty, purity, goodness, light, and dignity, and consuming it for himself or herself.  This is one of the biggest reasons victims suffer the shame that they do.  They are walking around with darkness that does not belong to them inside of them.

I also came to realize, after becoming a Christian, that occultism and sexual deviance go hand-in-hand.  Where you find one, you'll find the other following close behind.  Even in cases in which the perpetrators are seemingly Christian, you will find something occultic going on, even if it's only in the person's motives - to use Christianity for spiritual power and to manipulate for personal gain.

I can't help wondering if Jesus had such crimes in mind when He said, "But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."  (Matt. 18:6)  Certainly He would have been appalled by it and would have defended the children.


The aftermath of child sexual abuse lasts a lifetime.  Just because a person isn't bitter and unforgiving or depressed and suicidal doesn't mean their life is not still being affected.  You don't have to be curled up in a fetal position and suffering flashbacks to be suffering harm from sexual abuse.  There are many ways in which sexual abuse can affect a person's life.

As I used to tell women entering WINGS, when someone steals your innocence, they take a part of you.  What would happen if, for instance, someone took your leg?  If you just forgave the perpetrator, decided you were "over" it, and never did anything to address your missing leg, you just might get up every morning and fall on your face.  Socially, emotionally, even spiritually at times, that's what a lot of sexual abuse survivors do every day.  Because society requires them to be quiet about it, they fail to get the help and support they need to "walk" again.

If you lose your leg, forgiving and getting over the trauma of the loss is not all that needs to be done.  You must also learn to live without your leg, and that doesn't just come naturally just because you forgave and got over the trauma.  Sexual abuse is no different.  If a sexual abuse survivor is to be free from the destruction of the abuse, he or she will need to address the problems that sexual abuse causes.

Sexual abuse affects boundaries.  Boundaries are like fences between people, barriers that say "This is where I end and you begin."  Sexual abuse destroys those boundaries.  How that affects each person varies from one person to the next.  Some will develop overly-rigid boundaries, being unwilling to socialize with others or become emotionally intimate in relationships.  Others (and this seems more common in today's society) will develop weak boundaries and overly-heightened tolerance, allowing people to harm them as well as their loved ones, and accepting abusive behavior without even realizing there is anything wrong with it.

I have seen survivors who have been repeatedly violated throughout their lives, in all sorts of ways, at every turn, by parents, friends, spouses, children, employers, co-workers, counselors, clergy, even strangers.  And these women would be the first to turn a blind eye to it.  That's because that's what they spend their formative years doing.  And that's the most damaging thing about it.  A victim often ends up spending so many years saying to themselves, "This is not happening," or, "That's okay," that they end up saying that about everything bad in their lives and the lives of their loved ones, allowing all kinds of evil to go unchecked.

Here are just a few of the lesser-known after-effects of child sexual abuse:

*promiscuity and/or hyper-sensuality
*failure to care for one's body properly or obsession with one's appearance
*compulsive busyness
*exaggerated sense of entitlement
*indiscriminate trust
*inappropriate self-blame for other people's actions
*cognitive problems
*compulsive honesty or compulsive dishonesty
*difficulty tolerating happiness
*insomnia or over-sleeping
*desensitization and inability to detect abusive behavior

And there are many more.  Sexual abuse is also linked to numerous physical illnesses, including gastrointestinal problems, gynecological disorders, headaches, cardiopulmonary symptoms, obesity, arthritis/joint pain, and fibromyalgia.


Child sexual abuse is a crime against humanity and a community problem.  Because of its destructiveness, because the implications for the survivor are lifelong, we all deal with the aftermath of sexual abuse every day, whether we think about it or not.  It is everyone's problem and the solution lies in nearly everyone changing the way they deal with it, and the church should be at the forefront of those changes.

Here are some things you can do:

*Educate yourself.  Learn the truth.  There are too many myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes being perpetuated out there.  And with the free access to information at libraries and on the Internet, there is no excuse for lack of knowledge.

*Don't minimize the impact on the victims.  Do not think that molestation is less severe than rape.  Yes, it is less physically violent, less physically invasive, but innocence gone is innocence gone.  There's no such thing as it being a little bit gone.  That's like being a little bit pregnant.  In all forms of sexual abuse, there is one line that is crossed, and it doesn't matter how far you go, once you've crossed that line.  Once you've crossed it, you've crossed it, and there is no turning back, no "un-knowing" what has become known.

*Don't protect the perpetrators from the consequences of their actions.  Yes, perpetrators need compassion and help, but when our compassion for the perpetrators of such crimes outweighs our compassion for the victims, something is dreadfully wrong.  When this happens, the victims are victimized all over again.  Our hearts need to break for victims of sexual abuse everywhere.  And our hearts are not breaking for them while focusing on their perpetrators.

*Encourage open discussion and accept that the victim/survivor isn't always going to have flowery, inspiring things to say as a result of their experience.  They need to know it's just as acceptable to be angry as it is to be forgiving.  Jesus was forgiving, but His anger at cruelty, injustice, and evil was always a good thing.

*Give children what they need.  They need proper supervision, even when they are with other children.  Up to half of molestation cases each year involve juvenile offenders.  Children also need an environment that fosters open, honest communication and an understanding of the differences between good touch and bad touch.  Make your little corner of the world a "talk-friendly" one.

*Don't engage in victim blaming or victim shaming.  Since sexual abuse is not about sex but rather about power and control, it is never the fault of the victim, no matter how overt the victim has been about his or her sexuality.  Even elderly patients in nursing homes have been sexually abused.  And don't assume that sexually abused people are emotionally unstable or overly-sensitive.  Sometimes their stability, after surviving such unstable experiences, will surprise you.  And desensitization is a much more common problem than over-sensitivity.

*Don't press the survivor to "leave what happened in the past."  When we emphasize that the perpetrator's actions were in the past, we minimize what the victim is still dealing with today.  Whether it was in the past or the present is inconsequential to those whose innocence will never return. Certain things will not remain in the past.  Certain things are permanent.  When a child has had his or her sexual innocence stolen, that is not something that is in the past.  That child still is without that innocence today.  If a person has lost a leg, that is not in the past.  That is permanent.  Even after receiving a prosthetic leg, it will never be a real one and that is reality.  It might become better than a real one, but the need for it will always remain.

*Don't pressure the survivor to forgive, especially if the violation is fresh and the survivor is still coming to terms with it.  A person must come to terms with the reality of a violation before earnestly forgiving.  When denial is as deep as it usually is with sexual abuse, that must be overcome before forgiveness can be genuine.

I pray that this article has helped you.  I pray even more that it will help you help someone else and that we as God's children will make the world a safer, healthier place.  And I pray that the church will become a true sanctuary where innocence is preserved and survivors of sexual abuse can find healing renewal in Jesus.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Spiritual Gateway Drugs

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
  • archetypes
  • Ayurvedic medicine/diet
  • Bach flower remedies
  • belief in karma
  • belly dancing
  • binaural beats
  • bibliomancy
  • bindis
  • breathwork
  • 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
  • Freemasonry
  • ghost hunting or visiting haunted houses
  • good luck charms, amulets, or talismans
  • handwriting analysis
  • homeopathic medicine
  • horoscopes
  • hypnosis
  • iridology
  • Kirlian photography
  • labyrinths
  • mantras
  • 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
  • visualization
  • wishing on stars, eyelashes, or anything else
  • yin and yang
  • yoga

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.

Monday, September 9, 2013

An Open Halloween Letter from an Ex-Pagan

Written Halloween, 2009...

Hi. My name is Pennie De Witt and I'm a recovering occultist. A former slave to Satan. Below are just some of the thoughts that have been pouring through my mind today.

Can I do pagan things if I just don't think of them as pagan?

What if I dance naked around the fire for Jesus instead of for Hecate?

What if I get a new deck of Tarot cards, assign each of them a Bible story, and use them to get closer to God?

Why don't I redeem orgies and abortion for Christ while I'm at it?

For that matter, why don't I just open back up for business as a psychic and dedicate it to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob?

Isn't it okay to do house cleansings with a rattle? Well, how about if I ditch the rattle and just wear the mask? Would it be better if I put a smile on the mask? And how about, while I'm wearing the mask I go reveling with my friends, but only for candy? How about if I just make a Talisman and put a cute, innocent, funny-face on it?

Of course I would never do such things!

It doesn't matter if you change your intentions. If you read the Bible you'll see, as I have, that the one thing that always ticked God off the most was when His people adopted the customs of the pagans. It was an abomination to Him.

He is the same yesterday, today and always. And it still angers Him today when we adopt pagan customs, even if we try to do them "with different intentions," and "redeem them for Christ."

As I sit and watch many of my Christian brothers and sisters posting on Facebook about their Halloween festivities, my heart breaks. I'm frightened for them, for our nation, and for God's people.

You see, I spent 26 years in the occult. I started out with Wicca as an adolescent, and throughout the years moved on to every corner of alternative spirituality that I could find - Shamanism, New Thought, Rosicrucianism, Eastern Mysticism - you name it.

At age 24 I became a professional psychic. I spent fifteen years serving Satan this way. I made a lot of money, got my own radio show and developed a world-wide following. I thought I was on top of the world.

Slowly, my world started falling apart. Before it was over, I was being evicted from my home, and my daughter was writhing on the floor, growling, hissing and clawing at the carpet on a daily basis.

I sought answers. I tried all my techniques. I reached out to others and, eventually, I started praying. I told God that if He didn't give me some answers soon, I was going to kill myself so I could stand before Him and get them myself.

Then one morning I was hiking behind my house, and I noticed something moving next to my shoe. I took a couple steps past it and turned around. It was a rattler, coiled, and ready to strike. I looked around and realized I was alone on that mountain. If I got bitten, I could definitely die.

Suddenly, as I stood frozen in front of that snake, it was like the sky opened up, and I saw the King of the Universe sitting on His throne. And for the first time in my life I feared Him. He was so perfect.

I thought, "I could never measure up to that perfection. No matter how perfect I made myself, I could never come close to that."

His purity was like a clean fire. It would burn me up in an instant. That's when I started thinking, "Maybe those Christians have a good idea with that redemption thing."

So, you know what I did after that? I went home and did the only thing I knew to do. I looked up "snake" in my power animal dictionaries. In dictionary after dictionary, the message rang loud and clear: "Give yourself over to transformation, let the old die so that the new may be reborn, let go, new life, new spiritual path..." It would have been almost spooky if it hadn't been so precious. He met me right where I was, and he spoke to me in MY language. I wouldn't have listened to anything else.

I knew those terms, "reborn," and "new life." I knew those were from the Bible. I wondered if perhaps the Christians could help me, so I went to church and started investigating Christianity. It took several months of reading and studying, seeking answers to my questions and facing my fears.

Finally, as I sat on my bed one night, reading "The Case for Faith" by Lee Strobel, it finally hit me! That twisted, tortured figure on the cross was there out of compassion for ME! Jesus died for ME! God cared about me so much that He came to this planet in human form and did this for ME. He saw me, He knew me, He understood my pain and my suffering. He felt it, and He wanted to carry it for me. My whole life culminated in this one moment, and I could see that it had all happened for a reason, that God had been pursuing me through it all. I mattered.

I curled up in a little ball and just sobbed. I was ready to give it all up to Him and let Him take care of me.

That Sunday, Sept 9th, 2007, I got saved. I admitted I was wrong, that I had disobeyed God. I renounced all my occult practices and was set free.

The following Saturday I burned all my occult books and paraphernalia, and eleven decks of Tarot cards, per Acts 19:19-20.

Sunday, Sept 16, 2007, I was baptized.

A few weeks later, my sister got saved and left prostitution and the porn industry.

I sit here watching some of my loved ones turn away from the occult, and yet I see many others still entrapped - people dying in sweat lodges, for example. And then I see the very people who threw me the lifeline now turning toward what nearly destroyed me.

I don't understand. Is Halloween that important? What is so valuable about costumes and Jack-o-Lanterns and candy that it can't be renounced for this God who loves us so much?

I've read articles in which people say things like, "I'm not going to let Satan take away my fun." What is Satan's "fun" compared to the joy of the Lord? He can have Halloween for all I care! There's no fun for me in celebrating Satan's schemes.

My daughter, who was raised from birth in occultism, doesn't miss it at all. She once said, "I can't wait 'til Halloween so we can NOT celebrate it!"

Halloween is pagan, it's based on witchcraft, and it's part of my old life. All things have been made new for me. I don't even feel I need an alternative. I'm not missing anything. In fact, I plan on spending my evening in prayer for those who are still in slavery to Satan. I am eternally grateful to the Lord for the sacrifice He made, and giving up Halloween is the least I can do. I'm free now! Why bother putting my chains back on for one night, in the name of fun, or tradition, or anything else?

If you have chosen not to celebrate Halloween and would like to find support online for your choice, visit the I Hate Halloween page on Facebook for a fast-growing community of like-minded others.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Ten Misconceptions that Make Occultists Laugh and Why You Should Care

If you want to witness to pagans, witches or other occultists, there are some things you should know.  Because if people don't respect you, they're not going to listen to you.  And pagans will not respect you if you go around spouting off misconceptions as though they're facts. 

Christians already have a reputation among occultists as ignorant and uneducated, and they are greatly annoyed by Christians who speak falsehoods about them. 

If you know a little something about what you're talking about, at least enough to avoid spouting off myths, you're more likely to be heard when sharing the Gospel. 

Here are ten common misconceptions you can learn the truth about so you can be a more effective witness:

1.  The words cult and occult are interchangeable. 

They are not.  Whenever someone accuses an occultist of being "in an occult," if they don't laugh out loud you can be sure they're at least cringing inside. 

The word occult means "secret or hidden knowledge, even though, ironically it's becoming mainstream and not so secret anymore.  It refers to teachings and practices that attempt to bring powers of the supernatural under control.

The word cult refers to a specific spiritual system or group that adheres to a spiritual system.  This is a group of people or the cultic religion they adhere to. 

Some cults are occultic and some are not.  And some occultists are in cults and some are not.  When I was in the occult, I spent some time in a cult, and some time as a solitary practitioner. 

2.  You can identify occultists by the way they dress.

Not all occultists dress in all black or wear lots of gaudy costume jewelry.  When I worked at a psychic line, there were some who wore stereotypical gypsy garb, some who wore pajama pants and some who wore jeans. 

Many occultists look just like everyone else, and some occult professionals wear business attire just like other professionals.

Often they will have at least one jewelry item that identifies their beliefs, but they don't always wear these.  I had a variety of items in my wardrobe.  There were times I sported pentagrams and crescent moons, and other times I donned classic pieces that had no symbolic meaning at all. 

Most occultists dress the same way others do:  for the occasion. 

3.   People in the occult are very gullible and not very intelligent.  At best they are insane.

Ironically, many occultists think the same thing about Christians. 

The truth is that many occultists are highly educated people who exercise critical thinking very well, in many areas of their lives.  Many of them are doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, political leaders, professors, police, fire fighters and computer systems analysts.

It's not lack of intelligence that causes occultists to be deceived.  It's a lack of wisdom.  Wisdom does not come from intelligence.  It comes from a fear of the Lord

4.  All occultists love satan and enjoy being evil. 

You might be surprised how kind, loving and humanitarian many occultists are.  In fact, most of them believe they are serving the Light (usually spelled with a capital L, the way we spell God with a capital G) and do not believe in any kind of devil. 

When they are sinning, like most people, they don't think of it as sin.  When they are doing evil, they believe they are doing good. 

They're not sitting around rubbing their hands together and laughing sinister laughter while they plot how they're going to destroy Christians.  At least most of them aren't.  And most of them do not take pleasure in causing harm to anyone.  In fact, many of them are very much against causing harm to any living being. 

They just believe, mistakenly, that Christians have been misled and they want to disabuse them of their so-called false beliefs.  They really want to make the world a better place.  They've just been deceived about what that means.

5.  Occultists fear crosses and Bibles. 

Actually a lot of them wear crosses, and many of them read the Bible more than the average Christian.  In fact, I quoted it often and even used scripture in some of my pagan/new age articles.  Many occultists love the Bible.  They just interpret the Bible differently and they either don't believe in the whole thing, or they believe in it symbolically.  Some actually use passages from the Bible in incantations.

Contrary to what has been shown in some deliverance videos, most occultists will not scream if you put a Bible on their heads. 

Although, I did know a witch once who screamed "I'm melting" when someone threw holy water on her in a restaurant.  But that was a joke.  She never really melted. 

By the way, holy water isn't really holy, but that's another article.

6.  Witches worship a god named Sam Hain and Halloween is his birthday. 

The word Samhain is pronounced "Sowen," like cow and pen, and means "summer's end."  Sam Hain is not only a mispronunciation but also an urban legend

Halloween, or Samhain, is a celebration that marks the point between autumn equinox and winter solstice, which is in some ways more interesting than a god named Sam Hain, if you understand the significance of the equinoxes and solstices among witches. 

Since much of witchcraft was originally driven by a desire to please the gods so the crops would grow, the course of the sun (which is worshiped by many witches) is very important to them.

7.  All occultists are Wiccans. 
Wiccans are witches, yes, but not all witches or occultists are Wiccans. 

Just as Christianity has many denominations, there are many different traditions of witchcraft.  Aside from Wicca, there are also the Asatru, the Alexandrians, the Gardnerians, Dianics, Romanis, Druids, Teutonics,  Discordians, Georgians, Celtics, Thelemics, Deboreans, and Eclectics, to name a few.  There are also traditions of Qabala, Stregheria, Voodoo, Shamanism, Hermeticism, Santeria, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, and many more. 

If you meet someone who is an occultist, ask the person what tradition he or she follows, rather than automatically referring to Wicca.  It will be appreciated and you are likely to learn something about the person that could help you further in your witnessing.

8.  All witches are meat eaters. 
Actually, vegetarianism and veganism are gaining popularity in a lot of pagan circles.  It is true that they like to eat meat with their hands and get it all over themselves, which is a lot less appealing in real life than in the movies, especially after five days in the woods or the desert. 

But there is a huge movement toward vegetarianism that has been catching on for some time. 

Some of it stems from Hindu teachings which state that animals are our ancestors reincarnated.  Other influences come from the Mother Earth agenda, which is related to indigenous teachings, and says that it's harmful to the earth to eat meat because it consumes too many of our natural resources. 

This is one reason Whole Foods is so full of pagans.

9.  Occultists stay out of churches. 
Occultists of all kinds attend churches.  In fact, that's where they find many of their recruits.  It's quite possible, even likely, that you have at least one occultist in your church.

I knew a Voudon priestess who attended a Baptist church.  I knew Wiccans who attended Methodist churches.  I knew Theosophists who attended Presbyterian and non-denominational churches.  And as an infiltrator, I attended a variety of churches. 

Not all who attend church are doing it to infiltrate.  Some are doing it to socialize, some for the sake of their children, and some actually believe erroneously that Christianity is compatible with their beliefs.  Their beliefs might be okay with Christianity, but Christianity is not okay with their beliefs.  But again, that's another article too.

10.  Occultism is all about symbols and hand signs. 
No, witches are not running around flashing one another back and forth with hand signs, and the symbols they use are not of utmost importance to them. 

Yes, hand signs and symbols are significant to them and are indeed used, not only to communicate certain things but also to perform magick.

But symbols and hand signs are not the bulk of what consumes most occultists.  They use symbols and hand signs, as well as many, many other things.  Study, spell work, worship of deities, self-evolution, global ascension, and healing others are just some of the things that take priority in occultists' lives.

If you learned anything new from this article, you are now a little bit better equipped for witnessing to occultists.  You will gain a tremendous amount of respect for having taken just a few moments to educate yourself. 

Jesus died for occultists too.  The least we can do is be a little less annoying and a little more informed. 

Image courtesy of [Lindsay Polyak] /

Monday, August 12, 2013

Manipulation: The Heart of Witchcraft

You might have heard some Christians say "Manipulation is witchcraft."  Is that true, and where does this idea come from?

When I was nineteen years old, a girl I knew from high school asked to interview me for a college paper.  One of her questions had to do with what I had learned in life that I considered valuable.  At the time I had no compunction about providing an honest answer: 
I valued what I had learned about how to manipulate the world around me to my advantage. 

Of course, what I was referring to at the time was witchcraft, along with other spiritual techniques that could also be classified as such.

When I first became a Christian, along with a whole host of other character defects, I discovered I had a serious manipulation problem.

I have discussed power and control in previous posts.  Manipulation is an offshoot of power and control, a manner in which they are applied.  It is one of the most nefarious because it is so covert and deceptive, it often deceives even the one who is using it into being unable to recognize it.  In fact, most of the time when people are manipulating, they are unaware of it. 

The first definition for the word manipulate on says, "to manage or influence skillfully, especially in an unfair manner."

It seems to me that the key word here is unfair.

I'm sure most of us would agree that managing or influencing skillfully in certain cases is sensible, even wise at times.  It's when it becomes unfair that it goes from managing to manipulating.

Add selfishness to managing and/or influencing and you have manipulation.  Selfishness is never fair.  It's too concerned with self to concern itself with others.

True fairness requires compassion.  The compassion of Jesus.  Only Jesus knows what each person needs in order for true fairness to exist.  What we may deem fair nearly always falls short, and sometimes what we deem unfair is actually right in God's sight.

However much we know or don't know about another person, manipulation insists on getting its own way, regardless of what the other person needs. 

Concerning oneself with others requires a radical ability to take a blind leap into the unknown.  It requires a sacrifice of the self, a dying to the self, and if you want to do it right, it's a death of self that lets Jesus live in us.

Manipulation is an unwillingness to "let go and let God," so to speak.  It utilizes the power of the flesh rather than trusting in God's power.  It seeks ones own glory - or vindication, or absolution, or some other similar benefit for self - before, or rather than, the glory of God.

All the same things could be said of witchcraft as well.  That's because manipulation is the heart of witchcraft.  Even when utilizing of the power of the flesh.  A witch might think of his or her workings as purely spiritual but they always begin with the desires of the self (which is the flesh) never with the desires of God.  After all, God condemns witchcraft in His word. 

As much as some witches would like to claim the ethics of never violating another person's free will, that is exactly what witchcraft does.  It forces, or attempts to force another person to do what he or she would not do otherwise. 

Likewise, that is what manipulation does. 

Manipulation uses the needs of others as leverage for one's own agenda.  It may even pretend to be kind and good, helpful and trustworthy while gaining the upper hand for ulterior motives.

Jezebel is often referenced as a witch.  In 1 Kings 21, she tricked Naboth by setting him on high among the people in order to obtain his property for her husband.  Just as she manipulated her community, so witches manipulate the spirit realm in order to obtain their desires. 

I've heard it said that manipulation is like a dog that's licking your face while urinating on your shoes.  I can tell you this:  every person who ever spiritually deceived me flattered me in the process.

A manipulator has to be the one who makes all the rules, and is only concerned with how he or she benefits from them.  Never mind the risk or cost to another.

Now, does that mean every person who seems to manipulate is a witch?  Not necessarily.  I'm sure almost everyone has manipulated at some time or another.  That doesn't make a person a witch. 

Also, we don't always know every detail of a person's situation, and sometimes people who accuse others of manipulating are doing so out of their own selfishness.  Take for example, the Nazis who tried to shame Corrie ten Boom for lying about hiding Jews during the holocaust.  They weren't exactly being selfless.

Each of us can only look at ourselves and check ourselves against the Word and the Holy Spirit to see whether we are submitting to God's will or being selfish.  One question we can ask ourselves in any given situation is, "Who benefits?"

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.  (Philippians 2:3)

The best way each of us can avoid manipulation is to put others before ourselves.  And that should be easy to do when we put Jesus first.

So, what it comes down to is our heart's allegiance.  Is our heart's allegiance with Jesus or with ourselves? 

When someone is doing witchcraft, this is what's at the core of the matter.  The heart's allegiance is to the self.  Even in many new age teachings, self is revered, sometimes to such an extreme that it's spelled with a capital "S," because the "Self" is "God."

As Christians we know how absurd that is, but when we begin to place self before God, even in the slightest, we are treading on thin ice.  And beneath that ice is the cold reality of witchcraft, just waiting to take us under.

The thesaurus at says that the opposite of manipulate is to leave alone.  If you find you have manipulated a person, or you are tempted to, the best thing you can do is step back and get alone with Jesus. 

Where have you been afraid to trust in Him?  What is it that you're really afraid of?  If you make the Lord your stronghold, you will have nothing to fear. 

We all have our moments of humanness, but the more we seek Him, the more we find Him.  When we are manipulating, whether spiritually or otherwise, we are not seeking Him. 

Our security is in Him.  When we seek Him first He teaches us the compassion that we need to put others before ourselves.  And when we have the compassion of Jesus, manipulation ceases to be a temptation.