Chapter Nine: Visions, Siddhis and the Priesthood of the Magus
Here in the West there are many who feel that the powers of Kundalini Yoga are nothing but rank superstition. I wish to say that those who cherish this idea are totally mistaken. Even the genuine spiritual Masters have examined Kundalini Yoga and found in their own experiences the undeniable authenticity of its hidden occult powers.
In yoga, supernatural powers are called siddhis or siddhi powers. They include paranormal perception, like seeing angels and demons, and the ability to perform miracles like materializing ashes out of nowhere.
In Hindu thought, siddhi mastery—that is, the development of supernatural abilities—is evidence of spiritual progress. However, as we saw in chapter 8, the student of yoga is expected to use his or her power humbly, for loving and selfless purposes.
For siddhi development, the serpent force must first be able to move freely through the chakras. The first step, say yoga teachers, is a kundalini awakening. Then siddhi powers develop
Clairvoyance and clairaudience are considered occult siddhis. They refer to the opening of the so-called third, or spiritual, eye to see into the hidden spirit realm.
So what does this have to do with charismatic experience?
There are differences, but also significant parallels between charismatic and yoga teaching on supernatural powers and gifts. Hindus refer to gift development as “siddhi mastery” and charismatics call it “awakening the prophetic,” but for the most part they are, as we will see, talking about the same things. Many charismatics claim siddhi-like “third eye” powers to see and hear angels. They also claim to read people’s thoughts, discern illnesses and tell the future. And they believe they experience increased love for God through soaking prayer.
Yet another parallel is the need for a spiritual initiation experience. Hindus have the “kundalini awakening,” and charismatics the baptism of the Holy Spirit, or “second blessing.” In the minds of both groups this experience necessarily precedes the development of supernatural, or spiritual, gifts. The second blessing is regarded by charismatics as the initiation into a fully intimate and “anointed” relationship with God, but is eerily akin to a kundalini awakening in that the initiate experiences rapture, speaks in tongues and may emerge with supernatural abilities. Compare the following charismatic (Pentecostal) and yoga teachings:
The reader can see that both the second blessing and the kundalini awakening are believed to initiate the seeker into a mysterious world of occult gift development. Let’s allow yogis and charismatics to speak for themselves in the next few pages, as we consider the special powers and perceptions gained through these experiences.
Spiritual eyes opened
In my charismatic church, one of my favorite pastors told me that as we “grow in the prophetic,” God can “open our spiritual eyes.” This obviously parallels the Hindu view of third eye openings. I discovered that powers of clairvoyance and clairaudience, especially seeing and hearing angels and demons, are very popular on the occult path. A kundalini devotee writes:
The above writer received both paranormal sight and hearing after a shaktipat impartation, and reportedly saw an angel of light.
Well-known charismatic Todd Bentley, who claims to receive frequent visitations from angels, travels widely for “Catch the Fire” events to impart occult visions in shaktipat-type practices. He writes voluminously on the topic, and has posted many articles on the Web. In one such article he writes:
Mr. Bentley visited a church in North Dakota and reportedly imparted paranormal perception to the pastor’s wife. The pastor wrote:
While in a trance Julie both heard and saw angels, demonstrating siddhi-like powers of clairaudience and clairvoyance. Similar occult visions were reported by others at a “Catch the Fire” event in Tucson, Arizona, featuring Gary and Kathi Oates. Mr. and Mrs. Oates are reportedly so advanced in siddhi-like power that “God’s presence invaded the auditoriums each time Gary and Kathi ministered.” Here is the testimony of a young woman who attended this event:
The angelic message in the above testimony sounds biblical and reverent. But consider the occult elements. Enchanted by a presence brought by empowered leaders, unmotivated weeping, paranormal seeing: could it be that this woman really saw and heard an angel from God? Of course not. First, it came as a result of occult practice; that alone is reason enough to reject it. But we see also that this “angel” is not teaching the Jesus of the gospel who comes through the word of truth. It teaches an occult Jesus who comes by invocation and manifest presence, and imparts siddhi-like powers. Next, angels do not awaken our hunger for God; this is the work of the Holy Spirit. And last, Scripture teaches that not only will demons pretend to worship the Lord, they can and will declare His deity, and even proclaim His work of salvation. The demon that Paul cast out of the prophetess in Philippi caused her to announce his mission as God’s servant to declare the way of salvation. Every word she spoke was true. But Paul was not pleased, and clearly discerned the demonic source (see Acts 16:16-18). We must not be fooled by pious appearances.
Another charismatic at the Tucson, Arizona event reported the following:
Note how the writer above refers to the opening of eyes to see more of the angelic realm—a classic third eye opening. What is also interesting about the husband’s experience is how he refers to “his” angel not once, but twice. This is no doubt linked to the concept of finding your own guardian angel.
Angels: a biblical view
Teachings about finding, and even conversing with, your own guardian angel are increasingly common in charismatic circles. But these are occult counterfeits of biblical teaching about protective angels.
While many passages of Scripture indicate that angels are assigned to guide and protect people (Hebrews 1:14 says that angels are ministering spirits who help God’s children), nowhere are we commanded to ask for “spiritual eyes” so we can see them and hear them. This is occult thinking.
Abramelin the Mage, like those at the Tucson church, says angels come with a manifest, loving spiritual presence—and odors, as also reported by the Toronto church and other charismatic congregations:
While angels are mentioned in the Bible over 350 times, only a small number of groups or individuals—fewer than 40 over approximately 1,500 years of biblical history—are reported to have seen them. However, mystics teach that anyone, if they go about it the right way—that is, through the occult—can find their own angel. Thousands of angel sightings have been reported by charismatics and other mystics.
Why are believers looking for angels when our eyes are to be fixed upon Jesus? Why did the young woman in North Dakota say “I want more”? Is this not to set up angels as idols? Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Let no one defraud you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head…” (Colossians 2:18-19).
Seers at will
A newcomer to mysticism usually finds it necessary to enter a trance state before he or she can see angels. However advanced mystics, both pagan and charismatic, claim such ability when not in a trance, even at will. Kundalini practitioner Gail tells us:
Charismatic Kathie Walters claims the same abilities as Gail. She says seeing angels is a normal part of her everyday life, and she believes we should all be conversing with heavenly beings on a regular basis:
But is Kathie’s teaching really Christian? Of course not. It is akin to Hinduism or magic. It has nothing to do with Jesus, or with any form of godly righteousness. Communing at will with angels is an ancient, occult art. Considering again the definitions from chapter 5, we know that occult practice involves seeking supernatural spirits, and seeking the paranormal ability to see or hear them. Encouraging “visitations” and “encounters” with angels definitely falls within this definition. Such practices are those of the nations. They seduced the Israelites, and they are now seducing those who claim to belong to the Christian church.
Divination, prophetic gifts and the priesthood of the Magus
Occult exposure also influences people to pursue secret knowledge, such as knowledge of the future or of people’s hidden thoughts. Charismatics do this under the rubric of “developing the gift of prophecy” and yogis, as we have seen, under “mastering the siddhis.” However, this is nothing more than simple divination. Consider again the definition from chapter 5:
What is divination? Also called soothsaying, magic or seeing, it involves:
Let’s consider the experiences of yoga and charismatic seekers in their own words. Yoga master Jafree (chapter 3) said that after his second samadhi experience:
One guru explains that when kundalini is awakened a person may experience “states of heightened awareness, the emergence of psychic gifts…” Charismatics report similar experiences. In the Alpha tapes, Nicky Gumbel talks about discerning people’s illnesses. Here is what another well-known, charismatic teacher, Rick Joyner, says about increased powers of paranormal perception:
Not only yogis and charismatics, but also other occultists pursue supernatural gifts. This is not surprising, given the influence and leading of occult spirits. French magician Eliphas Levi (chapter 8) understands divination to be but one aspect of magic, and advanced divination to be “the Priesthood of the Magus”:
What is noteworthy about Mr. Levi’s definition is that he identifies divination as exercising divine power and knowing divine things. This is significant, the implication being that people who seek powers of divination are, whether they realize it or not, trying to be like God. Bible readers will recognize this as the primary satanic temptation (Genesis 3).
A further belief shared by yogis and charismatics has to do with how we are sanctified unto holiness, or how we attain spiritual purity. Both rely on occult presence or power, believing they are literally “washed,” purified and made holy by the power or influence of occult spirit. Practitioners see their role as largely passive; once they connect with a manifest spirit they simply lie back and submit to a sort of mystic “bath” or occult “fire” which is supposed to take away all their sins and impurities. Let us look at the yogic view:
This writer expresses the view that after mystic cleansing a person magically develops a “higher consciousness.” The kundalini power is seen as having a purifying effect by directly touching and cleansing. This is clearly occult. Disturbingly, charismatics express similar views. Consider the following testimony from “Bill,” who believes that only after mystic cleansing is he ready to “enter the inner chamber” and be closer to God:
While under the influence of a manifest spirit, Bill had a powerful, apparently holy experience. He felt moved to reverence for “God.” I accept what he says about his feelings. But, he also gained the impression that he needed a mystic cleansing before God would speak to him, before he could come close to God. Is this what Scripture teaches? Not at all. This is occult thinking. This is what Satan wants us to think, and this is how he draws unsuspecting seekers repeatedly back to occult worship.
Biblical teaching has not changed in two thousand years; it is faith and faith alone that opens the curtains to the Holy of Holies, the place where the spirit of man can meet with the Spirit of God. Sanctification is very real and very important, but it is not what ushers us into His presence. We come as we are, the only requirement being that we turn and believe. An old hymn expresses this very well: “Just as I am He will receive, because His promise I believe”. In fact, the time of conversion—when sanctification scarecely begun—is for many believers an exquisite experience of intimacy with the Father. But Bill, and countless others like him, have been led to seek repeated occult communion with demonic spirits, thinking that this is how they can be made clean. How satanic it is.
Splashing, surging, flushing and purging
Let’s examine more samples of occult thinking about spiritual “cleansing.” In the next quotation a Reiki instructor advertises a course on the cleansing power of kundalini “fire”:
This instructor says we need kundalini “fire” flowing through opened chakras to cleanse and enlighten the soul. What do charismatics say? Let’s look at the teaching of Carol C., who echoes this idea, except in her view the cleansing comes with “hurricane strength”:
Similar occult ideas abound in charismatic thought, worship and practice. Sometimes, during prayer, charismatics pretend they are “splashing” water from a spiritual “river” onto a person, supposedly assisting the cleansing process. A line in a charismatic song says,“Into the river I will wade, there my sins are washed away.” This is an occult perversion of biblical teaching on the blood of Jesus.
Another occult concept is “purging”—like washing, but a more violent application of occult power upon the soul. Mysteria, the yoga teacher, says purging by kundalini can be painful. Devotees sometimes vomit, supposedly part of the process. But we saw in chapter 3 that charismatics also vomit as a result of their practices. Some also believe this is part of a spiritual cleansing process. For example:
Charismatic Pat C. has fallen completely for the occult idea of spiritual “purging.” She prophesied as follows:
Charismatics also speak about “applying” the Holy Spirit directly to the heart as if it was ointment. In the following teaching from Carol Arnott at Toronto Airport Church, Christians are urged to be open to occult “doses” of sanctification:
Mrs. Arnott believes that the penetration of a manifest spirit into her heart will make her like Jesus, which is typical occult thinking. The demonic teaching is that the action of the spirit upon mind, body, heart or soul will magically change a person, preparing him or her for intimacy with God without any other effort. This terrible error turns biblical teaching on its face, as victims are lured into a satanic trap.
The believer’s part in true sanctification is to practice the ways of true Christianity. If we do our part, God will do His. Our Lord said to His disciples even before they received the Holy Spirit that they were already clean because of the words He had spoken to them. He said, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean…” (John 13:10).
Regular reading of Scripture, remembering to search our hearts for sin, confession and obedience—these are the practices that keep us in truth and near to God. The Bible says we are washed by the Word and by mortification of sin. The apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Peter taught that we purify ourselves by obeying the truth (see I Peter 1:22). Biblical teaching has to do with staying in truth by doing (obedience), not by receiving (opening to occult spirit).
Another belief shared by charismatics and yogis is that submission to spiritual power, especially during trance states, brings healing. The emphasis is usually upon emotional and spiritual healing. Following is a yoga teaching:
Charismatics believe the Holy Spirit applies healing power during soaking. For example:
Following are lyrics from a charismatic song that could have been written by any mystic, where the Holy Spirit is depicted as a river that brings healing:
Compare this yoga poem, which describes melting in waves of joy and feeling “lifted”:
The next charismatic testimony reveals the occult idea that the Holy Spirit heals by washing away problems, pain and burdens:
All these practices are occult because they rely upon the presence, action and influence of supernatural power.
Both yogis and charismatics believe there can be emotional “blockages” in the inner person which prevent growth and must be cleared away by occult power, in the same way we might clear a clogged drainpipe. This is similar to the concept of purging, except it focuses specifically on healing “memories” or “old wounds.”
I will draw again on my discussions with Mysteria, the yoga teacher. She stressed to me that “inner clearing of emotional blockages happens not in our minds, but in our being.” We must turn our thinking off, she says, and let kundalini have its way. The serpent force can then rise up and through chakra centres to “heal wounds and erroneous beliefs.” But this process can supposedly be prevented by a blockage, such as a “painful memory.” If there is such a blockage, Mysteria explained, kundalini fire “deals with the problem, brings emotional healing, and then progresses to the next chakra.” This magical process is believed to free the yoga student from bondage to past hurts and repressed memories.
To my surprise, Mysteria went on to explain Hindu teachings that sound very like those of John and Paula Sandford (of Elijah House Ministries) and other charismatics in counseling ministries, namely the concept of “healing memories.” These teachers all believe that painful memories can be retrieved from the subconscious mind (or “the tissues” as Mysteria put it) so they can be “dealt with”—kind of like antibiotics deal with bacteria. Mysteria credits this “healing of memories” to the power of kundalini. Charismatics credit the “healing power of Jesus.”
However, it soon dawned on me that the whole idea is blatantly occult; occult and magic. Considering again the definitions from chapter 5, we know that occult practice involves seeking supernatural power, presence, influence or action. Magic, or wizardry, is particularly concerned with harnessing or invoking (calling down) supernatural power to work miracles and healing. Here, Elijah House and yoga teachers invoke the presence of supernaturnal spirit or power to act on human flesh.
When Christians call for a supernatural spirit to act upon the heart, they have crossed the line into occultism. In the case of healing memories, practitioners are seeking the action or influence of supernatural power for a magic healing of emotions. This is what wizards do, not true followers of Christ.
Mysteria says that as the serpent force of kundalini progresses up through the chakras, dealing along the way with a person’s memories and emotional wounds, it arrives at the heart where it supposedly does a most important work, that of opening it to occult love. This is sometimes referred to as a “heart orgasm,” and is believed to develop the individual’s capacity for love and compassion. But Mysteria’s thinking is startlingly similar to charismatic thinking. For example, John White writes about how the “Holy Spirit” opened a man’s heart:
This heart opening is an occult counterfeit of the real thing, which occurs when the Holy Spirit opens a person’s heart to receive the Word of God (see Acts 16:14). Consider also the following charismatic testimonies:
In the above quotations we see many mystic components, including uncovering memories, healing emotions and the magical working of power “into the heart.”
Healing is a good thing. But is the current preoccupation with emotional healing really biblical?
As to the hurts and damage suffered by the “old man”or the “old woman”—the people we were before we came to Christ—Scripture teaches that we must consider that person dead, crucified with Jesus. Trying to patch the old heart is like trying to patch old wineskins with new leather; it doesn’t work. God has given us a new heart and a new spirit: this we must seek to develop by the knowledge of God, obedience and prayer. Throw out your “Christian psychology” books and turn to the Word—there is wine to warm your soul!
Our old self is no longer useful. We must simply let go of our preoccupation with former things. Indeed, Scriptures are more forceful than that, saying we must put to death that old self, with all its vain preoccupations and ungodly pursuits; then God can and will raise us up in new life His way. So let us look forward, not backward. We must live God’s way, putting on the new man or the new woman, so the old can pass away. In so doing, I promise you will be overjoyed to find that painful memories and lingering resentments simply lose their power. This indeed is freedom, and healing, and new life! It is not painful. It does not require hours of time lost to mystic pursuits or introspection or digging around in the past to “discover” repressed memories.
It is natural for humans to focus on emotional well-being, but this only distracts us. The prevalent teaching of Scripture is that believers are washed, renewed and nourished by truth, and through the Word led to spiritual health and maturity. This, then, is what we really need.
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All endnotes have been removed to avoid linking to occult and charismatic websites. Full references, current when taken, are in the book True to His Ways
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Copyright © 2006 R. Davis
True To His Ways is a publication of Baruch House Publishing