I do not claim to know everything. Below is a post based on what I know and believe to be true, presently. Be aware: just because you speak God's name does not make you Holy. I am the first to admit that just because I am a licensed minister does not make me Holy. It also does not make me not a sinner, nor perfect. As with most things in life actions and beliefs are driven by, first and foremost... INTENTION! You can lead the most profound, compassionate life and the most heinous, filth-filled life while invoking an praising God. Many of us have beared witness to both examples.
Case in point: This poster was brought to my attention last night. The person who posted it, by all accounts and in my experience with this person, is a kind, loving, genuine human being. Upon sharing this, the person stated they meant no disrespect and apologized for any misunderstandings. That took a lot and speaks well to their character. However, they are not the first to post it. I have family who have posted it in the past, as well. Upon further thought,
I felt compelled to offer insight about this poster. These are my personal and, perhaps, professional opinions. The poster, in and of itself is comical, really. It is just a poster. It was said to me once about the value of intention, "I can open a can of soup and invite Satan in to swim among my oyster crackers with the intention of pursuing evil and acting out accordingly. Doing so does not make soup evil. My actions might."
These are symbols and practices. People and their intentions and/or people and their misguided judgments make these practices evil -- and on the flip side, people can set the intentions for the betterment of self and all and use these practices for the best possible outcomes.
There are quite a few practices on here, which are quite healing and widely used in the wellness/complementary care field. While I have met people during my 48 years who designate themselves as witches, I, myself am not a witch, nor do I practice witchcraft. Of those I have met who state they are witches, none I have ever met are evil. In fact, it is safe to say, one of my closest friends is a witch. It should be noted many of these practices are not witchcraft. I do not claim know everything, but I know this centuries-old rhetoric is misleading and incorrect. While some of these practices may be tied to or used in the different cultures; cultures you or I may not practice nor understand, does not make them witchcraft.
Yoga: Classical yoga was developed more than 5,000 years ago and is practiced to bring one closer to embrace enlightenment. Largely aligned with Hinduism and Buddhism, not Wiccan or witchcraft, itvis practiced by many people of many different cultures and religions, as well as outside of any deep religious movement. In a post-modern yoga society, and in a wellness context, yoga is a discipline which can be used by the practitioner to learn to control their own thoughts (through meditation practices) and their bodies by increasing muscle strength, tone and flexibility.
Chakras: Sadly, bc of the title of the book: Serpent Power, by Arthur Avalon, my experience is people are misled by what chakras are before even opening the book. Our bodies are like road maps. Chakras are energy meridians on this map. I could educate on the positives and negatives of opening, cleansing and restoring chakra functions, but it is a lot to process. One of my Christian leadership friends likens the Holy Trinity as the three main etho-chakras of Highest Divinity. With or without the practice of understanding and using chakra energy, we can feel positive and negative energy. You just "know" at your core when something doesn't "feel" right. Our bodies, minds and spirits record these feelings. And much like many of us have done in our homes lately, purging these energies is often necessary for people in order to feel well.
Kundalini: Having just done extensive research for my book: "Haven Hypnosis: Meditation Guide", Kundalini is a yoga/meditation practice used to strengthen your nervous system and quiet your mind, boost self-confidence and actually used (though not called kundalini) in mainstream Christian cultures, as well. I believe the closest relation I experienced was when I was a practitiner in Catholicism and learned of a term called Incendium Amoris, which means fire of divine love. This practice can bring you closer to the Divine presence of God. It may seem frightening, as when Moses experienced this with the burning bush. However, this type of spirit is precisely the same as experienced in Kundalini - experiencing a love which is giving, tolerant and sacrificing. It is said that, to make sacred is to sacrifice your egoic needs to the Higher self and your Divinity. We often think of sacrifice as giving up something. True sacrifice involves no suffering. In fact, sacrifice is meant to bring you great joy and bliss. Mother Mary is the epitome of this type of spirit in her sacrifice to bring about the life of Christ. However, because of the serpent symbolism of the Kundalini, people refuse to dig deeper and stop at serpent energy and deem it unholy. Kundalini is your life force energy. It's believed that in those who are unawakened, their energy remains coiled at the base of their spine, like a serpent. For those who have an awakening event and become conscious, the energy spirals upward, toward the Divine.
Hypnotism: Again, a host of benefits, all of which you know I could go even further in depth than I have thus far. These benefits include, but are not limited to: help people overcome phobias, fears, and anxiety, help people sleep better, relieve stress, deal with grief, promote cellular healing, pain management, overcome addictions, etc.
Rosary Beads: Used in prayer. According to the Catholic Exchange: "The rosary has had a long history and gone through many stages of development. The use of prayer beads actually precedes the time of Christ. Hindus used them to help keep track of prayers said throughout the day. In the Christian tradition, early monastic orders would pray the 150 psalms daily. At first they would use 150 pebbles in a small pouch in order to keep track."
Dream Catchers: The Chippewa Indians believe that night is full of both good and bad dreams. Dream catchers are hung above the place where you sleep it moves freely in the night air and catches the dreams as they drift by, as a symbol to allow for peace-filled sleep. Symbolism, such as this, is scattered throughout Christianity. The dove, for example, is a symbol of peace. It is said, in Matthew 3:16, the Holy Spirit appeared to Jesus as a dove. According to First Nations Monday, the dream catcher has a deeper meaning than just warding off dream states : "The dream catcher, as a whole, represents the Creator’s heart for salvation. The feathers represent the Trinity. The circle represents Creator, the Father."
Spirit Guides: As a trained Reiki practitioner, I am aware -- Spirit, though it can, depending on the invocation, does not ALWAYS imply evil spirit. Is not our Lord and Savior the HIGHEST spirit guide?
Though people often use the terms interchangeably, spirit guides and angels are not the same. Like spirit guides, angels are available for guidance and protection, and embody unconditional love, and wisdom. Angels have a hierarchy in purpose.
I know God bestowed upon me the abilities to lay hands and help mend. I knew this from an early age but did not accept it until recently. Though my family's religion long practiced the laying of hands and invited the spirit of the Lord to present and heal, somehow my practice was deemed unholy, though i practiced as they practiced-- for the betterment of all involved. I still practice this way. If you knew my heart you couldn't truly make that statement. I am lead by the Divine to help to the highest good, for the betterment of all involved. I can tell you and some clients can attest to God's spiritual presence in my office.
Several archangels—such as Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, govern different areas of life. Archangel Michael is the angel most called upon for protection and guidance; Raphael is called in more frequently for healing. When I was baptized Catholic, as an adult, I was given a gift which included the Roman Catholic prayer: Angel of God, which serves as a reminder of God's love, by enjoining the guardian angel to support me.
I have called upon God personally and for my clients, to help protect and heal. God sends us spirit guides and angels. We are each other's angels right here, right now. Many are proving that these days. Sadly, some are choosing selfishly.
Though not listed here, meditation is sometimes looked upon with similar, misrepresented rhetoric and ideology. Yet, in many Christian religions, prayer and centering prayer is practiced - both of which are meditative rituals.
Educate yourself and yes protect yourself from anything that feels wrong to you. Just because you may feel these practices are not for you does not mean they are not beneficial to some, nor does make it evil. Just as I sure, though given facts here, one might try to argue that my saying it is not evil does not make it not evil. Yes, evil exists. It can exist inside and outside these practices. Many people have done heinous things in the name of God.
I am not typing this long post to change your mind. That is up to you. I am writing this to stand firm on who I am. For far too long I allowed people to make blanket statements about who they thought I was/am, or who they believe my friends and colleagues to be. And this allowed me to believe for too many years I was nothing because I didn't match their expectations or acceptance.
I won't stop. I AM in and of Christ. Ordained and licensed to serve in accordance. I will not teach others these things are of the occult, because you're wrong. If you knew heart and what I am about, you'd understand.
Thanks be to God for the healing gifts bestowed to me. May God bless you, always. Be well. <3