Questions and Responses
Doctrinal Commission – International Catholic Charismatic Renewal Services
An occult bond is a hidden demonic influence that hinders or blocks the progress of a person’s spiritual life. This kind of spiritual bondage can occur when a person seeks for supernatural knowledge, protection or power by occult means. For example, common ways of seeking occult power are witchcraft and magic; common ways of seeking occult knowledge are divination and spiritism. Spiritism refers to consulting spirits or the souls of the dead to know or get something. There are many forms of divination, including the use of astrology, tarot cards, palm reading, clairvoyance, and geomancy —all of which can give people false or ensnaring knowledge of people and events.
God strictly forbids such practices in Scripture (Deut 18:10-12), since they represent a refusal to trust him and an attempt to manipulate spiritual forces for one’s own purposes. The Catechism also states clearly that all such practices are gravely sinful, even when they are done for the sake of restoring health (#2117).
The reason that occult involvement is so dangerous is that it can bind and submit the person to evil spirits. These spirits may use a person’s occult involvement to bring about an apparent benefit, only to lead the person into deeper spiritual bondage. For example, a twelve-year-old girl was always sick. Someone gave her an amulet to wear around the neck. The disease disappeared immediately. But the child fell into depression, stopped laughing and attempted suicide. Satan may keep the body in apparent health to send the soul to hell.
Causes of occult bonds
Following are some of the root causes of occult bonds:
Actions that invite demons and encourage spiritual ties, for example, consecration to Satan and blood oaths; initiation in voodoo, esoteric orders of secret societies, the New Age, Freemasonry, or Rosicrucian orders.
-Eastern spiritual and energy practices such as yoga, Tai Chi, feng shui ley lines, mantras, transcendental meditation, Zen, reiki, or opening chakras.
-Consulting soothsayers and following their counsel; seers, witch doctors, astrologers, hypnotists, card readers, shamans, and occult healers.
-Wearing amulets, talismans, zodiac signs, horns, fetishes, charms, jujus, rabbits’ feet, mad stones, zemis, rings or magical objects said to carry energy.
-Participation in séances with turntables, Ouija boards, fortune-telling balls, glass bead games, or role playing.
-Studious reading of books on the occult, on Satanism, and on zodiac horoscopes. -Soul ties or sexual relations with masters of the occult.
-Stubborn attachment to venial and mortal sins.
The effects of occult bonds
An occult bond is spiritually devastating. It weakens faith; it kills the desire to praise God, to proclaim Jesus as Lord and sole mediator, and to pray to the Virgin Mary. It creates anxiety and agitation when a person is in holy places. Obscene thoughts may enter the person’s mind in the presence of the Eucharist. Occult involvement may cause sexual perversions, alcoholism, drug abuse, violence against loved ones, and ultimately, depression and suicidal tendencies. Since these symptoms can have other possible causes, however, only those who are experienced and knowledgeable in deliverance ministry should attempt to discern whether a person has an occult bond.
How to break free?
Release is available through prayer made in the authority of the Name of Jesus Christ. But the person who has been involved in the occult must first make radical choices of conversion. These steps should be followed:
-Acknowledge your occult sins and confess them to the Lord, making use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
-Discard or burn any occult symbols or occult books you possess (see Acts 19:19 and Deut 7:25).
-Renew your baptismal vows to renounce Satan, his works, and all his seductions, specifically renouncing any ways that you have been involved in the occult.
-With the help of someone who is mature and Spirit-filled, say a prayer of deliverance to break the spiritual bondage, exercising your baptismal authority to reject evil spirits in the Name of Jesus.
-Finally, devote yourself to Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus warned that it is not enough to expel evil spirits. “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first” (Matt 12:43-45). If we want to experience complete and lasting freedom, we must let our mind and heart be filled with the Truth that is Jesus Christ. This takes place through frequent reception of the sacraments, daily prayer and Scripture reading, sound formation, and being in relationship with other Catholics with whom we are transparent and accountable.
Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil and set the captives free (1 John 3:8; Luke 4:18). No one is condemned to remain in spiritual bondage if they turn to him in repentance and trust.