Psychics: Seeing and Believing

Throughout our history, the occult has held a misty fascination for the human mind. One no longer has to seek it down dark alleys, however; I was walking through my local mall recently, and was rather taken aback to see the lobby full of small tables set up for consultations with psychics. I stared for a moment at a young blonde woman sitting at one of the tables, in the modest, hospital green shopping centre of our quiet town of retirees, being told her future.

Around the same time, I happened to be taking my lunch break with three other women, two of whom are fresh out of college, the third a generation older (call them Betty, Susan, and Jane) and found myself in the middle of an unexpected conversation. Betty, full of vivacity, was fresh from just such an experience—she had gone to visit a psychic. It had cost her $60 and taken about half an hour. Eager to tell us all about it, she had been totally convinced that the psychic was authentic, and felt elated with the affirmation she had received. The psychic, Betty declared, had known all about her, details of her life that Betty had not indicated or said. For instance, Betty had pulled a tarot card:

“Are you a student? This is a student card.”

“No…”

“Are you taking any classes right now?”

“Well, yes, actually. I am taking a cooking class.”

Enough— Betty’s confidence was won. And understandably, for the human heart longs to be known and understood.

The psychic told Betty that someone owes her an apology. In fact, Betty had recently been dumped, without explanation, by her boyfriend of almost two years. The wound has yet to heal, and an apology would be a welcome thing.

Respecting this past relationship, the psychic told Betty that “the door” was not totally closed; perhaps something may still happen to bring the two together again, but there was no way to guarantee anything. Again, an encouraging thought. That young man had meant a lot to Betty.

At the conclusion of the half hour, the psychic assured Betty that she was on the right path, that she was doing well, and that she could only go forward from here. Betty was thrilled, bolstered, and, though she repeatedly said, “It was so creepy!” she left the psychic feeling affirmed in her identity and purpose.

As the conversation in the lunch room progressed, it became clear to me that the question, “Would you do it?” was circulating around the table. My stomach gave a leap.

Susan, whom I would put in her early fifties, communicated that she had been to a psychic numerous times; it was old hat to her; she gave no details, only generally agreed to the credibility of the experience.

Jane, on the other hand, did not hesitate to say that she would not go to consult a psychic. I was surprised, for the young woman has no religious background. Nevertheless, Jane declared that she would not pay $60 to consult a psychic. “If I was at the mall with friends and it only cost $10, I could probably be persuaded.” Everyone laughed at that. “But isn’t there something evil or demonic about it? I’ve been reading this book….”

Betty and Susan protested that psychics are certainly not evil.

Now Jane looked straight at me and asked, “Would you?”

“No,” I shook my head. Should I explain why? Am I capable of such an explanation? Is there a chance the seed might fall on fertile ground, or would this be a case of throwing pearls after swine? It was a timeless moment. Here, at a round table in a lunch room with fluorescent lighting and no windows, four women of diverse backgrounds are arrayed two against two in a question of ancient interest.

There was a pause in the conversation, and then Jane returned to the subject of her book, explaining that the heroine was pursued by a man with psychic powers which he was using against her for his own evil purposes.

Is there not something wicked about psychics? Why does traditional social law shun the occult? Can we say something is evil, or is it really all relative?

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there are three incisive paragraphs, numbers 2115, 2116, and 2117, under the heading “You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me”, that define the Church’s teaching on divination. One can learn in very short order that, though “God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints” (2115), “[a]ll forms of divination are to be rejected” (2116). The heart of the matter is that to consult a psychic or astrology or tarot cards—“even if this were for the sake of restoring…health” (2017)—is to commit the sin of Adam and Eve once again: It is to grasp for knowledge that gives the promise of power over one’s life, which, in our world, means the freedom of self-determination. We see symptoms of this desire to such incredible extremes—to the extent that people use technology to change their gender, their appearance, and to push death as far away as possible. In Pope Benedict’s book Truth and Tolerance, he states, “Basically, what clearly stands behind the modern era’s radical demand for freedom is the promise: You will be like God” (p 247).

Returning to the lunch room and my three companions, is there something wrong about consulting a psychic?

“Well, I guess it depends on what you believe,” Susan qualified.

Jane wanted something more concrete. She asked me again directly, “What do you think?”

“From what I understand, the reason going to a psychic is wrong, whether the psychic is real or not, is that it shows a lack of faith that a greater Power is taking care of you. It means you are trying to take your life into your own hands, instead of trusting in Providence.”

The Catechism puts it very nicely: “[A] sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future” (2115). When a person with a secular mindset, such as my friend Betty, seeks guidance for her life from a psychic, she is acting on her innate human instinct for religion, though sadly missing the mark. She intuits that there exists a greater authority, but, rather than submitting to it, she strives to put herself in its place by way of knowledge, specifically, knowledge of the future.

The virtue of religion disposes us “to render to God what we as creatures owe him in all justice” (CCC 2095). When this virtue, which is part of our anthropological make-up, is misdirected, it becomes irreligion or superstition, and it puts up blinders and barriers between the soul and God, creature and Creator, child and Father. True religion, on the other hand, binds us closer to God, so that we come to resemble him through the transforming power of love. This is the essential difference between Satan’s lie, “You will be like God,” and Jesus’ affirmation, “I no longer call you servants…but I call you friends” (John 15:15).

The sickly illusions offered by the occult evaporate when they come into contact with the light of hope founded in confident love of God, and faith based in God’s promises. It is not by knowledge of the future that we become like God, it is by grace and inscrutable mercy.

Gemma Myers

By

Gemma L Myers is a graduate of Thomas More College of Liberal Arts. She and her husband live in White Rock, British Columbia.

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  • loretto69

    Good article Gemma, and good for you to have your explanation ready at hand. It’s tough to go against the mainstream – and try to explain why – but it’s necessary. You didn’t say how your friends reacted, though.

  • apprentice

    Divination=pride
    Isn’t pride the first among the capital sins?

  • Chris

    A question, how does divination differ from other methods of predicting the future? Like when I predict a harsh winter based on the width of the brown segment of a wooly bear caterpillar have I committed a sin? I would say not but what’s the difference between predicting the future based on caterpillars or based on what card some one pulls out of a Tarot deck?

  • Magic

    If psychics are real then why don’t they call potential victims and the police prior to the crimes committed? Some people believe psychics offer comfort to families when a tragic event can be closed; such as finding the body of a missing loved one. I can agree that a sense of closure can be healthy and beneficial to a family undergoing heavy mourning and suffering, but would it not be better if the loved one was warned ahead of time and the tragedy prevented altogether?

    Psychics, as Gemma points out, encourage us to put our faith in “things” not from God. It is a false faith. Anything false is not of God and therefore is from … Satan. Consequently, we should be very wary of anything that encourages belief and practice of such things. In the case of the tragic missing person, Satan wins on two points. First, a horrible tragedy occurs. And secondly, the family, the police and even the psychic are told in a very powerful way that faith in things outside of God can be good and can bring about happy results.

    Satan smiles every time a tarot deck is dealt.

    I can confidently speak such things because as a magician and entertainer I study ALL the tricks of the trade. It can be a powerful temptation to direct and to manipulate people using “psychic” tricks … especially in the name of doing good. They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions … Please pray for psychics. Most, I am absolutely sure, do not know what they are doing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/timklugeym Tim Kluge

    Chris, I think Gemma put it succinctly when she said, “From what I understand, the reason going to a psychic is wrong, whether the psychic is real or not, is that it shows a lack of faith that a greater Power is taking care of you. It means you are trying to take your life into your own hands, instead of trusting in Providence.” Looking at caterpillars, I think, is akin to someone with arthritis predicting a change in the weather based on a feeling in their joints. You’re not trying to play God or make plans despite God, you are simply trying to be prepared. I would also say that “reading” a caterpillars fuzz is fundamentally different from a tarot card is that one is from God and the other seeks to replace God.

  • gdallaire1

    Great article. I would add that there are a few TV mediums who are quite popular and whom draw large crowds, like for example John Edward, Sylvia Brown and Lisa Williams, to name but a few. But the most popular of late is Teresa Caputo–the “Long Island Medium” who has been starring for the past two years in a very popular series on TLC network.

    From a Christian perspective, what sets Mrs. Teresa Caputo apart from the others is that she is an “practising” Catholic, which obviously begets a whole variety of questions and concerns. And without a doubt, a large part of her popularity is due to her apparent extraordinary accuracy in the statements that she makes concerning persons that have passed, and circumstances that (allegedly) cannot possibly be known by her, and most everyone apparently comes away from their experience with Teresa with a very positive impression, as Teresa seems to provide much comfort to those who have suffered the loss of a love one. For those interested there is a informative article on the “Mystics of the Church” website concerning Mrs. Caputo and the Catholic position concerning mediums and psychics:
    http://www.mysticsofthechurch.com/2012/11/theresa-caputo-long-island-medium.html

    -Glenn Dallaire
    Connecticut, USA

  • KatiePower

    Great article!

  • Reader

    I think this blurs some distinctions that are worth making. If you read AN EXORCIST TELLS HIS STORY and AN EXORCIST: MORE STORIES by Fr. Gabriele Amorth, you will find he makes a distinction between those who practice divination and those who are “sensitive” by some sort of gift. According to Fr. Amorth, sensitives cannot predict the future and would certainly not (as such) use tarot cards, but they can see things that most of us do not. I have read similar accounts from other exorcists, and Abbot Alois Wiesinger gave an interesting basis for such ideas in his book OCCULT PHENOMENA IN THE LIGHT OF THEOLOGY (ISBN-13: 978-0912141800); basically, he claims that these are the remnants of preternatural gifts given to Adam. I’m not certain I accept all these ideas, but it would be rash to dismiss them out of hand. The term “psychic” unfortunately covers both sensitives and occultists, and is problematic in the same way “star gazer”, which might apply to either an astronomer or an astrologer, is problematic.

    Having said all that, anyone who hangs out a shingle like a mall psychic is pretty surely up to no good. Most are no doubt simply frauds, but dangerous frauds; those who are not are almost certainly occultists, and even more dangerous.

  • bobbyspen

    The difference between the wooly worm and the tarot card reader – the wooly worm is using natural law. Animals can be good indcators of what to expect by their behavior. They grow thicker coats in winter, hibernate, migrate, stampede, etc. Tarot cards…where are they getting the information from, if for fact they are real? The info is not coming from God. By using these means to “rearrange” your life the way you want it, you have lost total faith in God, that God will be there for you during life’s difficult times. The further we can stay away from Satan…the better off we are! Trust me, there ar no tarot cards in heaven! And, I would venture to say, readers or listeners!

  • Gemma Myers

    Thank you for your question, Chris! Mr Kluge made an excellent distinction between the two instances you pose: On the one hand, man submitting to natural law using his God-given reason, and, on the other hand, man predicting the future to gain mastery over nature.

    It may also be helpful to mention the definition of superstition found in the CCC, paragraph 2111, which reads, “Superstition is the deviation of religious feeling….It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary.” Thus, when man uses his observations of nature to predict the tendencies of nature–weather patterns, personality types, etc–he must recognize that he does so because God made the world orderly and exquisitely interwoven, not because of ‘magic’.

  • Gemma Myers

    Thanks so much, loretto69, for taking the time to read my article and respond! And thank you for keeping my companions in mind. The young woman whom I called Jane was struck with what I said. The concept of faith in God’s provident love for his creatures rang true for her, but as soon as she realized the inevitable conclusion that our other two friends had done something ‘wrong’, she retreated into a relativistic comment such as, “It all depends on what you believe….”

  • Gemma Myers

    Thank you, Mr Kluge, for your articulate response to Chris’s question!

  • Gemma Myers

    Thank you, Reader, for making the valuable distinction between a sensitive who has a gift from God and a psychic who practices divination by occult power. In the CCC, paragraph 2115, it clearly states, “God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints.” For instance, Joseph the son of Jacob had a special gift for interpretation of dreams. That gift was clearly a part of God’s plan–not only for Joseph himself, but for the entire nation of Israel. We as Christians should not be afraid when God reveals himself through unusual means–by doing so he shakes us out of our complacency and proves once again that he is God! That being said, we should always be careful to base our faith on the ordinary and not the extraordinary means of grace. Thank you again for your comment and for taking the time to read my article.

  • Johngrace

    1 John 4

    On Denying the Incarnation

    4 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. ”

    Now a true example of 1John4 in action.

    I have told this true experience before but this should never be taken lightly. My friends wife is into tarot reading. On the way to helping him move from an upstate rental house she was playing with the tarot cards. I prayed before hand about going because I knowing of her ” new age” practices. While she was in the back of the car she decides to read me. My eyes are turned up. I declare do not read me. Please! She decides no I am already doing it. Well! I plead the blood of Christ over her. ” I cover the Blood of Christ to make it null and void. ” I did it loud but firm.

    As I am doing this a car is out of control from the ramp on the Ny state Thruway coming right towards us. It goes on the grass then comes toward us. I am calm because of my prayers that morning. The Holy Spirit has me boldly speaking the blood of Christ over the car. It straightens out into the lane finally after swerving.

    My friend’s wife is also into spellcasting. So later under the Holy Spirit ‘s leading I had to confront her at the house.

    He thought it was harmless until I told him she can not repeat the Apostle’s Creed. I challenged her and she could not repeat it. She could not say the long form nicene creed or just directly that Divinity became man1 john4. She says there are many Gods like from an unseen force. She had contortions.

    He flipped his wig. I gave him a exorcism St benedict cloth. She falls down when he takes it out of his wallet. I am not kidding. We are definitely leading and racing to the end.

    Just remember we are in some weird unholy times. Pray more and more for others and guidence. Beware. Do deep beautiful heart felt contrition prayers before you even step out the door. I really believe I would of been dead on the Ny state thruway without God’s daily Guidence.

    Praise Jesus and Hail Mary as the Angel declared!!

  • Johngrace

    Also why not bet at the racetrack. Lol!

  • LizEst

    Great article Gemma. The greatest trick of the devil is to make us believe this kind of stuff is just fun, that it is not real and that he doesn’t exist. These things are all too real. Tarot reading, divination, occult, horoscopes, casting spells, ouija boards, all are an open invitation to the devil. Another good book to consult is “The Rite – The Making of a Modern Exorcist” by Matt Baglio. It’s very clear in this book that all this kind of stuff is nothing to play with.

    Why do people “play” with this kind of thing? They think it’s harmless and fun. They like the thrill of seeing whether or not things can be proved true. They like the rush of an “innocent” scare! They like to believe they have “power” over others. None of this is innocent. If the devil and his tricks were presented to us as something obviously evil, no one (or very few) would approach. But, under this kind of seemingly “innocent” fun, he lures us away from God’s truth and sets up a kingdom of darkness in our hearts. It’s very, very hard to get away from such, once evil has become established in a soul. Ask any exorcist.

    ps. We should never try to tangle with the devil on our own. We are not strong enough to do so. Only God can conquer this kind of evil. Prayer, Mass attendance, frequent reception of the sacraments of penance and Holy Communion, a well-formed conscience, are all helps in this regard. Should someone find themselves, or a family member, enmeshed in a struggle with demons consult a priest and ask for help. If necessary, a priest can refer their case to an exorcist.

  • The Guide

    You can not prevent bad things from happening. The one in life is we are born to die. We psychics can not change that. Plus me correct on something else Spiritualists connect with the other side and they are not pyschics. Not all psychics are mediums. Not all tarot readers are clairvoyant. And we are not here to give you the lottery numbers. We here to help guide and heal. That’s all. spirituallyguideme.com

  • JohnnyVoxx

    The occult is of the devil.

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