This has long since been on my mind to write about some of the misconceptions surrounding the occult. I realize that there is no way I could even begin to cover the mass of rediculous and erronous beliefs out there, but in an attempt to clear some stuff up, I invite you to read this article...and enlighten yourselves! Enjoy!
*The spell target has to believe in spells or know about a spell for it to work.
My personal opinion here, and actually the opinion of many people is quite the opposite...all the better your target NOT know about the spell cast upon them - then they won't try to fight the effects of the spell consciously. If you tell someone you cast a bad spell on them...sure, they could "freak out," and sure, it might be funny, but, IMHO, there is actually a better effect when you DO NOT tell them about the spell you cast on them. I can honestly say without a doubt, though, that it is NOT a requirement that the spell target believe in the effect of spellwork or know about the spell cast on them for it to work...not at all. They can be the most skeptical jerk, and the spell will work (hey, I rhymed!)
*Psychicism and the ability to cast spells is something only people who were born with this capability are able to do.
Both psychic ability and spellcasting CAN be talents people are born with, but they are still something which can be learned. Think of both as being in the same sort of catagory as having artistic ability, or musical ability, writing ability, logical thought, public speaking, or being good at algebra...some people ARE naturally gifted in these areas, and some need to practice, practice, study, and practice to succeed at these things. You may never excell at spellcraft, you may never be the BEST psychic...but you can learn, and with practice, you can be come quite competent with use of psychic ability, and become a good spellcaster - same as with art, music, speaking in public, algebra, etc.
*Ghosts and demons only haunt and bother people who believe in that stuff.
Ghosts and demons MAKE believers if need be. Sure, you probably aren't trying to raise the spirits of people killed on or around your property or call up demons if you DO NOT believe, but usually spirits/entities are not intentionally roused in the first place...and they don't really seem to care if they bug you or harm you even if you did not believe in such things.
*Angels are nice spirits of dead people that are winged and love helping human beings.
Oh..my, there was so much wrong with that statement, that it actually was painful to write. Firstly, angelic spirits were NEVER human. Much like demons (who, according to Qabalah would simply be angels who don't answer to God,) Angels are (again according to Judeo-Christian lit,) beings created before human beings, and are in no way human whatsovever. Further, if they are so helpful towards human beings, one might wonder why they destroy towns and smite people with leprosy in the bible. ;)
Angels are non-human beings who tend to have a more positive nature than many demons, and do the bidding of the creator spirit. When properly channelled or invoked they can be incredibly powerful and accomplish great things (think Enochian magic/k,) however, when not properly addressed or called, they may kill you, harm you, or do a myriad of things you would find unpleasant. They are incredibly STRONG entities, and should be treated with great care.
If you would like to learn more about angelic forces, I recommend you read the Lesser Keys of Solomon, and for goodness sake, DO NOT just haphazardly call angels to do your bidding. They've never been human, and several of them are not particularly fond of human beings. You ARE a smelly monkey to them. ;)
*Spells, magic/k, ghosts, demons, and all paranormal phenomena are hooey because major news reporters say so, and they HAVE TO tell the truth.
If you believe the press is telling you the truth ALL of the time, and/or not exaggerating or sensationalizing everything the do report ALL of the time, then you probably would be willing to buy the Brooklyn Bridge off of me as well.
Listen, the press needs to make money and one way is sensationalism...if 1% of people who use asprin die from using asprin, some headline like "Asprin causes tens of thousands of injuries, and thousands of deaths a year!" sure sounds like a big deal, doesn't it? Well, consider this, then... if, let's say, only one million people this year use asprin, and 1% of them get sick or die from it, what is 1% of a million? Ten thousand. BUT 99% of people are safe, so...hmm...if 99 people out of 100 are unaffected in any negative way, that sounds like pretty good odds, eh? Let me continue. Lets say HUNDREDS of children are hospitilized with complications from influenza each year. Well, how many kids do you think are getting the flu this year? In grade school, I think I got the flu about once a year...so...like, millions of children? So that's what...like a 100th of 1% or so? Oh...and I said HOSPITALIZED, not dead or permanently damaged. This "hospitilized" figure might actually include children who just visited a doctor to confirm that the flu which lasted 3+ days is just the vomit-flu or influenza and will go on its own. :S Are getting my point yet?
Now lets take the press and the occult. "I had a Vodou guy cast a spell on me and it didn't work," one says. Okay, you had one person willing to work in something you believed was Vodou to do a spell for you, and his credentials are what? Where did he kanzo? After enough "Discovery" and "History Channel," I have seen a lot of notorious fake-os brought on as "experts." Sure, there were good folks along with the bad in these programs...but it is a lot easier to locate the famed archaelogist for that Egypt expedition (because there are also many highly-regarded archaeologists in this world with degrees and credentials,) than it is to locate a legitimate practioner. Legitimate practioners do not usually lead very public lives, so they are not the easiest person for a newscast to find. When you find a legit person, you need testing standards to prove they are legit, so just one legit one won't do right? Then you need 10+ more LEGITIMATE AND HIGHLY-TRAINED practioners to do a study. Now that you have that, you need at least 100+ LEGITIMATE practioners to gauge the effect...am I getting somewhere? Because some "respected journalist," managed to find some kook to get up on tv and "perform a ritual," once we are all supposed to lose belief in a belief system (or systems,) that have worked for 100's or 1000's of years with witnesses swearing they were effected with no prior knowledge of some one working spells on them. We are supposed to laugh off the existance of a soul, laugh off the belief that there are powers in the mind that are more than basic human perception...we are supposed to laugh it all off because the dude wearing a toupe on your evening news said its bunk.
Don't even get me on ghosties and unexplained phenomena. I've known people who don't have one ounce of belief in the supernatural come to me and say, "I think I must be going crazy, but..." These are not drunk, stoned or high people. These are not people that perscribe to paranormal beliefs. These are DEFINITELY NOT people who would want their issues broadcast on TV.
Did you ever think that news casts call this stuff "bogus," because they have no scientific explanation for it, and can't locate anyone legitimate willing to work for them or speak to them? Did you ever think the "experts" that these people hired are not experts, but that those who did the hiring are so ignorant on the topic, that they couldn't know better? Listen folks, most of the mundane stories you hear on the news are wildly blown out of proprotion and are not true. I invite you to read Forces.org to enlighten yourselves on medical myths...so, um, do you really think someone with a degree in journalism (which involves "hooking" your audience, and exciting them,) can actually knowledgeably report on the occult? Considering I've not yet seen an accurate movie on the occult, considering 90% of the news articles I've read were horrid, biased and simply asinine, and considering I KNOW politicians, actors, and other "famous people," who have used the occult to get ahead, you might want to reconsider your source for believing that something which is listed as not being scientifically quantifiable is something that a lowly reporter with a bachelor's degree can deride in its entirety.
Ever seen that cartoon where there is a wall, and spray-painted on it, is "God is Dead -Nietzsche" and then next to that statement is written, "Nietzsche is dead!! -God" For some reason the press vs. the occult and the paranormal always makes me think of that cartoon. Don't ask me why. ;)
*Belief in the paranormal/occult is simply devil-worship. All things paranormal are from "Satan."
Wow, am I getting some hate mail this week. ;) Okay, the Judeo-Christian trickster god, also known as Satan, is a basically a trickster Christian God, you see, and implies that God (now did you ever READ the Old Testament,) is a benevolent force who will never harm us or do bad, and "Satan," is a malicious force causing us to behave badly. :( Some people believe this, and I am okay with that. Your religious beliefs are all yours. However, throughout the Bible, God creates all sorts of supernatural events, as does Moses, as does Jesus, as do several prophets and people. So...if their power and this other supernatural stuff is ascribed as being from God (directly or being channeled through a human,) would that not imply that the paranormal and supernatural could just as easily come from God as it did from Satan? Food for thought. I am not saying to those of you with belief in Satan that there could not theoretically BE negative Satanic phenomena or something like that...just that in the Bible, God does some really mean things (ever read the book of Job?) and though Satan doesn't have any incredibly winning qualities, certainly, he is not the sole purveyor of unexplainable or supernatural phenomena. I recommend checking with your diety. ;)
Further, not all religions are based on ancient Judaism, which is the father of modern Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. So...if not all religions are based upon or even mildly related to Judaism, how are they worshipping Satan when he is not an influence or even something several cultures would have known of for thousands of years. If your form of worship was not possible for someone to learn 1000, 500, or even 200 years ago due to location, and could not have influenced those indiginous people, can you please explain to me how Satan was being worshipped by those individuals when those people did not know about God in your sense of what God is? Hmm? I have yet to hear a good argument, but you are free to try. :)
Either way, ascribing everything you can't explain as being from Satan is erronous. People do bad things of their own will (free will, its in the Bible,) God does supernatural stuff on his own or through others (its in the Bible, old and new testaments,) and certainly there is just "paranormal" stuff that is only paranormal because science cannot yet explain it. Can't keep giving Satan all the credit...which if he controls everything to do with the paranormal and supernatural, that's a lot of credit for a trickster god you so revile. :(
*Roots and herbs must be plucked at the right time to make a spell work.
Depends. Some religions and some spells outwardly mandate this. I guess, if I were to be a perfectionist, I might actually stick to this belief, however, NOT sticking to it has had absolutely NO effect, negative or positive on my rootwork. I use cinnamon I bought from the dollar store. I grab blessed thistle out of a field when it makes its yearly appearance. It works as well as stuff I get at the right time or place.
HOWEVER, some spells WILL mandate you did create this or do that in a certain moon cycle, astrological cycle, or season...I recommend erring on the side of caution if you are using an old traditional spell, and just sticking with the directions. It can only help.
*Spells must be cast during the appropriate moon cycle to work.
Euro folk magic/k is very lunar-based, but that is EURO stuff...like Wicca. If you are Wiccan, by all means, stick to this belief! And if you aren't...sure the lunar influence CAN help...but things like Hoodoo are based strongly on SOLAR beliefs as well, meaning, I might have to do somethings at sunrise to get that type of spell to work... the moon's position is not so important. To believe that the moon must be in a certain phase for all types of spells to work is an ethno-centricly ignorant belief. It is perpetrated by the horrible books put out by misinformation-publishers. You can make up your mind and decide whether 100's and 1000's of years of a certain cultures solar-led traditions take a back seat to what the crap they sell at Borders may tell you. I go with the YEARS of tradition over someone who actually publishes Raven SilverWolf's books...don't you?
*Using negative magic/k will make you evil or hurt you.
Using ANYTHING you aren't competent enough to use could hurt you. It won't make you evil, though. ;) Listen, if you take spellworking lightly, it can effect you negatively. It takes focus and proper action. It also takes brains enough NOT to pick a fight with someone who knows more than you do... ie, if you are a magical newbie, don't pick a fight with the Santero down the street, okay? They will get offended and probably could hurt you... But just using negative magic/k will probably not cause you harm or "bad karma" or any other such thing...it could really hurt someone else (your target,) though, so, be prepared.
*Rootwork, Santeria, Palo, Candomble, Obeah Hoodoo, Vodou, etc are all evil and will always come back to harm who you love.
This statement was originally (as best I can figure, because this is the first place I saw it written,) said by an online spellcaster who felt perhaps threatened by someone practicing an ATR religion. I don't know this person's motives in saying it - maybe they believes it, and that is fine. That being said, I have seen NO PROOF of this, and even the oldest rootworkin-est person in the world can show you proof to quite the opposite. The statement is, in fact, quite bigoted (intentionally or no,) and I can assure you that all forms of ATR's are just as benign or malicious in manifestation and practice as is any religio-magic/kal practice. Considering there is a lot of Hoodoo that is Christian in nature, this would also imply that, say, lighting a colored candle while reading a psalm will ultimately cause evil to come to you...hmm...
Listen, if you are afraid of these misunderstood practices, that is fine, and that is up to you...however, most religions and magic/kal practices are scary to people who are poorly acquainted with them. I respect someone's right to reject these practices - even if solely because they are ignorant, but their positive spellworkings will and do bring about LASTING positive results which do not inevitably bite you in the butt.
You have the right to nay-say me there, but if you do, ask yourself why you are saying I am wrong. Do you know the intricate details of how these religions are practiced, HOW these spells are cast? If you do, please contact me and we will discuss why you feel ATR-based beliefs are evil. I really want to know solidly why this misconception is flying about. ;)
These are just a few of the occult-misconceptions out there, and by no means a finite (or even close) list on this topic. I do hope some of this has been enlightening to you all. :)