Category Archives: Superstitions

Exorcism in Christianity and Catholicism

The United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio is one of the official U.S. seminaries that treats supernatural aspects as real and even have multiple conferences that focus on divine healing. This tends to go against the common upper-middle class American Protestantism belief. Non-Catholics refer to casting out demons as “spiritual warfare and deliverance” and Catholics refer to this act as “Exorcism.”

I was taught that there are invisible and spiritual forces out there that are undetectable by any scientific instruments. It is a general Christian belief that demonic activity occurs regularly and that there is a constant battle against evil. The phenomena has been documented across cultures and across time. There are many biblical mentions of demons and exorcisms. The New Testament even commands believers to battle demons.

I was always taught that the Methodist Church has appointed people to handle deliverance or exorcisms and that they have strict guidelines about determining whether or not an exorcism is actually necessary. My father always remained adamant that the need for an exorcism is actually very rare. For the purpose of this blog post, I want to be clear that this post in based on my personal opinion gathered from information that I was taught. Please feel free to do your own research and come to your own conclusions on the subject.

The Roman Catholic Church is more commonly known for performing exorcisms. Despite what you see in the popular films, it is not done on a regular basis. The guidelines are very strict and each case is investigated thoroughly. It is very rare for an exorcism to be authorized and exorcisms are not considered a Sacrament. Unlike Christians, most Catholics believe that if a priest did not obtain special permission from the bishop, he can still perform a prayer of deliverance but it is not considered to be a full exorcism. It also does not include addressing the evil spirit directly. Therefore it is not recommended for cases of possession. However, in cases of a real possession, priests must never conduct solemn exorcisms without the permission of a bishop. They can only assist in exorcism through prayer and helping the exorcist. The only formal exorcism rites sanctioned by an established church can be found in the Ritual Romanum.

In Christianity, exorcism is better known as “casting out” or “spiritual warfare and deliverance.” It is the practice of casting out demons from someone who has been deemed to be possessed. The person who is performing the “exorcism” or “casting out” is commonly known as the exorcist. The exorcist is usually a minister, a lay person, or an individual who is believed to have special powers or skills. However, it is common for many Christians to believe that any mature Christian can perform an exorcism, not just members of clergy. Most Christians believe that the authority to cast out demons is given to them by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (also known as the Holy Trinity).

My father stressed that before determining that a person is suffering from a spiritual issue, the person should be assessed by a medical doctor to rule out any medical or psychological conditions that may be causing the symptoms they are experiencing It is also important to make sure that the person is not experiencing symptoms caused by medications, alcohol or drugs.

Exorcisms should never be performed on someone who has not been properly examined by a medical doctor first.

After all medical and psychological conditions have been ruled out by a medical doctor, the “possessed person” is not labeled as “evil” or held wholly responsible for their actions. The possessed person is considered to be an unwilling person who is manipulated by a demon. This usually results in harm to self or others and for this reason, exorcism is believed to be a cure instead of a punishment. the Exorcist and their assistants must do everything possible to ensure that proper precautions are taken so that no one (including the possessed individual) is harmed during the exorcism.

The majority of exorcisms usually include at least one or more of the following: prayers, scripture, gestures, symbols, sacred or blessed religious items. God, Jesus and archangels are invoked and asked to intervene during the exorcism. My father also stressed the importance of having at least two spiritually mature adults, preferably clergy or laymen, performing the exorcism.

 

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any agency or religion. Recommendations within this article are only recommendations. They should not be utilized in real-world scenarios unless advised by trained and experienced persons. Assumptions made within the articles are not reflective of all Christians or Catholics or any other religious organizations. The author advises you to exercise your own judgment and to seek out your own answers through research and guidance from experienced and educated leaders. It is the authors’ opinion that there is no such thing as a demonologist and if there is, they did not take an online class to receive this certification. Demonology is not a subject to be taken lightly or without in depth study. The author also recommends that proper education and experience certifications should be requested from individuals claiming to possess such skills. No pun intended.

 

The Duppy and The Jumbee 

In the islands of the Lesser Antilles, ghosts and spirits are called the Jumbee. The Jumbee  are usually regarded as being malevolent and are also called Mendo. They are mythological spirits or demons originating in Caribbean  folklore. It is believed that people who have been evil during their lifetime are also destined to be evil (Jumbee) in death.


While I was visiting the West Indies this past September, I was able to spend time with many of the locals. Of course we discussed spiritual beliefs and I was able to participate in a few spiritual experiences.

The locals explained to me that they use the word Duppy to describe a ghost or spirit. Most of the folklore in the Caribbean involves Duppies. Duppies are generally considered to be malevolent or restless spirits and can be very harmful. They can also be sent to others by using Obeah.

Good Duppies usually appear to you in a dream as a deceased family member or friend and generally give you advice or information.

The general consensus was that Duppies speak in high pitched, nasal voices and may make you feel like your head is expanding.  You also may become unexpectedly hot.
A Duppy can be chased away by eating salt, wearing your clothes inside out, or by cursing and exposing your private parts.
Many of the locals say they have seen them at night. Three of the most malicious spirits that were described to me were: the rolling calf, three footed horse, and the old higue. The Duppy originates in Bantu folklore. A Duppy is described as a manifestation of the soul of a dead person. They can manifest as a human or animal and are generally considered to be malevolent.


In Jamaica, the word Duppy comes from African folklore and the Ashanti people. The locals explained that in Obeah, a person is believed to possess a good soul and an earthly soul. When a person dies, the earthly spirit stays on earth for three days and the good soul goes to heaven to be judged by God.


During the three days after death, the earthly spirit remains with the body in the coffin, it can escape and appear as a duppy if the proper steps are not taken.

By: Cindie Harper

 

Black Cats & Halloween- Safety Watch

It seems as though Western culture has always had a love-hate relationship with cats, especially black ones. Ancient Egyptians revered cats but western culture seems to perpetuate negative superstitions about them. In the Middle Ages, it was a common belief that cats were associated with witchcraft and evil. Many believed that witches could turn themselves into cats. During the witch trials and hunts in the 16th and 17th centuries, thousands of cats were torturously killed along with the humans who cared for them.

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Even though cats are the most popular pet in the United States and other Western countries, they are still at high risk for maltreatment.  As a result of misinformation and inaccurate age old beliefs, some people still use Halloween as an excuse to capture and viciously harm cats, especially black cats. This past weekend, during a trip to Petco, I spoke with a local cat rescue agency representative who informed me that they do not allow the adoption of black cats during the month of October. She explained that the Halloween season seems to trigger violence against cats in general and black cats in particular, so the shelter and pet foster families take extra precautions to decrease the chances of cats being adopted for the purpose of being tortured and abused. Unfortunately, this does not protect cats who are not in their care.

During Halloween season, especially on Halloween night, there are more people outside, increased traffic, and noise which could make the world a very scary and unsafe place for a cat. Please keep this is mind. Our feline friends are counting on their humans to protect them.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Oíche Shamhna Shona Duit (EE-hyeh HOW-nuh HUN-uh ditch)! (Happy Halloween!)

Written by: Cindie Harper

 

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