This section is on Demons and Possession. This is a subject that concerns some ULC Ministers, as you may be called upon to assist in the removal of demons, it's good to understand them and how it works. We have other minister training sections listed below.
The wonderful thing about Demons is that they exist in all cultures, in all times. Somewhat like the cockroach, they’ve been around long before the dinosaur. Even nuclear war will not wipe them out.
Marriage Laws: In this section, there is a video that describes all the laws in the various states about which ones require a letter of good standing and credential and which don't. There's also a list, so you'll know the legalities of performing a wedding in the various states.
The Marriage Ceremony: In here, I'd like to talk with you about being a wedding minister. How do you set yourself up? What do you do at a consultation? What do you wear? What happens during the processional? All of these things are covered, along with a lot more, like processional examples, which is a common question from couples.
The Funeral: Many ministers are intimidated when it comes to funerals. This article will help take out the mystery and let your confidence shine through. You'll learn a lot about funerals and how to conduct them in a professional manner.
Wiccan Training Pages: This section has a number of different articles written about Wicca. If you've ever been curious about it or it strikes a chord in you and you want to learn more, this is the place to look. Compliments of Lord Starwalker, among others.
Starting Your Own Church: If you are interested in starting your own church, please review these pages and feel free to use the samples to help you in your own quest to start a new church. There are samples of different things you need to file with the state or IRS.
Possession and Demons: This section was written by one of our ULC ministers to share some of his insight on Possession and Demons. There are those who disagree with this concept entirely and those who believe in it whole-heartedly. This is one person's interpretation of the concept.
Coping with Transition Anxiety: If you are asked to help someone make a transition from living independently, to moving to assisted care living, then this article may help address some concerns that will arise. This material can easily overlap into other areas where the information still applies.
10 Commandments: This is a short discourse about the varieties of the 10 commandments that have been debated between the various religions for centuries. It's interesting to understand the differences in the various 10 commandments and it's good for our ministers to have a firm grasp of the different religions.
Being A Minister: This is an insteresting talk about what it means to be a ULC Minister. It's a great way to look at how we deal with other people, what we can do for our communities and how we can best serve ourselves and the other people we come across.
Seven Questions About Being A Minister: To be a minister, consider these seven major questions about what you're doing with your ministry and why you're doing it. This essay may help you focus your ministry needs and goals.
On Demons and Other Things
by R. Dominicus Petrus
One of the most interesting points, if one actually studies
demons, or rather, demon lore, is that, by and large, the ‘gods’
of the people that were conquered became the ‘demons’
of the conquerors. So, it is with the Aryans that drove out
the Dravidians from Northern India, as well as, all the various
kingdoms of the ancient Middle East. Baal, Ishtar, Astarte,
Marduk, etc., etc., ad infinitum, were all, before the advent
of Priesthood in Israel, bonafide, respectable gods.
Even the Israelites themselves made offerings to Azazel, a desert ‘demon.’
In some aboriginal cultures, the recognition of evil spirits is
prevalent. The fact that a coherent science is lacking is the
more to their detriment. Many times the cures to rid the afflicted of demons are far more deadly
than the disease itself and, of course, (they believe) all diseases are caused by
We have many in this very culture who are not unlike those
aborigines. To varying degrees, they believe everything is caused
by demons. Smoking, drinking, dancing, going to movies, as well
as, all physical and emotional maladies. And, if the demon is
not exorcized immediately, then the fault lies with the afflicted.
He or she did not have enough faith.
The Catholic Church has had a long-standing principle in force.
That all natural causes of an affliction be ruled out first.
There are psychiatric and physical illnesses that do mimic some
of the outward symptoms of possession.
Some of the ones that are harder to rule out, but not impossible,
are speaking in a language that the person has no possible way
of coming in contact with and therefore couldn’t know,
especially, ancient, dead languages, like, Hebrew (not so dead,
really), Aramaic, Latin, Summerian, etc. The sudden onset of
Clairaudience, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, etc., with no previous
history of said abilities.
Now, the funny thing about all this is, that all of the last
two paragraphs come from ‘Christian’ ideas about
the Devil, Hell, Soteriology, Eschatology and Teleology.
I think one of the main problems comes from the fact that many
in the religious community see their way as the only way and
that any approach to ‘God’ outside ‘their’
way is from the Devil, be it Humanistic or Theological.
I have seen many people pass through an exorcism. Many people
have had the devil or demon cast out of them for all kinds of
reasons. Of the many that I’ve observed, probably less
than a dozen actually had any kind of spirit dwelling in them,
other than their own, that is.
I’ve personally participated in a few. One of which lasted
several days, most of which I had been left to deal with the
demonic alone. Everyone else ran out of the house. Every few
hours they’d call up on the phone to see if I was still
alive. C’est la vie!
One of the main reasons we are in the midst of a religious
war is because a few idiots think that their view of ‘God’
is the right and only one.
I guess here is where I really part company with many of the
‘religious’ out there.
First, the word ‘demon’ was used in reference to
a tutelary spirit. A tutelary spirit is, well, a mentor, a teacher.
And, just like human teachers, there can be some good and some
bad. I don’t want to get too much into my own opinion
about this and there certainly isn’t enough room in this
article for that anyway.
Anyway, when, let’s say, a follower of Santeria, or
Voodoo, or Candomble (all from the same West African religious
tradition) becomes a caballo and is montado, that is, possessed
by his or her ‘god,’ ‘loa,’ I will not
call that a demon in the Christian sense of the word, as others
would, but rather another manifestation of ‘GOD’
in revelation and NOT the Devil.
If there is any Devil, it is that of religious intolerance.
There is hard, scientific evidence that strongly indicates that
spiritual forces outside of man and outside of his control do
exist. Much of the established scientific community will not
acknowledge the evidence because it would mean turning their
entire world-view inside out. Much the same way that certain
of the religious community refuse to acknowledge Darwin. Evolution
is an established, scientific fact. It’s called a Theory
only because the mechanisms that brought it about are little
understood and, therefore, still must be referred to as theoretical.
The evolutionary evidence is well established and, in the hands
of true scientists irrefutable.
Good or Evil or, in many cases, Neutral, these forces do exist.
They are not understood at all by man. And to pass them off
with a simplistic, pat answer from Religious Answers 101 is
not only a grave mistake, but can be exceedingly dangerous.
It is also why the majority of exorcisms that are performed
never work and can never work and why when many do seem to work,
there is deception afoot.
Here is some additional info from a concerned minister about his experiences with Demons:
Dear Rev. Amy;
Although a contribution was not asked for, I need to donate my 2 cents to the discussion on Demons and Possessions. (And 2 cents is about what its worth)
I get nervous when I see it being mentioned as something of a matter of “normal routine” business.It is anything but that.
I came into the craft of exorcism through the back door.Years ago I hooked up with a Shamballa teacher, who was mainly involved in energy healing to do exorcism work.So, I got a pretty good start in learning what to do and what not to do.The biggest “not to do’, was to take the matter of possession lightly.I learned that first hand by watching my teacher get taken out and I mean taken out by treating by getting cocky in an exorcism.
Nobody, no matter how experienced you think you are you should never think of “going it alone”.But, time and again I have seen people, mainly energy healing practitioners, who just dive in and end up getting themselves and the host beaten to a pulp.Most times, without even realizing what has happened.
You cannot just “remove” an entity.The simple fact is that the host and the entity form a symbiotic relationship. Because, to the host, the entity appears to be filling a need in that person.That is where it gets it influence and its power.Once removed, you have to replace its void with another; positive energy or the person will just end up calling the entity back.Once they call it back, you will never get it out again.Or worse, the entity might attach to you.(Been there, done that, you don’t want to go there and do that.)
That is just one aspect of it, there are many more, which all comes down to saying that exorcism is amult-level, multi-person task, which once started cannot be abandoned.So, any discussion should be annotated with very, very large warning signs and if you have not been specifically trained to do it, don’t even think about doing it yourself.Call for the cavalry.The cavalry, in this case, being the Catholic Church.I overcame growing up Catholic and I have no desire to get involved with the Church again, but in this case, they are the authorities who put together the “De Exorcismis et Supplicationibus Quibusdam” “exorcism manual”.
That’s just my 2 cents worth.
Another point of view below:
Many many years ago I obtained ULC ordination, somewhat as a lark,
although not nearly as flippantly as a lot of folk have. I take
spirituality very seriously, and I've lived it extensively, albeit in
some unusual ways, over the last decade. I've been flirting with the
idea of actually starting my own church off and on over the years, and
it was this that led me back to the ULC website today, just to see what
was offered and the like.
In the course of perusing the website, I found the Ministerial Training Center information, and wound up reading the bits on Possession and Demons. This is a subject matter in which I've accumulated a fairly significant amount of experience, and I wanted to share some of my perspective on the matter in hopes you might find it useful in preparing materials for ministerial training on the subject.
Demons.. and I don't like to call them that, because there's such a huge body of superstition and misinformation that's grown up around the term over the ages, are indeed real. They are, simplistically, just spirit entities which have a dark or malevolent aspect. There are tremendous numbers and types of such entities, but it's only the really powerful ones that get called "demon".
While there are a lot of them about, actual full-blown "demonic possession" is extremely rare. The vast majority of the time, it's some form of a psychological condition that is being viewed through the lens of a superstitious or dogmatic background. In such cases, sadly, performance of a "rite of exorcism" will usually indeed help, but not because it's actually getting rid of a malevolent presence. It works by placebo effect.. because the afflicted believes it will.
The sadness of this is that, while the performance actually does bring a temporary relief, it also reinforces the delusion of "possession", and will, long-term, increase the likelihood of further "episodes". Actually healing the individuals thus afflicted is anchored far more in the realm of psychology than metaphysics, and a minister undertaking such an exercise should do everything in their power to promote them receiving proper psychiatric help.
In the past I've used excuses ranging from "the need for professional therapy to undo the damage the "demon" caused to the psyche" to "the need to strengthen the mind and emotional stability to prevent the possibility of something returning" to encourage persons thus afflicted to seek treatment. I never express it in terms of "mental illness", due to the stigma often attached to the term, but rather in terms of "follow up care". It doesn't always work, but it often does, and I've had good results follow for those who have been convinced to seek help.
I don't want to dismiss the actual metaphysical event, however. "Demonic Possession", in the classical sense, is extremely rare, simply because it is practically impossible for an external entity to "possess" an unwilling host.I Almost all cases of actual Possession are symbiotic.. The individual has turned, subconsciously or consciously, to a dark entity to deal with painful trauma or horrible fear. Very rarely do they understand what they're doing, or that the entity is malevolent.. only that it is strong and it promises them strength, or relief, or it is just there to step in when they have surrendered. In my own experience, in most of the "legitimate possession" cases I've personally dealt with, the victim was horribly abused in some fashion as a child. There is always some underlying trauma that provided the "window"... but it's not necessary to know to remove the entity. It should, however, be dealt with as possible in pastoral follow-up care.
While "Demonic Possession" in the fullest sense is rare.. "Demonic Influence" is anything but. There are uncountable numbers of "dark spirit entities" loose, feeding on the fear, doubt, and suffering of humanity. They're parasites, like mosquitoes, and most of the time, just as harmless. But if left unchecked, sometimes these entities can gather up enough energy, growing in strength, to the point where they can become real problems.
One of the trends I've noticed is that more and more entities are not just feeding on people's negative emotions.. they have learned to use this energy to amplify those emotions. I've seen, and personally experienced, them influencing people to overreact to circumstances. Playing up fears, promoting the irrational, deepening despair, etc. Over the years, there have actually been a couple occasions where I caught such entities doing this to myself personally. Emotions coming up out of nowhere, much stronger than I would normally react with, and in response to events that ordinarily would produce a much more muted response, if any at all. Thoughts coming unbidden that did not feel like my own thoughts.
It's not a "Possession", but in such cases, an entity has attached itself to me, or to another, and is influencing the darker side of our emotional responses in order to produce more energy to feed off of. Removing such attachments is a simple matter, any decent cleansing ritual, visualization, or other practice should suffice.
However, this raises up a cautionary need for explanation... because there is a bit of a "gray area" here.
A minister or spiritual practitioner is much more likely to see cases of "advanced influence" than they are "straight-up possession." These influences, if left unchecked, can grow into things that are worse, and stronger. The manipulations can grow very strong, even spreading to others that the person associates with, creating networks of influence and feeding. It is important that a person attempting to "clean" such influence to be mindful of how these can spread, and to have some degree of spiritual perception to take note of these connections.
In terms of "exorcism", or even just the cleansing and driving off of malign entities, the person performing this act needs to be properly prepared. They need to understand what these entities are, how they work, and what rules govern the action they are about to undertake. A great deal of the success or failure of any given attempt depends on this understanding and proper preparation.
The first thing one needs to understand is that "ritual is for the ritualist." Traditions of exorcism, rites, etc.. are designed to produce psychological effects upon the exorcist and the possessed. They facilitate a mind-state that helps promote the needed work. When one is dealing with metaphysics, the spirit world, or any related form, everything consists of two things, Energy and Will. Traditionally, faith and ritual forms help bring up the energy, and help focus the will. That's what rites do, there's no inherent power in them particularly themselves.
The second thing one needs to know is the nature of the Demon. Not the specific demon involved.. but what a "demon" is. It is a soul, a being of energy, just like you or I, but it has given itself over to fear. It has cut itself off from light, from God (in whatever form one conceives), and from love. They are wretched things, for all they can accumulate power, because they are given over to fear, pain, misery, suffering. And they are miserable, they hate their existence and experiences, but they are too afraid to let go of what they have become. They feed on the fear and pain, and the suffering of others seems to be the only thing that eases their misery for a time. I'm sure everyone has seen people who act the same way. These are just more extreme in the degree.
The very existence of the Demon is that of a personified Lie. This is key to understand. Demons are delusional.. the bluff and bluster, the frightening gestures and effects.. are a combination of both bravado.. them trying an act to cover their own fear and weakness, and a bluff, to try to engender fear within the exorcist. Like a scam artist, they promise all sorts of things to try to get their way, but they have nothing real to deliver. Most of the time, what they promise is what one already has, but doesn't realize.
At the center of their existence.. the demon is hollow, empty.. it has no core of love or Spirit to give it strength.. just an empty pit of fear and hunger and pain. They can possess an awful lot of energy, and a fanatical self-delusion, but when push comes to shove, they falter. Understanding this is key to the performance of exorcism.
This is not to say that Demons are not dangerous.. far from it. They can be some of the most dangerous personified threats a spiritual practitioner will ever encounter. But the emphasis of that statement should be on the "can be". They are dangerous to the untrained, the weak of faith or purpose or will, the insecure and the fearful. They will seek to turn your inner weakness against you, to break your resolve. If they do that, they can do real harm.. but if not.. well.. they don't stand a chance.
What an exorcism is, in a nutshell, is a mental wrestling match between the exorcist and the demon. A contest of wills.. the demon's will to remain and wreak as much mischief as possible, versus the exorcist's will that the demon be driven out and cause no further harm. This is why faith has proven to be such a powerful weapon against them. The demon is hollow... it has no faith, not in itself, not in Deity, not in anything. It's a ball of pain and fear, bluff and bravado. It may be fearsome, have a lot of energy.. but it's just a broken, damaged, miserable soul. It has nothing to fall back on when its false bluster fails it.
The qualities needed to be a successful exorcist are few, but important. The first is true faith. Doesn't matter what you have faith *in*.. but that you have a true, honest faith. Faith in Divinity and/or faith in yourself. Faith that the universe does have a right order. You must anchor yourself in that faith, fill yourself with it, and let it empower you. The demon is fear, doubt, lies. It's emptiness cannot stand up to faith, to light, to love.
The second is strength of will. The ability to focus your mind, to put your being and your energy behind your will to resist the demon's attempts to drive you off, and to impose your will upon it that it leave instead. This is where the real contest occurs, between minds. When dealing with metaphysics, everything is will and energy, acting in concert. An exorcism is no different. It is the will and energy of both sides contesting over the conditions allowed in a particular piece of reality.. in this case, whether the victim will remain possessed, or whether they will be free to live and grow and love without suffering such malign influence. Just like any contest, the more strength you can bring to the engagement, the better off you are. It always helps to have good strong teammates to back you up. Isn't strictly necessary if you are prepared and experienced, but it is *always* helpful.
The third is spiritual perception and/or visualization skills. One needs to be able to perceive the adversary in some sense.. to feel it, to sense it, to see it if one's gifts extend to that arena.. but to have some sense of its presence. The visualization is important to give that feeling a form.. something you can focus on to drive it off. The actual "struggle" is one of energy and will, so it doesn't precisely matter how one sees the demon.. just that there is a representation in one's mind of the thing, and that you can visualize the energy and actions of whatever rite you're using having a direct effect upon it. If you see it weaken, if you see it in pain, if you see it being forced out.. you're imposing your will upon the energy of the reality. It'll try to fight back.. just don't let it win, and you've got it. I find it's all about the focus of mind, the strength of will, and the conviction of faith.
It is also helpful that a potential exorcist have a very solid sense of self. Being at peace with yourself, knowing your own merits and being willing to acknowledge your weaknesses without allowing fear or doubt to overwhelm you, these are the traits of someone who will be successful. If you believe yourself to be weak or unworthy, you will have a much harder time fighting the demonic than someone who doesn't. We are all blessed by Divinity, we are all children of Spirit, and if we do the right, we can prevail. To truly know that is spiritual strength.
Earlier I mentioned some "rules" that govern how this sort of thing works. Now, I'm not speaking of "ritual rules", or any sort of arcane lore about "true names" or occult practices.. but basic universal laws that govern the mechanics of the situation. There are not many, but they are important to know.
The first I call "The Law of Primacy". It basically runs "The older the claim, the stronger the claim." This is in regards to authority, who gets to make the decisions about the governance of a particular person, place, or thing. With regards to the human body.. the first "owner" has the greatest claim. Since a body was literally grown specifically for the soul of the person inhabiting it, they have the ultimate authority over what is allowed to be inside them. In every case I've ever encountered of a true, full blown "demonic possession", the person had surrendered their self-sovereignty in some fashion to the entity. It can happen in many ways.. serious pain or trauma, horrible fear, crippling doubt, lies and coercion, ritual abuse.. But at some point, consent had to be given. either actively or passively. It is nigh impossible for any entity, no matter how powerful, to possess a human being who actively claims their own personal sovereignty and refuses to allow it.
A corresponding sort of "sub-law" to the Law of Primacy is what I call "The Rule of Precedence".. This simply states that, in the case of potentially balanced claim, the incarnate have precedence over the dis-incarnate. Basically, this world is for the living.. the people that are actually living here now. You run into this more in the cases of hauntings and the like..
Now, I know this all sounds terribly legalistic.. and it's not something that's applied in any "going to court" sense of the word.. it's just how things work. A spirit may have haunted a property for 300 years, and would have the first claim on it if they had lived there.. but they don't live there now, and the world is for the living. It means that if push comes to shove, the Living do have the ultimate right to the place. In terms of possession, that ultimate right means a lot. Not only does the victim have Primacy, but also Precedence.. and if they want the entity gone, but are untrained, unsure, fearful, or weakened/incapable... they can invest the exorcist with proxy authority to act on their behalf. While not strictly necessary, it can actually help rather a lot. Truth beats Lie, always.
The final rule is "When you fear a thing, you give it power over you." This really applies to all aspects of life, but doubly so when one is attempting to confront the demonic. It's why understanding and faith is essential.. they resist fear. If you are afraid of the demon, you give it an advantage. Respect the creature for what it is.. a dark, damaged, malicious thing which can be dangerous.. but don't fear it. That just gives it both power and a window through which it can reach out and possibly harm you.
Lastly, a tip for those who find themselves in this sort of circumstance:
A demon is a seriously damaged entity. They're caught up in fear, anger, hate, and they're miserable. Well, if you run into a human who possesses these characteristics, they are in serious need of healing, are they not? A demon is the same. They are hurt and very, very damaged. They need healing. But being caught up in fear, such as they are, the prospect of healing terrifies them. It is antithetical to their demonic natures. Acting out of love is inimical to a Demon.. and, if all else fails to drive them off... simply pouring out divine and personal love, healing, care, and blessing, all these positives, and directing them not at the afflicted, but at the Demon itself, will often freak it out and make it so terrified that it flees. It's a useful thing to know. One does not always have to win by direct conflict. ;)
These are just some things I have come to understand over the years of performing exorcisms and generally confronting nasty spirit entities. They don't fall into the context of any particular religion, and they might need some kind of rephrasing or reformatting to fall within ULC guidelines, but they should be compatible with most any religious system, and hopefully may be of some help to ULC ministers who find themselves facing this sort of challenge.
If you can use any of this to help provide more training for ULC ministers, then please, by all means do. If there is anything more I can offer in terms of explanations or experience that might be useful in this area, or any questions you have, please don't hesitate to inquire.
If you have been asked to do a funeral service and are in need of some non-denominational healing words to share, please go the shopping cart and look under 'general ministry needs'. We offer there a complete selection of funeral ceremonies that can be emailed to you right away.
I would suggest the saying the Lord's Prayer, which supremely fits all occasions, or the 23 Psalm, written below:
The Lord is my Shepherd:
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
( Ps 23 )
Or consider a reading:
Even though one short step separates us from this thing called death, when it actually occurs, we discover that death is not what we thought. Death is not the destructive force we feared it to be. Instead, we will discover death to have been conquered already by our Lord who experienced it for Himself, and then came back to tell us that we should not fear death because He had made preparations for us. "Let not your heart be troubled."
( John 14:1 )
"But I would not have you be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."
( 1 Thess. 4:13-15 KJV )
REMEMBER that there is no one way to perform a funeral service. The important aspects are reverence for the moment, continuing the cultural tradition of how we lay to rest our deceased, the call upon God for comfort and peace in this time of sorrow and grief, the reverence of God’s promise of eternal life to those that believe.
The funeral ceremony is for the bereaved more than the deceased. The minister is the professional person entrusted by God to carry forth the rites of the departed into the arms of a loving God.
God, grant us the strength and courage to embrace our Faith so that we may see that all of life is in Your hands. Amen.
Lord, we entrust all our hours to You. In our waking moments and in our sleep, we rest in You. We also entrust our loved ones to You in these moments of ultimate sleep.
Our Father, we need a source of strength and refuge. We need a resting place. For being this kind of help in time of trouble, we offer our thanks. Bless the memory of this dear woman, my mother, and grant us all the peace that comes from trusting in You.
Oh God, I thank You for the light of Your Son and the way that light has shone through the love of mothers.
God, give us the grace to consider the way our lives are being measured. May the life of my mother remind us never to ignore the quality of life at the expense of quantity. We ask our prayer in the name of our Perfect Example.
Our Father, for the promise of eternal life we offer our praise and gratitude. How difficult our lives would be today if we had no hope. But we do have a hope. We are called forth from this moment by the life of our Lord, in whose name we pray.
Hear our prayer, O God, as we lay before You the concerns of our heart. Our hearts feel pain in these moments. Hear our cries, especially those that are deep and silent. You know the sorrow that has befallen us and You are aware of the grief within us. We come to You for healing and strength. Amen.