I find it interesting the when people volunteer themselves to witness the strangenesses of the occult and those who are skilled in such matters, some react with a terror so palpable that the ravens can smell them miles away. We see this reaction clearly in season one of Penny Dreadful when Vanessa usurps madame Kali’s position at the table by accident and is fully possessed and taken by the spirits. We are seeing it burn through Twitter and other social media sites with the Charlie, Charlie challenge and the reactions to that. Fortunately, there are also those whose wonder and curiousity for the strangeness of this world embrace the experience and the people involved joyously.
The simple truth is this, the occult is strange. It is not meant for the masses or the faint of heart. It is both darkness and light and everything in between. It’s usually the everything in between that gets forgotten, especially when secrets that can only be known by the spirits themselves are brought forth and given breath. Maybe that is what is feared at the spirit table: the revelation of secrets buried. Secrets that could rip a person open and lay them out for the carrion feeders of society.
Another truth is this, while practices of the occult do indeed engage in sacred possession: ie. Voudon, Santeria, Feri, certain sects of Heathenry. . . the act of sacred possession is also engaged in Christianity. The “Holy Rollers” would roll down the aisles of the church and speak in tongues as they were possessed by the Holy Spirit. It was practiced and celebrated as a communion with their divine being. Yet, the belief in most other Christian sects only speak in low whispers or panicked hysteria of demonic possession without any acknowledgement that divine possession is even possible. They are so gripped with fear about evil coming into them that they become the evil they fear. This is evident when you Google Christianity+ sacred+ possession that only demonic possession appears and sacred in a whole new category.
So what is it really that causes this reaction? Is it possibly over 2000 years of brainwashing by several dogmatic systems deadlocked in a power struggle for domination? Is it the surface skimming fast paced society we have become where nothing with depth and substance gets a second, third or fourth look, especially if it lingers within? Is it fear of having to face our own issues and having to present a perfect face or we get torn to bloody shreds by our brethren for not being perfect? (please do not mistake a real crime for an error, mistake, misjudgment, etc as included in the not being perfect arena) Is it the cognitive dissonance created when some are confronted with the reality that things are not as they were taught to us in grammar school and church??? What is it?
I think it is simple. These volunteers, these witnesses of the strange and profound are suddenly confronted with an experience that pulls them so far out of their set of teaching and understandings of “how things are” that it is traumatic for them. The spirit speaking may or may not be evil, but the fear experienced by the witnessed is imprinted upon them so deeply that evil and vile are the only words that fit the violent emotions evoked from them. They went in expecting a bit of fun at the hands of a charlatan and came out with a real experience that left their beliefs in tatters and they resent it terribly.
I find it interesting, the hypocrisy, that while demonic possession is so widely touted in the orthodox religious traditions, possession of the sacred and divine is excluded, ignored and even ridiculed as a sham. If demonic possession is so real to them, why is not the sacred? These things make me come to the understanding that these are not religions of life and birth, but shame, fear, and walking death. I think when we are looking at a table full of people about to touch the occult veil, we should remember that we will be seeing witnesses both sacred and profane and steel ourselves for potential lash-back.