- For the majority of people, subjects such as angels, magic are just fiction or worse, charlatanry. How would you respond to skeptics?
FvF: That is the case for the modern man in general, though there are exceptions. Essentially, it depends on each person’s experiences and the way that he finds him/herself in the world we live in. We cannot put people in only two categories, of believers and skeptics. We all understand spirituality in our own way, as well as life in general and we understand them also through the experiences that we have lived ourselves.
Some are dogmatic, who follow without asking themselves anything or personally understanding what they follow and believe. Others are, as it is said, atheists, who interpret logically and objectively, but that is not really the best method to study spirituality. Others are spiritual, who seek answers in traditions and in themselves. And there are other categories as well.
Each of us interprets or understands what it has been given to him. And from an esoteric point of view, spiritual experiences take place in someone’s life only at the right moment, at the moment when he is ready for such experiences. In general, the people who see spirituality as being an invention or a charlatanry are people who don’t recognize their own nature. They have spent so much time living a materialistic and mundane way of life that they forgot about their spiritual nature and don’t recognize it anymore.
Once, spirituality and science walked hand in hand, completed each other and to a certain form, they still do. A good example is psychology (which views angels and demons as archetypes) and not only. As you can see, many scientists started to confirm certain religious myths as being real. Every belief and legend was born of a truth, more or less, but in the case of religion they have been too mystified, and the modern man cannot understand them. In fact, the uninitiated man cannot understand them. Esoteric initiation is exactly the key to elucidate these mysteries, like a code breaker.
Personally I cannot condemn a man that has not got the chance to meet or experience a spiritual event. I only condemn those who deny everything from the start, who put barriers in front of them, those who do not seek answers or do not care about them.
In this case, all that I can say to skeptics is to believe what they have seen and experienced. I will never impose my beliefs over someone, because I know that each individual is different and has different experiences. They must not believe what I say, or what Asterion says, or what the Church says, etc. They have to believe only what they experience themselves. There is no supreme truth, we all have our personal truths. Polemics are good only to stimulate our egos and to revise our own beliefs.
Asterion: On the contrary! For example, the names of the archangels Michael and Gabriel (or Mihail and Gavril) are not only among the most popular names of Romanians, but also those most frequently evoked through prayer. Romanians are religions, and the angels and demons are part of the Christian cosmology, which is part of Romanian folklore and tradition.
What could we say about magic? If, in the past every village had an old woman to make spells, now every apartment block has one. From my own experiences I can say that the passion for magic, occultism and esoterism permeates in Romanian society, from the women who go to witches, to educated people interested by the subjects, who collect occult books under the pretext of bibliophilia. Yet in the most part, it is correct to say that currently the spiritual and occult scene is still populated by charlatans.
- How does occultism integrate in the modern world, governed by science?
FvF: Occultism has evolved a lot, but the basics are the same. Science for example, tries to give answers to religious mysteries, but also religion and occultism try to explain science somehow and make connections. Professor Culianu (eng. Couliano) said that “what magic has in common with modern technology is the fact that it pretends to come to the same results, only by different methods”. Occultism in my opinion is also a science, though many people will come and criticize me. After all, even psychology is still considered a pseudoscience by many.
But how does the occultist integrate in the modern world? As good as any person with a job, a family, a social role etc. Don’t imagine that occultists have remained to the stage of Zarathustra, that they only periodically come out in the world only to get back disappointed in their caves. We live and enjoy life to the fullest and we love the modern world. Can you imagine what a relief it is that we are not being put on the Catherine wheel, imprisoned or exiled for the simple fact that we have different interests and beliefs?
Asterion: It integrates perfectly, in my opinion. Occult texts have detected phenomena which they said were perfectly possible and normal, while science was denying them. Like we are now viewing the scientific conceptions from 200 or 300 years ago as being childish, our descendants will view the same the conceptions of today. 200 years ago it was considered that the flight of man, direct communication over long distances, walking on the Moon and the emission of light without fire are magic and witchcraft, and now they are absolutely normal. It is a matter of time until the effects of magical actions as they are known to their practitioners will be given a pertinent scientific answer.
- Is magic good or bad? Can we even apply these categories?
FvF: It depends on who you’re asking. In the case given, you are asking me, and this is my personal opinion. Magic is magic, period. The way that it is used can be good or bad. Just like a knife, if you use it to spread butter on the bread, it is not a dangerous or bad tool, but if you use it to attack someone, then it is of course bad and dangerous.
People have put magic in two categories, of Black or Evil Magic and White or Good Magic. Black magic is for destruction while white magic is for healing. Thus, we are only talking about the methods used, not about magic itself.
Good and Evil are generally human conceptions, they are relative. The Universe and nature aren’t guided by our conceptions of good and evil. There is a natural course of the World which is in a continuous change. In order to build a new house, you need to demolish the first one or what it is on the working site. If someone steals from your market stall, it is bad for you but good for him (at least apparently). Chaos Magicians say that “nothing is true, everything is permitted.”. What is good or bad differs from person to person, but some common sense would actually give an answer to the difference between them.
Magic can be good and bad according to the ways that it is used. Magic cannot be good or bad just like music or chemistry cannot be. When applying chemistry in the process of healing cancer, then it is obviously good, but when applying it to the fabrication of methamphetamine, it is bad. Music can be sublime when it corresponds to our taste and we wish o hear it, but it can be a torture when we don’t like it, when it is too loud or when we want to sleep.
- How do occult sciences influence your lives? What change is being produced at a mental level and in daily life?
FvF: The biggest influence of occultism was over my way of thinking and viewing the world. It is purely a radical change, because you start to think at a different level, a more profound level, more subtle (not necessarily mystical). It often happens that I analyze the events in my life in an esoteric and spiritual way, as I was completing a puzzle. Daily life is not so much affected, only if you permit this to happen.
The majority of occultists are balanced people and we’re quite normal from this point of view. We have jobs or schools, some have families and children and we live our lives and enjoy life as any other persons. But there can be subtle changes in our daily lives, if there are influences of magical or energetic nature. In other words, some events or not just happening, but thought-out and prepared actions, through the agency of magic or meditation. But these are rare cases, only met at hardcore occultists. In general, and I would risk to speak in the name of other occultists, I would say that there is a border between our private lives in which we practice occultism and our social lives. Especially because the majority of occultists don’t practice magic and don’t study occultism in order to solve social life problems – the “famous” spells for love, money etc., but they practice and study for a better understanding of the Interior and Exterior Worlds.
Asterion: For me, magic is as influent as my beliefs and faith. I’m an orthodox Christian, I pray frequently, I try to be a good Christian and I know my religion. In my view as a practitioner of traditional magic, belief and magic are inseparable. Like each ritual begins with a prayer addressed to God, so does breakfast, for example. I wouldn’t draw a line between the magical act and the religious act, so I cannot put religion and magic on competing places. When a Christian says “Our Father” over the food, the magician sees an exorcism. When a Christian lights a candle for the good of someone, the magician sees a benediction. When a Christian wears the sign of the cross, blessed by the priest, a magician sees a talisman. The two are inseparable. I can say that everything I have realized until now are because of God and His gifts, including magic.
- How did you discover the occult sciences? Can everyone practice them? Can they be learned from books, websites, forums or are there schools, masters and disciples?
FvF: I’ve discovered by searching. You know, Matthew 7:7? I can’t remember finding answers out of nowhere, though it is possible that many of them were under my nose yet I haven’t seen them at first. I started by seeking answers to some rather personal questions, which eventually I found in many various sources (internet, books then personal experiences and so on).
Anyone can practice them, of course. That is because everyone is a spiritual being that has access to the spiritual world. What can stop us is only our will. We have free will and we can choose whether we want to practice this or not. But I think the correct question is “can anybody practice them successfully?”. Just like a surgeon, it is a big plus if you have a certain inclination towards this. Not everyone is born a surgeon. Not everyone has the same talent or precision in work. Those who have this “call” are finding it at the right time and they practice it naturally, without hesitation, without problems (yet there still can be certain difficulties, as magic or other occult sciences are not.. well, “exact” sciences). Those who simply want to practice out of curiosity, boredom or any other less serous factor, won’t have much success. Those who try to practice in order to prepare an ultimatum about the authenticity of these practices will have a disappointment.
The occult sciences can be learned from forums, websites, books as well as from masters, they can be learned individually, through experimentation, if there’s a little creativity and passion and of course, a basic understanding of how these practices work.
Asterion: I’ve discovered the occult sciences in childhood, and it was very hard to learn something back then, due to lack of sources. With the access of the internet this had changed, information became more and more available and rich in content.
The occult sciences are diverse, and to ask if anyone can practice them is like asking if anyone can be good at math or science. Some are talented in math, some in arts, some in semiotics, and the same applies to this domain. Theoretically yes, anyone can practice, but not everybody. Because this compatibility with the occult is conditioned only by the will and the aptitudes of each and every one of us, not by race, nationality, sex, social status, profession or IQ.
We no longer need masters of initiators to practice magic and have results. The resources that the past masters had have now become public, and we can find them if we know where to look. It is very useful to have a master who has already gone through the necessary stages and who could help you, but it is also possible without him. Of course, without a master and guide it takes more time, but it’s possible.
This can all be learned from public information, but only if there is a certain tenacity and desire to learn. The majority want to be given every information as ‘served on a plate’, leaving them to apply only a small effort and getting anything they want. When they discover the enormous quantity of work that has to be done they get discouraged and lose their interest (the majority) or continue (few), taking this as a challenge.
- Are there any risks in the practice of occult sciences, for the practitioner, his close ones or society in general?
FvF: As I was saying, it depends on what you are practicing. If you are working with negative energies – demons, you attract negative energies, and this is why it is recommended to do purification and banishing rituals, but they do not practically offer any real assurance that there won’t remain any “stains on you”. If you work with positive energies, you attract positive energy, which also affects your life. Many occultists, especially Satanists, will contradict me here, saying that there are no such risks. I am speaking strictly from my own personal experience, not from books. Every action has an effect. This effect can be felt at an individual level or a social level. Like in the case of a chemist who works with toxic substances. If he is not careful and doesn’t take all the precaution measures, he can pollute both himself and the environment.
Asterion: Absolutely. But as one would believe from sensationalist newspapers, fundamentalist books or conspiracy theories.
The greatest risk is vanity or vainglory: you consider yourself strong, when in fact the source of your power is beyond yourself. Forgetting about God is as dangerous in magic as it is in philosophy, only that in magic you work with practical things. Many seek to exclude God out of the equation, which in my opinion is an error. Man has the power to access his gifts, which can be infinite. But the notion of gift implies another force which must be given this privilege, meaning God. It is the same in any religion and I’m not trying to make the apology of God here.
Another danger is illusion: many are deceived by their own minds, they talk to non-existent angels and demons, which are their own mental echo. This wouldn’t be so important if they wouldn’t act according to that information as if it were from authentic sources. Talking to yourself can be good, but talking to yourself believing you are talking to archangel Michael is wrong.
- Question for FvF: Everyone knows the Faustian legend of selling your soul. Is there any amount of truth in it?
FvF: Yes and no. Yes, but it is different from what it is known. In Satanism and Demonolatry there are rituals of dedication. Much like a pact, but offered with one’s own will as a gesture of trust and gratitude to Satan or the demon. No, there is no truth, because the soul is not a spare part or a coin that can be sold.
- Question for Asterion: Do angels really respond to us?
Asterion: The angels respond to everyone, it is their duty and purpose. It’s only important that we figure it out how and when they do it.
- Question for FvF: Is demonic possession a myth or reality?
FvF: Again, it depends on whom you’re asking, because the answers differ a lot. A catholic priest, a satanist, a hermetist or a psychiatrist will all have difference answers. My personal opinion is quite different from the rest. I see spirits more like energies, so in this case I can only say that a person is “possessed” by a negative energy, such as anger, depression, etc. but I couldn’t say that there are people possessed by demonic entities. I’ve never seen a demoniac, I was never possessed and history, science and logic are telling me that this is rather a myth.
Historically speaking, there are many legends and stories from the ancient arabic traditions to the European medieval era, which mainly go into something far beyond reality and more into imagination.
Scientifically it has already been proven that most people suffer from mental illnesses such as demonomania or Dissociative Identity Disorder and others such as hysteria, mania, psychosis, schizophrenia, epilepsy and even Tourette Syndrome. All of these psychological disorders have been mistakenly considered demonic possessions by religious people because their effects resemble the classic symptoms of demonic possession. Some of these symptoms were established by the Catholic Church as part of demonic possession (contortions, unnatural body movements and abnormal physical efforts, spitting and vomiting, hearing voices, insults, curses and blasphemies) but they are also or actually symptoms and signs of Schizophrenia (hallucinations and hearing voices, paranoia and violent behavior), Epilepsy (convulsions), Tourette Syndrome (involuntary movements and vocal outbursts) and thus, are many times mistaken as being signs of demonic possession. They are, however, some rare symptoms which have no explanation from anyone, including myself. I’m referring to speaking in tongues (glossolalia; languages unknown to the person), ppearance of wounds that vanish as quickly as they appear, which have nothing to do with any mental illness. These symptoms however, are rare. Demonic Possession has been always linked to illnesses. Even though, in the past, people used to believe that everything bad comes from the demons. The one who suffered from insanity, illness, disease, disability or even evil people, were said to be possessed of touched by demons. In ancient Egyptian, Sumerian and Babylonian cultures, illnesses were always attributed to Demons . This is also stated in the Bible, when Jesus healed ill people and exorcised Demons from them (for example, he healed a mute and a blind man).
And logically speaking, if we are considering that the demons are far stronger and intelligent beings, do we really think they waste their time possessing little girls for not believing in God?
- Question for Asterion: Is the world too religiously divided? Does God have different faces or a single one?
Asterion: Not more than it is linguistically divided. God is beyond definition and understanding, that is why He has so many names. When you consider you have understood God and have seen Him, you have understood or seen something else, but not God. Trying to define God with a single form is like trying to gather an ocean in a single drop.
- Why do you believe there was and still is so much blood spilt in the name of religion?
Asterion: Because man wants to have power over another man, and many times, power is consolidated with examples of discipline. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right of a king to rule or the right of a certain cult to practice religiously, if human vainglory and the will to conquer intervene, there will always be bloodshed.
Religions don’t have anything in common with the blood spilling done by humans who use religion as a shield. If somebody kills a human in your name, are you guilty of his act?
- If we are protected by good spirits, why is there so much evil in this world?
Asterion: Spirits can be as good as they can be, if man chooses to do evil, to live in evil and to spread evil, that’s something different. Evil and good are two tools through which the soul learns. Without the feeling of burning pain, we could not know the correct distance to keep from the flame, and if we lose someone dear we couldn’t truly appreciate those among us. To say that evil is useless would be ignorant, and God does not create useless things.
- How do you see the role played today by the official churches in Romanian life and the population’s attitude towards religion in general?
FvF: The church has always played an important role in man’s life and in society, not only as a spiritual agent, but as a leading power. Now, every forest has its barren sides. The church has and had its own, but we can’t generalize it. There have been extraordinary popes who did a lot of good and there were others who screwed things up. In common churches, there have been good priests and, well, less good priests. You can’t same the same about Arsenie Boca or Dumitru Staniloae and a priest who molests children. There are bad people in every religion, and Christianity is no exception, nor is occultism. Same goes with the population’s attitude. It reacts in a natural way to what it receives from the Church. However, at least the attitude of the Romanian population should rely on better criteria when it comes to criticizing the Church. This means one should know some basic theology and history of the Church, be it Orthodox or Catholic or whatever, in order to give opinions on such matters. The Romanian Orthodox Church is lead by Patriarch Daniel, but I wouldn’t say it is represented by him. For me, real Christians don’t necessarily have a high rank in the Church but rather a profound dedication to God. And I see this dedication at an hermit rather than a Patriarch. However, I’m far from being an expert on theology and don’t want to get into further details without knowing what I’m talking about.
I wouldn’t like to comment on the Church here. It has its role in Romanian life. It brought both corrupt people and saints, but this is about the vices and virtues of each of them, not about the Church itself. I don’t want to incline over the negative parts of any religion. If Muslims have fundamentalists and Pentecostals have extremists, we have corrupts and hypocrites. But we also have priests with grace, some are living saints and are unknown yet carry the burden of the others. To talk about the thirst for money in the Church and to ignore wonderful people like Arsenie Boca, Ilie Lacatusu or Ilarion Argatu is foolish. Also, caring for the laws of the Church or actual priests and ignoring nationalism, racism, antisemitism, homophobia and misogyny that have no place in the Sermon on the Mount is again foolish. Generalization tends to kill and I do not wish to work with generalizations.
Ştefana Czeller, journalist at Ziarul Evenimentul Iaşi and Asterion and F.v.F., owners of Ocult-Ro.com