By: Steve Staniek | Location: Canada
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 erpete/deviantART
Broadly speaking, exorcism is the freeing of a:person, place, or object, from some form of negative spiritual influence. The archaeological record informs us of how ancient healers and shaman dealt locally with unfriendly or interfering spirits. Rock art confirms the universal history of man's struggle with spiritual parasites, for as long as we've been able to make our marks on stone. It took me a lifetime to discovered quite by accident, that there is a natural clearing process, or spontaneous exorcisms!
In retirement, I finally found the time and courage to dig into those extraordinary but undigested experiences that I had filed away as: 'Crazy stuff - Do Not Open!'.
My first crazy vision came in my twenties, after a weekend of intense therapy where I had released a great deal of emotional pain around my childhood fears. Back at work on a bright Monday morning, I was walking across campus to get coffee when my thoughts returned to leftover feelings from the weekend. I began to reconnect with the long-forgotten warmth deep in my belly, and I allowed the feeling to grow into an uncharacteristic light heartedness. A young couple walking a hundred feet ahead of me stopped to embrace before parting. I felt a surge of joy as I watched their affection manifesting before me. Suddenly, I noticed a large plume of dense grey smoke rising up quietly and quickly from behind my head. Like a dark,eerie shadow it rose up over 10 feet, still connected to me by its tail, before launching itself forward directly towards the couple. As the plume of smoke flew towards them, it grew two large arms of grey smoke which opened to enfold the couple, and then disappear into their bodies.
The event was over in seconds. No one else seemed to notice. I was stunned with disbelief, but knew intuitively that it came from a hidden world. It's sudden appearance was frightening, but I felt good afterwards. It would be 40 years before I would see the smoky creature again, and another 3 years before I would arrive at a positive ID on the entity.
My wife and I retired to the country where I had my second crazy vision. I began to meditate outside, where I developed a spiritual ritual in which I would raise Gaia energies from the ground using Qigong patterns. One sunny afternoon, as I was walking to my meditation spot I started to prepare myself mentally, when I stepped back suddenly to avoid a small but nasty prickly ash tree. As I stepped back into a patch of sunlight, a man-sized plume of dense grey smoke jumped out of me, from behind the left side of my head, and flew ahead of me down the path. It rushed past me so quickly that I mistook it for a person, and I called out: 'Hey', as it flew past me down the path. I sensed that Old Smoke was in a huge hurry to be away from me. This time I sensed a greater intimacy with this shadowy apparition, like an old acquaintance. I felt confused but strangely elated.
In the 40 years between sightings, I had grown to accept that Mr. Smoke was my shadow self, a concept promoted by Carl Jung, in his book, Modern Man in Search of a Soul. Jung's shadow self is the dark part of our personality that we reject in order to survive in our society. He states: "The most intelligent man may at times be obsessed with thoughts which he cannot drive away with the greatest effort of will. We only believe that we are masters in our own house because we like to flatter ourselves." Jung instructs us to embrace and own our dark side, in order to achieve integration of self, and bring an end to internal wars.
Today, the Catholic Church's leading exorcist in the USA is Dr. Richard Gallagher. As a board-certified psychiatrist and professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University. He walks a fine line between mental health and demonic possession. He's breaking down biases held traditionally by conventional medicine, as he claims to be the USA's premier 'demonic consultant'. He bases his declarations that demonic possession is real, on first-hand observations, and a growing body of empirical evidence. He claims to be able: 'to spot demonic possession' and discern it from mental illnesses. Because of his Catholic faith, he works with the Catholic Church to help clear harmful demons from humans, and reports that demand for exorcisms in the USA is increasing. In just one decade, the Catholic Church had to expand its national team, from 12 to 50 exorcists because of increased demand. He admits that religious exorcisms often need to be repeated many times in order to succeed.
Neither Cayce's cosmology, Jung's scientific model of the human, nor Gallagher's combination of Christianity and science, were able to provide an explanation for Mr. Smoke. When my spiritual quest finally led me to the shamanic path, I discovered the bit of information that changed everything. A shamanic student with psychic ability described seeing strange entities that fit my deion during a training session for extraction of unwanted energies. The psychic student reported seeing dark grey plumes of smoke leaving one client lying on the floor, and immediately entering another.
Evidence from ancient shamanic cultures suggests that humanity has been dealing with interfering spirits for hundreds of thousands of years, long before organized religions were created. Traditionally, proof of spirits has always been experienced subjectively through the interaction of spirits with humans. Today's scientific community demands objective proof that can be quantified, recorded, and manipulated under lab conditions. Until science produces more sensitive instruments that can provide this proof, it will continue to deny the existence of the spirit world. My 'eyes wide open experience' is the best proof I could ever ask for. I know now, without researching extensive libraries, and beyond the shadow of a doubt, that spirits exist, and they can enter us and influence our lives. More importantly, they can also be managed and removed by us, once we wake up to their presence, and the power of our own spiritual sovereignty.