24 October 2013

How Do Demons Possess Me? Let Me Count the Ways

There's a picture of a supposed fundamentalist tract listing a bunch of ridiculous (and many of them geeky) things that are supposedly 'doorways to demonic possession', which has been doing the social media rounds over the last year or so. You can see the picture for example in this Huffington Post article.

First of all, it is a fake. It's part of a parody pamphlet printed to promote a short film called Ivy League Exorcist: The Bobby Jindal Story. (You can watch it on YouTube. It's kinda funny. And you can also see the full pamphlet here.)

Even as a fake, it's pretty hilarious. Friends on social media have had fun counting all the various evils they've committed. It would be even more hilarious if it were actually genuine. Well, kinda funny and not funny at the same time. But of course it is inspired by the very real garbage that fundamentalist groups spew out all the time...

So, just for kicks, I thought I'd analyse all my past and present endeavours that have left me vulnerable to demonic possession.

Things from the list I consider I have practised, or 'taken part in', at some point, whether briefly or extensively:
  1. New Age religions (kinda borderline, but I think things like Wicca qualify)
  2. Church of Satan (not the organisation itself, but Anton LaVey's writings should be of interest to anyone interested in the occult, even if one doesn't agree with all he says—oh, and for the record, I have actually in the past, in my more chaotic period, tried out rituals loosely based on material from the Satanic Bible, so I'm counting this one, even if it's not a path I ended up choosing)
  3. Astrology
  4. Tarot cards
  5. Earth Worship (again rather ambiguous, but I think Wicca qualifies)
  6. Wicca (yes, as I wrote in a blog post not too long ago, I identify as Wiccan, and basically all other spiritual topics in this list are variations and branchings out of that interest) 
  7. Divination (well duh, since astrology and tarot were already mentioned)
  8. Meditation (I'm really much too impatient for it, but I try)
  9. Postmodernism (to be honest, I've never been entirely sure what postmodernism even really is, but then again, I'm not sure anyone else really understands it either)
  10. Kabbalah
  11. LOTR (dudes, at one time in my life I was the friggin' president of the Finnish Tolkien Society—that must make me, like, the king of evil)
  12. Alt "comix" (um, don't know what's up with the spelling and quotes, but I'm assuming reading any so-called alternative comics counts—it's a pretty wide field)
  13. Video games
  14. Harry Potter (I've only seen the movies, but I guess that counts)
  15. Dungeons & Dragons
  16. Halloween (my favourite holiday!)
  17. Fornication (yeah, I, too, was young once)
  18. Rock music
  19. Heavy metal (hell yeah, and I regularly make the sign of the horns with my fingers, too—that must make me truly demonic, right?)

Which makes a total of 19 doorways for demonic possession. There's actually a lot of overlap there, particularly in the various spiritual practices, but since they're listed individually, I'm counting them all.

Then there are things that I've been interested in at times, and read a reasonable amount about, but wouldn't say I've actually practised, so I'm not sure about counting them. Some are things I encounter frequently in fiction, role-playing games and the like, but since the list doesn't specify fiction I'm putting them in this category. (This would include things like vampirism or lycanthropy, which unsurprisingly enough I haven't actually taken part in IRL.) Some of these borderline things would include at least:
  1. Eastern religions (I've been interested in stuff like Zen Buddhism for, like, forever, but neopaganism proved much more suited to my nature)
  2. Cyberpunk culture (I love cyberpunk as a genre, but I wouldn't say I'm part of any cyberpunk culture)
  3. Lycanthropy (gotta love werewolves—but no, I'm not actually one)
  4. Vampirism (nope, I've never drunk blood, or bitten anyone—in earnest, anyway)
  5. Goth culture (I like dark aesthetics, I wear a lot of black, even paint my nails—but still I wouldn't exactly call myself a goth, even on my best days I probably look more like a hippie)

Which makes another five things that while perhaps not open doorways to demonic possession, are at least slightly ajar. And many other topics I've obviously also read about, though not perhaps with quite so much interest. And there are some just too ambiguous. Like I'm not sure if Skull & Bones refers to the Yale secret society, the Cypress Hill album or actual decorations (skull designs I've worn on clothing and stuff, but since it's capitalised, I'm assuming one of the former, neither of which I know much about).

Boy, it must be really crowded in my head with all those demons in there...

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