How Demonization Occurs

from Kent’s book, Pathways to Darkness

In speaking of pathways to darkness, otherwise called avenues to demonization in this book, we are describing ways in which a person becomes vulnerable to invasion by demons. The material for this chapter has come primarily from basic biblical principles but has also grown out of research and personal experiences in deliverance, which may mean that there are gaps in our knowledge. This is also a chapter in The Deliverance Handbook. There is some overlapping of these four avenues, but these basic categories do provide useful tools in determining whether deliverance is needed in an individual’s life.

The Occult

The occult is unquestionably the main avenue through which people become demonized. The following passages from the Bible clearly reveal that the occult is an abomination to God, a stench in his nostrils: Deuteronomy 18:10–12; 4:19; Leviticus 19:26, 31; 20:6, 27, 2 Kings 23:5; Galatians 5:20, and Revelation 21:8.

It is important to again repeat one of the most important passages showing that God hates the occult. It is Deuteronomy 18:9–12:

[9] “When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. [10] There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer [11] or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, [12] for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. And because of these abominations the LORD your God is driving them out before you. [13] You shall be blameless before the LORD your God, [14] for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.

Witchcraft, fortune telling (divination), spiritism (calling back the dead), and all omens and occult practices are detestable to God. That is a very strong word: detestable. God detests, despises, and hates such practices according to His Word in the Hebrew Bible, also called the Old Testament. Galatians 5:20 and Revelation 21:8 communicate the same under the New Covenant. The passage in Revelation is particularly graphic: 

[8] But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. 

It is obvious that God detests the occult. One of the main reasons this is true is because God knows that demons can easily take advantage of those who practice such things. That is because those who engage in occult practices have purposely set aside trust, honor, and obedience to the God of Creation. Their allegiance has been placed elsewhere. Practicing or engaging in any form of the occult is without question the main way in which people become demonized. 

A partial listing of occult practices includes three major categories: 

(1) Fortune telling; (2) Magic; (3) Spiritism. 

(1) Fortune telling 


Palm reading 


I Ching 

Ouija board 

Fortune Teller 

Tea Leaf Readings 

(2) Magic 


Satan worship 

Curses and spells 

Love magic and hate magic 

Use of crystals for healing and other purposes 

(3) Spiritism 





Mental Telepathy 


Automatic Writing 

Trance States 


Astral Projection — out of body experiences. 

Shamanistic Practices 

The Soul Journey 

Use of the Enneagram 

The worship in the Native American Churches 

Attempting to channel Jesus as practiced by those who follow Sarah Young and her Jesus Calling books. 

It is important to realize that all of the above fall into the category of the occult according to the Bible. One is just as bad as another. It is every bit as harmful to consult the Ouija board as it is to worship Satan or practice black magic. It is just as demonic to read tea leaves or have one’s palm read as it is to call the ‘souls’ of the dead back in a séance. All are occultic. All pave the way to the one practicing them to become demonized. All are detestable in the sight of Almighty God, and this for our own good. We say that one part of the occult is just as bad as another for a good reason. Many people think that palm reading, I Ching, or a Ouija board are just harmless fun and that reading tea leaves is child’s play. They do not realize that they are playing with fire and that often the fire burns deeply, leaving psychological and spiritual scars that last for years. 

The Passive State of Mind — Altered State of Consciousness, Shamanistic State of Mind, Trance State, Deep Meditation 

The second avenue in which a person may become demonized is through entering into a passive state of mind. There are two main ways that the passive state of mind occurs: (1) through trances when the mind is neutral, open, and vulnerable. (2) through induced states or voluntary letting go, usually through drugs such as magic mushrooms and psilocybin, chanting, drumming, the rattle, ganga, spiritualized forms of yoga, Transcendental Meditation, and much more. 

The mind, as stated before, has a protective wall about it, provided by the will. This is our ability to say “no” to what is wrong and “yes” to what is right. Entering into a passive state of mind opens the door allowing the demonic to invade a person’s psyche; the person may become partially or even completely controlled by the demonic. The passive state of mind that comes through certain types of meditation is very dangerous in this respect, especially now when deep meditative practices are popular. The protective guard of the will comes down and the demonic may enter. 

Deep forms of meditation are probably the most dangerous occult practices in America today, because it appears so harmless. It just seems like the practitioner is relaxing. But the type of relaxation practiced brings the protective barrier down and actually invites the demonic in! Scores of people have become demonized in this manner. 

LSD, psilocybin, and other hallucinogens remove the protective barrier of the will, as do peyote and mescaline. (Peyote is commonly used in the Native American Churches.) There are also questions about the use of marijuana. These drugs remove the wall of the will and allow the demonic to enter. Many who have taken LSD or other mind-expanding substances have been demonized in this way. 

It is appropriate to mention the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, at this point. What goes under the rubric of relaxation and mind expansion is really nothing more than an opening to the spirit world. Very dangerous. 

The passive state of mind can come through trances induced in over-the-top Christian worship as well. Some hyper–Pentecostal groups work their worshippers up to a frenzy foreign to what we find in the New Testament. Those in the services may enter a passive state of mind and become demonized. Some people even think that they have been filled with the Holy Spirit, when it was actually a demon that entered them. Many today ask why some hyper–pentecostal groups react so violently to sound teaching on demonization, especially concerning the fact that church members may become demonized. A passive state of mind is extremely dangerous, whether it be in a church sanctuary, at a drumming group, a cleansing in a sweat lodge, or focusing for an hour on breathing techniques. 

Hypnotism has come into vogue again, too, and here is a direct and willful attempt to move into a passive state of mind. 

Excessive Sin 

Another avenue through which the demonic may enter a person is through excessive sin. The protective wall of the will is removed, and people become vulnerable to Satan when, through rebellion and rejection of God and His Word, they commit themselves to sin or to a sinful lifestyle. 

All Christians sin. That much is quite clear in the Bible. We are told, in the first chapter of 1 John, that if we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar and the truth is not in us. Clearly, Christians sin. First John, chapter 2, tells us that we have an advocate, Jesus Christ. We are told to confess our sins as they come into our lives, in order to remain in good fellowship with the Father. 

However, when someone, Christian or not, deliberately rejects the prompting of the Holy Spirit and deliberately rebels against the Word of God, the Ten Commandments, and the Sermon on the Mount, that person opens himself or herself to the possibility of becoming demonized, particularly when the sin is excessive, as when the people “give themselves up” to the sin. Sadly, some commit themselves to sexual sins, to alcohol, to drugs, to the occult, and to many other areas of sin. They literally give over the center of their lives to wrongful and dangerous behavior. Such persons will certainly open themselves up to invasion by the demonic, because Satan loves when people reject God’s will, thus making them susceptible to his. The following verse describes what has been called the opening of oneself to a reprobate mind. 

Romans 1:21–28 

[21] For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. [22] Claiming to be wise, they became fools, [23] and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. [24] Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, [25] because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. [26] For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; [27] and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. [28] And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 

Whatever else this dreadful passage may mean, this much is certain: giving oneself up to sin paves the way for the demonic to enter in. 

Haven’t you known people who ruined their minds to such an extent that they just could not make a real commitment to Christ? They have literally ruined their minds through sin. Despite all this, they may be freed from sin and experience deliverance. We do not give up on those caught in extreme rebellion. These people may be pleasantly surprised. Sometimes, the very worst of people come around and become excellent Christians.

Traumatic Experiences 

Traumatic experiences may also pave the way for the demonic to come into a person’s life. By “traumatic” is meant a potent emotional experience that so changes a person’s psyche that the mental barrier comes down and the demonic comes in. 

Fear is very often the emotion that produces this removal of the mental protective barrier. An extremely traumatic fear experience, particularly in childhood, can produce not only neurotic or psychotic experiences, but even demonic susceptibility in later years. 

This type of demonization is rarer than the first three. But it is common enough that we felt it should be listed. 

A famous example of the demonic entering through trauma is in the motion picture, Three Faces of Eve. This movie is based on the true story of a woman who became demonized as a child when her mother held her over a coffin and forced her to kiss the face of her dead grandmother. The child became demonized through the trauma of that moment, which caused the barriers of her mind to come down and the demonic to come in. 

The sudden death of a loved one may produce so much hatred toward God on the part of a child that the child is vulnerable to the demonic. A child abandoned by his parents may become so thoroughly traumatized that the demonic comes in. Strong hatred of parents can produce demonization. A sexually abused child may be so scarred that it triggers a demonic event. 

Now someone may feel that “this is not fair.” Point taken; indeed, it does not seem fair that a child should suffer for the sins of parents or other adults. But we cannot blame God either. The Creator God allows humans to have free will and to do as they please. When dramatic, tragic events happen wherein children are heavily emotionally impacted, it may well produce long term emotional and spiritual disturbances. 

Summing Up 

In counseling with someone who may be demonized, which is part of the work necessary prior to actual sessions of casting demons out, it is essential to engage in discussions regarding past history. That is why it is necessary to have at least one preliminary session in which you can learn something of a person’s background. It is vital to discover if the person has opened any of the aforementioned doors through which demonization can enter. Check whether they have engaged in any occult practices; whether they have ever entered a passive state of mind or have been involved in excessive sin. If none of these are in the background, yet you suspect that the person may be demonized, probe back into his or her past to see if there has been a heavily traumatic experience that could have opened the way for demonization. 

Dr. Billy Graham best summed up the way people become demonized through Transcendental Meditation when he said: “People practicing TM wipe the slates of their minds clean, in effect, in an effort to establish a state of serenity and well–being. But in doing so, many are liable to create a vacuum in their minds. What goes into that empty space is the hidden danger of TM. It can be an invasion of satanic influences [demons] which will have an adverse effect on their lives.” 

(Note here: TM is no longer widely practiced and has virtually fallen out of public view. However, Dr. Graham’s council or warning is yet relevant, due to the common practices that bring people into passive states of mind.) Anything that “wipes the slate of the mind clean” and “creates a vacuum” in the mind by pulling down the barriers of the will can open a person to demonization.

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