Chapter 9

Deliverance of Demonic Agents

The essence of deliverance is to determine whether a disturbing agent is the cause of the attack, and if it is demonstrated that the attack is due to a demonic agent, to deliver it as soon as possible to God's care. It is here that meticulous discernment is essential, and this is a rare gift. It is God-given as a special grace. This rare gift of immediate psychic awareness is a true charism, or spiritual gift, given by God directly for a special purpose. It differs considerably from the rather crude psychism so common among those who have no use for their gift other than that of acquisitiveness. The truly charismatic ("spiritually psychic") type of person can enter more directly into the Divine Presence, and ask God essential questions about the sufferer's condition, whether there is a strong psychic link or whether it is purely psychological. If it were merely psychological, no amount of exorcism would be of any use, and would indeed be counter-productive, stimulating additional fear and mental disturbance. If, on the other hand, there was clear evidence of psychic invasion, either acting alone or in association with a psychological problem, it would certainly be worthwhile delivering the invading spirit, whether human or demonic, to God's care both for its own progress and for the relief of its human captive.

Using one's own psychic gifts, one may move in what appears to be the right direction, but the way is hazardous and not infrequently distorted by prejudice on the one hand and demonic interference on the other. I am always wary when people proffer their advice, often completely unsolicited, about psychic matters. To me it seems usually like the blind leading the blind. In such a case I would hint at a demonic source meddling with the life of an innocent person through the interfering zeal of an exhibitionistic individual. If we were fully Spirit-directed people, by which I mean fully directed by the Holy Spirit, we would be shown the answer, or perhaps what was right for us to know about the answer to a particular spiritual problem afflicting us, or someone else we were seeking to help. We would then have the discretion to use our God-given knowledge wisely and with humility. This wisdom and humility are, however, products of long experience of life lived among many different types of people; so much so that a single life on earth seems hardly adequate. Here, however, we approach the possibility of multiple lives on earth (reincarnation) or somewhere else in our vast universe. This view of the progress of human life after the death of the physical body is strongly opposed by the world's major theistic religions, at least in their orthodox form, but the wider encompassing faiths of the East have considerably less difficulty with it. All we who are sensibly uncommitted on this issue can store it away as a possible explanation of the soul's growth into spiritual understanding in eternity at the present moment in time.

When I am involved in the work of deliverance I admit my own ignorance, and enter into deep prayer. This does not mean, at least as far as I am concerned, addressing God in a long conversation, for he knows both my disposition and the source of my request far better than I do myself. The reason for my certainty in this matter is absolutely clear to me, because I believe that God has chosen me for this work (originally with my friend Geral) quite specifically, and the directive to do the deliverance comes from him and not primarily from the victim. Nor am I the prime mover in deliverance work, because I find it quite exhausting; and also not a little frustrating if the person does not play their part later on. If the work goes well one soon becomes widely known, as Jesus was. I believe that the exhaustion that comes from a celebrated deliverance ministry like his could have explained some of his irritation when called on to treat the daughter of the woman from Syro-Phoenicia described in Mark 7.25-30. In any form of healing ministry it is most important to emphasize to the person being treated the necessity of constant prayer, so that they may always be open to the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit. There is in fact only one "healer" and that is the Holy Spirit, who is also responsible for the work of deliverance.

When I pray at any time I give myself entirely to God whom I worship with rapt devotion, just as if he were a person close to me, but I do not visualize God in any form. Even the personal pronoun "he" is quite inappropriate to what I feel about the Divine Identity, but in the end one is obliged to use some form of words to describe the Intangible. When my mind is completely clear of all intruding thought - a state of awareness that comes after years of quiet, undisturbed, devoted meditation - I am aware of an emptiness which contains the totality of creation and at the same time transcends it and time itself. This emptiness or void is the nearest I can get to describing God to another person. But the emptiness or void is not merely without all worldly attributes; it is also the apotheosis of all that exists, and in it pure undemanding love is experienced. In this respect, true love seeks nothing for itself, but is fulfilled by seeing the beloved full of grace and joy. In the end the beloved is all-inclusive, as St Paul was saying in a somewhat different way in 1 Corinthians 13. It is impossible to define the nature of God in purely legalistic terms inasmuch as love is both personal and transpersonal. By this I mean that love is concerned with the individual creature no matter how humble it may appear.

On the other hand, love is not restricted by the needs of individuals to the exclusion of the greater whole, of whom each individual makes their own claim and contribution. When I enter the silence of eternity I come close to the person who claims my help, and I bring them to the Divine Essence in which all inadequacy is filled with love. It is this love that gently but authoritatively removes the demonic spirit from the human soul and brings it to God's healing care. What I am trying to say is this: in my exorcism work I do not use personal power to overcome something threatening and potentially evil; instead I lift the spirit to the knowledge of God's undemanding love, compared with which all other considerations are trivial. To quote once more 1 John 4.18, "Perfect love banishes fear", inasmuch as the demonic sphere exerts its baneful influence by the fear it inculcates. This fear is real enough on a material or intellectual level, for here there are constant barriers to full communication with other individuals, but on the level of the Holy Spirit we are all one, the good and the bad alike. The Holy Spirit breaks down all illusions of separate existence, inasmuch as we are all the children of God, the unpleasant no less than the pleasant. By our tendency to judge uncharitably, we play an important part in erecting barriers so that we tend to fight against our fellow creatures.

It therefore follows that a helpful ministry of deliverance is quite as concerned about the welfare of the invading agent as it is about that of the person. In my experience the invasion is much more likely to be due to a misplaced spirit than to one that is frankly malicious, and even if the spirit is apparently evil, who are we to judge its nature or its origin? All comes ultimately from the Divine Source, and there will be no peace in the world until it is directed thither. The work of exorcism gives one a supernatural joy as one contemplates the end of creation. One is never far from Julian of Norwich and her Revelations of Divine Love, in the thirty-second chapter of which she is told by God that all will be well. This is much more than reassurance for neurotic people; it reaches the very depth of the human condition. Julian was shown that the Divine Concern reaches out not only to the great and noble but also to the lowly and simple creatures. Even more important than this is the revelation that no matter how evil the deeds may be or how great the affliction produced, there will be a time of relief and understanding for everyone no matter how badly they have behaved. The love of God would never consent to the total damnation of any creature, but some mysterious deed would be performed at the last which would bring all creatures into the heavenly grace. These would include the fallen angels, the heathen, and those who, though they have been baptized, have lived un-Christlike lives and so did not die in a loving state.

The nature of this great deed was not shown to Julian, but she was urged to follow the larger way of universal faith while remaining loyal to the teaching of the universal Church. This is certainly the ideal solution to a theological dilemma where dogma clashes severely with universal love, and only a great soul can venture along this path by paying due respect to both of them. Intense faith is the essential quality required, and this is one of love's most precious gifts. To know this love, all one has to do is to remain perfectly calm and open to the present moment. This is a true counsel of perfection, for how can a normal person possibly remain calm in the presence of something so terrifying as a demonic spirit. And yet, as long as one's trust - a more explicit word than faith at least in this context - remains pure and open, one is available to the healing energies of the Holy Spirit, and then events may occur that could seem miraculous to the agnostic onlooker. Much of my own healing ministry has been conducted in this way: medical and spiritual practice work together hand in hand. The quality required both of a minister of healing and one who is capable of being delivered of a demonic spirit is complete humility. The doctrine of Mark 9.33-7 is compelling:

So they came to Capernaum; and when he had gone indoors, he asked them, "What were you arguing about on the way?" They were silent, because on the way they had been discussing which of them was the greatest. So he sat down, called the Twelve, and said to them, If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all. Then he took a child, set him in front of them, and put his arm round him. "Whoever receives a child like this in my name," he said, "receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me."

When I do an exorcism I enter into rapt prayer with God, whose nature is, as far as I am concerned, pure love, and I let that love permeate every fibre of my being. I know the rapport is as perfect as it can be, remembering that I am an imperfect mortal, when I cease to be aware of myself except in the role of servant, and then a marvellous joy illuminates my mind as I recognize my Creator and a wordless dialogue takes place. Into my mind flow the needs of many people whom I know, most often with illness. In my non-interfering concern, the power of the Holy Spirit can be broadcast on to all I remember in my prayer. My own view about the efficacy of prayer is that it should be available to everybody, by virtue of the divine love that has no favourites. Therefore in my intercessions, while I necessarily have to limit their scope and number to a relatively few people and causes, I have no doubt that the power of my prayer has a vaster range than this. As St Paul puts it, "Then have done with falsehood and speak the truth to each other, for we belong to one another as parts of one body" (Ephesians 4.25). The love of God can never be limited to the few except by their own choice, and even this choice is cleansed of all fear and doubt by the experience of love in everyday life.

The procedure I adopt is very similar to that I use in dealing with unquiet spirits that I described in chapter 4. I first say the Lord's Prayer and then the Collect for the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. I then enter into profound imageless contemplation, so that the love of God can permeate my whole being. In this state I can address the Divine Essence with relevant questions without any emotional barriers, whether doubt, fear or awe. God does not need even our awe, what is required is quiet obedience in a state of complete trust.

The questions I address are whether there is a demonic source causing the disturbance or if the problem is associated with the unquiet spirit of a dead person contaminating the psychic atmosphere of a habitation where it once lived. If I was shown that neither of these possibilities fit the case, I would then enquire whether the problem was essentially psychological. In this case exorcism would be categorically ruled out, and counselling with psychotherapy would be recommended. In this respect we remember how severe psychological problems, especially in adolescent subjects, can occasionally produce poltergeist phenomena (see chapter 3). If I merely ask the questions in the air, as it were, I am likely to receive a reply that is equally insubstantial, and heavily tinctured by personal prejudice. It is for this reason that I always cringe from exorcists that cast a baleful eye over people of whom they so clearly disapprove for personal reasons that are much more related to enmity than demonic infestation. To know oneself is the prerequisite of all spiritual service, and the number of such practitioners is small on the ground. While some people seem to have a natural self-awareness, the majority learn this by bitter lessons of humiliation and pain. When one has been divested of much personal illusion of importance, an interesting awareness dawns on one. It is one's own egoism that blocks out the radiance of the eternal moment, and when that ego-centre is displaced, a new world of meaning and relationships is uncovered. When one has attained this knowledge - a combination of divine grace and enlightened will - the previously invisible opens up to clear visibility, and one can see that which is barely visible to most of one's peers. The emphasis on grace cannot be overemphasized, for one cannot see beyond the world of the senses with any degree of reliability in any other way.

The most controversial part of my deliverance ministry is the use of some object to confirm the information I have received inwardly. I have already described this practice in a previous book, Angels: Messengers of Grace. I use a coin that I have blessed (and continue blessing for all fresh deliverance work), and toss it on to a carpet, having made a compact with God beforehand. If it turns up "heads" the answer is "yes", while "tails" signifies "no". It is surprising how much criticism such a practice has occasioned among some people who are alarmed at my superstition, gullibility, or even lack of basic spiritual discernment. Oddly enough, I agree with all these criticisms. The procedure may indeed be interfered with by a demonic agent or more simply a trickster in the psychic realm. On the other hand, a more rationalistic type of critic would have no great difficulty in showing that the results of such a test were purely random. Nevertheless I press ahead despite the barrage of discouragement around me. If the result is positive, I send the entity, whether demonic or human, to the divine care; whereas if it is persistently negative, it is evident that the person requires psychological help. I do not follow the indication of a single "coin test" unless it is already inwardly clear to me, but I rather "challenge" it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Not infrequently there is indeed a change in the indication, so that I can act accordingly - usually performing an exorcism. When the work is over, I test once more to be sure that the entity has been delivered to God, and here the coin test is again invaluable. This test is admittedly crudely pragmatic but it continues to support me in my work.

The basis of this test is thoroughly biblical: the use of sacred lots. In the severe reverse that the Israelites suffered before the inhabitants of Ai, which we mentioned in chapter 6, Joshua was instructed by God directly to find out who had brought the divine displeasure on the people. Only the total destruction of the idolator and his family would relieve the situation, after which the Israelites could continue their triumphant occupation of Canaan (Joshua 7.13-25). Another example of the divine disapproval involved Saul and his son Jonathan. Here King Saul had issued a curse on the man who took food before nightfall and before he had taken vengeance on his enemies, and now when he consulted God through sacred lots he could not get any reply. It transpired that Jonathan, Saul's favourite son, had disobeyed his father's command, and eaten some honey on the tip of his stick. Saul threatened to kill Jonathan, but his men forbade this. In this way Jonathan was delivered, but Saul broke off the pursuit of the Philistines (1 Samuel 14.24-46). The New Testament also has several references to trial by sacred lots. For instance in Luke 1.9 it is recorded that Zechariah, who despite his old age, was to become father of John the Baptist, was chosen by lot, by priestly custom, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer the incense, while in Acts 1.23-5 Matthias was chosen by lot to fill the place left empty after the villainy and appalling death of Judas Iscariot.

If my ministrations produce no observable effect on the coin test, I submit in prayer. If the person is severely disturbed I celebrate the Eucharist without delay: the presence of other devout Christians is in any case of the utmost value and should always be sought, though sometimes this may be a counsel of perfection in a basically unbelieving community. Much of my work is done at a distance from the afflicted person as I described in chapter 3, and I have found no oddity in celebrating a Requiem Mass for such a human entity over the telephone with the person who is caring for them making the accustomed responses. When one can accept the natural immortality of the human soul, it becomes easy to pray for anyone, whether alive or dead as we understand these terms. Prayer is simply bringing the love of God to the individual for whom we are concerned. In this way an earthbound spirit, whether demonic or human, may be released to God's care and love.

Therefore I command a demonic spirit to leave this earthbound plane and go to that place in the life beyond death which God has prepared for its reception and healing. In this work my helper, Geral, whom I have mentioned already (and died four years ago) and I work in close collaboration. The work is far too dangerous to be conducted alone, but unfortunately there are few who can contribute their share to it. That I continue my deliverance work with my beloved helper Geral who died four years ago can hardly avoid disturbing some readers, but the fact remains that her living soul works in close contact with my own. As I quoted earlier on in chapter 2: "Many waters cannot quench love, no flood can sweep it away; if someone were to offer for love all the wealth of his house, it would be laughed to scorn" (Song of Songs 8.7). The command is firm but not hectoring. These are the words I use: "In the name of God the Creator, God Most High, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, Geral and I command you demonic spirit to leave here, and proceed to that place in the life beyond death which God has prepared for your reception and healing." After a brief period, I repeat the formula, this time bidding the demonic spirit to leave here "and this earthbound plane" instead of simply "here" as in the first command. After a few more seconds I repeat the formula a third time, bidding the demonic spirit to leave here "and proceed to that place in the life beyond death that God has prepared for your reception and healing, there to do the work for which you were created". I end each command with the instruction, "Go in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit." After the third command I remain absolutely quiet for a short time, and then I free the spirit (no longer demonic) from all obedience to evil humanity, in this respect remembering that perverse humans are much more dangerous than spirits because of the limited capacity of the demonic will compared with the strength of the vicious human will (see chapter 7).

No demonic spirit could equal a Hitler in destructive power because the spiritual realm is not imbued with hatred and similar negative emotions to anything like the same degree as is encountered among deranged people. Therefore it is inadequate to blame demonic spirits for anti-social or criminal human conduct. Free will is God's most precious gift to us, and we misuse it to our own, and the world's, peril. The spirit world can imbibe the fruits of that evil and the results accruing from it; it is in this way that the spirits can become demonic if they have a natural ambivalence to evil actions. The spirits of light (the bright angels) are always near to the Divine Source, and bring the love and enlightenment of God to the world. Thus do the spirits of good and evil work with humans, but I believe, following Dame Julian's "revelations of divine love", that in the end all will be well. I would be prepared to go even farther than this, and affirm my conviction that the evil impulse is also as near to divine will as is the good, inasmuch as it provides us with the experience of the manifold aspects of life, without which we would remain like self-centred children. But this is a hard doctrine, and one more palatable to the type of person who has suffered terribly in the course of their life on earth and has come through with the fire of love blazing in their heart These are the true saints of humanity.

After having freed the spirit I wait a short time, and then say the Lord's Prayer, after which I repeat the coin test. I ask whether the spirit has been satisfactorily delivered into God's care. If the answer is positive (and I am inwardly satisfied) I thank God in a prayer of thanksgiving. If the result is negative, I repeat the test in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (the challenge I have already referred to). If the result now reverts to positivity, I repeat the challenge, and if the second test remains positive I accept that the spirit is now in the divine care. If the result remains negative, I likewise repeat the challenge, and if there is no change, I accept that my work has effected no deliverance. I am usually "told" to be patient, and repeat the procedure on the following day. This was the way Geral and I were encouraged to continue. In fact some loosening of the attachment was effected by this preliminary work, and subsequently the spirit could be delivered to God. The same principle applies to discarnate human entities who will prefer to remain where they are rather than move on to God's care in a wider domain (chapter 3).

Assuming the spirit has been delivered into the divine protection, I demand of the person whom I have helped that they lead a regular prayer life and pursue regular Bible reading according to some accredited lectionary. If this discipline is not pursued with devotion, seeing it as the most important work in the person's life, reinfestation is very likely to occur, and the last condition of the person could well be worse than the first (Matthew 12.45). I lay great stress on the Eucharist also, but the person should be acquiescent to its use and meaning. None of these measures and sacraments are helpful if the recipient is not educated with regard to their sanctity; they simply become objects of superstition. The use of holy water, sprinkled on to the person or the premises they occupy (or both), is a much recommended practice. The sprinkling is called "asperges", and the brush and other implement used for the sprinkling is called an "aspergillum". I personally have not found this an especially helpful addition to my armamentarium of prayer, direct deliverance of the invading spirit, Bible reading, and the Eucharist, but I would not discourage anyone else from using this aid.

Where do the demonic spirits then proceed? I believe they are enveloped by the love of God to be healed of their perverse tendencies, often manifestations of weakness rather of defiant will such as not infrequently encountered among recalcitrant humans. As I have already speculated, some of this evil may have been acquired from human sources. I believe that evil humans proceed likewise to God's protecting love and care, but here the situation is complicated by the powerful human will which can at least theoretically disregard all God's offers of healing and reparation. The tragedy of the Israelites, as recounted in the books of Hosea and Jeremiah, was their total rejection of the divine offer of forgiveness and succour until destruction by the Assyrians and the Babylonians respectively was quite inevitable. Fortunately a "remnant" was preserved, which, at least after the Babylonian exile, was permitted to return to their homeland. I believe that a similar situation may occur in the life beyond death, except that here the disobedient human will come, at least in the great majority of cases, to their senses fairly rapidly. The utter desolation of a self imposed hell, where one is out of communion with one's fellows indefinitely, soon turns one to divine assistance, and one is shown in firm kindness where one has transgressed and what is the proper way of progress in the life beyond death. The demonic spirits are delivered to God once they have been freed by specially gifted human agents (those with psychic sensitivity together with profound spirituality), but the human soul, having far greater autonomy, has to play its part by "purporting an amendment of life"; in other words changing its entire way of thinking and style of living, as I have already indicated in relation to people who have been delivered of demonic spirits.

The exorcism of unclean localities, usually polluted by evil people possibly living many years ago (perhaps even centuries), is carried out in a similar manner. First I try to ascertain the source of the trouble - it is usually a recent corrupting influence - and then I use the formula of exorcism to move it onwards to divine assistance. It is most important to ascertain whether living agents are involved in the problem, since there can be no permanent clearance until these are either removed or else exorcized. Furthermore, exorcism is seldom successful in a living person if they are not co-operative. Therefore surreptitious deliverance techniques are not to be recommended. Sometimes a locality may be the seat of an annoying disturbance that does not have the undertones of the frank malice of a demonic spirit.

I am alluding here to a mischievous entity, and in my deliverance formula I use these words after the Lord's Prayer and the Collect for the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit and the ensuing preamble: "I command all demonic and alien spirits and mischievous entities to leave here and this earthbound plane, and proceed to that place in the life beyond death that God has prepared for their reception and healing." I have learnt over the years that not all invading spirits are by any means intrinsically evil, but are simply interlopers who have lost their way and in their unaccustomed position can be a considerable nuisance. Some of these spirits are merely strangers, but others also have playful tendencies that can cause confusion. But they should all be sent to God's care without delay. Some of the effects of these misplaced spirits can resemble poltergeist phenomena, but the circumstances of the appearance usually give a ready clue about their origin. They are not especially related to adolescent people or other psychologically disturbed folk, and a psychically sensitive person can effect a communication with them through prayer and loving concern.

It is probable that most psychically infested localities have been subject to human contamination. I do not know whether a locality could have been a spontaneous nidus for spiritual entities apart from human contamination, but I do know that the human provides a remarkably hospitable seat for entities to spread their malign influence. It is the undisciplined nature of so much human activity that is the focus of the trouble, while the perverse will can permit a host of evil to pervade the psychic atmosphere. It follows therefore that until humans grow up emotionally and learn spiritually, the world will continue to be a residence of an array of psychic entities ranging from the demonic to the alien and the merely mischievous. These will work hand in glove with deranged people (deranged in mind and soul), and cause immense havoc. St Paul expresses some of these thoughts in Romans 8.14-25:

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. The Spirit you have received is not a spirit of slavery, leading you back into a life of fear, but a Spirit of adoption, enabling us to cry "Abba! Father!" The Spirit of God affirms to our own spirit that we are God's children; and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow-heirs with Christ, but we must share his sufferings if we are also to share his glory. For I reckon that the sufferings that we now endure bear no comparison with the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is in store for us. The created universe is waiting with eager expectation for God's sons to be revealed. It was made subject to frustration, not of its own choice but by the will of him who subjected it, yet with the hope that the universe itself is to be freed from the shackles of mortality and is to enter upon the glorious liberty of the children of God. Up to the present, as we know, the whole created universe in all its parts groans as if in the pangs of childbirth. What is more, we also, to whom the Spirit is given as the first fruits of the harvest to come, are groaning inwardly while we look forward eagerly to our adoption, our liberation from mortality. It was with this hope that we were saved. Now to see something is no longer to hope: why hope for what is already seen? But if we hope for something we do not yet see, then we look forward to it eagerly and with patience.

When I meditate on this solemn but joyful passage my inner views are confirmed: God is the only as well as the supreme source for all the good and evil in creation. It seems that the function of evil in our lives is - by throwing us into confusion, pain and suffering - to cause us to move beyond the enclosed complacency of a safe, pleasant and sheltered existence in a full understanding of the nature of ourselves and our fellow creatures. "To know all makes one tolerant (Tout comprendre rend très indulgent)" is a universally known saying of Mme de Staël. This type of universal knowledge comes through a courageous encounter with the darkness as well as the light of creation, so that in the end we can say with Terence, who lived from 195 to 159 BC, "I am a man, I count nothing human alien from me (Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto)." Evil is therefore not to be removed so much as to be transfigured into a creation of light.

In cleansing psychically, the concern of the human agent is vitally important, because the powerful human will acting in a beneficial way initiates the process in the right direction. As we noted in chapter 2, God needs us as much as we need him for the work of creation, a work that has no ending until the end of time. It is no exaggeration to assert that evil influences emanate primarily from human sources, at least in our universe. On the other hand, the four cardinal virtues of justice, prudence, temperance and fortitude are combined with the three theological virtues of faith, hope and charity; and help cleanse the psychic atmosphere, and bring the indifferent psychic fraternity back to creative action. We may "pick up" emotional malaise from psychic sources, but rather than wallow in our gloom it is our duty to lift up the darkness to God's healing care by the practice of assiduous prayer. This is in fact our constant healing work on behalf not only of our fellows but also of the entire universe, which, as, as we remember "up to the present . . . in all its parts groans as if in the pangs of childbirth". This prayer will serve not only to heal the darkness in which we live, but also our own darkness, so that we may be cleansed of our vices and live instead in the joy of the sacrament of the present moment. If only our eyes could be focused on the wonder of life around us, we would move from the prison of the self to listen "while the morning stars sang in chorus and the sons of God all shouted for joy" (Job 38.7).

Chapter 10
Back to Index Page