Catholic convert Peter Nation shares his experience with group at Catholic After Hours event
By Nathan Rumohr
A retired Catholic school teacher warned that even though the occult has a less prevalent role in today's Western society it should still be taken seriously.
Peter Nation, a former teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Regional Secondary School in North Vancouver, brought his personal experience to a talk about the occult at a Catholic After Hours event at the Irish Heather Pub Sept. 30.
"In 1972 I was instructed in transcendental meditation (TM)," Nation said. "We were told we could become one with God, and that was something I was very interested in."
Transcendental meditation, started by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, is based on the ancient Vedic tradition of enlightenment in India.
Nation became a teacher of TM while living in Victoria. He described the use of mantras, which he called "meaningless sounds." He said while meditating using TM he felt "things happen," and paid more money to continue studying the New Age movement.
He explained that mantras / occult powers are different from the powers God has given to saints throughout history.
"Mantras put you in touch with spiritual powers, but they're not the result of grace," he said.
He talked about how St. Thomas Aquinas had power to levitate because of his faith, not through the occult.
"These powers could be given by the grace of God to strengthen people's faith. They're distinctly different processes than using a mantra to contact an occult power, which is a technique."
Nation described how an "enlightened" TM teacher who had occult powers lured him into a cult in Victoria.
"He was credible enough to manipulate people," Nation said. "We became, as most of those groups do, obsessed by evil."
Nation, born an Anglican, described his experience in the cult as scary, but thinks that without the experience he wouldn't have found the Catholic Church. Many others who left the cult also joined the Church.
"I was a sincere seeker (of God)," he said. "I was meditating eight hours a day because I wanted occult power; I really wanted God. I think anybody who is sincere, God will draw to Himself."
Nation also talked about the occult in Judaism. He said he always wondered why the Jews continuously fell back into idol worship in the Old Testament.
"It didn't compute. Yahweh parted the Red Sea for them, fed them with manna in the desert, cured them when they were bitten by poisonous snakes," Nation said.
He referred to the book By Reason Alone, by Jacek Bacz, explaining that occult practices in ancient times were part of the cultural landscape. He said the Israelis weren't a weak people but the occult was very seductive.
"That's what really hit me and answered my questions," Nation said, pointing out that even Solomon fell into idolatry.
Nation also addressed the influence of the occult on popular activities such as yoga. He said yoga can be a gateway to occult powers, but if used in moderation for exercising it's not a threat.
"I don't like to generalize and say everything is risky or negative, but we have to be intelligent and sensitive and not fool with stuff that could be unhelpful for our spiritual lives," he said.
Erin McDougall, an attendee, asked Nation about the power of psychics, explaining she had a friend who believed in the occult-derived power.
"It does work," Nation said. "Otherwise the Catholic Church wouldn't bother warning us not to do it."