Today I was going through files on my computer. I don't clean out nearly as often as I should, so I ended up deleting 3.20 GB after going through only a small percentage of folders.
In going through those files, I found a bunch of files from 2007 until maybe 2013. Those were the worst years of my past. Those years, as I admittedly mention quite often, weren't very good, full of occult-influenced black metal, occult-influenced emotions, and occult-influenced beliefs, despite my almost constant faith in the existence of God and Jesus. It's astounding how differently I perceive things now. Let me elaborate a bit. Even back then, I loved art. I often tried, albeit poorly, to recreate a lot of the esoteric visions I would receive, and would make artwork based on them. Additionally, I had a tendency to save images I found online that resembled the kinds of things that I would see. (Examples might be... certain kinds of space images, certain types of nature photography, abstract "spiritual"/"New Age" images, etc.)
Like how an island feels "warm" and "tropical" or a warm bath may feel "clean" and "refreshing", occultism carries feelings I've seen described as sticky, gross, or greasy, and I would agree with that. Even when I was living in it, I consciously picked up on those feelings in my life. But now, if I could feel it, why didn't I leave it?
It's because I had mistakenly come to perceive the feelings generated by those practices and beliefs, as feelings objective to life itself. Simply, I thought life itself was as bad as occultism made it feel. Emotions of hopelessness, animal-like anger towards others, and searching for something I couldn't find were frequent.
"i once had a light to follow
but it's long since dimmed and died
now i'm trapped in my own seclusion
too negative, dark and benumbed to cry
all i feel is depression
tortured sadness, gloom and woe
i long to scream but life prevents me
trapped in nothing with nowhere to go"
Even after the life-changing prayer I sent in (I think) 2009, I had come to think that people who weren't as miserable as me were simply blind to reality. I confused the emotions that encompassed my own emptiness as something that tainted the real world, the fabric of reality itself. It never occurred to me once that I could be causing my own problem. I never thought that a switch in focus could be what I needed. I continued seeking the things that appealed to me in my esoteric visions and were further perpetuated by the "spirit guides", which I thought could have been nothing other than benevolent beings sent from God Himself.
"i need my guide but he feels
so long gone and far away
doesn't need a worthless lost
cause like me, but i need him today
but i've fallen and i lost my way
far from hope and far from home
i'm begging you to come find me
i can't go on anymore alone, so
i ask where are you now?
i'm lost, broken, and alone
i need your guidance now
to show me the way back home"
God moved me on a path in life where I found progressively more experimental music, which I loved more and more, and the bands I found were progressively farther away from that negativity. The music was, I suppose, too strange and abstract for evil. At the same time, I started finding more Christian black metal bands, who obviously weren't occult-influenced. At the same time still, I began finding more music outside the realm of metal from the beginning, so my tastes were overall broadening all around. A point I've made in a place or two before, is, the influence of occultism becomes more obvious the less you're around it. It works like fog, it prevents your vision from seeing clearly, and when it blows away, you'd be surprised at all that is actually around you... I became more aware of how much I needed God, and how much I didn't need the things in my visions.
"i need my footing, i need a path
i need the light only you have
i tire of the sorrow, i tire of the pain
i tire of the regret that's driving me insane
sick of being lonely, sick of the numbing black
sick of all this darkness, i just want my hope back
i want to follow you again, lead me to my home
i want to stand up high again, but i can't stand alone, so
i ask where are you now?
i'm lost, broken, and alone
i need your guidance now
to show me the way back home!"
It was hard to let go of a few things, because my heart was still set on them, rather than on the basic truths of God. This manifests in many ways to many people, but the same idea is there. For me, I would nitpick the Bible in an attempt at justifying my views on certain things. For example, I might say, "Well, sure this verse says that we only have one life, but that's only one verse! And it could be interpreted in this way because it never specifically says we're not reincarnated, or..." Another one I liked to use a lot back in the day was the idea that the things I did (which were basically spells and occult-influenced "psychic" abilities) might have been powers bestowed by God Himself. This led me to a point where I had to make some choices. For one thing, I found a certain webpage that caused me to question a bunch of things. If that weren't enough, the Bible, as it were, stated increasingly clearly that these were not God-given abilities, and the verse about having one life became increasingly hard to ignore. God had led me this far on my path in life, and it was so much better than the evil I had left behind in pleading to Him, so I decided to trust Him one more time. It wasn't always easy to come to certain conclusions.
The primordial darkness, and in my soul I feel
The weight of melancholy, I find it alone, I fight it alone
The black void inside me will only grow here in
The decrepit sadness, I find it alone, I fight it alone
I stretch out my arms high, and pray for a sign
In this gloomy shadow, I find it alone, I fight it alone
The black darkened river my soul drudges through
The whole world it consumes, I find it alone, I fight it alone
Far off in the cosmos lies all my tranquil dreams
Oh God, end the sadness, I find it alone, I fight it alone
God continued to shape me, and I continued to allow Him. The cloud has since left me. All of the confusion that surrounds those lost in esotericism and occultism is finally, as of middle-late 2014, falling away. I can look at things differently now, and I can finally, truly smile again. I can see the light in the world, and not just the darkness. In looking at the files on my computer from the past days, the emotions from the past came back to mind. Just looking at them was enough to fill me with despair; if God weren't watching the whole time, I would never have made it through so many years of living in it, surrounded by it. God's forgiveness, as I realized upon beginning to write this post, is a lot like the process of deleting those files from my computer, the process which inspired this post in the first place. I deleted files that were on my computer as a result of occult beliefs and practices that were harming me. Now, the files are no longer there - the occult influence they had is gone now. I can no longer see them, and be reminded of them. My computer has been cleaned of things that made it worse. In effect, God has done the same thing for me. He removed the occultism from my life, and through the forgiveness promised through Jesus Christ, God has blotted out all of the wrong I'd done in those days. I've heard that deleted files still sit on your computer (and phone, etc) somewhere, but are basically impossible to access. Likewise, until the end of the world actually comes, traces of those days will still linger in this world - posts I wrote (and extensively later tried to correct in some way), the memories that linger, what have you - but they're well-hidden by now, and are long, long past from my life.
This is God's goodness! It's so easy to start anew and be forgiven for your wrongdoings! All it took was a change of focus in my life! While the process itself wasn't particularly "easy" on my end, it was much, much easier than continuing to stay away from the path He wanted for me! And once you learn to trust Him, it becomes even easier! Forgiveness is so simple!
If you want to leave behind your past and turn to God, He is absolutely willing to hear you! He will protect you, and guide you! By the way, I've heard fear expressed that evil forces will hurt/kill you if you become Christian. The devil will not be able to hurt you. God will protect you. There is a world out there beyond the spiritual prison you're in. It's full of pain, but it's also more full of joy than you can imagine. God is always listening if you choose to ask.
May He bless you all according to His perfect will. In Jesus' name. Amen.
The lyrics in italics in this post are from a song I wrote in 2008-2009, and never intend to use for anything, other than to make a point here, and are (c) Nocturnal Iridescence, 2014. All rights reserved.