OCCULTISM IN EDUCATION
  DR. IRMHILD HORN
Occultism refers to a concentration of pagan/heathen beliefs and superstitions and subjects such as hypnotism, mind power, astrology, divination (fortune-telling), extra-sensory perception and a multitude of similar topics. Such topics have traditionally been regarded by Westerners as of doubtful intellectual responsibility. However, since the 1970ís occult ideas have gradually dispersed themselves throughout Western culture. In education, occult ideas are presented as alternative learning methods. In the past these methods were mainly restricted to various extra-curricular learning and motivational courses, but they are now establishing themselves as acceptable class-room practice.
Occult elements in alternative learning methods
The occult elements in alternative learning methods are mystical and magical techniques such as Eastern meditation, e.g. yoga and transcendental meditation (TM), occult visualization (also called creative visualization, guided imagery, path working or shamanic visualization) and the stimulation of supposed energy points in the body. Occult techniques are well established in psychotherapy due to the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung (1875-1965), who admitted that Eastern and ancient Gnostic ideas gave substance to his psychological theories. The use of occult techniques in education are therefore in line with the present psychological thrust in educational theory which has relegated knowledge transfer and character formation to minor positions, and instead emphasizes holistic harmonious development, and popular psychotherapeutic exercises are regarded as a means to such development.
Eastern or any other pagan meditation can never be separated from the undergirding religious aim, despite the claim, also made by certain Christians, that it can be implemented in a religiously neutral manner to releave stress and to promote an unimpeded flow of energy through body and mind. The latter idea is in any case not religiously neutral, but derives from Eastern pantheism which posits the existence of a universal flow of divine, life-giving energy, (called chi in Taoism, ki in Buddhism and prana in Hinduism) and the existence of energy points (meridians) in the body which must be stimulated to improve the flow of energy. This belief undergirds educational kinesiology (brain gym) which is recommended as educational method in Curriculum 2005.
THE SPIRITUAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL DANGERS OF ALTERNATIVE LEARNING METHODS
A great danger of alternative learning methods is that of demonic contact. Carl Jung, who popularized visualization as psychotherapy, recognized that grotesque and frightening forces may appear and he warned therefore that visualization should not be done with children. A demon can, however, also appear as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14), and the visionary then believes he has contacted a benign and wise inner spiritual guide. Contact with an inner guide is one of the aims of practising visualization in the classroom. Another danger is that meditation and visualization encourage psychological escapism and ultimately schizophrenia. Psychological escapism is actively taught. There are various fantasy scripts in educational books that require children to construct a safe imaginary place to which they are to escape for solace in times of unhappiness and stress. This is highly irresponsible; when faced with acute emotional trauma the person can lose all contact with reality and retreat wholly into his/her own fantasy world, in other words, the person later becomes schizophrenic.
As Christians we must protect our children from alternative learning methods. Such methods are not learning methods, but an introduction to pagan religious rituals. We must teach our children to apply Biblical principles for stress relief and emotional stability and to cope with their school work. We must also teach them Biblical virtues - responsibility, conscientiousness, perseverance, humility and self-discipline.

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