Real Zombies and the Exorcism of Mother Theresa
Article by Craig Hamilton-Parker. Many of the fears associated with paranormal events are a reflection of psychological processes. A tempting hypothesis is that many paranormal occurrences are a manifestation of the “dark side” of the human mind. The psychologist Carl G. Jung spoke about the part of ourselves that we reject and push away from our consciousness. For example, we may have childhood fears, or current fears about our sexuality or death, that we refuse to think about. We may also shun those things about ourselves that we would rather not know about–our weaknesses, anxieties, and insecurities. These things are repressed, pushed into the unconscious part of our minds, to reappear suddenly in frightening dreams or irrational behaviour.
Jung called this frightening aspect of ourselves the Shadow. It is everything in us that is unconscious, repressed, undeveloped, and denied. To have shadow, however, even in the dark rejected aspects of our being, so there must be light; positive undeveloped potential that we don’t recognize and don’t know is there because it is in the unconscious. We all have such a shadow, and a confrontation with it is necessary if we are to attain spiritual wholeness. Often we see this shadow side of our personality in other people. We may blame another for our own faults and make them the scapegoats for our own failings. Victims of their own irrational shadow do not take personal responsibility for their lives. Their failings are blamed on bad luck, bad omens, other people. Projection is an unconscious psychological mechanism. We all project onto other people aspects of ourselves that we deny and disown, and we refuse to identify with the projected quality or characteristic. It’s them–not me!
Supposed evil influences are often projections of our own hidden fears.
Zombies in Haiti
The African slaves who were transported to Haiti, for example, brought with them their own tribal superstitions and magical practices. These evolved and changed in line with the new conditions they faced. Coming from cultures that believed the universe to be a magical place, where man is born of magic and all men potential magicians, they naturally turned to sorcery to protect them from the hardships and injustices of slavery. One great fear was zombification. Zombies are people who appear dead and are buried, but are later dug up and brought back to life. The sorcery was probably a trick, using a drug to put the unfortunate victim into a temporary coma. Haitians were so terrified of loved ones becoming zombies, that corpses would be shot or strangled to save them from “lives” of enslavement. Zombie mythology is a reflection of the consciousness of an enslaved people.
During the struggle for independence, Haitian slaves vowed they would rather die than return to slavery. The zombie is a projection of the shadow of the slaves, and represents their deepest fears. The zombie myth also fascinates people today, representing as it does our own shadows and the aspects of our selves that we have buried.
Similarly, ghosts, haunting, magic, and superstition are often projections of our shadowy fears and, in particular, our worries about death and dying. This is why horror movies have such a popular appeal. They address the issues that frighten us and put a face to the monsters that we fear.
Fear of the Shadow
We conquer the fear of the shadow side of our selves when we gain spiritual illumination and self-knowledge; but few people understand the meaning of that term. “Self-knowledge” is widely confused with knowledge of one’s day-to-day personality. True self-knowledge requires us to discover the unconscious side of ourselves. Here in the darkness lies our undiscovered self and it is only by plunging into that shadow side of ourselves that we can discover our true nature. That’s how we learn to face and to fight our inner demons. The result is that we no longer fear the unconscious or project these hidden fears into the world around us in the guise of malevolent spirits.
The Exorcism of Mother Theresa
It may be that parts of ourselves that we reject may appear to us as something that can threaten or possess us. Mother Teresa was clearly a holy person, for example, yet letters written to her confessor reveal that she had many crises of faith. While so many looked to her for light and guidance, she was plagued with thoughts difficult to accept. “I am told God lives in me–and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul,” she wrote in one letter. Clearly, she too had her “dark night of the soul.”
Perhaps she was trying to rid herself of these inner fears, hidden in the shadow side of herself, when in the later years of her life she had an exorcism performed on her. This took place in a hospital in Kolkata, India, formerly known as Calcutta. The ritual of Catholic exorcism has its roots in the Bible, where it is described, in the New Testament, that Jesus healed afflicted people by casting out demons. Belief in the devil is one tenet of the church and it teaches that Jesus gave his apostles and the church the power to rid people of evil spirits in his name.
The Rite of Exorcism
The exorcism rite begins with the sign of the cross and the sprinkling of blessed water. The priest then reads a litany of the saints and seeks God’s mercy. This is usually followed by a recitation of the Psalms, either by the priest or with participation of others. Psalm-like prayers are usually said and the Gospel read aloud as the priest lays his hands upon the afflicted person while invoking the Holy Spirit. The Catholic creed is recited, baptismal promises are renewed, Satan is denounced, and then the Lord’s Prayer is recited. The priest displays the cross and traces the sign of the cross on the possessed person’s forehead. He then uses an imperative formula that begins with “I order you, Satan …” and goes on to denounce Satan as “prince of the world” and “enemy of salvation.” It ends with “Therefore, go back, Satan.” The rite concludes with a song or chant of thanksgiving, another prayer and a blessing.
Was She Possessed?
I am certain that Mother Teresa had no real demons. It was her shadow self that she feared. Her Missionaries of Charity are feeding 500,000 families, treating 90,000 leprosy patients and educating 2,000 children each year in Kolkata alone. Her work on behalf of the poor won her the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979. Clearly, she has lived according to the true love that was taught by Jesus and should have no fear of retribution from demons. But even the saintly push their fears into the darkness of the unconscious, where they can grow and fester until they can be mistaken as something demonic.