Allan Kardec

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473. Can a spirit temporarily assume the body of a living person, meaning, can it enter an animate body, and act in place of the spirit incarnated in it? “A spirit does not enter a body the way you enter a house. It integrates itself with an incarnate spirit possessing the same faws and qualities so that they may act in unison, but it is always the incarnate spirit who acts like he wishes upon the matter enveloping it. No other spirit can replace the one incarnated in a specifc body because a spirit is inextricably tied to its body until the end of its material life.”

474. If there is no such thing as possession or the cohabitation of two spirits in the same body, is it possible for one soul to be overpowered by another so that it sees itself “subjugated” or “obsessed” to the point of having its will somehow paralyzed?
“Yes, and it is this domination that constitutes what you call possession. You must understand that this domination is never established without the willing participation of the spirit who subjects to it, either due to its weakness or by its desire. People often have misidentifed cases of epilepsy or insanity for possession, when they really need a physician rather than an exorcist.”

The word possession, as popularly understood, presumes the existence and cohabitation of demons, that is, a category of beings of a wicked nature, with a person’s soul in his or her body. Since demons do not exist in the aforementioned sense, and since two spirits cannot simultaneously inhabit the same body, there is no such thing as possession according to the idea normally attached to that word.. You should understand the word possessed defned only as the absolute domination of a soul by an imperfect spirit to whom it has surrendered.

475. Can a soul drive degraded spirits away and free itself from their control?
“You can always rid yourself of any burden if you are resolutely determined to do so.”

476. Could the allure of a wicked spirit be so complete that the victim is unaware of it? In such a case, could a third party end the overpowering? If so, what condition should the person fulfill?
“The willpower of a moral individual may be useful by attracting the cooperation of good spirits. The more honest a person is, the more power that person has to drive away imperfect spirits and attract good ones. Nevertheless, this third person would be helpless in such a case if the one who is subjugated were open to the efforts made on his or her behalf. Some individuals delight in dependence that fatters their tastes and desires. Impure individuals at heart cannot exercise any liberating infuence, because they are despised by good spirits and bad ones do not fear them.”

477. Do exorcisms have any power over bad spirits?
“No, when bad spirits see someone seriously trying to cast them out by such means, they laugh and persist in their efforts.”

478. Well-intentioned individuals are sometimes obsessed. What is the best way to free oneself from obsessing spirits?
“To tire their patience and ignore their suggestions. Show them that they are wasting their time. They go away when they see that their efforts are fruitless.”

479. Is prayer an effective means of ending obsession?
“Prayer is always an effective means of obtaining help, but you must remember that reciting a few choice words is not enough to get what you want. God helps those who help themselves, but not those who limit themselves to only asking for help. Obsessed persons must do their utmost to cure themselves of the faws that attract bad spirits to them.”

480. What should we think of the instruction to cast out devils, as mentioned in the Gospels?
“That depends on the meaning you attach to the word devil. If you mean a bad spirit who overpowers a human being, it is obvious that it will be driven away when the person being obsessed destroys its infuence. If you attribute an illness to the devil, you may say that you have driven the devil away when you have healed your sickness. A statement may be true or false, depending on the meaning attributed to certain words. The most important truths may seem ridiculous when you only consider them in the form in which they are presented, and when a metaphor is taken literally. Understand this well, and remember it, for it is of general application.”

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