First introduction to how to distinguish good from malevolent spirits

Kneeling Saint Francis, by Francisco de Zurbaran
This page is part of an ERW course: Spiritual exercises, section Articles.
By John Eagles, September 24, 2009.

How to distinguish good from evil spirits is a huge topic and therefore this necessarily is only a first and limited introduction. Yet there are few things in life so important as to learn the difference between good and bad influences from the spiritual world.

There is no easy way to learn this. There are no simple tricks to guarantee that evil spirits could not approach you. There are so many reasons why malevolent spirits could come near to you that it is nearly impossible to secure that always and only good spirits will be with you.

Although it is important to pray and live faithfully, and although this may protect you against a number of bad spiritual influences, in this way you cannot completely prevent evil spirits from sometimes coming to you.

Why is that? First of all, we all go through a course of restoration. In our personal course of restoration situations come back from our own past and of that of ancestors or central figures of the past. If you have made mistakes in the past or if your ancestors or these central figures have done it, that alone makes it possible for certain evil spirits to approach you in situations of restoration.

Another reason why it can happen is when people around you have made conditions for these less-than-good spirits to come near to you. None of us lives in complete isolation. We relate to relatives and friends and they do the same to others whom we might not even know. These relationships can provide channels for evil spirits to approach us.

Sometimes we visit places that are inhabited by evil spirits.

It would be easy for us if all evil spirits showed themselves as dark, aggressive and ugly beings. Sometimes they do, but at other times they may pose as angels of light. The most evil spirits have perfected their crafts of deception and it is never easy to detect this. Realize also that evil spirits, angels or humans, have become more evil each time that they have influenced people on earth in a bad way. Most of the time they have a lot of experience with this.

Having said all this, the main way to prevent evil spirits from influencing you is by living a life of faith centered on God. This may not always prevent evil spirits to try to attack or approach you, but you will be able to pray and ask God and get help in that way. We should not expect God to protect us altogether, without doing our own part in this. As human beings we should learn to adequately deal with the spiritual world and therefore God cannot entirely do this job for us. God can train us but not keep us completely free from all the dangers coming from the spiritual world.

When we live a life of faith that is progressing, we can detect it in and around ourselves when something is going wrong. A life of love for God and doing that what God wants us to do is the best basis for finding out about evil spirits if they would come near to us or influence us. As soon as things start to go wrong with us and around us, we should be alarmed for the possibility that something in the spiritual world around us is not as it should be.

Some people call tragic events to be 'indemnity.' Although it is not necessarily or always wrong to see it this way, there is also the fact that indemnity can be paid voluntarily, and in that case tragedies don't need to happen. Many bad things can occur after evil spirits invaded and then we need to find out how to get rid of them again.


Question: Can your spiritual eyes give you an early or additional warning for evil spirits that could approach you?

What you see with your spiritual eyes would only help in the most simple cases, that is when evil spirits look dark and ugly and mean etc. Of course there exist people who feel attracted by such beings. But for religious people the problem is more with spirits who apparently are good. There's nothing to see that could warn you. For example, angels' specialism is in the field of energy. It is rather easy for evil angels to send out bright and shining light to impress people. In their normal and unguarded appearance these angels would look dark, but if they intend to deceive someone, they know how to look and appear bright and veeeery special. When you get more experience you ask yourself the question: "Does he not feel too special and shine too brightly?" That wondering then becomes the basis of prayer to discover what really goes on. In general, I would say that the highest spiritual gift is that of intuition, which is a sense of awareness related to our original mind and which is connected to God. The sense of intuition is much more important than any of the other spiritual senses. It gives you warnings that you may not understand but that help you to find out things. Good intuition is developed through sincere prayers and a life devoted to truth and to doing God's will.