ASK FATHER: I bought an icon at a “esoteric new age shop”

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

I saw a beautiful “our Lady of Perpetual help” icon at an esoteric new age shop.
I could not help, but buy her… and got her blessed. I call her the
Rescue Icon-
Do I have to fear, that there are any demonic attachments to that icon- given the place where she has been??
Usually, I don’t buy anything in such stores.

GUEST PRIEST/EXORCIST RESPONSE:

Often Catholic images sold in such stores are made with nefarious intent and cursed. This is an old tactic that began in Cuba with Africans who pretended to be Catholic and associated various saints with their own demons.

I always counsel people to avoid such places therefore.

Since such things can act as an indirect fortuna they ought to be exorcised and broken, burnt, and thrown in a river.

If she can’t find a priest to exorcise it she can follow the subsequent steps.

Fr. Z adds:

A “fortuna” is a cursed object.  It can be just about anything, offered to Satan and then given or sold to a person to cause addictions and calamities in the lives of those who have or use them. Illegal drugs and tattoo ink or even food items can be cursed in this way.

The point about throwing in a river is that water is flowing, running.   It was right, for example, for the young Austrian – perhaps by instinct – to throw the nasty Pachamama demon idols into the Tiber.  Ideally, they should have been exorcised and then broken before they were pitched.

 

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22 Responses to ASK FATHER: I bought an icon at a “esoteric new age shop”

  1. JGavin says:

    Excellent point. Perhaps fellow readers could point this person to reliable retailers to purchase this Image? Specifically with Icons, since they are not necessarily images with which Western Christians are familiar. Is an Orthodox vender acceptable? There were concerns raised about Monastery Icons years ago. The allegation being that they originated from a syncretic sect ie practicing some form of Hinduism mixed with Orthodox Christianity. The Internet being rife with misinformation, I have read different stories.

  2. ChesterFrank says:

    I thought it interesting that you mentioned Cuba. I was wondering about Haiti. In that country the majority of people are Catholic, but voodoo is still significant in that culture and Catholic statues and Holy Cards often are more attached to voodoo than Catholicism. That is not saying that Haitian Catholics aren’t devout Catholics, it’s just saying that in that country (and the Caribbean) the cultures do collide. The same is probably true in South America. I won’t mention that idols name.

  3. G1j says:

    Seriously!!!! I’ve rescued many a statue, crucifix, rosary center off of EBay and ETSY and I have to be concerned if they have curses or hexes or have demonic attachments? I’ve been a devout, attentive, faith searching and learning Catholic my entire life and this is the first I’ve ever heard of such things. Now I’m concerned about what I may have invited in to our home. Why has this not been resounded from the ambo from our priests over the years. Another head shaker for sure.

  4. majuscule says:

    This has me worried about a piece of turquoise and silver jewelry which I inherited. There’s a good possibility that it was made by a Native American. It’s not an image, Christian or not, but could have a pagan connotation. The relative I inherited it from was a believing Christian and wore it as jewelry. But I am wondering if it could have had a religious use in the past.

    I was going to have it blessed before attempting to wear it but now I am thinking I should not wear it at all.

    Can’t be too careful these days.

    [As one exorcist told me, “Fear isn’t a good counselor. Prudence is. Prudence is. If we are in a state of grace and live a life of prayer and virtue curses can be frustrated and made impotent – depending on the type of magic used, the person who did (related or not), and so many other contingencies.” Also, let us not forgot God’s loving providence. If there are problems manifesting that might be the result of such objects, that’s one thing. If there aren’t any problems, that’s another. So, say your prayers, strive to be in the state of grace, use sacramentals and the sacraments well.]

  5. JTH says:

    An exorcist priest once told me to avoid buying anything used if at all possible for the same reason.

  6. Ages says:

    Related: Don’t buy products from MONASTERY ICONS. They are a syncretistic buddhist-quasi Catholic cult. As one bishop I know has said, their icons are fit only to be burned. If you or your parish have their icons, get RID of them.

  7. B says:

    I don’t understand why flowing water…

  8. majuscule says:

    Someone mentioned Etsy…

    I happened to be looking around for portable altars just in case…well, you know…

    Do not go to Etsy, believe me. For some naive reason I thought a good Catholic craftsperson might be selling them there. And maybe they are…but I didn’t want to wade through the evil stuff I saw there.

    If anyone is interested in a portable altar (catacombs, you know) go to a reputable maker of Catholic portable altars.

    As Fr. Z has written

  9. ChiaraDiAssisi says:

    Save up your money and commission or buy an icon from a Catholic Artist or Iconographer. :)

  10. Markus says:

    Majuscule,
    Living in the SW, with many Pueblo Native Americans, I found that they are some of the most devout Catholics I have encountered in the US. As I am associated with many of the jewelry artists, the vast majority appear to be God fearing and honest people, unlike many whom move here. They handmake their work, not produced in countries like China which most statues are made today. Silversmithing was taught to them by the Spanish conquistadors. The oldest venerated statue of Our Blessed Mother (in the US) is here, much longer than the Anglos landed at Plymouth Rock. There annual celebrations are called “Feast Days” after their patron saint. Mission churches at all of the Pueblos are active. To see the “Our Father” performed in a ritual dance, chanted in Tewa, is an experience I will never forget.

  11. LadyPilgrim says:

    I’m a new subscriber here and didn’t really expect my first posting to be about something like this, but the comment about Monastery Icons has me concerned. Is there more information on this? I actually have some of those. What should I do with them?

  12. TWF says:

    I struggle with the idea of BREAKING an image of the Mother of God because you believe it may be cursed. Its still an image of Our Lady, no? I get burning it…we can burn sacramentals for various reasons… but breaking it? I couldn’t bring myself to break an image of something/someone sacred even if I had reason to believe it might be cursed. Burn yes, but not break.

  13. I am going to impose comment moderation. Let’s sloooow down here.

  14. kimberley jean says:

    Stay away from Etsy. I almost bought a rosary from a witch there. She had beautiful rosasries but she also made wiccan stuff and Monastery Icons produces some pretty vile stuff. I saw one icon of Our Lord that was shocking. The worst thing was that it was in a church gift shop.

  15. Ages says:

    Re: Monastery Icons.

    The cult is known as Light of the Spirit Monastery. It is run by an Abbot George Burke, aka Swami Nirmalananda Giri. The “iconographer” is also a member of the monastery and paints icons of Buddhist “saints” as well. You can read about their heresy on ocoy.org, complete with icons featuring Monastery Icons’ distinctive style. If you look into the federal business filings, George Burke is listed as the head of Light of the Spirit Monastery (registered as a church) and Monastery Icons (an LLC). If you dig into both websites, you can also find many of the same photos on both.

    Burke/Giri is a prolific writer with many titles available on Amazon about Jesus being a Yogi, traveling to India rather than ascending to heaven, and all kinds of heresy. It is clear they use the funds collected from unsuspecting Christians to fund their publishing operation. Don’t support it.

    As to whether it matters, aside from funding a cult, I think Western Catholics discovering Eastern iconography need to understand icons are not just artwork. This is not like a factory making forged Kincaid paintings. Iconography comes with an entire mystical theology that can’t just be discarded because we like the picture.

    Iconography is scripture in living color. It is a spiritual discipline which is even more important than the artistic skill. Whether the image seems to depict a saint is fairly irrelevant if the prayer and meditation accompanying its painting was offered to demons. The image and the prayers are mystically linked, that is the theology.

    That is why the bishop I mentioned said these were fit only for burning. Another, the Abbot of an actual monastery, flatly said of a Monastery Icon purportedly of Jesus, “that is not Jesus.” Same with the Virgin or any saint. It’s an impostor, a demon appearing as an angel of light as scripture warns.

    This is from my own original research, but you can find a lot more, from both Catholic and Orthodox sources, if you just search for “Monastery Icons cult.”

  16. Ages says:

    All that to say, there are plenty of Christian iconographers and reproducers who practice the spiritual disciplines properly and offer their work to Christ. Support them.

  17. David Spaulding says:

    Two things, Father:

    1) I had no idea that demons can be attached to things. I don’t know where I picked up the idea that we have to invite evil into our lives but that apparently mistaken belief underpins my scoffing at most horror movies. Portals to hell, cursed objects? I have been working on the assumption that this was the stuff of fantasy unless we do something to invite it. Thus, we have no occult objects, no Ouji Boards or anything, because seeking to commune with the supernatural is inviting evil but how do we function if the objects around us, inherited and purchased, may have come into contact with devils?

    2) When I was a kid, the parish priests would do annual house visits to bless homes. As the parish grew, this practice was discontinued. No one has talked about this above but is this practice connected to the subject of this post?

    [Yes, I do think there is a connection. In many urban Italian neighborhoods, during Easter season signs go up all around a certain block of buildings indicating on what day the local priest would be coming around to bless houses. There is also a blessing of houses at Epiphany and also one throughout the year, not just Easter. It just makes sense to have your dwelling blessed. And it anything else manifests itself, then additional steps can be taken. But remember, that sometimes something falling off a shelf, and the like, is just because of a breeze.]

  18. NOCatholic says:

    At a minimum, it seems prudent to buy icons only from trustworthy Catholic stores and businesses.

    [Indeed, that would be prudent. If anyone is looking for such, I suggest Royal Icon Studio. There is an ad for them on the right sidebar of this blog.]

  19. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Fr. Z,
    There is a website, Countdown to the Kingdom, which features unapproved mystics. The website is currently behind a large-scale promotion of the messages of a Canadian priest who claimed “chastisement” would begin this fall. One of this website’s videos on this priest had 1 million+ views. (Two bishops associated with the priest have issued public warnings.)

    Anyway, the website now is linked to messages from another seer, Luz de Maria, who says certain essential oil combinations can prevent Covid. The Countdown website links to one of the website founders’ family business, which sells essential oils.

    Question: Are there spiritual problems in purchasing oils associated with a potentially false seer? Are there problems following instructions from a seer to concoct potions to cure disease? Can curses, etc., attach to products sold in conjunction with false messengers?

    The outfit that this website links to for oils has a reputation for New Age products as well. But, mostly, I want to ask about the dangers transmitted in doing what some (false?) seer says to do.

  20. KateD says:

    Oh! That’s interesting but makes total sense!

    THANK YOU!!!

    My husband will ecstatic to hear we won’t be spending anymore money “rescuing” catholic-y things from antique stores and garage sales.

  21. KateD says:

    Here’s something related. We were in the car driving by a field and my by 7 daughter who was maybe 7 at the time yelled, “Jesus!” Pointed at the field and said, “Mom! Pull over!” It was out of character for her to be so forceful, so I pled over. Then as she was getti g out, I said, “What ever it is, it doesn’t help nor justify using the Lord’s name in vain!”. SH
    he said, “I didn’t” as she brought a priests sick call set to the car. I thought oh, that can’t be good. She pointed out the parish secretary lived near by and figured some priest had parked here, then placed the set on the car roof and forgot and drove away….which was a reasonable assessment. We had the set blessed and she and her dad restored it (the corpus had come off and the wood was weathered.

    But one thing that bugs me still is that the corpus’ head falls to the left rather than the right. Isn’t that odd? A friend said there was probably a mix up with the mould used at the factory.

  22. Michaella says:

    Can any priest exorcise the object, or does it need to be the diocesan exorcist? It would make sense if there were different rules for exorcising objects than for people. Just want to make sure I don’t waste priests’ precious time.

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