Wendy Stokes is a qualified counsellor, workshop facilitator and features writer. Her interests are: dreams, the Goddess, healing, personal growth, shamanism, ecology, holy sites, divination, channelling, Freemasonry, Mary Magdalene, etc., etc.
Belief in possession by evil spirits is a very ancient one. The earliest documents were found in a palace belonging to an Assyrian ruler of Assurbanipal in Nineveh. Written on a clay tablet dating from 650BC is an inscription of a desperate appeal of a man who is possessed by a tyrannical ghost. The ancient Hindu scriptures, 'Atharva Veda', details demonic possession. Some ancient Buddhist sects also describe deliverance of evil spirits. We are familiar with the cases described in the New Testament where Jesus meets a possessed man on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and directly addresses the spirit by asking “What is your name?” and is told, “My name is Legion” (that is an entire Roman army). The Roman army was in occupation in Israel at that time. The man pleads with Jesus not to command the spirits to depart but Jesus saw a large herd of cows nearby and directed the demons out of the man and into the swine herd (who charged to the cliff edge, threw themselves into the sea and were drowned).