Knowing the difference between the genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit and the counterfeit gifts of the enemy takes careful discernment.
Speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, wisdom, music and reverence are gifts of the Holy Spirit which are aimed to uplift and encourage the Christian community, said Moira Noonan.
People are predisposed to receive these gifts if they have such virtues as docility, humility and modesty, Noonan said.
"These gifts are very different from a New Age practitioner who practises as a metaphysician, one who is trained in secret knowledge and esoteric ways of receiving knowledge, from master to disciple, not through docility, but through power and control and domination," she said.
A former New Age practitioner and now a Catholic author who speaks against the New Age movement, Noonan is the author of Ransomed From Darkness, after which the Edmonton Catholic Renewal Services' spring conference was named. She gave a series of talks at the March 15-16 conference, attended by 200 people at St. Andrew's Centre.
"Ransomed From Darkness is biblical, and it means that we have been delivered from the enemy, the devil, into the kingdom of light. That's why I quote a lot of Scripture in my talks.
"My soul was in a battle, and I didn't even know it. The battle got deeper and darker all the time until God ransomed me from darkness into his marvelous light," she said.
"I was clairaudient where I could see movies in my head of what was going on in people's lives in front of me. I could see their whole lifestream, their great-grandparents, where they immigrated from, and where they are today."
People who practise such psychic gifts have power and control over another human being, sometimes against their will.
"Psychic gifts are not from the Holy Spirit, whether it's psychic healing, Reiki, mental telepathy, ESP, any of those kinds of things," said Noonan.
"The Holy Spirit never goes against the will of the person. God doesn't interfere with our free will, so why should we let practising psychics and hypnotists interfere with our will?"
Practices such as Reiki, Rolfing and reflexology, since they are incompatible with both Christian teachings and scientific evidence, are deemed inappropriate for Catholic institutions.
Gifts from God are not something that can be conjured up. His gifts are not something one can demand. They are something given freely to us.
"We really have to be open to the gifts that God gives us because the human spirit has great capacity for self-deception. Satan is the father of lies, a master counterfeiter," said Noonan.
She strongly advises against toying with anything in the New Age realm, whether it's crystal healing, or playing Dungeons and Dragons.
"The worst thing I did in high school was watch I Dream of Jeannie, a TV show about magic, which is nothing compared to the full-blown Wicca clubs that we have today," said Noonan.
If one's faith is strong enough, it can sustain someone from delving with deeper curiosity into these things.
Her heart goes out to those young people who have not been properly catechized in their faith and, instead, fall prey to the delusion of counterfeit gifts.
"One of the ways we can prevent young people from getting curious and fascinated is by giving them a deeper faith formation and deeper catechesis," she said.
Religious syncretism is common among many Catholic families she meets. In many instances, they have compromised their Christianity by merging it with other religious beliefs. Some Catholics have Virgin Mary statues in their home and practise their faith diligently, but then they bring in a feng shui practitioner who demonizes their house, she said.
Almost all such New Age methods are idolatry, which goes against the First Commandment.
"Idolatry weakens the faith and can block the graces of the Holy Spirit. People tell me that they go to Mass, go to Communion, pray the rosary, but God doesn't answer their prayers," said Noonan.
"I talk to them a little bit further and I find out that they read their horoscope every day. Their fascination is what hinders them and keeps them from having a pure heart for God."