K . . . this is really kind of "inside baseball" stuff as they say--and difficult to convey as it comes from very deep and personal esoteric experience and analysis but I will just throw it out there hoping it might be helpful to those who similarly like to dig deep and have an interest in the finer areas of personal spiritual/Spiritual experience. . . .
I recognized something that happened when I was in my teens and considering what way to go in life--that a particular, different "spirit" would arrive and influence me depending on the object of my will/purpose. . . . I had already figured out that, in life, it had to be one of two ways: the world or God. . . . .Instinctively? Intuitively? Spiritually?--I knew that it had to be one or the other. I didn't believe you could do/have both. When the life-course altering decision was reaching its zenith (it was somewhere in my 13th to 15th year of age) I recall sitting down to decide once and for all whom/what would I serve. I chose God (of course I believe HE chose me actually.) But that certainly didn't end the struggle, as I was not born again and the pull of the world (what I am here now delineating as "dark side rulers", spirits . . . immediately started waging a war where seduction was the primary weapon. They made certain "ways" possible and provided the tools to go there.
But I would veer back and forth . . . careening from extreme asceticism to worldly indulgence, as the tussle ensued. It did not help that virtually any and everyone that I tried to share the conflict with would always say, "why can't you have both? Surely you can be 'spiritual' AND have the world." And though deep down I didn't really believe that, several times I justified to myself forays into the worldly side with thoughts like, "Maybe I'm wrong--maybe you CAN have both. Maybe most people can't do both . . . but perhaps I'm special, a cut above and can pull it off."
I gravitated then to philosophies and spiritual paths that allowed for this bi-polar pursuit, such as the basically "Tantric" (left-hand path) synthesized teachings of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho). . . who was notable during his darshan sessions (meetings with disciples) for reading jokes from Penthouse alongside quotes and teachings from Lao Tzu, Jesus, Marx, Sankara, Churchill, Vivekananda or Ramakrishna. "You can't renounce 'the world'" he would say, "until and unless you have fully pursued and experienced the world to the nth degree! You can't lose your ego until after you have been a full-fledged egomaniac."
Now, I always loved music and wanted to be a recording artist and a rock star and that was the worldly part of my path which I combined with intense "spiritual" practices and study alongside--attempting to "have both".
Something I noticed early on in this whole journey . . . was that when I listened to and followed certain musicians . . . it was as if their "spirit" . . . or the spirit that guided them . . . came to and entered me. It always scared me, as again, I "intuited" that I was playing with fire . . . but the seduction was immensely powerful. Whenever I let that "spirit" lead me . . . it brought extra powers . . . as it were; new abilities beyond what I had before. It brought charisma and the ability to charm--as David Bowie sang it in "Modern Love": "It's not really work--it's just the power to charm--." And I realized that if allowed it to take full hold and direction . . . it would take me to the worldly goal in mind.
It brought heightened psychic powers, mind control and phenomenal artistic, lyrical abilities.
But, having originally decided on God (the REAL God) I knew I was playing with fire and would only allow the spirit to take me for stretches at a time before I would pull away and cut off contact. Nevertheless, once again the self-justifying part of me would start whispering, "You can do it . . . you can manage this thing--use it to get where you want to THEN abandon it for God. . . . "
Now, this is all just context to get to the main issue I am covering, which is how spirits ('dark side rulers') operate and how you can detect them. In this case, referring to this particular "spirit" which I engaged with, I called "Famus". I since have recognized that same spirit(s) (demon) in others. He/it has a definite personality and characteristics. I suspect he/they are the same ones that come to any and every one who . . . has artistic talents and wants to take those talents to the big stage--to become famous. And I could see that . . . if I were to continue going with that spirit . . . he/it would lead me right down that road. He could make things happen--seeming "coincidences", synchronicities . . . doors opening . . . etc., followed when I was in his train. I believe he is the demon who makes "stars".
The mystical spirit--the occult, "spiritual" spirit had a whole other kind of feel and influence. He/it also provided abilities--psychic, astral travel, seeing the future, reading minds, controlling minds, charisma etc., but also brought the sense of being "spiritual" . . . which included a subtle spiritual pride and sense of being better, more intelligent, perceptive, self-controlled . . . wrapped in a sort of gauzy blissfulness, detachedness. . . .
Occasionally (and think this one comes to most all young men) there was the spirit of wealth-seeking. It/he was not interested necessarily in artistic things, though it would use them, but mainly seduced through the allure of having wealth and power, influence. It was a different spirit and one that didn't much attract me.
And so on. . . .
Within one of these zones or areas of spirit influence . . . there are also minor spirits who are more specific in their character and territory. For instance, in the general area of the "spiritual", "mystical" . . . there was the spirit of yoga . . . the spirit of Tao . . . the spirit of gnosticism . . . the spirit of Buddhism . . . of Zen. . . . Each area had it's own flavor, feeling, seduction, allure, brought different heightened abilities. . . . The spirit of Odin (war, barbarism) . . . was quite different than the spirit of Zen.
I do believe that each of the spirits, guiding and ruling in their particular realms, can be drawn and placated through attention, calling, ritual . . . which is why people have for generations done just that with their offerings, altars, devotions etc. And I think that physical locations, where such prayers, devotions, offerings etc., have been made . . . tend to "house" those spirits. For instance, if you go into a building or to an outdoor area where devotees of witchcraft or Satanism or general occult have been practicing . . . you can feel the presence and influence of the targeted spirits hanging about--hence hauntings, poltergeists, demonic infestation. . . .
As to a Zen garden . . . I would consider this. . . . Nowadays, especially here in the West, practitioners of Zen and Buddhism often also combine . . . and synthesize and employ other mystical disciplines as well. Just go in to any occult/new age bookstore and ask the witch at the counter if she (or he) is into meditation . . . and crystals . . . and incense burning . . . and astrology . . . and chakra balancing . . . yoga . . . "past life regression" etc., and they are likely to say yes to most or all and more. . . .
When a Zen garden is made and dedicated, chances are, someone involved also was invoking blessing (from the spirits?) upon it, consecrating it to . . . ie., the "spirit" of contemplation, peace, mindfulness and brought with them the spirits of all those other areas as well. Prayers and offerings may have been made toward the "spiritual" objective of the place, which will not have been Jesus.
I know the spirit of Zen . . . I studied and practiced it on and off for several years and one year intensely. I wrote and recorded the song "Ignition" during that time, btw . . . and it is indeed one of the more "hands off" types, and does bring an element of "stillness" . . . clarity . . . and certain kind of "peace". It also started giving me, again, the "special" abilities . . . quite powerfully. Hence, the seductiveness of it, as it claims to sort of be anti-spiritual and wholly "existential"; which is its great conceit. Indeed, there IS a spirit involved, contrary to Zen's claims and I suspect that anywhere a Zen garden has been thoughtfully designed and designated . . . there too will be the spirit of Zen . . . wanting to take you away (as all these spirits do) from dedication and whole devotion to the One True God--take you away from Jesus--the REAL Jesus. (Oh yes, there is a "Zen Jesus" that it/they will try to convince you of.)
But I must also add this. Since being born again . . . and out of the control of these dark side rulers, the experience of them is a lot different. I am referring to that part of the sanctification process whereby as the old hymn says: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace." I can still listen to David Bowie or the Stones . . . but that original "luster" is gone--there is no longer any enticement to be them or like them--to have their spirits with me. All such things of the world have lost their allure and savor, though I can still appreciate them in a sort of disconnected, intellectual way (as all talent and gifts ultimately come from God.)
Now, if and when I listen to the same music as use to bring "Famus" and his influence . . . it is as if there is barrier around me which he can't penetrate. It is like I am surrounded by a glass perimeter; I can see him, can vaguely feel his old seductions, but they are inert, have no hooks in me . . . are apart from me and cannot/do not enter and have any control. The same thing happens if I walk through a New Age bookstore or attend a city art fair where all kinds of occult things and people (art and artists) are about . . . I detect that old mystical spirit all about . . . but it no longer holds has any seduction for me. It stays on "the outside". There's no pull or attraction. It's like water off a duck's back. . . .
From this safe position . . . I can see, ie., the spirit of wealth-seeking . . . the spirit of indulgence, gluttony, covetousness, fame, spiritual pride, mysticism, lust, "cosmic consciousness", yoga or whatever . . . but they all are on "the outside", banging haplessly on the protective, Holy Spirit "glass" perimeter . . . banging up against like a moth seeking light bangs against the window from the dark, trying to get into the house from where the light shines. . . .
While these things (spirit beings) may be initially drawn to the light, however, they don't like to stay long in the light, and so, even though they are swirling about, looking for hosts throughout this dark world . . . I find that they are of no real threat or concern . . . where the Holy Spirit is ensconced and holds sway. There are plenty of other fish to fry, so why bother getting burnt by salt and light?
At the same time, I am always alert and cautious and observant of their attempts to "break in" . . . and do not casually or arrogantly enter their domains for no good purpose. They cause trouble, mainly by infecting and influencing the unsaved, who then cause troubles and distractions and hurt the unprotected (who you may love and care for and may be in your orbit). So, in general I don't seek or mess with them, but also do not go around paranoid or afraid, but find . . . that staying close to and focused on The Lord is sufficient to keep them at bay . . . unless, of course, He has some good purpose in allowing them to harry or chastise (the disciple); which then I take with a grain of salt, BEING salt, and continue to trust and thank Him for everything.