Illiana Soltani became interested in the occult when she was 12-years-old because of the rejection that she experienced from her father after her parents divorced prior to Illiana’s birth.
In an interview with the 700 Club, Illiana believed her father’s rejection was due to the fact that she wasn’t good enough.
As she struggled with this deep emotional wounding, Illiana’s interest in the occult started with playing on an Ouija board with her friends, where she seemed to have the ability to predict people’s future.
She felt empowered as she found acceptance among her peers and even an identity, as some started calling her a witch.
By the time she was attending university, Illiana was reading Tarot cards.
Then she became involved with the Santeria, a polytheistic religion out of Cuba that worships several deities called oricha. Practitioners believe that individuals are born to one of these gods and are encouraged to find and link to that particular deity, which in turn will influence the person’s personality and life.
As part of this, they practise dark magic, rituals and even animal sacrifice.
As she embraced this new religion, Illiana eventually earned the title of ‘little witch’ among members of the Santeria group she was involved with.
But things changed the night she had a dream and saw her eyes turn red while looking in a mirror.
At the point, Illiana realized she needed to leave Santeria and its dark magic, so she left the group and threw away her idols and paraphernalia.
A week later, she was sick with internal bleeding and in the hospital. Even though members of the Santeria group were encouraging Illiana to return to Santeria, believing this would bring healing, she refused.
After her release from the hospital, Illiana continued to be tormented, as she started having intense dreams of demons trying to choke her.
Though she had left Santeria, Illiana was still very angry with God.
But God had a plan.
While Illiana was working at a bank, a coworker began sharing Jesus. Despite, rejecting this message because of her anger, while siting at her computer at work, she heard the words “wake up, the time is near.”
Illiana immediately sensed God was speaking to her and that night in the privacy of her home, Illiana prayed to Jesus asking for forgiveness for everything she had done.
And as she went to sleep, she heard her Heavenly Father call her His Beloved daughter (Psalm 68:5).
Now married with a son, Illiana’s life has been transformed through Christ.
But Illiana’s journey to the occult started because of the rejection she experienced from her father and as we look at Isaiah’s description of the Messiah, we see that the Lord experienced rejection on multiple levels.
He was despised and forsaken of men
A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief
And like one from whom men hide their face
He was despised and we did not esteem him (Isaiah 53:2-3 NASV)
Jesus was despised, forsaken, betrayed and people were even embarrassed by the Lord as they hid their face from Him. We see that happening as Christ’s family wanted to put the Jesus away because they thought He was crazy (Mark 3:21, 31-35).
Because Jesus experienced rejection on multiple levels, in addition to dealing with our sin, Christ’s death includes healing the rejection wounds that we have experienced.
As the Jewish leaders chose a murderer to be released instead of the Lord (Matthew 27:15-26), Jesus again experienced the ultimate rejection on the cross.
But in this, Christ, revealed the path to healing rejection as He prayed, “Lord forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Similarly, our inner healing from rejection starts with first forgiving those who have rejected you.