Shamanism: What is shamanism?
Shamanism covers an assortment of beliefs and practices claiming the ability to travel to the axis mundi (pathway between heaven and earth; or world core) for the purpose of spiritual contacts. It is also described as being the “use of the archaic techniques of ecstasy that were developed independent of any religious philosophy -- the empirically validated, experientially operable techniques that produce ecstasy. Ecstasy is the contemplation of wholeness. Literally, ecstasy is the withdrawal of the soul from the body; mystical or prophetic exaltation or rapture characteristic of shamanism and visionary states, originally and naturally catalyzed by entheogenic plants; also, such states artificially induced by breath control, fasting, meditation, drumming and other shamanic and yogic practices. Entheogens come in many forms but most commonly from plants known as ‘psychoactive drugs.”1
Shamanism is considered to be of the occult. Their methods are similar to other occult practices and beliefs such as channeling and the use of spirits coming in the form of animals (called power animals and shape shifters). It is claimed that the practitioner takes on those shapes himself. Shamanism is found from Brazil, Columbia and Peru, to Mongolia, Native Americans and worldwide New Age believers among others.
Shamanism: Is there any potential harm in this?
There is strong interest in practices involving the use of herbal concoctions and hallucinogenic plants in Shamanism. One of the most popular is the Ayahuasca practice. It is sometimes made into a ‘brew’ or mixed with other plants in various forms. This plant (also called yage or vine of the dead) is found in most regions of the Amazon and comes with dangerous effects. One report says “Ayahuasca is not something to play with. It may even kill, not because it is toxic in itself, but because the body may not be able to stand the spiritual realm, the vibrations from the spirit world.”
Michael J. Harner,2 introduces the extremely intense and terrifying experiences in this summary:
- The soul is felt to separate from the physical body
- Visions of jaguars and snakes
- Visions of demons and/or deities
- Visions of distant persons, ‘cities’ and landscapes
- The sensation of seeing the detailed enactment of recent unsolved crimes
Shamanistic medicinal practices include the application of various ancient witchcraft techniques. Those treated with shamanistic approaches are easily drawn into deeper, darker occult practices. Shamanism opens a door to (evil) spirit possession and other forms of occult bondage. These rituals and methods can lead to intense physical pain and afflictions, temporary insanity, emotional depression, and powerful spiritual torment. The spirit world is very real, both Godly and demonic. All spirits are one or the other!
In a sense, shamanism is a religion of itself. However it is an ungodly (even anti-Godly) religion. As in the Garden of Eden, since Creation there has been the spiritual battle between dark and light, good and evil. The Bible tells us we cannot serve two masters. If we are not serving God, we are serving Satan. God forbids us to get involved in pagan and occult practices (Deuteronomy 18:14). And Galatians 5:16-23 tells us that the two spiritual forces are constantly fighting and we are never free from their conflict; they are fighting over our souls.
This passage ends by telling us that “anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says “...never sacrifice your son or daughter as burnt offering. And do not practice fortune-telling or sorcery, or allow them to interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is an object of horror and disgust the Lord.” Do you want to disgust God?
Shamanism: The offer of alternative power
God has created us with a free will to Choose Him or to succumb to evil ways. You should know:
- Satan uses deception and demonic spirits seeking our destruction through practices like Shamanism. He lures by false results and images. “Be careful! Watch out for attacks from the Devil, your great enemy. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for some victim to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
- God is more powerful than all that Satan can use against us. “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won your fight with these false prophets, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world” (1 John 4:4).
God equips us to stand against evil when we give ourselves to Him. He has given us the power of His Holy Spirit and equips us with a full armor so that we can take a stand against the devil’s schemes and deceptions as it says in Ephesians 6:10-18:
“A final word: Be strong with the Lord’s power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realm. Use every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared. In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit.”
2 Common Themes in South American Indian Yage Experiences
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