By Nanci Des Gerlaise
(author of Muddy Waters: an insider’s view of North American Native Spirituality)
But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. (1 Timothy 4:7)
But I [say], that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. (1 Corinthians 10:20; emphasis added)
Native American Spirituality revolves around myths and visions—just like the religions of the nations surrounding Israel in ancient times. Its totems were idols, and as Paul said, when you pray to an idol, you’re praying to demons. Thus, shamanism is a form of demonology.
To become a devotee of Wovoka, the Paiute false Christ, one, in effect, would be saying that Jesus Christ was a shaman. Wovoka mistook magic for the power of the Holy Spirit, much like Simon the Sorcerer did in Acts 8:9–24. He would not at all be lacking for company now, for sadly enough, a growing number of professing Christian leaders are currently promoting this same heretical view. Combining occult techniques (e.g., yoga, chanting, trance-like states, centering prayer) with Christian concepts has already become all too popular now as more and more people seek experiences through altered states of consciousness over the narrow way of truth as found in Scripture, which teaches repentance, humility, and a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.
Shamanism refers to beliefs and practices focused on communication with the demonic spirit realm. There are many variations throughout the world, though all forms of shamanism share some basic beliefs. There are also many myths among those who practice shamanism. Take a look at some of these lies and compare these with the Word of God:
Lie/Myth: The spirits can play important roles in human lives.
Truth: The spirits are deceiving demons masquerading as helpful spirits. “Therefore it is no great thing if his [Satan’s] ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness” (2 Corinthians 11:15). The role of these deceiving spirits is to bring human beings into bondage, and following them is the opposite of following the Holy Spirit and living in freedom.
Lie/Myth: The shaman can control and/or cooperate with the spirits for the community’s benefit as a whole.
Truth: To the contrary! The evil spirits control the shaman who is in terrible bondage. Jesus Christ does not share His kingdom with evil spirits; neither does God share His glory with another. In fact, He has reserved a place for them in Hell. And when they inhabited or possessed a person, Jesus cast them out. Read in Luke 8:26–31 about the deliverance of the demoniac who lived among the tombs and was inhabited by a legion of demons.
Lie/Myth: The spirits can be either good or bad.
Truth: ALL spirits, except the Holy Spirit, are demonic, not just some. There is no such thing as “good and bad” or “white or black” magic. It’s all bad, in other words. The Holy Spirit works solely to exalt Christ. Consider the following scriptural passage:
Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie. (Revelation 22:14–15)
Lie/Myth: Shamans find it spiritually beneficial and essential to engage in various practices and techniques to incite trance-like states—things like singing, dancing, taking entheogens (hallucinogenic-inducing plants), meditating, and drumming.
Truth: While it is true that such practices induce trance-like states, the Bible forbids such things and strongly warns us of their spiritually defiling inherent nature. These self-induced trances invariably connect the participant to the demonic realm.
Lie/Myth: Animals play an important role, acting as omens and message-bearers, as well as representations of animal spirit guides.
Truth: Mankind was given dominion over the animals, for animals are not spiritual beings. They were not created to be worshiped or to be used for divination. In Genesis, we see:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26)
Lie/Myth: The shaman’s spirit leaves the body and enters into the supernatural world during certain tasks.
Truth: This is an occult technique never condoned, approved, or practiced by Jesus or His disciples of the Bible. Jesus Christ never left His body nor advocated that others do so. He commands us to live by faith, trusting in Him.
But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
Lie/Myth: The shamans can treat illnesses or sickness; they are healers.
Truth: The type of healing they manifest comes from the demonic or earthly realm, which leads only to greater bondage. Illnesses that have been cured in this manner have been known to come back with a vengeance later. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish (James 3:15).” Although Christ used some physical means in healing, such as mud to heal sight, He never ever called on “spirit guides.” Instead, we are given the following biblical approach to such matters:
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15)
While it is true that Jesus Christ’s ministry included healing people, casting out demons, preaching the Gospel, and saving souls, the Bible clearly shows that He never sought or entered into a mystical altered state of consciousness in so doing. Instead, He humbly communed with His heavenly Father and obeyed. He did not have a sweat lodge, sing incantations, chant, dance in a frenzied manner, use the smoke of grasses, or use drums. Nor did He utilize animals as spirit guides. In fact, the Bible strictly forbids these practices.
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. (Deuteronomy 18:10–12)
The Lord Jesus Christ did not mend souls employing earthly, demonic means. He died on the Cross to redeem our souls in order that we should not perish in Hell for eternity. Jesus Christ was not an imposter or a hypocrite who engaged in the detestable practices performed by shamans and then turned around and sternly warned others to steer clear of these practices.
Christ says in His Word, “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand” (Mark 3:25). So, if He was a shaman, how could He have stood divided against Himself? He couldn’t—which leads us back to His Word, the Bible. There He reveals Himself to all mankind as Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer, Healer, Justifier, Sanctifier, and Messiah—just to name a few. His ministry was wholly devoted to teaching about the kingdom of God so that souls could be saved. Native Spirituality lacks a Savior, Deliverer, Redeemer, Healer, Justifier, Sanctifier, and Messiah. There is an empty void in the lives of all who embrace manmade religion, and that void is very deep and dark.
Christ never taught about “Mother Earth” or practiced earth spirituality.5 This is manmade teaching originating from the pit of Hell. It is found nowhere in Scripture. In fact, God says He will burn up the earth some day. In the second Book of Peter, it says:
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)
To reduce Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, to an occult/mystical being and the Holy Spirit to magic is not only to deny the power of God thereof but is blasphemy and the worst form of spiritual ignorance. Jesus Christ is the very Son of God, who was born a man and died on the Cross to redeem us from our sins in order that we may have eternal life. The Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth” (John 14:17). What shaman ever died on the Cross for our sins? What shaman ever rose again after he died? Jesus Christ paid that penalty for us because it is impossible for a mere human being to pay it—not by works, not by doing penance, not with money, not with materials, but by the grace of God alone we are saved. Ephesians makes this very clear:
For by grace are you saved by faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
To read more about Nanci Des Gerlaise (a Canadian Cree) and about Native Spirituality, read Muddy Waters.