We’ve all seen it in the movies — Africans, African Americans, and Indigenous Peoples in painted masks and feather headdress, chanting and dancing around a fire to drums. Why do they dance around in a circle? Why do they chant the same thing over and over again? Where did these pagan practices like Voodoo and Animism start? How did it spread around the world? As we delve into more of the world religions, we’ll see how these demonic practices are Satan’s way of turning humans away from God.
What is Shamanism?
A Shaman is a “wise” man or a woman “who knows”. They try to imitate the all-knowing God. Last year I interviewed a former, modern-day shaman, Brother Matthew. His video is at the bottom…
A shaman is also known as…
- holy man
- witch doctor
- medicine man or woman
- practitioner of magic arts
- priest or priestess
Native American and Indigenous Peoples
The shaman, or medicine man/woman, is the most important figure in Native American and the cultures of Indigenous People Groups around the world. What’s more, they would go on a Vision Quest as youths to learn how to connect with the spirits (i.e. demons). Using psychedelic herbs and roots, fasting, chanting, and dancing, they would seek guidance from the natural world (animism).
An Altered State of Consciousness
They dance in a counterclockwise circle to repetitive drumming (or beat) and chant the same thing over an over again to reach an altered state of consciousness. Thus, this allows them to…
- connect with spiritual guides (demons)
- perform astro-projections
- predict the future
Evidently, all this is to find the best spirits (demons) to be able to help people. They will also use hallucinogenic drugs or “power plants” like marijuana. The Native Americans used peyote. Today, the use of marijuana is on the increase. The more people use marijuana, the more we’ll see demon worship.
Drugs (and alcohol) induce a portal that opens the practitioner to the demonic realm. The conjure up “familial spirits”, who say they are someone’s dead relative. They are not. They are demonic spirits.
The shaman is the mediator between the people and the spirits and they believe that they could transform themselves into an animal. At that point, they are demon-possessed. Could this be what some people today are doing in identifying as a cat or a dog?
In the Movies
Needless to say, Hollywood glamorized all of this. Living in Arizona, the Native Americans still perform these dances as a show. However, each dance has a spiritual purpose.
- Ghost Dance – reunites the living with the dead. Brings the spirits to fight on their behalf and bring peace and prosperity.
- Sun Dance – suffering on behalf of the community brings spiritual value.
- Rain Dance – ancient weather modification — it’s huge down here in the desert southwest.
- Prophecy Dance – to foretell the future (just read the Bible!)
Other pagan rituals that they share with other cultures around the world…
- Sweat Lodge — also practiced by the Romans, Slavics, Greeks, and Celtic Druids.
- Pipe-smoking — it is believed that the smoke carried prayers to the spirits.
- Kokopelli — a very popular figure in the southwest. It symbolizes fertility and is also known as a “trickster”.
- Totem poles — I saw lots of these in my travels through Canada and Alaska.
- Face painting
- Dancing with snakes
Today, much of this is reflected in our culture. It’s called Neo-Shamanism. People are getting tired of the “feel good” church and are going into shamanism, which is non other than demon worship. Even Hip Hop music — I never did like it. I can’t call it “music”. Be careful if you want to go back to your cultural roots. I’m Puerto Rican with Indigenous Taino Indian DNA as well as some African DNA. That stems from the Spanish Conquistadors and the Portuguese slave trade of the 17th and 18th centuries. Delving into all this is not fun — it’s demonic! The Apostles Philip and Peter encountered a sorcerer in Acts 8. Peter told the Simon the Sorcerer…
You can have no part in this, for your heart is not right with God.Acts 8:21 NLT
What is Voodoo?
Voodoo — or Vodun — practices have their roots in the West African nations of Benin, Togo, Congo, Ghana, and Nigeria. Their pagan rituals are very similar to those of Shamanism. Take a look at this Gallery of Voodoo fetishes from a marketing in West Africa (Wikipedia).
What we in America are most familiar with is the Voodoo practices of New Orleans, which continues to this day.
Voodoo in the colonies began in Haiti at the start of the slave trade. The French who colonized Haiti in 1699, forced Catholicism on the slaves that they imported from West Africa. Hence, the Africans brought their pagan religious rituals with them. Furthermore, to conceal their Voodoo from the French, they clandestinely disguised their worship of demonic spirits as worshiping Catholic saints.
Their voodoo religion was polytheistic. That is, they believed in multiple gods for every natural occurrence. Thus, if the French every raided one of their voodoo ceremonies, they would hide their pagan fetishes, idols and icons and replace them with statues of the various dead Roman Catholic Saints.
You can call this the dawn of “Cristo-Paganism” except it has absolutely nothing to do with Christ.
Their gods have a dual nature of both masculine and feminine. By dancing to pounding, repetitive music in a circle, they achieve an altered state of consciousness and seek possession by a “divinity” — aka demonic spirit. Unmistakably, it was full-on demon possession
Demonic Spirits and Ancestor Worship in Voodoo
- They are said to rule nature
- The use of snakes was an important part of the rituals. Remember the original serpent?
- There was a hierarchy of ethnic and clan defenders
- Folk magic — using charms, spells, and magical potions
- Passed on by oral traditions
- Paraphernalia — fetishes — dried animal or human parts that they believe are inhabited by spirits.
- Occult practices
- Zombies come from Voodoo.
- Dead spirits influencing the living
- Grave Soaking — lying on a grave to absorb the spirit of the dead
- Use of hallucinogenic drugs, herbs and roots
All to reach that altered state of consciousness.
Voodoo priests and priestesses passed their “powers” through the matriarchal blood line.
Whimsical or Demonic?
An interesting demonic practice is the glass bottle tree. No, it’s not an art form. Its roots come from Africa and originates in the occult. The bottles are said to catch spirits at night and then the heat of the sun would kill them. (But aren’t they dead already?)
The African slaves in the Americas set these up prominently in hopes of getting their ancestral spirits to protect them and save them from slavery.
From Voodoo we also get Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday or the Carnival — a pagan fertility rite. Obviously, they party and do every sinful thing they can possible do before they are to be pious during 40 days of Lent.
Voodoo, following the slave trade, is still practiced all over the Caribbean, South and Central America. In Cuba and the Dominican Republic and other former Spanish colonies it’s known as Santeria.
The Voodoo calendar of ritual feasts coincides with the Catholic calendar of the festivals of the saints. Gee, just like the Roman and their gods and feast days. I’ll dive deeper into the Latin American demonic practices in a later post.
What is Animism?
Animism is the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork, and in some cases words—as animated and alive.Wikipedia
Animism is pantheism — which is worship that admits all gods. It’s an impersonal power in all objects of nature — animate or inanimate — that can serve a person. Additionally, even words are spiritual (spells) and have the power of life and death.
Today, animism is called climate change.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires.Romans 1:24-26 NLT
Eternity — Life after Death
Furthermore, animists believe in reincarnation. In other words, you can come back as another person, an animal, an insect, a tree, even a rock. Hence, they are heavy into ancestor worship — there’s a continual existence.
For example, using rituals of shamanism and voodoo — drum and dance, a priest or priestess reaches a point of being possessed by an evil spirit. At that point, they communicate with the “spirit”. Moreover, they also incorporate…
- animal sacrifices
- praying to the demonic spirits
- intercessory prayer to the dead on behalf of the living
Jesus is our High Priest
In the Book of Hebrews we read…
Christ is the Perfect Sacrifice
11 So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of this created world. 12 With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever.
13 Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. 14 Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins.
24 For Christ did not enter into a holy place made with human hands, which was only a copy of the true one in heaven. He entered into heaven itself to appear now before God on our behalf. 25 And he did not enter heaven to offer himself again and again, like the high priest here on earth who enters the Most Holy Place year after year with the blood of an animal. 26 If that had been necessary, Christ would have had to die again and again, ever since the world began. But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice.
27 And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, 28 so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9:11-14, 24-28 NLT
Still today, animism, in one form or another, is practiced all over the world. For instance, the Joshua Project, which brings awareness of unreached people groups — who have never heard the Gospel — highlighted 2 groups in Southeast Asia this week…
The Bengkulu in Indonesia, are Muslim yet, still practice certain traditional ceremonies and rituals according to their older animistic beliefs. These animistic ceremonies are focused on seeking protection from spirits by defeating them and driving them out.
The Coong, in Vietnam, worship ancestors and practice animism or folk religion. They look to evil spirits and the souls of their departed ancestors for help. They fear these spirits and they do not feel at liberty to follow Jesus. They have no written Bible in their language.Joshua Project
Like the group in Indonesia, many Muslims, who are not satisfied with Islam, add their animistic, folk beliefs to their religious practices. I’ll get into that in my next post on Islam, where I’ll dig deep into what they believe and the difference between Sunni and Shiite and other variations of Islam. Are they really a religion of peace? Why do they hate the Jews? What are their intentions?
If you’re not satisfied with your current religion, it may be that you’re looking to fill that hole in your heart in all the wrong places. God created us humans in HIS image so that He could have a relationship with each of us.
In case you missed them…
- World Religions Part 1: A Remarkable Look into the Growth of Paganism & Demon Worship
- World Religions Part 2: Greco-Roman Gods, Horrific Persecution, & Constantine’s Rescue
- World Religions Part 3: Chilling, Satanic Practices of Druids, Wicca, & the Occult