|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2005|
|The phenomenon of spiritistic intimidation is common to all categories of occultism. Thus, shamans who are “chosen” by the spirits as “healers” must either submit to the spirits or become ill, or even die.|
The phenomenon of spiritistic intimidation is common to all categories of occultism. Thus, shamans who are “chosen” by the spirits as “healers” must either submit to the spirits or become ill, or even die.
In other words, to the spirits, human life is cheap. If their chosen host will not obey their wishes, they will destroy it and find another. Dr. Nandor Fodor discusses a similar condition among mediums. He observes that when a person neglects his mediumistic powers, illness results. Thus “mediumship, if suppressed, will manifest in symptoms of disease.” He cites the following illustration:
This woman discovered that, like many shamans, she too had been “called” to her profession, and that unless she gave in to the process, she would suffer immeasurably.
Such spiritistic intimidation is common. Once the door has been broken down to permit spiritistic influence, whether by heredity, occult transfer, or personal choice, the spirits may aggressively pursue their evil agenda. Whether in mediumism, shamanism, or witchcraft, the person “has been caught by the spirits and must serve the spiritual world.” The following shamanistic examples, from Swiss psychologist, anthropologist, and ethnologist Holger Ralweit show the true nature of the spirits. These examples, which come from a chapter having the incredible title, “When Insanity Is a Blessing: The Message of Shamanism,” reveal how dangerous it is to open the doors to the occult, and why those trapped often find it so difficult to escape.
The wife of another shaman recalled the terrible experience of her husband’s call to shamanism. She warns, “He who is seized by the shaman sickness and does not begin to exercise shamanism, must suffer badly. He might lose his mind, he may even have to give up his life. Therefore he is advised, ‘You must take up shamanism so as not to suffer!’ Some even say, ‘I become a shaman only to escape illness.’” Another shaman added, “The man chosen for shamandom is first recognized by the black spirits. The spirits of the dead shamans are called black spirits. They make the chosen one ill and then they force him to become a shaman.” And a shamaness reports, “Sometimes I say to them, ‘I do not want to go with you.’ Whenever I turn down such an invitation I develop a fever and become very ill.”
Kalweit comments that, in harmony with occult healing generally, the “healer” must suffer the illness of the patient:
Either way, the shaman cannot win. If he pursues his spiritistic calling, he suffers. If he does not, he suffers. The shaman who refuses his call in all probability “will be plagued by sickness the rest of his life.” Even one’s own family members may be tortured by the spirits as a means of forcing compliance:
In a parallel to life of famous trance medium Edgar Cayce, we read:
In the end, because of their power, the spirits will have their way. “In the end I became so ill that I was close to death. So I began to shamanize, and very soon my health improved. Even now I feel unwell and sick whenever I am inactive as a shaman over a longer period of time.”
Clearly, horrible torments, paralysis, drownings, insanity, extended sickness, being maimed, poisoned, and worse are the shaman’s lot. Perhaps this explains why even those sympathetic to the practice may issue warnings. Dr. Jeanne Achterberg writes:
The obvious reason for the debate over the shaman’s psychological health, as mentioned by Achterberg, is that shamanism usually involves the practitioner in psychotic and schizophrenic-like episodes. But because shamanism is now often interpreted as a form of “higher” spirituality by many psychologists, especially transpersonal psychologists, its accompanying mental states are also being reinterpreted in a benign fashion.
In other words, what was once considered a psychological state of depraved insanity is today considered a spiritual state of higher consciousness! What was once dangerous and feared is now preferred as a method of spiritual empowerment and enlightenment. As Achterberg writes, “Newer theories of personality development ... all include the notion that ‘normal’ [consciousness] is by no means the most evolved possibility.” The East has indeed come West: temporary insanity as a potentially higher or elevated state of consciousness is a premise of Hindu and Buddhist thinking, more than many people realize.
Of course, not all agree that states of insanity are spiritually desirable. “Among those most frequently cited are Devereux, who steadfastly maintains there is no excuse for not regarding the shamans as neurotic or even psychotic, and Silverman who likens the SSC [Shamanic State of Consciousness] to acute schizophrenia.”
One of the biggest problems that surrounds ethnopsychiatry, or “transcultural” psychiatry, is the confusion of normal and abnormal states of consciousness. Because states of mental illness are considered “normal” in shamanistic and other subcultures, and because modern secular psychiatry and anthropology have no absolute standards by which to judge such things, many scholars are concluding that even occult-induced mental illness can be simply part of a continuum along the “normal” range of transpersonal consciousness.
The implications of this are anything but minor. Consider Michael Harner’s first experience with shaman initiation—an experience that resulted in his becoming a shaman. He employed the sacred drug made from ayahuasca plant or “soul vine”:
The creatures then showed me how they had created life on the planet in order to hide within the multitudinous forms and thus disguise their presence.... They were the true masters of humanity and the entire planet, they told me. We humans were but the receptacles and servants of these creatures....
When native or naive Americans seek out such encounters, on what basis does anyone logically conclude there will never be casualties? Harner himself admits people may go insane, “become seriously ill or even die” from shamanistic experiences. The number of people who might never come back from such experiences is unknown, but the risks are certainly not less than those encountered in mind-expanding drugs such as LSD.
It is true that the mental states of what may be termed “shamanic consciousness” and those of schizophrenia and psychosis are not entirely identical. The shaman often has more volition and control during his altered state of consciousness, and it is a “voluntarily” induced insanity similar to that found in the spiritistic Eastern guru traditions. Nevertheless, while this state is controlled to some degree by the shaman, it seems to be controlled to a much larger degree by his spirit guides, and certainly it is manipulated by the spirits for their own purposes, whatever these might be. Regardless, the very fact of a debate among ethnopsychiatrists proves that the “state” of insanity and that of shamanistic consciousness are similar enough that they are not easily distinguished. Shamans themselves admit, “There is a fine line between the shaman and the psychotic.”
The unfortunate result for those who seek shamanistic states of consciousness is only that they will encounter their own demonically manipulated consciousness—and despite the claims of promoters, this is anything but “healthy” or spiritually “evolved.” Because shamanism requires spirit possession and because one cannot become a true shaman-healer without it, demon possession is also required. How many shamanistically fascinated Americans realize that?