University of Texas Health Science Center professor Jeanne Achterberg points out what we all know: that shamanism is being embraced in the West. Part of the reason, she says, is that “something is generally felt to be lacking in the training and demeanor of the practitioners [psychiatrists]….” She adds that “shamanism has much to teach us, especially in regard to that most difficult lesson for those of us in the helping professions: learning to honor the uniqueness of each individual’s path.” Again, Jesus Christ as the way is rejected.
Hillary Clinton has long promoted shamanism, including public endorsement. Placing her on its front cover with the caption THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN, Time magazine declared, “Just by being herself, Hillary Rodham Clinton has redefined the role of First Lady.” Inside was a picture of this “most powerful woman” (who claims to be a Christian), head reverently bowed, being “blessed” by a North American Indian spiritual healer (shaman) in Montana.
The practice of shamanism, which often is called New Age these days, is intertwined with the environmental movement. As we have already seen, shamanism involves contacting nonphysical entities in order to gain special knowledge and power. Robert Vetter, an anthropologist, tells the story of John Tallhorse, alleged to be the last Comanche medicine man alive. Having been diagnosed with incurable cancer and having spent all of his money on hospital and medical bills, he “turned to the traditional ways of his people…[and] resolved to go on a vision quest.”
Alone at night in an isolated place in the mountains, after fasting all day and having “smoked and prayed four times, following the ritual belief that tobacco smoke carries one’s prayers heavenward,” he was approached by something that terrified him. Tallhorse claims it was the spirit of Auannah Parker, a famous Comanche war chief, whom he recognized from his portrait. Says Tallhorse, “He breathed fire on me and paralyzed me. I was just lying there, dead, until he talked to me.” He continues:
“He looked at me and said, ‘Son, what are you doing here? Nothing’s the matter with you.’
I said, ‘I’m sick.’
He said, ‘No…Morning is coming here, son. There’s a man out there that they say is real sick. They told me to visit him too before I go…. This whole world stands still for just a little while toward morning…. That’s when spirits come out.’”
This is an interesting case because John Tallhorse knew nothing of the use of visualization (the very heart of shamanism) for meeting a “spirit guide.” The spirit (impersonating demon) came to him uninvited and unexpected. The surprise element, as we have seen, is one of the marks of a genuine experience. What occurred, including the cure of cancer, was spontaneous and could not have been a hallucination created by his expectations.
For the shaman, these spirit entities encountered on the vision quest are connected with the Earth. Eagle Man, a modern shaman, commends the Native Americans for the great gifts they allegedly gave to the world as “a result of their deeply spiritual relationship with nature.” He then adds, “Getting back to nature will be the key to saving the planet.”
The return to nature is a basic message that comes through in almost all communications from the occult world. Marilyn Ferguson says that “the new paradigm sees humankind embedded in nature.” Ramtha channels through J. Z. Knight the same message of harmony with nature. It is the common message of the entities that communicate through channelers, mediums, Ouija boards, and other occult means.
Billions of people around the world watched the opening ceremony of the 1994 winter Olympics in Oslo. They heard environmental concerns expressed in the speeches. Actors and actresses in exotic costumes played the parts of scores of traditional Norwegian nature spirits emerging from under the snow. The TV announcers casually remarked that Norwegians don’t build on a property without the approval of the nature spirits. It was suggested that communing with such entities would facilitate correct ecological decisions.