Dissatisfied with church, our Woman Alive contributor started seeking answers in New Age practices, culminating in a two day ayahuasca ceremony. Instead of bringing peace, she felt oppressed by demons. Only Jesus gave her the answers she was looking for.
Jada Pinkett Smith’s positive experience with ayahuasca, a plant-based psychedelic drug found in south America, has been widely reported, and many have been drawn to try it as a result. My own experience was very different, and terrifying.
As a young Christian at university I was excited to grow in my faith and experience new things. I attended church and the Christian Union and developed some great Christian friendships. However, I was carrying a lot of mental and emotional pain from past relationships and trauma and sought out things like wellbeing and mindfulness. They seemed to hold a lot of answers to my mental health problems and emotional pain. I wanted to feel alive and free from my pain to live life to its fullest and church didn’t seem to address these things.
I started going to yoga classes and got into various meditations to help calm my mind, trying to escape and heal my pain. I read books by authors such as Ekhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, and the Dalai Llama. I encountered this idea of the ‘ego’ and the ‘higher self’ and I began to be sucked into these ideas. I stopped going to Christian events and started to isolate myself from people, especially Christian friends. Then it slowly began…I began to pick apart Christianity and Church - why are so many Christians so unhealthy? Why don’t churches talk about looking after our bodies and minds? Why are people performing in Church so much? Isn’t that ego driven? Is this all just a construct?
I allowed a spiritual opening for Satan to enter to plant seeds of doubt and confusion and deception.
These things permitted a spiritual opening for Satan to enter to plant seeds of doubt and confusion and deception. It was seemingly healthy and, after all, yoga was just stretching right? The devil was whispering to me throughout without me realising. I blindly went along with it. It seemed so harmless. Over time however, some of these concepts resulted in me rejecting the truth that Jesus is the way. I started to believe that all religions carry us to God, and that we can find freedom and healing through ceremonies and physical acts. Ultimately, I believed we could save ourselves.
My engagement with New Age practices escalated into attending cacao ceremonies and amazonian frog poison ceremonies. The latter is where three holes are burnt into your skin and poison is put into you so you ‘purge’ out toxins. It was the pursuit of purity in mind and body, but without God. Inevitably during this time I started to lose control of myself - it was like I was a distant presence in my body, with something else controlling me. I became more and more chaotic and disassociated. I started to experience psychosis of the mind. The demonic had taken control because I had let it. One time I had voices scream out of me as I walked home ‘’we have you now’’. When I woke up in the mornings I would feel a presence strangling me and stabbing me in the chest. I had voices tell me to jump in front of a bus to start again. It was terrifying. I couldn’t escape, because it was not a physical place I was in but an evil presence I had allowed in.
My engagement with New Age practices escalated into attending cacao ceremonies and amazonian frog poison ceremonies.
It culminated in me taking part in a two-day ayahuasca ceremony. Ayahuasca is a very strong psychoactive drug used in South American indigenous cultures that has become increasingly popular in the West for its ‘healing’ properties. During this I experienced demons screaming inside of me and I thought I was in hell forever (the drug diminishing your sense of time). Then I was confronted with the weight and pain of ALL of my sin - it was terrifying.
It was perhaps a glimpse of what judgement day might feel like! But in that moment I was transported onto the cross and heard a voice say ‘I took this for you - you don’t have to live with this anymore’. Then God’s love and mercy pierced through and wiped me clean. I was confronted with his grace despite rejecting him. As the drug wore off I felt the presence of Jesus again in me, I was walking with him again. He had pulled me back, like a father catching his child from falling into serious danger. This is in no way an endorsement of this drug - I believe it is deceptive and used for all the wrong reasons. I would not take it again in my life. God was extremely gracious and powerful in choosing to meet me so dramatically in the deepest place of my sin to wake me up again and pull him back to him.
Ayahuasca is a very strong psychoactive drug used in South American indigenous cultures that has become increasingly popular in the West for its ‘healing’ properties.
After coming home, things changed dramatically. I threw out all my New Age books and objects - I decided not to donate them as they could lead other people astray. I plugged back into church and had numerous amazing prophecies spoken over me. I had multiple encounters with the spiritual realm - this time in the heavenlies. In the next year Jesus transformed my life, bringing in amazing believers to guide me and encourage me. A few months after my turnaround I met my now husband, I got a brilliant job and lost relationships were restored.
What have I learnt from this?
In 2 Corinthians it says that Satan parades as an angel of light - he does not make himself obvious, but disguises as something desirable. He has demons, who are fallen angels cast out of heaven, serving him in attempting to lead the world away from God and into sin. We know from the Bible that he is prowling around like a lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8), that he possesses people to cause them physical and spiritual harm (Matthew 12:22). But despite all this…we are not to fear. We are on the winning team! We don’t need to be afraid of the devil. We are on the side of the most powerful, almighty God that was, is and will always be victorious. The devil is a liar, and in the end he will be cast into the fire for eternity, while we enjoy heaven with Jesus.
Read more on the New Age
Jesus is the only one who can set us free, who gives true healing, who brings life and life to the full. Fullness is found in relationship with God through Jesus’ redeeming love. Jesus is Lord, Jesus is healer. Looking after our minds and bodies is a great thing, but our priority and primary focus must be intimacy with God, everything else flows from that.
What is amazing to realise is that Father God was watching over me at all times, His angels surrounded me and protected me from destruction, his spirit gently spoke to me throughout calling me back home. He received me back with open arms of grace and has transformed my life ten times over having gone back to him. He does this for all his children - he will never forsake us, never forget us, and always welcome us back with his eternal grace if we turn toward him.