Beyism: An Old Religion in a New Age

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The first time I learnt of the Atlanta-based National Church of Bey (or “Beyism”); I figured it was more than just a celebrity obsession gone awry. Some have dismissed the group as a joke, but if history is a reliable witness, new religions founded by self-styled gurus whom many thought were comical farce have gained much influence and spread across nations.

While Beyism was greeted with widespread criticism and public outcry in 2014 for mimicking some elements of Christianity, one of its members Taniya Hattersfield, committed suicide beside an altar erected to Beyoncé in her basement. In her suicide note, she offered herself to Beyoncé whom she addressed as her “lord and savior”.

Cults usually revolve around a false deity, false scripture and a worship structure that diverges from the general, orthodox expression, and Beyism meets up with this criteria. Ergo, it’s more than a satirical fringe group.

Cults and new religions don’t just spring up from the blues; they are built on the foundation of pre-existing ones. For instance, the origins of Freemasonry, Wicca, Eckankar, Grail Message and New Age spirituality demonstrate that they have their roots in ancient Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Indian, Celtic, and Native American religions.

Similarly, Beyism has its spiritual dynamics. The founder of the group, “Diva” Pauline John Andrews said:

Deity’s [sic] often walk the Earth in their flesh form. Beyoncé will transcend back to the spirit once her work here on Mother Earth has been completed. As our congregation continues to swell, we ask that you consider what is more real; an invisible spirit on high, or a walking, talking breathing Goddess who shows you her true form daily? Beyoncé spirit is entrancing. We know that she was sent to this place to spread love, peace, and joy. While we do not believe Beyoncé to be the Creator, we recognize that she still sits among the throne of Gods.

Four years after this statement was made, a church in San Francisco, Grace Cathedral held a mass to honour Beyoncé on April 25, 2018. The service featured “hymns” of Beyoncé music, Bible readings, prayer and communion. Rev. Yolanda Norton, a black feminist theologian, says that the service “uses Beyoncé music as a tool to engender positive, empowering conversations about black women.”

These folks are simply repeating old concepts with new words. The worship of “the divine feminine” is not novel; it’s a concept crystallized into various cultures for centuries. Bey devotees may couch their version with modern feminist clichés but the weight of cultural signification attached to feminity underlies it:

(1) Pagan cultures viewed women as a metaphor for life and were believed to uphold social balances with physical activities. They are considered to have an intuitive knowledge of how physical and metaphysical energy can be manipulated to change things in the world [1]. Thus, supernatural connotations were attached to women’s bodies.

Their womb was believed to symbolize creation of life and the breasts, motherhood. Artemis of Ephesus is pictured having many breasts symbolizing the regenerative power of nature. Asherah, often depicted nude, was said to nourish kings “from her breasts as they had been by the goddess in Sumeria and Egypt.” [2]

Most images of African goddesses like Oshun, Idemili, Onishe etc. are also shown with accentuated breasts. In some traditional occult mysteries, like the Ogboni society, members ritually suck the breasts of the brass images (edan) of their mother goddess to receive “blessings.”

(2) Women’s bodies were deemed symbolic of the cosmos hence women’s fertility was also linked to fruitfulness of the land. Ritual sex with women was presumed to stimulate the gods to favour the people with fertility. From this delusion emerged fertility cults with ritual prostitution and wild orgies which made ancient and modern goddess worship appeal to many.

According to a reference work, “By joining in the activities of the cultic sexuality, common people could participate in ‘stockpiling’ fertility energy, which ensured the continuing stability of agricultural as well as human and animal productivity. Archaeological excavations in Canaanite locations have uncovered temples with chambers where sexual activity took place.” [3]

It must be noted however, that Beyoncé stage persona has already presented the triple forms of the great goddess to her audience: as maiden, mother and crone. That isn’t a coincidence.

Her sensual lyrics, erotic dances and flagrant display of her voluptuous (“bootylicious”) body conveys the image of a wanton, seductive maiden.  Her identification as the “queen bee” which feeds and rules over all bees in the hive gives off a motherhood mien. Her introduction of “Sasha fierce”, her alter ego, to the public reveals the dark form of the goddess.

Carl G. Jung, an occult psychologist postulated that there are archetypal images or formularies which existed deep in the subterranean unconsciousness of people – “the Collective Unconscious” – from which humans derive their images of deities. Thus, the Goddess archetype can emerge in any form in the minds of the devotees if it exists in humanity’s consciousness. [4]

He also believed that myths have a life of their own and that even if they weren’t literally true, if enough people believed in them, they were invested with a formidable, archetypal power of their own. Carl Jung is regarded as a “patron” scholar of Neo-Pagan/New Age movements, because his writings provided much of the philosophical underpinning for modern occultism.

So, it’s common to find initiates of goddess religions claiming to have initially encountered an archetype of the goddess in someone they knew at some point in their lives: a mother, teacher, mentor or a celebrity they loved.

That’s why persons can evolve from their devotion to the Roman Catholic “Virgin Mary” to that of the Yoruba Yemoja or Voodoo Erzulie or vice versa – and in some cases, combine them in syncretic adoration. One archetype makes way for the other.

Thus, it can be deduced that Bey’s devotees worship an archetype of the old pagan goddess. Beyoncé herself has poetically talked of crowning three goddess forms: Yemoja, Oshun and Nefertiti. In other words, she offers them her devotion, dedication and loyalty.

In some pagan systems, “Few goddesses and gods were confined to a single mode of manifestation, since they were immanent [present and involved in all of nature] divinities and could appear in any context that called them forth.” [5]

Since these deities are believed to symbolize universal principles, processes or life forces, ten different god or goddess forms can emerge from a single one. This is why no limit can be set to the forms of expression the occult takes. It is like “the adulterous woman” in the book of Proverbs, “her ways her unstable, that you cannot know them” (Prov. 5:5).

As you are pinning it down at one point, it morphs into another one. In a bid to trap more souls, Satan keeps creating newer versions of false worship suited for each generation. Talk about old religions for the new age!

They have been here and they will emerge again in another form. The names their objects of worship will take is immaterial, the real deal, as Pauline Andrews puts it, is that “invisible spirit on high” that “walking, talking and breathing” demon goddess that turns many souls away from the Living God and drags them into eternal perdition.

Notes

[1] Abimbola Adelakun, The Ghost of Performance Past:  Theatre, Gender and Cultural Memory, Religion and Gender Vol. 7, no. 2, (2017), p. 13.

[2] Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess, Penguin Books, 1991, 454.

[3] International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, Vol. 4, p. 100.

[4] Janet and Stewart Farrar, The Witches’ Goddess, Phoenix Publishing, 1987, 57.

[5] The Myth of the Goddess, 254.

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Darkness cannot cast out Darkness

In 2009, I came across a news magazine from 1989. It featured an interview with a Ghanaian priestess/”faith healer” who at the time resided in Abeokuta, Ogun State. She had a wide reputation for ‘arresting’ witches and making them confess their deeds. People from various locations flooded her shrine daily, bringing along different clients whom they wanted to be psychically diagnosed or freed from witchcraft – of course, for a fee.

Before the day’s work, she would engage in a ritual dance, act wildly like someone possessed and even go into a trance to gain the “energy” to fish out witches. The reporter described how she randomly singled out one of her clients, brought her to a spot, rubbed her chest and the lady suddenly burst into tears, “I’ll confess. I’m a witch. We go to meetings at night. We shape shift into frogs…”

Were these witches really been set free from witchcraft or simply made to confess? There is no credible evidence to believe they were set free other than their confessions.

Such feats have cultural precedents. For example, there is a popular and highly feared deity in the western part of Nigeria known as Ayelala. This deity is well known for its efficacy in punishing offenders of law and order when invoked, and is reputed to catch witches, forcing them to confess their sins in the open.

Ayelala is linked to the water element and is often praised with chants like “Hail! Chief of the mothers: the mighty and awesome Queen. She, who baths in gin like the foreign men.” Wait a minute, that sounds a lot like the Queen of the coast, a high ranking demon in Satan’s kingdom.

There’s no way this demonic queen would cause Satan’s agents to be exposed or confess in public. Unless, there is a manipulation going on behind the scenes – one that is aimed at furthering the devil’s agenda to deceive, steal, kill and destroy.

This past month, DailyMailTV captured an exclusive interview with Rachel Stavis, who was introduced as a “non-denominational Exorcist.” Actually, she calls herself the Sister of Darkness; she uses herbs, shamanic rattle, dagger, Tibetan gong, bells and chants to supposedly rid the bodies of her clients of evil entities. Don’t let her title confuse you, she is a witch; a bumbling satanic witch!

She said: “I see manifestations of entities, sometimes they have a face, sometimes they don’t. When I was a child I called them monsters…they still are monsters, these things that have never existed as human beings. I realized very quickly I could see something other people couldn’t. I tried to ignore it, I didn’t feel like it was a gift at all, it was pretty scary and horrible. But there was no definitive guide book for me growing up so I had to create one“.

Like many psychics who have inherited occult spirits from their parents, Stavis sees into the spirit realm through the agency of evil spirits. Her $1.2 million house in the hills of Studio City, Los Angeles has a Spirit Room filled with an eclectic collection of occult art and memorabilia. Talk about a house with enough “vibes” to make a black witch feel secure.

Stavis claims to have cleansed thousands of tormented people from Hollywood moguls, actors and actresses to stay-at-home moms and politicians from bad entities. But here’s the big question: do shamans, witches and false prophets really cast out evil spirits from their clients? The answer is no.

24 But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons. 25 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? 27 And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you (Matthew 12:24-28).

This explains it. Only the Spirit of God Who is greater than Satan and all his demons can legitimately cast them out. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; but a brother or sister of darkness can fool people to believe they are arresting a witch or kicking evil entities out of their clients. This is done by:

1. Forcing a weaker or less intelligent demon out of the client’s body so that a stronger and more intelligent one can occupy it.

The Daily Mail crew witnessed an exorcism session conducted by Rachel Stavis, mentioned earlier. She lights her herbs and the air fills with an oily smoke. She closes her eyes and calls in her ‘master teachers’, before asking the ‘higher beings’ to enter the room. Addressing them directly she said:

I ask you to send your energy through the body and spirit, moving that energy through the body and spirit, identifying any negative entities that do not belong and do not serve and pushing them up and out.”

These ‘master teachers’ and ‘higher beings’ are higher ranking demons. As she invokes them to enter her clients’ bodies, they push out the lower ones and occupy their place. Even the Pharisees in Jesus’ time understood this. This is why the demons don’t attack Stavis in her work; she is on their side.

Big shot entities operate differently and can stay more concealed in their hosts. This also explains why Ayelala can be used to make witches confess. Only the lower-level witches inhabited by less powerful demons can be so affected.

2. Absorbing the client’s demons

In this case, the witch or false prophet spiritually negotiates with the demon to leave the person and enter into his own body, either for his own operation or for later transference into the next client. The candidate, of course, feels relieved, but it’s only a temporary relief, because there is no vacuum in the spirit realm. Here is what Jesus said:

24 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first.” (Luke 11:24-26)

Because the person is unsaved and not inhabited by the Holy Spirit, the demons will still have the license to return and take over his life. Sometimes, this operates through a demonic trade-by-barter system, in which the shaman removes the demon of depression from a client and in exchange puts in the demon of debauchery. Satan has no free gift; any seeming ‘good’ he offers is laced with many sorrows and pain.

3. Hypnotizing the client to feign being exorcised.

In this case, the witch simply places a layer of demons into the client to control his/her actions and speech and convince everyone to believe he/she was a witch and is now cleansed. There is a popular Nigerian fake prophet (or rather shaman) who is an expert at this. He is reputed to be an exorcist who interrogates witches and all sorts of demonized people almost daily on his TV to thrill his benighted audience.

He applied this method on a certain Nollywood actor who had taken his mother to his church for healing. He controlled and hypnotized him and made him confess to all sorts of things on video which he later came out to denounce. When such shamans lay their hands on people or fix their gaze into their eyes, they can come under their hypnotic power, especially if they are not Christians.

Most of the time, these demons are not kicked out at all, they just hide or reduce their manifestations. The central purpose of these dubious exorcisms is to deceive souls and keep them from repenting or turning from false religions to serve the Lord Jesus Christ who can truly set them free.