The Disturbing Trend Of Fake Shamans And Gurus Preying On The Vulnerable

For centuries, people have turned to shamanism for healing, guidance, and spiritual awakening. Shamans are revered in indigenous cultures for their ability to communicate with the spirit world and facilitate healing through rituals and ceremonies. However, in recent years, there has been a disturbing trend of fake shamans and gurus preying on the vulnerable. These frauds present themselves as authentic spiritual leaders, but in reality, they are manipulative con artists who exploit their followers for financial gain, sexual gratification, or personal power. This essay will explore the shocking truth about fake shamans and gurus, their tactics, and the harm they cause.

One of the most insidious ways that fake shamans and gurus harm their followers is through emotional manipulation. They may use tactics such as gaslighting, guilt-tripping, or love-bombing to control their followers’ thoughts and behaviors. They may also promote a “cult-like” atmosphere where dissenting opinions are not tolerated and followers are encouraged to blindly follow the leader. This can lead to a loss of personal autonomy and a dangerous level of dependence on the shaman or guru. Emotional manipulation is the prime tactic employed by fake shamans. In some cases, fake shamans have been known to encourage their followers to engage in self-destructive behavior, such as drug abuse or extreme fasting, in the name of spiritual growth.

Another way that fake shamans and gurus can cause harm is through financial exploitation. They may charge exorbitant fees for their services or products, claiming that they hold the key to enlightenment or healing. They may also use fear-based tactics to pressure their followers into making donations or buying products. This can lead to financial ruin for some followers and a sense of powerlessness and desperation.

Sexual abuse is a common tactic used by fake shamans to exploit their followers. These predators often use their position of authority to coerce or force their victims into sexual acts. In some cases, they manipulate their followers into believing that sexual acts are necessary for spiritual growth or healing. In 2018, a Brazilian shaman was arrested for sexually abusing four women during ayahuasca ceremonies.

Beware The Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

One woman, Jane, recounts how she was manipulated and coerced into sexual acts by a self-proclaimed shaman who used his “spiritual power” to convince her it was part of her healing journey. “I was vulnerable and seeking guidance,” she says. “He took advantage of that and made me feel ashamed for questioning him.”

Another woman, Sarah, shares her experience of being financially exploited by a guru who promised to lead her on a path to enlightenment. “He told me I needed to pay for his special teachings and retreats in order to unlock my potential,” she says. “I ended up losing thousands of dollars and felt trapped in a cycle of giving more and more.” These are just two examples of the many women who have been victimized by fake shamans and gurus. It’s important to recognize that this is not a problem unique to one culture or spiritual practice, but a pattern that can be found across the world.

There are countless more examples of these fake gurus and shamans taking advantage of vulnerable people. “Fake shamans and gurus are predators who take advantage of people who are seeking answers and guidance,” says Dr. Maria Elena Rodriguez, a psychologist who has worked with victims of spiritual abuse. “They use their position of power to manipulate, exploit, and harm others.” There are countless stories of women who have been abused by fake shamans and gurus. From emotional manipulation and financial exploitation to sexual assault and rape, the harm caused by these individuals is all too real.

The psychological damage caused by fake shamans can be devastating. Their followers may suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other mental health issues as a result of their manipulation and abuse. In some cases, people have died or suffered serious physical harm as a result of fake shamans’ dangerous practices. In 2019, a British tourist died in Peru after ingesting a hallucinogenic plant during an ayahuasca ceremony led by a fake shaman.

What Can We Do to Protect Ourselves and Others?

The first step in protecting ourselves and others from fake shamans and gurus is to educate ourselves on the warning signs. These may include claims of special powers or abilities, insistence on secrecy or isolation, demands for large sums of money, and pressure to engage in sexual activity.

It’s also important to trust our instincts and listen to our intuition. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. Seeking out reputable and established spiritual communities or teachers can also provide a layer of protection and accountability.

In addition, speaking out about our experiences and holding these individuals accountable for their actions can help prevent others from falling victim to their manipulation and abuse.

Here are a few things to consider:

The first and most important factor to consider is credentials. Legitimate shamans and gurus often have formal training, are affiliated with reputable institutions, and have a clear lineage of teachings. It is important to verify the legitimacy of any shaman or guru before engaging with them.

Another factor to consider is transparency. Legitimate shamans and gurus are transparent about their teachings, practices, and methods. They do not make promises that cannot be fulfilled and do not use ambiguous language to lure in followers. They also do not hide their teachings behind a veil of secrecy or withhold important information from their followers.

Fake shamans and gurus often use tactics such as emotional manipulation and exploitation to deceive their followers. They may create an aura of mystery and exclusivity around their teachings, which can make followers feel special and privileged to be part of the group. They may also use flattery and praise to gain the trust of their followers, while at the same time creating a sense of dependence on their teachings and guidance.

It is important to remember that true spiritual growth and enlightenment cannot be achieved through the teachings of a fake shaman or guru. These individuals are motivated by personal gain and often lack the true spiritual connection necessary to guide others on their journey. The best way to spot fake shamans and gurus is to do your research and trust your instincts.


The rise of the spiritual wellness industry has led to an increase in the number of fake shamans and gurus who exploit vulnerable individuals for their own gain. It is important to be vigilant and educate ourselves on how to spot these individuals. By verifying credentials, demanding transparency, and trusting our instincts, we can protect ourselves from the harm caused by fake shamans and gurus.