In pagan cultures, tattoo began as a form of demon worship

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Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie

Tattoos and body piercings are all the rage today. Movie stars and singers are covered with tattoos. Ordinary people in the streets and on T.V. are covered with tattoos — not just young people, but even older folks.
But did you know that Rolling Stone magazine quoted famous tattoo artist Paul Booth as saying that while he is tattooing people, “he allows his clients’ demons to help guide the needle”?
William M. Sudduth Sr. is the president of Righteous Acts Ministries ( and author of What’s Behind the Ink?, a book about the spiritual aspects of tattooing, piercing and other fads.
He spent nearly two years researching the origins and history of tattoos and piercing — of Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, Europeans, Mid-Easterners, Asians and Africans. He discovered that all primitive pagan cultures throughout history and on every continent subscribed to some form of body modification or mutilation, usually involving tattoos and/or piercing. In most cases the practice was a part of demon worship.
In his article, “The Dark Side of Tattoos,” for Charisma Magazine, Dec. 31, 2009, Sudduth describes how he first became interested in the fashionable trend of tattoos:

I had never given the subject of tattoos much thought other than occasionally to regret getting mine—until my wife, Janet, and I were ministering in New Zealand in 2003. New Zealand was settled more than 1,000 years ago by a primitive Polynesian people called the Maori. They were headhunters and cannibals who worshipped demon gods. The Maori tattoo most of their bodies, including their faces, which they carve flesh from as a wood carver would etch wood to create a design. Then they apply ink.
On a day off we went sightseeing with a local pastor. He took us to a Maori village. Inside the entrance of the village was a meeting house, and above the entrance was a statue of a demon, the face of which was carved with the same pattern as the men’s faces. I immediately came to the realization that these people had carved their faces to look like the deity they worshiped.

What he saw among the Maori led Sudduth to undertake a two-year research. He discovered that the Maori were not unusual. Instead, “in every culture tattoos were used as a means of invoking, appeasing or glorifying demon gods.” Those cultures include:

1. Headhunters from the Philippines, Taiwan and other Pacific islands tattooed themselves to appease the gods before the headhunt and to commemorate their success afterward.

2. South American headhunters also used tattoos as part of their rituals.

3, The Hawaiians have actual tattoo gods they consult before doing a tattoo.

4. The Chinese and Japanese used tattoos to ward off evil spirits, to appease different gods and, like the Romans, to identify or “brand” criminals. (Roman slaves were tattooed as a sign of ownership, often marked, “Tax Paid.”)

5. Native Americans tattooed themselves and their captives. The Inuit tattooed themselves upon arriving in the cold arctic regions to appease the gods so they would allow them to settle there and survive in the harsh climate.

6. In the Mideast, Babylonian and Canaanite and Hebrew shrine prostitutes tattooed themselves as part of their worship. Baal worshipers wore tattoos on their hands to gain power from Baal.

7. In India, shrine prostitutes tattooed themselves to look like the various gods they worshiped. In primitive areas of India the wife of the village sorcerer is the tattoo artist.

8. Because of their dark skin, black Africans didn’t use tattoos as much as they used scarification — cutting the skin with a sharp instrument and then rubbing it with ashes or caustic plant juices to form permanent blisters. Dark pigments, such as charcoal or gunpowder, are then rubbed into the wound to provide emphasis. The wounds are periodically reopened to enhance the raised scar effect. Other African traditions involve extreme forms of body piercing. Lips and ears are pierced and objects implanted inside, causing the lip or ear tissue to elongate and conform to the shape of the object. Ethiopian women wear a lip plate, which causes the mouth to protrude to resemble the beak of the spoonbill, a creature they worship.

Sudduth concludes:

The letting of blood and body modification have always been associated with pagan worship and witchcraft. Pagans and Christians alike know there is power in the blood. In spite of the current interest in tattoos even in the church, all research points to one conclusion: The root of tattooing never changes; it is, and always has been, a pagan spiritual activity. […]

Today in our culture and society we see an explosion of fads such as tattoos and piercings. Though I don’t fully understand it, Satan is attempting to mark as many people as he can through these means. Perhaps on the day of judgment the accuser of the brethren, the devil, will stand before God and try to claim those so marked as his own.

Or perhaps Satan is encouraging people of all cultures to mar their bodies through some form of mutilation because he knows we are made in God’s image, and he hates God and anything that resembles God. […]

Leviticus 19:28 gives us the “rule” for tattoos. It says, “‘You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord”’ (NKJV).

When God first gave this command to the Israelites, He was drawing a line of demarcation between His chosen people and the Egyptians, whose land they had just left, and the Canaanites, whose land they were about to enter. Both of these cultures were steeped in witchcraft and the occult. Both openly worshiped and served demon gods, and both used tattoos as part of their idolatry and pagan worship. God was trying to protect the Israelites from opening themselves up to demonic influence.

We too are God’s people, and He wants us to “come out from among them” (2 Cor. 6:17). He wants us to separate ourselves from the world and the world’s fads. When we do that, we will avoid doing things to our bodies that God never intended us to do—and that includes getting tattoos.

Let me make it clear that there is absolutely no such thing as a Christian tattoo. In fact, the mere term “Christian tattoo” is an oxymoron! A tattoo may be a religious symbol, but there is nothing Christian about it.

If we truly belong to Christ, we should know and understand that our bodies are not our own. Engaging in the practice of body modification indicates that we believe the opposite. Yet the Bible clearly tells us: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

[…] If you already have a tattoo or piercing and are wondering what to do now that you know the truth, here are some steps you can take. First, repent to God for violating Scripture and for bloodletting, which is witchcraft. Also, repent for defiling the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Then renounce the spirits behind the tattoo or piercing. Witchcraft and rebellion are a given, but many tattoos have images that need to be addressed. Sexual tattoos may invite a spirit of perversion, a skull and cross bones a spirit of death, a religious tattoo a spirit of religion and so on. If you have a piercing in other than an ear lobe, remove it and repent for defiling your temple. And whether it’s a tattoo or a piercing, anoint it with oil and break any assignment of the enemy that came in through the modification of your body.

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0 responses to “In pagan cultures, tattoo began as a form of demon worship

  1. Thank you Dr. Eowyn. Now I begin to understand a little bit more why I feel distressed by the number of tattoo parlors popping up everywhere.

  2. I could never understand why anyone would pay to be hurt and mutilated. Excellent article Dr. Eowyn. Now, if only the church would have classes for preteens to warn them of the spiritual implications of this and other wrong behavior. This could be done along with Catechism classes, although I only know of the Catholic and Lutheran churches that even have these classes.

    • Its the 21st century tattooing is considered body personalization and being individual your not selling your soul to the devil for having a tatoo ……… Lol some people

  3. When ever I see that “man” in his finery, It proves to me that there really is a GOD and he loves me. Why you ask? He is not my son.

  4. Thank you for that important posting. It makes so much sense and explains a lot. Tattoos are often/usually like drugs, and one leads to another and another. Also, it is common for medical problems eventually occur on the area of the tattoo.

  5. This was chilling, so many things that people think of as harmless are in truth extremely dangerous to our souls. All my female friends got tattoos years ago and wanted me to join them in the practice, I never did. First of all
    my Dad would have went crazy no matter how old I was, second I never liked them on women. My Dad is now deceased but I thank him for his firm hand in raising me which no doubt saved me from being marked.

    • Sometimes people much younger than I am ask me what occupations do I think are a ‘sure thing’ for their future. The first one that comes to mind these past several years is “Tattoo removals’, as tens of millions realise what they’ve done and want them gone.
      To my mind, it would be best if most of these tattoo-bearing critters disappeared at the same rate as their tattoos did… just think how our environments would be improved!

      • LOL!! Not sure about getting rid of the people Joseph but maybe remodeling them would be a great idea. Tattoo removal in a painless way ( although they may crave the pain hence all the artwork) would make a millionaire out of you. Start your own franchise. 😊

      • REALLY Tattoo-bearing critters We have the same rights as you that if you don’t like it don’t look. He without blemish cast the first stone

  6. Excellent post! Since we were created in God’s own image, and we don’t come from the factory, so to speak, with markings, piercings, tattoos–then that should give us a pretty good hint that it’s not advisable. I have seen several young women (perhaps 20-25 years old) who had tattoos on either the calf of their leg, or the upper thigh–and I can tell you that from a distance, it appeared that they had severe varicose veins. It was not until I came closer to them that I could tell that it was self inflicted “art.” Don’t even get me started on the old ladies (age 45 and above) many with flabby arms, or legs that are sporting tats. What in Heaven’s name are they thinking? Here you have this flabby flesh that has been impregnated with ink. As this skin continues to droop, and their “art” becomes disproportionate and hanging–it will soon look even worse than it does now. WHAT HAPPENED TO COMMON SENSE? Satan has entered in, and seduced the children of God to believe that this is appropriate behavior. Two of my beautiful nieces have tats . . . and I grieve over the desecration of the temple that was provided for both of their spirits!

    • “Don’t even get me started on the old ladies (age 45 and above) many with flabby arms, or legs that are sporting tats. What in Heaven’s name are they thinking? Here you have this flabby flesh that has been impregnated with ink. As this skin continues to droop, and their “art” becomes disproportionate and hanging–it will soon look even worse than it does now.”

      • Good grief, that’s UGLY!! Eye bleach for sure, LOL. I always wondered what happened to old tattoos years down the line, I guess this answers my question. 😳😳😳😳😳

      • Dr.’s Eye Bleach alert: Trick or treat! I paid good money for this costume, and I am going to show it!

      • Old ladies, ( 45-…?) Hey now! I’m 49, and by no means am I old. Neither was I at the age of 45. Lol. I suppose that would have made me a senior citizen in my 30’s, and a child in my 20’s. 😕 But otherwise I agree.

      • She’s a bit “long in the tooth” for 45! She’s had those since they used wooden dowls and a hammer. She either fell off her routine or her boob enhancements slipped. Good grief!

    • first of all the BIBLE tells you that if there was nothing wrong with the old there would have been no need for the NEW !! Secondly in Rev. 19th chapter where it speaks of Christ on the white horse He had the NAME WRITTEN upon His Robe and Right thigh KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS
      So get off that kick it was played out even before we where born

  7. Sorry! I guess I wasn’t finished . . . Who in their right mind would find that Angelina Jolie has a beautiful feminine body, what with all those markings??? Needless to say, the F-R-E-A-K in the other picture (with the saucer ears) is virtually unemployable. One wonders, does he come from a wealthy family, or is he a self made man? He certainly could not work in most workplaces looking like that. I suppose he could do telephone work, or work somewhere out of sight–but under normal circumstances customers would naturally be repelled by his sight. So, does this qualify him for welfare, or disability payments, because he is certainly not employable the way he looks? Or, perhaps that’s the idea. These pictures have sickened me, and I feel great sorrow that people are so misled.

  8. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this interesting and important post. I have always hated piercings and tattoos. They are just absolutely ugly. What are people thinking? There is also continuous danger of infections with regard to piercings and/or tattoos. The history you provided, Dr. Eowyn, explains why these practices are so repugnant.

  9. Thanks for the info on this one. I had no idea. I heard a doctor on the radio some time back warn against tattoos because they could cause lymphoma. I could understand one small simple tattoo, but people today are into being just plain ugly! (I don’t have any).

  10. As someone who has never liked tattoos, and have looked into them a bit I can say that typically they are done for vanity or pride, or for ancestor worship/other sorts of worship. The man does a good job in exposing them, what he seems to neglect to mention however, is a trend of some people getting tattoos that also have ink infused with the cremated remains of a favored parent or loved one, therefore literally and flagrantly ignoring the verse in leviticus, since the tattoo is made out of the ashes of the deceased as well as ink. I know this because, unfortunately an in-law relation had done so with herself and her grandad’s ashes.
    It is really a shame so many are suckered into getting such pointless and worthless uglification, for it does decrease their God-given looks, men and women because of “cool factor” and because they have a grossly mistaken belief that it makes them “more” attractive, or “stands for something”. Both reasons are not valid however, as an article of clothing or necklace can suffice for such things. Whats worse is that some get them in unpleasant places, places that would only ever be seen by someone they’re intending to have intercourse with, and generally they are things that further insult their anatomy. The plain fact is, no one should get a tattoo or piercing, ever, as the man has said it is originally a pagan practice, likely instituted by demons seeing how much foolishness they can sucker humans into when they were successfully turned from the True God… for example a tribe in Namibia has a practice of ritually knocking out their four front bottom teeth with a block of wood, because they think that the teeth are evil, they then throw them into the wilds with a saying. (Just like other tribes circumsize because they have a false doctrine that foreskin is a remnant of femaleness that must be removed, and some do the same in reverse with women, cutting off certain bits of their anatomy, which is likely where the kurds picked that up).
    It is sad so many people cannot see that all these things (circumscision included) are purposeful insults to God’s creation of our bodies, and willful vandalism of the temples that they are, and even more, are as unecessary as eating sand, and likely more harmful.

  11. Reblogged this on Patriotic Gofer and commented:
    I believe that you can have tattoos and be forgiven, seeing as I have a back tattoo and have had a near death experience a number of years after getting the tattoo. I’m not going to go into what happened during the near death experience, but I will say that it happened over ten years ago and I remember it as clearly as if it happened yesterday. And from that experience, I know that God’s love is the purest and most beautiful love one can ever know and feel. I know that I am a sinner, as we are ALL born into sin. I have repented to my Lord Jesus and His Awesome Father numerous times. God knows my heart and I have given my life to Jesus for His Judgment.
    Did I get my tattoos because of worship of evil? No, hardly. I do have my patriotic reasons for my tats but they are my reasons and I don’t need to justify myself to any human. I will bravely stand before my Lord Jesus and take “whatever is coming” to me. Although, I’d think that if God hated me for defiling my body, He would not have given me the “gift” of the near death experience, nor allow me to feel His love. Just my own thoughts and not knocking the post or anyone here.
    As for that young fellow up there with the face all carved to pieces and tats all over his head and face… even I will never understand why someone does that. As for a majority of tattoos nowadays, a great many of them do indeed glorify death, satanism or other horrible things and just the thought of putting some of the same kind of things on my body, horrify me.
    Yeah, there are a great many atheists and others who do anything they can to go against God’s word. But truth be told…. God does know our hearts.

  12. Overall, simply too weird and gruesome to spend much time over. Nothing will prevent these people from doing what they do, neither reasoning, nor spiritual, nor emotional appeals for sanity.
    It’s something we cannot understand, nor do we want to ‘understand’ it, IMO, as it’s a waste of time & spirit in an expense of shame.

  13. So….which should I train for if I wanted financial security—–tattoo artist…or tattoo removal? Seems to me either would be a secure career these days!

  14. I have a hard time with this one. at the end it says to repent of the spirit of the tattoo, all my tattoos are scripture so what evil spirit is that lol. I believe God was talking about those rituals of the tattoo and not so much the tattoo its self. we do not tattoo for the reasons that they did in that time. I believe it is a sin to tattoo certain things on your body but I do not believe it is a sin to tattoo bible verses on my body. I believe God looks at the heart and the reasons why we do it.

  15. Lev. 29: 28, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead [a Shiite practice for an early Muslim held in great respect], and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.” New Living Translation

  16. Tatoos are bad thez nothing good about they are worship demon gods, I’m not encouraging anyone to do one, this are bad times we need to be vigilent, devil know that he already lost the war so he wants to collect as many people as posseble

  17. I hadn’t realised tattoos were bad before reading this but I never wanted one and am the only one in my group of friends who hasn’t got one. Himself also has a tattoo on each forearm but one of them is a bit rude, I always hated it and he does too now, thanks be to God but he’d get it covered with something else had he the money, which we don’t, so I doubt if he could ever afford to get it removed either; I’ll work on him and see can we save for it,lol! Several people have asked me in recent years why I haven’t got any tattoos which I find weird because I grew up in times when tattooed ladies were considered weird and freakish,but my reason is a practical one; when I was a young student nurse in England, I nursed a few elderly men with tattoos and because of the friability and thinning of the skin that comes with old age, the tattos looked awful.Also the ink fades into a murky navy blue and they just look rubbish and thin, fragile elderly skin couldn’t cope with either re-tattoing or laser removal. The picture of that naked “ould wan” with the tattoos demonstrates my concerns were correct. All these young girls getting their ankles and thighs and whatever tattooed now don’t realise how silly they are being but a fair few of my peers have tattoos as well and as we are in our 50s they already look rubbish. One friend who is somewhat estranged now has a daughter who has two piercings in her face,one in each cheek and it looks terrible- it made me sad to see such a mutilation of her beautiful face because she is an exceptionally good-looking girl. I got my nose pierced years ago but kept loosing the studs so I gave up on it and it healed over long ago.It is a tend these days and I do believe it will run it’s course. I can only hope that most of these silly people can afford laser removal when they come to their senses, but with huge piercings in their faces and other parts, they will be left with disfiguring holes and will have the rest of their lives to regret their folly.I wonder if God forbade it because he knows how fickle, silly and shallow we can be and wanted to help us avoid being stuck with the results of said silly,shallow behaviour as well as protecting us from dark forces?

  18. What is the difference in an ear lobe piercing and any other piercing?

  19. Pingback: 16 People Owning Their Weirdness - Viral Zone

  20. Why was an exception made for piercings in the earlobes?
    Would this not “invite the spirit of materialization, of greed, or of attention”?

  21. While your article is very well written, researched, informative, and rings of truth to the role of tatoo’s sifnificance in pagan culture; it would be wrong to misappropiately assert that acquiring one would make him/her subservient to demonic influence. Although it is true that many do so for the reasons you have stated, others do not for unrelated purposes such as aesthetics to cover severe deformities and third degree burns, who could not otherwise substitute expensive cosmetic or laser surgeries. These tatoos that cover the defect only would be the same thing as going through the pain of having the “undesireable” removed surgically, producing the same outcome of aesthetic improvement, thus not labling one as participant of demonic worship.
    Whilst it is important to live and voice our convictions as followers of Christ; One must be careful to avoid presumptious judgement on the part of ‘all’ who may get a tatoo for reasons otherwise unknown. One must take into careful consideration for whom our message is intended as well as our intent, and dissemination of what is being conveyed, to avoid well intended prose being ultimately misguided. There is power in words, and we must search our hearts if wanting to reach a wide audience, so that we don’t end up “missing the mark.”

    • Perhaps. I couldn’t reconcile mutilating my God-given body voluntarily for anything. It seems an affront to God. Some of us who love God would not wish to offend Him.
      Besides that, there is the issue of vanity. What God has given us cannot be improved upon. It is natural and healthy to want to look one’s best. I think it is mutilation to do irreversible alterations to one’s bodies purely for vanity.

  22. lophatt,
    I agree whole heartedly. However with that being said, pushing aside the purposes of body modification/piercing/branding/tattooing for vanity, pride, and other un-godly reasons; there are few medical reasons, extenuating circumstances pointed out in my article above as to why some would have a defect covered up vs. financially unattainable and painful cosmetic procedures that would not be without health risk, i.e.: infection, burns, etc.
    When we as Christians categorize “all” that partake for any and all reasons that may be unknown to us, being unaware of their circumstances; we are doing a disservice to ourselves by presenting a ‘one-size fits all’ theory. When we aren’t specific enough in our message to those who have ears to hear, we are unintentionally causing potential harm and confusion, and making others feel unnecessary shame for whom the message isn’t intended.

    • Yes. I don’t believe I said anything about “all” Christians and their motives. Motives are important. Besides, it is not my judgement that matters. It is merely my “opinion” that disfigurements for the sake of vanity are sinful.

  23. Thank you sincerely for your reply. However it was this broad generalization of which my response was derived: “I couldn’t reconcile mutilating my God-given body voluntarily for anything. It seems an affront to God. Some of us who love God would not wish to offend Him.” You didn’t say “all.” And, yes, we do all have opinions, but unless we can seek to understand about the reasons not mentioned otherwise about those who choose not to mutilate their God given body for reasons stated under normal circumstances, but may get choose to do so to get a deformity covered up that has nothing to do with vanity or marking our God given canvas; the unintended lack of insensitivity of our words will only incite a reaction from those that have done nothing wrong.
    I agree with you as to why most mutilate their bodies. But to say even in your own words that doing such an act in the first place is an ‘affront to God’ without specifications invites judgement upon those who aren’t rebelling against the nature of God. Opinions are neither right nor wrong, but can damage if we don’t choose our words carefully. You see, I’m one of those people who was the unfortunate victim of a horrific automobile accident that has left me with disfiguring scars, and my choice was merely out of aesthetics, and without the implications of any kind of sinful wrongdoing or mere vanity.


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