HBCU Family, we all are familiar with Jamal Bryant, who is the pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Stonecrest, Georgia. He also graduated from HBCU Morehouse College in Atlanta.

Well, in a teaching session with the women of his church that streamed on YouTube on Monday, Bryant warned his members to stay away from the practice of burning sage. According to the Oxford dictionary, sage is an aromatic plant with grayish-green leaves that are used as a culinary herb, native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean.

He said he “was amazed because two saints gave me sage for my new house.”

This lead him to do his research on the practice of it and made him question sage once he discovered that it is basically a demonic New Age practice.

He continued, “I didn’t know what to do with it. I was unsure of it. And all the more, why they’d feel comfortable giving it to a pastor. Then I began to research and study it and found out that the sales of it have gone up by over 200% in the last four years and have to be constantly placed on restock in natural health stores.”

Bryant argued that when you practice burning sage, you are essentially calling upon spirits to fight off negative spirits, not calling upon the name of Jesus:

“Another word for burning sage is smudging. The thought of the Native Americans is that certain herbs carry spirits in them … and when you burn certain herbs you’re calling on those spirits to dispel evil or vexing spirits or energies from a space, from an object or person. And so it is their contention that when I am burning sage, I am then calling down a spirit or calling up a spirit to then wrestle with that energy that’s in a room, that’s in a car or in a person.”

He said “So are those who burn sage and then put it around themselves saying that they don’t want any negative energy around them or negative energy approaching them?  … It is highly practiced now by the New Age movement.”

He later said that those who practice burning sage are playing the role of God because they think that calling upon spirits to cast away the bad ones, which is what He and His angels already does for us.

“They are spiritual. They just do not believe or submit to authority … They believe through the doctrine of New Age faith or New Age theology, that mortals or humanity through the right wave of devotion and meditation can ascend themselves to become a deity. So they become their own gods.

The people who believe that they are their own god, we don’t know how to approach them or even how to attack it because we have minimized demonic possession as those who are foaming around their mouth, eyes are roaming in the back of their head and they are squirming on the floor. That’s how we’ve recognized demons.”

In a piece titled “Black Millennials Leave Church for African Witchcraft,” The Atlantic’s Sigal Samuel wrote that white millennials have left the church in droves over the last decade, embracing witchcraft instead. Black millennials are now following suit:

Over the past decade, white Millennials have embraced witchcraft in droves. Now a parallel phenomenon is emerging among black Millennials. While their exact numbers are difficult to gauge, it’s clear that African American pop culture has started to reflect the trend. In the music industry alone, there’s Beyoncé’s allusion to an African goddess in Lemonade at the Grammys; Azealia Banks’s declaration that she practices brujería (a Spanish term for witchcraft); and Princess Nokia’s hit “Brujas,” in which she tells white witches, “Everything you got, you got from us.”

African American witchcraft originated in West Africa, the birthplace of Yoruba, a set of religious traditions focused on reverence for ancestors and worship of a vast pantheon of deities known as orishas. Those traditions accompanied West Africans who were brought to the Americas as slaves, and were eventually combined with Western religions, such as Catholicism, that many slaves were pushed to embrace.

By the early 19th century, Cuban Santeria, Brazilian Candomblé, Haitian Vodou, and other syncretistic faiths had emerged as a result. In cities like New Orleans, voodoo (slightly different from Haitian Vodou) and hoodoo, which also descend from West African faiths, grew popular. These practices—which often involve manipulating candles, incense, or water to achieve a desired result—may have helped give slaves some sense of power, however minimal.

It’s difficult to gauge the exact numbers of black millennials who have embraced African witchcraft. But Bryant said that those who do, in particular the ones who practice burning sage, are devaluing the anointing life of Jesus Christ.