Wesselman: Perhaps Jesus and the Buddha were indeed shamans. The New Testament even describes a powerful “shamanic” experience that preceded Jesus’ ministry: he went alone into the desert and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. Solitary fasting is a time-honored tradition for inducing a shamanic vision, but in actuality it was probably four days and four nights. During that time, Jesus was tempted to use his spiritual power to turn stones into bread and relieve his hunger; to make a spectacular display of his power by throwing himself from a cliff so that angels would swoop down and rescue him; and to bow down to the Devil and gain the kingdoms of the world. But Jesus exercised great self-discipline and refused to use his spiritual powers for personal gain. Throughout his ministry, however, he did use his spiritual—or shamanic—access on behalf of the poor, the outcast, the sick and the suffering. Moreover, he told his disciples that they would do “All these things, and more.” So there’s nothing inherently inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus and shamanism.
I think that the reason Christianity has broken with its shamanic or mystical roots can be attributed to the intercession of the Church, which has always sought to come between believers and a direct connection with a living, changing spiritual dimension. Another factor is the Church’s insistence upon a single supreme Deity and its fear and intolerance for a multifaceted expression of that Deity through nature, animals, the elements, and other beings. The Church has sought to portray these expressions—and practices for interacting with them—as the work of “the Devil.” But Jesus himself advised that we could discern good from evil “by their fruits.”
The MOON: Nainoa’s Chief Kaneohe said that failures of leadership at the highest level incur a great karmic debt. I also wonder what karmic burden the rest of us may incur by going along with bad leaders, these so-called “masters of deception.”
Wesselman: Yes. In the U.S. we now have a crisis of leadership at the highest levels—from the White House to the Congress to the board rooms of capitalism. I think that this crisis will reach a point where the entire complex will cease to function. What happens next? I don’t know. I don’t think anyone can predict. But it’s quite obvious to me that we can’t continue to do what we are doing. This is an unsustainable system…and the only good thing about it is that it’s unsustainable.
People have asked me if I think the future I visited with Nainoa is the only one available to us, and I’ve said, “No, I think it’s one of many possible futures. But I do think it’s the only one available to us if we continue on our present course.”
So, the first thing we must do is become aware of the masters of deception, realizing who and what they are. Because if we can see them, we become invisible to them. We have to recognize that they represent thought-forms that we had a shared responsibility in creating. For example, we share the responsibility for seeking to benefit at another’s expense; for seeking to justify systems of oppression and exploitation, rather than simply dismantling them; for seeking scapegoats—enemies—that justify our expressions of violence; and so on. We must each do our own shadow work to acknowledge these aspects in ourselves and others.
The MOON: It doesn’t seem to me that we become invisible to them if we call them out. Rather, it seems that they attack us. We draw their fire.
Wesselman: The Cree call these people wetiko, psychic vampires. As we know from watching vampire movies, vampires don’t cast a shadow on the ground, nor a reflection in a mirror. That’s because they don’t like to be seen; once they’re seen, the game is over. That doesn’t mean they don’t attack; it means that everyone now knows they’re evil and people are no longer taken in by them. They lose their ability to fool and infect others. If they’re not called out, those they infect may go deeper and deeper into the negative polarity and reach a place where they can no longer self-correct. They cross the threshold into the realm of evil and they actually contribute to the realm of darkness.
There are evil people in the world; in our government; in business at the highest level.
The MOON: So what is our collective responsibility to correct or resist these arch-deceivers? What karmic debts are we incurring by failing to do so? Or is that not our kuleana?
Wesselman: It’s not my place to say what each individual’s responsibility is. Our kuleana, our sphere of responsibility—varies from person to person. Some of us are activists; some are healers; some are artists; some inventors. We all must act within our own sphere with the full force and discipline of spiritual warriors.
The MOON: You talk about dreaming a new future, which is a shamanic art. We travel to a positive future and connect psychic grid lines to pull it to us. How can we dream a more positive future for the Earth and its inhabitants?
Wesselman: Shamanism is a form of active dreaming–dreaming while awake. Once you’re in touch with your helping spirits, I don’t believe you can go too far wrong. Bear in mind that we are monitored 24/7 by the unseen world of the spirits, as well as our own higher self, which serves as our spirit teacher through our intuition. As the Andean Quechuan teacher in Peru told me so many year ago, “We have been aware for some time that the dreaming of the western world is corrupting the planet. We became aware by tapping into the dreams of the west. The time has come to make a massive correction. We do that by dreaming of the future we want to live in.”
I believe this is very much possible for us. The Cultural Creatives is a phenomenon described in a book of the same name by Paul Ray and Sherry Ruth Anderson. Paul Ray is an anthropologist and Sherry Ruth Anderson also wrote The Feminine Face of God, which is a tremendous book. Paul Ray had been doing demographic studies for 14 years and discovered—as has the Pew Research Foundation since—that 27% of westerners describe themselves as “spiritual, but not religious.” In Paul Ray’s estimation, that represented about 50 million people in 2000; two years later he raised the estimate to 70 million. There are another 100 million “cultural creatives” in England and Western Europe. These are not small numbers, and they appear to be growing. For some reason, however, we’re “under the radar” of the mainstream media, possibly because we’re not organized into an identifiable group. And perhaps that’s a good thing. We’re not as easily targeted.
I believe that these “cultural creatives,” who are “spiritual but not religious,” are the new transformational community—the seed people—the vanguard who will lead us into a new paradigm. We’re the ones who form the bridge from the last cycle of ages to the new one that has just begun.
In this transitional period it does seem as if everything is unraveling, but I think that’s part of the process. The old world has to fall apart to make room for the new one. And that’s our job: To love all that we see with humility; to live all that we feel with reverence; and to know all that we possess with discipline. That’s how we’ll make a new world.