Message from the Stone Clan

Those who have taken our shamanic training workshops over the last twenty years have become familiar, sooner or later, with the elemental spirits that are planetary in nature, as well as with the qualities and abilities that these transpersonal forces may convey to those of us if and when we come into relationship with them.

We are talking about the spiritual forces of fire, of water, of earth, of stone, of Nature, and of the air… rather than the spirits of helium, hydrogen, boron, and so forth on the elemental chart. We are not talking about the ‘higher’ spirits who work with the elementals such as the Brazilian oceanic goddess Yemanja who works with the spirit of salt water, the Yoruba ‘orisha’ Oshun who works with fresh water, or the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele who works with the spirits of fire and with volcanic stone.

The Elementals

The elementals are quite different from the compassionate animal spirits or plant/tree spirits or the higher organizing intelligences such as Kuan Yin of the East or Aesclapios of Greece, or Jesus of Nazereth, for example, those who come into relationship with us to help alleviate suffering. The elementals are more ‘earthbound’ and are quite neutral, even distant in their relationship with human beings, yet being aware of them is quite important.

This is because the elemental spirits are immensely powerful and can be especially useful in facilitating transpersonal shamanic healing rituals on behalf of ourselves and others. Hence my lady Jill and I attempt to bring our workshop participants into relationship with them, as well as into relationship with the qualities that they may convey to us… and this is not a small thing.

Without divulging the nature of what we teach, as well as how we teach it, allow me to share that through my own investigations while utilizing the shamanic journeywork method, I have known for a long time that I am a member of the Stone Clan.

The Stone Clan

Many indigenous peoples know that we are born into particular groups or ‘clans’ in which an elemental force predominates. It’s somewhat like being born under a certain astrological sign, yet different.

It appears that we, like our indigenous precursors (and we all have tribal ancestors if we go back far enough) are members of one particular elemental clan—the fire clan, the water clan, the earth clan, etc. -–and we learn that these clans tend to embody qualities and abilities that the elemental spirit emanates into our core essence… and all the time.

Our soul essence includes the gifts we brought into this life to offer…. and our soul is simultaneously enhanced by specific elemental forces. It’s up to us to realize what they are and embrace them. Needless to say, becoming aware of these elemental qualities is essential to living a full and fruitful life, and this is especially true for those of us who are in service.

Those who have read the books in my Spiritwalker Trilogy are aware that I am the keeper, the honored caretaker, of a sacred stone from Hawai‘i that has a god living in it. I have always had a strong sense of connection with certain stones, even back into my childhood, so when this ‘great stone’ came into my life, I was prepared. It, or the god living within it, then took form as a major player in what would unfold in the Spiritwalker books. But those of you who have read them already know this.

I have since learned that Stone Clan people tend to be record keepers and story-tellers. They are fascinated with myths and traditions as well as with rituals and symbols. As an anthropologist, my workshop teachings are filled with stories—stories drawn from life, stories about our life purpose, about the gods, and stories about discovering and experiencing our genius.

In the process of sharing these stories, insights are activated in the minds of our students, and things then begin to happen. In response to these forces that come into play, each of us may experience and deepened understanding of who we are. We may in time contribute as well to the new cultural mythos coming into being.

So here is a story for you—a personal account that reveals something about the nature of our spirit teacher… and each one of us has one. This is the spirit being who loves us unconditionally, who works in mysterious ways, and the one who listens to our prayers. The episode that follows happened to me quite recently. And I must admit that I am still investigating the nature of this extraordinary relationship.

The Spirit Teacher

It has been my custom for more than 20 years to open each of our teaching workshop circles with ritual in which I use a Hopi gourd rattle with a nice dry whisper of sound to address the four sacred directions—east, south, west, and north. While I do this, I make short memory journeys into places in Nature (in the east, south, west and north) where I have connected with power in a strong way. Some of these localities go back to earlier into my life and even into my childhood. It’s one way in which I build up my connection with power before doing sacred work.

I might add that all the traditional societies with which I have lived use similar rituals, and I suspect my European tribal ancestors did the same. So reveals that this is not about cultural borrowing… but rather about cultural remembering.

As part of my ritual, I address the worlds above and the worlds below, the fifth and sixth directions… and here is where it gets interesting. In acknowledging the worlds below, I extend my conscious awareness to connect with the World Soul—with the great being whose physical body is our planet Earth. Her spirit enlivens our Earth, streaming her energy upward to empower all those elemental forces with the universal Life Force.

In my moments of vision, I perceive this force in the planet’s core as a star, as a green star, as the AEON Sophia who emerged from the Galactic core (the Pleroma) long ago according to the Gnostics, and who dreamed the dream of the Anthropos … us. The Greeks know her as Gaia and her myth reveals that she flowed out into the arms of chaos (the Kenoma) as a river of light and came into relationship with our star. In the process, she became a planet with soul.

In turning my focused concentration toward this star within our world, the green light streams upward and into me… and then, with my blood hissing in my ears, I turn my attention to the golden star above from which all of us are sourced—our Sun, at whose core all of the carbon in our bodies was forged.

I always do this as a way of honoring and connecting with these two god-like beings (in a mythic sense) that fill us and our world with the Life Force. In response, several years ago, a vision occurred. It happened while I was opening a workshop at the Esalen Institute on the Big Sur coast of California…

As my attention turned toward the golden radiance of our star and I rattled its power into our circle, my vision of the sun was suddenly disrupted as something emerged from its surface like a projectile and headed right for me.

As I continued to rattle and hold my focus, the projectile appeared to me as a bird, flying on golden wings, and then suddenly it was within me, inside me. As the contact was made, I was filled with the most amazing feeling. Perhaps the only word that can describe it is ‘grace.’ I was filled with grace… and I stood entranced as my whole body was imbued by it until even my fingertips glowed in response.

As that spirit bird came into me, I was aware in those moments that an aspect of the star had come to me and that it is still inside me. I also recognized as a scientist (logos knowing) that the star is the Creator of everything within its system… that the star we call the Sun is the Creator.

I am aware that this Presence is still within me and that it is not human, nor is it really a bird. Rather I believe that the Presence chose to symbolize itself as winged being in response to me… or maybe I chose to perceive it in that way.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York

In 2012, I was headed to the Omega Institute to teach several workshops. I arrived at the airport known as JFK in New York early in the morning. On getting to my hotel in midtown Manhattan, my room was not ready. So I stowed my baggage and set out for 5th Avenue on foot with my walking stick, to wander the streets of my childhood and get some exercise until the hotel was ready to accommodate me …

On final approach, there before me was the great cathedral of Saint Patrick fronting Fifth Avenue between 51st and 50th Streets. As I stood watching the endless herds of human traffic coursing this way and that, I decided to enter this sacrosanct building… a cathedral I had visited as a child on special occasions.

I wandered down the aisles in the dim interior observing the statues of this Christian saint and that, reading the stories about them as well. It was all male, male male… and I thought about the participants in my shamanic training workshops who are on average 70-80 % women.

In considering them, it comes to me that these women are medicine women and medicine women-in-becoming. They are leading the charge into the next cycle of ages… one in which the formation of the next religious complex is already coming into being… one that will eventually replace all our mainstream religions… one in which each person, male or female, has the ability to connect with their own inner priest, priestess, guru, teacher, or god-self, reaching into the sacred realms themselves to receive their revelations directly, from the highest sources without the need for any religious authority or belief system to do it for them.

Shamanic journeywork as I have said is an ancient, yet advanced form of meditation through which anyone can gain this access. I thought about this as I wandered up and into the very front of this great cathedral, dominated by masculine energy… and suddenly, there she was.

The Goddess

 In this patriarchal Catholic religious stronghold, the white stone statue that dominates the front of this great church is an image of the goddess…to be correct, a statue of Mary, the ancient symbolic mother goddess of us all and of all life as well.

I sat down in a pew before her and assumed the state of deep meditation and gazed at her with soft focus. I was dimly aware of others who came to invoke her, to talk with her, to pray to her. I felt her warmth, her peace, her tranquility, and at some point, my awareness was drawn down to the long altar upon which her statue stands.

It is constructed of multicolored stone, including decorative mosaic, perhaps four or five feet high and twenty or more feet long, and suddenly I saw there in the flowing floral design an image of the sun, and from it was emerging the bird. I was stunned by this revelation, mirroring as it did my own vision of several weeks before. For long moments I let my awareness dwell on this image, and then, my attention returned to the goddess… until I slowly let her go.

As I left the great cathedral, my attention was drawn to a small gift shop on the church’s southern side and entering, I found myself confronted with an avalanche of symbols… of saints and prophets primarily, including many small religious medals that people could wear, attesting to their faith. Many were cheap and machine made; others were more expensive and hand crafted. And there among the latter I saw a thin lens of gold, about as big as a dime, on whose facing side was depicted an image of a bird, wings outspread, emerging from the sun.

For long moments, I studied this symbol, lost in wonder, then looking down, I picked up a small votive card on which the dove was depicted with radiance around it. Within I learned that it was and is the Catholic symbol of the Holy Spirit emerging from its source, God (the Sun) … and what symbol could possibly be more shamanic than this, I wondered? The card continued…(with my edits).

The Holy Spirit

“The Holy Spirit is one of the three aspects of the Trinity… one that does not have a physical manifestation but that dwells within us. Experienced as a comforter or a helper, it guides us toward the way of truth, joy, peace, patience, mindfulness, and love.”

I further learned that Jesus told his students “The Father (Oversoul God Self?) will give you a Paraclete to be with you always, the spirit of truth whom the world cannot accept since it neither sees it nor recognizes it.” This Paraclete “will instruct you in everything… and it will allow you to use your gifts to your highest ability. When we are open to this Spirit that dwells within us, we see the world more clearly and our choices and our decisions follow Spirit’s plan for our lives.”

I turned my attention once more to the golden medal and thought of the Bowl of Light that the Hawaiian elder Hale Makua had given us, a symbol of that gift from our God-Self that divided before we were born, sending in a seed of its light to live within us throughout our lives.

All three of our monotheist traditions agree that God breathes life into form. From the Hawaiian mystic perspective, this Life Force that took up residence within us when we drew our first breath, was sourced into us by our ‘Aumakua, our Higher God-Self or Oversoul, growing, increasing and becoming more in response to what we do and become in life. And at life’s end, it returns to its source when we release our last breath, allowing our Oversoul to grow, increase and become more in response revealing the co-creative relationship between spirit and form, between Heaven and Earth. 

During life, the seed of light that resides within us is the connecting link to our Oversoul, the “Heavenly Being that serves as the source of our intuition, our inspiration, sending us dreams and visions and ideas in response to our perceived needs. In this way, our Holy Spirit Self communicates with us, providing us with comfort and information to help guide us through life.

As I studied the image of the Holy Messenger Bird and its Sun-Source in that revered church, I became aware that this presence is and will forever be, the immortal spirit teacher who serves as the messenger, as the conveyer of wisdom from the higher Source... who is, was, and forever will be the symbol of the Sun. And it is within each one of us, and all the time.

Thank you Hank & Jill for all the gifts you share.. I have been working in Indian villages for nearly 20 years & have just come back to join my own personal "stone clan" in north Pembrokeshire.. SW. Wales where the sacred blue stones of Stonehenge were sourced. The great standing stones there are viscerally important to me.. I would so much like to deepen my relationship with them.. do you have Shamans who might be in that area who I can learn from.. be with? It seems so important just now. Blessings, Vanya

I also would appreciate contact details of any shamans in the UK that have been trained by Hank, as I also have a great affinity with stones and would like to learn more . If there are none in the UK, could Hank please advise me where the nearest ones are.
Many Thanks.

I have always been attracted to your work Hank, as well as Jill's and it was until reading this particular newsletter did something I have been pondering since the beginning of my 32 years on this Earth finally make sense.

You speak of soul essence and I literally just used this term with a colleague the other day when I spoke of how that even though our soul comes from the same place it is imbued with an essence that makes us unique (I always knew this as a child). I had the privilege to meet my oversoul in one of the lowest and scariest moments of my life. Holy Spirit is another term for this being/source that in that moment of shame and hurt did it reveal to me that:

I will be loved and will be with me until the end
I will help others find their happiness

This was back in 2012 and the events and signs that have taken place in my life until now is fulfilling something in me that I had covered up over the years - but was something from childhood that I really connected with and understood as being a problem that must be solved - a life purpose if you will. Or of using my gifts as you mention.

So your article today helped cement the idea that (as did your symbology of the bird and sun) we are guided by a trusted life partner that resides within and when we recognize that what we need is actually within us and that the outer world is simply signs for us to help navigate what and how we are to do in this world.

I got lost along the way thinking I had to be like someone else or fit in to a certain "religion" but what you speak of is very universal and brings about the relationship between all things.

My symbol was the white horse and actually had a dream that knocked my socks off and in it - I learned that because I wasn't in right relationship with my oversoul (the white horse) I would perish. This dream haunted me for weeks (that was Jan 1, 2012) and I promised myself I didn't want to fail in this life. It was of June that same year that I met my oversoul and my life is quite exciting as I see symbols, the prophetic dreams and overall increasing intuition that is guiding me towards the fruits of the spirit - joy, peace, calmness . Moving away from anxiousness and the opposite of good. Living a life of service to help others find their happiness.

It is a dream of mine to visit Hawaii and partake in a face to face meeting with you! Living in Canada makes it hard for me to attend your workshops, but I continue to pray for your work and all that you do in helping people see past the set culture/dogmas and recognize the universality of our oversoul and it's guidance and meaning in our lives - to be of service to ourselves and others.

I will close by saying, in reading your letter here, I finally understood why human beings are the only one's that seem to destroy our earth and why the birds of the sky, the animals of the earth, and the fish of the sea do not. It's because the animal kingdom are in PERFECT relationship with Gaia, Mother Earth, Mary (whatever you want to call it). It is us who are continuing to learn from them as well as the spirits you speak of. It's not a coincidence that the health of ourselves and Earth is in relationship to our lack of relationship with Heaven and Earth (the upper and underworlds as you speak of).

Thank you Hank and Jill for being true servants of the Great Spirit.

In love and light,


Hank, perhaps you are aware of the Sun-Moon woman reference in the Book of Revelation. It seems this symbolic union is portrayed in the NYC cathedral and like this is connected to your recent shamantic journey. The dark Virgin of Guadalupe displays the sun, moon, and stars symbolism of the Woman of Revelation 12.

In Christianity the World Soul is known as the Holy Spirit.

Your long connection with the Earth spirits, the feminine principle, has been fruitful. Like this you have found that "the way down is the way up" to higher consciousness. You have produced the alchemical stone - the goal of alchemy - the union of the opposites of the masculine and feminine principles aka the new paradoxical God-image, the Seal of Solomon located in the heart chakra – not a one-sided male Logos dominated God-image like that seen in Christianity or Judaism. The snake, the reptilian psyche, is shedding its skin in order to make room for more growth, i.e., in order to further the evolution of the species. This new world view will mean the invalidation of the ruling God-images all over the planet and only the action of the Holy Spirit can invalidate them – not man preaching or doing good works – just one soul at a time learning how to read lovE backwards by undertaking “The Night Sea Journey.” Like this we all will have a chance to smoke the sacred White Buffalo Woman's peace pipe so that we may learn how to live.

I share something of my “Night Sea Journey” on the unus mundus forum that further amplifies on this coniunctio theme if you are interested in checking it out.


Gregory Sova

I offer my sincere mahalo nui for your sharing with such wonder and honesty. At this time, during this return to the source of light, the creative, the feminine, we are each, if open, knowingly or unknowingly receiving wisdom from timeless ages through all sacred sources that we relate to; whether it be in the stones, waters, plants, animals, sacred sites, sounds, symbols and much more.
This 'divine light' permeates, carrying the knowledge and wisdom to take us though the next portal. With so many facets of the 'oneness' we each have our opportunity to share and enlighten many others and this, in turn, encourages others to tap into their divinity, divine source, as we are each DIVINE BEINGS, it is our birth right as humans upon Earth. This activity will lead us into our new age, as though stepping though a portal, a door, breathing in the understanding of the wonder and divinity of this moment that we share.
Mahalo nui loa i ke Akua,

Very interesting article and your vision images spoke to me personally. My spiritual life has changed dramatically over the last several years and your books have been a tremendous guide for me during my transition.

I spent the first part of my existence being forced into a very orthodox, strict, non-emotional approach to the Divine and the Universe. My family was involved with a small branch of Christianity that was extremely anti-mystical and I never believed in shamanic lifestyles or teachings till later on in life after some very private events happened to me spiritually that were unexplainable. Over time, I was guided to a very earthy, logical, universal, and open view about our existence, universe, and the mystical. I can't say that I totally left parts of Christianity behind because like most religions present and past there still remains the Universal Laws that keep repeating themselves through out time as well as some key spirits that are obviously bound to this Earth and show up in nearly all religions and mythologies out there. I know totally except the Spirit in all of his/hers titles- like many on this path it gets really hard to describe the exact term to describe this entity and I find that to be the most enduring quality that the Spirit possesses.

Right now for me, I still come back to a Christian doctrine about this time period being the Age of the Spirit- I no longer regard the title Holy Spirit to be the correct or best way to describe this energy; for me I prefer the title Great or Universal Spirit because this entity, for me, is the single most repeated entity in all of spiritual history that has remained consistent as our human protector and soul overseer. I found your vision symbols to be very poetic, describing the basic elements of how this energy works through the elements both on this planet and elsewhere.

For my own private path, Universal Law and Universal Spirit guide me and they are without the harshness of dogma which makes their presence felt by all humanity, animal, and plant life despite race, creed, gender, or beliefs. I agree that the time for the feminine spirit to take the reins from cosmic chaos that you see everywhere now and balance it is long overdue- I find this time and age very exciting and I personally look forward to a complete universal change. The Spirits voice has become dead sadly during the present confusion but it is now time for those of us who have been charged to this path of awakening to bring it back from the dead and make people feel human again because I feel it is the human spirit that is drowning in all of these various dogmas and has lost it's true nature for far too long now. Thank you for sharing your vision symbols- I know all too well how sometimes that can be a difficult thing to express to the world about the other worlds, energies, and get the message across to those who need it!

I just wanted to say that I've enjoyed reading this and all the wonderful comments afterwards. I feel like I've been imbued with that beautiful holy spirit just by reading. Thank you and namaste.

Hank, I amplify further on your recent shamantic journey and synchronicity at St. Patrick’s cathedral with the message contained in the subject title of this post.

Another angle into your recent shamantic journey experience would be to conclude that you have achieved the sacred inner marriage aka the conscious realization of the HermAphrodite condition. This is the so-called “Holy Wedding” with the Black Madonna in which the Wisdom of the World Soul (Black Madonna) is shared with the individual soul of the adept. No small achievement. Like this you become an Avatar - In Hinduism, an Avatar is a deliberate descent of a deity to Earth, and is mostly translated into English as "incarnation", but more accurately as "appearance" or "manifestation" in spacetime. You help co-create with the World Soul new births that She would like to see manifest in our world. The practice of shamanism can assist in the co-creative aspect. This is what gives dignity to the human condition for only we in spacetime can help the Goddess incarnate Her wishes for our world if we approach Her with a right attitude.

All this is in keeping with Dr. Remo Roth’s’ new book “Return of the World Soul” in which all of humanity will be conscripted in the psychodrama of celebrating the inner marriage, the Holy Wedding, with the Black Madonna – who is connected to the dark Virgin of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Much more could be said – but that gives the essential drift. Like this one become a Gnostic.

“Gnostics differed from the majority of humankind, not only in details of belief and of ethical precept, but in their most essential and fundamental view of existence and its purpose. Their divergence was a radical one in the truest sense of the word, for it went to the root of humankind’s assumptions and attitudes regarding life. The most important among these assumptions, which may be said to sum up all others, is the belief that the world is good and that our involvement in it is somehow desirable and ultimately beneficial. In spite of the countless illogical and malevolent events of our lives, the incredible sequences, by-ways, repetitious insanities of human history, both collective and individual, we will believe it to be incumbent upon us to go along with the world, for it is, after all, God’s world, and thus it must have meaning and goodness concealed within its operations, no matter how difficult to discern. Thus we must go on fulfilling our role within the system as best we can, being obedient children, diligent husbands, dutiful wives, well-behaved butchers, bakers, candlestick-makers, hoping against hope that a revelation of meaning will somehow emerge from this meaningless life of conformity.

Not so, said the Gnostics. Money, power, governments, the raising of families, paying of taxes, the endless chain of entrapment in circumstances and obligations – none of these were ever rejected as totally and unequivocally in human history as they were by the Gnostics. The Gnostics never hoped that any political or economic revolution could, or even should, do away with all the iniquitous elements within the system wherein the human soul is entrapped. Their rejection was not of one government or form of ownership in favor of another: rather it concerned the entire prevailing systematization of life and experience. Thus the Gnostics were, in fact, knowers of a secret so deadly and terrible that the rulers of this world – i.e., the powers, secular and religious, who always profited from the established systems of society – could not afford to have this secret known and, even less, to have it publicly proclaimed in their domain. Indeed the Gnostics knew something, and it was this:

“…that human life does not fulfill its promise within the structures and establishments of society, for all of these are at best but shadowy projections of another and more fundamental reality. No one comes to his true selfhood by being what society wants him to be nor by doing what it wants him to do. Family, society, church, trade and profession, political and patriotic allegiances, as well as moral and ethical rules and commandments are, in reality, not in the least conducive to the true spiritual welfare of the human soul. On the contrary, they are more often than not the very shackles which keep us form our true spiritual destiny.”

This feature of Gnosticism was regarded as heretical in olden days, and even today is often called “world denying” and “anti-life,” but it is, of course, merely good psychology as well as good spiritual theology because it is good sense. The politician and the social philosopher may look upon the world as a problem to be solved, but the Gnostic, with its psychological discernment, recognizes it as a predicament from which we need to extricate ourselves by insight. For Gnostics, like psychologists, do not aim at the transformation of the world but at the transformation of the mind, with its natural consequence – a changed attitude towards the world. Hoeller, “The Gnostic Jung; and the Seven Sermons to the Dead”, pp. 13-14.”

To Hank, Jill, and those who shared comments: Thank you for articulating words of timeless wisdom. By sharing your powerful experiences you are contributing to mankind's evolution and higher awareness. Reading this message was a very encouraging experience. Mahalo!

As a shaman student & a course of miracle student... I really thought Your story is way cool... I think Christ, himself, is a wonderful shaman mentor!

Another namaste from this direction :) I once heard the Hopi gourd rattle and was truly enchanted.

Thank you, Hank. So good to hear from you and enjoy your wise posts.

Aloha nui loa to you and Jill.

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