The New Mysteries: An Indigenous Prophesy

Many of my readers are aware of the prophesy made by the Oglala medicine man and shaman Black Elk before his passing more than 60 years ago.

As part of his retelling of the story of the gifting of the first sacred prayer pipe to the people by White Buffalo Calf Woman, Black Elk observed that with the ending of this cycle of ages—the one that is winding down right now and appears to be coming to closure in 2012—that the primordial spirituality would re-emerge and re-establish itself... and it would be on this foundation that the next cycle would begin again.

This is in complete alignment with the dream discussed by Carl Jung and Max Zeller in my second essay about the New Mysteries... and it could be observed that the primordial spirituality discussed by Black Elk is the shaman's path of direct revelation.

It could also be said that no matter what our faiths or beliefs or ethnic origins may be today, we are all descended from indigenous ancestors if we go back far enough... and they all had great shamans. This means that the shaman's path is one of our birthrights, and curiously, just as Black Elk predicted, the ancient way of the shaman has in fact been re-emerging as part of the widespread spiritual reawakening that has been going on in the Western world since the late 1960s.

I have written about the modern shaman in an essay posted under Shaman Wisdom, and so I include some of my thoughts here for our reconsideration as part of this ongoing series on the New Mysteries that are re-appearing in our time in response to our need.

The Shaman Revisited

As you the reader are no doubt aware, all true shamans are able to achieve expanded states of awareness—mystical states of consciousness—in which they can detach their focused awareness away from this physical world of things seen and journey into the inner worlds of the dreamtime while very much awake.

The first thing they discover when they do so is that these inner worlds are inhabited, for there they encounter spirits–the spirits of nature, the elementals, the ancestors, and the higher, compassionate transpersonal forces, many of whom serve humanity as spirit helpers and guardians, teachers and guides.

It is this extraordinary ability to access these inner worlds and their inhabitants that sets shamans apart from all other religious practitioners. And it is through their relationship with these archetypal beings (forces) that shamans are able to do various things, initially on behalf of themselves and then increasingly on behalf of others.

Because of my books about my own paranormal encounters on the shaman's path, I have been brought into close connection with increasing numbers of modern spiritual seekers at conferences and at workshops, and I have watched, riveted, as non-tribal Westerners successfully achieve shamanic states of trance, and often on the very first attempt.

The Shamanic State of Consciousness

This has led me (and others) to suspect that there is a biological-energetic "program" on our DNA, on our genetic "hard drive" so to speak, and it has been my personal experience that when this program is "double-clicked" with the right "mouse," higher functions coded into the personal mind-body matrix may be awakened. In response, our conscious awareness may expand dramatically, allowing us to have that direct, transpersonal connection with the sacred realms that defines the shaman.

The inner fieldwork of the eastern mystics suggests that this program is associated with the ductless glands, the brain, and the heart. These organs, in turn, appear to be in relationship with those dense concentrations of energy known as chakras located in the core of our personal etheric matrix. When these physical and energetic mission control centers are activated, the relationship between them can dramatically affect the body and the brain, which may undergo striking changes in response.

Western Considerations

Until relatively recently, most Westerners have tended to regard the whole issue of altered state experiences as mysterious, paranormal, even pathological, and so some of us, in ignorance, still respond to the idea of expanded awareness and connection with spirits, with fear and rejection.

By contrast, in a traditional indigenous society, each child grows up in relationship with elder ceremonial leaders and shamans who are able to access expanded states of consciousness intentionally for the benefit of themselves, for others, and even for the entire community. The traditionals know that virtually everyone can learn how to access sacred states of consciousness to some extent. They also know that some of us are real naturals at it.

Today, the shaman's path can be partially understood in scientific terms. It is known, for example, that the nature of the visionary experience can be determined, to some extent, by our focused intentionality, by our belief systems, and by the setting in which we find ourselves. These serve as "patterning forces" that can shape the visionary experience once the initial state of consciousness has been destabilized by the drum, the rattle–or the hallucinogen, if one was used.

Based on almost 30 years of apprenticeship in this tradition and 18 years of teaching shamanic training workshops, I have learned that the ability to achieve the shamanic state of consciousness is a learned skill that improves with practice. It can give the seeker access many varieties of experience, including connection with the spirit world if that is their intention.

I also know with absolute certainty that the program, once activated, allows us to ascend toward the luminous horizon of our personal and collective destiny in a completely new way.

The traditional people would agree with this statement because they know a great secret: Any human activity or endeavor can be enormously enhanced through utilizing and eventually mastering this sacred technology.

This fact reveals that the shaman's path is part of the cultural heritage of all people everywhere, although it was largely lost in the West due to ruthless suppression by the church for the past 1700 years. Interestingly, shamanism is not a religion, nor does it conflict with any religious tradition. It's a method... and when practiced with humility, reverence and self-discipline, the shaman's path can become a way of life.

A Way of Life

By utilizing the shaman's time-tested methodology, we can awaken from the consensus slumber of culture at large, and it then becomes possible to personally experience reunion with a mysterious, god-like mind...

And once in connection, we then know with certainty that no holy words or books, no secret ceremonies or rituals, no spiritual leaders or gurus or faiths can do this for us. Once the higher evolutionary functions are triggered within us, some mysterious predetermined schedule is set into motion, activating a program that cannot be given to us by any outside agency.

This is because each of us already has it.

Through my involvement with countless experiential workshops over the years, I have guided many thousands of non-tribal Westerners into the shamanic visionary journey experience and I've listened to their stories of their inner adventures on their return-accounts that would pass muster at any Aboriginal campfire.

As we approach the ending of this cycle of ages and the beginning of the next, some shamanic teachers in the Western world are creating a modern upgrade of the ancient mystic path of the shaman. In the process, a new spiritual complex is coming into being, one that reflects who we are now and who we are becoming. This has been discussed at length in my book Awakening to the Spirit World, co-authored with Sandra Ingerman.

From my perspective as an anthropologist who has spent large parts of my life living with indigenous peoples, this reworking must (and will) involve a re-enchantment of the world and of ourselves as well. And yet just what does this mean?

The Re-enchantment

I ask myself this question a lot... most often at 2:00 AM when I lie awake in bed in the stillness of the dark, meditating on the state of world as it is now, as well as how it came to be this way. When I get to the end of my list... and this is a very long list... I dream of what this same world will become as more and more of us awaken from our consensus cultural slumber and become who and what we are destined to become.

It will involve a re-enchantment... I like the sound of this... and I keep returning to this concept over and over again... but just what will this re-enchantment entail?

In a spiritual sense, I feel that it will involve a general discarding of anything that is no longer serving us. This will include many of our archaic belief systems that are outdated, outmoded, or outright false.

It will also include a re-embracing of that which is forever and ever true—a direct understanding of Nature as well as our connection with Nature.

Through an enhanced mystical connection with Nature, we become aware that Nature is a complex mosaic made up of many nations, only some of which happen to be human. And as our understanding of our relationship with these nations deepens, we begin to comprehend something that the Pagan pre-Christian peoples of our world understood well—that Nature ... the infinitely creative and universal principle infusing everything on our beautiful planet with life force and ever-increasing diversity... is God.

This means that when we abuse Nature, we abuse God... an insight revealing that our re-enchantment will involve a returning to and a re-embracing of Nature-focused spirituality. This alone will provide us with a new level of connection with the Great Mystery of Life itself.

And considering the magnitude of the earth and climate changes that are currently in progress, this alone may be the critical cusp that will allow us to continue on our evolutionary path as souls traveling across eternity.

A Redefinition of our Humanity

In one of my previous essays on the New Mysteries, we posited an all-important question:

‘How is each of us to define our own personal standard of humanity... and just what would that standard be?'

In searching for the answers to this question within ourselves, we have the potential to personally achieve a higher value. The word ‘value' in this sense refers to our attitudes that inform and mould our behaviors. And it is precisely here that indigenous mind has something of tremendous worth for us to consider.

My great Hawaiian friend Hale Makua was fond of observing that the foundation stone for indigenous mind is reverence. By contrast, the foundation stone for Western mind over the past two thousand years has been dominion... and as we watch the ever-escalating levels of crisis that inform virtually every level of the Western world today, we can only conclude that this value-domination-is no longer serving us. Quite the contrary.

It has been my experience that increasing numbers of people are concerned with the quality of life at all levels of society. They are especially concerned with the needs of elders, children, the poor and the disenfranchised. In other words, human relationships are perceived as more important than personal gain, revealing that the new spiritual complex coming into being within the transformational community has a deeply humanistic focus at its center.

A Mystical Humanism

This is giving rise in our time to a new form of mystical humanism, one in which the old divisions between liberal and conservative, between Jew and Christian and Muslim, between Buddhist or Hindu or between patriot and revolutionary become transparent as each of us realizes that we are all in this together... no escape... no excuses... no exceptions.

And our re-enchantment? This will involve a recommitment to our ancient Mother—to Nature herself... and with the ancient teachings of the mystery schools of the past.

We will talk more about our re-enchantment in the essays to come.

thank you Hank for the eloquent way in which you express my heart truth about what is happening now and how so many of us from all cultures are awakening to the truth of our shamanic being ... reclaiming ancient wisdom and new insights as we journey within the labyrinth of ourselves to meet our spiritual helpers of the Upper and Lower Worlds ... for me this journey is so richly rewarding a i gain insights into how we can and do co-create this 'place' where we live. How we are all ONE and Goddess/God/Spirit is the central point of all. We were all of us Indigneous .... we of all cultures and traditions have had those who walked the energy paths and songlines to help all ..this is being of service - i am so grateful to be reclaiming my shamanic self after centuries of suppression and aggression. i find my life is enriched as i reconnect to the inner divine that every single one of us on Earth has access to if we so choose. big heart hugs to you Hank & Jill .... you do great work, namaste Rainbow Starfire

Always wonderful to receive a kernel of your wisdom. Thank you. I think when you say dominion must be replaced by reverence you hit the nail on the head. I read recently The Synchronized Universe... and that is a place I would like to see us all re find. Blessings

Hank,,maybe these diffrent levels of consciousness can be taught and learned............but I remember your first experiences [out of body.....visiting the future] in your book Spiritwalker" and they just happened......without instruction or learning--------------You had no control????????????

Teaching people how to do it safely, and in a controlled environment is a good thing. It means that others do not have to go through all the stress and anxiety associated with spontaneous journeys and OBE's, and you can learn to control them.


This was an inspiring talk for me.

Hank , As always your words resonate memory recall in me and my own D.N.A. . I was just thinking about Black Elk the other day and ironically Wallace " Black Elk " had given me my namesake, as I was a student of his once . He taught me a lot about Black Elk's visions and understanding of our times to come !! I too, believe his prophecies are indeed ringing truth . I also believe that the awakening is taking place and we are starting to gravitate towards each other more and more . We are truly all are finding our way home !! Keep up your great work !! Aho

a very interesting and challenging article-i look forward to reading more about this in the future

Hi Hank & Jill.......I have watched you both on Conscious Media Network and on a satalite channel called Edge Media which transmits in Europe (I'm Irish) on Channel 200, on Sky Tv.
So much of what you share is both beautiful and vital for my own development. And it always, simply makes perfect sense to me. God, Nature has been prodding me now for about 4 years and I am finally taking notice or rather noticing the Synchronistic events unfold before me. And man do I love it!!, even though at first I couldnt compute all the data that was constantly coming my way....
My wife and partner of 20 years is unwell at the moment and my mother (she is 69) has just been diagnosed with a very rare form of breast cancer. Yet after watching Hanks interview with Regina Meredith I can honestly say that I have taken these illnessess aboard pretty cooly....
My only hope is that I can get my wife and Mother to watch the above interview and actively take part in their own healing. Chopping Vines as Hank said will not be easy in Catholic Ireland yet I feel that some beautiful force will accompany me when I make the suggestion to the two most important women in my life.......

Thank you for the vital and beautiful information you share with others and I truly believe that God/Nature is working through you both in it's own Mysterious and Powerful way.......A Grand Mosaic indeed.....

lots of Love & Light
Amanita Flames/Charlieboy

Well everyone this is how it began for me when I lived in Las Vegas and went to browse in a book store and his book Spirit Walker moved out of the bookshelf towards me and certainly got my attention. I read it several times, first with speculation, then with humility. Just finished the Bowl of Light for the 2nd time and now am in the middle of Spirit Medicine. The choices were from no particular order for I am now borrowing books from the State of Hawaii Library system. It seems to be having approximately 4-6 readers per year noted from the borrowing slips inside the covers. I have put reservations on all of Hank's and Jill's writings and I find it fun to see which one comes to me next.

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