Science, Religion, Spirituality And The Supernatural – Dr. Hank Wesselman

_DSC4937_400pxThose who have read my books and essays about my encounters with ‘the supernatural’ on the shaman’s path may at times find it difficult to reconcile these accounts with what we have been taught about the world by our parents and friends, teachers and religious authorities.

Science and Spirituality

In thinking about this, I might add that it is currently impossible for Western science to seriously consider the experiences I have shared with you the reader as real, let alone investigate or even validate them.

I could also observe as a practicing scientist that science has never been able to demonstrate that the way shamans explain reality is wrong, nor has it been able to reveal that there is anything faulty or illogical about the shamans’ worldview. In other words, science has been unable to invalidate the shamanic perspectives about the nature of reality—a worldview that is remarkably consistent, from culture to culture, and held by virtually all the peoples of the planet.

In support of this, the writer Graham Hancock has observed in his seminal book, Supernatural, that the materialist paradigm, upon which all the progress and achievements of Western technology have been built, could very likely face catastrophic implosion if the shamans were ever proved to be right.

The researcher Dr. Rick Strassman has put it this way in his book, DMT: The Spirit Molecule, “(The shaman’s) worlds are usually invisible to us and our instruments and are not accessible using our normal state of consciousness. However, just as likely as the theory that these worlds exist ’only in our minds’ is that they are, in reality, outside us and freestanding. (This implies that) if we simply change our brain’s receiving abilities, we can comprehend them and interact with them.”

Parallel Dimensions

As one who has walked the shaman’s path for 28 years, it has been my experience that these separate, freestanding realities do indeed exist separate from us, and that they may be the parallel dimensions that quantum physics predicts. Like Hancock and many others who have had direct experiences of them, my feeling (like theirs’) is that these other worlds vibrate at a different frequency from our own and are thus invisible to us except in altered states of consciousness.

Furthermore, shamans all over the world proclaim with their considerable authority that these other realities are inhabited by intelligent beings who have had an active interest in us for a very long time. These beings get involved in human affairs most often as spirit helpers and teachers and include the animal spirits, plant spirits, elementals, the faerie folk and more recently the aliens. They also include the Higher Organizing Intelligences including our own Higher Self or Oversoul as well as what many call the Angelic Forces that include our Oversoul’s teacher, our Guide (with a big G).

One of the key functions performed by these beings has traditionally been to provide humans with the experience of initiations of various kinds, some of which can be quite challenging. They have also been involved since our beginnings with the transference of knowledge to those spiritual seekers who are deemed ready to receive it.

Spirituality and Religion

Given the importance of religion to virtually all people everywhere, the evidence from archeology and cultural anthropology suggests overwhelmingly that our all of religious beliefs rest upon a foundation of supernatural encounters that were experienced by powerful and charismatic prophets in the past who were shamans in every sense. They, like shamans everywhere, then communicated what they had seen and learned to members of their communities.

Although their shared revelations crystallized quickly into religious dogmas as they were passed from generation to generation, it is clear (reading the Old Testament for example, or the Egyptian Book of the Dead) that these visionary experiences were not simply conjured up in someone’s creative imagination, nor were they arrived at through scholarly study or deliberately devised to assuage human needs.

Furthermore it is clear that their paranormal experiences were enabled by altered states of consciousness that have been part of human history and prehistory stretching back to the dawn of human awareness—experiences often facilitated by tantra, intense meditation in combination with drumming or rattling (as in our training workshops), trauma, and entheogens.

Now turning toward our organized religious traditions such as Judaism, Christianity and Islam, it can be observed that the original visionary experiences and revelations of their founders are now far back in the dimly remembered past. Since then, history has documented how the bureaucratized priesthoods distorted, censored and rewrote the original teachings and revelations of their religion’s founders to suit their own political agendas.

In our world of today, our priests and rabbis and imams now present themselves to us as the exclusive intermediaries between our communities and the supernatural, yet with rare exceptions, most possess no visionary abilities themselves. In fact, most of them are no more likely than the members of their communities to encounter the spirits and the transpersonal worlds.

Rather these priests rigidly adhere to scripture and teach what they themselves have been taught by other non-visionaries who relied on scripture. This reveals that almost without exception, those who direct and control our organized religions today will never convey any new supernatural experiences of their own to enhance and refresh the original revelations of their religion’s founders.

Strong words?  Perhaps… and yet Graham Hancock has called this one of the great tragedies of the modern world—that the spiritually blind have for so long been allowed to mislead the spiritually blind about the very experiences and revelations that gave rise to our religious traditions in the first place.

Hancock adds that our so-called ‘paranormal’ abilities, utilized for so long by our indigenous ancestors with reverence and caution to explore and learn from the hidden worlds and their inhabitants, were intentionally diverted by our priestly bureaucrats into the various spiritual dead ends of the ‘ecclesia’ where everything is dogma, endlessly repeated, where almost no one has first hand experiences of the transpersonal realms any more… and where nothing new may be discovered and learned.

The ability to have the direct transpersonal experience of the sacred realms is one of our birthrights… and by equipping us with this birthright, evolution has offered us a truly great gift through which we may bypass all the fears and blocks inserted into us by our religious authorities at large, allowing us to access ‘the Dreaming’ once again for power and protection, for support and wisdom, for healing and problem solving.

There is no question today that by walking this path, each of us may have access to the full spectrum of human consciousness as well as to the multiple realities available to us within the realm of ‘things hidden.’ The real spiritual truths are to be found there, waiting for us to discover them on the other side of the mirror.


Don’t Forget: Dr. Hank Wesselman will be at the Feathered Pipe Ranch, June 6 – 13th for level three of his three-part Visionseeker series, “Shamanic Cosmology.”

Bring your friends from your community and save $100 each on registration and accrue retreat credits for your community organization via the Feathered Pipe Community Referral Program. (See Details here.)


About Dr. Hank Wesselman

Hank Wesselman, PhD, holds advanced degrees in anthropology and zoology from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Colorado at Boulder. A native New Yorker, he has spent much of his life living and working among traditional tribal peoples, primarily in Africa and Polynesia. He served in the US Peace Corps in the 1960s, living among people of the Yoruba Tribe in Western Nigeria for two years. It was there that he first became interested in indigenous spiritual wisdom.

Beginning in the early 1970s, he conducted research with an international group of scientists, exploring eastern Africa’s Great Rift Valley in search of answers to the mystery of human origins – fieldwork that allowed him to spend much of his life living and working with traditional peoples, rarely, if ever, visited by outsiders. In addition to his scientific papers and monographs, his books include his autobiographical trilogy: “Spiritwalker: Messages From the Future” (Bantam, 1995), “Medicinemaker: Mystic Enounters on the Shaman’s Path” (Bantam, 1998), and “Visionseeker: Shared Wisdom From the Place of Refuge,” (Hay House, 2001). These extraordinary books focus on a series of altered state experiences that document his investigations into a hidden reality that most of us have heard about, but few have experienced directly.

His most recent books are: The Bowl of Light: Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman (Sounds True, 2011), and (co-authored with Sandra Ingerman) the award-winning: “Awakening to the Spirit Worlds: The Shamanic Path of Direct Revelation” (Sounds True, 2010). Hank currently lives on the Kona Coast of Hawai’i Island with his family, where they are involved in sustainable food production on their farm in Honaunau.


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