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VIVIENNE SIMON: You write in depth about three shamans, each from different traditions, and the ways in which they and their communities relate to alien contact.
What have you learned about the phenomenon from their stories?
JOHN MACK: I wrote about three men:
- a Brazilian shaman named Bernardo Peixoto
- Sequoyah Trueblood, who is Native American (below video)
- Credo Mutwa from South Africa
Now, it's interesting that each of these men has had more-than-average contact with Western culture, so they are all eager to communicate about their experiences to the West.
Two of them are, themselves, hybrids in a way; Bernardo and Sequoyah each has a Western/Caucasian parent, along with their other indigenous parent, so they are bridging figures.
Credo was raised in a Catholic school, even though he's a Zulu leader. They all have the advantage of being steeped in native traditions and understanding, and are also able to counter pose that to Western psychology and Western science. So together, we have wrestled with how to understand this.
None of them have any problem with the notion that there can be beings, ancestors, spirits, creatures, entities, animal spirits - you name it - that can manifest, materially, in this world.
That's something the Western mind has no place for. It can't be “proven,” therefore it doesn't exist. Well, for them this phenomenon is not remarkable from that point of view. I've learned from them, that the phenomenon widely exists.
Also, their understanding of it underscores the possibility of this being an interdimensional occurrence of some sort. Take for example, Sequoyah. He has had numerous experiences of spirits showing up in totally visible form. And light beams - kind of like the light beams that other Americans have talked about - which have been guides for him.
Only once has he had an actual experience in which he recalls being taken up into a craft with the grays involved, but even that's no big deal.
And it hasn't been a big deal for any of the other shamans in this country, and I've talked with quite a few. It is such a big deal for this culture, this emergence from an unseen world into the physical world, this sort of crossing over.
But that is not a remarkable matter to any of the indigenous people that I have talked with.
In fact, the material world as we know it, and the unseen world, the world of spirit, are all one to them. They don't get all excited about the question of “are these spirit beings, or are these literally physical beings?”
That's a big story for us, but they see the gradations and subtleties of that as just commonplace, part of the way they think. Credo is interesting from this point of view, because he talks about these beings, and all sorts of other beings, how they come here and how they cohabitate with humans. And they've known this for years and years.
They rather resent them, but he doesn't fuss over whether anybody can prove that they're literally physically real. Of course they're real, and they happen and it's part of their lives.
In fact, along these tines, he kept urging me:
“Dr. Mack, get those Western scientists to stop quibbling about whether this is real or not. It IS real. Whether it is literally physically real, or it is some other way real, it is real. It's important. They're warning us. They're telling us that the planet is in danger, but it's like we quibble while the planet burns.”
Originally posted by Drunkenparrot
It looks like Mr. Bill from Saturday Night Live to me.
Hancock gathers evidence from other, later rock-artists - notably the San of southern Africa - to show the remarkable similarity between different art over millennia and vast distances. No one knows how long San culture existed before it was wiped out by white settlers - 10,000 years is a reliable estimate - nor how widespread it was. Yet throughout that time, San and related rock art depict the same animal-human forms. Although the neuropsychological theory of altered states of consciousness can account for this continuity, with its basic material "hard wired" into the psyche itself, Lewis-Williams rejects any notion that what prehistoric artists, and more recent rock-artists such as the Native American Coso of California (not to mention modern-day users of hallucinogens), saw in trance states was in any way "real".
Hancock, however, begs to differ. He argues that there is every possibility that the spirit worlds ancient shamans entered, and the beings they encountered there, were "real". These, he says, are "the ancient teachers of mankind". Whether you agree with him or not, Hancock links a wealth of material in this fascinating psychedelic detective story, from Amazonian ayahuasqueros to Francis Crick's theory that life was "seeded" by extraterrestrials (how many people realise he was on '___' when he discovered DNA?).