I have at times blissfully gone long periods in my life, interrupted by sudden startling discoveries, wondering why I had not seen this before. Three books by Hank Wesselman are in that category.
I have been exploring spirit dimensions for quite some time now. One of the things I have noticed is that people experiencing the spirit realm may do so through different tactics. They may come at this search in many different ways, whether it is religion, personal experiences, traditions, the experiences of others, there are many and varied ways people come to expanding their consciousness. Many experience the spirit realm spontaneously, without any prior desire or intent. I have noticed that there is a lot of similarity from these various ways. This congruity between what people are learning that gives great credibility to the information coming from the “other side”. What I mean by that is that people learning about the spirit realm, no matter how they come at it, must be experiencing the same dimension; and by coming “back” with information and knowledge which is so similar that lends credence to the truth of what is out there: life on the other side of this earthly dimension.
Wesselman’s books add to that pattern. He comes at the exploration of the spirit realm from a place quite different than most of the authors I have been reading over the years. And yet his experiences fit quite nicely into the information I have been learning from other sources.
Hank Wesselman comes to the quest from the perspective of shamanism. Like many others I have read, his initial encounters with the mystical occurred unsought. After all, he is a scientist, a PhD in anthropology. He was among a fairly select group of scientists exploring the ancient beginnings of human life on this planet. He would spend weeks and months at a time in the African Great Rift Valley area searching for clues about life’s earliest years.
As with most people of scientific persuasion and training he was not in the least bit interested in the mystical areas of life. In fact, when he first began having experiences which he could not explain from his scientific world view, he knew that his fellow scientists would not accept one of their fellows delving into the weird! He was very hesitant about beginning to share these experiences with others, thinking it might mean the end of his career which he had spent many years and dollars achieving.
One foggy summer morning. . .I experienced a full-fledged altered state of consciousness just before dawn. This was a spontaneous event, achieved without the catalyst of any mind-altering substances or disciplined spiritual practice, and for its duration, my physical body was rendered paralyzed by ecstatic feelings of power or forces that were quite formidable. Yet my mind was fully awake and hyper-aware, and it was in this expanded state that I had a direct encounter with what a tribal person might call a spirit.
Nothing in my academic training as an anthropologist had prepared me for these experiences,and I responded to them with an intense curiosity. I was not one of those worthies who had spent decades studying at the knees of the wisdom masters, practicing meditation and yoga, hoping for visions and transcendent experiences, nor was I a member of the psychedelic explorers club. In those days, I worshipped solely at the altar of science. (p xi,xii of Visionseeker)
To my mind, anyone coming at this with no previous intention lends credibility to their experience. A person like that has less preconceived notions of what to expect, what their experiences “should” be like, what patterns they should be following, how this fits with previous beliefs, etc.
These sudden, unexpected glimpses through the portal often change the whole direction of our lives, and as a result, we come to an inescapable conclusion–that the everyday world that we all take so much for granted is not at all what it appears to be on the surface. (p 291 of Visionseeker)
So it was with great eagerness that I tackled these three books. In fact, I had to go to some lengths in acquiring them. My local library had only the first volume, and it only in ebook form. These books were published between 1995 and 2001, so they’ve been around for awhile, and are no longer readily available. But they are well worth the effort required to obtain them. Read them, by all means!!!
The three books Wesselman wrote detailing his shamanic experiences and the knowledge he received through them are: Spiritwalker: Messages from the Future; Medicinemaker: Mystic Encounters on the Shaman’s Path; and Visionseeker: Shared Wisdom from the Place of Refuge. These books are will written, very entertaining, real page turners. Which is surprising to find in books of this genre. I eagerly attacked each new chapter, wondering what would happen next, both in Hank Wesselman’s life, and in the future which he connected with.
Wesselman’s shamanic visions occurred spontaneously over a period of a number of years. During these “expanded states” he achieved contact with a being living in the future. Over a period of time, he learned through this contact that Nainoa, as he came to know him, was living approximately 5000 years in the future. Nainoa was living in an area approximately where San Francisco, California, is today. Ocean levels had risen significantly, so that there was a huge inland lake, or bay, where the current Sacramento/San Joaquin valleys are. Nainoa’s community lived a fairly “primitive” lifestyle. All present day technology seemed to have disappeared. His community was quite organized, living a farming and fishing existence.
This community of people had immigrated a couple centuries earlier from Hawaii. The language they spoke was a mixture of current Hawaiian, which Hank was somewhat familiar with, having himself lived in Hawaii for some years. Nainoa also knew some of the ancient “English” so that when they did establish communication abilities they were able to make themselves understood to each other. Plus, as has happened in other circumstances, communication in the spirit realm is often by intuition and thought, rather than through actual words.
In the first book, Spiritwalker, Nainoa is sent by his chief on a journey to explore the interior of the land, across the mountains to the east (what we call the Sierra Nevadas). He has quite the experiences crossing the mountains. Once he was mostly through them, he encounters a group living even more primitively than his own people. This cultural group calls themselves “Ennu” people. Their history, which comes down to them through oral culture, is that they are descendants of what I gathered are today’s Innuit people of northern Canada. They had gradually migrated south, into what is today’s Nevada. From their knowledge it would seem that much of North America was uninhabited in their day, aside from a few nomadic groups such as they themselves.
You have to realize, dear reader, that I am offering my own interpretation of the information Hank Wesselman was receiving through experiencing Nainoa’s journey. The author does not do a lot of interpreting himself. He does contemplate how our current civilization could have almost totally collapsed and disappeared. Nainoa does encounter a few remnants of today’s technology, but mostly our cities, roads and such have been totally overgrown. Nainoa’s community does have a very few relics that have survived, or been discovered. But just about all we know today has disappeared in the subsequent millennia. I did not pick up from the books that Wesselman ever learned how or when our modern society collapsed.
The way Hank Wesselman presents his stories is to alternate chapters detailing his current life as Hank with chapters where he encounters Nainoa’s world through Nainoa’s eyes. In the beginning he becomes aware that he is looking at this world through Nainoa’s eyes, but does not have direct contact with Nainoa. Nainoa, however, slowly becomes aware that someone, some other being than himself, is periodically residing in his consciousness.
Through these experiences, over several years, Wesselman and Nainoa gradually grow in their relationship and knowledge of each other. Eventually Nainoa is also able to access Hank’s consciousness and experience Hank’s world. And they are able to “converse” through exchanges of thought consciousness. This exchange of communication and subsequent knowledge of each other’s worlds, gives both of them huge insight into their own worlds.
They also discovered they were genetically connected. I, myself, suspect from what I have learned from other modalities that they might have been the same soul-being incarnating in different times. At any rate, Nainoa begins to view Hank as his “ancestor”, and Hank views Nainoa as his “descendent”. There is one artifact which connects them; it is a unique rock Hank discovered during a stay in Hawaii, which evidently was handed down through the generations and ends up in Nainoa’s chief’s possession.
I won’t go into any more detail. There is so much to this fascinating story! I don’t want to spoil it any more than I already might have. Go discover it for yourself. You will not be disappointed!!!