At this tumultuous time on the planet, many of us are yearning for a spiritual context for the devastating Corona Virus and for higher guidance to show us the part that we are each to play in the global crisis that we now face. There are no easy or “pat” answers to these deep and troubling questions. My Hawaiian shamanic tradition postulates that the only universal truth is that “everything is,” and that everything else is merely something that someone made up. The waters that we are currently navigating are unchartered, so now more than ever, we must each individually feel into our hearts and minds for our own answers in order to find the next steps on our path.
Having just spent the last ten days quarantined and very ill with Covid 19 (thankfully I expect a full recovery), I have journeyed deeply into the Corona virus. Much of what I will be sharing in this article comes from an experience of this virus that is uniquely my own as a professional shamanic practitioner. I offer my insights here with the hope that you too might find your own way through this crisis.
The greatest tool of the shaman is the imagination. A shaman dreams his or her world into being; co-creating reality using the power of their mind. Shamans have always known that the outside world is nothing more than the creative reflection of one’s own individual thoughts, beliefs and intentions. Or, to put it another way, what we experience in life comes about from what we believe about it, and what we believe forms a blueprint for how we will experience life. So, just like the shamans do, you too can use the imaginative powers of your mind to create your own individual understanding of this virus, and to learn to build a relationship with it that transcends the pervasively fearful narrative that we hear about it throughout the media.
It should be noted that this article is no way an attempt to minimize or whitewash the very real devastation, pain and suffering that the Corona Virus will leave in its wake?many will die and there will be lasting health or economic challenges as a result. But when reaching for a shamanic perspective on any hardship or difficulty, we are required to search for the hidden gifts of the soul that are always contained within darkness and suffering. If we decide to open to what our misfortunes may be telling us about ourselves, we are guided to the light of new awareness. This is a cornerstone concept in shamanic thought?true healing occurs by diving head-first into the darkness in order to learn what the darkness represents or symbolizes, and as we discover the true nature of our hardships, we are presented with the power to make different choices and to entertain new possibilities. In this way, our suffering is transformed into power.
That said, this article is not meant to provide definitive answers or hard spiritual truths about the Corona Virus or its meaning at this time on the planet, but rather to awaken your own inward spiritual curiosity about it. It is an invitation for you to ignite a personal shamanic paradigm that seeks to hold the virus through the lens of your own imagination
Let’s begin with a context from indigenous cultures?these difficult times have been foretold.
The Quechua people, who live in the high Andes of South America, call the time that we are living in now the “Fifth Patchacuti.” This is an era when, as their legend states, the Eagle and the Condor will fly together in the same sky. A Patchacuti is a five-hundred-year interval and, according to the Quechua, the previous two thousand years were dominated by the Eagle—a visionary, but materialistic bird; one connected to seeing vast distances, to the intellect, and to the masculine principles of growth and movement. As we consider the last two thousand years, we can see the Eagle’s influence in the huge advancements and discoveries in science, medicine, commerce and technology.
But the Patchacuti that we now inhabit is a time when the feminine, spiritual and environmentally-minded Condor will begin to allow her influence to dance together with the Eagle, restoring balance and harmony with her intuitive, earth-wisdom. The Quechua believe that the Condor embodies such sacredness that she might not even fly, but somehow spiritually move herself. In their legend, the Quechua go on to say that the tumult of change in the Fifth Patchacuti (the entrance of the Condor) will be eased with the help and support of those humans who espouse earth-honoring ways, those who live in right relation with themselves and their environment, and those who choose to lean into the interconnectivity of all things.
Similarly, the Hopi, Cree, Cherokee and Zuni nations of North America all have their own versions of a “Rainbow Prophecy.” During an ancient time, an army of “warriors” of every color were sent out to the four directions to return with ancient wisdom and the spiritual means to bring about peace and healing for the entire earth during a future age when it would be ravaged, polluted and all its inhabitants in serious danger of extinction. The prophecy speaks of a time when all races of people would put aside their differences and join together in harmony and peace; a time when all children will be safe from harm; a time when there would be a mass resurgence of cooperation and community.
Contextualizing time as circular and cyclical, Hindu and Vedic scripture divides time into four Yugas or ages that contain specific themes and lessons for humanity. Many scholars and mystics hypothesize that our current existence is an era called Kaliyuga which is considered to be the most difficult of the four Yugas?though the shortest one in duration?a time of darkness, ignorance, dishonesty and literally, “filth.” According to Hindu and Vedic thought, the natural antidote for moving out of a Kaliyuga and into a Satyayuga or a time of balance, harmony, health and prosperity is through spiritual practice and an ascension of consciousness; a global effort to embody and live by the most elevated qualities of Spirit—grace, forgiveness, compassion, gentleness and kindness.
These are but a few examples of the ancient prophesies about the times in which we now live; stories and channeled information that has been passed on by the wise ones. Despite that many of these stories are scary and dramatic, note that each one contains a hopeful vision of a better world that awaits us beyond the surface disaster.
The truth is that we have all been feeling something quite similar to what these ancient prophecies portend, haven’t we? In the recent days, weeks and years how often have you felt that we were in the midst of an immense and terrifying planetary shift? Or that we cannot continue our current way of being without careening toward destruction? And now, with the current crisis of the virus, something even more immediate is being asked of you. It is no longer enough for you to feel into these difficult energies happening on the planet. It is time for you to do something about them. This means that we must, just as the prophecies state, claim for ourselves that we are each of us one of the many souls who have incarnated at this time on the planet to usher in the light. We must claim this as an identity, and we must start to live by it.
The Corona Virus is a message of the inevitable changes that we all must make if we are to live in balance and harmony. Our indigenous brothers and sisters have left us a road map that tells us that, if we choose to, we each play an inextricable part in the restoration of that balance. We do this not only by actions we take in the world, but by cultivating a consciousness that always leads us toward choice, possibility, and the highest levels of inclusivity. We make a promise to the world that from this moment onward, we will lend ourselves, through the inner rainbow light of our hearts and minds, to anyone, and to anything that for whatever reason has lost their way or had its freedoms diminished.
These internal changes of consciousness are not something that are difficult or far away from any of us. In this very moment, each of us already hold these propensities within, for this consciousness has been modeled for us by the Earth since the very day that we were born:
Gaia loves us. She is our mother. We are born of her and we will return to her. Asking almost nothing in return, the Earth provides us with all we need to sustain our lives, and she provides us with a stage on which we can have experience. The Earth’s overarching intentionality is nothing less that the joyous intention of love for love’s sake—creation happening for no other reason than to experience more of itself. The energy that animates the planet is the energy of Nature—an unencumbered and constant expression of growth and creation that, if we would have simply allowed it, would have perpetually and lovingly surged through all of us until the end of time.
But it seems that the Earth’s gifts were not enough for us, and our current struggles are the result. The Corona Virus comes from the infinite wisdom of the Earth that is far beyond human understanding. The virus comes with a ferocious roar from the Mother that says, “what you have done is absolutely not what I meant with what I have provided for you, and you have left me no other choice than to send you a virus that will treat you like a virus in order to put a stop to your folly.” This is not meant to punish us, it is a message and a clear warning that we are to either emulate what the Earth exemplifies for us in all her grandeur—vast interconnection, unimaginable cooperation and unfathomable holism—or to take the next steps toward our own demise.
It has been theorized that Covid 19 comes from bats. From a shamanic perspective, Bat medicine is about the energies of death and rebirth—it is about bluntly, savagely and courageously facing our deepest darkness with the clear seeing of the higher self. Bats help us attune to new and previously hidden vibrational frequencies that allow us to walk between the worlds of life and death, darkness and light, beginnings and endings, sanity and madness. We are to keep our senses as alert as possible, because Bat portends a major transition or passage that we have not yet experienced. At the same time, Bat arrives with a gentle promise to mitigate the inevitable pain that comes from deep and systematic change.
The Corona virus is an upgrade; an interior make-over that, if you choose to imagine it as such, will open you further to your own becoming. Its awful headache is a painful shift into ascension within your sixth and seventh chakras; it’s intense fever burns whatever inside you is not love; it’s raw cough rids you of grief, selfishness and fear; and the extreme fatigue that it induces is its command for you to rest deeply in preparation for the part you will play in the unfolding story.
Like the shamans, if we stay close to the wisdom of the Earth’s movements, we can remain “in flow” even in the midst of a pandemic. Ask Covid 19 to work with you. Explain to it that you will heed its messages, that you will learn from it, that you will honor its wisdom and that you will go, do and be as it sees fit. If you agree to open yourself fully to what is happening on the planet, you will gift yourself back to the world.
And, if the world didn’t need you, you wouldn’t be here.
Jonathan Hammond is a New York based teacher, counselor and shamanic practitioner. His book, The Shaman’s Mind – Huna Wisdom to Change Your Life will be released in July 2020. https://www.mindbodyspiritnyc.com
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