Supernatural: Meetings with the Ancient Teachers of Mankind
Published by The Disinformation Company, Ltd, New York, 2006. Click to Buy this book!
Supernatural is the 12th book of Graham Hancock (British, b. 1950) and according to the back jacket, five of his previous books, including Fingerprints of the Gods and Underworld: Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, were bestsellers. Supernatural, however, is very controversial and may not have met with similar success. It is 710 pages in length and includes six parts: The Visions, The Caves, The Beings, The Codes, The Religions, and The Mysteries, as well as three Appendices, extensive Notes and References, and the Index. The book includes many valuable illustrations and photographs of newly discovered cave art from Upper Paleolithic Europe and southern Africa (10,000 to 40,000 years ago), as well as some beautiful and intriguing color reproductions of paintings by the Peruvian shaman Pablo Amaringo that depict his Ayahuasca visions. Strangely, several of these paintings include aliens and UFOs.
Graham Hancock is undoubtedly a gifted writer and a bold, original thinker. His life experiences have encompassed world travel and exploration toward research that delves into the deepest imaginable mysteries. The successes of his books have no doubt contributed to his adventurous and courageous pursuit of independent agendas and points of view that are not answerable to a vocation or profession. Thus he is in a position to challenge “the unruly prehistorians” of “The Shabby Academy” of our time, meaning the authorities within the higher educational institutions. His incredibly rich and rewarding life also includes his faithful partner and wife, Santha Faiia, who is a professional photographer, and their six children.
Not content to have taken on the globe itself (as well as Mars in The Mars Mystery), Hancock has plunged dangerously into the adventures of inner “spiritual perception” through the ingestion of psychoactive preparations from plants in ceremonies overseen by shamans, from Amazonian Peru (ayahuasca) to a quiet room in Bath, England, where the private consumption of ibogaine, he informs us, is legal in England for therapeutic purposes. He is surrounded by a support system in Bath: his wife Santha, a healer, and a medical doctor. Both of the shamanic preparations noted cause violent physical reactions, with serious illness and incapacity, but eventually Hancock is able to see “intertwining branches and leaves, elaborate arabesques and Celtic knotwork.” Later, he sees “a profile view of a heavily built blond young man with his eyes turned towards me in a glare of reproach. He appeared right at my side, startlingly close. His skin was pallid and his brow blotched with patches of green mold.” The first visions may be glimpses of past lives or stages in universal human thought development, or both. The second vision could be that of the Lower Guardian in conjunction with the double or Doppelgänger, reproaching Hancock for a deed that may carry serious karmic consequences in the present and future. Regarding the reasons for his experimentation with the shamanic preparations, Hancock writes that they have been taken “…For sound, solid, common sense reasons. But I have to acknowledge that there was another more personal motive as well. It had to do with my father’s painful death [in 2003]…” He informs us that this session did bring healing. By the end of the book, however, he expresses doubt that he has truly communicated with his father.
For this review, no conclusions can be drawn regarding the shamans, for thorough knowledge of the Peruvian culture would be required. Some of the beautiful faces painted by Amaringo could be the “devas” of the plants; the shaman’s way could be entirely appropriate and timely for some native souls. However, in accordance with the Anthroposophy or Spiritual Science of Rudolf Steiner, the spiritual path of our time must be experienced in full consciousness, accompanied by moral development and discernment of the differences between right and wrong, and truth and falseness. This means that the soul and ego (“I am”) should not be surrendered to another or to psychoactive substances for purposes of obtaining visionary experiences. The safe and true path of the development of spiritual perception is a long and difficult road requiring years of unending patience, but this way will eventually grace the seeker with perception to the degree of his or her readiness. Rudolf Steiner also gave many meditative methods and verses for conscious communications with the dead.
By hastening the development of what should be a gradual unfolding of spiritual awareness, Hancock has plunged himself into dangerous confrontations with evil on at least three fronts: 1. In ongoing battles with scientific materialists who regard all the higher values of thought, religion and spirituality as based only in physiological or neurological functions. Hancock knows from his experiences that this is not correct. His own experiences and the similar ayahuasca-inspired visions of the shaman refute this. For example, snakes and serpents symbolize intestinal digestive functions, but there is a real cosmic serpent as well. 2. In the caves that he has explored, where the prehistoric antediluvian art reveals the black magic practices of sorcerers, e.g., the “wounded man” on page 503. The cave art is but a hint of the malignant practices that brought down a continent approximately 10,000 years ago, during the Ice Age, after which the development of the “modern” human being began. The final element of one South African composition, writes Hancock on page 118, “is a gigantic horned serpent that seems to emerge out of a natural crack in the rock face.” This prehistoric cave art depiction of Ahriman, almost exactly as Rudolf Steiner drew him, will be of interest to Anthroposophists. 3. In the attraction that experimentation with psychoactive substances continues to exert upon Hancock. Subsequent chapters describe his experiences, chiefly of aliens and UFOs, after receiving doses of DMT or dimethyltryptamine in connection with experiments conducted by the psychiatrist Dr. Rick Strassman MD at the University of New Mexico.
If the reader can manage to get through the lengthy somewhat repetitive middle portions of the book, the final portions will offer yet more challenges for the inquiring mind as Hancock develops a favorite hypothesis: prehistoric shamanistic practices lie at the foundations of all mythology, art, religion, and the most exalted achievements of mankind. The shamans are the true Ancient Teachers of Mankind.
It will be nothing short of painful to read through the descriptions of Christ as well as Hancock’s radical revisions of Christian origins and history: every advance has been made through the influences of mind-altering substances. Hancock gives a small measure of recognition to Christ as a “wounded man” and as a shaman not unlike other shamans. Anthroposophists and others may recognize the importance of carefully sifting through the Index in order to discover what Hancock has to say about Osiris, Isis, Mani, the Eleusinian Mysteries, Plato, St. Paul (“The shamanic theme of Paul’s initiation fits comfortably into the framework of the Christian religion as a whole…”) and so forth.
The book ends with a description of Hancock’s experimentation with Liberty Cap mushrooms in a section titled “Psilocybin at Avebury.” This mushroom, he writes, “has grown in profusion across huge swathes of Ireland, the British Isles, and mainland Europe since times immemorial.” He is accompanied by three friends who are all experienced users of psychedelics, as well as his devoted wife Santha and their son, Luke. He writes: “I lost count after a while, but I know that I ate at least 50 caps and stalks.” No apparent results, however, were forthcoming. The last sentence in the book informs us: “Then I ate five more mushrooms and closed the rucksack…” — Review by Martha Keltz
Graham Hancock’s post-Supernatural work is his first novel, titled Entangled: The Eater of Souls, also published by The Disinformation Company, Ltd, New York, 2011.