This article originally appeared in Conscious Choice magazine. 


holds our world together is not only the laws of physics, but language,
myth and story. Our narratives create the framework in which our
actions and our intentions have meaning, or at least some kind of
order. It is very hard for us to live without any coherence at all. It
may even be impossible, as our minds immediately begin to weave
together some type of fable to support whatever it is we find ourselves

Lately, I find myself switching back and forth
between divergent models or myths of reality and seeking to integrate
them. One of them is the story of progress and reason, the inheritance
of the secular and scientific Enlightenment. The progressive believes
that a flawed society can be improved by rational policy and political
pressure. The world can be made better for more people, inequities
reduced and healthcare guaranteed. Although he has been strategic in
his pronouncements, Barack Obama seems the model of a progressive
reformer, promoting the type of sensible policies that led to the New
Deal and the Great Society.

The other mythic structure that
entices me is occult and conspiratorial. According to this story, there
is a hidden agenda beneath the façade of chaotic events. This agenda is
orchestrated by "them," that group of elite cabals and secret
societies, an amalgam of Free Masons, Vatican priests, the descendents
of the Nazi scientists brought to the U.S. after World War Two, and so
on. To approach this concealed dimension of world affairs, to separate
accurate insights from disinformation, is extremely difficult, and
perhaps impossible. The quest involves long reading lists of
small-press and self-published tomes and many hours on YouTube,
watching lectures presented by anxious men in drab conferences. From
such unreliable sources, one learns that much alien technology has
already been recovered and reverse-engineered, that a New World Order
of total social control is being orchestrated, that the Ark of the
Covenant is a torsion field generator perhaps hidden in the Pentagon,
that shapeshifting reptilians are controlling everything, and other

Personally, I don't reject the possibility that
there is an occult element in global affairs, a distorting factor that
makes true understanding difficult to achieve. During my shamanic work,
I encountered spiritual and demonic forces, appearing as visions and
voices, but also causing effects that seemed to cross the barrier
between the psychic and the physical. According to shamanic traditions,
spirits operate across the entire field of our world. Rather than a
fine-tuned conspiracy of elite cabals, the true story might be far more
muddled, with various factions holding pieces of a puzzle, mired in
outmoded rituals and incoherent beliefs, lacking shamanic skills. Many
of those involved in these cabals may suffer from guilt and fear the
consequences if their shadowy actions are revealed to the public.

Out on the esoteric edge of the cultural imagination, one finds an
increasing convergence of thought-streams. The works of Steven Greer,
David Wilcock and Richard Hoagland, as well as Nassim Haramein's DVD
set, Crossing the Event Horizon (available at
all suggest that, beyond a certain threshold, technological advances
may be linked not just to technical knowledge but to our level of
consciousness, requiring higher awareness as well as purified
intentions in order to function. As Haramein theorizes, the Ark of the
Covenant might have been an actual device preserved from antediluvian
civilizations, capable of generating extraordinary amounts of energy –
enough to open a passage through the Red Sea – but requiring an
initiate on the level of Moses to operate it without causing mayhem.
Many of these thinkers offer intriguing scenarios in which alchemical
or extraterrestrial possibilities could manifest in tangible forms.

Can someone pursue Enlightenment ideals while simultaneously exploring
occult conspiracies? If we avoid becoming obsessive or dismissive, it
seems possible to hold contrasting myths or models of reality in our
minds at the same time. We can study the Mayan Calendar,
extraterrestrials and Gnostic cosmology while fighting for social and
environmental justice, campaigning for political reform and so on.
Whether or not our corrupt system can be changed, we could learn a
great deal by joining any valiant effort made in that direction.

For Enlightenment thinkers, the sun symbolized the clear light of
reason they adored. The clear light of reason may stream from the sun,
but, as the French philosopher Georges Bataille noted, if you turn your
gaze upward to look at its source, you find yourself blinded. Those who
stare at the sun for too long may go insane. The source of reason in
itself produces unreason, blindness and madness. Reason appears to have
an innate contradiction at its center. Reason, by itself, may not be
enough to get us out of our planetary plight. If spiritual forces
operate within our world, then meaningful social change requires, along
with political reform, initiatory processes and shamanic practices that
could, perhaps, open our minds to new myths of reality.

Image by marirs, courtesy of Creative Commons license.