Recently, I asked the Vermont-based Shaman Jeffrey Triplatt what he knows about the Inka prophecy of Homo luminus. This might have been a mistake, I realized, when Jeffrey’s initial response was to sink deep into his sinuses, affect his nerdiest voice, and say, “There’s this guy and he’s holding a light bulb…”

Then again, in this case, levity probably makes sense.

Before I get around to explaining, let me backtrack a bit. About two years ago, in the midst of pursuing a Masters degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, I started seeing an acupuncturist who has written a lot about sacred geometry and methods for aligning the body with the Earth’s energetic grids. At the time, I didn’t understand half of what he talked about, though I loved getting his needles and listening to him patter on about triangles, light frequencies, and “It’s all about the heart, it’s all about the heart.” When he suggested that, while I meditate, I should activate a pattern of acupuncture points on my back and ask for “The Wingmaker Frequency,” I didn’t hesitate to comply, though I didn’t know to whom I was making my supplication nor what the “wingmaker” anything was.

The first couple of times I meditated in this manner, I noticed a gentle lifting occur through my spine, as if that string that yoga teachers are always talking about was suddenly being activated by some cosmic pulley system. It felt pretty good and I didn’t think too much about it until some weeks later, during a weekly meditation group I host at my house.

There were four of us present that night. We sat facing each other and began. I silently activated the pattern and asked for the “wingmaker frequency.” The now-familiar lifting sensation ensued and then, about fifteen minutes into the meditation, I felt a sharp kick between my shoulder blades and was thrown forward off my meditation cushion. I blurted out, “Excuse me!” and looked around. Everybody was still meditating quietly, though I did see one friend stifle a giggle, no doubt assuming that I’d fallen asleep on my cushion.

Not knowing what to think, I shook my head, sat back up, and tried to resume meditating. But the second I returned to the upright position, another astonishing thing happened: Wings sprouted from my back, I shit you not. Feathers as white and strong as bleached turkey quills sprouted from my shoulder blades and my ears filled with a special effects soundtrack of crunching, grinding, and flapping as these things filled the space behind me, growing enormous. On the one hand, I knew that this wasn’t actually happening, that people don’t grow wings. On the other hand, I wasn’t so sure; the episode was that tangible.

Thinking that I might have hit some extraordinary sweet spot that would vanish as soon as I emerged from meditation, I balanced as quietly as I could, enjoying the miraculous weight I felt on my back as well as the feeling of being bathed in light. When the iPod gong rang and our allotted thirty minutes was up, I opened my eyes reluctantly, entirely expecting the sensations to vanish as my lids lifted. To my surprise, however, the ‘wings’ did not disappear. In fact, they stayed with me all through the subsequent walking meditation and post-sit chit-chat. I was dying to ask someone what they could see, but it was just too crazy a question to pose. Excuse me, but do I have wings? Could you commit me now or I should make the call for you?

After everybody had left, I managed to screw up enough courage to ask my husband what he saw. He assured me that he could not see anything atypical, though I did look clear and bright, perhaps more than usual after a meditation. As we talked, I surmised a connection between my experience and the “wingmaker frequency” for which I’d been asking and I vowed to grill my acupuncturist about it the next time I saw him.

As synchronicity would have it, the next time I saw him was the following day. I walked onto the campus and there he was, talking with the school’s president about teaching an elective. I rushed over, wrested a moment alone, and started to chide him for not telling me that the “wingmaker frequency” meditation would make me “grow wings.” To my surprise, the good Doctor claimed to have no idea what I was talking about. In fact, he looked at me quite skeptically, apparently suspicious of my sanity. Let me tell you that when a man who claims to have gotten his treatment patterns from little green men thinks you’re crazy, the knees, they do shake.

But once I slowed down and repeated the whole thing, beginning with the kick to my shoulder blades, something seemed to click. This time, he nodded sagely and smiled a little. He shifted his eyes in that way that allows him to see energy and looked me over. “I don’t see wings, but I do see a lot of energy back there,” he said.
That was all he could say?

Yep, that was all.

I was busy with exams and clinic shifts, so I put aside the experience until, trolling the web some months later, it occurred to me to type in ‘wingmaker’ and see what I could uncover. I found this: www.wingmakers.co.nz, which probably should have done nothing to dispel fears about my sanity, though it did. If someone else sees the pink elephant in the room, you just might be at the circus.

The creator of this website calls himself Darren Murphy and writes that, “The term Wingmaker comes from the opening of wings technique developed in the year 1979 by wingmaker732… [and means] a person who moves with spiritual wings upon the physical plain of existence…” He has put up meditations that are meant to open our “wings,” as well as tools for working with them, and lots of other far-out energetic techniques. The material is badly in need of a copy editor and seems to shift geographically with each click-through. I once found a section that admitted that the difficulty in navigating and comprehending the website was intentional, designed for protection, though I would be hard-pressed to find that paragraph again.

All this primed me, in the way these things do, for my first encounter with Jeffrey Triplatt, whom I met when he visited a mutual friend last June. After training at Alberto Villoldo’s Four Winds program, Jeffrey said, he had become friendly with a Shaman in Peru who had initiated him in the Altomisayok tradition, a lineage of so-called Celestial Shamans who work with, among other energies, the Angelic Realms.

Up until that point, I’d never heard anybody talk about the Angelic Realms as if they were real, though I suppose it was implied in the Catholic schools I attended as a girl. And I really hadn’t connected my meditation experience with angels, probably because the prospect slightly mortified me. On occasion, my mother has sent me angel paraphernalia-a coin with an angel-shaped cutout, a bookmark with cherubs and a scrolling font, like that. The saccharine whiff of grannydom that accompanied those stuffed envelopes always sent a shiver through my DNA, so I suppose it was natural that I resisted the most obvious link.

Nevertheless, upon hearing Jeffrey’s words, I knew the man had information for me. With hands shaking, I asked him if he had any idea what “the wingmaker frequency” was. He didn’t, but he did listen to a recounting of my meditation incident without betraying any hint of surprise. When I was done, he said he could see wings on my back, though they were folded down. If I wanted, he could help me pull them out in ceremony.

Jeffrey linked my experience to an idea he first learned from Dr. Villoldo, that we are in the process of evolving from Homo sapiens to Homo luminus, though he didn’t say exactly what that meant. Nor would he answer the millions of new questions that sprung up: Was he saying that Homo luminus would have wings? Was my experience part or all of the process? Was I done then? I could go to back to bed because I’m all evolved? Would my New Years henceforth be spent with Shirley Maclaine and Dennis Kucinich? Because normally I hate New Year’s, but that could be cool.

Typical for a shaman, Jeffrey wouldn’t say much beyond the few hints he’d already dropped, though he did say that everyone has wings. Later, when he was working on us all around the fire, I saw him moving behind other peoples’ backs, digging his hands into their shoulder blades, and unfurling giant, invisible, wing-shaped sails that he articulated with his fingers, raking the smoky night air.

When I finally had the time to do a bit of research about Homo luminus, the go-to guy was obviously Villoldo. In the Epilogue of Shaman, Healer, Sage (Harmony Books, 2000), he writes about the teachings he received from his mentor, Don Antonio, about the Inka pachacuti, or time of upheaval, which has supposedly already begun and will last until the year 2012:

“Although the prophecies mention the possibility of annihilation, they actually promise the dawn of a millennium of peace, beginning after this period of turmoil. Even more important for the shamans, the prophecies speak about a tear in the fabric of time itself, a window into the future through which a new human species will emerge. Don Antonio used to say that Homo sapiens has perished, and that a new human, Homo luminous, is being born this very instant on our planet. Interestingly, he believed that evolution happens within generations, not in between generations, as biology believes. This means that we are that new human. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

Curious, I checked these ideas with an evolutionary biologist. Jerry Coyne, a professor of Evolutionary Biology in the University of Chicago’s Department of Ecology and Evolution, has this to say: “Everything in this is hogwash. No evidence of a new species of human emerging. And evolution happens between generations, not within generations. This is just all New Age garbage!”

Given Coyne’s position, I decided not to ask about the other page I marked in Villoldo’s book, within a section titled, “Death, Dying, and Beyond.” In it, Villoldo describes five levels of an after-death domain in which a life review process happens. He says that the fourth level is where we meet our ancestors and families, but it’s the fifth level that snagged my attention:

“The fifth world is the domain of luminous beings dedicated to assisting all humankind. Shamans who have mastered the journey beyond death return to this level. Long ago, when the shamanic death rites were first developed, this was a difficult level to attain. Today it is much more accessible. Trails have been blazed by the courageous men and women who have come before us. The prophecies of the Hopi and the Inka speak about our entire planet emerging into the fifth world. They refer to our entering the domains of angels.”

To me, this suggests that Homo luminus could be angelic, or at least take an angelic form. I wanted to ask Villoldo what he thought about this idea, but he didn’t respond to my email.

Jeffrey did talk to me, though, starting with that untoward light bulb crack. Then he got serious, saying that Homo luminus is the next phase of our evolution, in which we develop our light body, the shamanic envisioning of our energetic anatomy. This process he described as moving “from the mind-center of our knowledge into our heart.” Wings, he suggested, are “a metaphor of [this] ascension,” in that they, quite literally, “point the way to being more centered in the heart.”

Lisa Renee, a self-described Galactic Emissary with an “ascension” practice in Santa Monica (you gotta love LA), had much more definite ideas about my “wings.” She said that wings are a human’s birthright, part of the original, 12-dimensional design, and that “the clipping of our wings is an enslavement program.” Who might be doing this enslaving she, naturally, wouldn’t much elaborate on. Does the opening of my “wings” therefore imply that I’m evolutionarily cooked? Jerry Coyne would say no, but I believe it suggests that I’m on the way.

And so, perhaps, are you. Consider the prevalence of angel-related messages that permeate our culture. From TV shows, to movies, jewelry, greeting cards, and untold numbers of trinkets, angels abound. Sometimes they’re cloying; sometimes they’re sinister, as in a recent Nip/Tuck billboard campaign showing an angel with her wings surgically removed. Perhaps they’re all whispering about the aspirations of, not only our souls, but also our very genes.

 

Image by Sara Musico, used via a Creative Commons license.