A few days before my interview on Why Shamanism Now? Internet Radio Show, I received an email from the well-known anthropologist, author and shamanic practitioner Hank Wesselman. He mentioned that what I am calling “wetiko” the Hawaiian kahuna tradition was also familiar with, and called these mind parasites the “‘e‘epa.” He mentioned that he talks about these archon-like entities in his latest book The Bowl of Light: Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman, which I immediately went out and bought. When I found the section on the ‘e‘epa, my eyes almost fell out of my head, as the description of the ‘e‘epa by an esteemed Hawaiian kahuna shaman was almost word for word what I had written in my book Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil.
As my research deepens, I am realizing ever more fully that every wisdom tradition in the history of our planet has its own language and symbol system for illuminating what the Native Americans have been calling wetiko. Having just finished an article on how the Kabbalah described the evil of wetiko in its own unique way, I had recently started doing research for a new article on how a particularly powerful practice in the Islamic tradition was specially crafted so as to dissolve the pernicious effects of wetiko. After learning about the ‘e‘epa, I was left with the feeling that I was fated to continually find an ever-expanding number of wisdom traditions that articulate the wetiko psychosis, each in their own way. By whatever name we call it, wetiko is undoubtedly one of the most important discoveries ever made. Indicating the supreme importance of developing knowledge about how this predator of the mind operates, Don Juan from the Carlos Castaneda books refers to it as the “topic of topics.” Wetiko is literally “at the bottom,” at the very root of the seemingly never-ending destruction we are wreaking on each other and the very biosphere we depend upon for our survival as a species. It is truly helpful to find other lineages and traditions that illumine wetiko disease in their own creative way, as our multi-perspectival vision simultaneously gives a higher resolution, providing us with a greater scope and capacity to see what no one particular map or model by itself can reveal.
Wesselman’s book is an introduction to the profound wisdom teachings of the Hawaiian kahuna elder Hale Makua. To quote Makua’s conversation with Wesselman, “The ‘e‘epa are deceivers. Some call them the masters of deception.”[i] Interestingly, etymologically speaking, one of the inner meanings of “the devil” is “the deceiver.” Makua, who is a wisdom keeper of an ancient Polynesian lineage, continues, “They are free-ranging psychic entities, invisible beings who function as mind parasites. As such, they prey on those who are vulnerable to their influence.” We all have a tendency to potentially deceive ourselves via the reality-creating genius of our own mind; the ‘e‘epa hook into and amplify our seemingly innate propensity for self-deception. Due to our almost unlimited capacity for pulling the wool over our own eyes, psychiatrist R. D. Laing writes, our species has, “tricked ourselves out of our own mind,”[ii] a state covertly inspired by the ‘e‘epa, I might add. People are particularly susceptible to fall under the spell of these “masters of deception” who are not in touch with the living and self-authenticating reality of their own experience. Not sufficiently knowing the nature of their own minds, they are overly suggestible to taking on other peoples’ perspective of the world and themselves, therefore easily falling prey to the prevailing groupthink of the herd and to the ‘e‘epa parasite.
Others, who are “sensitive” and have a permeable boundary between the conscious and unconscious, such as psychics and channelers, can, even with the best of intentions, become unwitting instruments for these incorporeal masters of deception in ways that can create havoc in people’s lives. To quote Makua, “This is because the deceivers reside in the same realm in which psychics operate─the mental-emotional levels of awareness and experience.” Taking on and customizing their very image so as to have the most personal impact, Makua continues, “They can simply pluck them out of the mind of the psychic, then appear to them in that form…The ‘e‘epa then simply tell psychics what they wish to hear.” When we are inspired by “spirits,” it is always a good idea to check our sources, to discern if they are of the left or the right hand path.
Makua comments, “The ‘e‘epa are accomplished shape-shifters who are good at mimicking. They can assume forms that are meaningful to the ones they choose to deceive…they are devious, and their motivation is deception. They operate through illusion, and they are masters of this practice.” The ‘e‘epa, another name for the wetiko virus, have the most disagreeable and trickster-like quality of appearing in our guise. They cloak themselves in and assume our form, getting under our skin and “putting us on” as a disguise, impersonating us as they fool us to buy into their false version of who we are. Falling prey to their artificial, yet uncanny intelligence, we become unreal to ourselves. Bamboozled and hoodwinked by this imposter and copycat of ourselves, we then mime ourselves, becoming a master copy, an ersatz duplicate of our original and authentic selves. No longer belonging to nor possessing ourselves, we then simultaneously identify with who we’re not while disassociating from, and forgetting who we actually are. In so doing we effectively have then “lost our soul.”
Though “relatively” real, and most definitely needing to be dealt with and faced within the level of relative reality, from the ultimate, “absolute”[iii] point of view, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus has no objective, independent existence separate from our own mind. This is analogous to how a vampire can’t exist autonomously, from its own side, separate from us; a vampire can only take on apparent existence relative to – and feeding off of – us. There is no entity outside ourselves who can steal our soul; the dreamed-up phenomenon of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus, which arises entirely within the sphere of our mind, tricks us into giving it away ourselves. The most depraved part of falling under the sleight-of-hand of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is that, ultimately speaking, it involves the assent of our own free will, as we willingly, though unknowingly, subscribe to our enslaved condition; this is to say that no one other than ourselves is ultimately responsible for our situation. Ultimately speaking, with the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus we are not being infected by an objectively existing, independent or substantial entity, which is why there is in reality nothing outside of ourselves to be afraid of.
If we reify the ‘e‘epa/wetiko bug as being real, “other” and truly existing independently of ourselves, and therefore a substantial threat to us, this virus of the mind will then inspire, magnify and feed off of our fear. Conversely, if we think that the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is merely a function of our imagination and is hence, “unreal,” something to be ignored, we have then fallen under its spell, albeit in a different way, such that it can then unrestrainedly act itself out through us, beneath our conscious awareness. This conundrum points at the extreme paradox that we have to be able to embrace within ourselves in order to get a handle on these trickster-like forces. The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus exists in an intermediate realm in which it is both real and unreal at the same time (I go into this paradox more extensively in my book). Though not objectively existing in an absolute sense, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko pathogen has a “virtual reality” such that it can destroy not only us as individuals, but potentially our entire species. The fact that something that only exists as a function of ourselves can unleash enormously destructive forces upon the world and in so doing can ultimately destroy us is pointing at – and introducing us to – the incredibly vast, invisible, yet mostly untapped, unharnessed and unrealized creative power that is our inherent human birthright.
Jung refers to this deceiving spirit by the name Antimimos, which he describes as “the imitator and evil spirit.” Antithetical to the light, Antimimos refers to a type of deception that could be thought of as “countermimicy.” Referred to as the antimimon pneuma in the Apocryphon of John (Apoc. John III, 36:17), this counterfeiting spirit imitates something─in this case, ourselves─but with the intention to make the copy, the fake version, serve a purpose counter to that of the original. When we fall for the ruse of this snake oil salesman of the spirit, we become dis-oriented, losing our sense of spiritual vocation, our mission in life, even our very selves. Writer and poet Max Pulver, presenting at the 1943 Eranos Conference, said that “The antimimon pneuma [i.e., the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus] is the origin and cause of all the evils besetting the human soul.”[iv] The revered Gnostic text Pistis Sophia says that the antimimon pneuma has affixed itself to humanity like an “illness.”
Referring to the ‘e‘epa, Makua says, “Demons─they could be called interdimensional demons.” Unconscious psychic forces, “demons” (please see my article “Are We Possessed?”) have a psychological reality, in that they affect and alter our experience of ourselves. In my book, I refer to the origin of the wetiko demon as being split-off parts of the psyche, what Jung would call “autonomous complexes.” Due to trauma or some other form of transgression of our psychic boundaries, a part of the wholeness of our psyche dissociates and develops a seemingly independent and autonomous life of its own. Indigenous people the world over refer to these autonomous complexes as “demons.” These demons inhabit the higher (and lower) realms of mind in such a way that, as Makua points out, they are truly “interdimensional,” easily able to pass through and fluidly operate across the apparently solid boundaries of mind and matter, of inner and outer, of dreaming and waking. Not constrained by the conventional laws of third-dimensional space and time, these nonlocal “interdimensional demons” manifest – and reveal – themselves by in-forming and synchronistically configuring events in the seemingly outside world so as to express themselves.
Just as in a dream, events in the outer world are symbolically reflecting a condition deep within the psyche of each one of us. The (worldly) “powers-that-be” – the people and corporate institutions in positions of power to influence perception and deceive the masses – are themselves lower-level reflections of and instruments for these higher-dimensional “masters of deception,” who are actually the ones in-forming and guiding much of the deception within, between and among ourselves. If we don’t understand that our current world crisis has its roots within and is an expression of the human psyche, and instead become entranced into believing that the many problems we face as a species have a concrete, objective and extra-psychic origin, we are doomed to unconsciously repeat and continually re-create endless suffering and destruction in more and more amplified form, as if we are having a recurring nightmare.
The virus of evil at first insinuates itself into the soul in incremental, unnoticed and insidious steps, but at a certain point this leukemia of the soul becomes seemingly irreversible, leading to its host’s destruction. Makua elucidates, “The ‘e‘epa encourage human beings to go into the negative polarity…and as we continue to go there, we reach that point where we can no longer self-correct. It is at this point that the deceivers encourage us to continue in that direction.” Once we fall into our unconscious, identify with and act out our unreflected-upon point of view, our uncorrected error becomes an open door for the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus to lend its deviant force to what is increasingly going off course, taking us with it in an ever-downward death spiral. Inspiring an inverted, upside-down logic, a flawless and truly deadly illogic (what in my book I call “wetiko-logic”), the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus will influence those under its sway to use fallacious deduction to subconsciously select data which will then invariably lead to conclusions which only perpetuate chronic avoidance of the crux of the matter. Just as viruses or malware infect a computer and program it to self-destruct, mind-viruses like the ‘e‘epa/wetiko pathogen program the human biocomputer to think, believe and act out in ways that can result in our self-destruction. People so afflicted, like someone in the throes of an addiction or in a state of trauma, unwittingly create the very problem they are trying to resolve, clinging desperately to the very false conviction that is leading them astray as it tortures and destroys them.
Makua ends the preceeding comment by warning, “It is then that we step across a threshold and into the realm of evil.” Evil, simply put, is anti-life, life turning against itself, live “spell”-ed backwards. In the traumatized soul (and to the extent we are not fully awake, we are all in a state of trauma, the trauma of not being one with ourselves), both Freud and Jung recognized that there is a factor within the psyche which, once it gains a certain momentum and seeming autonomy, continually keeps neurotic, unproductive suffering alive. There is an aggressive anti-wholeness agency within us, as if “made” out of our disowned, unexpressed, in-turned and inverted aggression twisted back upon ourselves, which actively cultivates and breeds dissociation within the psyche. The fluid, ever-flowing, self-reflective/reflexive process of the continually-evolving psyche en/unfolding itself over time becomes suspended, rigidified and frozen, stuck in time, in a seemingly never-ending and self-generating feedback loop. This inertial, entropic and thanatic factor seems to be actively resistant to and set against us recovering, discovering and attaining our intrinsic wholeness. Jung refers to this dis-integrative factor as a “morbid” fragment of the personality which inspires a “will to be ill.” It is as if there is an unconscious counterforce to the faculty of the will, a “shadow of the will,” so to speak, that prohibits the synthesis of the fragments of our experience into the meaningful constructs and perceptions that make up a healthy, wholesome and coherent psyche.
To the extent that we unconsciously identify with, become taken over by and act out the impulses that are inspired by the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus, it is as if a psychic tapeworm or parasite has commandeered our brain and tricked us, its host, into thinking we are feeding and empowering ourselves, while we are actually nourishing the parasite. This virus of the mind is a virulent, psychic pathogen that insinuates thought-forms and beliefs into our mind which, when unconsciously enacted, feed it, and ultimately kill its host – us. To the extent we are not aware of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus, it literally colonizes our mind and sets up a seemingly autonomous regime, a “shadow government” within our psyche (outwardly reflected by the “shadow government” in the world) such that we become oppressed within the sovereign domain of our own being. The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus paralyzes and freezes the ego into an immobilized, powerless and life-less state, in which our life force and energetic potential are literally being vampirically drained from us. Imperceptibly, we become led by impersonal psychic forces which gradually take control of our psyche. We become pushed around by an invisible player like a figure on a chessboard, played and manipulated like marionettes on a string. We are then being constantly “held in check” by these intangible forces, which unbeknownst to us, are “gaming” us from a hidden position within our own unillumined psyche. As compared to existing “by virtue” of something, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko bug can only exist by the “lack of virtue” of our own obscured and unexamined minds. This pathological part of the psyche can subsume all the wholesome parts of the psyche into itself such that the healthy aspects of the psyche serve, become under the dominion of, and become slaves to the disease. This morbid and perverse part of the personality, to quote Jung, “devours what is left of the normal ego and forces it into the role of a secondary (oppressed) complex.”[v]
As if an invisible coup has taken place within the psyche, we, as rightful rulers of our own psychic landscape, have been deposed and are living under a “foreign occupation” (what Don Juan calls a “foreign installation”), no longer masters in our own home. Split in two, it is as if our left hand doesn’t know what our right hand is doing. As this split-off, rogue, and pathological part of the psyche “incorporates” itself within the psyche, it takes on, and over a living body such that it “dictates” to the ego in such a way that the ego is tricked into believing that it is directing itself. We are allowed our seeming freedom and ability to live our “normal” lives, as long as it doesn’t challenge, threaten, or thwart the deeper agenda of these sinister forces to centralize power and control. This internal process is getting externally out-pictured in the creeping tendency towards fascism within the United States government and the world at large.
Synchronistically, during the writing of this article, it has become front-page, worldwide news about the NSA’s out-of-control, 24/7 spying on not just American citizens, but on people and governments the world over. In a total abuse of power and an example of upside-down wetiko-logic, the Government absurdly claims to be “protecting” its citizens by spying on─“bugging”─them. In the total opposite of what a free society looks like – transparent government and privacy for its people – the U. S. government is demanding secrecy for itself while destroying the privacy of everyone else. Spying is a classic archetypal feature of the modus operandi of a mind infected with the logic of fear and separation, the sine qua non of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus’s operating system. Spying itself is an action that if done in return to the party committing the spying is considered to be an unacceptable outrage. As light is being shed on their nefarious actions, the NSA is acting like it’s the victim, while the truth of the matter is that, in having committed violations of basic human rights, the NSA is in fact the perpe-tra(i)tor, the “victimizer disguised as the victim.” Such a glaring double standard, logical contradiction, hypocrisy and inverted logic are the spore-prints of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus in action. A lawless and criminal violation of our sovereign rights of freedom and privacy, this complete surveillance of our lives, presented to the public as the very thing needed to keep us safe, is an example of countermimicy in action, as its underlying and unspoken agenda of power, domination, manipulation and control is creating the exact opposite of its publicly stated intention. A more vivid living example of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko bug in action as it unfolds throughout the world theater is hard to imagine.
The ‘e‘epa/wetiko bug doesn’t acknowledge or abide by the spurious subject/object dichotomy, acting itself out free from these constraints. One of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus’s unique ploys is to take advantage of the fact that there is no actual boundary between the inner and the outer. In the NSA spying scandal, an “interdimensional” process taking place deep in the soul of humanity has had the whistle blown on it, as it spills outside of our skulls and reveals itself in, as and through the events and circumstances of the outer world. Appearing external to ourselves, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus, having its origin within us, utilizes the medium of the outside world as the canvas for its full-bodied revelation of itself. The inner process of how the ‘e‘epa/wetiko bug covertly operates within our psyche is getting synchronistically dreamed up and currently en-acted in full-bodied form, writ large on the international stage, visible for all who have eyes to see it as a reflection of a dynamic taking place within ourselves.
Talking about the ‘e‘epa, Makua elaborates, “If we look at the state of the world today, we can see their influence everywhere, and at every level…they especially attach themselves to our political, economic and religious leaders─to all the major players in the game─and in all fairness, these worthies are quite unaware of their negative influence.” People who are taken over by the ‘e‘epa/wetiko parasite are unconscious of being taken over, as this ‘psychic coup’ takes place through their unconscious blind spots. When we are taken over by more powerful psychic forces, by definition, we don’t know that we are possessed by something other than ourselves, which is precisely the way the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus wants it. Those who are drawn to power are particularly susceptible to being taken over by these deceivers, which feed on their attraction and addiction to power. Having a predilection for power brings with it a self-serving blindness which can easily be seized upon, manipulated and amplified to malignant extremes by the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus. The people who find themselves in positions of worldly power and influence are easily able to propagate their pathology far and wide throughout the world at large, thus significantly helping to spread the reach and dominion of this psychic plague. Wesselman comments, “What the chief had said made perfect sense─an arch-deceiver had straddled our major religious or political systems for hundreds or even thousands of years creating havoc as the ‘e‘epa encouraged us to go even deeper into the negative polarity.”
So many of us seem to have a resistance to seeing and consciously dealing with these darker forces that have insinuated themselves into the greater body politic and are playing themselves out through every level of our society. To quote Makua, “Our cultural resistance to doing this is partially due to the dark programming of the deceivers.” This “dark programming” is the cultural brainwashing, the hypnotic spell that is woven throughout the warp and woof of every aspect of our civilization via the mainstream media and corporate-controlled entertainment industry, the “entrainment industry,” both of which can be considered to be the massive propaganda organs of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus. Our resistance, our looking away, is an avoidance of relationship with a part of ourselves. Our ostrich policy of turning a blind eye to events of enormous negative collective significance is itself nothing other than the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus in action.
Wetiko is a form of psychic blindness that not only believes itself to be sighted, but arrogantly believes it is more sighted than anyone else. The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus flavors and covertly manages our perceptions under the darkness of our unconscious so as to act itself out through us while simultaneously hiding itself from being seen. The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus bedazzles, bewitches, and bedevils consciousness in such a way that we become blind to the underlying, assumed viewpoints through which we habitually perceive, conjure up and give meaning to our experience of both the world and ourselves. Once having infiltrated and insinuated itself into the body politic, be it of a person or a society, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus perversely fancies itself to be the healing antibody, ironically relating to the genuinely wholesome parts of the greater overall system (which are in fact the actual antibodies), as cancerous tumors to be exterminated. The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus subversively turns our “genius” for reality-creation against us in such a way that we literally become bewitched by the projective tendencies of our own mind. As if under a spell, we become entranced by our own intrinsic gifts and talents for dreaming up our world, unknowingly hypnotizing ourselves with our God-given power to creatively call forth reality, so that it boomerangs against us, undermining our potential for individual and collective evolution.
Speaking about the ‘e‘epa, Makua makes the point, “If we look at the state of the world today, we can see their influence everywhere, and at every level. They could be thought of as psychic vampires. This is who and what vampires really are.” As I read Makua’s words, the excitement I felt was palpable, as it was like I was reading my own words in someone else’s book. Legends and mythologies about vampires from time immemorial are symbolically describing and pointing at the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus. Just like vampires, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus has a thirst for the very thing it lacks─the mystical essence of life─the “blood” of our soul, our very life-force. A member of the “undead,” the vampiric ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is fundamentally “dead” matter “taking on” apparently living form; it is only in and through a living being that it acquires a quasi-life. These psychic vampires aren’t able to replicate themselves through their own energy, however, so they are compelled to propagate themselves through us so that we can dissimulate, “pass on” and transmit the bug to others.
The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus animates a virulent form of psychosis that is highly contagious, spreading through the channel of our shared unconsciousness. When afflicted with this virus of the mind, there is an alien-ating code or logic which affects/infects awareness in a way analogous to how the DNA in a virus passes into and infects a cell. Its vectors of infection do not travel like a physical pathogen, however. This fluidly moving, nomadically wandering bug reciprocally reinforces and feeds off and into each of our unconscious blind spots, which is how it nonlocally propagates itself throughout the field. As Jung has reminded us, the greatest danger that threatens humanity today is the possibility that millions (maybe even billions?) of us can fall into our unconscious together, reinforcing each other’s madness in such a way that, as if afflicted by a psychic plague that we cannot see due to the blinding nature of the infection, we become unwittingly complicit in creating our own self-destruction.
Makua continues, “The ‘e‘epa are mental forces that have the ability to intrude into the human mind…and all the time. They operate through subterfuge and psychic stealth. They are adversaries who are drawn to humans because they wish to acquire our human capacity for creative imagination. You see…this they lack completely. Humans are creators, and they are not.” Coveting the creative imagination which they themselves lack, if we don’t use the divine gift of our creative imagination in the service of life, these adversarial mental forces will use our imagination for (and against) us, with deadly consequences. These predators are in competition with us for a “share” of our own mind, wanting to “sit in our seat.” Instead of being a sovereign being who consciously creates with our thoughts, we will then be unconsciously created by them, as the adversarial forces literally think in our place. Interestingly, an inner meaning of the word “Satan” is the “adversary.” Like a vampire, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus can’t stand to be illumined, however, for in seeing how it covertly operates through our own consciousness, we take away its seeming autonomy and power over us, disabling it while at the same time empowering ourselves.
Speaking of the ‘e‘epa, Makua says, “We always have to deal with our own lower impulses that are continually encouraged by the deceivers, and we all run up against them, and every day. They have been here a long time, and they know the human mind intimately, as that is where they reside.” It is as if, to the extent we are not awake, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus knows our mind better than we do. With the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus, it is as if an alien, meta-physical “other” is subliminally intruding thought-forms and beliefs into our own mind, which if identified with, compel us to act against our own best interests. Similarly, the “Gnostics” (the ones “who know”) are pointing at the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus when they describe mind parasites called “Archons” who infiltrate and subvert the workings of our own mind.
Referring to the ‘e‘epa, Makua continues, “Dealing with them and recognizing who and what they are is the first stage of the transformational process─yet it is the one that may lead us to cross the event horizon you have mentioned, beyond which nothing is ever the same again.” Once we recognize “who and what” the ‘e‘epa are, to quote Makua, “This is where our potentials for spiritual and evolutionary growth becomes limitless.” The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus can only be seen when we begin to realize the dreamlike nature of our universe, step out of the viewpoint of the separate self, and recognize the deeper underlying field of which we are all expressions, in which we are all contained, and through which we are all interconnected. The energetic expression of this realization, and the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus dissolver par excellence, is compassion. Speaking about “the high spiritual guardians who brought us to this world,” Makua comments that they knew that “humanity already existed as a dream. We as individuals are the manifested aspects of that dream─aspects that have now grown to the point where we have become creator beings unlike any that have existed on this world before.” As creators, we are autopoietic agencies in reciprocal co-evolution with ourselves as well as with the universe at large. Once we recognize the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus for what it is, to quote Makua, “We can participate in our own evolution as well as our personal and collective destiny.” As I become more familiar with Makua’s empowering and enlightening teachings, I find myself filled with gratitude for having connected with his amazing work.
The origin of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is the human psyche[vi] (see my article “The World is Psyche”), and recognizing how this virus of the mind operates through our unawareness is the beginning of the cure that literally changes everything. Our shared future will be decided primarily by the changes that take place in the psyche of humanity, which is truly the world’s pivot. The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is literally demanding that we pay attention to the fundamental role that the psyche plays in creating our experience of ourselves and of the world. The less the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is recognized, however, the more seemingly powerful, and dangerous it becomes. To quote the Gnostic text The Gospel of Philip, “So long as the root of wickedness is hidden, it is strong. But when it is recognized, it is dissolved…It is powerful because we have not recognized it.”[vii]
To a person who’s entranced by the spell of the collectively agreed upon consensus reality, such talk about demons, vampires, mind viruses, psychic parasites and the like sound like so much superstitious dogma, new age, spiritual nonsense and gobbledygook, or the ravings of a fevered, paranoid imagination that believes in strange conspiracy theories. It should be pointed out that everyone of us experiences the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus in our own unique way, regardless of what concepts or words we use to describe the experience, or whether we believe in such things or not. It is worth noting, and should get our highest attention, however, that some of the greatest thinkers, philosophers, visionaries and teachers among us have been pointing in their own way at the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus for millennia. Speaking about the state of humanity, philosopher, mystic and social activist Simone Weil writes, “It is as though affliction had established itself in him like a parasite and were directing him to suit its own purposes.”[viii] The revolutionary spiritual teacher Gurdjieff says that if we observe carefully, “You will see that you are different from what you think you are. You will see that you are two. One that is not, but takes the place and plays the role of the other [the real you].”[ix] Physicist David Bohm, one of the most original, radical and important thinkers of the second half of the twentieth century, speaking of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko parasite in his own words, writes, “It’s similar to a virus─somehow this is a disease of thought, of knowledge, of information, spreading all over the world…It’s spreading like a virus and each one of us is nourishing that virus.”[x] To the extent we are unaware of this thought-virus, Bohm realized that we are all complicit in its propagation. He recognized that this virus of the mind is the very thing “preventing mankind from working together for the common good, and indeed, for survival.” He realized that this contagious “disease of thought” had surreptitiously intruded itself into the realm of mind itself, where, to the extent we are unaware of it, it can work its black magic unrestrained.
Bohm then wonders, “Do we have a kind of immune system that stops it? The only way to stop it is to recognize it, to acknowledge it, to see what it is. If any one of us starts to look at that, then we are looking at the source of the problem.”[xi] The seeing and knowing of the presence and activities of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus, in Buddhist tradition called “Mara” – The Evil, or Dark One – are major elements in the process of the Buddha’s enlightenment. It is emphasized in the Buddha’s teachings that it was ignorance and darkness, along with their capacity to “blind” humanity – all characteristics of being afflicted by the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus – that were dispelled at the moment of enlightenment. The image of Buddha routing Mara’s hosts is often likened to darkness being dispelled by the sun. Once he attained enlightenment, the Buddha always recognized the moment that Mara appeared; to fully recognize Mara is to immediately defeat him. This is why Mara exclaims with the utmost dismay and despair, “The Exalted One knows me!” (The Exalted One is the Buddha, the one who has awakened to the dreamlike nature). Remember also what the Gnostic Gospel of Philip says about evil, “When it is recognized, it is dissolved.” Though on one level apparently opposing Buddha’s enlightenment, Mara (the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus) was actually Buddha’s secret ally, a projected aspect of Buddha’s own consciousness, for Buddha wouldn’t have been able to develop the “muscle” of his realization without Mara’s challenge.
Makua concludes, “Sooner or later, all of us become aware of the presence of a darkness within ourselves─the darkness into which we have fallen with the help of the adversaries, the deceivers.” I would suggest that the sooner we shed light on and become aware of the “darkness within ourselves,” the better. Our “enlightenment” makes no difference whatsoever if it doesn’t help us to illumine the darkness within ourselves. As Jung reminds us, “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”[xii] Light is ultimately revealed through darkness; it needs darkness, for otherwise, how could it appear as light? Shadows are simultaneously an expression of the absence, as well as the presence of light, for we can never have a shadow without light nearby. The darker the shadow, the brighter is the light of which it is a projection. We normally think of illumination as “seeing the light,” but “seeing the darkness” is a form of illumination, too. Hidden and encoded in the darkness is a higher form of light that transcends the light vs. dark duality: the light of awareness itself. This formless light has the property of not only being invulnerable to the negative forces of darkness, but it touches and transfigures everyone who “sees” it. This is the light of self-reflective lucid, primordial awareness that awakens us to the dreamlike nature of reality.
Speaking about this very light in his dialogue with Makua, Wesselman says, “The higher vibrational states of being are connected to the Light that emanates from the Source. This in turn reveals unequivocally that our being of light, our Oversoul [our Higher Self], is a fragment of the great spiritual Light that is not subject to the distortion of the dark forces.” The greatest protection against becoming negatively affected, and in extreme cases possessed, by the evil aspects of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is to be in touch with our intrinsic wholeness, which is to be “self-possessed” – in possession of the part of ourselves that is not possess-able, which is the Self, the wholeness of our being. Being in touch with our true nature acts as a sacred amulet or talisman, shielding and protecting us from evil’s pernicious effects. We “defeat” evil not by fighting against it (in which case, by playing its game, we’ve already lost), but by getting in touch with the part of us that is invulnerable to its effects. The value of bringing our attention to, putting our awareness on and contemplating the multi-faceted ways that the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus deviates the psyche is that, in so doing, we can discover and directly experience the part of ourselves that is incorruptible, which is the very place from which we can bring real and lasting change to our world. Testers of humanity, it is as if these nonlocal vampiric forces are guardians of the threshold of our conscious evolution.
In illuminating the darkness, we need to rely on a “higher power” (Wesselman’s “Oversoul,” or Higher Self), a strength in us that is greater than and transcendent to our own ego, which is the Self, our intrinsic wholeness. Paradoxically, we would not have connected with the wholeness of the Self without the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus’s intervention. Without a break in its symmetry, the higher order and true nature of our Being would have no way to encounter and become aware of itself. If the obstacles presented by the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus didn’t exist, we would have to invent them intentionally, because it is by overcoming obstacles that we develop the higher qualities that we need in order to unleash our untapped potential. Interestingly, another meaning of the word “Satan” is one who creates “obstacles.” Instead of a typical virus mutating so as to become resistant to our attempts to heal from it, the shape-shifting and mercurial ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus forces us to mutate─and evolve─relative to it. In a very real sense, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus “cures” us of our wrong attitude towards both it as well as ourselves. It is as though the evil of the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is itself the instrument of a higher intelligence designed to connect us to a sacred, creative source within ourselves. The ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus literally demands that we step into our power and become immune to its oppression such that we discover how to step out of bondage and become free. Although the source of humanity’s inhumanity to itself, at the same time the ‘e‘epa/wetiko bug is the greatest catalytic force of evolution ever known─as well as not known─to humanity. It confronts us with a stark option: evolve or self-destruct.
Though seemingly opposed to our true nature, seen from this more expanded point of view, the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus introduces us to, and is itself, the disguised expression of our true nature. Once this is realized, the question arises: Is the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus the darkest evil, or being that it is introducing us to the greater unity and perfection within ourselves, of which we were previously unaware, is it an instrument of the highest good? This point of view within ourselves in which the opposites coincide and become indistinguishable─a “coincidentia oppositorum”─is itself the transpersonal viewpoint of the Self. Seeing through the “transpersonaling” lens of the Self allows us to not personalize, and solidify ourselves as a separate and seemingly concrete individual. A true quantum phenomenon,[xiii] the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is the deadliest poison and the most healing medicine co-joined in one superposed state. Will the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus take our species down and continue to inspire our self-destruction, or will it awaken us? Everything depends upon whether or not we recognize what it is revealing to us about ourselves. Being a dreamed up phenomena, how the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus manifests depends upon how we dream it from now onwards.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a wounded healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the author of Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (North Atlantic Books). He is also the author of The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis, An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years. Please visit Paul’s website www.awakeninthedream.com. You can contact Paul at email@example.com; he looks forward to your reflections. Though he reads every email, he regrets that he is not able to personally respond to all of them. © Copyright 2013.
[i] All of the quotes from Wesselman’s book The Bowl of Light (Boulder: Sounds True, 2011) are from pp. 224 – 237.
[ii] R. D. Laing, The Politics of Experience (New York: Pantheon, 1971), 73.
[iii] The relative and absolute points of view interpenetrate each other so fully such that they should not be considered separate. For example, it is a mistake to solely identify with the absolute point of view (in which the ‘e‘epa/wetiko virus is seen to be “unreal” and hence, doesn’t exist) and thereby marginalize the relative; both points of view need to honored simultaneously.
[iv] Joseph Campbell, ed. Spiritual Disciplines: Papers from the Eranos Yearbooks, Vol. 4 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1985). p. 254.
[v] Quoted from Minder, “Sabina Speilbrein, Jung’s patient in the Burgholzli,” Journal of Analytical Psychology, 46 (1): 45.
[vi] I am using the word “psyche” similar to Jung, in that it includes the totality of all psychic processes, both conscious and unconscious. Being nonlocal, the psyche is not only contained within our skull, but we are surrounded by, and contained within the psyche.
[vii] II, 3, 83.5-30.
[viii] Simone Weil, “The Love of God and Affliction,” in Simone Weil Reader, ed. G. Panichas (Mt. Kisco, NY; Moyer Bell Limited, 1977), 441.
[ix] From an essay by Jeanne de Salzmann originally published in Gurdjieff: Essays and Reflections on the Man and His Teaching (New York: Continuum, 1996), ed. Jacob Needleman and George Baker; posted at http://www.gurdjieff.org/salzmann3.htm.
[x] Bohm, On Dialogue, 58.
[xi] Ibid., p. 58-59.
[xii] Jung, Alchemical Studies, CW 13, par. 335.
[xiii] By quantum phenomenon, I refer to the nature of light – is it a wave or a particle? The answer: it depends upon how it is observed (or in my language, how we “dream it”).