Compare the spirit world experiences of indigenous shamans and the phenomena of alien abductions and it’s evident there’s a remarkable similarity between the two.

And this could lead us to ask the following questions?

  • Could alien abduction and shamanic initiation be one and the same experience?
  • Could alien abductees have been thrown unwittingly into the same otherworldly experience as shamans?
  • But because of cultural differences, do abductees see space aliens rather than the traditional spirits of indigenous culture?

Let’s try and answer these questions.

The basic thing the two experiences have in common is they begin with encountering bright and vivid light phenomena.

Shamanic journeys into the spirit realm and alien abductions almost always begin with either the sighting of a luminous object, or a flash of bright light. The light then transports the shaman or abductee to meet non-human entities who bestow knowledge or wisdom, but who can just as easily be terrifying or menacing.

The key thing to all these types of experiences is that light acts as a trigger for entry into altered states of consciousness, which enable the shaman or abductee to perceive what might best be called “non-ordinary levels of reality.”

Once a person enters non-ordinary reality, the precise details of the experience vary according to the culture or society they grew up in. A shaman from a myth-orientated, indigenous community encounters spirits, power-animals and their ancestors; while an abductee from the technology-centred west may encounter interstellar craft and aliens.

This tells us that non-ordinary reality is basically something that moulds itself to our belief systems and has always done so throughout history.

The initiation onto the path of the shaman is not a benevolent affair, however (and this is strongly the case with alien abduction). The initiatory call to the shaman-to-be often entails seeing an object or ball of light in the sky, which then falls to earth and interacts with the person in a profound way.

Sometimes the object or ball of light strikes them and enters them. Other times it will take them into a cave or down into an underworld realm.

Either way, they go through often terrifying visionary experiences. This includes such things as dismemberment of the the body by the spirits, or by the souls of dead shamen – who are basically their ancestors.

The shaman-to-be is literally cut up and pulled apart – their flesh is scraped off, their bones are cleaned, the body fluids are thrown away, and the eyes torn from the sockets.

The spirits then rebuild the body with new organs and new flesh and bones (or, as they put it, with “iron-bones”). This death and rebirth experience completely changes the person’s life. It transforms them into the tribal shaman who can enter the world of souls, spirits and gods.

These encounters can be enabled with the aid of psychoactive plants, but this isn’t always the case, sometimes meditative or trance methods are used.

This contact with the “otherworld” is typically used for the good of his or her people and for the benefit of the land they live on.

The “ritual surgery” conducted by the spirits, such as dismemberment, on the shaman-to-be has clear parallels with the kind of medical experiments that the so-called “Grey” aliens seem to perform on abductees.

For example, in January 1976, Mona Stafford, Louise Smith and Elaine Thomas encountered a huge flying object with many lights as they drove to Liberty in Kentucky. When they got there they found that an hour-and-a-half of their time was unaccounted for. Under regression hypnosis, all three recalled being abducted by small, slant-eyed grey creatures who gazed unnervingly at them.

The three women were separated and taken into a stifflingly hot cave, where they were pinned to tables and had a hot sticky liquid poured over them. Then their arms and legs were pulled and twisted, as if being tested to see how much stress they could stand. After that, Mona’s eyes were removed from their sockets, examined, and replaced.

Another similar story – this time from August 1975 – involved one Sandra Larson. She was driving to Bismark, North Dakota, when she saw a number of glowing globes descending towards her car. On arriving at her destination, she found that an hour was inexplicably missing from her journey time. During hypnotic regression, she described a typical UFO abduction scenario, in which her captors scraped out the inside of her nose with some kind of instrument. They then opened up her skull, took out her brain, and replaced it.

The parallels between alien abduction and shamanic initiation are pretty strong. But one important difference is this. Compared to the average Western abductee, who is often traumatised by the their experiences, shamans know how to cope with their otherwordly encounters. And they generally are able to take them on board in a healthy and balanced manner.

Tribal shamen do admit that initiation is a terrifying ordeal, but point out that power can only truly be gained from the spirits by facing up to that terror.

An Australian shaman from the Yaralde tribe, quoted in Mercea Eliade’s book Shamanism ( published in 1964), put it this way:

“When you lie down to see the visions, don’t be frightened because they will be horrible. You may see dead persons walking toward you, and you will hear their bones rattle. But if you hear and see these things without fear, you will never be afraid of anything. The dead people will not show themselves to you again, because your Miwi (psychic force) is now strong. You are now powerful because you have seen these dead people.”

So what do you think? Could alien abductees be going through a modern day version of shamanic initiation – but inadvertently? Like it comes out of the blue from their deep unconscious mind? Let me know your views in the comments.

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