anthropologist Dr. Hank Wesselman, PhD.
My last month’s column (2/08) was focused
upon an encounter that ‘happened’ during a travel group that I led to
Egypt in January 2003. This in turn prompts me to share yet another
unpublished encounter from that trip with you. I must admit to a few
trepidations in offering this one as it is fairly far out, but those
of my readers who have been with me for a while should be able to accept
it with equanimity.
January 15, 2003: Toward the end of our trip,
our Egyptian guides had arranged for us to enter the Great Pyramid at
Giza. They also ensured that we had the King’s Chamber in the heart
of this greatest of monuments entirely to ourselves for an hour and
a half at high noon at my request.
Our group gathered at the base of the Pyramid
in the late morning and stared upward in awe at its unimaginable mass.
After a few words from our guides, we then entered the tight stone tunnel
in the monument’s side, crouching low and scuttling through the first
part. Then we straightened up as we began to ascend the long chamber
of the ‘grand passage.’
Countless others have written about this long
transit to the famous ‘King’s Chamber’, so I will add only that in viewing
the unusual architecture of the walls and ceiling that I had seen many
times in photographs, I was completely unprepared for the real thing.
This passage was and is an engineering marvel for any time and place,
but the sophistication and the strangeness of its design is totally
out of place in a edifice that could be 5000 years old, or 10,000 or
even older, depending on who you talk to.
What kept appearing in my mind as I sought
to attach a cognitive label to describe the architecture of this strange
passage was the word ‘alien.’ I wonder now in retrospect if that insight
in some way set up what was to happen next.
When we achieved the top of the passage and
entered the famous King’s Chamber, one of our group felt the need to
go into lecture mode, gesturing toward the huge red granite blocks that
lined the chamber’s floor, walls and ceiling, informing us all that
the stone itself is actually 55% crystal.
This implied that we were standing inside
a crystal room that is slightly off-center in a precisely designed and
engineered mountain of stone—a pyramid that could be pointed directly
at someplace beyond the sky… at some star system out there in the universe,
depending on the season and time of day or night, of course.
As members of the group examined the room
and even lay down in the well-known red stone ‘sarcophagus’ located
to one side of the chamber, testing it out, I allowed my conscious awareness
to expand in the shamanic way, taking in the details of our surroundings
with enhanced clarity. I also began to engage in what I think of as
‘deep listening’ about which I will say more next month.
Although most mainstream Egyptologists proclaim
with their full authority that this great monument was a tomb for the
Pharaoh Khufu, my insights in those moments revealed that the pyramid
is not, nor was it ever, a tomb.
But if this was true, I wondered, what was
it? The great pyramid must have taken generations to build so it’s exact
dimensions, its positioning, as well as its design, was obviously pre-eminently
important to the builders.... but why? And what was it designed for?
Science is not adept at dealing with ‘why’
questions, but I had brought my drum into the chamber, and so while
my fellow travelers continued to proclaim this and that from their own
background reading, I quietly lit a candle, placed it in the exact center
of the floor in a small tin can to catch any wax due to a passing breeze
(fat chance). Then I lit some incense to honor the builders of this
great stone complex, whatever it was.
This act, I might add, was much in keeping
with the rituals of the ancient Egyptians, for one can see individuals
offering incense carved into stone on the walls of every temple in Egypt.
Incense was, and is, an offering of our profound respect, as well as
our love, to the Gods… those same transpersonal forces we have been
talking about in many of my monthly columns, and the ancient Egyptians
It was just after high noon as I knelt on
the stone floor and lit the incense from the candle, smelling the wonderful
pinon scent of the American southwest rise into the air of this sacred
chamber in the smoke (maybe a first). I was aware that one of the mysteries
of the pyramids is that there is not a single hieroglyph carved into
any of the stones of this edifice. This has given rise to the hypothesis
that maybe the Egyptians didn’t build the Pyramids—that the builders
were actually members of an earlier culture—an idea that has generated
an avalanche of well-intentioned but usually misinformed new age books.
As members of the group continued to try out
lying in the ‘sarcophagus,’ others sat down on the floor, leaning back
against the stone walls of the chamber, and they began to ‘tone.’ The
acoustics of the room were quite extraordinary, and slowly, slowly,
I began to work in the drum… until the toning came to an end and only
the drum was sounding.
A most interesting thing then happened. The
only way to describe it is that the drum, in some unknown manner, seemed
to create, or perhaps summon, a sound much like the wind. As the drum
continued a steady theta rhythm beat of perhaps 4-6 beats per second,
a whispering rushing sound could be clearly perceived. It seemed to
sweep through the space, from one side to the other, now here, now there,
bouncing off the walls and ricocheting around the stone room, rushing
by me with hissing sweeps.
At one moment, it was above me, then it was
around me, then to the right corner near the ceiling, then to the left
near the floor. Then it seemed to be making figure 8s in the air in
the center of the room. All this time, the candle flame was utterly
still. Almost everyone heard the whispering, hissing, rush of sound
and exclaimed about it afterwards. What happened next exceeded all my
At 12:30 PM, our Egyptologist had arranged
to have the lights in the Pyramid extinguished and the fans turned off
for about 30 minutes… and when the chamber went dark and I allowed the
drum to subside into silence. Slowly, carefully, I leaned over and blew
out the candle. The blackness was now total, the silence absolute. I
lay down on the stone floor in the exact center of the room, heedless
of the dust.
My conscious awareness had been powerfully
altered by the drum, and I decided to see if I could journey, shamanically,
to learn about the builders, as well as the designers, of the Pyramid.
With that focused intention, I opened my inner doorway and my physical
body was immediately swept by a tremendous surge of the power in response.
We’re talking about that universal field of
energy or power that Obi Wan Kenobi called The Force. All indigenous
peoples know about it and all shamans know from direct experience that
The Force is real.
Without any prior preparation or thought,
my body began to shake and as I mentally ‘unfastened my seat belt,’
my conscious awareness was literally sucked outward from my body and
upward toward and through the Pyramid’s apex. The sense of movement
was swift, causing momentary vertigo. I felt like I was riding a whirlwind,
and before I could even think about it, I found myself precipitated
out into starry universe, into a photo montage not unlike the onset
of the warp drive in the Star Wars or Star Trek films…
I was suddenly surrounded spots of light (orbs?)
that immediately elongated into light lines streaking by me on all sides…
and then very swiftly, almost instantaneously, I found myself (or my
conscious awareness) settling. The sense of movement was gone and I
was ‘there’, looking out at what can only be described as an alien world.
In this extraordinary circumstance, the ‘I’
that is Hank Wesselman assumed a passive state in the sense that ‘I’
became fully watchful, yet fully subordinate to whatever experience
I had been drawn into. After 25 years of shamanic practice, this was
a known experience for me.
And here is what I saw…
‘I’ was standing toward the back of a huge
room, at least 4-5 stories tall, constructed of smooth, polished, blood-red
stone. The walls, ceiling, and floor were all made of this striking
red stone that had been carved into flowing shapes, including massive
pillars holding up the ceiling far above. There were very few straight
The room was ‘open’ in the sense that one
whole end of it opened to the outside, and beyond, I could see a landscape
of low relief dominated by plants (and trees?) and water (lagoons?)
of a distinctly peculiar color. The greens and blue-greens of the vegetation
and the off-turquoise lagoons were as intense as the red of the huge
stone room, producing a startling contrast to each other.
But even more surprising was that there were
two suns in the polished bronze of the sky, one closer to the horizon,
producing double shadows behind objects in the foreground. One was decidedly
larger, like a small version of our sun, the other more like a distant
star. Yet there was no question—I somehow ‘knew’ that this was a double
I use the word ‘objects’ here because now,
in writing about this many years later, I do not remember clear impressions
of what the objects in the foreground might have been. This is much
in alignment with my visionary experiences of the shaman’s worlds. I
frequently perceive things, places, beings, for which I, as an embodied
human, have no cultural constructs through which to assign meaning.
As ‘I’ continued to observe the surroundings,
there was a pervading sense that all was familiar, that the objects
were both utilitarian (furniture perhaps) as well as decorative, designed
to enhance the living environment.
I reeled in my emotions which were in some
turmoil and began to focus on how I was seeing this alien world, for
there was no doubt in my mind that this was in fact another planet.
It was then that I realized ‘I’ was observing through the eyes of one
of its inhabitants.
Those who have read my Spiritwalker Trilogy
will know that this ability—to look through the eyes of another person—is
not unfamiliar to me. Nor is this ability unknown in the shaman’s world.
We are not talking about fiction here, nor is what I am conveying to
you fanciful imagination. We’re talking about a very real experiential
At this moment, I became aware of ‘others’
crossing the vast hall near me, and my emotional state upgraded to astonishment.
They were impossibly tall, linear, and rather spindly humanoids with
dark, reddish brown skin. They were bipedal, and their legs and arms
were long, as were their fingers. Their feet were encased in elegant
sandals with turned up toes that looked like they were made of (or covered
by) golden foil. Again, these beings seemed utterly familiar somehow
and I concluded that I was picking up on the perspective of my ‘host’.
It was their faces that were the shocker.
They looked superficially unlike any depictions of ‘aliens’ that I had
ever seen. My first impression was that they looked like bird people.
This is because their faces displayed an elongated ‘rostrum’ creating
a plane to the face that projected forward and downward utterly unlike
a human nose, or a human face for that matter. It wasn’t a ‘beak’ but
rather a completely different form of cranial morphology unknown on
In addition, each of the beings I saw was
wearing an off-white head covering not unlike a pair of men’s boxer
shorts that encircled the head above the eyes and hung down in back
and the sides along the elongated neck to the boney shoulders. I was
immediately struck by how similar this interesting cowl resembled the
headdresses of the dynastic Egyptians depicted on statuary. These head
coverings were not that different. Yet they were not quite the same
As one of the bird beings (I had come to categorize
them that way in an attempt to assign some sort of meaning to them)
approached, I got a better view of their eyes. They were long, dark
and tapering, and I couldn’t see any ‘whites’. Their faces were linear,
elongated and delicate. It was at this point that I looked down and
perceived the body of the one through whom I was seeing.
The lower torso seemed to be covered by a
short ‘kilt’ (only way to describe it) made of an off white reflective,
almost luminescent material that appeared to be finely woven and was
elegantly folded into pleats. My glance moved to my arm and hand. There
was a five-fingered hand with very elongated fingers and an opposable
thumb considerably more delicate than our human version, and there didn’t
seem to be any nails or claws.
‘My’ reddish-brown skin was smooth and dry
and somewhat granular like the surface of a lizard or an American football.
There were no scales, but rather what seemed to be vestigial outlines
of them. And then, imagine my shock when I perceived the suggestion
of small pointy breasts on my skinny chest, set high and wide, the nipples
indistinct, more like pores really, and located very close to the ‘armpits.’
I had apparently merged with a female… and
with this realization, I received my first thought pulse from my host,
or rather my hostess, a mental pulse signifying agreement. ‘She’ was
aware of my presence, but to what degree, and how she felt about this,
I didn’t know.
My physical body, lying on the floor of the
Kings Chamber in the great Pyramid, quivered. I knew this because an
aspect of my conscious awareness—my body’s soul—was still there. But
part of it was also here, observing this place and these beings, sending
what it was seeing ‘here’ to my mental soul that was operating at lightning
I appeared to have made a connection across
the space-time continuum of what shamans call The Middle Worlds. I had
utilized the ancient, time-tested methodology of the shaman, and I appeared
to be merged with an alien being somewhere else in the Universe. But
where? There was no way of determining this.
Curiously, I felt no fear, but as the moments
passed, I picked up on a rapidly growing sense of unbridled curiosity
that seemed to be originating from the woman’s mind (dare I call her
a ‘woman, I thought?), a curiosity that was matched by my own.
Again I glanced down at her body, and yes,
there were ‘breasts’ if you could call them that. Then something happened
reminiscent of my trans-temporal connections with Nainoa. In response
to my own curiosity, her body responded and her long tapered fingers
(was there an extra joint in them?) gently moved across her chest, examining
the breasts, and then moved higher.
In this way, I discovered she was wearing
a collar-like necklace composed of what seemed to be many rows of flattened,
smooth stone beads. By craning ‘my’ long neck, I could make them out.
They were blanketing ‘my’ shoulders and upper chest and there appeared
to be alternating rows of green and red beads. And there were also beads
of what appeared to be gold.
As I studied the pleasing pattern, it seemed
to flicker or vibrate, and I was struck by their resemblance to the
Egyptian jewelry that I had seen in museums. The hands moved on to the
sides of the head. There seemed to be no ears such as ours, just crescents
of raised smooth skin, producing a double ridge around an ear opening,
somewhat higher on the skull than our own.
As the fingers continued to explore the head,
moving carefully under the cowl or covering, I felt a pulse of what
could only be called amusement. It was coming from her. The skull was
elongated upward and backward, following the direction of the plane
of her rostrum, and it was completely hairless. Whatever she was, she
was not a typical mammal, despite her ‘breasts’, and my inner scientist
decided that these people might be another class of beings altogether.
I glanced down at her lower torso again, and
my human mind decided against further exploration. My gaze shifted to
her feet—five very long toes, no nails, and her sandals. On closer inspection
they seemed to be made of some very tough fiber paper perhaps. They
glittered as though gilded and appeared to be stenciled with a pleasing
red and green design, reminiscent of her collar-necklace.
It was at this point that I began to consider
a radical thought. Could these beings be the ones who had come across
the Universe as souls and embodied in human forms in Egypt thousands
of years ago? Could these bird beings be the ancestral race that came
from the stars to become the Egyptians?
I had talked with the kahuna Makua about such
phenomena. He was quite emphatic that there had been many such migrations
that had come to Earth from the stars. He had also conveyed that the
beings who had come here did not arrive in space ships. They had come
as seeds of light, as souls…
Could these beings, and this place, be an
ancestral source for such a migration, I wondered? Then, I remembered
the Pyramid. Could this enormous structure be a device for interstellar
communication—a real honest-to-God functioning star gate that would
operate if you knew how to open it? Was this what I had inadvertently
done by using the ancient shamanic method of the ancestors, with the
Pyramid providing the interstellar longitude and latitude because we
just happened to be there at the right time?
I had no answers to these questions then,
and I sensed that I probably never would. My gaze shifted to the ceiling
and it was then that I perceived that the red stone was painted or engraved
with frescos, with panels of imagery and geometric designs, easily 50-70
feet above the floor, supported by those smooth pillars of red stone
that were thick, yet not massive.
Was the vast room temple-like? Yes it was,
yet it was different. Long ledges or shelves lined the walls to head
height, with the walls above them were carved with more panels of curious
symbols in relief (glyphs?)… but were they Egyptian? I did not know,
nor was I given a chance to study them. A vibration, a tone of sound,
was perceived. It was both felt as well as heard.
The bird being then turned her awareness away
from the walls and walked gracefully across the hall with long, flowing
strides and out onto a wide veranda into the open air. The warm dry
wind smelt dusty, somewhat smokey, like the deserts of Egypt, I thought.
To my right and to my left, I saw other similar
openings, precisely delineated, emerging from the red stone wall behind
me, and I realized that I was seeing a complex of monolithic structures
literally carved from the living rock of a natural escarpment, extending
horizontally in both directions, following the contours of the land,
and vertically as well almost like an apartment building.
There were other such openings as my gaze
swept up the red cliff, layered and sculpted into the polished stone,
with narrower verandas supported step-wise by rows of pillars. I could
see other bird beings clustered here and there on them, and at my level
as well. As I studied these beings, their tall, linear, spindly morphology
suggested this world had a gravitational force that was considerably
less than that of Earth.
I would love to be able to say that I saw
a pyramid, but in fact, I did not.
Thoughts and feelings seemed to be flowing
rapidly through the mind of the bird being with which I was merged,
giving rise to a supposition that ‘they’ were communicating with a form
of telepathy. But I, with my human perspective, had no clue what was
being ‘said.’ I simply couldn’t identify with, or decode the mental
pulses. They were totally foreign to me… or perhaps ‘alien’ is the correct
As another bird being approached me, I got
another shock. The face and body of this individual bore a curious resemblance
to the statues and images I had seen of the Pharaoh Akhenaten, whose
narrow elongated almost hatchet face with the long eyes, and elongated
feminine body with spindly lower limbs could be described as a human
version of the bird being before me. Were some of their bird-like features
transmitted with their souls, I wondered?
I had no answers to these questions, of course.
And then, as my eyes scanned my surroundings, seeking to record as much
as possible, the lights and fans in the King’s Chamber were switched
on again and my focus wavered. Just as the other bird being stepped
forward to engage my hostess, I lost the connection and the vision faded.
It was like switching channels on a television, and suddenly, I was
back in the Pyramid, my eyes blinking at the sudden glare of the lights.
The feelings of power that had held me in the invisible fist throughout
began to depart in ever-diminishing surges.
As I slowly sat up, my mind was racing with
excitement, generating question after question. Could those be the beings
who had designed and built the pyramids as well as those immense temple
complexes here in Egypt? Had they come here from wherever ‘there’ was,
bringing their engineering and architectural skills with them? Had my
ability to journey to them been enhanced by the red crystal room in
the pyramid? Did the builders select Egypt as their place of residence
because of the red crystal granite of the Aswan are was the closest
approximate to that of their own world?
Were the pyramids designed to allow them to
communicate across the Universe, perhaps even serving as stargates to
transport souls in both directions? But if so, how had they come here
in the first place, before the pyramids were built? Had they used the
minds and souls of Neolithic or even Paleolithic shamans to accomplish
this? Was the Egyptian god Thoth, depicted as a human being with a bird’s
head, one of them?
No answers appeared in my mind.
As my traveling companions began to stir and
gather themselves to return to the outside world, I did the same, my
mind seething as I picked up my shamanic gear—drum, incense, candle
etc—and began to review all that I had seen. Even after 17 years of
trans-temporal travel and connection in a future slice of time with
the one known as Nainoa, this one would take some getting used to.
I shared some of this vision with the group
at our meeting in the hotel later in the afternoon but only after encouraging
the others to share first. Most had heard the strange whirring wind-like
sound but none had had the contact with the bird people. They listened
in silence as I talked about what I had experienced.
I talked about it in more detail with my roommate
Stephen later in our hotel room. When I described the bird beings in
more detail, he expressed great excitement. Digging into his luggage,
he extracted a copy of a periodical I had never seen before—World Explorer
Magazine. This issue (Vol. 3, No. 3) featured an article by David Hatcher
Childress titled The Strange Tassili Frescos of Algeria.
Half of this essay featured images copied
from ancient rock art on the formations at Tassili, a remote section
of southern Algeria, by a French investigator named Henri Lhote whose
book The Search for the Tassili Frescos (1959) recorded his adventures
in this desolate area toward the middle of the Sahara Desert. Lhote’s
descriptions of a once fertile and now lost world in that arid region
captivated the imagination of his readership at that time. But it was
when Stephen showed me the cover of the Magazine that I felt like I
had been punched in the stomach.
There, rendered in color, was Lhote’s copy
of one particular rock art panel depicting four Bird-Headed ‘Goddesses’,
dancing or walking in profile, with that same elongated rostrum to the
face, and the same elongated spindly bodies, necks and limbs. Three
were dark skinned, while one in the back was white. All had that same
curious cowl or head covering and those tiny conical breasts near the
armpit. The one in front had the collar like necklace covering the shoulders.
I was simply stunned. I sat down heavily on
my bed as I stared at the image. There was no doubt although Lhote’s
images seemed more human than the ones I had seen. It was as though
the original rock artist had humanized their vision of these bird beings.
So someone else had been there and seen them, I thought… a shaman most
likely. Or had the beings come here in their natural form? No way of
The image was repeated in the essay with a
subscript that it was derived from Lhote’s color photo (No 1: Jabbaren)
and bore the explanation ‘Egyptian influence. 18th Dynasty? 27 x37 cm.
This interpretation was doubtful in my opinion because other images
from the Tassili range of towering rock outcroppings have since been
dated at 6000-8000 years old.
It is curious to me that I have been unable
to regain the connection with the bird woman or her world since that
day. This, of course, has caused me to speculate that maybe the Pyramid
is indeed a device that is needed to make this interstellar contact.
Our guide Emil informed us that only the King, the Pharaoh, was allowed
to use that room, giving rise to its name across time—the King’s Chamber.
If this is true, the Pharaoh was indeed the
emissary of the gods/goddesses—the beings who in all likelihood may
still live on their home world.
In sharing this extraordinary encounter with
you, the reader, I claim nothing. I only report what I saw and experienced,
and what I have written is derived from the extensive notes I made immediately
afterward. I wonder if perhaps others, like the rock artist from Tassili
so long ago, have also had contact with the bird people on that distant
world with its buildings made of blood red stone and two suns in the
pale desert sky above the turquoise lagoons.
Perhaps in sharing this with you, the reader,
the opportunity will come for you to go to Egypt with me. In fact, my
wife Jill and I will be leading such a trip to Egypt later this year.
The dates are Nov. 30- Dec. 12. Details are posted on our website (see
So until next month, allow me to invoke the
spirit of Chief Makua, my great Hawaiian friend… and with his blessing
(and his words), I extend to each of you the Light and the Love of the
Ancestors, The Source of Life, rejoicing in the Power and the Peace,
braided with the cords of Patience, revealing the tapestry of the strongest
force in the Universe… your Aloha.