Bad medicine (Part One)
There's a lion in the road, there's a demon escaped,
There's a million dreams gone, there's a landscape being raped. - Bob Dylan
This has been no holiday week for me - far from it - and between work and familyI haven't had the time to post without getting sloppy about it. But I want at least to introduce a subject to which I mean to return early in the new year.
The subject's still taking shape for me, which is fine, because it's partly about shapeshifting. And that isn't to say it's about Reptoid Shapeshifters from Outer Space, because it isn't, except maybe to reframe that instead as a dark slice of pure Americana.
Because I'm thinking, rather, about Navajo witchcraft: the "bad medicine" of, let's call them, "left-hand path" medicine men. Specifically, yee naaldooshi: the "skinwalkers."
Anthropologist Dan Benyshek of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, quoted in Colm Kelleher and George Knapp's Hunt for the Skinwalker:
Skinwalkers are purely evil in intent. I'm no expert on it, but the general view is that skinwalkers do all sorts of terrible things - they make people sick, they commit murders. They are grave robbers and necrophiliacs. They are greedy and evil people who must kill a sibling or other relative to be initiated as a skinwalker. They supposedly can turn into wereanimals and can travel in supernatural ways.
I find it interesting that the initiation fee of killing a close relative is similar to the blood price exacted for admittance into high Satanic circles, and also the generational sacrifice of one's own children to ritual bondage and mind control.
Then there's John Perkins, the National Security Agency-recruit and author of the favourite liberal limited hang-out Confessions of an Economic Hitman, who is also the author of Shapeshifting: Shamanic Techniques for Global and Personal Transformation, and leads workshops on the subject. Here's Perkins, in an interview with "Spirit of Maat":
For definitional purposes we can talk about Shapeshifting occurring on three different levels:
The first is cellular, and that is when a person of an indigenous culture shapeshifts into a plant or animal, or in our culture when a cancer grows in someone and then miraculously disappears.
The second level is personal Shapeshifting. That is when we decide to transform our personality -- and usually that means becoming more of what we most expect in ourselves. It might mean when a person honors themselves as a good writer or a better dancer or politician. It could also mean transforming an addiction.
During the process of writing the book Shapeshifting, I found that many people had the opinion that cellular shapeshifting, where people become jaguars and plants, was important years ago for indigenous peoples and cultures that had to escape from enemies in the forest, or hunt down buffalo and other animals -- but was not important in this day and age and probably doesn't occur anymore.
I disagree. I have seen a lot of very significant cellular Shapeshifting around the world. There are lamas in Tibet who fly across mountains and melt snow with the heat of their bodies, and shamans in the Amazon who become jaguars, and people in this country who miraculously get cured of cancers. I think cellular Shapeshifting is very important, because when we cellular Shapeshift, we realize that we really are one with everything.
Shapeshifting is not just Perkins' metaphor for adaptation and personal transformation. He believes - he claims to have witnessed - shapeshifting on a cellular level.
What am I trying to say? This is what I'm trying to say: we don't need to look to Alpha Draconis to find a culture of shapeshifting. Shapeshifting is as American as Cowboys and Indians, and even more so than Cowboys. Regardless of what we think about the subject, even if we say this cannot be so it can't be true, a living culture which holds such things both possible and essentially evil is indiginous to the United States, and in particular to the western lands which have seen so much bad medicine of late, from Los Almos to Jack Parsons and UFOs. And then there's the New Age shamanism of the NSA's Perkins.
Doug Hickman, a New Mexico educator, says in The Hunt for the Skinwalker that "the Navajo skinwalkers use mind control to make their victims do things to hurt themselves and even end their lives." Again, we've seen this before. Survivors of covert ritual abuse/mind control programs often need to have self-destruct alters reintegrated into their core personalities so they do not harm or kill themselves once the programming has been detected. I find such similarities more interesting, and possibly more important, than speculation as to whether human-to-animal shapeshifting is literally possible.
There's a ranch in Utah said by a local tribe to be "in the path of the skinwalker." After an embarrassment of weirdness terrorized its new owners in the mid-1990s - UFOs, boxy "chupas", cattle mutilations, orbs, anomalous entities and more (their first day, the family was visited by an oversized wolf that attacked a calf and could not be killed or even brought down by a point-blank barrage, whose tracks simply ended in the mud) - the property was purchased by a mysterious Las Vegas multimillionaire named Robert Bigelow, rumoured to have CIA ties. "Another rumor has it that the death of his son several years ago brought about his passionate interest in the paranormal." I'll have more to say about Bigelow and Skinwalker Ranch in Part Two.