SPIRITWALKER: My Journeys Through the Visionary Gateway by Hank Wesselman

SPIRITWALKER: My Journeys Through the Visionary Gateway

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Emulating Carlos Castaneda, anthropologist Wesselman recounts his spirit journeys 5,000 years into the future, when an ecologically devastated America has been partly colonized by Hawaiians and Eskimos. In 1983, Wesselman began to experience altered states of consciousness in which he believed himself to be present in the body and mind of a Hawaiian explorer and mystic named Nainoa. This book describes the author's wanderings through an America with a very different coastline, covered with forests, and sparsely inhabited. The people of the future, whom he comes to know through Nainoa's thoughts and conversations, preserve legends of a Fall and Great Flood that brought an end to the fabled Great Age of the Americans and their civilization. Nainoa's world is essentially that of hunter-gatherers who have no metals or machinery and live a simple life, close to the earth, with New Age--style beliefs and values. What Wesselman learns from Nainoa, and later from an Ennuit shaman, confirms his own worst fears that we are currently on the brink of a global disaster because political leaders like Ronald Reagan refused to take seriously the threats posed by the greenhouse effect and because religious leaders opposed contraception and abortion as means to reduce population growth. In the author's scenario, melting of the ice caps will soon lead to an increase in the sea level sufficient to engulf all ports and thus prevent the transportation of oil and other necessities of modern life. Some clever passages describe how Wesselman and Nainoa occasionally change places in their respective time zones (no one else can tell) and even communicate with each other, but the author is less convincing when he tries to depict folk memories of our society as they would have survived over 5,000 years. A minatory vision that will impress the credulous and lovers of superficial, eclectic mysticism.

Pub Date: July 17th, 1995
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Bantam