The ancient knowledge of the authentic Hawaiian kahuna is not well known to the larger world, even in our time, when access to the wisdom of indigenous peoples has become more accessible. Recently, the friendship and trust that grew between two men, paleoanthropologist and shamanic teacher Hank Wesselman and kahuna elder Hale Kealohalani Makua, resulted in permission being given to share the ancient Hawaiian wisdom. The resulting book is Wesselman’s The Bowl of Light: Ancestral Wisdom from a Hawaiian Shaman.
Wesselman holds a doctorate in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley. His interest in indigenous spiritual traditions grew out of his Peace Corps service in western Nigeria and the time he spent with tribal peoples while exploring human origins in Ethiopia’s Great Rift Valley with a team of international scientists. In Hawaii, Wesselman had the rare privilege of counting Hale Makua as his friend during the last eight years of that wise elder’s life, and he considers the timing of their encounter appropriate for the needs of our day. Makua’s message to us is that “we have become creator beings unlike any that have existed on this world before,” but our becoming more aware of our connection to the ancestors, as well as to our higher-self aspect, must not become a form of escapism. “We still have to deal with the world that we have created,” he said, “and our responsibility now is greater than ever.”
To prepare us for what is to come, the ancient wisdom instructs us in the care of our “Bowl of Light,” the vessel of our divine essence, and leads us in the way of the spiritual warrior, characterized by loving with humility, living with reverence, and knowing with self-discipline. Wesselman describes the rituals that Makua used to receive wisdom and connect with the natural world and alerts us to the Ancestral World Plan that was set in motion ages ago and that Makua believed to be playing out perfectly in the world today.
Wesselman is the author of seven books on shamanism and many scientific papers. He has taught at universities and colleges in the United States and Nigeria and is a shamanic practitioner and teacher at the Esalen and Omega Institutes.