“Shaman Durek”: Yet Another American New Thought Missionary (a Critique)
The American “shaman”, Shaman Durek, presents us for a story of near-death and mental trials that could sound like a traditional shamanic awakening. However, we only have his own words for that it is a shamanic awakening, and not something else. In this article, I will therefore let his own words decide what we should believe or not. The length of the article is therefore accentuated by this.
I will, by the help of his own words, show, that instead of teaching a shamanic method, Shaman Durek is teaching the American New Thought teaching. If one should categorize his teaching within the field of magic, it would be as sorcery and not shamanism. Connected with this is that he seems inspired by a tendency within modern occultism that mixes with evolutionism, postmodernism and transhumanism.
In this way, Shaman Durek presents us for a linear, progressivist and instrumental worldview that is in glaring contrast to the cyclic, traditionalist and communicative worldview of shamanism.
You might ask why I use so many words for an, until now, relatively unknown guy? But as usual I´m not only writing about Shaman Durek. He is namely only one in a legion of American New Thought missionaries. Therefore, it is also this collective movement I´m writing about.
Table of contents:
2) The Prosperity Gospel of the New Thought Movement
3) The “Fake It Till You Make It” Mantra
4) The Self-love Gospel of the “Me Generation”
I have written quite a lot about the American New Thought movement, but I had never heard about Shaman Durek, before his spectacular entry into Scandinavia. In 2019 it was announced that Princess Märtha Louise, the daughter of Norway’s current monarch, Harald V., had entered a relationship with a certain Durek Verrett. That man, also known as “Shaman Durek,” was, it appeared, a Hollywood New Age personality with an impressive list of contacts, including, among others, Gwyneth Paltrow.
The princess, who is a trained physiotherapist and an accomplished equestrian rider, is maybe best known in Norway for being the foremost proponent of New Age theories and practices in the country. Since 2007, when she started collaborating with self-proclaimed psychic Elisabeth Nordeng, Princess Märtha has published a number of books, held talks, and even started an organization dedicated to teaching people about their latent psychic powers (Astarte Education, now defunct). Among her numerous claims, she has stated that she was able to see angels, communicate with the dead, and sense supernatural energy.
Shortly after Verrett had been presented to the Norwegian public, he and Princess Märtha went on tour across the country to present their new spiritual relationship and ideas. This tour, unsurprisingly titled “The Princess and the Shaman,” generated both high ticket sales and a new wave of controversy.
Who is Shaman Durek? His website says:
Shaman Durek is a 6th generation shaman who has devoted decades to study and practice in becoming a thought leader and spiritual enthusiast for people all over the world. His focus is educating people on how to make shamanism a life style choice for evolutionary adaptation. He is an author, activist and a women’s empowerment leader.
Durek acts as mediator or “bridge” between the spiritual and physical planes, and applies ancient spiritual wisdom, coupled with decades of devoted study and practice, to help bring success, happiness and healing into clients’ lives. Shaman Durek comes from a long lineage of spiritual practitioners including ministers, oracles and healers.
Note the words: thought leader, empowerment, etc. These are hardly words that come from ancient spiritual wisdom. They can rather precisely be traced to the American New Thought movement.
My last text on the New Thought movement was on Gregg Braden, another American “thought leader”, and member of New Thought (he presents himself as a “scientist”). In that text I wrote about these new kind of American missionaries:
[…] they come in all kinds of disguises and with all kinds of titles: scientists, philosophers, shamans, healers, psychotherapists, management theorists, etc., etc., etc. (page 11).
Add to this a huge number of weird self-grandiose titles.
The New Thought movement is a spiritual movement that developed in the United States in the 19th century, considered by many to have been derived from the unpublished writings of Phineas Quimby. There are numerous smaller groups, most of which are incorporated in the International New Thought Alliance. I´m not sure this alliance is alive, but what´s sure is that the New Thought philosophy is supported by very powerful people, and that it has privileged access to worldwide publishing. Hereunder the fact that Shaman Durek´s book, Spirit Hacking is one of the few books that is being translated and published in other countries without critical review.
Very shortly, you could say that the New Thought teaching has three central mantras:
1) A prosperity mantra
2) A “Fake It Till You Make It” mantra
3) A Self-love mantra
I will, in this article, show how these three mantras come to expression in Shaman Durek´s book. First, I will ask the obvious question: what have these three mantras to do with shamanism? And I will answer immediately: nothing at all. It is con artistry from beginning to end. In the following I will demonstrate it.
Let´s be quite straight forward. Shaman Durek is a typical American plastic shaman. Plastic shamanism is a pejorative colloquialism applied to individuals who are attempting to pass themselves off as shamans, holy people, or other traditional spiritual leaders, but who have no genuine connection to the traditions or cultures they claim to represent.
Another American plastic shaman, who comes into mind, when looking at Shaman Durek, is Lynn Andrews. Andrews claims to be initiated as a member of The Sisterhood of the Shields, 44 women who are healers from cultures as diverse as Panama, Guatemala, Australia, Nepal, North America and the Yucatan. Remaining hidden, the Sisterhood has appointed Ms. Andrews as their public messenger.
However, Lynn Andrews has been exposed to peddle fantasy, and heads the list of fake medicine people. Read about Lynn Andrews in The Skeptic´s Dictionary. Here, the critical thinker Robert Carroll writes:
A curious person with little interest in spirituality might wonder if any of this is true. Why would spiritual leaders and healers of indigenous peoples on several continents take in a (natural?) blonde paleface actress from Beverly Hills to share their tribal traditions about the "sacred feminine", whatever that might be? That question is much harder to answer than another one that comes to mind: why would a (natural?) blonde white woman claim to be a shaman? Do the words 'fortune' and 'fame' come to mind? Or 'exploitation'?
Speaking of Lynn Andrews; It is interesting that it is not enough for New Agers to practice a shamanic life, no, they want to be shamans themselves, even shamanic leaders of, not only one tradition, but many different.
Shaman Durek seems to be a male counterpart to Lynn Andrews. In his book he writes that he is a “spirit shaman.” According to himself this involves:
Instead of relying on a plant, or a drum, or a breathing exercise to tap into the spirit realm, spirit shamans pretty much live there 24-7. When I´m working with people, and I open myself up as a vessel to the spirit realm, all kinds of different beings and energies come through me. So, in any one given session, I might sing, I might dance, I might speak in tongues, I might make shapes or mudras with my hands. I might pray in a language I´ve never studied. I might channel an African elder, or an Asian monk, or an Aboriginal tribesman, or a Tibetan Rinpoche. Shamans are equal opportunity spirit vessels. We don´t discriminate against other cultures, or religions, or traditions, or dimensional entities. We´re very evolved (page 6).
Note the words: We don´t discriminate against other cultures, or religions, or traditions, or dimensional entities. You could namely also call it typical American cultural appropriation. Shaman Durek has very cleverly introduced a truth by authority argument.
On page 7 he goes into his “lineage of Mystical AF”. He writes:
My great-grandmother Mamal started visiting me in my dreams when I was five. But my mom says it was clear by the time I was three that I wasn´t like the other kids, because I used to go up to strangers in the grocery store and give them hugs while breaking down all their issues, and telling them that I loved them. Even though my traditional shamanic powers come from my father´s side of the family, my mother comes from a long line of Norwegian oracles, as well as Native American medicine men/women.
In his book, Durek now starts a project of getting himself portrayed as a shaman that masters just about any religious tradition on Earth, and who is authorized by all their spirits. He writes:
Mamal was a powerful medicine woman from Ghana, where she worked with spirits, and herbs, and music, in service of her tribe – a mix of Mende, Yoruba, and Bantu traditions. When the slave traders infiltrated the African tribes, Mamal fled to Haiti where she studied hoodoo and became a spiritualist before ending up in New Orleans.
My mother is a powerful seer and a fountain of wisdom. Ancient Viking spirituality runs deep in her roots. Rejected by her stepfamily early on because they were black, and she was white, my mother spent the bulk of her childhood apprenticing to a woman she referred to as her spiritual mother – a Romanian gypsy who started training my mother in the ways of seeing, and knowing, and working with energy from the time she was eight (page 8).
Given how deep and how diverse these spiritual powers run in my bloodline, I didn´t think it was weird that dead relatives and strange spirits were showing up in my room at night, and speaking to me, because I thought everyone was having this type of experience […] I´d wake up to see an African man wearing a crown of stones, and a red velvet cape, just sitting in my chair staring at me. Or I´d walk into my room to discover a Viking draped in animal pelts throwing bones on my floor, while a Native woman stood behind him, pointing to the formations they were making on the carpet, trying to teach me the ways of divination (page 9).
On page 12, in the chapter called: Shaman Training is Super diverse, and Extra Inclusive, he writes:
Because spirit shamans work with spirits from every culture and every tradition, all over the world, and across all timelines, spirit shamans must study other peoples´ cultures, religions, and philosophies, in addition to their own tribal linages. I continue traveling the world, studying other cultures, and other religions, and other shamanic traditions. I am always learning, and I am always training, and I am always stretching myself.
My family comes from the West African tribal traditions, as well as the Toscurean and the Scandinavian. So, of course, my ancestors have trained me extensively in those practices and beliefs. I have also trained in Native American shamanism with the Lakota and the Cherokee tribes. I´ve trained in Haitian shamanism, and Nigerian shamanism, and Hawaiian shamanism, as well as in the Cuban Babalawo, and the African Kuba mystical traditions. I studied Judaism and Kabbalah with rabbis in Israel, Sufism in Turkey, and Christianity, Catholicism, and Christian mysticism throughout Europe. Plus, I have spirits from all kinds of cultures and traditions and religions and mystery schools who train me, and who advise me, and who work through me – spirits from the Maori tribe, elders from Valhalla, and spirits from Angola, and Thailand, and Vietnam (page 13).
All seems to be covered now, right? But this is not enough for Shaman Durek. He writes:
The reason why people aren´t creating poprocks realities for themselves is because human being haven´t learned how to dream. When Martin Luther King Jr. spoke the words I have a dream, he was talking about dreaming a new reality into being. He was talking about dreaming greater than most people were dreaming at the time. Dr. King is one of my greatest and closest mentors. He visits me often in the spirit world and guides me as to how to use my thoughts to shape myself; and he always reminds me of his dream. Part of the reason that I chose to come back after I died was to forward Dr. King´s dream, and to dream it greater (page 126).
So, Shaman Durek is also a channeler of Martin Luther King Jr., and his mission is to do a better job than Martin Luther King Jr. himself. The fact is that he doesn´t teach any of the above. He only, as I will show, teach American New Thought.
Durek begins his book with a “Glossary of Terms”. These terms basically form a conspiracy theory, and the foundation of how he can gaslight people. I won´t go deeper into that, just refer to my article: My Cultural Criticism.
Durek claims that there exists a “Darkness”. This is:
An energetic void that houses everything that is not held in the field of love (page 21).
And then there is “The Matrix”. This is:
A system put into place by the darkness that generates rules and regulations people must follow to support the system (page 22).
There are many more concepts. I will mention one more, namely “duality”. Duality is:
The perceived separation of light and darkness as they reflect off one another in this dimensional realm (page 21).
On page 33, he presents us for relativism and subjectivism. He writes:
The concepts of us versus them, black versus white, and even dark versus light come from our fundamental misunderstanding of duality.
Culture programs us to judge these polarity constructs as good or bad. The thing is, good and bad are subjective opinions that don´t actually exist on their own accord. Good and bad are arbitrary judgments defined by our social structure […]
[…] Duality is a culturally indoctrinated lens of perception. We don´t have this in shamanism. Shamans don´t classify things as good or evil. We understand that the beings and the circumstances that are creating pain and resistance in our lives are gifts from the Spirit that are supporting our growth. We don´t label them as good or bad, or right or wrong […] (page 34).
As with other New Agers, Durek confuses the levels of nondual reality. Again, I won´t go into it here, just refer to my free Ebook: The Tragic New Age Confusion of Eastern Enlightenment with Western Subjective Idealism. The result is, as I will show, self-contradiction upon self-contradiction.
For example, through his book he uses a duality called victimization and empowerment. In fact, it is not only a duality, it is a false dichotomy that is used in his gaslightning rhetoric. False dichotomy is a misleading conception of possible alternatives. A dichotomy is a division in two alternatives. Often seen in the expressions Either/or – If/then, as for example: ”Either you are with us, or you are against us” – ”if I´m not always a success, then I´m a fiasco”. Similarly, someone who says that you must either believe that God exists or else that God doesn´t exist is setting up a false dichotomy since there is the well-known third option of the agnostic.
A false dichotomy appears when somebody sets up a dichotomy in such a way, that it looks like, that there only are two possible conclusions, when the facts actual are, that there are many other alternatives which not are being mentioned. Many inappropriate rules of living and life-strategies are based on false dichotomy. False dichotomy is thinking in extremes, and leads to a false and imbalanced way of life.
In connection with inappropriate basic assumptions such as "If I am not always a success, then I am a fiasco", the false dichotomy is closely related to the development of guilt, shame and depression.
Note, that you can´t think in extremes such as I am a success, I am perfect, I am beautiful, without the opposite extreme. That is: if you for example follow the teaching of positive psychology, which excludes all negativity, then you induce in yourself a false dichotomy, because an exclusion of the opposite extreme not is possible.
Accompanying the false dichotomy of victimization and empowerment he uses many other terms which basically cover negativity (victimization) and positivity (empowerment). Everything is hereafter being categorized via this false dichotomy.
And now to his astonishing self-contradictions. He writes:
Judgment is another expression of the duality sham – that whole I´m right, your´re wrong/he´s bad, she´s good thing humans get caught up in. Judgment is a tool of the darkness that shrouds the truth in human arrogance (page 190).
He goes on with this in a section called “Shamans Don´t Judge” (page 191), and presents some exercises in how to be nonjudgmental.
Now, when remembering how nonjudgmental Shaman Durek is, let´s take another term from his glossary that is covering victimization and negativity: Bobblehead. It is:
A person who mindlessly follows the herd and does what they are told without thinking (page 21).
This term is, throughout the book, used on anyone who doesn´t fit into Shaman Durek´s New Thought preaching. On page 93, for example, he has a section called: “Incorrect Thinking”.
On the whole, people whom Shaman Durek doesn´t like, is in for a use of language, that really doesn´t match his preaching about being loving and nonjudgmental. And, that he directly writes in this style, exposes, that this is not a guy you´ll want to get as an enemy. In the following I will present you for some examples of how he reacts on people he doesn´t like.
2) The Prosperity Gospel of the New Thought Movement
Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, or seed faith) is a religious belief among some American Protestant Christians that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one's material wealth. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.
The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God's will for his people to be blessed.
It was during the Healing Revivals of the 1950s that prosperity theology first came to prominence in the United States, although commentators have linked the origins of its theology to the New Thought movement which began in the 19th century. The prosperity teaching later figured prominently in the Word of Faith movement and 1980s televangelism (a typical American phenomenon).
Prosperity theology has been criticized by leaders from various Christian denominations, including within the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, who maintain that it is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture. Secular as well as some Christian observers have also criticized prosperity theology as exploitative of the poor. The practices of some preachers have attracted scandal and some have been charged with financial fraud.
I will here quote Shaman Durek´s section, Poverty Isn´t Spiritual, in its whole. Note how he is making a tirade against an innocent, but famous guy. This is done in a book, that uncritically is being translated into many languages. Durek makes it quite easy to find out who the guy is, and Durek sounds more like a gossip bitch than a shaman. It is a very serious act that shows that Durek, instead of teaching his hypocritical nondual and nonjudgmental nonsense, ought to get himself some training in discriminating between what is right and wrong, good and bad:
Spiritual people are abundant. That is how they can be of service to the whole – because they have a surplus to share. The Matrix programs people to think that being spiritual means rejecting comfort, and possession, and nice things to steer people away from cultivating an authentic relationship with Spirit. But it´s a bunch of bullshit. Spiritual people are definitely not poor, because if you don´t have anything to give, then you´re not going to very good at being spiritual.
I´ve gotten flak from people for what I charge for my sessions, as though shamans shouldn´t be financially compensated for their services. It´s as though people think that money is dirty, and that money tarnishes my spiritual offerings, or something.
[NB! A single hour, one-on-one session with Durek starts at $700 and can go up to $1,000].
[…] I had a big celebrity country music singer come to my house in the Hollywood Hills for a session. He eyed my car, and my pool, and my garden. Then he came into the guesthouse I used for my healing studio and told me he was having second thoughts about working with me, because my lifestyle was inappropriate, and because charging for spiritual work was wrong. Then he told me that I should be living minimally, off other people´s charity, while offering my sessions, and my workshops, and my teaching for free.
“I see, “I said, “and how do you expect me to eat, and to take care of myself, and to be of service to my clients who so often need me to jump on an airplane, and fly across the globe to help them, if you don´t think I am deserving of income?”
And Mr. Country Music Superstar said that I should offer my services on a donation basis, and that the quality of my spiritual sessions should determine whether or not people are inspired to give, which would determine whether I fly, or eat, or whatever, because – according to him – charging for shamanic healing sessions isn´t spiritual. And he said all this with a totally straight face after he´d rolled up in my driveway in a Porsche [well, he hasn´t pretended to be a shaman, has he?] – and according to Us magazine – had just paid $2.4 million for his latest home, but he had the nerve to tell me I should be begging for alms on the side of the road in tattered rags and bare feet. As though making music isn´t just as spiritual. As though his fans should decide after his concerts whether or not he deserves to be paid for his performance. As though money isn´t spiritual. As though wealth and freedom aren´t spiritual. As though God wants us to be poor. That´s all darkness nonsense the matrix programs us to think. And it´s bullshit. God wants abundance for all being, spiritual people included (page 140).
It occurs to me that the country singer is absolutely right, and Shaman Durek completely wrong. When living as a traditional shaman, or a real spiritual practitioner, the money comes by themselves. But, if you absolutely have to charge a fee, you might think about living another place, less expensive, and charge a bit lower fee, so that everybody, and not only the rich, could be served. Shaman Durek has already suggested the “inclusivity” of his services. Remember the chapter on page 12, called: Shaman Training is Super diverse, and Extra Inclusive. However, now the word “inclusive” only seems to include the rich.
3) The “Fake It Till You Make It” Mantra
"Fake it till you make it" is an English aphorism which suggests that by imitating confidence, competence, and an optimistic mindset, a person can realize those qualities in their real life. It echoes the underlying principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as a means to enable a change in one's behavior. Or in other words: faith in one's self helps one's self improve.
In the 1920s, Alfred Adler developed a therapeutic technique that he called "acting as if". This strategy gave his clients an opportunity to practice alternatives to dysfunctional behaviors. Adler's method is still used today and is often described as "role play".
Once again, we have a psychological theory, that is being extrapolated to a philosophy of life. This is a reductionism, a perversion of human nature. It is a central concept in New Thought´s false dichotomy between victimization and empowerment
In the Law of Attraction concept (a part of New Thought), "act as if you already have it", or simply "act as if", is a central concept. In her book, The Secret, Rhonda Byrne writes:
How do you get yourself to a point of believing? Start make-believing. Be like a child, and make-believe. Act as if you have it already. As you make-believe, you will begin to believe you have received.
Another New Thought worshipper, Marianne Williamson, is also supporting the Fake It Till You Make It mantra. In The Gift of Change, she writes:
We vastly underestimate the ability of our subconscious mind to support us in creating change. “Fake it till you make it” is often a good advice. When little girls play “house” or little boys play Spiderman, they are following a subconscious strategy of personality development, using their imaginations to prepare for new realms of being. And we need never stop doing this, unless we choose to (page 39).
The New Thought concept of “manifesting” is also connected to this mantra. In “The Skeptic´s Dictionary”, Robert Carroll writes:
Manifesting is allegedly a way for the average person, without need of paranormal or divine powers, to do magick and perform miracles. All one needs is the will to exercise one's magic on the universe. "Manifesting is the art of creating what you want at the time that you want it," says John Payne (aka Omni, a "being of light" channeled by Mr. Payne).
Manifesting is an eclectic hodgepodge of CYOR (create your own reality), visualization techniques, positive thinking, goal-setting, self-analysis, selective thinking, and post hoc reasoning, supported by tons of anecdotes. The purpose of manifesting is to get what you want by actively making your dreams come true, rather than passively waiting for someone to fulfill your dreams.
In the article, Consciously Creating – Channeled from Omni by John Payne, Omni (or John Payne?), writes:
You create your own reality. Yes, all of it. There is not one event, person, or object in your life that was not attracted to you through your thoughts and emotions, irrespective of whether or not those creative thoughts were conscious. All thoughts are creative, even the negative ones. The Universe serves you perfectly by bringing to you exactly that for which you have asked through your thoughts.
It is always interesting to read people who claims to have extraordinary contact with the metaphysical realms (often the highest light beings), and then see how little consciousness they in fact has about metaphysics. Because the whole idea of CYOR is based on an old philosophy of mind called subjective idealism. The whole idea rests and falls with that subjective idealism is a true theory of mind. Subjective idealism made its mark in Europe in the 18th-century writings of George Berkeley. Subjective idealism, or empirical idealism, is the monistic metaphysical doctrine that only minds and mental contents exist. It entails and is generally identified or associated with immaterialism, the doctrine that material things do not exist.
The problem with subjective idealism is that it ends in metaphysical solipsism. Metaphysical solipsism is a variety of solipsism. Based on a philosophy of subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other realities, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, and have no independent existence.
If you are unable to see the problems with this theory, then let me explain a few of them. For example: 1) how do you explain external influences, as for example the wind, as something you have created yourself? 2) Why do you at all propose the theory, since there is no one to tell it to? 3) How do you create infinity? You can´t, since you will never finish your job. 4) You can´t talk about your theory without implying the negation of it, the opposite. You can´t explain immaterialism without knowing about materialism. You can´t talk about your own mind without implying what is not your own mind, the I and Thou relationship for example 5) Why talk about love (which New Thought worshippers paradoxically are doing all the time)? There is no one to love and there is no one who are loving you. Your parents, all the people who you believe have loved you, are all illusions you have created yourself, etc., etc.,
Solipsism is not a theory many philosophers take seriously, since a philosopher seeks coherence in his theories. But for some reason, this theory is classic New Age teaching.
In the following passage Shaman Durek (apparently presupposing that “people” exist) writes:
Most people manifest by speaking their desires into the future. They talk about all the wonderful things they are going to have, and all the wonderful things they are going to do, and all the wonderful things they are going to create. What they don´t understand is that every time we say we are “going to” do something, we move that energy farther and farther away from us, into that procrastination construct called the future. When we speak in the future tense, we delay our manifestations.
Speaking in the past tense is a powerful spirit hack because it allows us to bypass the influence of the past, and to create from a fresh place, quickly. When we speak our future into the present, we clear the slate, so to speak, in declaring a new now, and a new trajectory. This means we speak about the things we are manifesting as though they have already happened. So, instead of saying: “I am excited that my book is going to help uplift and empower millions and millions of people,” I say: “I am so excited that my book is helping millions and millions of people to uplift and empower themselves.” When we speak about things that haven´t yet unfolded as though they already have, we trick our subconscious mind into accepting our future projections as real. Remember: the mind is bound to the ego, which exists to make us right. In speaking our manifestations in the past, the mind goes about organizing reality to affirm the story we are telling, which means grabbing hold of the experience we are talking about, and carrying it into the future, so that we can experience it as the present unfolds, and be right.
If we want to manifest in the future, we speak in the past tense, as though we are looking back and reflecting upon the experience that has already happened. Like that time I said, “I love how these beautiful, amazing people just called me out of the blue to join them on their boat, and how we had the best time ever sailing around the Mediterranean, and swimming in the sea, and eating delicious food.” And within a few days, I got a call from my friend Jeremy, asking me if I wanted to join him and his family for a sailing trip around the Greek islands (page 123).
If Shaman Durek and the other beings of light can create what they want in an instant, then they must not want very much, except maybe a few followers who might buy their books and other services, etc. As Carroll writes:
If these beings are so powerful, why don't they end the ethnic hatred in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, etc? Payne is telling us that he and the other beings of pure essence and light could make this world a better place but for some reason they choose not to. I think we all know the reason: they are powerless.
One might add: why don´t they eliminate the Corona virus? After all: the Corona virus also effect the rich. Or the climate change? Or the global inequality? Remember Shaman Durek´s above-mentioned manifestation of a sailing trip around the Greek Islands (and the event with the famous country singer, his fees, his exclusive focus on the rich and famous, on manifesting “pop rock realities”, etc., etc., etc.), and then read the following lines:
This is why we now have so many people focusing their attention on all these celebrity athletes and entertainers, instead of on their own dreams, and on their own lives, let alone on establishing global equality here on Earth (page 127).
Well, why doesn´t Shaman Durek himself manifest global equality then, instead of talking about a sailing cruise around the Greek Island, and charging so high fees for his services that they are exclusively directed towards the rich? Because he is powerless.
And with this powerlessness comes in another factor: If “correct thinking” can create whatever you want, then “incorrect thinking” does the opposite. The so-called law of attraction is the kind of law that many people will find attractive. It provides them with the illusion of having control over their lives. All I need to do is change my attitude and intentions and I'll attract money like a magnet (or lose weight or whatever else it is I want to achieve). If it doesn't work, it's my fault because I didn't genuinely change my attitude and intentions.
Shaman Durek writes:
Remember how I told you that when I died, the spirits explained to me that all human suffering comes from incorrect thinking? All of it (page 106).
In the section called ”Speak No Sabotage”, he writes:
A lot of the time, the ways that humans think against themselves aren´t as obvious as self-defamatory thoughts and words. Quite often our self-abuse plays out as self-sabotage. For instance, a friend of mine was really stressed out when he was launching his business, and when I asked him why he was working so hard, he said, “start-ups take time; and we´re doing everything we can so that we don´t fail.”
But what my friend didn´t realize was that he had already failed. He had already cursed himself by naming the possibility of failure. You see, if we are taking action to avoid “failing,” then we are pretty much guaranteed to fail, because we are framing our efforts around the idea of failure. It doesn´t matter whether we want to fail, or not, but just giving the energy of failure life by speaking it empowers the energy of failure […] (page 99).
For example, let´s say someone is diagnosed with cancer, and they say, “I´m going to fight this cancer. I´m going to beat this cancer. I´m not going to let this cancer kill me.” It doesn´t really matter what they do, or how many treatments they undergo, I can tell you right now, they are creating an experience for themselves where cancer that cancer is going to be unlikely to beat (page 125).
Shaman Durek has quite a lot to say about how much modern medicine has misunderstood cancer. Before going further with his own solution to the cancer problem, I would like you to listen to his tirade against Western doctors, and at the same time remember how he on other pages talks about that “Shamans Don´t Judge”, and preach “Speak no Sabotage”. He writes:
I get really tired of Western doctors invalidating shamanism, and spirituality, and all these other things they haven´t researched, haven´t experienced, and don´t understand. Aside from being reductive and wrong, it´s extremely arrogant, considering that modern medicine wouldn´t even exist if it weren´t for the shamans, and the alchemists, and the mystics who preceded them.
So what I want to say is this; shut up, doctors. You know about your compartmentalized world of allopathic medicine, so why don´t you just stick to that? Because you definitely don´t know anything about spirituality, and you definitely don´t know anything about the spirit world. So I don´t want to hear your comments, or your opinions, or your ideas about the spirit world, until you do your own diligence, and you embark upon your own discovery, and your own hypothesis, to come to an intelligent, informed conclusion. But if you don´t do discovery, and you don´t delve into these worlds to figure out for yourself, then your conclusion that the spirit world is “woo-woo” and is “bullshit” – as well as all other uninformed opinions falling out of your mouth – are simply closed-minded ignorance. And you need to acknowledge that, and shut your face hole, and stick to being a doctor. You stay in your world, and Ì´ll stay in mine. If you want to leave your ignorance at the door, and come together to create a container, and explore a conversation, and an understanding so that we can share our knowledge to serve humanity, while respecting each other´s realms of study and expertise, I´m game. If not, step off (page 267).
After having told the doctors that You stay in your world, and Ì´ll stay in mine, Durek continues telling what he does when he “goes to hospitals”:
It doesn´t matter what kind of hyper-extra-über-super-strength allopathic cancer killer you attack your tumor with, if you don´t shift the internal environment; and the only way to shift the internal environment is to adjust the markers, and to address the root.
From a shamanic perspective, the root can be anything, including the words people tell themselves, the house they live in, or the people they hang out with. It could be their job, their partner, or their tendency to people-please and give their power away. Or it could that they hate their life, and they hate themselves, but because they can´t be honest about it, they create disease, because they don´t want to be here anymore (259).
Got that? “They create disease, because they don´t want to be here anymore”. And now, listen carefully to the following:
This is actually really common – that people get sick as a quick fix and an easy way out of this reality construct. People would rather get sick than admit the truth, which is: I don´t really want to be alive. The conscious mind can´t process this level of truth, just as most human beings can´t handle hearing this level of truth coming out of the mouth of a friend or a family member, so the conscious mind denies the truth while the subconscious mind turns it into an incurable disease.
When I go to hospitals and I work with people who have cancer, the first question I always ask is: “Why do you want this cancer?” That upsets some people. Kids, however, are not burdened by these kinds of hang-ups. When I work with children, and I ask them why they want their cancer, they tell me straight up: “Because I don´t want to be here anymore” (259).
Shaman Durek claims that this is something the “spirits” have taught him. If it is, it is not shaman spirits. I will return to that. It also sounds like something Durek has learned by reading New Thought books. Because this is precisely what other New Thought preachers and missionaries, also are teaching. In the Skeptics Dictionary, Robert Carroll writes:
The number of New Age promoters of the delusion of mind cures is staggeringly high. Television, radio talk shows, and the Internet have opened the floodgates for promoters of these alleged panaceas. Many of these New Age mind cures have incorporated references to quantum physics and Eastern mystical notions, such as chi and chakras, into their repertoires.
Carroll names just a few: Barbara Brennan, Rosalyn L. Bruyere, David L. Cunningham, Cyndi Dale, Donna Eden, David Feinstein, Guy Finley, Richard Gerber, Burt Goldman (Quantum Jumping), Soleira Green, Stanislav Grof, Steven Halpern, Louise Hay, Vernon Howard, Dorothea Hover-Kramer, W. Brugh Joy, Byron Katie, Rachel Kohler, Dolores Krieger, Bruce Lipton, Grant McFetridge (Peak States and Whole-Hearted Healing), Mary Morrissey, Carolyn Myss, Peter Occhiogrosso, Judith Orloff, Simon Rose (Reference Point Therapy), Linda Salvin, Eckhart Tolle and Marianne Williamson.
In addition to promoting delusions about the ability of people to cure others and themselves of horrible diseases by the power of thought, the New Thought Movement encourages delusions in other areas of life. Outside of the healing arena, New Thought beliefs contribute to what might be called the empowerment delusion: the false belief that feeling empowered or believing you are empowered is the same as being empowered. The empowerment delusion leads people to believe they can create health or wealth, or anything material by willing it or asking God to will it. A corollary is the delusion that poverty or sickness is one’s own fault: one’s bad thoughts, stinkin´ thinkin´, negative ideas, lack of faith, etc., cause all misery.
The empowerment delusion is fed by appeals to distorted (redefined) interpretations of karma, like the Law of Attraction, to nonsensical appeals to quantum physics (Deepak Chopra, Rhonda Byrne, and a host of others), or to faith in faith (like all faith healers and prosperity preachers, like Reverend Ike or Joel Osteen). The billion-dollar self-help industry is largely driven by the empowerment delusion. The popularity of Helen Schuman´s (1909-1981) A Course in Miracles gives testament to the attractiveness of New Thought´s revisionist biography of Jesus as wanting more love and forgiveness, and less suffering and sacrifice. Heaven awaits us all and there is no hell.
In an interview with Newsweek, the famous New Thought teacher, Rhonda Byrne, was asked if the victims of the genocides in Rwanda in 1994 had attracted this destiny themselves. She answered with confirmation.
“If we are in fear, if we are feeling in our lives that we are victims and feeling powerless, then we are on a frequency of attracting those things to us,” says Byrne in reference to Rwanda.
So, a spiritual concept of compassion with people who are suffering, as for example the victims in Rwanda, will in the Law of Attraction involve a risk of attracting the weak and powerless thoughts of these people (their stinkin´ thinkin´). So, instead, you should turn your back on them.
Note, that it is not only Byrne who answers in this way; it is a typical answer from New Thought worshippers. In chapter 8 of Marianne Williamson´s book, A Return to Love, titled "Body", Williamson states the following:
"God is all that is good. He creates only love, therefore he did not create sickness. Sickness is an illusion and does not actually exist. It is part of our worldly dream, our self-created nightmare. Our prayer to God is that He awaken us from the dream."
“Healing results from transformed perception of our relationships to illness, one in which we respond to the problem with love instead of fear. When a child presents a cut finger to his or her mother, the woman doesn’t say, 'Bad cut.' Rather, she kisses the finger, showers it with love in an unconscious, instinctive activation of the healing process. Why should we think differently about critical illness? Cancer and AIDS and other serious illnesses are physical manifestations of a psychic scream and their message is not 'hate me, but 'Love me.'"
"In the traditional Western medical model, a healer’s job is to attack disease. But if the consciousness of attack is the ultimate problem, how could it be the ultimate answer? A miracle worker’s job is not to attack illness, but rather to stimulate the natural forces of healing. We turn our eyes away from sickness to the love that lies beyond it. No sickness can diminish our capacity to love. Does that mean that it is a mistake to take medicine? Absolutely not."
"When the cure for AIDS is finally found, we will give prizes to a few scientists, but many of us will know that millions and millions of prayers helped it happen."
"A friend of mine told me that we're not punished for our sins, but by our sins Sickness is not a sign of God’s judgment on us, but of our judgment on ourselves. If we were to think that God created our sickness, how could we turn to Him for healing?”
Williamson tries to show that the mind has power over disease and that we do not have to accept what we think is happening to us. She says that AIDS patients can speak to their viruses to reassure themselves that this disease is really under their control. After all, we are the sum of our thoughts, and if we just think rightly, the disease will be brought under the spell of our own power.
Williamson writes that she has used a letter-writing technique in her work with clients. Please read this “conversation” between Steve and his AIDS virus. In context, Steve has written a letter to the virus expressing his fear. In turn, the virus wants to reassure Steve that it (she/he) was not out to “get Steve” but rather to teach Steve that he has power over this virus.
The virus is speaking:
If I was, as they say, out to get you, don´t you think you would be dead by now? I am not able to kill, harm, or make you sick. I have no brain, brute strength or great harming force. I am just a virus. You give me the power you should give to God. I take what I can because I don´t want to die any more than you do. Yes, I live off your fears. But I die from your peace of mind, serenity, honesty, faith and desire to live.
Sincerely, the AIDS virus (page 243)
So, Steve is told that if he changed his thought patterns the virus would not have power over him. The virus only lives because Steve has fear; but it would die if Steve had peace of mind, serenity and the like. The only reality that exists, is his own consciousness.
Let´s listen to what another AIDS virus says to Karl, who fears he is dying of the disease.
I don´t understand this any better than you do. I don´t mean you and your loved ones any harm. I am just trying to exist, just like you, doing it in the best way I know how. Unfortunately, it ends up hurting people. I just want love, just like you do. I am crying out but no one seems to hear me. Maybe if we try listening to each other and talking to each other, we can find a way to exist in peace of mind without hurting each other. Right now, I feel like you only want to destroy me rather than dealing with whatever it is inside of you that brought me here. Please don´t hate me and try to destroy me. Love me.
Let´s talk and listen to each other and try to live in peace. Thanks
Signed, AIDS (page 244-245)
AIDS, and the threat of death that it brings, is presented here not as an enemy but simply as a part of the collective human consciousness. Indeed, the virus just want to be loved, like we all do. It really does not want to hurt Karl, but is crying out for recognition and personal affirmation. Indeed, if Karl and the virus can listen to each other they could “live in peace.”
What is more, the virus was attracted to Karl because of his thoughts. The virus counsels him to deal “with whatever it is inside of you that brought me here.” In the end, Karl has retained his godhood after all; the virus is there because Karl attracted it by wrong thinking. And evidently it can be expelled by Karl if only he had different thoughts. But we might wonder, does he really want to get rid of it? According to this scenario, maybe he wants to keep it because he feels sorry for the AIDS virus, because after all, the virus is also just looking for love.
The bottom line: Death and disease are illusions from which we must be delivered; we have to reprogram ourselves to think differently and presto, the virus will be no more.
Another New Thought guru, Byron Katie, has developed her own version of all of the above. It is called The Work, and is presented as if it was something complete unique and revolutionary. The Work consists in four questions you have to ask to a problematic thought of yours, and a turnaround technique. The four questions are:
1. Is it true?
2. Are you absolutely sure it is true?
3. How do you react when you think this thought?
4. Who would you be without this thought?
These questions can be a good idea to ask yourself if a problematic thought of yours actually is false. And there is nothing new in it. As mentioned they also use such questions in Cognitive Therapy, but not so simplified. The problem with The Work is that it has a conclusion in advance, namely that the thought is false (or “incorrect” as Durek expresses it), and therewith it is in progress, as with other New Age directions, of eliminating peoples´ ability of critical thinking.
Former devotees even say that The Work can get quite nasty with its turnaround technique. After that you, as expected, have “realized”, that your thought is not true, then you have to turn it upside down; you so to speak have to think the opposite thought.
Again it can be a good thing to look at problems from different sides, but that is not what you do with the turnaround technique. The turnaround technique actually sounds a bit like the thought distortion called Conversion to the opposite. The turnaround technique must be a dream for any bully, liar or manipulator. If you are critical, then this is due to your own false thoughts. If someone has bullied you, and you feel hurt, then this pain is based on your own incorrect thinking. Certainly not the bully´s (the bully is actually a kind of guru; an example of the divine).
The thought falls for a Reductio ad Absurdum argument. Any psychopath, multiple murderer or tyrannical dictator would namely love the thought. Just try to use the idea on the German mass extermination camps under the Second World War. The idea would actually be very useful in order to justify crimes in this style. It is, as mentioned, a way of thinking that is completely devoid of ethics – that is, a psychopathic way of thinking. And that actually applies to the whole of the self-help industry. I have examined the psychopathic trait of self-help thinking in my article Humanistic Psychology, Self-help and the Danger of Reducing Religion to Psychology.
In my article A Critique of Byron Katie and Her Therapeutic Method The Work, I have shown how precisely Nazi's mass murdering Jewish women's babies by burning them to death alive while the mothers watch, by Byron Katie is presented as the loving work of God, and that Hitler was our Guru (if you don´t believe it, then read the article). As a matter of fact, Byron Katie says that baby killers are "higher" than the illusion of mommy.
In her 2019 article: A Critique of Byron Katie´s The Work, Be Scofield writes:
"There are numerous instances of Katie on stage blaming sexual abuse victims, denying racism, stifling efforts for social change, denying the reality of verbal abuse and accusing people of things they didn’t do. She probably believes she is helping but the consequences of her applying The Work unconditionally to every situation can make things worse for some of her students, potentially leaving them confused and further traumatized".
Here are some examples:
Shaman Durek is almost word for word copying Byron Katie´s “technique”. For example, in the section called Spirit Hack: Dream greater, he writes:
A dream greater than No On Likes Me would be to see yourself being liked. So, you would say aloud: Lots of people like me” while seeing yourself surrounded by people who are excited to be connecting with you (page 136).
Again there are some similarities with cognitive therapy here. And Byron Katie´s therapy is, as I explain in the article, a severely twisted form of cognitive therapy. This is also the case with Shaman Durek. Because now he continues in a section called That Time My Client Got Stabbed – And – Ultimately – Saw It As A Blessing. He begins the section:
I had a client named Jane who was stabbed coming off the subway in New York City. For as long as she could remember, Jane´s biggest fear was getting stabbed, so I wasn´t all that surprised when she was (page 171).
Shaman Durek´s idea is, fully in compliance with the New Thought teachings, that she should be grateful for having been stabbed. He writes:
I explained to Jane that until she found her way to gratitude, she wouldn´t learn the lesson that Spirit had sent to help her in her evolution. Jane´s immediate response was to ask if I thought it was okay for children to be raped and murdered (page 171).
So, what Shaman Durek tries to gaslight Jane into believing, is that the “Spirit” has sent a stabbing as a gift of grace to Jane. Jane´s mentioning children being raped and murdered is, in the beginning (where she still has her ability of critical thinking intact), quite rational and clever. Shaman Durek´s teaching does in fact justify the rape and murdering of children. But instead of listening to Janes´ wisdom, Shaman Durek is getting annoyed:
It´s funny how many people leap to this hypothetical when I invite them to thank their perceived aggressors. It´s like standard-issue victim consciousness pushback at this point (page 171).
The argument which Shaman Durek is calling hypothetical is in philosophy called Reductio ad Absurdum. It refers to positions that would have absurd consequences if true. If you for example preach relativism and believe that everything is relative and for that reason equal true, you have thereby accepted that nazism, fascism, dictatorship, popular murder, terror and violence, are as equally great blessings for mankind as democracy, negotiation and dialogue. Then you have no basis in order to criticize, because you haven´t got any rational frame to start from. You can´t criticize anyone for argumentation bungling, or to replace arguments with machine guns, because this presupposes, that there is a rational foundation in your arguments.
This is a fully valid philosophical argument, which requires that people can explain the absurdity. Instead Shaman Durek uses the false dichotomy he presented from the very beginning: victimization and empowerment. If you don´t obey, you´re just a victim. “It´s like standard-issue victim consciousness pushback at this point.”
Shaman Durek´s gaslightning program apparently succeeds, because in the end he gets Jane convinced. He writes:
Through her willingness to accept the stabbing, and to be grateful to the man who did the stabbing, Jane realized that it wouldn´t have even crossed her mind to pursue her true path if the stabbing hadn´t happened (page 172).
It doesn´t come as a surprise that Janes´ “true path” now is the New Thought teaching. Shaman Durek writes:
Jane had thought her passion and her path was in educating children. It turned out that her passion and her purpose were in empowering women to protect themselves, and to empower themselves (page 172).
Now, with the word “empowerment” let´s go to the third mantra in the New Thought movement.
4) The Self-love Gospel of the “Me Generation”
Self-love is defined as "love of self" or "regard for one's own happiness or advantage", and it has both been conceptualized as a basic human necessity and as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness, synonymous with amour propre, conceit, conceitedness, egotism, et al. However, throughout the centuries self-love has adopted a more positive connotation through pride parades, Self Respect Movement, self-love protests, the Hippie era, the new age feminist movement as well as the increase in mental health awareness that promotes self-love as intrinsic to self-help and support groups working to prevent substance abuse and suicide.
The "Me" generation (also called Generation W) in the United States is a term referring to the baby boomer generation and the self-involved qualities that some people associate with it. The 1970s were dubbed the "Me decade" by writer Tom Wolfe.
Christopher Lasch was another writer who commented on the rise of a culture of narcissism among the younger generation of that era. This happened in his book: The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations. Lasch proposes that since World War II, post-war America has produced a personality-type consistent with clinical definitions of "pathological narcissism". This pathology is not akin to everyday narcissism, a hedonistic egoism, but with clinical diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder. For Lasch, "pathology represents a heightened version of normality." He locates symptoms of this personality disorder in the radical political movements of the 1960s (such as the Weather Underground – which shows how dangerous the concept is), as well as in the spiritual cults and movements of the 1970s, from est to Rolfing.
The phrase “self-love” caught on with the general public, at a time when "self-realization" and "self-fulfillment" were becoming cultural aspirations to which young people supposedly ascribed higher importance than social responsibility. All this is central in New Thought. It fits well to solipsism, where the existence of other people than oneself is a problem, and therefore also any reason for why love should be love for others and not oneself.
The scientism of psychology has carried out all kinds of attempts of justifying self-love. Self-love was studied by the psychologist Erich Fromm, who studied emotional human behaviour, such as self-esteem and self-worth. In 1956 Fromm proposed that loving oneself is different from being arrogant, conceited or egocentric, meaning that instead caring about oneself and taking responsibility for oneself. Fromm proposed a re-evaluation of self-love in more positive sense, arguing that in order to be able to truly love another person, a person first needs to love oneself in the way of respecting oneself and knowing oneself (e.g. being realistic and honest about one's strengths and weaknesses).
Erik H. Erikson similarly wrote of a post-narcissistic appreciation of the value of the ego, while Carl Rogers saw one result of successful therapy as the regaining of a quiet sense of pleasure in being one's own self.
Lack of self-love increases risk of suicide according to the American Association of Suicidology. In that way the association has created a false dichotomy and a guilt by association trick: “if you are not practicing self-love you´re in risk of suicide”. The association conducted a study in 2008 which researched the impact of low self-esteem and lack of self-love and its relation to suicidal tendencies and attempts. They defined self-love as being "beliefs about oneself (self-based self-esteem) and beliefs about how other people regard oneself (other-based self-esteem)". It concluded that "depression, hopelessness, and low self-esteem are implications of vulnerability factors for suicide ideation" and that "these findings suggest that even in the context of depression and hopelessness, low self-esteem may add to the risk for suicide ideation".
Such psychological reductionisms (self-love extrapolated to a philosophy of life) are a central part of the collective ego-inflation we are witnessing right now.
This doesn´t mean that I´m against using the word self-esteem in concrete clinical situations. What´s central here, is to understand that the concept of “self-love” is an American invention connected to the “me-generation”, and to a psychological reductionism. There is absolutely nothing universal in it. However, that´s what the New Thought movement tries to gaslight us into believing. When listening to New Thought missionaries you´ll hear the word “love” be repeated again and again, but you´ll also quickly discover, that what they mean by ”love” is self-love.
It is interesting, when remembering Christopher Lasch and his book, The Culture of Narcissism, that Shaman Durek presents us for a concept he calls: The Age of Narcisssism. He writes:
The spirit of narcissism exists to get people to believe that they are nothing unless they become something. What the system does is target the vacuous void that generates the false belief that we need to achieve something in order to be loved, and then it supersizes it by bringing in the spirit of narcissism, and tricking people into thinking that unless they achieve a certain level of acknowledgment, or appreciation, or value – meaning, unless they become famous – they will not be fulfilled. This is how the matrix lured people away from Dr. King´s dream and redirected their attention onto that carrot, and onto that cage, while allowing the racism to seep back in and to spread like a virus, even though that virus had been vanquished, and was releasing, and being transmuted into love.
I refer to this phase of the Blackout as the Age of Narcissism, wherein humans are trying to understand themselves through the identities they mistakenly believe they are, while attempting to adapt to the social construct that says: I value myself based on how many Likes I get on social media. It´s not necessarily a bad thing. Narcissism is allowing people to see themselves, and to learn about themselves. But most people are stuck in the shallows, and are distracted by glamour, and by how cool they look, and by their Likes, and their matches, and their virtual popularity, instead of digging deeper into themselves to figure out who they are – like, who the fuck they really, truly, actually are – and why they are operating the way they are operating (page 127-128).
Now, when you have imprinted yourself this, which he repeats several times during his book, then read his following lectures about self-love. He has some weird explanations of why self-love is the opposite of narcissism. Personally, I believe the above historical explanations of the American me-generation and the extrapolation of self-love to a philosophy of life, are better explanations. However, I will leave it to the reader, to decide whether the following is the opposite of narcissism. After all, when considering that he has judged narcissism as an invention of “the darkness” and “the matrix”, he has committed himself to deliver quite a good alternative. Therefore: please compare the following with his words about narcissism. Note how he, for example uses the word “become”. Wasn´t that what he described in a negative sense when speaking about narcissism?
In the exercise, “Spirit Hack: Soul Talk”, he writes the following:
You want to do this spirit hack first time in the morning, as in: before you talk to your partner, before you wake up your kids, before you check you email, before you drink your coffee, and before you meditate. Soul talk sets up your relationship with yourself for your day, which is why it´s so important that you do it immediately upon waking – before anyone has a chance to knock you off your center, or convince you that you are anything less than magnificent and amazing.
When you do soul talk, you are creating your path, because you are speaking to your little girl, or your little boy, which means that you are speaking to God. God creates the realities we speak from our mouths and from our minds, which is why when you are doing this spirit hack (and always), you want to speak from a place of love, and from the place of that which you want to become. Remember, when you are doing soul talk, you are speaking directly to your soul.
For this spirit hack, place one or both hands on your heart while holding yourself in a field of unconditional love. Speak lovingly to yourself – in the second person, while describing the qualities that you appreciate about yourself, as well as the ones you want to develop and manifest in yourself, knowing that whatever you say to that little child inside you, you will become, and you will amplify. Here are a few examples of some things you can say:
I love how beautiful you are.
I love your intelligence.
I love your playfulness.
I love how free you are.
I love how easily and gracefully you handle stress.
I love your giving and loving nature.
I love what a wonderful friend you are.
I love your kindness and compassion.
I love your sense of humor.
I love how you´re always thinking the highest for yourself and highest for others.
Really, there is no limit to the wonderful things you can say about yourself to your soul. Play. Be creative. Have fun showering yourself with love and appreciation, and speaking your ideal self into being (page 97-98).
Do you remember the Evil Queen from Snow White? She uses a mirror to say things to herself, that in stunningly degree reminds about the above exercise. Shaman Durek doesn´t suggest using a mirror (other New Thought missionaries do). Instead Shaman Durek suggests that you use what he calls a “Self-love Altar”. In the exercise “Spirit Hack: Self-love Altar”, he writes:
An altar is a power source that exists in all cultures and most spiritual traditions. Altars are a way of focusing our energy and our devotion upon something. The more you pay attention to your altar – by lightning candles, and making offerings, and keeping it tidy – the more you are building your momentum of power.
A lot of people build altars to gurus they´ve never met, and to spiritual people they put on pedestals and worship like golden calves. These kinds of altars are fine as long as they bring us joy, but they´re not necessarily all that potent. A lot of the time, these altars are superficial, and function as a means of telling other people how holy they are, rather than as an authentic focal point for divine worship and reverence.
The purpose of creating a self-love altar is to honor the consciousness of self-love as divine love – to acknowledge that the more you love yourself, the more you love creation. This is the energy I want to call forth in yourself as you go about making your self-love altar.
Things to include on your self-love altar:
Your goal is to create an altar that inspires you, and uplifts you, and reminds you of your divinity every time you gaze upon it.
Be sure to keep your altar tidy, and to make offerings of fresh flowers and regular dashes of attention. The more energy you give to your altar, the stronger your self-love momentum will build (page 104).
It is clear that all this hasn´t anything to do with shamanism. It is the New Thought movement in a nutshell. However, it has also quite a lot to do with sorcery. In her book, Singing the Soul Back Home, The English shaman, Caitlin Matthews, writes this on sorcery:
[…] Most societies make distinction between between shamans and sorcerers. A shaman co-operates with the spiritual worlds and their inhabitants, beseeching their appropriate help; a sorcerer manipulates the spiritual worlds and seeks to command their inhabitants without their advice…(page 27).
Especially dangerous is the teaching of shamanic techniques without a firm grounding in any ethical or personal spiritual practice (page 29).
The whole of my cultural criticism is a warning against sorcery. And the main problem is precisely the elimination of ethics, or rather: the worship of moral subjectivism and relativism, which must be said to no moral at all. This is precisely what we see in modern occultism.
New thought, and the law of attraction teachings, is directly rooted in occultism. I won´t go into details here. Read my article: The Law of Attraction and Its Roots in Black Magic.
For example, what does Shaman Durek´s symbol mean? On his FAQ page, it is described like this:
-What does his symbol mean?
Shaman Dureks symbol is called the Quinterium. It is a powerful symbol that balances your body on all levels and therefore increases your health and heals your body.
-opens your sensorium
-opens and expands your consciousness
-opens your third eye and therefore gives you insights
-opens your energy field to the higher realms of consciousness
-opens your potential
-gives you access to higher intelligence
-balances your nervous system
-balances your connection between heart and mind
-balances your masculine and feminine energies
-protects you from unnecessary energy, like the evil eye
The fact is that the symbol is a personal sigil. A sigil is a type of symbol used in ritual magic. The term has usually referred to a type of pictorial signature of a Jinn or other entity. In modern usage, especially in the context of chaos magic, sigil refers to a symbolic representation of the practitioner's desired outcome.
The term sigil derives from the Latin sigillum, meaning "seal". In medieval ceremonial magic, the term sigil was commonly used to refer to occult signs which represented various angels and demons which the magician might summon. The magical training books called grimoires often listed pages of such sigils. A particularly well-known list is in The Lesser Key of Solomon, in which the sigils of the 72 princes of the hierarchy of hell are given for the magician's use. Such sigils were considered to be the equivalent of the true name of the spirit and thus granted the magician a measure of control over the beings.
In his book, Austin Osman Spare: The Life & Legend of London's Lost Artist, Phil Baker writes:
The word sigil... has a long history in Western magic. The members of the Golden Dawn were perfectly familiar with it (″combining the letters, the colours, the attributions and their Synthesis, thou mayest build up a telesmatic Image of a Force. The Sigil shall then serve thee for the tracing of a Current which shall call into action a certain Elemental Force″) and it was used in the making of talismans. The sigil was like a signature or sign of an occult entity.
And now, finally the question: what about all Shaman Durek´s many references to “The Matrix”?
On Shaman Durek´s website you´ll see a headline like this: "The Self is an ever evolving, ever unfolding evolutionary process". This is standard New Age evolutionism vocabulary. He also has a Shaman School (here you´ll find another sigil). The subtitle is: Ancient Teachings for a Digital Age.
In his book he claims that the reality we live in is a holographic reality. He writes:
The darkness uses our attention to keep the current collective dream alive. The current dream cannot survive without our attention. So when we dream against the darkness – meaning, we dream a greater dream than the one the darkness is projecting into our holographic reality – that is when our whole world will change (page 296-297).
When talking about chaos magic and modern occultism, we come to the reason why Shaman Durek apparently is influenced by evolutionism, postmodernism and transhumanism. Because within chaos magic you´ll find counterculture figures like Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson, both of whom preached evolutionism, postmodernism, transhumanism and shamanism in one great confusion. I won´t go further into it. Read these two articles: Timothy Leary – A Psychedelic Shaman Playing a Fascistic Game, and Final Secret of the Illuminati (a Critique of Robert Anton Wilson). Both were members of the occult order: Illuminates of Thanateros. It is all a part of the Chaos Magic movement.
The foreword to Shaman Durek´s book is written by a certain Dave Asprey. Dave Asprey is an American entrepreneur and author. He founded Bulletproof 360, Inc. in 2013, and in 2017, founded Bulletproof Nutrition Inc. He has written five books. Men's Health described Asprey as a "lifestyle guru."
At first sight it is rather confusing why this guy is writing a foreword to a book about “shamanism”. But it explains quite a lot. Asprey is namely a "biohacker". And suddenly we have the explanation of Shaman Durek´s techno-sounding concept of “Spirit Hacking”.
Body hacking is the application of the hacker ethic to improve their own bodies with do it yourself cybernetic devices or introducing Biochemicals into the body to enhance or change their bodies' functionality. It is also known as biohacking, although this term also has other meanings. People engaged in this activity are called grinders. Many grinders identify with the biopunk movement, open-source transhumanism, and techno-progressivism. The Grinder movement is strongly associated with the body modification movement and practices actual implantation of cybernetic devices in organic bodies as a method of working towards transhumanism, such as designing and installing do-it-yourself body-enhancements such as magnetic implants. Biohacking emerged in a growing trend of non-institutional science and technology development.
Asprey writes in the foreword:
“Have you ever seen one of those movies like The Matrix or Mission Impossible, where one character has an incredible knack for doing something like hacking a computer, something that seems superhuman? It´s a reflection of the world we live in, where some people are amazing artists, some people can sing songs like no others, and others can design the Internet or rockets to go to the moon. Some people can dunk or run faster than any other.”
Asprey hereafter uses most of his foreword to tell about how amazing he himself is. Hereafter he uses a few lines of describing how amazing Shaman Durek is. It sounds like David Asprey has used Shaman Durek´s self-love altar quite a lot.
There is something hopelessly amateurish over Shaman Durek´s book. Besides the endless self-contradictions, he only very vaguely explains the terms he uses. His transhumanist terms “The Matrix”, and “Holographic Reality”, aren´t explained properly. Why is it that he uses the term the Matrix? Where does the term comes from? Why is it that our reality is a holographic reality? He doesn´t explain it.
And why doesn´t he explain that his symbol is a sigil? Well, probably for the same reason why he nowhere in his book mentions any other sources of his teaching. He wants to give the impression that it all comes from himself (or his spirits). The fact is that nothing comes from himself. He is simply creating a patchwork of words stemming from American countercultural occultism, postmodernism, new thought and transhumanism. All originating in newer American history. There is nothing more ancient, or global, in it than that. He is a pure American New Age product.
And with this we come to Shaman Durek´s postmodernist depiction of reality as a “construction” or “social construction”. Social constructivism is one of the branches of postmodernism.
In order to explain what social constructivism can be used for, let me give an example.
In the introduction to my Ebook, Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien, I wrote about how the literary establishment in England [the postmodernist Matrix Elite] was stunned, shocked, and scandalized by an event of millennial significance when a major bookstore chain innocently polled English-speaking readers, asking them to choose the greatest book of the twentieth century. By a wide margin The Lord of the Rings won. Three times the poll was broadcasted: to a worldwide readership, into cyberspace via Amazon.com, and even to “the greatest book of the millennium”. The same champion won each time.
As the philosopher Peter Kreeft explains it, the [Matrix] critics retched and kvetched, wailed and flailed, gasped and grasped for explanations. One said that they had failed and wasted their work of, and I quote Kreeft, “ed-u-ca-tion”. Why bother teaching them to read if they´re going to read that?
Kreeft claims that the poll revealed one important thing about The Lord of the Rings: That it is a classic, that is, a book loved by human nature, wherever it is found. And they revealed one important thing about the critics: that humanity isn´t found in that arrogant oligarchy of utterly-out-of-touch elitists.
In Scandinavia we have just witnessed something similar. The Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) had apparently hired a bunch of Matrix Sophists and elitists to make a new commercial. But SAS had hardly foreseen the reactions when they launched a new advertisement campaign. With the question “What is Truly Scandinavian?” a two minutes long well produced video is started, which quickly gives the answer: “Absolutely Nothing.” Hereafter is listed a series of things, we, Scandinavians, normally find cultural and national pride in, and credited to countries outside our Nordic cultural sphere:
The rye bread beloved by Danes is Turkish, as are Swedish meatballs, says the narrator. Other Scandinavian cultural icons tackled in the video include democracy, open sandwiches and even Danish pastries!
In this way the video continues until everything from Norwegian paperclips to womens´rights are spread over the globe, and Scandinavia is reduced to a cheap copy of other cultures´ innovative work. The message is, that we only exist due to the contact to the surrounding world and that we therefore ought to be grateful for this great world and therefore ought to travel some more, of course with SAS, so that we don´t wither away in our isolated, meaningless, self-sufficiency.
It started quietly and calmly on YouTube where the video was uploaded. But the same evening the showball began to roll. A storm of angry comments began to click in. The video had at that time received 56.000 thumbs down against only 3100 the other way round.
At first, this made SAS to deactivate the comments and later the video itself. Apparently they have later revised it (it now appears in Danish commercials, but in another form). But the original video still exist due to shares. Have a look:
SAS was in chock and they suspected that it was a coordinated cyberattack. This has been rejected by computer experts at the Danish Newspaper Berlingske. What SAS has experienced is rather a good old fashioned shitstorm, which, however, took a scary turn Thursday, where the company behind the commercial, & Co, had to be evacuated after a bomb threat. A case, which right now is in investigation.
As the journalist of Danish newspaper, Weekendavisen, Søren Villemoes, said: “These fierce reactions from the deep of the people are thought provoking, when you are familiar with the ideology, which the commercial comes from. There are namely nothing new in the things the commercial claims. On the contrary, this self-denying anti-nationalistic cultural criticism is quite common on all higher educations”.
Villemoes writes that among researchers in cultural meetings, migration and integration it is the consensus-view that there doesn´t exist any national cultures for real. They are so-called “Imagined Communities” (social constructions) as they call them with reference to Benedict Anderson´s classic book from 1983 with the same title.
Villemoes says that among such researchers, who are investigating “Imagined Communities” (since the immigration began for nearly 40 years ago), there are only few researchers, who speak about a special Danish culture or cultures at all. Cultures only exist as delusions among politicians, voters and in the medias., not in reality. Therefore you can´t talk about any “immigration” since there is nothing to integrate people in. As an example of researchers claiming this, Villemoes mentions the Danish professor in Anthropology, Michael Rytter.
Villemoes wonders, that if people in fact discovered, that it is the same silly [Matrix] elite, who we see in the SAS commercial, who also are educating our youth on the Universities – whether this would start a similar shitstorm, until the researchers had to apologize and do penance?
Read about this University intellectualism in my article: Constructivism: The Postmodern Intellectualism Behind New Age and the Self-Help Industry.
Now, if we should continue the Scandinavian theme, then Shaman Durek, as mentioned, has made his entry into Scandinavia, even into the Norwegian Royal House. As mentioned: in 2019 it was announced that he had become the boyfriend of Norwegian princess: Märtha Louise.
Besides Märtha Louise, he is also the spiritual guru for stars like Gwyneth Paltrow. The royal´s shaman boyfriend said: "I’m so happy my loves have finally met" (Märtha Louise and Gwyneth Paltrow – look at this happy photo):
Princess Martha Louise opened up about her love for her “twin flame” Durek on Instagram on May 13, 2019. And she hit back at those:
Who feel the need to criticize. When you meet your twin flame, you know. I have been lucky enough to have met mine. @shamandurek has changed my life, like he does with so many. He has made me realize that unconditional love actually exists here on this planet. He embraces all of me without question or fear. He makes me laugh more than anyone, has the most profound wisdom to share and all the bits in between from the diversity of his being.
Durek sweetly came back on Facebook with a message that contained the words:
This is what I feel from @princessmarthalouise, pure acceptance of my multidimensional self. Not just the Shaman, however the woman in me, the strong man in me, the little boy, ET, the jaguar, the scientist and the angel and more. All loved by this Goddess, who I honor and worship. Where I can cry in her arms when I’m sad or hurt and laugh about life and its many complexities. A strong woman who lets me be me without judgement or confinement. I’m free when I’m with her, free to be me and love a women who is a bright light of wisdom and profound grace and immense beauty.
So, he is a self-admitted social construction, and he is therefore among the same politically correct Matrix Elite, as we saw in connection with the SAS commercial. I don´t believe that cultures or persons are without any essence or core. But I do believe that people following a social constructivist ideology, end up without any core and inner essence. Nothing to do about this development.
One comes to think of the poem, The Hollow Men, by T.S. Eliot.
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
In a scene in Apocalypse Now, Kurtz is reading Eliot's work towards the end of the film along with his other books ranging from the Holy Bible to The Golden Bough. Besides the adaptation from the novel, Coppola uses the idea of incorporating the poem into the film not just as a theme, but using the physical prose as a line in the film. This shows not only the importance of the poem to the film, but the personal level of relatability that was able to be had on Colonel Kurtz from the film.
Texts in the order they appear:
Gregg Braden and the Rise of New Age Scientism (Scientism Critique: Part 3)
My Cultural Criticism
The Tragic New Age Confusion of Eastern Enlightenment with Western Subjective Idealism
Humanistic Psychology, Self-help and the Danger of Reducing Religion to Psychology
A Critique of Byron Katie and Her Therapeutic Method The Work
The Law of Attraction and Its Roots in Black Magic
Timothy Leary – A Psychedelic Shaman Playing a Fascistic Game
Final Secret of the Illuminati (a Critique of Robert Anton Wilson)
Philosophical Counseling with Tolkien
Constructivism: The Postmodern Intellectualism Behind New Age and the Self-Help Industry
In style with other famous New Agers, as, for example, Nassim Haramein, you can find "Shaman Durek" listed on IMDb as an actor!!! - click here. Here we see one more similarity with Lynn Andrews, whom I mentioned in the start of this article.
Is Shaman Durek, with his "name", creating a new New Age trend? I follow Shaman Durek on Instagram, to see what he is up to. Recently I discovered that he is an Instagram-friend with a so-called "Shaman Omar". Shaman Omar has 52.8k followers. He is described like this:
Mystic, Shaman & Ayahuasquero leading Meditations, Shamanic Breath & Ceremony around the world monthly.
In connection with Ayahuasca, see my booklet: The Psychedelic Experience versus the Mystical Experience.
Shaman Omar is one of these New Age gurus, who apparently has reached fame entirely through social medias (in style with other social media influencers). He doesn´t seem to have any worked through website, or published books. On his Facebook page (where there is a longer bio exposing him as kindred to Shaman Durek) there is a link to a website called: Universal TheoGnostic Society. This website doesn´t tell anything about him. And yet, despite that he hasn´t any other qualifications than being a good communicator on social medias, everyone seems to worship him. Beside his own social medias, I guess he is helped by larger New Age promoting websites, as well as New Age event sites (The Shamanic Healing Center, perhaps? After all: it is sponsored by the above-mentioned "Universal TheoGnosis Society").
I will end with a a YouTube video with Shaman Omar, that shows just how hypnotically strong it is to work like an actor on social medias. I will do this as a reminder that this is also the way for example QAnon works - see my article: Covid-19: The Fall of America and the Rise of China (note that the video is from "spirithacking.org"):