There is something stalking the land… no that’s far too small scale. There is something stalking this world. It is a dark yet intangible being which stalks the earth in search of sustenance and no matter how deeply it may imbibe in the things it finds most delicious it will always crave more.
And we are the source of its food.
The last five or so years represent a period of turmoil on a global basis. Natural disaster, war and political instability are hardly new to to human history but since 2012 the nature and scale of these events has shifted. Yes, social media plays it’s part, but for those who have an awareness of the world of spirit there is an increasing awareness of something lurking just beyond our peripheral vision.
This entity has a name – Wetiko.
Wetiko is a term found in the Native America Cree Nation which refers to an evil being or spirit which creates terror in humans through acts of terrible evil. The term is analogous to the more recognisable Windigo of the Ojibway / Chippewa Nation mythology. These are beings of destruction and chaos, believed to infect a human host and cause them to engage in the most abhorrent behaviours right up to and including cannibalism.
Rather than reinterpret and redescribed Wetiko I will direct you to various sources which will inform you far better than I could.
- The Rune Soup cast roll now includes a very interesting discourse on the subject of Wetiko which is well worth listening to.
- Author Paul Levy has written a number of posts on the subject of the Wetiko infection in our modern world. You can read a small selection of his online work here, here and here.
- Blogger Cymraes reflects on how Wetiko has affected her life in the last decade or so, in addition to offering her own thoughts.
Standing on the back of giants, I wanted to offer a few of my own thoughts.
What’s in a Name?
There is power in knowing the name of one’s enemy, of this there is no doubt, but I am not wholly comfortable with the identification Wetiko for a couple of reasons.
Firstly Wetiko/Windigo is a Native American figure and I am conscious of engaging in cultural appropriation. Yes, Wetiko perfectly describes the phenomenon we are faced with. This entity feeds of the ill thoughts and deeds of Man, inspiring us to greater depths of personal, social and ecological destruction through our selfish greed, but is it right for me to use the name?
It’s a starting point perhaps, and using the name Wetiko gives us something to talk about but this leads onto my second concern…
Power Over Our Enemies
…are we ‘misnaming’ this entity in our search for its identity? Yes there is power in a knowing the name of a thing but this power is lost if we start to impose our version of its identity upon the being being discussed. The greatest power is in the knowing of somethings true name, the name by which it knows itself. In this case where have no way of knowing it’s true identity.
My personal opinion is that it is unlikely we will ever know this beings true name. It is likely to have existed from the moment that modern man emerged and began living in social groups, a manifestation of the tenuous nature of survival and the necessity for all members of a group to act as one. On one hand a group of humans coming together will have formed their group egregor, representing all the positive connections of their group such as shared ancestry and desire for survival and reproduction. The shadow side to such as spirit entity is a representation of all that is greed and a drive to have more for less effort.
That is not to say that is a bad phenomenon, we wouldn’t be the advanced society we are today but for the drive to create easier ways to hunt, live off the land, create surpluses food for the year, make it easier to travel etc… but when allowed to run rampant such desires result in the hoarding of wealth and resources. Greed is king when there are fewer opportunities to develop.
We can easily identify our foe by examining its manifestations, both on the individual and global level, but this doesn’t draw us any closer to finding it’s true name. Using Wetiko as a name to facilitate conversation is fine with caveats but we are in danger of believing we have far more power over this thing because we have named it than the name would imply.
What Can We Do?
The enemy is in view, and we have the language (albeit borrowed) to discuss it amongst our peers, but this knowing does not make us any safer from it. It’s influence is best, and often, described as a spiritual infection and each time we come into contact with some effect by the we risk infection too. Worst still, this isn’t like a bodily illness which is passed on from person to person through physical contact and association. Being sat behind your computer screen puts you at as much, if not more, risk of encountering and becoming infected by the ravenous creature.
If this were a common cold we could protect ourselves by eating well, washing our hands well and generally staying away from those who already have caught it. Cleanliness is next to Godliness and all that but it doesn’t always prevent us from coming down with the cold despite our best efforts. After that is it a case of self care. We keep ourselves warm and well hydrated, take medicine and generally rest as much as we can. We eventually get over it, but the chances are we and sure going to come down with a cold again in the future, because it is not something you can build a full immunity to.
The same is true of this being that attempts to ride the globe. As spiritual infection we are all susceptible to it, and at times our defences may be overwhelmed. It is only by being aware of the signs and symptoms of being Hagridden that it becomes possible for doing something about it.
Recognising The Infection
It is relatively easy to recognise the influence of this spirit in the lives of others but how do we recognise it in ourselves? That task is much harder because it doesn’t exactly manifest itself in the form of coughs and sneezing.
Awareness of self is probably the greatest tool for self diagnosing yourself of infection by Wetiko. If you’ve ever stopped yourself and wondered ‘is this really coming from me?’ then there is a chance that you are indeed being influenced by an outside force.
When Wetiko rides you it encourages you to engage in behaviours which create the negative energies on which is feeds.
When we look at these behaviours we often talk about downward spirals, with each act generating more acts of a similar nature. One act of hatred inspires another, the decimation of social security networks whilst the rich get richer breeds hatred and resentment which can lead to greater ill health and greater reliance on the state and so it goes on… and so the entity feeds.
Reviewing your behaviour, actions and beliefs in a dispassionate and constructive manner is one way to help identify whether or not you are under the influence of this entity. Divination and meditation are two tools which can help in this process.
Obviously life is not exactly straight forward. I don’t want to minimise mental and physical health problems by shrugging my shoulders and saying ‘Wetiko’ and blame all the world’s, our own, woes on the woo. We are still responsible for our actions and once we recognise the problem (which can be very hard) we should try and do something about, which includes accessing support and medication.
Nothing I am suggesting here is intended to replace modern medicine and I stress – this isn’t like a cold where staying in bed might stop your loved ones catching it from you. Isolating yourself is possibly the worst thing you could do in this situation and it is important to draw on strong social networks or access the appropriate support services.
Side Rant – I know there are a lot of people who bang on about how science based medicine is ‘bad’ and how all herbal/spiritual therapies are ‘good’, encouraging people to abandon one in favour of the other. Yes they can be very effective when used in conjunction with science based medicine! They are not ‘alternative’ medicines/therapies as the quacks would have you believe they are complementary – rant over
Fight the Infection
The best way to combat Wetiko is to stop the behaviour that feeds it, effectively cut off its food supply, but it needs to go further than that. We also need to engage in activities opposite to those that feed it to completely starve the beast and cause it to relinquish it’s grasp. Getting involved in community initiatives which promote a better society, or something that improves the local ecology and environment in general are at the top of the ‘anti-Wetiko’ to do list. Wetiko wants us isolated and selfish so get involved and get informed. Wetiko also wants us cut off from our support networks so don’t be afraid to ask for help and take medication.
In terms of spiritual practices anything that raises your protections is a good thing. The cornerstones of Ground and Centre defiantly apply and the Shield element may help protect you from infection by Wetiko. Certainly after the fact the process of grounding and centring yourself in relation to your position in the universe will help you keep in touch with your sense of being and help you keep a watch for any potential infection.
Unfortunately it is unlikely we can truly guard ourselves from infection completely because of the nature of our very nature. I am not a big fan of Jung but fully accept that we have within us a shadow self which represents all those aspects of our nature which we wish to hide, even from ourselves. Wetiko seems to draw on this side of ourselves, drawing to the surface every thought and compulsion that we have every have cause to repress and letting them run free.
We can not, as Jung rightly pointed out, wholly separate ourselves from our shadow side, to do so would be an act of ultimate self destruction, but we can attempt to make friends with it. The better we understand this side of ourselves, and attempt to process it for own understanding the things we have hidden there, the less likely we will be controlled by it and the less likely Wetiko will be able to find purchase in the first place.
When the whole conversation came up, and having formulated the opinion that Wetiko is a being which is older than the name implies I began to wonder why it had begun to become a problem now. What has changed in the last 10 years or so to allow a being like Wetiko to gain such primacy?
Social media certainly plays it’s part, we are more connected now that we have ever been in the past and we are able to reach out and connect with so more people than ever before. There are of course upsides to this, such as a heightened awareness of global issues, but the spread of misinformation and the dangers of echo chamber discussions to are very real. The downsides don’t necessarily outweigh the positives of increased connection to the world but they increase the risk of infection by Wetiko.
Side Note – since I started to plan out this post a number of things have happened in the real world around the whole issue of “fake news” on both sides of the pond. The growing Cambridge Analytica scandal, knowledge about the Russian Troll Factories and the massive Facebook data breach appears to have not only affected the American Presidential election but also the UK’s referendum on leaving the European Union. There are suggestions (dubious but still worrying) that the attempted assassination of Russian agent Sergei Skripal may also be connected. These are the tools of the Wetiko, but it does not serve us to try and cut our selves off because alternatives, such as the traditional media sources of newspaper and state approved news channels, are just as biased and in many ways more blinkered. Don’t delete your Facebook account just yet, but do proceed with caution.
Whist social media is no doubt a factor I am not sure all of our Wetiko woes can be placed at its door. It seems to me that mankind has become tastier somehow, that there has been some global change that has not only given Wetiko greater influence over us but made our energy far more effective a food source for it.One thing that has occurred to me that we have entered the Age of Aquarius (sometime in the last decade or so depending on how you reckon the beginning of astrological ages), a period there the hierarchical nature of the proceeding Age of Pisces is challenged and broken down in favour of a more individualised, spiritual understanding of how the world works. We are moving away from a society which prioritises identity and existence as a narrow either / or experience towards one which allows us to look within ourselves for identity and agency. Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street, Me Too… these are all examples of this shift in action in society. Increasing awareness of complementary therapy, alternative spirituality, yoga, meditation etc are a couple of ways this shift has manifested in the spiritual realms.
Perhaps my thoughts are being influenced by the fact I have been watching SeaQuest DSV recently which, if you haven’t noticed, has a strong Aquarian Age tone to it. Talking dolphins and psychic abilities being incorporated into a number of settings are just just a couple find Aquarian themes that you can find in the show. They even make something of an oblique reference to Wetiko.
Season 2 Episode 4 (overall episode 28) “Sympathy for the Deep” -the crew is called to the peaceful underwater colony Miranda (pay attention Firefly fans) where the residents are being exposed to a psychological experiment gone wrong. The peaceful residents, and later crew, are driven to near insanity by hallucinations and changes in behaviours, brought about by an experiment which has spend the better part of a decade absorbing all the negative and violent impulses of the colonists. At capacity, the facility was in danger of critical failure which would have allowed the escape of all that violence and negativity, possibly in the form of a sentient, being which would have plunged the world back into global warfare.
Still, any form of transformation comes with risk. It is only natural for entrenched systems of power to resist change that threatens the primacy, leading to confrontation and conflict. Equally, as many of you will already know, greater spiritual awareness gets us noticed by the spirit realm and this brings its own problems. We not only need to look to our own defences but to our interactions and agency within the real and virtual world.
We are in the danger zone so to speak, the first formative years of 2000 years of transformation. There is a very long way to go but seeing there is considerable hope for the future when it is being forged by young people like the survivors and champions of the Marjory Douglas High School shootings.