Psychologist/theologian Jean Houston and her husband, Robert Masters, brought shamanism into the parlor. In their book Mind Games they give detailed instructions for a “Guide” to lead a group into “an altered state of consciousness together…. One ever-deepening trance.” (The guide is instructed to be careful to retain normal consciousness in case it becomes necessary to rescue the other players from their altered states.) The climax comes in the form of an encounter with an entity called the “Group Spirit,” which will appear to be very real to the entire group. Here are some of the instructions from Houston and Masters to be read by the guide to the group:
“We are gathered here in this circle…creating a pool of consciousness…. And we are going to cause to rise now, out of that pool, the entity we have called the Group Spirit…. You will be aware…of the Group Spirit’s location [in the center of our circle]…we can and must materialize the Group Spirit, endowing that entity with a sufficiently material being that it can appear to us all…. We will be able…to see it, and hear it, and we even could touch it, were it not necessary to take certain precautions….”
“Precautions” for what, one must ask? Does the “Group Spirit” not like to be touched, and might it cause harm? This sounds very real, and so it must be in order for the participants to “see it, and hear it,” and even to “touch it” if that were allowed.
One need not join a group to pick up a spirit guide. The shamans have always done it alone. Los Angeles physician Art Ulene, a popular television medical consultant and a TM graduate, was introduced to “guided imagery” while making “a film of relaxation techniques with Dr. David Bresler, a psychologist at UCLA.” Ulene, who has his own spirit guide, tells other how they too may pick up a similar life companion. He leads them into an altered state of consciousness, has them visualize a “relaxing scene,” and then tells them:
“Slowly look around your relaxing scene until you spot a living creature. Don’t be surprised by what you find…. Move in closer on the creature. Ask it to move a little closer to you…. Now…it’s time for the two of you to get acquainted…. Talk to your creature. Tell it your name. Ask its name. Believe it or not, you’ll get an answer…. When you and your creature have said all there is to say, it’s time to return to this world again. Say goodbye and promise you’ll return again. Then slowly open your eyes…. We all have this inner diagnostician, a creature advisor who can come to us in time of need. Our creatures may not have the proper degrees, but their brand of medicine works….”
Is this madness—or something more insidious and dangerous? Those who get involved definitely make contact with something that began as imagination but becomes an entity with its own personality and functions independently of the one who visualized it. Yale University medical professor Dr. Bernie Siegel was shocked when it happened to him. He said:
“I didn’t believe it would work, but if it did I expected to see Jesus or Moses…. Instead I met George, a bearded, long-haired young man wearing an immaculate flowing white gown and a skullcap. It was an incredible awakening for me…. George was spontaneous, aware of my feelings, and an excellent advisor.”