Graham Hancock's Books: Altered States of Consciousness
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In his more recent writings, Graham Hancock's books have expressed an increasing interest in researching shifts in human consciousness, altered states of consciousness, and how individuals, and the societies and cultures at large are effected by such phenomenon. Graham Hancock's books suggest that the earliest cave drawings show that shamanic practice existed early in human history and has been carried on traditionally by many groups and individuals. Graham Hancock argues that these cave depictions are a mark of altered states of consciousness, or visions from other realms, and spirit worlds. It is said that cave drawings in the Pyranees at Les Trous Frere, France, show these ancient conceptions of early shamanism.
In his studies, Graham Hancock's books examine at how early symbolism corresponds with therianthrophic identities. Therianthrophy, in modern terms, is the mythological ability of humans that are capable of metamorphosis into other animal forms by way of shape shifting.
Graham Hancock's works are primarily focused upon how these cave depictions suggest altered states of consciousness and how early civilizations saw into spirit realms. By viewing these symbols, one could gather a reflection of what the ancient people were seeing at this earlier date in our history, as well as how these drawings show a belief in shape shifting among other animal realms and spaces. Graham Hancock’s research concludes that various distinctive figures are symbolized in separate parts of the world through different altered states, and that in this way, a space must exist that has been reached by different cultural people who have seen much similar beings.
Graham Hancock's books suggest that modern plant hallucinogens have allowed visions that produce images and symbols that are very similar to the ancient visions of our ancestors. Looking at current culture and tribal traditions, he believes these visions could have also been brought on by trance dancing, and shamanistic ayahuasca ceremonies, where individuals leave the body and enter into a spiritual world where they encounter beings who teach them. He refers to the cave depictions as a history of man’s earliest contact with supernatural realms and beings.
Graham Hancock's books argue that in today’s society we are taught that the practice of altered states of consciousness are demonic, harmful, non-rational, and physically or psychologically dangerous. He concludes that this is a wrongful stigma that results from our modern world and suggests that truthfully, these experiences have the ability to be nurturing and positive. He suggests that ultimately, these experiences are inherent to our human race and represent an essential aspect of our selves. Hancock suggests that if we continue to ascribe a negative stigma to these altered states then we may be actually slowing our own evolutionary process.
For his first-person research on these supernatural phenomena, Graham Hancock used hallucinogens, including the ayahuasca plant. Ayahuasca, also known as yage, is an entheogenic drug (entheogenic meaning “generating the divine within”).
The ayahuasca plant is made into a drinkable tea from the vine of the Banisteriopsis caapi plant found in the jungles of South America. The indigenous people of the Amazonian Rainforest call it “plant teacher”. The tea is used in religious and healing ceremonies, for transcendence, divination, and spiritual cleansing, as well as guidance from greater supernatural forces. It is merely one form of plant medicine that has hallucinogenic properties and induces altered states of consciousness. The primary psychoactive ingredient in ayahuasca is Dimenthyltryptamine (DMT), which is found in many plants throughout nature as well as in our own bodies.
Hancock references the variations of the mythical creatures that cultures have seen while in altered states. These beings are what shamans refer to as spirits, our medieval ancestors claim to be fairies, and modern society calls aliens. His correlation between these “spirit” beings across various time periods is that they are both human and animal in their likeness. He concludes that they are all part of a common experience of visions, yet viewed through differences of cultural lens. He also suggest that ancient European megalithic sites show signs of an electromagnetic energy and are concurrent with where these beings, or in this case, fairy presences are more distinct.
Graham Hancock believes that two of the worlds most famous megalithic sites, Stonehenge, and Avebury of Wiltshire, were built where they were because the people who built them knew of some phenomenon in the earth, an energy of earth, that would effect human consciousness, and open the doorway to spiritual realms. Hancock suggest that supernatural research starts with the study of the consciousness, and how it is affected by the outside world, whether induced by plant matter, energy, or other variables. He suggests we are still lacking a social framework to support this research fully.