Hank Wesselman, 1941 - 2021

Hank Jill and Makua kahuan elder 2

“The soul, like the moon, is new, and always new again.” – Lalla Yogiswari

For three days, the energies in my body wanted to stop moving. I avoided everything that might make me feel my heavy heart after losing our friend and mentor, Hank Barnard Wesselman, who died at Kona Community Hospital on Monday, February 15th.

I was numb, sad, and angry with the “suffering brings wisdom” paradigm. As if Karma were wise and compassionate! Which is something I know is true, except when Karma, Death, and Grief seem irksome, heavy-handed, and punitive.

Like losing a parent, spouse, or family member, the death of a beloved teacher who gave everything to make us more vibrant and connected, is hard. It touches dark emotions wired in us by a society that fears death. But it is easier because I have known Hank and absorbed his understanding. And through that knowledge, I came to know my own Souls’ purpose, the ancestral influences, and forces of light that surround and support us into more positive futures.

Hank was a great soul who wrote eloquently about our spiritual voyage through life. But he was also a hard-nosed scientist who documented his journeys in the Dreaming worlds in ways that encouraged and continue to inspire skeptics like me. His book, Bowl of Light, is a metaphysical classic that depicts the life and teachings of the Kahuna Nui Hale Kealohalani Makua, one of the most revered Polynesian mystics ever. In Hank’s telling, Hale Makua said, “We originally came from across the universe in celestial canoes made of light. We came as individual souls, as seeds of light, and we were accompanied by high spiritual guardians who held the knowledge of our purpose, our destiny.”

Those guardians, called the ‘Aumakua in Hawaii, are ancestors and helping spirits who form an archetypal matrix – an Oversoul field – that guides us during our lifetimes if we call on them, honor them, and truly rely on them. Because I know Hank was always in communication with what he playfully dubbed his “spiritual posse,” a kind of mystical board of directors, my grief is leavened. He had been in touch with those on the far side of the veil for many years. Dying was, for him, as for all of us, extraordinary, but not unexpected, and not to be feared.

More like taking off tight shoes and dancing, divinely free at last.

Here in Hawaii, we are inspired by the mana, the spiritual power of the aina, the land and environment. A mystical levity traverses every inch and altitude. From the top of Mauna Kea, a mountain that overlooks the island’s lush tropical forests, fertile valleys, and the vast undulating beauty of the Pacific Ocean, you can see forever.

That’s how it felt to know Hank. To be on top of that mountain and breathing in the vital powers of life, death, and rebirth, all rolled into one enchanting adventure. My prayer is that we can honor his magnificence and that his mana is felt when you read his books and experience the practices given.

He was an Elder in the sense that Malidoma Somé described: “An Elder is an Ancestor in training. The best training is to live authentically and serve wherever you can.” Hank was an Elder of the highest order, and is now in the pantheon of those Ancestors he loved.

And as for Karma, we can create good Karma or negative Karma. But forgiveness moves us beyond the grittiness of unconscious Karma and into the realms of the great healing Oversoul, where we belong.

In his book, Bowl of Light, Hank wrote, “And so in closing, allow me to invoke the spirit of Hale Makua, my great Hawaiian friend. With his blessing (and his words) I extend to each of you ‘ the light and the love of the ancestors, the source of life, rejoicing in the power and the peace, braided with the cords of patience, revealing the tapestry of the strongest force in the universe — your Aloha.’”

We will miss you, Hank!

Blessings and Namaste,
Marya

Read more of Hank’s writing and his collaborative efforts with his visionary partner, Jill Kuykendall at Shared Wisdom — www.sharedwisdom.com
Photo: Hale Makua, Jill Kuykendall, Hank Wesselman

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