The Shaman’s Mind – Interview with Jonathan Hammond

Meet Jonathan Hammond

For Jonathan Hammond, July 2020 marked the culmination of a great deal of effort and focus resulting in the publication of his book: The Shaman’s Mind: Huna Wisdom to Change Your Life. Jonathan is an alakai (leader) of Aloha International as well as an energy healer shamanic practitioner, spiritual counsellor and faculty member of the Omega Institute. He is also now a friend.

I first got properly introduced to Jonathan in May 2018, when Serge King asked me if I would become Jonathan’s mentor while he worked through the process to become an alakai of Aloha International. Alakai are spiritual leaders in the Huna kupua tradition. Of course, I was delighted to accept and as always it is not one way traffic, I learned a lot from our discourse and Jonathan’s unique perspective on things.

During the period in which I was supporting Jonathan through the process, he was also working on a draft of his book and the reflections and insights gained through the alakai process weaved their way into the writing. It was a great to witness each chapter emerge and to be asked for feedback on it as it progressed. It was an honour to be involved in some small way and a delight and perhaps an overstatement to get an acknowledgement as a Huna Extraordinaire!

The Shaman’s Mind: Huna Wisdom To Change Your Life.

To mark the launch of his book I caught up with Jonathan to ask him a little bit about the book for Urban Huna. You can read our conversation below:

Pete: So congratulations – finally the book has been published. How do you feel now that The Shaman’s Mind is out there in the world?

Jonathan: It’s a bit surreal. It was a two-year project. Writing a book is truly a labor of love – you spend countless hours writing it, and then it is out in the world, and you can only hope that people read it, that it helps them and that it resonates.  The crazy thing is that I wrote it with the intention that “this book is  needed right now as a response to the tumultuous time happening on the planet.” Little did I know that it would be released in July 2020, when that tumult would be at its very height.

Pete: As I recall very well, you were drafting the book whilst undertaking the mentorship for your alakai candidacy. How was it doing those two things at the same time?

Jonathan: It was organic and inevitable. Once I found Huna a few years back I almost immediately became a genuine card-carrying “Hunatic.” I am obsessed with the Huna philosophy. There was no better way to dive into this material and to integrate it into my being than by writing about it. Historically, I have always given myself the task of teaching something in order to learn it myself.

It was also great to feel so supported by you and by Aloha International during that process. Your input in particular was vital; you are so versed and have such a long history with this knowledge. Our pairing was such a gift to me, and allowed me to come back to a grounded “elder” for guidance while writing the book.

Pete: Do you have any reflections on the alakai candidacy process?

Jonathan: The alakai candidacy process was a deep dive into myself, my shamanic practice and Huna. I have actually said to Serge King, “There was the Jonathan before meeting you, and a very different Jonathan after meeting you”.

When you are engaging in a course of study that aligns you with a specific lineage, it is feels like a real honor and a kind of initiation; something that should not be taken lightly. Many people read Serge King’s books or other books on Huna, but it is another thing entirely to dedicate oneself to those teachings with the expectation that you will do whatever you can to live by them, and to share them with others.

Pete: You chose the title The Shaman’s Mind for the book, can you say a little bit about why you chose that particular title?

Jonathan: More than anything else, I think of Shamanism as a path of direct revelation. It’s about the individual relationship that we each have with spirit and nature. This relationship is, of course, highly individual and subjective.

I have been a student of Shamanism for many years, and generally it is taught through experience and practice rather than engaging in too much thinking about what it is and why it might work. After all, there are no shamanic manifestos, rules or scripture to follow. It is an oral tradition, which means that western students of Shamanism often have very little to go on. There is, of course a lot of anthropology and history but almost nothing about how the indigenous healers might have thought and saw the world.

But Huna is different. It is a shamanic philosophy that encapsulates how shamans throughout the world tend to think, intend and act. This isn’t just my opinion. I have worked with shamans on four different continents, and despite differences in individual practices and local traditions, they generally follow very similar beliefs and methodologies. There is a specific way in which shamans tend to think of energy, spirit, cosmology, natural cycles, and conscious manifestation (making things happen that we want to happen). I was also previously aware of many of these ways of seeing because of my experience as an energy healer, spiritual counsellor and shamanic practitioner.

When I discovered Huna, I was introduced to a philosophy that encapsulates a universal shamanic paradigm – one that, based on all of the shamans with whom I have studied, seems to be echoed cross-culturally across many traditions, and in deep alignment with my own shamanic understading.

So, for me the Huna philosophy teaches us how shamans tend to think. The seven principles, the Three Selves and the Four Levels of Reality enter us into seeing through the lens of the mind of the shaman. Hence, I titled the book as I did because through Huna, I learned how to think shamanically and to start to teach others to do the same.

Pete: The book draws on Huna knowledge. Obviously I am a total advocate of Huna – prior to Huna you were already involved in shamanism and healing so I wonder if you can say a bit about what called you to explore and work in the Huna tradition?

Jonathan: Having been a shamanic practitioner and teacher for over a decade, I had some formative spiritual experiences in Hawaii, which inspired me to seek out material on Hawaiian spirituality. That is when I discovered Huna. It was a real “full circle’ moment – everything that I thought I knew, understood and taught in my shamanic practice was encapsulated in the Huna system – and so much of what I didn’t yet quite understand was clarified. The only difference was that Huna said it way better, more eloquently and more effectively than I ever could.

Pete: Were there any aspects of writing the book that you found particularly rewarding?

Jonathan: Living what I was writing about and integrating it into my moment by moment existence.

Pete: Were there any aspects of writing the book that you found particularly challenging?

Jonathan: I wanted to honor Serge Kahili King who is the main source of this knowledge and my beloved teacher. Serge King is a truly magnificent being and a formidable teacher To be honest, I was terrified he wouldn’t like it!

At the same time, I had to trust my own inner authority that I would find my own way through the process of writing this book. I believed it was vital to allow my own gnosis to merge with the Huna material in such a way that it could be expressed through my own understanding and experience. I encourage students and readers of my book to do the same.

It is my belief that makes universal spiritual truth truly universal is that it is substantive enough to be built upon, geographically transported, reinterpreted, cross-referenced with other spiritual traditions, and blended with one’s own history, understanding and insight.

My initial background was as an ordained Interfaith minister (close to twenty years ago, I spent two years in Interfaith seminary). Interfaith spirituality is about honoring the overarching commonalities of all faith traditions. From the Interfaith perspective, there is only one Universal Mind, and in merging with it we each find our own individual way to the Divine.

Huna allows for these complexities by encouraging us to consider that it’s “Huna” if it “works” for us!

Pete:Was there anything that surprised you about/during writing the book? Perhaps about the subject matter, the process or about yourself?

Jonathan: I am not a “natural” writer. This is my first book, and had you asked me even five years ago if I would be a published author, I most certainly would have not seen that oming. So, the most surprising thing was that the writing felt more like “channelling” than writing. It just seemed to come through or flow from my aumakua or higher self (at least that is what it felt like). When I was writing, I seemed to always knew what was next and where it was going.

I was also very clear in my intention that this book wasn’t for me. If one sits down to write a spiritual book with the hope of people thinking that the writer is “clever’ or ‘learned’, that writer will probably write a terrible spiritual book.

Rather, I found the more that I approached the book with the intention of sharing material with people that has proved helpful and healing to me and to my clients, the easier the book flowed and the more cooperation I found in helping me get it published.

Pete: Did you find that you applied Huna principles yourself in the writing of the book?

Jonathan: Oh boy yes!

IKE – I believed I could write a book. I believed that it would get published. And, I starved the doubt!

KALA – I knew that even though it was my first book, anything is possible if you can figure out how to do it, and I figured it out!

MAKIA – I focused my attention on writing and the consistency of my focus invited in creative energy that attracted the right publisher, editors, advice from other professionals and just the right guidance from spirit.

MANAWA – You can only write a book in the present moment. I dare you to try it another way.

ALOHA – I held fast to my intention that this book was an offering of love and healing to whomever would read it.

MANA – The book came through me and was reflective of my own inner truth and understanding. In other words, it was my in authority that authored it!

PONO – When I wrote something terrible or there was a publishing set-back (or whatever other problem may have come up), I remained flexible until a solution appeared that worked!

Pete: Obviously you believe Huna to be an effective and practical philosophy. I just wondered if right now there are any aspects of Huna that are particularly resonating with you?

Jonathan: Everything we experience and everyone who enters into our life is a reflection of our own inner world. This is a never- ending source of contemplation, taking personal responsibilty and spiritual inquiry for me.

Pete: Huna originated from Hawaii, can you say something about how the philosophy and tools you share in your book are relevant to anyone regardless of their background or where they live?

Jonathan: This is a short excerpt from the book that will best answer this question:

I will never fully understand what it is to be a Hawaiian, and my hope in this book is to provide a loving portrait of some of the islands shamanic traditions (particularly those that are echoed cross-culturally), and at the same time, remain well aware that while there may be some who might take exception to my efforts here, I do so in the spirit of celebration, reverence, and respect of a land, its people and its traditions that Westerners would be wise to learn from and to emulate.
My ultimate goal then, is not the impossible task of offering you a definitive Hawaii, but rather to help you awaken an inner paradise of your own making, one that Hawaii exemplifies just by being Hawaii.

Pete: What would you advise someone who was curious and wanted to learn more about Huna?

Jonathan: Read Serge King’s books and watch his videos. There are other resources out there, but Serge is the best place to start.

Pete: Will you be writing another book? What future plans have you got?

Jonathan: I Love my private practice and I love teaching. My practice is full, so I imagine I will just keep it going indefinetly. I have some teaching workshops coming up, but I am interested in doing more of this and my hope is that the book will widen my platform on the teaching front.

Yes, I am already thinking about my next book. I am thinking about three subjects: 1) “utilizing Huna in therapeutic practice and counselling”, 2) “Earth Wisdom” or connecting folks with the consciousness of the earth and learning to follow the earth’s guidance through the body, and 3) working with sexuality and masculine and feminine polarities as a means to build self-esteem and inner-empowerment.

Finally, I intend in the next few years to live on Maui and to continue doing spirituality & yoga retreats (which I have done for a few years with my husband, Domenic) on that island.


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