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The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting of innocent, beautiful children and their heroic adult protectors has touched something really deep within the sacred heart of humanity; it feels as if a tipping point has been reached. I live in Portland, Oregon, where days before the Newtown massacre there was a shooting in the local mall in which two people were killed. My first reaction upon hearing about the shooting of so many defenseless woman and children was a combination of horror while at the same time I found myself not surprised, as I had the thought, “This is what happens in the midst of a collective psychosis.” Our society, as well as our species, is suffering from a psychic epidemic of titanic proportions. This collective madness pervades the global body politic in such a way that it is hard to recognize because our madness is so obvious and has become so normalized that we don’t even notice it anymore, a blindness which itself is an expression of how advanced our madness has become. What happened in Newtown, in what has been called “the safest town in America,” is a symptom and expression of an underlying web of pathology that pervades not only our society, but the world at large.

It is as if our civilization is having a collective nervous breakdown, in which the underlying dysfunctional structures that are holding together (while at the same time obscuring) the deeper collective madness are de-constructing, dis-integrating, and coming apart at the seams. It is as if “darker powers” are materializing and becoming visible in our daily world, emerging through the cracks in the façade, as if our species is making a shamanic descent en masse into the underworld. And in the archetypal descent of the shaman, it is never simply death, but it is always death/rebirth, for something new is born in the process.

After realizing the enormity of the horror that was being enacted within the walls of that elementary school, I began feeling as if I were in the middle of a bad dream. The day of the school shooting, ironically, was the very day the local Portland mall opened for business after its shooting; it was as if I were having a recurring nightmare. I find myself wondering – what if this really were a dream? What would all of this mean? What if an individual client came into my office and shared their previous night’s dream, and it was what had happened in Newtown? What would this dream be showing us about the state of this person’s psyche? When we view our life as a shared, collective dream, each character in the dream is an aspect of the dreamer, which in this case is all of us. When we treat what is happening in our life “as if” it is a dream and interpret it as such, it can help us get new insights into the deeper, underlying dynamics at work within our psyche. Seen as if it’s a dream, its many-faceted and multi-leveled meaning is individually custom-tailored for each one of us, which is to say that there is no monolithic meaning which applies to all; there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to dream interpretation. On the contrary, we each have to find the part of ourselves that these events reflect within ourselves. When I am suggesting to view our situation as a dream, I am not in any way trying to minimize or avoid the mind-numbing horror of what has taken place, for people being killed is as real as real can be. By pointing at the dreamlike quality of what has happened, I am inviting us to view our situation symbolically, for symbols are the language of dreams. When a deeper symbolic pattern becomes visible and recurs with increasing frequency, something unknown is emerging, trying to get our attention and become conscious. If we don’t recognize what is being revealed, however, just as in a recurring dream, the message gets amplified and reoccurs with ever-increasing intensity so as to get our attention.

The elementary school shooting is an acute local outbreak of a nonlocal, systemic illness that pervades the entire global body politic as well as the underlying field of consciousness. The Sandy Hook horror is pointing to and an expression of a psycho-spiritual sickness deep within the soul of humanity that is informing events in our world so as to materialize itself into, as and through our three dimensional world. The Native Americans have named this collective sickness “wetiko,” which we can conceive of as the spirit of evil that can take over a person or a group of people and compel them to act out unspeakable and unimaginable acts of horror, cruelty and destruction. The person so possessed is in such an extremely dissociated state that he is literally enacting in the outside world the very self-destruction of a psyche turned against itself in total self-hatred. Through his murderous actions in the outside world, the perpetrator of such heinous acts is revealing to us how thoroughly the evil of wetiko can ravage the inner landscape of the human soul. Just as any piece of a hologram contains the information of the entire hologram, and any fragment of a dream potentially contains a symbolically coded message casting light on our whole process, a particular event such as the Connecticut school shooting, when seen symbolically, has encoded within it the revelation of a deeper archetypal process that is playing out in the collective unconscious of humanity, which is to say, deep inside each one of us.

In Newtown, Connecticut, evil burst onto the scene and announced itself in a way that is impossible to ignore. The innocent part of ourselves was murdered in cold blood in that Sandy Hook school. To quote the governor of Connecticut, “Evil visited this community today.” When evil manifests itself in full-bodied form in a dream, it is an expression that this archetypal energy is potentially available for assimilation into consciousness in a way that it had not been as long as it was hidden and operating covertly in the shadows. Everything depends upon how consciousness responds to the emergence of evil. The evil of wetiko operates through the unconscious blind-spots of humanity, and it is highly contagious – as if it is a systemic, nonlocal disease that exists in potential throughout the entire field of consciousness and propagates itself through our unconscious reactions to it. It is therefore helpful to self-reflect upon what gets triggered within us (see “the lion’s gaze”) when evil becomes visible in the field. These monstrous, inhuman acts literally demand that we come to terms with and illumine the source of evil, both as it manifests in the world and particularly within ourselves.

We can all potentially fall prey to evil; who among us has not unwittingly acted out our unconscious in a way that has been hurtful to either ourselves or others? There is a knee-jerk reaction to concretize the shooter as a “monster,” which unconsciously acts as a relief, for we then “know” where evil is located, mistakenly thinking it is not found in ourselves as well (see “shadow projection”). Seeing evil out there, separate from and having nothing to do with ourselves, however─whether seen in the person of the shooter, or in the world at large─is the very perspective through which we are unwittingly colluding with and feeding the very evil we are reacting against. The emergence of evil literally demands we look within and recognize our own darkness (please see “the shadow”). For how can we possibly deal with evil as it appears in the world if we are not aware of the darkness operating within ourselves?

If we hold the perspective of solidifying the gunman as “being evil,” we would be making the mistake of conflating and identifying a specific person with an archetypal energy that, although it may have temporarily possessed him, doesn’t belong to him. It is important to make the distinction: the murderer is not evil, per se, but rather a very sick human being who has allowed himself to become an “instrument,” not merely for personal evil, but for archetypal evil to take him over and temporarily use him to act itself out through him into our world. Possessed by evil, we can rightfully say that he was incarnating─and revealing─this formless, archetypal dynamic in human form. Archetypal evil can be conceived of as being a non-physical, higher-dimensional energy─what the Bible calls “powers and principalities”─that bleeds through into our three dimensional world, using human beings as its agents of incarnation. When an archetypal, collective pathology is not recognized as such, it will enlist an individual to be its mouthpiece, as if the particular individual so possessed becomes the portal through which the deeper, formless archetypal process is making itself known in form. Unless we recognize the deeper process that is being revealed, the habitual tendency is to then see the malignancy residing within the specific person, instead of recognizing that the person is a localized emanation of a nonlocal condition that pervades the collective unconscious itself.

The great doctor of the soul C. G. Jung noticed that whenever evil manifested in an individual person’s process, however, something good always came from it that would not have emerged without the appearance of evil; might the same be true not just individually, but collectively as well? This is to say that the emergence of a dark shadow is also an expression that a bright light is nearby, for shadows are themselves manifestations of light. Paradoxically, shadows are simultaneously an expression of the absence of light as well as its presence.

It is as if encoded in the dark side of God, what scholar Rudolf Otto calls the mysterium horrendum, is a revelation that can potentially help us to wake up. Significantly, at the same time that archetypal evil repeatedly acts itself out in the world through drafting people to be its “reps,” it is revealing itself for all who have eyes to see. We typically think of illumination as seeing the light, but seeing the darkness is a form of illumination as well. All we have to do to see is open our eyes and look. We need to recognize what is being revealed, or we will be caught in an ever-escalating nightmare, as though we are a species fated to compulsively repeat its trauma, creating our own hell realm right here on planet earth.

Seeing what is being revealed requires the slightest shift in our perception, a change that changes everything. Besides focusing exclusively on the specific details of a particular event, we can begin to notice the deeper, more fundamental and underlying pattern that connects and animates similar events, as if all of these scenarios are inter-nested iterations of the same deeper fractal that is emerging into the world as it makes itself known to our consciousness. Seeing from this perspective introduces us to the nonlocal field that underlies, in-forms and gives shape to our world. “The field,” as Einstein once put it, “is the only reality.” Recognizing the underlying field─of which we are all expressions, as well as contained in and connected by─cuts through any sense of separation between ourselves and the whole universe. From the point of view of the field, everything is seamlessly connected with everything else in such a way that there is no separation anywhere.

Recognizing the field gives us an expansion of consciousness in which we recognize our kinship, interdependence and interconnectedness with each other and all living, sentient beings, including the shooter. We are each reflections of one another, dream characters in each other’s dream; the energetic expression of this realization is compassion. When we recognize that at the most fundamental level we don’t exist “apart from” one another, but rather, are “a part of” each other, it is as if evil itself has introduced us to the living reality that we are not separate from anyone or anything; evil has brought us together. Evil has then become the inspiration and stimulator for lucidity and compassion. It is as if encoded in evil, however horrible its manifestation, is a personal invitation, addressed to all of us, to wake up.

When seen as a dream, the beautiful, innocent and precious children who were murdered, and the courageous adults who died trying to save them, can all be thought of as angelic beings, messengers who sacrificed themselves so as to potentially wake us up, as if this was their role to play in the cosmic drama of life. May their memory not live in vain, but be a true memorializing and inspiration for all the rest of us. We truly honor those who were so brutally taken away by receiving the gift they are offering us. Let us recognize what is being revealed through them. I imagine they would want nothing less.

A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. He is the author of the upcoming book Dispelling Wetiko: Breaking the Curse of Evil (North Atlantic Books, release date Jan. 15, 2013). He is also the author of The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis, (click here to read the first chapter). An artist, he is deeply steeped in the work of C. G. Jung, and has been a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner for over thirty years. Feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. Please visit Paul’s website You can contact Paul at; he looks forward to your reflections. Though he reads every email, he regrets that he is not able to personally respond to all of them. © Copyright 2012.

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  1. I have to agree with many that the events at Sandy Hook did not happen as they were reported on. However, the larger picture that Mr. Levy is trying to get across here, I believe, is that regardless of how or why it was done, the seed of evil was planted in the collective consciousness of the public – by my best guess through movies and literature that had been produced or printed in the prior months or years that could relate exactly to “Sandy Hook”. The “intention” of evilness was placed by sources in the collective consciousness of the public, knowingly or unknowingly, and thus resulted in the massacre by whatever means it occurred. All you have to do is set an intention in this world, believe in that intention, and the Universe will manifest it. Just as they always say, be careful what you wish for.

  2. I’m disapointed that Paul and so many others dont seem to see what is really going on. The powers-that-be want to 1: terrorize the public, and 2:see how much the public will believe without any real proof. It is about the level of critical thinking or the lack of it. Do you still accept that a group of muslims destroyed the world trade center, or that the Branch Divideans were visciously attacking the snipers and hellicopters and army tanks that surrounded them, or that the public had to go massively into debt for the banks that are ‘too big to fail’ ? Do you think the news media is not controlled?
    Of course, they could really commit an atrocity, but the point is to see how well they can prompt your reactions without any real proof at all. They are catering to the Dream of Fear and the need for an enemy, which goes along with it, and the need to do something for security. It is about molding and controlling you.

  3. Thank you for this article and thank you for illumining (I like that word) wetiko. After reading the comments you can see an example being played out of that which you were trying to shine the light on. It truly shows itself. The ever changing archetypes and their personifications. I have conjectured in my re-post of this that our ego is the driving force behind the creation of a thing such as wetiko. That gaining free-will brought about ego which brought about knowledge and creation(our dream creations). We are all here for some polishing of sorts.

  4. I am not sure but it appears that this article has been either updated or ammended as it appeared again in my inbox this morning. I think that my biggest problem with this “horror” is the Robbie Parker video, the Dr. Wayne Carver video and the plethora of other videos of unmoved eyewitnesses and parents who showed absolutely no appropriate emotional responses during interviews…and really, who in the hell gives an interview 2 or 3 days after their baby has been viciously murdered?? I can only surmise that you have never had a child because when one loses a child it does something to one so profound that to speak only causes more pain. I lost my adult son in 2011. He was killed in Iraq. I cannot visit his gravesite. It is too painful. I could not see him in a box. It was too painful. I cannot look upon his gravestone with his name, date of birth and death. It is too painful. I cannot fully articulate the pain this is causing me and nowhere, in the depths of my anguish and grief, was I able to conjure or consider calling Anderson Cooper…or any other media whore, to parade my grief in front of.

    You must not have seen the interviews of parents of the “Sandy Hook victims” because if you had you surely would see that either these people are the new normal, sociopathic in nature, or actors. Perhaps you did not see the video in which many astute and aware people are bringing together seemingly disparate elements that form a more broad picture of what is actually happening to us here in America?
    If these parents, and eyewitnesses to such carnage, are real then we have reached a new level of insanity.

    Everything about this situation screams ‘fake’. Being a parent of a murdered child I can see and smell a liar and charlatan a mile away. It makes me question how perceptive and in-touch with reality you are, Mr. Levy.

    I find it disturbing and egotistical for people to speak of things of which they know not. I lose respect for anyone who wishes for nothing more than to satisfy their need for 1) positioning themselves as a public authority on anything, and 2) to hear themselves speak over the voices of others. The majority of your audience, Mr. Levy, appears to have formed a completely different understanding on this issue. Will you not addresss your readers concerns?

    I can only hope that you can address the videos of smiling parents, the Batman movie ” Dark Knight Rises’ in which ‘Sandy Hook’ appeared on a map during a scene and the lack of any school surveillence camera videos released to back up this ‘story’…because, at this point, that is all that it is. How can we address our collective dis-ease if we cannot even tell reality from fiction???

    If you cannot address these real issues then all that I can assume is that you are either intentionally misinformed or intentionally misleading the public.

  5. just read this story out loud with my better half. I, too, doubt the main theme of the lone shooter. But in conversation after we read this article, we both agreed (before having read any of the comments) that it makes absolutely no difference whether there was one shooter or if the event was done by a platoon of hardened killers or if it was all a massive hoax. the dynamic, as it applies to the notion of “evil” being able to manifest itself in our collective consciousness, is still the same. the “evil”, regardless of whether it happened or how it happened, is a part of our collective conversation. we are now given the opportunity to deal with it’s manifestation. don’t get all tied up in the who said he said she said, “they-re commin fer our gunz” mentality. the take a way i got from Levy is that what really matters is the symbols and how we, individually, perceive them. i find the situation he discusses terribly troubling for many of the same reasons stated in the comments, but the deeper issue here is how do i move forward and why am i reacting to these symbols this way.

  6. I totally agree with B9. It is complete and utter bullsh*t…a hoax intended to further the agenda of gun confiscation. Look at the facts and evidence surrounding this case. It stinks to high heaven. WAKE UP!!

  7. I have no problem with this event. I’ve researched it enough to be 100% convinced it was staged and nobody died. A big hoax to confiscate guns and make people feel bad, done with smiling actors. A big fake I have discharged completely. The facts are out there but the mainstream press is not going to give them to you.

  8. The perpetrators of this incident are sociopaths. They permeate our entire society and across all borders. They run the world. They reside in all governments and especially in the united states.

    Tell me, what is the difference when our government kills women, children and babies daily using depleted uranium for munitions when they know this causes untold death misery and suffering for countless thousands and the massacre in Connecticut?


    Only difference being is that the controlled media shoves this particular atrocity down our throuhts in order to use this indecent as a pretext to take your gun away.

  9. Dear Paul Levy, what wonderful psychosemiotic! –> healing communication of innermost being –> talking about Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious in actual symbolic ‘embeds’ -> unified psychic field theory of consciousness -> “What happened in Newtown…is a symptom and expression of an underlying web of pathology that pervades not only our society, but the world at large.”

    Although sounding intellectually pretentious, this ocservation can, in fact, be given scientific validation, when the psychic field includes the image of “little Adam” blowing his mother’s face away. According to neurobiological studies, the mother’s gaze into the infant’s eyes imprints ties between pre-frontal cortex functions, and fear-returning amygdalan processes. The Archetype in Pisces is Mother Mary’s adoration of baby Jesus in the manger. The tie imprinted to that, even by the symbolism or re-birth for Christian’s version of ‘waking up’, is bonding to the cosmos in love. Love of oneself, as a body, is acceptance of the Grace of what She sees. Bonded to that as reality, we never have to be afraid. As continuation of relation with the Mother through the placenta, in utero, now known retained in amygdalan memory, a deep neuropsychic link between the Mysterious Other (Otto’s ‘Holy’, as actual qualia) of pre-birth, and the Mysterious Mother, is forged for life. Or not.

    And here is where your most acute and apt observation about his deed actualizing ‘wetik’, if I understand you. I try to avoid use if ‘evil’ where possible, though respecting it. The point is, Adam*s deed, formulated in the words “Blasted Mother’s face”, represents, to consciousness, obliteration of its Unconscious bond to reality through love. That gives this wetika invasion metaphysical status, as you note.

    I cannot, however, take the view that ‘waking up’ in this case entails viewing it from a dream perspective, in diminishment of the real three-dimensional horror
    (But wholly agree that America* as a whole is in a historically unique profound group-trance state, in L. deMause’s sense, characterized by loss of emotional containers.)

    -Sid Thomas, Ph.D.

  10. On first look it seem really sick and twisted and hard to believe anyone could do this. On closer inspection, it appears the entire thing is fake. FAKE. Not real. So bizarre because if it is fake, its a huge risk to take. But the people in charge are REALLY stupid so it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  11. Mr. Levy, that’s some deep stuff, and as well written as it gets. I’m wondering how it would change the equation you introduced, which I think is entirely valid, if one removes the concept of a single, kill-crazed, out-of-his-mind shooter, and plugs in several cold, ruthless combat-bred veteran terrorists, which were not in any kind of rage, but doing a job. I write thus because I am aware that it would have been impossible for the accused shooter, being in the physical and mental condition he was, OR ANY ONE, SINGLE SHOOTER, irrespective how capable, to herd up and corral all those people into TWO DIFFERENT classrooms, and control both rooms at once so superbly that none of the would-be victims could escape from the room in which he was not shooting anybody. Were they just standing around in Room #2, calmly waiting for the shooter to finish in the first room, exit that room, then enter Room #2 and resume killing? While he was concentrating on shooting people in Room #1, why did terrified people not flee from Room #2, which would be a “holding room”? It would take a LOT of concentration to shoot that many people with exactly 3-11 bullets each, as the coroner reported the case was, then replace clip magazines periodically to continue firing. One shooter could not have been guarding a second room of people at the same time, while he aimed down the barrel of his rifle and concentrated on shooting each person at least three times. It would be impossible for one shooter to keep an eye on, and maintain control over, a whole O0THER room and prevent terrified people from fleeing therefrom. It couldn’t be done by one shooter. Several more questions lead to ominous conclusions about the official and MSM version of the murders that contribute to multiple shooters, which is why I am asking the “equation” question. One being that aerial photography captured three sturdy men clad in camo-fatigues fleeing from the building in different directions IMMEDIATELY after the shooting, which individuals were actually captured by police arriving at the scene. The official version is treating the story as though the video does not exist. But I know it existed because I saw it with my own eyes and heard police radios describing the action, such as, “I’ve got one of them proned out over here.” (Meaning, lying on the fleeing individual’s face and spreadeagled.) Thus, if there were at least three shooters that were professionals just doing a job, would this plug into your equation that posits a single individual in a mindless rage? If you are able to answer my question, I’d appreciate being emailed me at: Thank you kindly for emailing me, if you will, and the superb article you posted.

  12. Sobering to read on Christmas Day, but what better day to read it? As if any murder is not heinous, the brutality of the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School left me shocked and dazed for days. One could not escape it, even with a conscious effort to stay away from the media frenzy which, in itself, was a mad, sickening display. For some reason, being Jewish, I cannot erase the face of one sweet boy, Noah Posner, a beautiful, healthy, little 6 year-old whose life ended so tragically that day. I know that what one resists, persists; therefore, I do not fight that image in my mind when it comes up. Compared to the face of the “shooter” Adam Lanza, to whom we have given the “evil one” label, I see “Good & Evil” before me. Yet, whatever illness compelled Adam to do what he did, I want to be able to see “his” beautiful little 6 year-old as well. We are all ONE in consciousness – specifically on this day celebrating “Christ Consciousness.” I cannot lay the blame solely on Adam, I must see those same tendencies in myself as well. But for the Grace of G-d . . . For the first time, as I write this, I am particularly struck by the biblical names of these two unfortunate souls, which I find eerily curious. It seems that good is already stirring as a consequence of such an unspeakable act; perhaps we will have some serious changes to the proliferation of automatic weapons in this land, and more focus on mental health issues as well? But those are mainly tactics to deal with symptoms. It is for each of us to do THE WORK individually to change the sickness pervading a society that fosters children killing children, and children killing themselves at such an alarming rate; our beautiful little “canaries in the coal mine of Mother Earth.” Can we mature, evolve, whatever one calls it, to bring ourselves back to health – can we co-exist in love and harmony – can we re-connect with Mother Earth and find ourselves once again aligned with this sacred natural environment that we desecrate and destroy on a daily basis? Will we ever make the “Connect” that “Connect-I-Cut” has shown us? Or will we simply get over yet another “Dis-Connect” and continue business as usual? What’s at stake is only the survival of ALL that is living on the planet. There is more-than-enough reason for all of us to WAKE UP!

  13. Paul,

    Very spot-on. 

    May such heart-breaking tragedies serve our awakening from the phantom psychosis of Wetiko, and per Rupert Sheldrake’s model, that this already be occurring in the morphogenetic, self-aware collective field of human consciousness at a super-accelerating rate in a non-local, non-linear way, and that all phantom notions of who we truly are be like a mountain eroding away at super-fast, dizziying speed into a level field of self-aware minerals, harmonizing in unison as the cosmic and terrestrial waves of Sacred Natural Order undulate lovingly through them.

    May this be so!

    Tim Hanley 
    Henderson, Nevada

  14. Dear Paul,

    I, too, was completely devastated by these suppossed events that were reported to have happened at Sandy Hook. I was outraged and angry and despondent ( I am a grandmother of 4 ) for many a day. I was making argument after argument of why we should even continue to do the same thing we have always done…business as usual…. when such a horror was possible ( although I am aware of the hypocrisy of caring more about Sandy Hook than Gaza , Iraq or Afghanistan ) and came to the conclusion that this life was no longer worth living if this was going to be the new ‘status quo’. I did not read or listen to anything about this for days afterward until today. After spending so many days sick to my stomach I decided to look up the inconsistencies of the Sandy Hook Horror. What I found made me realize that we live in a dream within a dream(Nightmare?) and the videos I will post here will bring clarity to what this really was all about…..or, at the very least, what is to come.

    These are only a few of the many videos being uploaded to Youtube with valid information.

    The veil appears to be wearing thin these days to all those who have eyes and hearts that work in tandem.
    Keep up the great work, Mr. Levy.

    In Gratitude,


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