Superhero as Shaman

By Keith Varnum


“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”

Who are we talking about? Superman, you say? Yes … and someone else!

We’re talking about you! … Who? Yes, you

Who is your favorite superhero?     

Superman and Superwoman. Batman and Batwoman. X-men and Wolverine. Cat Woman and Wonder Woman. The Flash. Spiderman. Green Lantern. Captain Marvel!

What superpowers would you like to possess?

Extraordinary strength, speed and flexibility. Instant healing. Hyper-accentuated senses. X-ray vision. Omniscience. Omnipresence. ESP, telepathy, precognition, premonition and clairvoyance. Inter-dimensional travel. Time trekking. Invisibility. Invulnerability. Immortality. Flying. Levitation. Teleportation. Telekinesis. Transmutation. Shapeshifting.

Well, you do possess these powers … and many more!

How Silly!

We’re all taught that we should “outgrow” our interest in superheroes and superpowers before we turn twenty. And we do. … That’s the problem! As we “grow up” and become adults (adulterated), we lose contact with our childhood shamans.

Our superheroes are the modern day shamans of Western society. They’re our culture’s wise elders, our medicine men and women. They’re our treasure. A goldmine of example and opportunity for each of us!

We’re attracted to the superpowers of our superheroes because the truth is that we inherently possess the same super abilities as they have. Forgotten perhaps. Dormant for the most part. (except in emergencies!) Yet these powers are our inherent nature nonetheless!

Absorb that Morphic Field!

Our superheroes act as morphic fields (models) for us to recapture our natural spiritual (super) powers. The abilities of our superheroes act as fields of energy and experience that we can tap into in order to re-activate our own inherent abilities—in order to exercise the same powers!

In the same way we might put on the cape of Superman as a child, we can take on the mantel of Superman’s powers as an adult. When we connect to the morphic (form) field of energy as our favorite superhero, we automatically trigger the abilities woven into the vibration (frequency field) of that space.

Why don’t most of us use our natural spiritual (super) powers?

In my experience with thousands of people as clients, I’ve discovered a common theme (decision) in most people’s soul story:

Before we came into this lifetime, most of us promised ourselves that we would not use our natural spiritual powers until we develop the deep compassion and understanding necessary to use these abilities with real love and wisdom.

The archetype of Superman provides a good example of this phenomenon of “Superhero as Shaman.”

Superman is seen as both an American cultural icon and as the first widely admired comic book superhero. His adventures and popularity have established the character as an inspiring force within the public psyche. The spirit of Superman still serves as inspiration for all our culture’s mythmakers—writers, filmmakers, teachers, musicians and public speakers.

Ironically, one of the most socially accepted denials of our true supernature is the declaration, “Well, you know. I’m not Superman!” Ironic because, in fact, we are a superhuman!

As an influential archetype of the superhero genre, Superman possesses extraordinary powers.

As a closeted archetype of the superhero genre, we possess the same extraordinary powers!

Superman’s famous arsenal of powers includes x-ray, heat-emitting, telescopic, infra-red and microscopic vision. He possesses super-hearing and super-smell. He has incredibly tough skin that cannot be pierced by even an exploding artillery shell. He can lift cars over his head, hurl mountains, withstand nuclear blasts, soar into the sun unharmed, and survive in the vacuum of outer space without oxygen. He can fly with ease to other worlds, galaxies and even across universes!

Guess what? We have at our disposal the same arsenal of powers!

Superman as metaphor—and model for us—goes deep into his character:

1. Superman is vulnerable to green Kryptonite, mineral debris from Krypton transformed into radioactive material by the forces that destroyed that planet. Exposure to green Kryptonite radiation nullifies Superman’s superpowers and immobilizes him with pain and nausea. Prolonged exposure will eventually kill him.
“Green Kryptonite” is also our human Achilles’ heel. In our culture, the color “green” symbolizes human greed, jealousy and envy. These human emotions get in our way of realizing our true human potential as kind, wise—and powerful—beings!
Culturally, the color “green” also represents being a novice, being inexperienced—that is, not developed, not ready: our underdevelopment of universal love and understanding keeps us from using our natural super (spiritual) powers.
2. Superman is a hero in the mythic tradition, inspired by such popular and admired archetypal characters as Samson and Hercules. We can join the tradition of heroic feats of legendary figures and exceed the commonly held limitations in all our human endeavors.
3. The term “Superman” was initially coined by the 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. His name for Superman was “Übermensch” in German (“Overman” in English).
Nietzsche challenged the dogmatic aspects of Christianity and traditional religious rigid morality. He believed in expressing our inherent creativity, vitality and divine potential here and now on earth—rather than waiting for our glorious true nature to emerge in an afterlife in heaven.
Central to his philosophy of “life-affirmation” is an honest questioning of all doctrines that drain our natural human aliveness and potential, however socially prevalent those views might be.
Nietzsche envisioned the “Übermensch” as a liberated person who has transcended the limitations of society, religion, and conventional morality while still being fundamentally human. We too can make the choice to reveal out true “Overman” wondrous nature.
4. As Clark Kent, Superman’s secret identity, Superman, lives among humans as a “mild-mannered reporter” for the “Metropolis Daily Planet” newspaper. In a similar way we typically camouflage ourselves as ordinary, “mild-mannered truck drivers and homemakers.” Just as Superman pretends to be ordinary Clark Kent, we deny having any special or superhuman abilities.
5. Superman also fought for social justice and against tyranny. This is, of course, part of everyone’s true soul purpose. And it’s our collective cause once we develop our love and wisdom to a degree that we feel safe to employ our natural superpowers.
So, when, where and how each of us decides to reveal our true superhuman nature is up to our free will and soul destiny.
Unfortunately there aren’t many phone booths left on American streets in which to take off our outer disguise! But, hey, that was just Superman’s thing. Whenever you decide to come out of your spiritual closet, you’ll find an easy, graceful way.
Your decision to begin to own and use your true natural spiritual powers may come from intuitive inspiration—or dire necessity (crisis, emergency). Either way, your favorite superhero is a valuable resource and model for your budding superhuman adventure.
In a very fun, easy way, our superheroes have paved the way for us to move into the space of our true super power, passion and play!
You can recover the use of your Superhero powers with a Matrix Energetics session with Keith!