Being Invisible - Great Mystery: Touching the Soul

Kindling the Native Spirit: Sacred Practices for Everyday Life - Denise Linn 2015

Being Invisible
Great Mystery: Touching the Soul

Teiorahkwathe Rob Lahache, a Mohawk wilderness outfitter, describes what it means to become invisible:

It is not so much that we become invisible; rather, it is more like becoming a part of the landscape. We accept our place and our part in the surroundings so much so that we no longer look out of place. As one blade of grass blends with the others, or flowers merge with the grass, the stones, and the trees. A deer does not look out of place on this canvas, nor should man. All things can hide or be seen by their choosing once we learn the lessons of harmony with our surroundings.

In life there are times to be seen and shine brightly in your own light, and there are also times when there’s value in not being seen. If, for example, you want to truly experience the consciousness of the forest or “see” the elements, or glimpse the little people and spirits of the land, it’s valuable to know how to become invisible. The ability to be invisible has been a part of indigenous practices for thousands of years. All hunting cultures practiced forms of invisibility; they needed not to be seen by their prey so they could sneak up on them. It was more than just being silent—it was a kind of dissolving into the environment.

There are records of invisibility skill in such diverse groups as the Rosicrucian of 15th century Europe and shamans, Aborigines, and the indigenous peoples of North and South America. Additionally, the Hindu Upanishads taught the art of invisibility. And, the Vodoun cultures of West Africa also practiced invisibility. In some cultures, it’s a survival skill. A woman once told me that she’d met a young man from rural Ghana who said he could make himself invisible. When she asked him how this happened, he said it was very simple. “Suppose a large elephant is charging toward you. You need to become invisible. So—poof!—you’re invisible.” She said that he stated this with complete sincerity, and she believed him.

Being invisible doesn’t mean that you’re not there; it means that you aren’t seen. Imagine being in a room or a shop with a lot of objects. How much do you actually see? What is, more or less, invisible to you? It’s not that some objects aren’t there; you just don’t see it all. So in the case of the charging elephant, the man from Ghana was physically there, but the elephant simply didn’t see him.



Method 1: Project your energy and your awareness forward. It’s like you’re anchoring your energy elsewhere. For example, perhaps there is a house near you that has a dog in the yard that barks whenever anyone walks by. You can practice becoming invisible by projecting your energy a block ahead, perhaps to a tree. Imagine that you are touching the tree and intimately looking at it. “Feel” that you are next to the tree. Doing this you should be able walk by the dog unseen. (Hint: if you stop for a moment and congratulate yourself for how well you’re doing, the dog will probably see you.) Have you ever heard someone who was in an accident say, “But I didn’t see them!” This is very common because sometimes when people are driving, they’re thinking about where they’re going or their mind is somewhere else, and because of this, they seem invisible.

Method 2: Become your environment. Be still. Breathe slowly. Become whatever is around you, and meld into your environment. Let your individual personality dissolve. Connect with the greater whole. For example, become the clouds, trees, or the squirrel teetering on a branch. Expand your awareness so that you’re not limited to your body. Blend in so much that you don’t stand out, wherever you are, even if you’re in an environment with people or in a crowd. If you want to become “visible” again, hit your heel rather hard on the floor or the ground, and this should bring you back.

Method 3: Walk in a slower, softer, more considered way. Match your movements to the cadence of the forest. This technique is especially valuable if you want to go into nature and encounter wildlife or little people. In life we usually have a particular fast, clipped kind of gait to get from place to place. The challenge is when we take that same gait into the forest, the animals and plants of the wild often find this kind of movement jarring and intrusive.

One of the very few things that my mother taught me about the Cherokee traditions was a special kind of walking to move stealthily in the woods. (I imagine that kind of walking is used in all tribes, not just Cherokee.) She said that I should take shorter footsteps, and walk toe to heel (rather than go heel to toe as we do in Western culture). She asserted that my weight should roll on the outer edge of my foot as I walked. She told me that this kind of walk would get me into the rhythm of the natural world around me. Also, you can “see” more because you’re going more slowly.


When I told some people I was doing a section in this book on invisibility, they were dismayed because in their own lives they’re trying hard to be more visible and become noticed, especially for a few that were entering into their elder years. They felt that people disregarded them or just didn’t see them. My suggestion is this: if you want to be more visible in your life, stand tall and imagine that your energy field is expanding in all directions. Imagine that your feet are strong roots planted in the earth, and your majestic branches are reaching high . . . and that you are a big energy. This usually works well. However, even if you want to be more visible in life, there’s value in developing the mystic ability to become invisible. It’s a skill that teaches you how to moderate your energy field, which in turn allows you to more easily traverse between this reality and the next, as the shamans of ancient times did.