Looking Glass: painting by Kelli Marian Hill

My personal experience as a heyoka empath

Bevin Niemann
Sep 22, 2018 · 5 min read

Several years ago, I ran across the term ‘heyoka empath’ and everything clicked. Primarily sourcing from Native American tradition, heyoka is one who is born into the role of a sacred clown. A thunder being, one who brings the storm so the Earth may be renewed.

I searched and found this video of a tribal elder describing his life path as a heyoka; it was like he was reading my autobiography. If you are skeptical, take a look at the fact that 57,000 people have viewed just this video — the number of videos, articles and blogs about heyoka have exploded.

Heyokas often approach the world from a backwards perspective. We often don’t live as others live or choose what others choose. We often try things that others see as foolish or childish, seemingly just because, yet there is always a method to our madness. We came here to be a mirror, to reveal what is underneath.

Heyokas sense on so many levels, we easily pick up blind spots in others, but ironically often struggle to see our own fallacies. This makes our role incredibly important and yet often avoided.

Heyoka is any soul who chose to come here as an awakener of others through non-conventional means.

It sometimes feels like a lonely purpose, as most people do not wish to look within. They fear their shadow, avoid strong emotions, or are unwilling to accept that they are fully responsible for what is manifesting in their life.

If I look back, the way this first showed up for me was around age 4. My mother’s long-time friend laughed as he related the story of me standing with my hands on my hips, standing my ground and speaking my truth. I understand that my mother was not usually impressed with my forthrightness.

Later, in middle school, I was a member of the girls’ basketball team. At the end of the season, I received the ‘foot in mouth award’ for always blurting out something strange or that no one wanted to hear. I remember being mortified, why would they single me out?

Several years ago, I had a powerful dream that a huge storm, the largest I’ve ever seen was looming on the horizon. The enormity of the task scared me, but I said yes, I accept. After that, I reflected that I’ve always been hyper tuned-in as a storm approaches, in the same way that I’m very connected when the storms of life are arising.

When I receive a knowing, a message for someone else, it’s like the energy field is so strong, it calls to me. Hey, pay attention, show them!

Sometimes, I’m like, no I don’t want to.

Why me?

Yet, speaking the ‘truth’ always wins. Damn it.

I’ve always been that person at work and in my family who was expected to speak up on behalf of everyone else. I took that on for a long time, but recently started expecting others to fight their own battles. It’s too much of a toll to always be the bold one.

I have learned the hard way to ask permission to share what I know, what I see. Anytime I do not ask first, it usually results in hurt, denial and sometimes the end of the relationship. Even when someone gives me permission, what I share may still cause them to walk away. It’s a soul-level reveal.

Your heart and mind is torn in two, which do you choose? Knowing it’s time for the stagnant energy to be stirred up or follow what your ego wants to be safe, to fit in, to not rock the boat.

A heyoka can only fake it so long before radical authenticity bursts forth. As a sacred clown, a heyoka empath will first try to use gentleness and/or humor to break the ice. To gradually reveal what’s underneath. If someone doesn’t listen, we often have to resort to more dramatic measures to make the point.

It’s super rough to be the one who says the hard thing, points out the hypocrisy. And yet, to live in a vibration of incongruence is just not possible.

If the message is for another person and it doesn’t impact me, I can generally state what I know, then go on to allow the other person integrate, if they wish. Or not if they don’t.

When it’s someone I love, it’s really difficult to not become entangled in the outcome. When speaking up risks everything, I find myself torn to shreds. An internal battle of the higher good vs. what I want it to be.

Can you relate?

If you are perhaps questioning if my identification with this spiritual role is cultural misappropriation, please know I have interacted with people across multiple continents and from different ethnic backgrounds on whom this mantle has been laid. Native Americans simply acknowledged and venerated this role in a way that other cultures have not. They had a path of training and respect, most societies don’t understand or welcome this calling at all.

Some might wonder if heyoka are proud or think we are superior; actually we see the imperfect human journey so clearly we have no doubt of how much of our own work we still have to do.

It is a humbling existence in so many ways. Being a mirror has been a huge part of my spiritual growth, I have learned more from heyoka interactions than anything else. And in turn attracted those into my life to be a mirror for me — this energy flows both ways.

Your heart, your mind have to be strong, you have to believe deeply in yourself, you have to constantly monitor your intention. Always bring love, compassion and a belief in the strength of others to handle what you know.

Update as of 10–2–2019: I recently connected with a Lakota elder, who resides in Sedona and asked him, ‘Is it possible for someone who is not of native descent to be born into the role of Heyoka?’

His response from his understanding of the teachings, is that Heyoka is generally a male in the tribe who deeply embodies his Divine feminine self. He said based upon my laugh and spirit animal encounters that I am instead, likely ‘coyote.’

He did not elaborate, but when I asked if a female could deeply embody their Divine masculine, he suggested I reach out and ask one of the grandmothers.

Stay tuned…


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Bevin Niemann

Written by

Life Purpose Coach for Empaths, Lightworkers & Conscious Leaders, Host of Shift Network’s Evolved Empath Summit {https://www.PerceptiveSouls.com}

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