A Tribute to Rupert Sheldrake by Sara Wright

I first discovered Rupert Sheldrake’s work by reading his first two books: “A New Science of Life” written in 1981 followed by “The Presence of the Past.” These two books changed my life because they validated my experiential reality and demonstrated that my personal experiences were located in a much larger context. I was not imagining things I felt or dreamed!

(At the time I first read these books I was in personal crisis. I was struggling to accept that I was living the shadow side of Rupert’s hypothesis of Morphic Resonance as a rejected member of my own family. This rejection had so little to do with who I was that it left me paralyzed and numb, least until I began to sense that my situation was rooted deep in a very dark past I knew nothing about.)

In his visionary hypothesis Rupert Sheldrake describes the process called Morphic Resonance, in which the forms and behaviors of the past shape living organisms in the present. Nature has a memory that we can tap into in unexplained ways… the past intersects with the future through resonance which can occur instantly either through our mind/and or body. What this means practically is that we can communicate with those who have gone before or with other species as long as we have a relationship with them. Rupert says like attracts like. I would also add that it is my experience that the opposite can occur. Extremes in relationship carry a charge. It’s the strength of relationship positive or negative, an open mind, and a sensitivity to the unknown that seem to determine whether we will be able understand these experiences.

Just how this happens is not understood but Rupert suggests that telepathic communication is probably the means by which this communication occurs almost instantly. (Quantum non – locality is another possibility.) There is nothing paranormal about telepathy. Rupert believes as I do that animals developed telepathy to keep in touch with each other. Telepathy developed as a survival technique and anyone that has a close relationship with an animal is privy to this kind of communication although it is still dismissed by materialistic science as wishful thinking or – fill in the blank – for some other equally stupid reason (what would happen if we actually acknowledged that this kind of communication routinely occurs? – we’d have to make a radical change in the way we treat animals and plants for one thing). So many scientists have completely closed minds – a kind of tunnel vision. The “either or principle” – it’s either “hard science” or its just a “story/myth” that can’t be quantified – is still the norm. “Prove it” is one aggressive stance that is taken by some, an attitude I find revolting.

When I read The Rebirth of Nature I knew that the naturalist in me had found “home” in western science even though by then Rupert had been banned from the scientific community by his so called radical ideas. Sheldrake argues and demonstrates our intimate relationship with the universe through open minded science — he believes that we are a part of a breathing, living, thinking cosmos and that intelligence is a pervasive reality inseparably one with nature. In The Rebirth of Nature Sheldrake urges us to move beyond the centuries-old mechanistic view of nature, explaining in lucid terms why we can no longer regard the world as inanimate and purposeless. Through an astute critique of the dominant scientific paradigm, Sheldrake shows recent developments in science itself have brought us to the threshold of a new synthesis in which traditional wisdom, intuitive experience, and scientific insight can be mutually enriching.

I remember one of my graduate professors dismissing Rupert’s ideas with disgusting hubris, claiming that “science didn’t need his hypothesis – DNA can tell us everything we needed to know about heredity.” I heard that same argument robotically repeated by mainstream materialistic/mechanistic/ atheistic scientists for years and years – and most astonishingly by people who actually refused read Rupert’s work. [Read here a well-balanced interview conducted by a mainstream scientist.]

Oh, how pleased I was to read about epigenetics which validates that DNA is NOT the only way human behavior is passed on. Rupert stated years ago that DNA only codes for protein, not for form as part of his hypothesis. We can and do inherit the characteristics and behavior of the family systems’ we come out of. The study of epigenetics moves us one step closer to Rupert’s theory of morphic resonance, once dismissed with such ridicule.

In an interview broadcast on BBC television in 1994, Maddocks, the author of an infamous editorial in the prestigious scientific journal Nature said: “Sheldrake is putting forward magic instead of science, and that can be condemned in exactly the language that the Pope used to condemn Galileo, and for the same reason. It is heresy.”

Naturally, conventional scientists from countless disciplines jumped on the bandwagon; this denunciation was followed by a host of hostile criticism by the entire scientific community (much of which continues to this day). This brilliant visionary scientist became known as a radical fringe pseudo scientist who didn’t adhere to “the man against nature paradigm” arguing instead that all Nature was alive and interconnected and that the past intersected with the present. About fifteen years ago Rupert was even shot in Texas for giving a talk on animal telepathy.

To make matters worse, Sheldrake also refused to split science from spirituality a fact that also enraged atheistic materialists, biologists, and scientists alike. This trend remains current today as scientists from all disciplines split spirituality from science, often demonizing the former. Sheldrake has the immense courage to maintain that a “both and” perspective can be applied to both science and spirituality, and in one of his latest books “Science and Spiritual Practices” argues for what he knows to be true, namely that we cannot split science from spirituality because the earth is alive and sentient and science and spirituality are two lens that reveal they are parts of the same whole.

Amazingly this man of great integrity persevered against all the odds continuing his research, submerging himself in rigorous experimentation and continues to author books and talks. Rupert’s holistic approach to science has the capacity to return us to our lost beginnings and open up almost unimaginable possibilities for a new future if only others will join him on this journey.


Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.

Categories: Academy, Nature, Scholarship

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22 replies

  1. Good for Rupert for writing about such interesting ideas as telepathic communication between us and animals and plants (and trees?) and for standing his ground when rejected by mainstream science! And good for you for telling us about Rupert’s books. His ideas do indeed sound a lot like magic, and I’m convinced that today the world needs some of that magic that links us together.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. beautifully written


  3. This is crazy but this makes so much sense. I really need to get this book.


    • Did you read FAR’s review? Sheldrake’s website is on there and you can find podcasts etc as well as a list of his many books… or simply google him. By the way, this remarkable man is never too busy to answer your questions personally!

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks so much for this, Sara. In the mid-80s I too fell into his work like a coming home. I haven’t read him since because it felt like all the clarity I needed to carry on naturally, but will now read his most recents.

    Something I took away back then has provided constant proof to me that our global society can conceivably evolve into health and balance. I’ve always been a strong yet inadvertent “sender”, such that I (slowly) realized the imperative to take responsibility for my thoughts, to keep them in the realm of the highest good for all because they really do affect whoever, both human and animal, near and far.

    Of course, as far as the world and distant powerful people go, there is the fact of countless conflicting thoughts bouncing around, and also “censorship through noise”, but that is not indomitable. The hierarchy is firm only if it’s foundation cooperates — to refer back to Carol’s excellent post yesterday.

    That is laughably ironic that Maddocks and friends took the position of the Church against a pioneer scientist.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, this seems to be key – you call yourself a “sender” which means that you are a “sensitive” – and those of us that are, know from personal experience that Rupert’s ideas are anything but crazy.

      I’ve done lots of thinking about this problem since the 80’s and sadly I have reached the conclusion that unless we have actual experiences that are unusual, we remain skeptics…. it’s not as if morphic resonance which involves the past can be replicated by most lab experiments although Rupert consistently provides us with meticulous experiments that can be replicated – his work with animals is just one example..

      Anyone that participates in ritual on a regular basis will eventually be drawn into that other dimension on some level.

      By the way you bring up an important point when you mention the following- “censorship by noise” is part of our problem. I am constantly aware as a sensitive/receiver that my nature connections are DESTROYED by noise. As the world gets LOUDER I struggle to find quiet places. My present way of making sure that I get what i need on a daily basis is to walk to the river and through the Bosque for up to an hour before dawn – it’s then that I can hear…The practice of walking before dawn is something I plan to incorporate into my life anywhere I go in the future for my sanity.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes, good for Rupert for standing his ground. I met Rupert and spent time with him and his family. Tongue tied I could hardly express my gratitude for his innovative research that of course is still considered by many as “taboo” (his word). Curiously, his oldest son Merlin, 28, is now receiving the highest accolades from the scientific community for his Ph.D. work on fungi and underground networks! Merlin’s first book comes out in May.

    As for Rupert’s ‘magic’ approach, well, many of his ideas are now being supported by new scientific research – His idea of the interconnectedness of all living things, for example, unless adopted by the culture as a whole, is at this point, our only way through…

    Thanks Barbara!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My heart beat faster reading your writing, popping an orgy of connections swirling into that ecstasy of resonance—thank you! As a former social worker I had been aware of past events, even when ‘unknown’, still shaping and playing out in family systems, but unfortunately back-burnered in the immediate face of the ‘crisis’ that brought folkx, willingly or not, to the agency-based services in which I worked (1st for ‘at-risk, troubled’ adolescents, and then domestic violence/sexual assault) over two decades ago now. Later in seminary I recall, for me, one course addressing systems, surprisingly to me initially foreign to several of my classmates. But I now get to seek out Rupert’s work—back to ecstasy! Thank you~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Part of the reason I became a Jungian Analyst was because I was possessed by the idea of archetypes… empty patterns of information and energy that seemed to require a human to manifest….I saw in my work with battered women the same patterns repeating even against the woman’s will… I saw them in my family… I lived them… I noted that if the client had a familial history of abuse it had a tendency to manifest again … I was looking for answers and the concept of morphic fields fit into these experiences helping me to make sense of their experiences as well as my own.


  7. By the way I thank FAR for the excellent elucidation on Sheldrake’s theories and critics. Anyone who is remotely touched by Sheldrake’s ideas needs to read the ‘well balanced interview’…. Rupert is brilliant, and in my opinion is so far ahead of mainstream science in his thinking that I am still assimilating some of his ideas, as my life experience demonstrates their reality.

    One way of looking at Rupert’s morphic fields is to think about bio – fields which are gaining credibility .. morphic fields differ mainly because they “tap” into the past through a resonance.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for this beautiful, resonant tribute Rupert Sheldrake and for your thoughtful replies to people’s comments and experiences. I am also a lover of being outside at dawn.


  9. Thanks Elizabeth – I can always count on you for your most gracious comments. I’m glad that you too are a lover of dawn!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you for this piece SO much … for introducing Sheldrake to those who may not be aware of his theory and for sharing your personal relationship to it. I, too, am a tremendous appreciator of Sheldrake’s work — it has been pivotal to me on more levels than I can express for it helps describe what I feel and how I experience as well as envision our world and our potential for healing all. Also, in all the videos I’ve watched, Sheldrake is gentle, inquisitive, respectful and thoroughly non-confrontational — all of which resonates with me. One aspect that popped into my head that I also like is how he refers to the “habits” of nature rather than the “laws,” pointing out that we’ve been here such a short time and She changes ever so slowly that what we perceive as so-called law is really more current habit of existence. When one thoroughly absorbs what he is describing, we can see the effects permeating everything! Blessings!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I have met the man and his remarkable family. Rupert is one of the kindest, most compassionate, respectful men I have ever known…I am delighted to know that you have been moved by his work…When he refers to habits of nature he is making a reference to the evolutionary aspect of nature/universe and you make such a good point – We have been here such a brief time! Rupert is a brilliant man and fully absorbing what he posits takes on a life of its own… Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for reminding me about Rupert Sheldrake. Your piece has inspired me to finally read his books which have been referenced in other books I have read. Heading out to the library today!


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