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It has been a long while since I blogged as a lot has gone on, with deep shifts of energy and identification of patterns that have taken a while to surface and understand.

I have never been an ‘Earth Mother’ type as I am blessed with an independent, rebellious streak. Nevertheless, from time to time I have taken younger women under my wing to support them through times of transition and transformation, with eventual success.

This was until a year ago.

There came a time, at the point of transformation, the person chose to stay as they were. After they had put so much effort into working on themselves this came as a shock to me and caused me a lot of soul-searching, re-assessment and self-examination.

Had I failed?

Eventually the realisation came that it had been my job to create the opportunity for them to change and whether they did or not was nothing to do with me. I had done my job and kept my side of any karmic bargain.

It was compounded by other issues dear to my heart. The liminal beings of the Land were involved as were the energy flows within the Land.

I was guided by the energies of the Land, to help them make some delicate adjustments to how energy flowed in several places. This I did with a few trusted friends, but I was still emotionally troubled. I always support people in their freedom to make their own choices, but never had I come across someone wanting to stop growing.

Then I realised I had that same choice when I was in my early 30s. Stay where I was, conform, be safe or choose to break out of the apparently cosy place that my life had become. To me that was no choice, being the rebel so I chose to break free. The cost was considerable at the time, but I would do the same again. However, I can really appreciate that this would not be for everyone.

Events last year forced me to step back and let go…and then let go some more.

This I did and got stuck back into my work with the Land. I got to know this area where I now live, quite intimately, in a geographical sense, over a period of three months. Gradually this brought a deeper connection within myself too.

In meditation one evening, a new dragon companion presented itself. it seemed I had passed some sort of test……. but a skeleton dragon! WTF!!!
I had to let go of any preconceived thoughts about how it flies and just chuckle at the absurdity of the whole thing. Terry Pratchett would have had a field-day.

skeldrag

It was also made clear to me as a local cauldron-holder, that I needed to hold energies at every level…….for the Land, its liminal occupants, but also for the human occupants.

I had done a few things to try to help gather the disparate human energies of the valley in the last three years. Recently, an opportunity presented itself to do some very practical, mundane work for the local community. I threw ‘my hat into the ring’ without any idea if I was the type of person with skills that was being looked for. I told myself I was too old, for a start. Well, upshot was I found myself ‘walking my talk’, and doing a ‘real job’ for the first time in thirty years.

Of course, it is the ultimate “bringing spiritual practice into the material world” – so what more could I ask?

 

ogyenmenlasmall.jpg

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There is a lot of information on the web and a lot of chatter on social media about kundalini and related subjects. It is also becoming a selling, peddling and marketing description for workshops, crystals, energy healing tools and spiritual exercises. Many people also are very keen to ‘awaken’ their Kundalini, as it is understood to be a sign of spiritual progress and development.
Responding to a request, myself and a few friends have put together this short information sheet to help clarify what it is and what it is not.

What is Kundalini?
‘Kundalini’ was a word first used in the 7th Century and it was used to describe the creative force of the universe. In its original usage, it was closely linked to written Sanskrit and the power of language and sound.
Nowadays the name has become synonymous with the energy that most people describe as lying dormant or in a quiet state near the base of the spine. The word itself means ‘coiled up’. In traditional texts there are two energy flows that are important – a downward flow, often referred to as ‘Shakti’ or upper Kundalini and a lower one or red Kundalini that flows upwards.
It may help if we look at the subtle channels in the body according to Vedic tradition.
Many people are familiar with the chakras. The main chakras are only part of a much larger complex of subtle energies that go to make up the human being. There are many other chakras throughout the body, all of which are expressions of different kinds of consciousness and energy.


Intersecting each chakra are channels of energy or ‘nadis’ that interact with the rest of the body. (These nadis do have a relationship with some aspects of the autonomic nervous system and also with the meridian channels, but they are of a much finer subtle substance.) There are said to be, in total, seventy two thousand nadis. Three are of prime importance: the ida, the pingala and the sushumna. These three main channels run parallel to the physical axis of the spinal column. The sushumna is the central channel. Ida, the left channel, carries a lunar energy that is nourishing and purifying. Pingala, the channel on the right side of the sushumna, carries the solar energy, that is activating. They can be represented in two different ways, the first has all three channels running parallel to each other, the second shows the solar and lunar channels weaving between the chakras until all three meet at the brow chakra.

The lower Kundalini energy remains dormant until activated. This would normally happen after the person experiences a descent of upper Kundalini or Shakti from the crown chakra down to the root chakra.

What is Shakti energy?
‘Shakti’ is the name given to a type of cosmic energy that is given or transmitted to an individual via another person or energy archetype. Traditionally this is accompanied by the ‘laying on of hands’. This process is not tied to any particular belief system or religion. It can be referred to as the ‘Descent of Grace’ or ‘Descent of the Dove’ (in Christian traditions) or ‘Shaktipat’ (in Vedic Traditions). This descending energy compresses and activates the lower kundalini, sustaining and supporting its progress. The ‘Shakti’ energy and lower Kundalini energy need to unite to move up the central channel.

The upper Kundalini can also be stimulated through traditional spiritual practices.

Without activation of ‘Shakti’?
Sometimes the lower Kundalini energy gets activated without the descent of the Shakti energy. This can happen through specific meditation or visualisation, use of drugs (recreational or pharmaceutical), acute stress, types of physical activity or extreme situations.
There are two problems with this:
1. There is no connection to a teacher or archetypal energy that would support and guide the process.
2. Without the Shakti energy to help to clear the energy blocks on its way down, when the lower kundalini starts to rise up the central channel it hits energy blocks.

These energy blocks or samskara are the subtle scars we carry from previous actions, memories and habits.

When Kundalini becomes active without Shakti, its upward movement brings problems that need to be resolved. This can be a difficult process as the ‘scars’ or blocks are moved or try to be moved. Many people in this situation find their mental and emotional well-being becomes very delicate. If life experience has included particular stress, abuse or negative habits, these will become pronounced. This creates vulnerability and can create psychotic breaks. It leaves a person open to those who would manipulate, both physical people and subtle entities. Over stimulation of the lower Kundalini adds more energy into the process and can aggravate the situation. Even well-meaning friends sending absent healing can make things worse.
Pro-active steps need to be taken to integrate energy, to ground. Therefore, doing daily, physical chores can help to deal with the situation. Sometimes a complete withdrawal from spiritual practices of any sort may be the only way to cope with the effects of premature Kundalini activation until the energies have settled down.

Traditional spiritual paths prepare the person for Kundalini activity by basically dealing with samskaras. This takes time, maybe even lifetimes. These days, few people are attracted to this slow, but safe process of clearing the central energy channel.
There are three areas or ‘knots’ where the progress of kundalini is naturally checked -the solar plexus, heart and brow chakras. With the descent of shakti, these are loosened. When no Shakti activity has occurred when the lower Kundalini energy gets to these chakras there are major issues to be dealt with before the energy moves on. Each chakra’s correspondences will reflect the energies to be resolved.

Clients and Students
People working as therapists need to be aware of spontaneous, temporary stimulation or ‘flashes’ of Kundalini activity in their clients. Similarly tutors of energy work need to be aware of the same thing in their students.
If this happens, grounding is vital. Get them to eat something sweet can bring the energy back to a manageable state.
This temporary stimulation is not the same as a permanent awakening.
Anybody might experience a temporary stimulation but this is not something to be encouraged, sought after or set as a goal. It can only be of use as a result of the body naturally clearing the central channel.

Worldwide
All spiritual traditions have their own words to describe this process. We have used the Sanskrit here as most people use that terminology.
Different traditions have different ‘flavours’ of shakti, so a spiritual seeker may experience several types of energy descent to ease or manage the progress of Kundalini rising.
“There are no secret teachings or activities that will awaken you faster. All the steps to take are already outlined in all the major spiritual teachings. – Gopi Krishna”.

Sue Lilly, Simon Lilly, Swami Prakashananda Saraswati 2017

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LightofSamhainSmall

There have been a few posts on FaceBook in the last few weeks that have really caught my attention. These melded together when I saw an article in a small spiritual review magazine on ‘ascension’.

This article outlined the various stages of ascension, showing at as a progression, as a ladder, as something that you strive towards. This is nothing new. There have been books over the last 30 years that have echoed the same idea – lifetimes are thought of as linear, progression is a straightforward process of becoming ‘ascended’. The concept too, is that is you ‘fail’ at an level, you have to go back and start again. Mmmm…….

My first query is – what is ascension?
Most of us are aware of its meaning in a biblical sense, but in what way is it being used nowadays? The worst case scenario is that it is being used to describe a process that will get you ‘away from here to a better place’ – ‘here’, being the experience of being a human on planet Earth.

As Naisha Ashian beautifully put it a week or so back:
“Raise your consciousness and your vibration will take care of itself. High frequency does not mean “good” and low frequency does not mean “bad”.”
“When you meditate your actual vibration (frequencies of heart and brain) get lower.”
“Low frequency (for instance, 7.8 hz– which is a Schumann* resonance of the Earth) is extremely helpful to the body and assists with proper cellular regeneration (high frequency causes cellular mutation and cancer), circadian rhythms and proper cellular metabolism.”

(*Space vehicles have to be fitted with Schumann generators to keep the astronauts healthy)
Lowering your frequency helps to keep you in touch with the planet. Anything that takes you away from being here, now – is probably suspect advice.

Be here, now. Don’t try to run off anywhere else.

The second query – what is the effect that these articles, workshops and books are having on people?
Those caught up in the glamour inevitably start to see themselves as lacking in some way. The hype encourages people to embark on the ‘process’ of self-improvement mostly out of fear of being left behind, fear being the odd one out in a group or fear of being seen as a failure. Each step on the ladder is often being seen as a goal to be achieved.

You are worthy and valuable as you are.

The third query is ‘who’ or ‘what’ is ‘ascending’?
Many teachers over the millennia have tried to help us to understand that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. We have already reached ‘it’, but we are not aware that we have.
‘There is no reaching the Self. If Self were to be reached, it would mean that the Self is not here and now but that it is yet to be obtained. What is got afresh will also be lost. So it will be impermanent. What is not permanent is not worth striving for. So I say the Self is not reached. You are the Self; you are already That.’

(Sri Ramana Maharshi)

You are already ‘there’, but you may not be aware that you are.

The fourth query is – who is judging who is ‘ascended’?

The knee-jerk reaction is to see people who have a high public profile and are demonstrably spiritual people as automatically ‘further up the ladder’. Indeed some people in that category see themselves as such!

Oh….. if it were that simple!

In the grand scheme of things the differences between those who consider themselves ‘well on the way’ and those who are beginning their journey of self-awareness is miniscule.

Try not to compare yourself to others. They have their journey, you have yours.

The ‘ascension levels’ are often described as changes to the different layers of our being. As an astrologer for over thirty years I see these processes in people’s charts. There is no set order to these challenges (or initiations, if you like). You don’t ‘do’ the physical one and then move onto the ‘emotional’ one. They come willy-nilly, in the order that you ultimately have chosen for this lifetime to achieve personal goals or to gain experience. True, there may be issues that you do not complete or fully integrate and these may be carried over as unfinished business, but these are not failures. They are simply parts of the on-going process.

You do not have to strive for the ‘ascension’ levels as they will come to you at the appropriate time and in the appropriate type for you. When you encounter them, try to understand the core of what is going on and take the lesson on board.

Past or other-life issues are simply bits of you that are not in the present time. Rather than spending time wistfully thinking about or dreaming about these and what they mean, try to understand the core of the issue and embrace it.

Get as much of you as you can, into the here and now – embrace it, integrate it. The journey will take automatically you to your inner or higher Self.

Not so much an ‘as-cension’ process more if an ‘inward-cension’ or even a ‘de-scension’ into who you really are……

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maatsmall

Maat or Ma’at, was the ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law and justice.

Maat was also personified as a goddess who regulated the movement of the planets and stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities. In this way she set the order or logos of the universe. Egyptians believed in an underlying unity in the universe and that proper conduct in public life upheld that (21st century politicians please note!). In short, everything, everywhere was linked to and part of Maat.

Early records indicate that Maat is the status quo for nature, society, in every dimension. Her role in and after creation is to prevent the universe from returning to chaos. Pharaohs were often depicted with the emblems or images of Maat to highlight their role in upholding the laws of the Creator.

Maat was depicted as a young woman, usually holding a sceptre and ankh. Sometimes she is shown as having wings and nearly always has a feather as part of her headdress.

Her energy is often thought of as a combination of the planet Saturn (law, tradition, stability) and the zodiac sign of Libra (The Scales). The stone Lapis Lazuli has close connections to her.

She also had a role in Egyptian mythology as the person who dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, after death. The departing soul (the heart) was weighed against her feather to determine whether the soul would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully. You can find a list of the questions that the soul was asked below the main text. These questions are comprehensive and anyone telling the truth would answer ‘no’ to at least one, consigning the soul to another incarnation.

Anubis/Thoth would then weighed the heart against Maat’s feather and if the scales were balanced the soul was released into the afterlife.

Maat has a temple dedicated to her in Karnak and there have been hints in documents that suggest that there were at least two others ( Memphis and at Deir el-Medina)

Having done Kabbalistic pathworkings linked to Maat when much younger, I can vouch that when working with her energy one has to be clear about one’s motives, completely truthful and honest or all hell will break lose!

Here is a translation of the 42 Negative Confessions. Some of them may seem repetitive, but this is caused by the inability to translate the exact intent and meaning of the original language.

1. I have not done iniquity.
2. I have not robbed with violence.
3. I have not stolen.
4. I have done no murder; I have done no harm.
5. I have not defrauded offerings.
6. I have not diminished obligations.
7. I have not plundered the neteru.
8. I have not spoken lies.
9. I have not uttered evil words.
10. I have not caused pain.
11. I have not committed fornication.
12. I have not caused shedding of tears.
13. I have not dealt deceitfully.
14. I have not transgressed.
15. I have not acted guilefully.
16. I have not laid waste the ploughed land.
17. I have not been an eavesdropper.
18. I have not set my lips in motion (against any man).
19. I have not been angry and wrathful except for a just cause.
20. I have not defiled the wife of any man.
21. I have not been a man of anger.
22. I have not polluted myself.
23. I have not caused terror.
24. I have not burned with rage.
25. I have not stopped my ears against the words of Right and Truth. (Ma-at)
26. I have not worked grief.
27. I have not acted with insolence.
28. I have not stirred up strife.
29. I have not judged hastily.
30. I have not sought for distinctions.
31. I have not multiplied words exceedingly.
32. I have not done neither harm nor ill.
33. I have not cursed the King. (i.e. violation of laws)
34. I have not fouled the water.
35. I have not spoken scornfully.
36. I have never cursed the neteru.
37. I have not stolen.
38. I have not defrauded the offerings of the neteru.
39. I have not plundered the offerings of the blessed dead.
40. I have not filched the food of the infant.
41. I have not sinned against the neter of my native town.
42. I have not slaughtered with evil intent the cattle of the neter.

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ekajati2

Ekajati, whose name means ‘one single birth’, or ‘one braid of hair’ is probably one of the fiercest and most powerful of the ‘dark’ goddesses, mamos8 or dakinis9. She is found in both Buddhist and Hindu traditions.

She has a special place in the Tibetan traditions of  Bön1 and Dzogchen2 teachings as she is regarded as one of the three protectors3 or guardians the teachings. According to legends her right eye was damaged by Padmasambhava 4 so that she could help him deal with Tibetan demons.

In her Tibetan manifestation she is seen as having a chignon or bun of hair and only one eye – the latter being a nod to the legend that Padmasambhava pierced the other – but also indicative of non-dual vision, the lack of separation between the universe/creator and the self. Her single tooth shows that she destroys or eats through obstacles and the single breast feeds those who correctly follow the teachings and traditions that she protects.

Like many images of the ‘dark’ goddesses, she is depicted naked or sometimes wearing a skin (in softer imagery a tiger skin, but in more wrathful imagery – a human skin!) and dancing on the corpse of the ego. Her headdress if often composed of skulls as is her necklace. What she hold in her hands can vary – skull cup5, grigug6, khatvanga7 or  in some designs a  corpse of a perverter of the teachings as her sceptre in one hand and the heart of an enemy or betrayer in the other.

As one of the ‘21 Taras’ her energies are also seen as Mahachinatara (Dark Blue, Wrathful or Ugra Tara) and in Blue Tara (where she depicted with the head of a wolf). She is regarded as a liberator, with the power to remove fear and barriers on the path to enlightenment.

Mantras and practices linked to Ekajati are kept secret or only released after an initiation process as many teachers accept that working with her energy can be destructive if a practitioner does not have the capacity to handle the effects. Disrespect, carelessness and laziness will be dealt with by her destroying egos and pushing a practitioner onwards to ultimate realization. This may sound like something one would aspire to, but the effect, without appropriate guidance and support would likely be fatal!

Notes:

1Bon: is the native, ancient Tibetan practice that has its roots in shamanic and animist traditions and now runs parallel with later Buddhist practices.

2Dzogchen: translated from Tibetan as ‘The Great Perfection’, sometimes also called ‘Atiyoga’

3Protectors: Ekajati is generally considered one of the three principal protectors of the Dzogchen and Nyingma lineages. The others are Rahula and Dorje Legpa.

4Padmasambhava; also known as the ‘Second Buddha’ and Guru Rinpoche. He introduced Tantric Buddhism to Tibet.

5Skull Cup: Implement used in ritual to remind the practitioner of the impermanence of life.

6Grigug: Implement used in ritual to represent a knife used to remove skin from a corpse

7Khatvanga: a long staff with depictions of 3 skulls and ribbons of the 5 colours of the elements

8Mamos: Wrathful goddesses, usually pictured as furious, ugly women. They can be dakinis acting as protectors. Ekajati is their queen. If reacted to negatively, mamos appear to be aggressive, destructive and wreak chaos.

9Dakini or Khandro: Energy beings often but not exclusively in female form, messengers, bringers of wisdom .

ekajati

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 The Goddesses who Spin and Weave

The weaver and spinner goddesses come from many cultures and traditions. ‘Weavers and Spinners’ are those energies that activate and guide events in our lives that help us develop our own individuality and disentangle us from becoming blind followers of what is considered ‘normal’- no sheep or lemmings here! This process of individualisation is often accompanied by change, transformation and challenge that are seldom comfortable. The processes help us to understand the relationship we must have with life itself and the balance we need to have within ourselves to move forward.

 These archetypes themselves and the effects of working with them, bears a close relationship with the facets of the dark goddess from Tibetan Buddhism and Hindu philosophy. Contacting these goddess energies directly can be a terrifying experience unless well-prepared. Touching the underworld of our souls is not for the faint-hearted!

In Greece the ‘Fates’ – Clotho (spinner), Lachesis (allotter) and Atropos (unturnable) were the three crones who controlled the destiny of an individual by spinning their life with a spindle and distaff. Athena was also linked to spinning and condemned the arrogant Arachne to life as a spider. Ariadne, from Crete, helped Theseus escape the labyrinth with thread she had woven after he had killed the Minotaur.

Neith was the goddess of weaving in Egypt prior to the dynasties we are all familiar with. She was renowned for her wisdom but is most widely identified as a goddess of war and protector of women.

Ragnell comes to us from a 15th century English poem as she who seriously challenged Gawain (one of King Arthur’s knights) with the classic question …..‘what is it that women desire?’.

(The answer to this question is subject of the song mentioned in a previous blogpost on March 13th 2013 ‘King Henry’ by Steeleye Span). Ha!

 The tales of the Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm – ‘The Three Spinning Women’, Rumpelstiltskin (Mr Gold in TV’s ‘Once Upon a Time’) and the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson – ‘The Lady of Shalott’ all remind us of the pitfalls of spinning and weaving.

 Pulling the whole imagery of the weavers and spinners together, brings into question how much freewill we have or think we have – and how much of our lives are at the whims of ‘fate’.

 When we know we are ‘stuck’, repeating the same patterns, with the same responses and recreating the same problems – what do we do? The ‘dark’ aspects of the Goddess might be a way forward….. but make sure you have a good guide! Few of us are as innocent and honourable as Gawain!

weaversmallred

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