Shambhala prophecy — return of the spiritual warriors

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Kalki, the last incarnation of Vishnu —  Image credit — Jose-Patricio Aguirre (Chile)

The Shambhala Prophecy

as told by Joanna Macy

“I often tell this story in workshops, for it describes the work we aim to do, and the training we engage in. It is about the coming of the Kingdom of Shambhala, and it is about you, and me.”      Joanna Macy

(Joanna Rogers Macy, is an environmental activist, author, scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. She is the author of eight books). I share this piece of her writing with the greatest of respect. It a Buddhist prophecy that calls us to “war.”

“Coming to us across twelve centuries, the Shambhala prophecy comes from ancient Tibetan Buddhism. The prophecy foretells of a time when all life on Earth is in danger. Great barbarian powers have arisen. Although these powers spend much of their wealth in preparations to annihilate each other, they have much in common: weapons of unfathomable destructive power, and technologies that lay waste our world. In this era, when the future of sentient life hangs by the frailest of threads, the kingdom of Shambhala emerges.

You cannot go there, for it is not a place; it is not a geopolitical entity. It exists in the hearts and minds of the Shambhala warriors. That is the term the prophecy used – “warriors.” You cannot recognize the Shambhala warrior when you see him or her, for they wear no uniforms or insignia, and they carry no specific banners. They have no barricades on which to climb or threaten the enemy, or behind which they can hide to rest or regroup. They do not even have any home turf. Always they must move on the terrain of the barbarians themselves.

Now the time comes when great courage – moral and physical courage – is required of the Shambhala warriors, for they must go into the very heart of the barbarian power, into the pits and pockets and citadels where the weapons are kept, to dismantle them. To dismantle weapons, in every sense of the word, they must go into the corridors of power where decisions are made.

The Shambhala warriors have the courage to do this because they know that these weapons are “manomaya.” They are mind made. Made by the human mind, they can be unmade by the human mind. The Shambhala warriors know that the dangers threatening life on Earth are not visited on us by any extraterrestrial power, satanic deities, or pre-ordained evil fate. They arise from our own decisions, our own lifestyles, and our own relationships.

So in this time, the Shambhala warriors go into training in the use of two weapons. The weapons are compassion and insight. Both are necessary, the prophecy foretells. The Shambhalla warriors must have compassion because it gives the juice, the power, the passion to move. It means not to be afraid of the pain of the world. Then you can open to it, step forward, act.

But that weapon by itself is not enough. It can burn you out, so you need the other – you need insight into the radical interdependence of all phenomena. With that wisdom you know that it is not a battle between “good guys” and “bad guys,” because the line between good and evil runs through the landscape of every human heart. With insight into our profound inter-relatedness, you know that actions undertaken with pure intent have repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern. By itself, that insight may appear too cool, conceptual, to sustain you and keep you moving, so you need the heat of compassion.

Together these two can sustain us as agents of wholesome change. They are gifts for us to claim now in the healing of our world. Many in the Tibetan lineage believe that this is the time of this ancient prophecy. If so, perhaps we are among the Shambhala warriors.”

These are powerful words and a call to action, reaching across time. We must find the strength and courage to arise and be the best we can be at this time of challenge. I stand with you, brave warriors of the heart. May we have courage. 

quintangled has arrived

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After more than five years of deep and amazing work with my two partners, Sue Lion and Karen Stuth, Quintangled has finally arrived. It’s an indescribable thrill to see a long-held vision come to life and hold the result of intense creativity in your hands. Like life, and our game, it’s been quite a journey. Words can’t really express the gratitude expressed here to those of you who supported this effort during our crowd funding campaign–without you this dream would not have become a reality. You should have your games by now, and we’re eager to get your feedback. (If you pre-ordered a game and haven’t received it, let me know). It would be awesome if you would consider writing a review on Amazon as that makes a big difference in their selling algorithms.

And, if you weren’t able to acquire a game before, they are now available on Amazon. Click on the link to go to Amazon    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=quintangled

Quintangled: A Game of Strategy, Chance, & Destiny

Answer the herald’s call, step on a path to adventure, and enter a magical realm. A role of the eight-sided die will determine your archetypal destiny as a Knight, Lover, Jester, Healer, Dreamer, Sage, Monarch, or Priestess. Meet the Wizard, and receive Magical Aid as you cross the threshold to embark upon your journey. Along the way you’ll meet guides, guardians, and mentors as well as face perils and threats that will challenge your resolve. Magical creatures and Oracles of Wisdom will offer unexpected aid. Crossroads, choices, and tests will help you gain courage and wisdom to awaken your heroic self. On the return journey you’ll have the chance to express your heroic qualities and make a difference in your world.

Heed the call  *  Take the vow  *  Begin the quest.

Enjoy the journey!!!  Endless love and boundless gratitude.

a gold medal and a writer’s voice

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In June of 2018 my blog was awarded a gold medal.

When I began my blog it was meant to be a gift to me–something I did for myself as a purely creative outlet. There would be no deadlines, no publishers, no pressure, no one criticizing my ideas (certainly with only the best of intentions I’m sure). My blog would be just my words that emerged from the crucible of my life, reflecting on events and observations that stood out in sharp relief. Of course I hoped those words might reach out across the interconnected web we share and maybe, just maybe, someone would be touched, amused, or inspired.

Writers learn about, and quest for, that illusive thing called “voice. ” A writer’s voice lives at the heart and soul of the work, embodying a unique and precious quality. I’m no different–I long to find my voice. I’m still on that journey, but it’s always deeply satisfying to receive recognition even when we are still a work-in-progress.

The life of a writer is often solitary, even insular. We spend a great deal of time in the company of our own thoughts and internal processes. Unless we are fortunate enough to have some notoriety, we usually don’t know what impact our work has, and I think we desperately want to know if it does.

Receiving an award is an external vindication that something we’ve accomplished is seen to have merit. And I have to admit, I love having a gold medal on my blog. But what means the most to me are the comments I have received from readers–you who are reading these words right now. Most of you I don’t know, but some of you have taken a moment from your busy lives to make a comment and connect in the mysterious manner of our digital world.

My life has been blessed by the words of other authors, some long gone. I have wished many times that I could send them a comment and let them know what their words have meant. Although the blog is still my gift to myself, it’s your comments that keep me going.  So in a real sense this award is shared with all of you, and I send my deep gratitude.

Thank you.

Julie Loar

metamorphosis


A butterfly emerging from a chrysalis

“We must let go of the life we have planned to be able to accept the one that is waiting for us.”

Joseph Campbell

Metamorphosis is a total change of form, or morphology. We are familiar with the caterpillar that spins a cocoon and is completely transformed inside the chrysalis, changing from a crawling creature into a majestic being with glorious wings. In biology the chrysalis is the hardened outer shell that protects the vulnerable caterpillar as it goes through the stages of transformation. Symbolically, the chrysalis has been used to represent a sheltered state or stage of being in which something or someone is utterly transformed.

For those who are committed to spiritual growth, it seems that life is a constant chrysalis. The Buddha taught that life in form is temporary, and if we cling to the form, we suffer. We are constantly challenged to leave the past behind and embark upon an unknown journey.  We are often tested by what life presents, and I believe the measure of our “suffering” is equal to the amount of our resistance and expectation. We have to be willing to surrender in order to be transformed–willingness changes everything.

We live in a time of profound change, even turmoil, and if we are to survive we must also be transformed by the change occurring around us. Joseph Campbell also said, “You enter the forest at the darkest point where there is no path. Where there is a way, it is someone else’s path. If you follow someone else’s way you won’t realize your potential.” I find those words equally thrilling and terrifying. Entering that dark forest takes courage, but our willingness to take the unknown step leads to metamorphosis.

A Chinese proverb states that a  teacher opens a door,  but we must enter by ourselves. Looking back at times of profound change in our lives we can see how our choices made all the difference and where courage changed our lives. As we face the dark forest, or ponder an unknown path, we have a choice. We can cling to the familiar but illusory safety of the ground, or embrace the dissolution of our earthbound consciousness, pass through the open door of transformation, and soar on wings of spirit.

Planetary Harmonics:  The Music Of The Spheres

  “Venus draws a pentagram around the Earth every eight years. The Moon squares the circle. Everything in the heavens moves around everything else, dancing to the Music of the Spheres.”

John Martineau, A Little Book Of Coincidence

Musica Universalis, or the “Music of the Spheres,” is an ancient philosophical concept that sees the proportions of the movements of celestial bodies–Sun, Moon and planets–as a form of musica, the Medieval Latin name for music. This music is not audible but is understood as a mathematical concept. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras is usually credited with this idea, which stemmed from his mystical and mathematical philosophy and its associated system of numerology. The discovery of the geometric relationship between mathematics and music within the Classical Period is also attributed to him. Pythagoreans believed this relationship gave music powers of healing as it could “harmonize” the out-of-balance body.

There is a legend that Pythagoras could hear the Music of the Spheres, enabling him to discover that consonant musical intervals can be expressed in simple ratios of small integers. In an effort to win their confidence, Pythagoras told Egyptian priests that the god Thoth gave him the ability to hear this “music.” He believed that only Egyptians of the right bloodline, passing successful initiations, could enter the temples and learn the mysteries set in place by divine beings at the beginning of time. Plato and others transferred Pythagoras’ concepts into structural models of the universe assigning the Platonic solids to the planets and alchemical elements: Earth-tetrahedron, Water-cube, Air-Octahedron, Fire-dodecahedron, and Quintessence-icosahedron. The spheres were thought to relate to whole-number ratios of pure musical intervals, creating harmonies.

Johannes Kepler used this concept in his Harmonice Mundi, the Harmony of the Worlds, in 1619. Kepler was convinced “that geometrical things have provided the Creator with the model for decorating the whole world.” He attempted to explain the proportions of the natural world, particularly astronomical and astrological aspects, in terms of music. The central set of “harmonies” was the musica universalis. Kepler noticed that the ratios between planets’ extreme angular velocities were all harmonic intervals, and he attempted to precisely calculate these “world harmonies.” He said, “The heavenly motions…are nothing but a continuous song for several voices, perceived not by the ear but by the intellect, a figured music, which sets landmarks in the immeasurable flow of time.”

Pythagoras identified that the pitch of a musical note is in proportion to the length of the string that produces it, and that intervals between harmonious sound frequencies form numerical ratios. Later, Plato said astronomy and music were twin studies of sensual recognition—astronomy for the eyes and music for the ears—both requiring knowledge of numerical proportions. In antiquity the seven notes of the octave, in which the eighth note is a doubling of the vibration of the first, were assigned to the seven visible and moving heavenly bodies:  Moon, A, Mercury, G, Venus, F, Sun E, Mars, D, Jupiter “Middle C”, and Saturn B. There are five black notes on the piano keyboard between middle C and the C above it. If we add those pitches, the sharps and flats, to the seven white notes already mentioned, we have twelve pitches (the Chromatic scale) that are the same as the number of signs in the zodiac, showing the relationship between the two systems.

One axiom upon which the Hermetic principles of astrology are based comes from The Kybalion.  This is the Law of Vibration, which says,  “Nothing rests; everything moves; everything vibrates.” Hermetic teachings state that not only is all matter vibrating, but our emotions are also a manifestation of vibration. Therefore, emotions and desires are accompanied by vibratory rates, which may be lowered or raised at will by adepts.

Modern science suggests that ordinary people can accomplish the same thing. According to research by University of Missouri scientists published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, people can successfully improve their moods and boost their overall happiness in just two weeks, simply by listening with intention to specific mood-boosting music. Researchers at McGill University in Montreal say the response to music comes from the chemical dopamine. When we listen to a rhythm, our heartbeat actually synchs with it. A slow heartbeat with a strong diastolic pressure tells our brain that something sad or depressing is occurring. Fast beating is related to excitement, and a dreamy rhythm with occasional upbeats can signify love or joy. Hitler used martial music to stir aggression. Churches use hymns to inspire and comfort, while rock music energizes and activates people in various ways. It’s likely that types of music correspond to planets and signs; marches to Mars and Aries, waltzes to Venus and Libra, for example.

Tones are equally as important as rhythm. A major key sends a cheerful communication to the brain, while minor keys mirror sadness. Research shows that this has a powerful effect on the brain, directing our psyches to resonate with the type of music and to actually feel what’s being communicated, thereby altering our emotional state.

When a note is played on any instrument, the number of vibrations per second determines the pitch. If the octave to any note is played or sung, it has twice the number of vibrations per second. Therefore, the ratio between notes is 2 to 1 (or 2:1). In an intriguing parallel a formula stated in the Tao-te ching says, “One has produced two, two has produced three, and three has produced all the numbers by its cyclic repetitions.”

As for the planets, Mercury is gravitationally locked and rotates in a way that is unique in the Solar System. Astronomers once thought Mercury always kept the same side towards the Sun, like the Moon, meaning one rotation on its axis was the same as its orbital period, but this is not true. As seen relative to the fixed stars, Mercury rotates on its axis exactly three times for every two revolutions around the Sun. As seen from the Sun, in a frame of reference that rotates with the orbital motion, Mercury appears to rotate only once every two Mercurian years–a 2:1 ratio.

There is also an inherent geometry between Mercury and Venus, the first and second planets from the Sun. If the three points of Mercury’s “sunrise” noted above are plotted on a circle they form an equilateral triangle. If circles are drawn around the center points that are large enough to touch each other’s circumferences, the orbit of Venus exactly encloses the three circles.

In Atlantis Rising #69 I wrote about the amazing geometry of Venus’s orbit. From Earth’s point of view Venus traces a perfect five-pointed star over a period of eight years. Each time Earth and Venus “kiss,” at the time of Venus’s inferior conjunction, or when Venus is in alignment with the Sun and closest to Earth, one point of the star is formed. The conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn form an equilateral triangle every twenty years. The oppositions likewise form another equilateral triangle, so a six-pointed star is formed over a period of about 120 years. The orbits of all the planets have amazing geometric relationships in an exquisite synchrony of celestial mechanics.

Ernst Chladni was a German physicist and musician. Chladni’s technique, first published in 1787 in his book, Discoveries in the Theory of Sound, consisted of drawing a bow over a piece of metal whose surface was lightly covered with sand. The plate was bowed until it reached resonance, and the sand formed a pattern showing the nodal regions. The results became known as Chladni Figures.

Two centuries later, Hans Jenny, a Swiss doctor, artist, and researcher, published the bilingual book, The Structure and Dynamics of Waves and Vibrations. Jenny, like Chladni, showed what happens when materials like sand, spores, iron filings, water, and viscous substances are placed on vibrating metal plates and membranes. Shapes and patterns appear that vary from nearly perfectly ordered and stationary to those that are turbulent, organic, and in constant motion. Jenny called this new area of research Cymatics, from the Greek kyma, which means wave. The mystery of “solid matter” appears to be contained in sound and vibration.

A modern composer, Greg Fox, wrote Carmen of the Spheres, a composition that attempted to literally “hear” the planets as they orbit the Sun. His approach was to halve the planetary orbital period until he found the “pitch” of a planet orbiting the Sun. He created his music by raising that pitch 36 to 40 octaves.

Jim Bumgardner, a Los Angeles software engineer specializing in visualizations, created The Wheel Of Stars, a visualizer that utilizes data from the Hipparcos mission. Hipparcos was a satellite launched by the European Space Agency in 1989 that accurately measured over a hundred thousand stars. Bumgardner downloaded data that contains position, parallax, magnitude, and color information, among other things. The program puts the stars to an ethereal music of their own making, creating something magical.

A number of active spacecraft, including the “planet hunter” Kepler Space Telescope, use asteroseismology, which is the science that studies the internal structure of pulsating stars by interpreting their frequency spectra. Different oscillation modes penetrate to different depths inside the star. This technique turns tiny variations in stars’ light into sounds, measuring minuscule variations in a star’s brightness that occurs as sound waves bounce inside the star. Using resonances, a picture is created of what the inside of a star looks like. The Kepler studied thousands of stars in its field in this manner.

In A Little Book Of Coincidence John Martineau says, “The planets have long been suspected of hiding secret relationships. In antiquity students of such things pondered the Music of the Spheres, the heavenly bodies singing their subtle and perfect harmonies to the adept.” Martineau asks if it is all just a coincidence? If not, what are we to make of these exquisite harmonies and geometric proportions?

In 1968, Russian scientist A.M. Molchanov’s research for the Institute of Applied Mathematics in Moscow resulted in a paper where he argued that the entire Solar System is a tuned quantum resonant structure, with Jupiter, largest of the planets, as the orchestra conductor. He wrote, “oscillating systems that have attained evolutionary maturity are inevitably resonant, and their structure is given by sets of integers, just as in quantum systems.” He also remarked “Even if every one of the billions of stars in our galaxy had a planetary system, it would not be able by chance to produce even one resonant system such as our Solar System.”

Plato said, “God ever geometrizes,” and like mathematics, music was discovered, not invented. It does seem as though harmony and proportion are the foundation of Creation. Music can be simple or complex, ranging from a solo voice to a symphony orchestra. Melody involves the consecutive playing or singing of notes, while harmony involves the simultaneous playing of notes like in a chord or multi-part singing. Duration, which is the length of time a note is played or sung, creates rhythm, or “beats” per measure. Different instruments playing different rhythms can create a multi-faceted musical experience. This might be compared to the durations of the planets’ orbits as well as their differing axial rotation periods, which through their mathematical relationships does create a sort of symphony that the ancients perceived and we are beginning to measure.

If the planets geometric relationships and resonances create, or result in, vibrations or frequencies, an astrologer who is equipped with knowledge of planetary harmonics, could identify what was “out of tune,” or imbalanced, in a birth chart. The ancient art of musical healing might then be used to harmonize the vibrations. What might the implications be for harmonizing the energies of an individual or even the Earth itself?

www.JulieLoar.com

Ceres: Goddess of the Asteroid Belt

What can this unique dwarf planet reveal about astrology and immortality?

“Ceres was the first to turn the earth with the hooked plowshare; she first gave laws. All things are the gift of Ceres; she must be the subject of my song.”

                              Ovid, Metamorphoses, Verses 341-344

 

On January 1, 1801, Giuseppe Piazzi pointed his telescope in the direction of the rocky objects that orbit the Sun between Mars and Jupiter and discovered what he thought was a new comet. Piazzi named the object Ceres, after the Sicilian goddess of grain, and Ceres became a planet for fifty years.  Three other objects were discovered in the next few years:  Pallas, Vesta, and Juno, which were also considered to be planets.  Later, William Herschel, discoverer of Uranus, argued that they were too small to be planets, and when the fifth, Astraea, was identified they were all re-classified as asteroids, which means “star like.”  By the end of the 19th century several hundred had been spotted, and at present, several hundred thousand asteroids have been given provisional designations. Thousands more are discovered every year.

Most planetary astronomers believe that the planets of our Solar System formed from a nebula of gas, dust and ices that coalesced around the developing Sun.  Although some have suggested that the asteroids are remains of a proto-planet that was destroyed in a massive collision long ago, and there is considerable mythic evidence to support this view, the prevailing scientific opinion is that asteroids are leftover rocky matter that didn’t become a planet.  It’s believed that insufficient mass, and Jupiter’s strong gravitational influence, caused collisions and captured many small bodies, perhaps placing the Trojan asteroids that precede and follow Jupiter.  Instead of sticking together, the planetesimals shattered, preventing them from becoming a larger planet. Astronomers believe that most of the main belt’s mass has been lost since the formation of the Solar System.

In 1930, 129 years after Ceres appearance, Pluto was discovered, and he was a planet for seven decades.  But in 2006, after the discovery of Eris, who was the tenth planet for a brief time, Pluto was demoted, becoming the first in a new class of objects called plutoids—objects in a 2:1 orbital resonance with Neptune. These events also caused a planet to be defined for the first time. Ironically, it was Pluto’s change in status, and the creation of new categories of objects in our Solar System, that resulted in a promotion for Ceres.  She was reclassified as a dwarf planet in September 2006, placing her on a level playing field with Pluto, and making her unique (so far), in the Solar System since she is the only dwarf planet in the Main Asteroid Belt.  Asteroid Vesta may also be a candidate once the Dawn spacecraft gets a closer look at her in 2011.  Dawn will then visit Ceres in 2015.

The combined mass of all the asteroids in the Main Asteroid Belt is less than that of the Moon, and Ceres contains approximately one-third of the total.  Unlike the lumpy, potato-like objects with lower gravity we normally expect to see, Ceres is spherical, and with a diameter of about 950 km, she is by far the largest and most massive object in the asteroid belt.  Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and ice mantle with a surface that is probably a mixture of water, ice and various hydrated minerals like carbonates and clays.  Ceres may contain a tenuous atmosphere with water vapor and also harbor an ocean of liquid water that makes her a target in the search for extraterrestrial life.

Ceres and Pluto share several correspondences.  They were both the first objects to be discovered in their respective belts, and both have the distinction of being the first of their kind in recent nomenclature.  Both were considered planets for decades, and both occupy highly populated belts of objects orbiting the Sun. There’s a symmetry between the Main Asteroid Belt and the Kuiper Belt, Pluto’s home, where four planets precede each belt; Ceres follows the terrestrial planets, and Pluto comes after the gas giants.

Ceres and Pluto are also profoundly linked in myth.  In the earlier Greek stories their names were Demeter and Hades. Demeter was the ancient Greek mother goddess of the greening of the Earth.  She oversaw cycles of life and death as well as preserving sacred law.  Demeter taught humanity the arts of agriculture:  sowing seeds, plowing and harvesting.  In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, dated to about the seventh century BCE, she is invoked as the “bringer of seasons.” According to Isocrates, an Athenian rhetorician, the greatest gift that Demeter bestowed was grain, the cultivation of which elevated humans above the animal kingdom and freed people from the seasonal migrations of the hunter-gatherer.

In myth, Demeter’s daughter Persephone (Prosperpina in Latin), was picking flowers in a field when she was abducted and raped by her uncle Hades/Pluto, god of the underworld. This violent act occurred with the complicity of her father, Zeus/Jupiter, which also mythically describes the abduction of the feminine principle that occurred as the patriarchy rose to power.

Demeter grieved for her daughter, or her own lost innocence, and withdrew to search for her.  Without her the Earth became barren, and people risked starvation.  Zeus sent gods with gifts to influence her, but it was not in his power to command her to make the Earth green.  Nor could the king of heaven order the crops to grow on his own, as the nature of her feminine fertility was not within his domain. This strongly suggests that Demeter was an earlier and more powerful goddess.  In fact, when Demeter was given a genealogy, she was the daughter of the Titans Cronos and Rhea, and therefore Zeus’s elder sister, even though Persephone was said to be his daughter.  Their mother, Rhea, finally intervened, and Zeus agreed to bring Persephone back.  Meanwhile, Hades/Pluto had tricked Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds, which meant she had to remain part of the year with him.  At the end of the tale, Demeter taught humanity the secrets of wheat and cultivating grain, pointing toward the deeper meaning of the story.

Demeter and Persephone were the central figures of the Eleusinian Mysteries that predated the Olympian pantheon. These were the most important rites of initiation in ancient Greece and are believed to have originated in Minoan goddess worship in Crete nearly 4,000 years ago. The road between Athens and Eleusis was called the Sacred Way as thousands of pilgrims from all levels of society, from Greece and beyond, made their way to celebrate the mysteries. The only requirements were never having committed murder and not being a ”barbarian,” that is, unable to speak Greek.

A binding vow of secrecy was required, and the penalty for breaking this oath was death, so we can only speculate from clues and indirect evidence what actually occurred.  But tradition says that the high point of the ritual was a eucharist where a “sheaf of grain was reaped in silence.” What little is known about the exact nature of the rites bears similarity to the Egyptian mysteries of Isis and Osiris, and Syrian and Persian mystery cults, which have similar themes.

It’s said that the secret mystery ritual of Eleusis held the symbolic key to immortality and the principle of resurrection.  Ancient writers asserted that the rites of Demeter promised the initiate a better life on Earth and happiness in the afterlife.  The Eleusinian Mysteries were seen as deeply spiritual and inspiring–a far older and more elevated approach than the intrigues of the battling and scheming Olympians–and offered an alternative religion well into the Christian era, as did the worship of Isis in Egypt.

Demeter’s emblem was the poppy, a bright red flower that grows among barley, or grain, which links her to altered states of consciousness as well as themes of death and resurrection.  Scholars say that the great Mother Goddess, who bore the names Rhea and Demeter, brought the poppy from Crete to Eleusis, which means “arrival,” or “advent,” and assert that in the Cretan cult, opium was prepared from poppies. In a clay statue, which resides at the Heraklion Museum on Crete, the Minoan poppy goddess wears the seed capsules in her diadem, source of both nourishment and narcosis.

The pomegranate played a key role in Persephone’s journey.  Hades tricked Persephone into eating the red seeds, which tied her to the underworld.  The number of seeds varies from four to six, but determined the number of months she had to spend as queen of the underworld.  The pomegranate has been a symbol of life and death, rebirth, resurrection and eternal life, fertility and marriage, abundance and prosperity throughout history and in almost every religion. The abundant seeds held the promise of cyclical resurrection.  Almost every aspect of the pomegranate, its shape, color, seeds, juice, has come to symbolize something.

Ceres rotates on her axis in nine hours, orbits the Sun in 4.6 years, and stays in an astrological sign about 4.6 months, creating an intriguing harmonic resonance with the number of months Persephone spent in Hades.  Ceres astronomical symbol is the sickle, or barley hook, an ancient harvest implement and instrument of reaping.  It seems natural that Ceres should be astrologically aligned with Virgo. Virgo is the only female among the zodiacal constellations, and other than the Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux, she is the only human figure.  Virgo is depicted as a maiden, holding a palm branch in her right and a single ear of wheat in her left.  Her brightest star is named Spica, “ear of wheat.” The symbolic eucharist of Eleusis is the perfect symbol of Virgo, and of the mysteries of alchemical transmutation, that occur in the intestines, the area of the body ruled by that sign.

Virgo is one of the oldest constellations and over time has been equated with every important feminine deity, including Ishtar, Isis, Demeter, Persephone, Medusa, Artemis, and Urania.  Richard Hinkley-Allen says, “Those who claim very high antiquity for the zodiacal signs (15,000 years ago), assert that the idea of these titles originated when the Sun was in Virgo at the spring equinox, the time of the Egyptian harvest.”  Astrologer Bernadette Brady has remarked that, “Whatever image is chosen across time and cultures, what is contained in Virgo is the archetype of the harvest-bringing goddess, pure and good, independent of the masculine.  She gives the four seasons and is the source of the fertile Earth.”

Earth is the womb of the Goddess, and her mysteries of generation and regeneration include the seeds that are planted, germinated and the subsequent harvest that results. We reap the harvests of our lives according to the seeds that we have sown, and the manner in which the garden has been tended, carefully winnowing the wheat from the chaff as we learn our lessons.

When the sickle is wielded, the crop is severed from the stalk and its connection to the Earth is terminated.  As the fruits of the Earth are gathered and consumed, the promise of another harvest is implicit.

The symbolic themes of Ceres and Virgo are roots, fertility, plenty, crops, renewal, cultivation, nourishment, substance, eucharist and communion.  Astrologically, I believe Ceres/Demeter represents reclamation and renewal and can reveal what needs to be uncovered deep in the underworld of our consciousness.  Examining Ceres place in a natal chart we can ask, what is hidden, lies fallow, or is imprisoned in the underworld of our psyches that needs to come to the surface so our fertility returns and our personal gardens flourish?

Ceres reemergence as a planet, albeit a dwarf, is similar to her myth.  Her energy is reappearing from the underworld of our awareness and coming into her own. I believe this also represents the resurgence of the feminine principle, which must be reintegrated into humanity’s psyche.  The resolution involves a restitution and restoration of balance.

Pluto is seen as the astrological agent of transformation, but he must remain in the underworld.  Persephone/Proserpina, daughter of Ceres/Demeter, was his wife and queen, and each year she journeyed from above to below and back, reuniting with her mother to make the world green again.  What might the Persephone in each of us bring back from her annual journey to the underworld?  Her mother as “bringer of the seasons” teaches us that nothing really dies, but a cyclical descent to the underworld of our own psyche may be required for real growth to occur.  Bravely undertaken, this passage leads us toward a Sacred Union with the Goddess, revealing the “knowledge of the gods,” the superhuman qualities that reveal the true nature of immortality.

Sacred Anatomy Of Egypt

The Nile is the longest river in the world, flowing uniquely south to north for more than five hundred miles.  The ancient Egyptians called their land Khemit, which meant “black land.”  The desert was called red land.  One was rich and fertile while the other was harsh and forbidding.  The Egyptians saw their land as a sacred reflection of heaven on earth and perceived the Nile as the earthly mirror of the Milky Way, the celestial river.

As above, so below  

Around the world Earth energy, and the phenomenon often called vortexes, seems to compel people to build on sacred land again and again.  Over thousands of years this urge brought forth a network of global sacred sites which naturally unfolded due to the inherent power of locations which lie at intersections along this invisible “grid.”

Looking at a map of Egypt it’s easy to be struck by two things.  First, the rich Nile Delta and the river look very much like a lotus in bloom with a long stem.  Second, and more symbolically, the same image looks like a crosswise representation of a human brain and spine.  Seen this way, the ancient temples emerge into our awareness as energy centers, Chakras along the Nile.  The Nile can be seen as a reservoir of Kundalini energy, rising from the river’s origin in the south, infusing the sacred sites with spiritual force, and empowering them as places where the frequencies of those centers can be strengthened and balanced.

Whether or not the ancient Egyptians worked consciously in this manner and recognized such a connection, the telluric energy of the Earth resonates powerfully at these sites.  Even now after the structures of humans have been toppled the power of the sacred vibrations can be felt.  I believe the nature of the gods evoked at these shrines correlates with the nature of the Chakra with which they correspond.

Serpent Energy

There is a prevalence of serpent symbolism in Egyptian iconography.  The rearing head of a cobra, with hood spread wide, of the royal uraeus emerges from the brow of the Pharaoh and was an emblem of divine kingship.  Wadjet, the cobra goddess of the royal uraeus, was a fire-spitting serpent who was also the power behind the Eye of Re.  Sanskrit Kundalini is also a goddess, and this “raised serpent” feminine energy on Pharaoh’s crown is striking in its Kundalini imagery.  As representative of the sun god the cobra also suggests illumination.

Chakras of the Nile

Although thousands of years of patriarchy have eroded and sometimes demonized the Divine Feminine, to the Egyptians the archetypal energies of the gods took masculine and feminine form and were seen as equal.  The counterparts were like mirrored reflections of the same archetypal energy.  This is not obvious anymore and scholars have diminished the feminine aspects of these deities.  Because of this divine duality there are usually two temples at significant locations, each dedicated to a god or goddess, and each honoring one side of the polarity.  It may also be that some predynastic sites have yet to be discovered and still greater wonders still lie buried beneath the sands of time.

When traveling to Egypt with intention the particular character of each site, and its correspondence to the archetype of a particular Chakra, can be experienced in a deep way.  Healing and balancing of the energy centers can be accelerated by setting an intention to harmonize the particular “frequency” of the site.  People respond in different ways to this experience.  Some feel intense joy, others shed inexplicable tears.  Fear comes up for some as deep emotional blocks are released.  In all cases, profound healing and empowering can occur.

First Chakra,  Base of Spine  –Kom Ombo

The temple site of Kom Ombo was the ancient city of Pa-Sebek, dating  from predynastic times more than five thousand years ago.  This is actually a beautiful twin temple.  The right-hand temple was consecrated to the crocodile god Sebek, a god of immense fertility who is sometimes credited with the creation of the world.  The left hand temple was dedicated to Haroeris, an aspect of Horus called “the Great” who was a solar god of war.  These temples present a most appropriate dualism for the first chakra.  This twin temple still sits right next to the river, and the heat of the late afternoon sun shimmers palpably in the sanctuaries, still evoking the energy of the root chakra.  Through the support of the group (tribal consciousness), one man found courage here to end a difficult marriage and move on with his life.

Second Chakra,  Belly  –  Philae, Feminine Creation

Sacred to the goddess Isis, consort of Osiris and mother of Horus, this temple was actually moved after construction of the Aswan dam, stone by stone, and painstakingly reassembled on another island in the Nile above the flood plain.  Philae now sits in the middle of the Nile in magical grandeur like the legendary island of Avalon.  In an exquisite expression of the symbolism of the second chakra the ancient Egyptians believed that the miraculous flooding of the Nile had its origins at the original temple site. Egyptians were expected to make a pilgrimage to this temple of the goddess at least once in a lifetime.  Love of the mother and the magic of birth and generation can still be felt here.  In keeping with the legends of Philae one young woman who had been trying for years to become pregnant conceived a child a few months later.

Edfu, Masculine Creation  –  

Sacred to the god Horus in his form of the falcon, Edfu is the best-preserved temple in all of Egypt.  The temple is Greek and was built on top of a much earlier temple.  At this site the god Horus is seen to be reborn at sunrise every day.  Horus was the magical child of Isis and Osiris, conceived after Osiris had been murdered by his brother Seth and brought back to life by the magic of Isis just long enough to conceive him.  Horus avenged his father by rising into the sky as the Sun and defeated his uncle who symbolized darkness.  The masculine energy of procreation is strong here.  Courage to fight a battle or vanquish a perceived foe (inner or outer) can be summoned at Edfu.

Third Chakra,  Solar Plexus

The ancient city of Thebes, capital of New Kingdom Pharaohs for centuries, was renowned for wealth and power.  The Ram-headed god Khnum and the powerful invisible god Amon were worshipped here.  When Thebes lay in ruins the towns of Luxor developed to the south and Karnak in the north. They were once connected by a majestic avenue of sphinxes which is only partially restored today.

Luxor,  Radiant Potential

The imposing remains of the temple of Luxor, once called Waset, are haunting in their beauty.  This must have been a place of magnificence at its peak.  Even today it is humbling to walk the main aisle and look through pillars at the Nile.  The winter solstice sun sets exactly on the main axis of the temple, expressing a more feminine manner of the solar radiance of this center.  One woman came to Egypt, praying for a new love after the death of her husband and at Luxor found the courage to live alone.

Karnak, Power in Expression

The great temple of Amon at Karnak is indeed colossal and is the largest temple supported by columns in the world. It is so vast that half of Manhattan could reside in its walls.  What is evidenced here is power in expression and the outer appearance testifies to the masculine frequency of the solar plexus which still reverberates from the towering pillars of Karnak.  A man struggling with a manipulative boss was empowered at Karnak to return and face him.  He subsequently left that job and found a much more rewarding position.

Fourth Chakra,  Abydos, The Male Heart

Ancient Egyptians were expected to make a pilgrimage to Abydos, the ancient site of Abedju, at least once in their lifetime.  This location flourished six thousand years ago, making it one of most ancient in historical Egypt.  According to legend when the “evil” brother Seth murdered Osiris and cut his body into thirteen pieces (sometimes fourteen), and scattered them all over Egypt, the head was found here.  It is said Isis collected all the pieces but one and placed them in the ancient temple called the Osireion.  It was here at Abydos, through the power of her love and magic, that Isis brought Osiris back to life long enough to conceive their son Horus.  The theme of loving sacrifice and strong magic can still be felt at Abydos.  Time bends and folds at Abydos.  One woman who had lost a young child felt his presence strongly here and knew with certainty that his spirit lived on.

Dendara, The Female Heart

Dendara is the Greek name of the ancient city of Tentirys and was sacred to the goddess Hathor, sister of Isis and consort of Horus.  The Greek temple which remains is a reconstruction of an earlier structure which would have been thousands of years older. In the holy of holies of this temple the mysteries of the birth of cosmic order from primeval chaos were celebrated.  Even today the quality of the sacred feminine resonates in the silent darkness inside the temple walls.  The energy vibrates like sound waves, and the invisible matrix of sound supporting creation can be felt.  Dendara is a place of harmony and there are many examples of people who have been inspired and empowered musically at Dendara.

Fifth Chakra, Throat  –  Hermopolis  

Hermopolis was the Ptolemaic city of Hermes, Thoth to the Egyptians.  Called Khemnu in more ancient times it was believed to be the site where an Ibis egg, the bird sacred to Thoth, resulted in the creation of the world.  Ramses II built a temple at Khemnu from the materials at the abandoned city of Akenaton across the river.  Thoth-Hermes was god of wisdom and writing whose words held creative power.  Sadly, the temples were plundered by the Romans and little remains today so tours do not visit this site.

Saqqara, Words of Power

Saqqara, site of the stepped pyramid of Zoser, and designed by the famous architect and healer Imhotep, replaces Hermopolis as the current site for the fifth Chakra.  Imhotep became the model for the later Greek mythical Asklepios, father of modern healing, who inherited the Caduceus from Thoth-Hermes.  This is a powerful site of the creative word where a statue of Zoser still stares at the sky and speaks to the gods who eternally pass before his gaze.  Here many find courage to speak their truth and be willing to take the consequences.  One woman returned to face her mother and heal issues of control and domination.

There is no obvious counterpart location for the feminine polarity throat center, although in Greek myth Hermes was a hermaphrodite.  The female counterpart of Thoth was Seshat, and her powerful presence can be felt in every temple as she oversaw the “drawing of the cord” which established the foundation and stellar alignment before the temples could be built.  She was also called “Mistress of the House of Books,” so in some ways every hieroglyph is also her domain.

Sixth Chakra, Brow  –  Giza, Divine Vision

Giza sits at the base of the great Nile Delta where the river branches out innumerous tributaries before releasing her waters into the Mediterranean.  Giza was thought to be the embodiment of the eye of Ra.  The pyramids of Giza are the only remains of the seven wonders of the ancient world.  Spiritual work inside the Great Pyramid can be life changing, resulting in awakening of spiritual vision and conscious immortality.

The male-female duality within the Great Pyramid is focused on the so-called King’s Chamber, built from igneous granite, and the Queen’s Chamber, formed from sedimentary limestone.  Although these chambers were given these names because of the ceilings and the Arab manner of burying men and women, they got the polarities right.  Many people discover unconscious blocks from ancient and forgotten “failed” initiations inside the King’s Chamber and experience a profound release.  By contrast, the Queen’s Chamber is a place of synthesis and can confer a deep sense of peace and healing.

One man finally understood his life’s purpose and returned to his ordinary life with a sense of resolve and determination to make necessary changes.  For another woman who was battling cancer her mediation in the Great Pyramid completely eliminated her fear of death and gave her courage to face whatever came.  Subsequently, her cancer went into remission.

Seventh Chakra, Crown  –  Heliopolis, City of the Sun

Located within the Delta of the Nile at the north, and called Immu in ancient times, this city was active five thousand years ago.  Heliopolis is a Greek word for city of the sun. Now buried under the suburbs of far north-east Cairo nothing remains at Heliopolis but a solitary red granite obelisk, quarried long ago from Aswan.  This site was once of immense importance and boasted the chief temple of the “High God” Re.  Likewise Atum , the creator god was worshipped here, and embodying crown Chakra imagery, the Benu bird, similar to the Phoenix, rose from the ashes to be reborn.

Alexandria, Star of the Sea 

Although no temple remains at Heliopolis the modern city of Alexandria now crowns the Nile.  Alexandria is seated on the shores of what was the cosmic ocean where the ancient Light House was also one of the wonders of the ancient world. On the feminine side, in recent years an international project has resulted in construction of a fabulous new Library of Alexandria which stands as a beacon of wisdom to the world.  No doubt goddess Seshat had a hand in that.

There is still tremendous masculine power where the ancient Light House once stood and radiated a beacon over the waters of the Mediterranean.  Standing at the top of Egypt a feeling of all pervading oneness, of unity with all things, can be felt.  This unity  permeates the awareness and heals a sense of painful sense separateness disappears.  My own experiences at Alexandria include climbing deep inside a catacomb from the transitional tome between Egyptians and Greeks to discover a carved image of two serpents which I wrote about in my first book and thought had sprung from my own imagination.  Instead, it may have been memory.  It was a stunning confirmation to trust my guidance.

Author & Speaker: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern World