Glossary and Other Interesting Things
or Random Thoughts by David
G - I
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Everybody's favorite wizard from "Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien. I have heard (FOAF) that Tolkien originally claimed that his writings were actual histories that he translated but that he didn't think anyone would believe him so he repackaged it into a "fantasy" story.
Now that would be an amazing rewrite of human history.
I have been accused of looking like him. Not the movie actor, but people's imaginations of what he looks like. Purely coincidental.
Working with Earth magic. The telluric forces that flow through the planet are, according to many systems of magic, detectable, and directable. Sacred places -- groves, cathedrals, wells, ancient graveyards, mounds, barrows, etc. -- were found by the tribe's shaman. They know how to find the concentrations of Earth energies. Shamanism is after all a land based, nature based spiritual system. Feng Shui is one of the more developed geomantic systems. Ley Lines are thought to be the flow of the Earth's energies.
My father's family came from Germany. A lot of magic comes out of Germany. There are several books exploring the Occult aspects of World War II and Nazi Germany.
"The Morning of the Magicians" by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier is an interesting read that touches on this topic.
I suspect that there is a lot of Karma is being cleared in Germany too as a result of the Nazi years. It is important to be very careful when exploring magical systems. Seeking power alone as your magical objective is when you get Hitler types. Shamanism is about healing and service. My personal mantra for this work is to receive Wisdom, Imagination, Knowledge, Skill, Magic, Power and Love -- in that order. Power is the next-to-last item on the list. The first five give me the tools to handle Power safely and Love binds it to highest good.
Germany, by the way, is the large land mass south of Denmark.
Update from 1/1/2011 -- I have since expanded my personal mantra to be, "Wisdom, Imagination, Knowledge, Skill, Magic, Power, Vibrant Good Health, Perfect Abundance, Fun, and Love." After all, one has to be able to effectively wield the first six and have a good time doing it. All with Love, of course.
"Glastonbury is on a former island in the Somerset marshes.
It's a lively town with a long history and rich traditions. Once a megalithic centre, the location of a Goddess and a Druid college, its medieval abbey became a famous pilgrimage place.
Today it's a town of 9,000 people with a unique atmosphere. It hosts a rock festival, several conferences and lots of events. People visit from the world over, pulled by a special something...
Glastonbury is overlooked by the Tor, a majestic hill of power and home to the king of the fairies, Gwyn ap Nudd. He likes visitors.
Legend has it that, shortly after the Crucifixion, Joseph of Arimathaea built the first Christian church where the abbey ruins now stand.
King Arthur was buried here, and Glastonbury has been home to Saints Patrick, Dunstan, David and Bridget. During the 20th Century it was a mecca to occultists, mystics, healers and "cultural creatives". It was the centre of the secret 'psychic war effort' in World War Two.
After the late 1960s an alternative community developed, giving the town new life as its traditional economy declined. "
For years I have been exploring the powerful feelings I get in the presence of undeciphered languages. The most well known are Indus script and Rongo Rongo. Then, of course, there is the Voynich Manuscript -- a piece of high weirdness if there ever was one.
These feelings are the source of my Chinese Talking Rock experiences. Basically, it feels to me like the cosmos is communicating to me on levels that are deeper than language I can hold. Just looking at ancient scripts charges me with energy. This is weird because I am not particularly good at foreign languages. I gave up on French after I learned "Where is the bathroom?"
Still I am deeply called by something. My explorations of glyphs, a kind of magical writing that, in the case of my own projects, is my response to the "story" that the cosmos seems to be telling me.
We come in male and female varieties so we tend to think our Divine must have similar forms.
There is a great passage from the Bible: Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. ". Earlier He/She says in Genesis 1:26, "Let us make man in our image... " (emphasis mine).
These curious passages strongly suggest to me that God is both male and female. Something which appears in many early religions. If not as true hermaphrodite at least as a shared equal partnership.
Read June Singer's "Androgyny : The Opposites Within" for an excellent exploration of this topic.
It is interesting to me that some of the Pagan community, who worship the Lord and Lady, God and Goddess, want to place the Goddess as "First among Equals".
My personal approach in doing this work is not to promote the return of the Matriarchy nor keep the Patriarchy in power. Both lead to dominance. It is likely that the reason the Matriarchy was "overthrown" by the Patriarchy was for the same kinds of reasons that the Matriarchy wants to overthrow the current Patriarchy -- dominance and control. To bring one back will just perpetuate the pendulum of power plays.
I want to generate the marriage of the two. It is out of the union of Goddess and God that some new energy will be birthed. Goddess as First among Equals feels like a backdoor to reintroduce the Matriarchy as the dominant energy.
That's my soapbox.
The Gordian Knot either represents brilliant "thinking outside of the box", or brutish power being used where wisdom was needed. It all depends on your perspective.
History has it that there was a very intricate knot tied by Gordius, the King of Phrygia. He created this as a kind of Phrygian "Sword in the Stone" style test since it could only be untied by the future ruler of Asia.
(If you want to know where Phrygia is I think it is Turkey somewhere. Check an historical map. I can't do everything here. I have a web site to finish. :) )
Then along comes Alexander the Great who cuts this mythical knot in two with his sword and goes on to conquer much of Asia.
The use of this term today refers to an intricate problem. Especially problems insoluble in its own terms; a riddle that keeps leading you endlessly in loops, circling back around to the origin.
Of course if there was a more elegant and erudite solution to the original knot-that-could-not-be-untied it will remain a mystery thanks to Alex.
I first encountered this word in Robert Heinlein's book Stranger in a Strange Land. I am not a big fan of Heinlein. The few books of his that I have read seemed to be his way to release a lot of adolescent male fantasies. I hope saying this does not get me lynched by Heinlein fans. Stranger in a Strange Land was the one book of his that, at the time I read it -- 30+ years ago -- impressed me. One of the important pieces that I pulled for this book was the word "grok". It is a kind of understanding that resonates on every level of your being. It is a spiritual experience. You know something so completely that you become one with it. Worth seeking for everything you encounter.
This happened to me a lot when I was a kid.
Fortunately as an adult and being shamanically trained I have been able to re-language this experience into something powerful, useful and truly educational.
It is very important, especially when working with Spirit, to be very good at grounding. In fact, I would say that this is the critical piece of training, the very first skill to learn. To be successful in Spirit work you need to bring the energies and knowledge into this physical reality in a way that is useable for you and for those you are working with.
I have worked with people who have made amazing and incredible connections with Spirit but they cannot ground it. Usually they go manic believing that they are God, which is true, but they believe that they are the next Christ or Buddha (and that we should be worshipping them). Unfortunately, they often end up in a psych ward after being arrested for digging up some stranger's lawn at 3 AM, stark naked, looking for the Alien cyberchip that will connect them with the Akashic records. Or something like that. I call these people Shooting Stars. There is no doubt in my mind that they have plugged into Cosmic Consciousness. But they have no tools or framework to comprehend and ground their experience.
There are many techniques for finding your center, feeling your rightful place in this world, on the ground. Meditation; mental training's of focus, intention, will power, memory and trust; digging in a garden; going for a walk; talking about mundane things with friends; balancing rocks.
Balance is the important key here. We are supposed to be in this world and in the Spirit realms. The shaman are known as the masters of two worlds.
I believe that there are two kinds of grounding nodes. Stationary and mobile, or geographic and individual.
There are places on the planet, sacred places, where one feels centered, whole, connected, etc. Even if you are in a state of personal chaos you can go to one of these places and calm down, find your center and be grounded.
There are also people (and probably animals like cats) who are skilled at holding a centered, grounded energy. They are calming to be with. People gravitate to them. Sometimes they are perceived as spiritual teachers and guides. Sometimes they are just this guy sitting on a rock carving a stick and smoking a pipe. Bodhisattvas come in many forms.
Well, let's get real here. Shamanism, as is true of any nonscientific, non-materialistic practice (read magic, religion, spirituality), is, in the Western culture, just plain weird. It operates in the realms of magic and Spirit.
And it works.
I can't explain or prove how it works, but then I can't explain how quantum tunneling and Bell's theorem work either. There are many modalities for interacting with "reality". I refer you to Ken Wilber's book "The Marriage of Sense and Soul" for an excellent exploration of different modalities of knowing.
What I do know, in addition to my experience of the reality and "truth" of shamanic perspectives, is that human beings are map-making machines. We map our experience every second of every nano second.
It is how we make sense of the world. It is how we explain what we are experiencing. Consequently we are very good at designing and running map making systems. However, the "map is not the territory", the "menu is not the meal". These various map making systems are very useful tools for accomplishing things in our lives but none of them are "TRUE. "
Science is a map making system trying to "explain" our world. Religion, psychology, art, poetry, shamanism, etc. are all map making systems that have their own unique tools suited to effecting some interaction in the world, in reality.
If I need a computer, I go to science. They have really great map making systems for making fantastic computers. If I want to know about Love I do not go to the scientists. They are trying to convince me that Love is just a bunch of brain chemistry gone amok.
I go to the poets. They have great map making systems for understanding and working with Love.
Shamanism is just another set of tools. I won't use shamanism to create a telephone, science really has that one down.
(Though there are stories of shamanic peoples contacting each other through shamanic means. Stories of people going to speaking trees, telling the tree to deliver the message to such and such a person.
Anthropologists noticed two things :
1. That it worked. The person got the message and brought home the butter and eggs.
And 2. That the practice seemed to be dying out. When asked why, the people responded that they didn't need to use the trees anymore. They had telephones.
Is this an anthropological FOAF story?)
I also know that humans tend to be very practical. If your map making system says "cute cuddly kitten" and it is really a "man eating tiger" then you will abandon that particular mapping system real fast! Shamanism has been around for more than 40,000 years. A pretty good indicator that something real is happening here, even if Martin Gardner and Amazing Randi and science can't explain it in terms of reality as they define it.
These people have made a science of spiritual techniques. Their yogas, meditations, mantras, yantras and general approach to life are carefully designed and researched paths to activate your connection to the Divine.
Of course, as is true of all encoded spiritual systems, there is a lot of dogmatic do's and don'ts which read like cosmic laws but are just spiritual habits that are punishable by law. Their maps have become their territories.
Holograms are very cool. Somehow they contain three dimensional visual information that a regular photograph cannot. A hologram looks like the object suspended in space. You can move from side to side and see around the object just a bit.
Another really interesting fact about holograms is that every part of the hologram contains all the information to create the entire image. For example, say you have a twelve inch hologram of a train and a twelve inch photograph of a train. Now cut out a one inch section of the train's headlight from both the photograph and the hologram.
When you look at the one inch piece from the train photograph you will see a picture of the headlight. When you look at your one inch piece of your hologram you will see an image of the entire train. If you continue this process by cutting out train headlights from the smaller and smaller bits of the original hologram they will yield a complete image of the original train hologram. (However, each version will have more grain, more noise in the image.)
This wonderful fact about holograms (that the individual parts contain the whole) has led several physicists to suggest that the physical world we live in might be a "hologram" of two hyper universes interacting in the same way that light interacts to create a hologram (called an interference pattern). We are living in a space-time hologram. Which means that every part of our universe contains a complete version of the entire universe across space and time -- which opens the possibility of seeing or traveling to any place or any time in our universe, a terrifically "high weirdness" kind of idea, to be sure! And a possibility that surprises no shamanic practitioner I know.
The trick, as with all things in life, is to figure out how to do this.
Or as mystics have always said, "We are all one."
Or to say it the way the alchemists would, "As above so below."
Or, from the poets, "To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour..."
William Blake "Auguries of Innocence"
A current best selling fictional work," The Da Vinci Code", by Dan Brown explores the mystery of the Holy Grail. This is explored also by the nonfiction book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln.
Supposedly the Holy Grail is the vessel that Christ used in his last supper to share the wine. It was also supposedly used to capture Christ's blood from his wounds on the cross.
Speculation is that the Holy Grail (Sangraal in French) is a code word to communicate a great Christian secret (heresy) -- that Jesus Christ was married to Mary Magdalene (a high ranking female in the lineage of the House of Benjamin) and had children -- royal children since Jesus was the King of the Jews -- so the Sangraal (Holy Grail) was really the code for talking about the Holy Blood (Sang Real -- Blood Royal in French) -- Jesus' children. Descendants of whom are alive today and protected by secret societies such as the Knights Templar. Read the book "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" for a more in depth exploration of this idea.
Joseph of Arimethaea supposedly brought the Holy Grail to England.
Much of what is taught in modern Christianity does not match very well with historical Christianity. See information about the Nag Hammadi scrolls. Also read about the Council of Nicea where, in 325 AD, the books to be included in the Bible were voted on (some 80 plus gospels were excluded) and where the Divinity of Christ was also voted upon. Up to that point in history Jesus Christ was considered by Christians to be a powerful and important prophet, but not a divine being. A Google.com search on the Council of Nicea will give you 15000 and counting pro and con websites for your conspiracy hungry selves.
Once again politics corrupts.
Mind boggling if true.
Science and traditional medicine are quite challenged by homeopathy. For years they dismissed it as bogus medicine. Then, a few years back a group of scientists decided to test it. And it worked as advertised. They wrote their science paper and submitted it to some mainstream medical journal. The editors were appalled and basically said 'This cannot work. We can't see what you did wrong. You have to have done something wrong because it goes against our beliefs. If you can duplicate your results and have others duplicate your results we will publish it. '
Expecting failure the editors were completely appalled and stunned when those scientists and others duplicated their results. Begrudgingly true to their word they did publish the paper. However, they prefaced with a huge disclaimer to the effect of "this is impossible, it can't be true, we are not sure what the mistake is but there has to be one because it goes against our beliefs, please, please someone find the flaw... "
Reminds me of the Catholic Church's response to Gallelio's telescope and support of the heliocentric view of the solar system -- that the Earth revolves around the Sun -- not as the church had claimed -- the Sun etc. revolves around the Earth. Their response was to bring him before the Inquisition, threaten him with roasting, put him under house arrest to silence him.
So, what is homeopathy? In the late 1700's Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, began looking for better forms of treatment than were available in his day.
He came to the realization that :
1. God wants us healthy.
2. God would not trick us.
3. Therefore God has left us clues as to the best ways to heal ourselves.
He conducted an experiment on himself by taking cinchona bark (quinine) to see what would happen. He was surprised to experience, briefly, the symptoms of malaria. This made him wonder if perhaps quinine cures malaria because it can produce the symptoms of malaria in a healthy person. 'Like cures like' -- 'similia similibus curentur' -- to be Latin about it. This was God's clue system. The plant that causes similar symptoms as the disease is the cure for the disease. This idea was the birth of homeopathy.
For example, scarlet fever causes hot, dry, flushed skin and hallucinations. Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade) produces similar responses in a healthy person. So Hahnemann used Belladonna to treat scarlet fever.
Or use onions to treat a cold, because onions cause the eyes and nose to run.
Now Belladonna is poisonous. Hahnemann's second brilliant insight was to dilute his medicines down to their essence. Or to language it shamanically, he was working with the Spirit of the medicine.
This extreme dilution is a defining characteristic of homeopathy and is what causes science such conniption fits. The dilution's are so radical that it is thought that there are no physical remnants, not even a molecule, in the final medicine. Hahnemann called this his potency idea. It is the paradoxical idea that the more you dilute a medicine, the more powerful it becomes.
Science can't explain how a substance which has no molecules of the original material can cure anything. And the results are statistically higher than the placebo effect can account for (and who knows what the placebo effect really is!).
I have had mixed luck with homeopathy. Some things I have tried didn't seem to make any difference. However, I have been to traditional doctors with the same results.
Arnica, used to treat bruising and other trauma, works wonders for me. A bruise that used to last weeks is gone in a few days. I used to train in Kung Fu, a martial art. As in all martial arts, there are lots of bruises and other trauma, especially for me. I had lots of opportunities to test homeopathic Arnica.
This is an ancient divination tool from China. Ancient as in 2205 BC to 1150 BC. One of the best translations of this work is by Richard Wilhelm and Cary Baynes.
It is a complex system of solid and broken lines stacked six high into 64 hexagrams by a process using coin tosses or the ritual manipulation of Yarrow stalks. Each hexagram and each line in the hexagram has meaning. The commentaries were ultimately revised by Confucius.
Here Spirit is given its chance to speak to us through "random chance". You define your intention/question and then toss the coins to let Spirit manipulate the toss to generate the hexagram lines into the meaningful pattern that answers your question. It is amazingly powerful and accurate.
I don't use it very much, however, because I am a very visual person. The I Ching is all words and poetry with some interesting line structures on the side. My brain locks up. I work much better with Tarot cards, Soul cards and my Diviner's Harp.
Terrance McKenna and his brother Dennis have an entirely different perspective on the 64 Hexagrams as outlined in their book "The Invisible Landscape". Through the shamanic use of entheogens Terrance and Dennis learned about the structure of Time and Reality. It has to do with 64 individual flows of time(based on the I Ching) that weave together to create a holographic reality. This information was communicated (apparently) from insectoid anthropologists thousands of years in the future. These 64 different time waves are due to arrive at a single nodal point December 21, 2012. This also happens to be the end of the Mayan 25,000 year calendar. Sort of a jackpot moment where reality as we know it will become something completely different.
A little town outside of Monmoth, Oregon, between Eugene and Salem. It has several great antique stores and a old time soda fountain that serves the best chocolate malt! Sometimes we drive up there just for the malt. They serve a good turkey sandwich, too.
Well, I have some bad news. We made a special trip through Independence for a malt and turkey sandwich and sadly the soda fountain is gone. I am still grieving.
An ancient undeciphered language from the Indus Valley. Nobody knows what it says so what who am I to talk?
In my opinion, our culture made a big mistake when it jumped onto the Freud/Jung band wagon that describes our inner landscape as three parts (i.e. Id, Ego, Superego). It has left the general populace with the notion that the Ego as just one aspect of our selves and the Id as just one other aspect of ourselves. Of course Freud's and Jung's concepts were much more complex than this but the general notion seems to be this simplified description of inner self as three parts.
It is a description that has never worked well for me. My inner landscape experience is better described as a vast terrain where some "overseer me" looks out to see thousands of campfires scattered about. Each campfire represents a different aspect of myself -- my inner tribes.
Each tribe has its own set of needs, interests, agendas, wants, complaints, etc. Occasionally one tribe will make a coalition with another tribe or two or three and then they all rush in and jump the overseer me, tie me down, and commandeer me into some experience that fulfills their current agenda (i.e. that sudden rush of anger over a trivial experience like being honked at (by some idiot, of course. It is Never my fault...) when the light just turned green). Or the coalition will convince me that I really DO need that last piece of chocolate cake, even if I have already had two pieces and Annah hasn't had any yet...
My inner experience is more like trying to govern a large country with lots of different people who have different perspectives and needs.
I hope I am doing a better job of it than our current government is doing.
Intention is the keystone to shamanic work. It acts as a "magnet" to attract the spiritual help and guidance for a particular situation. It also serves as a framework for understanding the experience. Shamanic journeys are dreamlike in their imagery and juxtaposition of information.
My role as a shamanic practitioner is to formulate a powerful and succinct intention that gets at the core of the issues. Sometimes an hour or more is spent with a client just finding this piece of clarity.
Once the intention is crafted then my role is to create a powerful container for Spirit to work through. Focus, will power, intention, memory and trust. Using my will power I am clearly focusing on the intention as well as the information that is arriving through the journey. I am trusting that Spirit is delivering the exact perfect healing for my client and I need to remember as much of it as I can hold to deliver that package.
Technically I don't have to remember any of it. The work is being done by Spirit whether I bring it back to share or not. People often do better and heal faster if they have something tangible to work with. It is a helpful tool to accelerate their reception of the work.
The geography of Home Sweet Home.
One of the unfortunate side effects of Scientific Materialism and modern psychology is that we are raised to believe that our internal experiences are all inside our head. While in one sense this is true, this implies that the dimension of my internal experience is approximately the size of my physical head.
The shamanic / magical / spiritual perspective sees our internal experiences as a window into an infinitely large realm -- the landscape of Spirit. This realm is a shared realm -- shared with all the beings of the cosmos. We have our own piece of real estate but that is a small portion of the overall geography. Our access to this vast place is by going inside, inside our heads. See Within.