No 7: Autumn Equinox
- Hits: 10493
by M. Kelley Hunter
The present moment is one of power, of magic or miracle, if we could ever be wholly in it and awake to it.
— D.M. Dooling
Sacred space-time technology gives us the capacity to alter reality. Science is currently monitoring the decrease in magnetic fields, which hold the grids of concensus reality in place. As the magnetic fields are decreasing, the heart beat of Earth is pulsating more rapidly. We are dancing to a changing rhythm, a new frequency, reality is shifting more rapidly. When we are bring our full attention to our presence in the present, spirit incarnates through us. There are particularly powerful moments and places for this to happen. Working with sacred space, one becomes aware that if the space is powerful enough, time becomes a less important factor. The reverse is also true: that a particularly potent time can focus power in any receptive place. The combination of both is the juiciest.
Earth is our sacred space and home center, the greater body and ground of our experience. Intimately related to this unique planet, we are wrapped in the glittering atmosphere of larger cosmic space. The sky is our sacred clock, timing the celestial choreography that spirals in longer and shorter cycles. As members of the local solar system, we on Earth are Sun dancers along with our planetary neighbors. The Sun as our common center and vital light, and our Moon, which reflects that light in inner and outer rhythmic tides, are primary factors in sacred timing. We know how powerful new and full Moons, Solstices, Equinoxes and eclipses are in ceremony and ritual.
In addition, various geometric angles made between planets from our perspective define powerful moments with particular dynamics. These planetary patterns can be smooth or active, yin or yang, receptive or dynamic. The flavor of planetary angles is defined by sacred geometry, dividing the 360-degree circle into various harmonics with a base number. A 90-degree angle is based on number 4, making a Cross right angles in the circle, and indicating that action and manifestation are in order. Other angles, like120 degrees, based on 3, or 60 degrees based on 6, are smoother in their flow. An opposition of 180 degrees based on 2 is a heightened polarity like the full Moon. We can divide the circle by any number to find corresponding harmonics in the planetary patterns. Time, as defined on Earth, is closely affected by the planetary hands on the cosmic clock. The more distant backdrop of fixed stars plays also plays a role, timing longer cycles.
Astrology, the language of the stars, is a language of the soul, a stellar poetry. Its power is in the potent imagery and energy of the astral bodies that inspires our imagination and offers transformational awareness. Let me share with you a vision of current of celestial choreography to incorporate into your inner and outer work this fall.
The New Moon on last July 4 was aligned the star Sirius, the brightest star in the sky. Known as the star of Isis by the Egyptians, this alpha star of Canis Major, the Big Dog, is considered the star of their origin by the Dogon people of present day Mali. Thousands of years of their oral tradition have been confirmed by modern science in determining that Sirius is indeed a double star, as they have always known, with a 50-year cycle. This star of the Goddess sparkled its exquisite light into the seeding of the New Moon in July, and may come to fruition beyond one Moon cycle, birthing its radiant gift in April,1998. This 9-month gestation time is confirmed by Saturn, the planet of manifestation, structure and form, which completes a mini-circle in its orbit in that same time period.
Chiron & Pluto
Another body with a 50-year cycle is Chiron, a new and particularly potent player in catalyzing sacred space/time moments. This 1977 astronomical discovery was named for the Greek centaur who was famed as a teacher/healer. His name is intriguingly close to both Charon, the ferryman who rows souls across to Pluto's underworld (and the name of Pluto's single Moon), and to kai ros, a Greek word for time. This is not ordinary linear kronos time, ruled by Saturn; this is extra-ordinary time. Kairos means "the loaded time" or "the time of bursting potential," master teacher Jean Houston tells us, when "we have extraordinary access to the sacred principles, powers and creations that are yearning at the Crossroads of existence to enter into time."
This liminal threshold is very kairotic/Chirotic, allowing a new level of consciousness to manifest in the immediacy of our daily lives. Chiron is shamanic in its capacity to alter our time/space reality. It is the quantum leap that evokes synchronicities as it brings our multidimensional bodies into alignment. Chiron fuses the psyche with soma, integrating the psycho-spiritual experience in the here-and-now. Chiron transits accompany souls moving into and out of incarnation, at impregnation/birth and at death, as well as other profound life altering passages. These are the crisis times when the soul is calling for imminent manifestation of the spirit in the present.
In his book, A Sense of the Cosmos, philosopher Jacob Needleman describes Chirotic time as being "In front of the unknown: that means, when explanations break down and for a moment I am suspended between dreams. It is a moment of relative awakening." He continues:
"The real unknown is an emotional unknown....The real question of the momentbetween dreams is whether we can bear the vibration of this new feeling of the unknown which carries with it the taste of a different quality of intelligence, but which at the same time utterly exposes all our illusions about ourselves. We awaken to darkness.....Do I fear the darkness more than I love the awakening?"
Scientists are monitoring an increase in the frequency of the Earth's heart beat, called Hertz. Are we willing to pick up our pace to awaken from one dream and lucid dream our way into another reality? Are we ready to align with our Soul vibration, with the Soul of Earth?
Chiron is a key dancer in the celestial choreography this fall and indicates the healing key to a higher consciousness. Chiron has a penchant for unique moments and gives a special accent to other planetary patterns. Chiron stepped firmly across the Scorpio threshold on September 2, the day after a new Moon eclipse. In Scorpio, the sign of the deep underworld of mystery, passion and power, Chiron will plumb the deepest fears and desires that motivate our actions. It is a sign of letting go--of old resistances and fears that interfere with the emergence of a higher potential. Here we truly stand "in front of the unknown." We are tested in our capacity to tune into the sub-atomic energy fields, to align our desires and will with the higher Love and Will. To desire, to imagine, to will, to create. This is divine conception, from the darkness of the cosmic womb into the light of consciousness.
Scorpio is Pluto's sign. The energetic connection between Chiron and Pluto heats up, as we move toward a conjunction of these two powerful bodies at the threshold of the millennium, December 31, 1999, their first meeting since1941. Pluto, the deepest gong of archetypal experience, entered Sagittarius in November of 1995, sounding a new tone in our collective experience that lasts to 2008. Pluto in the sign of the Truth Seeker increases the creative and emotional intensity of what we might call erotic intuition.
A fiery Sagittarian form of wisdom, intuition is defined by educator Margaret Blanchard (in The Rest of the Deer) as a "realization of wholeness, a kind of insight which simultaneously connects both internal and external ways of knowing...." We tap this intuitive capacity by "entering an experience; viewing it, as if it were the interior of a globe, from all sides; understanding the vitality which illumines it; expressing that energy symbolically; and allowing that symbol to tell its own story." This approach allows us to enter new dimensions of emotional/creative expression and relationship. This is the essence of ceremonial and ritual work, of sacred time/space technology, which gives birth, manifestation, to new awareness in the moment.
Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune
The week of October 9-15 brings direct stations of Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune. These planets are apparently stopping and turning to forward motion--from our point of view. These are potent moments, as each planetary energy is focused in a heightened way. These planetary stations can be used to direct attention on our experience of that particularly planet, in this case the energies of expansion, awakening and illusion vs. dreamtime. A week of three such turn-arounds is a rare opportunity for relignment of our space-time reality.
And that same week, Chiron squares Uranus, forming a 90-degree relationship. This square will manifest events that represent the new vibrational frequency. Uranus is like lightning that can bring sudden and unexpected insights into view. It is the Higher Mind, the Witness that awakens us with its electrical charge. With Chiron we have the potential for synchronicities that seem magical, but are based on the deeper undercurrents that have been gathering. In Scorpio we will learn to work more intentionally with our desire bodies. As our emotional bodies are brought into a higher vibration, we face our deepest fears and our deepest desires. Relationships between individuals and circles of people will click in to further the changes already resonating at higher frequencies. We cannot depend on the old ways, as the energy field is being reconfigured. As Neptune trims the edges of late Capricorn, it, too, has been working with a Chiron square much of this year to thin the veil of illusion and refine reality. Neptune changes sign in January, moving into Aquarius for 14 years. The opening of this new phase is worth celebrating itself.
Mars & Venus
Bearing further witness to the theme of deep emotional exploration, Mars and Venus, the emotional polarity planets, are both Crossing transformational Pluto--Mars on September 28 and Venus on October 11. We cut the cord of outworn responses in both our male and female psyche. On October 19, Mercury joins Chiron in Scorpio, squaring Uranus, to seal the alchemical vessel for the union of Mars and Venus on October 25 in Sagittarius. The truth of love is the greatest mystery. Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore wrote a mystery play, called The King of the Dark Chamber--very Plutonian, as Pluto is the god of the underworld!. Listen to this love dialogue between the King and his Beloved Queen Sudarshana:
Sudarshana: Why do you not allow me to see you in the light?
King: So you want to see me in the midst of a thousand things in broad daylight! Why should I not be the only thing you can feel in this darkness?
She: But I must see you--I am longing to have a sight of you.
He: You will not be able to bear the light of me--it will only give you pain, poignant and overpowering.
She: How can you say that I shall be unable to bear your sight? Oh, I can feel even in this dark how lovely and wonderful you are: why should I be afraid of you in the light? But tell me, can you see me in the dark?
He: Yes, I can.
She: What do you see?
He: I see that the darkness of the infinite heavens, whirled into life and being by the power of my love, has drawn the light of a myriad stars into itself, and incarnated itself in a form of flesh and blood. And in that form, what aeons of thought and striving, untold yearnings of limitless skies, the countless gifts of unnumbered seasons!
She: Am I so wonderful, so beautiful? When I hear you speak so, my heart swells with gladness and pride. But how can I believe the wonderful things you tell me? I cannot find them in myself! He: Your own mirror will not reflect them--it lessens you, limits you, makes you look small and insignificant. But could you see yourself mirrored in my own mind, how grand would you appear! In my own heart, you are no longer the daily individual which you think you are--you are verily my second self. She: Oh, do show me for an instant how to see with your eyes!
How do we see with the eyes of Pluto in Sagittarius?
In the bright crystal of your eyes Show the havoc of fire, show its inspired works And the paradise of its ashes. --Paul Eluard
In love, much goes on in the dark erotic realm of the unconscious that is difficult to speak of. This is why intuition is important. Our souls make a contract, and the power of this love reveals to us the wounds to be healed. In love we enter the unknown, as we seek new paradigms of relationship. We must trust our intuition and our deepest, truest instincts to align with the soul vibration in ourselves and with each other.
The cosmically busy month of October ends with a New Moon on Halloween, one of our holydays. This New Moon in Scorpio is conjunct Chiron--Chiron does love these special moments. This Moon squares Uranus, indicating another month of deep healing on the emotional level, as we prepare for yet another joining of Venus and Mars. In December, around Solstice, Venus and Mars conjunct in Aquarius, very close to Uranus. This repeat conjunction of the two planets so soon is unusual and is happening because Venus slows down, preparing for her retrograde journey below the horizon. It is as if the Goddes s of Love bows to Neptune, the God of the Oceans, as it Crosses the threshold into Aquarius, saying, "Mars and I have merged to the highest level possible at this time. Now teach us to flow in the currents of Universal Love and Compassion."
The Sky Dance is a true mirror of our lives, giving witness to the ancient axiom "As Above, So Below." While sharing some of the celestial choreography of this fall, I have introduced several ways that stellar cycles signal sacred time: fixed star alignments, planetary stations, planets changing sign, planetary angles and interactions, and Chiron as a shamanic catalyst of altered consciousness.
Issue No. 6 >>
- Hits: 10260
by Dr. Patrick MacManaway
Indigenous and primal cultures around the world live according to a deeply seated understanding that they and the world around them are of one substance.
That we are made up of earthly matter is abundantly apparent. We are what we eat, or at lEast what our bodies' exquisite metabolism creates from what we eat through finely coordinated processes of reduction and synthesis. It is easy to trace the path of grain, berry and fruit from soil, seed and water to flesh and blood, hand and eye.
Less obvious however is the relationship of mind and spirit with our immediate and remote environment, and it is at this point - the question of whether we are intrinsically of the same stuff as our environment spiritually as well as materially, that primal and industrialized cultures diverge and disagree, with far reaching and profound consequences.
For the mystic and the shaman, there is no question of the imminent presence of mind and spirit surrounding us, differentiated and localized to varying degrees, pressing against us from all points, flowing around our human presence as water flows around those who dwell in the ocean. Indeed it is this very malleable, fluid quality of our spiritual environment that allows us to see ourselves more clearly, for the imprint that we make in the substance of spirit around us is the imprint of ourselves, no less distinct than the imprint of our hand and fingers in the soft warm dough that becomes bread.
Those who can perceive in this way, are drawn into a place where it becomes natural and inevitable to honor and respect their surroundings as they do their families and loved ones, and to an understanding of the need for a continual and mutual exchange of emotional and spiritual energy between humans and environment, nurturing that relationship in all the same ways that we nurture our most valued friendships.
The Geomantic Paradigm
One place that we can look for deeper insight into the nature of this most precious of relationships is into the geomantic paradigm and the understanding of our subtle environment that geomancy brings. The literal meaning of geomancy is "divination of the earth". Ancient and universal, it is both art and science, concerned with the discernment of the presence of subtle qualities in the landscape and of engaging in right relationship with these, to the mutual benefit of all participants in the ecology.
Geomantically-aware cultures base their cosmology around a mandala which symbolizes the interpenetration of spirit and matter, and defines the qualities of up and down, front and back, left and right that are encountered and experienced by spirit when it coalesces into a fixed point in time and space.
We are all familiar with these mandalas - they are the medicine wheel of the Native Americans, the encircled equal armed Cross of the Druid, the eight point circle of the Wiccan tradition and the Ba Gua of the Feng Shui practitioner.
Such mandalas are maps of the way that spirit moves and manifests through and around us, through time - perceived in the cycle of a life, of the year, the month, the day, the individual breath or thought - and through space, perceived similarly in our own auric fields, in our homes and offices, and in the wider landscape through which we make our journeys and pilgrimages.
Geometrically, the body of the earth and the body of a human being are very similar - the growth spirals and proportional geometry found in crystals, in water flow patterns, in sea shells, trees and flowers are the same as those which create the human form, from our DNA through our bones and out to our fingerprints. We are in fact in fractal symmetry to the earth, and through and beyond that to the cosmos at large.
The Earth's Energetic Envelope
It appears additionally that the earth has a subtle body or energetic envelope identical to that of a human being, and that energetically - as geometrically - we exist in a fractal form to that of the earth. Spirit clothes itself in matter according to its purpose and expresses itself through simple and universally shared numerical and geometrical principles, which themselves create and allow the presence of simple and universally shared energy bodies.
This very sameness between our internal and external worlds is one of the keys to understanding the web of mutual influence and interdependence that we call an ecosystem. We may observe how we are inclined to be molded by our energetic environment in a natural and unthinking way, much as one's mood is molded by a piece of music playing in the background.
We gradually embody and manifest the predominant energy of our surroundings. This is partly what gives regional communities their unique and individual flavor and characteristics, and it has been well noted that successive waves of culture through history tend to be molded as much by their experience of the landscape that they inhabit as by the ethics and ideology that they carry with them.
At a more local level we individually embody the energy of our living and working environments, and it is this very immediate relationship that leads us to spend so much time and resources on our various nests. This occurs in many visible ways - through the influence of color, texture, shape and form, but also in invisible ways, through the movement and patterning of the subtle life force that goes by so many names.
The Chinese make no distinction between the chi that runs through the meridians of the human body and the chi that runs in dragon lines through the landscape.
Dowsers are familiar with the effects of energy leys and underground water veins on the health of people, animals and plants living and growing in proximity to them - the effects of different kinds of earth chi.
Therapeutic practitioners of geomancy and earth acupuncture find identical energetic imbalances in their clients as in the energetic patterns in and around those clients' homes and work places, and the experience of needling into a human meridian to relieve or stimulate blocked or sluggish chi flow is the same experience as that of needling a line of earth energy, with similar effect.
What are we to draw from this as a conclusion towards finding a sustainable paradigm?
Modern Man's View of the Earth
It would appear that the crisis of unsustainablility that we are confronted with now is based on a cultural assumption that we humans are on the earth but not of the earth, that we are spiritual beings exploring a purely physical landscape for our own ends.
The Geomantic View
It is clear from a geomantic viewpoint that the energy body of the earth and the energy body of a person are as one, and that our health, at physical, emotional and psychospiritual levels are powerfully influenced by our surroundings - as indeed our surroundings are similarly influenced by the presence of the person.
Therapeutic geomancy furthermore informs us that all the tools and techniques that can be applied to the healing of humans and of the relationships between them can be applied to our interactions with our environment also, with similarly enhancing and vitalizing possibilities becoming available through that practice.
We are in constant relationship and dialogue with something of immense subtlety with which we share our form, our proportions and our very life essence.
Sustainability is a consequence of right relationship, of living in integrity with the truth of our intuition and our dream self - waking and sleeping - for the seed patterns that emerge from those places will surely lead us back into our place of symbiosis, of co-creation, an integral and harmonious aspect of that with which we find ourselves inevitably intimate.
- Hits: 10280
by Joey Korn
My article in the Summer Solstice issue, "Of Spirals and Rings," and this article are both adapted from my book, actually a work-in-progress, Empowering Yourself and Working with Nature through Dowsing, which I am writing to reveal my insights about the unseen world of subtle energies, how they affect the physical world we live in, and how we can "call in" these energies-working knowingly with God and with Nature. This article is a sequel to "Of Spirals and Rings," so I encourage you to read my earlier article if you have not done so. I hope this will turn into an ongoing series, which will be adapted excerpts from my book.
Most illustrations have been created by Will Fahnoe. The graphic on the left, entitled "Archangel Michael", was created for me 10 years ago by a dear friend, Debbie Gillespie. Debbie is extremely intuitive and her art often seems to predict the future; I wasn't into spirals then, but alas, it seems that spirals now dominate my life. They are certainly abundant in Nature. I feel that all natural energies form spirals. In fact, I believe that the Universe was created with spirals, or, more accurately, with vortices. Although this piece of art doesn't relate specifically to this article, it does relate to all of my work. It is the art I use for the cover of my book.
Nature Supports Us in Our Efforts
As Jim and I continued our dowsing explorations, we realized that water domes, energy leys, and power spots are much more prevalent than most dowsers think. We also learned that energy sources such as these can be changed, strengthened, and even attracted to where we want them to be. We loved learning more about the unseen world we live in, continuing to dispel myths typically held by dowsers.
From what I had learned from other dowsers, personally and through reading their books and articles, I believed energy leys and power spots to be few and far between. Jim and I had worked with one particular power spot for several weeks, thinking it to be the only one on my property, and I had known about this spot for about two years. As we continued our dowsing explorations, we located many more energy leys, domes, and power spots in my yard. Quite surprising! After several weeks of exploring my yard, Jim and I had located well over a dozen water domes and power spots. We found many beneficial energy leys as well as energy lines that dowsed as detrimental to human beings. Some call these lines "noxious rays." I prefer to call them detrimental energy lines. These may not be the major power spots that Sig explores at ancient sacred sites, but they are power spots just the same.
I want to stress that "negative" or "detrimental" doesn't mean "bad." They're just detrimental to human beings. We have a problem in the English language when it comes to the words "positive" and "negative." We typically consider these words to mean "good" and "bad" when this is not always the case. Positive and negative, in this since, is more like the positive and negative poles in electricity, like yang and yin, or male and female. I believe that all Earth energies have their reasons for being-everything in Nature has a purpose. What is detrimental to a human being is beneficial to other forms of life, and vice versa. According to Walter Russell, mentioned in "Of Spirals and Rings," even the destructive radiations from the trans-uranium elements (from which the atom bombs were eventually made) are useful in their natural location deep below the surface of the Earth; among other things, they break down rock into soil. Energy from underground veins of water, primarily yin, dowses as detrimental for humans, yet cats love these energies and ants build their hills over them, especially over Crossings of water veins, which primarily carry a yin charge. If you'd like to check this out for yourself, find an ant hill and dowse the area. You'll probably find at lEast two underground streams Crossing directly under the hill.
Ant Hill Built Over Intersecting
I once inadvertently left a water hose running overnight. The next morning, ants had bedded down all along the hose-more evidence that they love the energy of running water. I have used dowsing and stream diversion techniques to cause ants to abandon their hills and rebuild in other areas that are less threatening to human beings, but that is a subject for a future article.
Getting back to power spots, I have developed several ways to find them. Since one of the characteristics of a power spot is that it is intersected by at lEast two energy leys, one of the easiest ways I've found to locate a power spot is to find an energy ley with my L-rods and determine the alignment of the energy. When my L-rods point exactly in opposite directions, I know that I am "in line" with the energy ley. Even when I approach the line of energy from an angle, rather than directly, I can still determine alignment. The rods will open unevenly, and I simply turn toward the rod that is opening the most until they open in a balanced manner. I then continue to walk forward until they point in opposite directions. Then I back up and approach the ley again from a perpendicular position, this time with one L-rod, while asking, "In which direction is the nearest power spot?" I then follow the ley in the direction indicated, using both L-rods again, with the intent, "Show me the nearest power spot." When I get over the spot, my rods open. For some people they Cross. It depends on the programming. Once I get a reaction, I confirm with my pendulum, asking, "Is this a power spot?" Sometimes I approach the spot again with my L-rods, and if I get an confirmation, I then dowse to validate the characteristics of a power spot as I understand them:
an odd number of streams extending from the center
at lEast two intersecting energy leys
Bed with Beneficial Energy
Lines and Power Spot
One day it occurred to me that if so many power spots were in our yard, surely there must be some in our house too, so I set out to explore the house. When I dowsed our den, I found a power spot right away, directly at the chair in front of one of my wife's desks. Then I found one in the same room, right at the couch. I proceeded to my son's room and found beneficial energy lines going across the head and foot of his bed and Crossing the center of his bed diagonally, horizontally, and vertically. At the center of his bed was a power spot. (Although the beneficial energy lines are depicted in the following illustrations as lines in space, I see them more as walls or planes of energy.)
Power Spot at the Chair in
Front of a Desk
Then I found another power spot at each of the four desks in our home offices. Now, you have to understand that my wife loves desks. You could call our home the "house of desks." One of these power spots was right where I would sit in front of my computer, where I spend much of my time. I was quite pleased to find one there.
I went upstairs to the other bedrooms and, sure enough, I found at lEast two power spots in each of my daughters' rooms, right at the head of each bed. One bedroom is directly above my son's, so they are over the same spots. When I got to my room, it was full of power spots, including four in the area covered by our bed. One was where my head would typically be, and there were three in the middle of the bed, where my wife sleeps. One was at my wife Jill's head, one at her feet, and another in the center of the bed. I began to suspect that Jill had more to do with these energy sources than I did. She's so powerful in her own loving and unassuming way.
I found two leys, or beneficial energy lines, Crossing the bed at the head and the foot, and several intersecting at the center. I really liked having these special energy sources in our bedroom. At first I wondered if it was good to be sleeping in these energies, but then I reasoned that if Mother Nature had brought them to our bed, and they dowsed as beneficial, they must be good for sleeping. That's also where Jill and I do our daily relaxation and meditation sessions.
I got so excited about my findings that I called Jim and said, "Do you want to come over and play?" "Play" is our code word for dowsing. He arrived within a couple of hours, and I simply told him, "Since we have found so many domes, energy leys, and power spots in the yard, I thought I'd dowse the house too. I'd like you to dowse inside the house and see what you get. Start here in the den." I gave him no more information. We always try to be as objective as possible when we are working for validation because dowsing is so suggestible.
Jim located the same two spots I had found in the den, including one additional spot. He also located the same spots I had found in all three of our children's rooms. Jim found so many energy leys and power spots in the "master" bedroom that he didn't take time to be specific. He also found the spots in front of all our desks.
Then Jim walked into the kitchen, which I had not dowsed yet. He found power spots at our pantry and at our refrigerator, apparently there to energize our food. He also found one in front of our stove and in front of the sink, where my wife, Jill, and I would typically stand to cook or clean up after a meal. (I do most of the cooking; Jill does most of the cleaning up.)
These findings had major implications for us. The locations were too auspiciously placed to be "chance" and we found no detrimental energies in the house. We could only think of two possible explanations:
My parents and our builder had designed and placed the house to locate it strategically over these power spots 30+ years earlier. This didn't make sense because my parents, both deceased, were certainly not into this. Besides, how would they know where Jill would place all those desks?
The only other explanation we could think of was that Nature was responding to us and that we had unconsciously drawn these energies into our living environment.
If this were so, I felt it had major implications. Not only did we realize that these energy sources were much more abundant than we had ever considered, but our findings also seemed to imply that Nature works to support us in our efforts by responding to our intent with her energies. When I say "us," I don't mean just my family and me. I mean all of us. But the most powerful implication hadn't occurred to me yet. I'll get to that in my next article in the Winter Solstice edition of the MAG Ezine, Creating Your Own Unique Energy Environment.
- Hits: 9827
by Searles O'Dubhain
I base my own beliefs and practices on three things: the wisdom of tradition, my own personal experience with the three worlds and the imbas that flows through me from the gods. I usually do not get offended when the issues are debated and the facts and opinions about the issues are presented. I do get irritated when my words are misused or twisted. I prefer to stick to the issues at hand, however, and being true to the spirit of that ideal, I will now continue to present the facts, experiences and imbas that I have been given regarding Celtic ritual, ritual space, treasures, hallows, and cosmology.
Celtic ritual is very much about sacred centers, whether these be the center of the self, the center of the home, the center of the tribe, the center of the land, or the center of the world. The first task in performing a Celtic ritual IMO is to determine which center is to be used and where that center is located. This was historically done relative to two things: the pathway of the Sun from East to West and the location of the Pole Star in the night sky. We need look no further than the many stone circles, ritual mounds and oppidum (containing their sacred centers - called Mediolanum or Nemetons), that are found within areas once (or still) inhabited by Celts to verify these alignments.
The best explored of such Celtic ritual centers is probably Gournay-sur-Aronde in Northern France (ancient Gaul). The sanctuary there was a rectangular enclosure of about 45 x 38 meters (about 150 x 125 feet). It was surrounded by a ditch and a wall with an opening in the Eastern wall about 3 meters (10 feet) wide. Inside the enclosure at its center was a series of nine pits (three pits to the West, three to the North, and three to the South). These nine pits surrounded a 10th larger, oval, central pit. These pits were used in ritual with evidence of the deposit of weapons and other objects being found in the surrounding pits and the remains of cattle sacrifice in the central pit. The sanctuary dates from around 400 to 300 BCE. The pit arrangement was itself set within a much larger structure (about 10 meters per side) whose post-holes aligned on the four cardinal points. A central post marked the center of this larger enclosure and it is thought that sacrifices occurred at the base of this post. No evidence exists that any representations of deities were every placed within this enclosure or used in the rituals that were performed there. It appears that the function of the ritual space was to conduct sacrifice.
The sanctuary at Gournay-sur-Aronde is not the only such example of a Celtic sacred enclosure and/or ritual space to be found or excavated. Many other examples exist throughout the Celtic world, with many being found throughout Europe and the British Isles. Another significant observation about sacred enclosures in this area is that many were originally circular, but were changed to square or rectangular at the time that Celtic culture predominated in the region. Most of these enclosures were also oriented on the four cardinal points and contained central posts and votive, sacrificial pits. It has been suggested by authorities in the field (notably Jean Louis Brunaux) that the change from the solar-oriented circular, Bronze Age enclosure to a quadrangular shape is evidence that the Celts continued the solar and circumambulatory nature of the earlier rituals while also including *astronomical* practices oriented on the cardinal directions. Warrior offerings were hung upon the outsides of these enclosures which could have been shields, spears, axes and swords. The Eastern entryway was most likely adorned with the heads of noted enemies (as evidenced by the remains found in this area of the sanctuaries).
What this archaeological evidence for Celtic ritual and sacred locations suggests to me is that their ritual was definitely oriented to the four directions and began from the East. Offerings were made to nine votive pits (suggestive of one for each du/ile). Sacrificial offerings were conducted on an altar at the base of the central pillar or post, with the remains being deposited within the larger central pit. The entire structure would have been approached from the East and circumnavigated a number of times (probably nine, if present Irish practice is considered a guide). I would further suggest that the orientation or focus of the ritual was probably to a direction that was propitious to the ritual working. I would also be so bold as to suggest that symbols were carved on the four cardinal posts and the central posts to further enhance their power and ritual significance. My final musing on the nature of such a structure is that it was also probably skillfully crafted, built to last and painted in the appropriate variety of Celtic colors for its functions.
A Celtic ritual space would surpass the cosmological and astrological significance associated with their gaming boards and would definitely have had both geometric and religious symmetry about the sacred center. This goes for the decoration of the sanctuary as well as the person but that is perhaps a matter to be better understood after we've investigated the nature of their ritual space in more detail and variety.
Other sites were associated with Celtic ritual than Nemetons and Mediolanums. Specifically, I am thinking about sacred wells, Springs, bile, stones, and the central fires of home and festival. People were also the center of ritual whether in personal prayer and working, sacrifice, healing or initiation. Some specific rituals that I know that included people as their central focus for the working were: the Banis Righ (the king), the Tarbh Feis (the dreamer), healings (as in the 'Sickbed of Cu/Chulainn'), and the Spell of Truth. In most of these rituals involving people, the subject was placed in the center and surrounded by four chanting Druids. Rituals involving trees included the Glam Dicenn, treaty signings, arbitrations and possibly initiatory and or sacrificial rites. Wells were mainly used for divination, votive offerings and healings. The use of the Well of Slane by the family of DianCecht comes to mind as this is located on my family's ancestral property near Cnogba. The healing ritual was accomplished by four chanting healers oriented about the well with the well serving as a healing bath for the sick and injured. The Well of Segais is an excellent example of a ritual involving divination and knowledge. It was also controlled by four operatives: Nectain and his three cupbearers. The Glam Dicenn involved seven Filidh and a Hawthorn tree as a central anchor to amplify and direct the curse that was being cast. In the case of all of these rituals, the center was the focus of the working and the ritual participants were oriented around that center in an appropriate formation.
In the tale, "The Settling of the Manor of Tara", Fintan defines all of Ireland as sacred space and lists the qualities associated with each province and each cardinal direction. We have seen that Celtic ritual space was oriented to the cardinal directions from our study of the archaeological evidence. We have also seen that ritual was performed by four participants around a sacred center. We have seen the importance of sacrifice and offering to Celtic ritual. We should be familiar with the custom of circumnavigating a ritual space toward the righthand path to honor the Sun, while travel to the left invokes the power of the well and the ancestors. We have heard that the Tuatha De Danann studied the magical arts under four wizards in four cities on four islands in the Northern parts of the world. We have heard that four treasures were brought from these cities as gifts by the People of Danu. Next, I will attempt to investigate what the lessons in the occult arts could have been from each of these four cities as symbolized by these treasures, cities and their rulers, but that will be the subject of yet another message.
To those that have different ways to honor the gods, the ancestors and the realms of existence, I offer my studies and my information. Use it or not as you chose to work within your own traditions. To those that would be consistent with what I believe our ancestors did, I ask for your insights and further enlightenment. To those that believe that the Celts had a cosmology similar to the many other Indo-European peoples, I say may your wisdom grow beyond the confines of the mundane.
"N' fili nad chomgne comathar nad sc'la uile."