ANCIENT MYSTERIES CONSCIOUSNESS ASTROLOGY MEDITATION CRYSTALS ENTHEOGENES
the Darkness TIBETAN DREAM YOGA THICH NHAT HANH Google and Mindfulness
JAMES VAN PRAAGH THE COURAGE TO LOVE
THE NEW PSYCHONAUTS A CULTURAL HISTORY OF DMT
JEFF FOSTER LET YOURSELF BE
‘Just give it a shot!’
ART & VIRTUAL AWAKENING THE ENGLISH MAGIC TAROT
LUCID DREAMING SCIENCE OF THE RISHIS
ILLUMINATI & COUNTERCULTURE LOST TOMB OF KING ARTHUR
WINTER 2016 / ISSUE 48, £4.95
BYRON KATIE on THE WORK
AS YOU TRAVEL by Jane Bailey Bain IN THE CELTIC BLESSING TRADITION /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
May the way be smooth before you The skies shine clear above you The wind be always at your back May you have fire bright to warm you Good friendships to cheer you Food to break your fast May you have work for your hands Books to nourish your mind Music to lift your soul
JANE BAILEY BAIN is an author, speaker and life coach. She studied Psychology at Oxford University and Anthropology at the London School of Economics, and currently runs courses on Mythology and Creative Writing in London. She is the author of LifeWorks: Using Myth and Archetype to Develop Your Life Story and StoryWorks: A Handbook for Leaders, Writers and Speakers. Her website is: www.janebaileybain.com.
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 03
ANCIENT MYSTERIES CONSCIOUSNESS ASTROLOGY MEDITATION CRYSTALS ENTHEOGENES
TIBETAN DREAM YOGA THICH NHAT HANH Google and Mindfulness
JAMES VAN PRAAGH THE COURAGE TO LOVE
THE NEW PSYCHONAUTS A CULTURAL HISTORY OF DMT
JEFF FOSTER LET YOURSELF BE
‘Just give it a shot!’
ART & VIRTUAL AWAKENING THE ENGLISH MAGIC TAROT
LUCID DREAMING SCIENCE OF THE RISHIS
ILLUMINATI & COUNTERCULTURE LOST TOMB OF KING ARTHUR
WINTER 2016 / ISSUE 48, £4.95
BYRON KATIE on THE WORK
8 18 An Interview with Anita Moorjani
Byron Katie “Give it a shot”
FEATURES 8 An Interview with Anita Moorjani by Margaret Cahill
46 The Hidden Order
of the Universe and the Seven Disciplines of World Culture by Nicholas Hagger
15 Opening the Doors of Perception by Anthony Peake
52 Catching the Lizard by the Tail by Nissim Amon
20 The Power of Love!
by James Van Praagh
25 The Googleplex
54 To See Your Own Light: On Hildegard of Bingen by Sheryl A. KujawaHolbrook
by Thich Nhat Hanh
26 Mystery School in
Hyperspace by Dennis McKenna
32 Dream Yourself Awake by Andrew Holecek
34 The Way of Rest by Jeff Foster
36 The Bard and the Stars by Priscilla Costello
40 The Second Advent: How and When? by Zinovia Dushkova
42 How Magic Works or Used to Work by Brian Copenhaver
58 Illuminating the Shadow by David Furlong
Andrew Holecek: Dream Yourself Awake
61 Using Mercury
Retrograde by Bernie Ashman
62 The Science of the Rishis by Mataji Devi Vanamali
66 Crystal Mindfulness by Judy Hall
70 The Illuminati and Counter Culture by Robert Howells
72 The Power of When by Michael J. Breus
74 The English Magic Tarot by Andy Letcher
04 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
76 The Lost Tomb of King Arthur by Graham Phillips
78 Transformative Festivals of the World by Sina Saffari
81 Every Breath You Take by Rose Elliot
REGULARS 3 Poetry - As You Travel by Jane Bailey Bain
6 Editor’s Note 7 Viewpoints 18 Watkins Event Byron Katie
23 The Astrological Dynamics of the Universe by Demian Allan
48 Art - Jose Montemeyor
by Alexander de Cadenet
82 In Memory
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NEXT ISSUE HIGHLIGHTS
Don’t miss the Spring 2017 issue of Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine, out on 7 February, 2017, featuring: /// The Watkins List of the 100 most spiritually influential
people in 2017 /// An Interview with Eckhart Tolle by Alexander de Cadenet /// The Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu /// Persephone Rising by Carol S. Pearson /// The Greatness of Being by Mooji /// 2017: The Year of the Rooster by Zakariya Adeel /// Insanely Gifted by Jamie Catto /// How Soon is Now? by Daniel Pinchbeck
ON THE NATU FICINO RE OF LOVE
MAGICIAN OF THE GOS DS
SHAMANIC G IN LIGHT EMPOWER MENT
THOMAS MERTON A JOUR
NEY CREATION SPIRITUAL TO ITY
LEGENDARY LONDON PROJECT SEL ACCEPTAN FCE
SUBTLE PLA OF REALIT NES Y HEALING POWER OF MUSIC
Supreme Deity of Yoga
Shiva UNDERSTA NDING DEPRESSIO N DOLPHIN ANCESTOR S
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Watkins MIND BODY SPIRIT Winter 2016, Issue 48 Published by Watkins Books 19-21 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4EZ +44 (0)20 7836 2182 www.watkinsbooks.com www.watkinsmagazine.com
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Etan Ilfeld MANAGING EDITOR: Lee Stephen Gawtry ASSISTANT EDITOR: Klaus Herold CONTRIBUTING ARTS EDITOR: Alexander de Cadenet ART DIRECTOR: Marianna Ilfeld ART EDITOR: Karen Smith SPECIAL THANKS to the writers who contributed to this issue, and to our advertisers whose books are available through Watkins Books at the above address. SUBSCRIPTIONS (4 issues a year) 1-YR £15 including shipping 2-YR £23 including shipping www.watkinsmagazine.com/subscribe firstname.lastname@example.org If you are a writer and would like to contribute to future issues of the magazine, please email email@example.com TO ADVERTISE in this magazine, please email Joanne Hunt firstname.lastname@example.org We welcome your FEEDBACK at email@example.com Opinions expressed in the magazine are those of the respective authors and not of Watkins Books. BOOK ORDERS: All the titles mentioned in this magazine, and many more, can be purchased from Watkins bookshop in London, or online at www.watkinsbooks.com. If you have any questions about placing your order please contact our staff on +44 (0)20 7836 2182 or firstname.lastname@example.org
’ve always found winter to be a great time for contemplation. The longer nights are perfect for reading and pondering the big questions. I love Jeff Foster and Joseph Campbell’s advice stating that if the path in front of you is clear, you’re probably following someone else’s path rather than your own. Foster’s article champions self discovery and both internal and external love. Similarly, Anita Moorjani’s interview reminds us that we mustn’t constantly seek other people’s approval, and that it’s more important to love who you are and to be yourself. Anita also delves into the dangers of cyber-bullying and asserts that it’s more important than ever that we listen to our inner voice instead of constantly reacting to the noise of contemporary culture. From articles featuring Thich Nhat Hanh and Byron Katie to dream yoga, astrological symbolism in Shakespeare’s plays, and spiritual art, there’s something for everyone in this issue of Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine. We’ve even provided some great recommendations for alternative festivals— Burning Man being my personal favorite—so that you can plan ahead for 2017. Anthony Peake’s article on perception and consciousness explores Aldous Huxley’s writings and development as he attempted to integrate eastern and western philosophy with the latest medical research. Huxley also experimented directly with mescaline and
his writings went on to influence the hippy movement of the 1960’s (e.g. - Jim Morrison’s band, The Doors, was named after Huxley’s book The Doors of Perception) and still resonate today. Our minds are extremely powerful and no video game can rival the experience of an actual dream. Andrew Holecek’s piece advocates the ancient tradition of Tibetan sleep yoga, which transcends conventional lucid dreaming, and challenges the dreamer to exercise and meditate within a lucid state. Nissim Amon’s article highlights the benefits of extensive silent Zen meditation. Meanwhile, Rose Elliott celebrates mindful breathing and Judy Hall shares her techniques for crystal gazing as a form of mindfulness meditation. Ultimately, there are an infinite number of alternative spiritual paths and ways to meditate. Here’s to exploring the spirituality and enjoying the journey! Wishing you a great holiday season filled with health, curiosity, growth, love and joy.
Etan J. Ilfeld
Etan Ilfeld, Editor-in-Chief
Copyright © Watkins Books, 2016
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“The brain creates around us the prison walls of Māyā, and in doing so denies us knowledge of the real universe.” ANTHONY PEAKE, P.16
“If you live to be ninety years old, you’ve spent thirty of those years sleeping, and entered the dream world around half a million times.”
“Try to be attentive to your own thoughts as if someone else were speaking.”
ANDREW HOLECEK , P.33
NISSIM AMON , P.53
“Stop searching for answers. Stop researching, stop obsessing. Just stop!” ANITA MOORJANI, P.10
“The most disruptive event in the history of bio-time occurred on December 31, 1879.” MICHAEL J. BREUS, P.73
“Train yourself to relax your fear defense and let go of the need to control – instead go with the flow of love, the natural energy of the universe.” JAMES VAN PRAAGH, P.21
“It remains as fascinating and puzzling to twenty-first- century humans as it was to the first curious primate who ever munched mushrooms and closed their eyes in wonder.” DENNIS MCKENNA, P.29
“Perhaps it’s not death we’re afraid of but too much life.” JEFF FOSTER, P.34
“You begin to understand how little you actually see of the world!” BYRON KATIE , P.19
“The surfer’s feet and ankles on the surging wave of the expanding edge of the universe are in space-time. Where are his head and arms?” NICHOLAS HAGGER, P.46
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 07
An Interview with ANITA MOORJANI by Margaret Cahill
What if This is Heaven?
Anita Moorjani talks about the need for passionate living in the face of life’s challenges, the lessons we can learn from illness, and living from a place of love rather than fear
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MARGARET CAHILL: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to ask you some questions about your new book, What if This is Heaven? As someone who was treated for lymphoma three years ago I am particularly interested in your view that your cancer was caused by your low self-esteem – something that you only realised after your NDE (Near-Death Experience). Can you tell us a bit more about that connection? ANITA MOORJANI: Although I did not realize it at the time, the fact that I didn’t love myself was actually draining me of energy. Not loving myself means I was putting everyone else first. It mattered to me what everyone else thought of me, so instead of doing things that made me feel good, I was more concerned about doing things that made others feel good. Yes, it’s great to be generous towards others, but we don’t realize that in actuality, we are like batteries. When we don’t learn the importance of loving and valuing ourselves, we end up needing the approval of others to recharge our batteries, otherwise we feel unworthy. In other words, when we don’t learn how to charge our own batteries, we rely on others to charge our batteries for us. So in order to get their approval (to get them to recharge our batteries), we are constantly dancing to the expectations of others. A question to ask is: When we are giving generously, are we giving because we want their approval? Or are we giving because we are filled with love, and there’s so much love inside us that it’s brimming over and everyone else is a natural recipient of it? The healthier way to give love is the latter, I think. I used to be the former, and when people did not approve I would constantly worry and wonder what I had to do to win their approval. I always felt that there was something wrong with me when I didn’t get someone’s approval, so I would bend myself all out of shape trying to win their approval. And by doing that, I was draining my batteries even more! I didn’t realize that my batteries were becoming so drained that my body started to get sick constantly…until it developed cancer. Today, research indicates that when we are happier, our bodies reflect it. As a result we are healthier. For example, when we are in love, or following our passion, or have a reason to live, or if we are surrounded by people who love us, we are much healthier, and live longer. However, our healthcare industries have yet to use this information when it comes to treating illnesses. They still rely on drugs and surgery instead of using this information to promote people’s wellbeing. I truly believe that if people knew how to recharge their own batteries, we would see far, far less illnesses. I don’t believe that the cure for cancer lies in drugs alone.
MC: Your heartbreaking account of being bullied at school (which you say contributed hugely to your low selfesteem) reminded me that bullying has become even more sophisticated now as bullies resort to social media and texting to pick on their victims. What do you suggest is the best way to handle this, both as an adult and for a concerned parent? AM: Bullying really saddens me because if you are a victim of bullying, it changes who you feel yourself to be. I’m not sure people realize how much bullying affects a child’s self-esteem and wellbeing. For example, I have no doubt that the bullying I endured at school affected the way I carried myself through life, making me the person I became—one who eventually got cancer. If I had a different type of personality— say if I had externalized it instead of internalized it—it might have made me a violent person. So instead of cancer, I may have ended up in prison or maybe even with mental issues. Sadly, nowadays bullying is even harder to control because as you’ve astutely pointed out, we have a new, more sophisticated form of bullying, which is cyber bullying. And equally sadly, a lot of people who were bullies as kids, continue to be bullies as adults and they do their bullying in the relative safety of cyberspace, hiding behind an online identity. I feel sad for the future generation because there are no programs to teach them cyber etiquette and I hear stories of young kids taking their own lives as a result of cyber bullying. If it were up to me, I would change the education system so as to foster a more collaborative culture that is more focused on inclusiveness, rather than a competitive atmosphere that is more focused on exclusiveness. This competitive and exclusive culture, in my opinion, is what feeds bullying and brings out the worst in our children! Our education system is more focused on getting kids to pass exams, as opposed to becoming joyful, productive, helpful people who go out into the world. I would insist on topics like “Cyber Etiquette” being part of the curriculum so kids would learn the truth of the power of their words when they post them to other kids who are vulnerable. I would also make “Social Awareness” a compulsory part of the curriculum where kids are encouraged to open their eyes and hearts to everyone who is different from themselves, whether that difference is in the form of socio-economic levels, race, physical abilities, and so on. But most importantly, I’d discourage competition, and reward collaboration. I can think of many, many more things that can be implemented, including more spiritual awareness. I could go on and on, but I think these are the kinds of things that would help reduce the growth of a “bullying culture” for future generations.
“ When we don’t learn the importance of loving and valuing ourselves, we end up needing the approval of others to recharge our batteries, otherwise we feel unworthy.” MC: You stress the importance of self-love in creating a happier and healthier life. What would be the first thing someone suffering from low self-esteem—and possibly depression—could do to help lift their spirits? AM: A very simple exercise I ask people to do is to make a gratitude journal. In it, I ask them to write 5 things they are grateful for each and every day. And every day they have to write 5 different things. No matter how bad they perceive their life to be, they have to find 5 positive things about it, whether it’s something as simple as having a roof over their head and food to eat, or a pet who loves them unconditionally. Another exercise is to ask people to write 5 positive traits about themselves every day, and no matter how hard it is to find 5 traits, not to give up until they can. Those traits could be related to their personality, or even physical traits, or how they handled something that day. It doesn’t matter. The point is to push yourself until you find 5. Most people find it hard to find positive things to say about themselves, so I start them off with finding positive things about their life. What I’ve found is that: “loving yourself” and “loving your life” go hand in hand. It’s hard to have one without the other, so it’s fine to find things about your life that you love. When we do either of these exercises, it starts to shift our perspective into one of gratitude. In essence, what happens is that our awareness shifts from a dire situation to a state of optimism. We start to realize that our situation isn’t as bad as we thought. When I use the “flashlight” analogy to illustrate only seeing what our flashlight is focused on, this is what I mean. I like to help people focus their flashlight on something other than the negative. What I would never do is to tell them that they need to get rid of their negative feelings, or that their feelings are irrational! That dishonours where they are and doesn’t allow them an authentic experience. It’s much more empowering when they climb out of those feelings themselves by shifting their own focus and seeing for themselves that they, and their lives, are not as bad as they thought!
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“ I kept reminding myself that I have to live my own truth according to what I had learned during my NDE.” MC: It must have been very hard to fit back into everyday life after the beautiful experience of your NDE. How did you cope with people who wanted to fit you back into the place they had allocated for you before? I ask this because change is difficult and close ones can often find it threatening. AM: That was the most difficult thing I had to do. Once I returned to this life, I had to live in the physical again and try to fit back into it! Today, I’m grateful that I did live on, but in the early days there were times when I wondered why I came back! It was lonely, that’s for sure. And having been someone who hated criticism and longed to fit in with others my whole life, it was really difficult to strike out on my own by creating my own path and allowing myself to become my own person. But I kept reminding myself that I have to live my own truth according to what I had learned during my NDE. I knew that I didn’t ever want to go back to being the person I used to be before I had cancer, because I already knew what my destiny would be if I did. The person I used to be, who did everything to fit in and be what everyone else wanted of her, gave and gave of herself until she got drained and…got cancer. I didn’t want to go down that road again, so I knew that I had no choice but to believe in what I had learned and become my own person. I held on to what I learned about the importance of being authentic, and allowing what is truly mine to unfold before me instead of living a life that meets everyone else’s expectations of me. And now, I’m so glad I held on because sure enough, it’s paid off. I’ve truly created a life that is free from dogma, doctrine, and buying into other people’s expectations! MC: What if This is Heaven? reads as though you are constantly plugged into a force that tops you up and sustains you. Can you tell us a bit more about this source of strength? And do you ever get ‘down’ now? AM: I believe we are all connected to this source of strength, or force, but we don’t realize it. We always have access to it and are never separate from it. But we are taught to believe that we are separate, and that “God” is separate from us, and we have to work at being more spiritual by following certain dogma or doctrines to access this force. When I was in the other realm, I realized that the force that tops us up with energy is always there, it was always with
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me, and it’s constantly flowing into me. But I had denied it. I had forgotten it because I was conditioned to ignore it and instead, to focus on the outside world—our 3-dimensional physical world. We get conditioned to focus outside ourselves for all our answers and we give our power to external teachers, leaders, religions, and so on. True spirituality is within us and will never leave us. It’s always available for us to tap into. When people ask me how to access it, I invite them to stop seeking. Stop searching for answers. Stop researching, stop obsessing. Just stop! When all the external noise stops, we will be able to hear the internal signs and messages. It happens when we are about to fall asleep, or when we are walking in nature, or just sitting and daydreaming. But we fill every moment of every day with noise, playing with our mobile devices, searching for answers to every question—even the most profound ones—on the internet. There’s no room for us to recognize the connection to our own source of strength… which is always within us. I still do get “down” from time to time, especially when I hear about things that are happening in our world. Whenever that happens, I tune out the world, tune into my internal force of energy, and start to feel that no matter what, everything is going to be fine. And then I remember that even death is beautiful, and not a bad thing at all! MC: You are passionate about living and making decisions from a place of love rather than fear, which I find so inspiring, but cancer seems to generate a very special kind of fear which is very hard to overcome. What suggestions can you offer people who are facing an uncertain future and aggressive treatment for this disease? AM: I would suggest that, as far as your health allows it, to focus on things you love doing and not to focus on the cancer. Stop focusing on health and healing, and focus on what brings you joy. Spend time with people you love, and do things that you are passionate about. Stop obsessing over the illness, and researching it on the internet, and stop trying to get rid of it! Instead, live as fully as your health allows you to. I would say to people who are facing an illness, “If your illness were to heal right now, what would you do to celebrate?” And whatever your answer is, I’d say “Go and do that!” Another question I’d ask them is “What brings you joy? What are you passionate about? Go and pursue those things! Who do you love? Go spend time with them!” The thing is, most of us don’t live from that place even when we are healthy. We often don’t know how to value our lives, or celebrate our lives, until we have an illness. We put off doing all the things that we actually came
here to do. Instead, we spend most of our time at jobs we don’t enjoy just to earn a living. Illness can sometimes be a gift that reminds us to value our lives and to focus on what we love; to dream bigger. I like to remind people not to “waste” that reminder on obsessing about the illness itself, and instead, to create a whole lot of reasons for why life is a gift and why you’d like to be alive! MC: Your conversation with a stranger at the airport about suicide in chapter 7 is so touching; the guilt felt by the people left behind is a lacerating pain that doesn’t seem to have a remedy. What did you learn about suicide during your
NDE that would bring comfort to someone dealing with this? AM: I learned that even those who took their own lives love the ones they left behind unconditionally; I learned that it’s no one’s fault, and there’s nothing that anyone could have done or said to have kept them here because no one goes before their time. Also, there are a lot of elements that lead up to a person taking her or his own life. It’s never just one reason, or one argument, or one day of not saying “I love you”. It’s about how they interpret their lives and the filters through which they view the world. It’s their whole psychological makeup that makes them have these suicidal thoughts. I also learned that no matter the conditions
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“ I learned that we are continually surrounded by people in the other realm who love us and who continually help us on our life path. We can communicate with these loved ones. It’s never too late to resolve any feelings of guilt we may have.” when someone crosses over—even suicide—they still have a beautiful and peaceful afterlife. They will not be punished for what they have done. They are fine, and they want the ones they left behind to know this and to be fine, too. I learned that we are continually surrounded by people in the other realm who love us and who continually help us on our life path. We can communicate with these loved ones. It’s never too late to resolve any feelings of guilt we may have. Just think of them, and then speak with them, either aloud or in your own mind. They know your heart, and they know what you are feeling. Speak with them as though they are there. They are there. They can hear you. They want nothing more than for you to be happy. They are helping you. Also, don’t feel guilty if you have lost a loved one and then find love again. They want you to be happy, and chances are they are helping you and guiding you to someone else!
Bookshelf WHAT IF THIS IS HEAVEN? HOW I RELEASED MY LIMITING BELIEFS AND REALLY STARTED LIVING BY ANITA MOORJANI, published by Hay House, Paperback (200 pages)
MC: How has your NDE affected the way you live your life on a day-to-day basis? What do you do differently? AM: I don’t worry as much as I used to about what other people think of me. I’m less paranoid about “getting things right”, or trying to please everyone. I’m much more confident of my own values, and much more committed to sticking to them, even if it means displeasing some people. I know the “old” me wouldn’t be able to handle the life I live today because I won’t tailor my beliefs to please people or risk criticism. I also think of myself and my needs a lot more now than I used to; and if someone says that I’m selfish, I realize that it’s about them and not me. MC: You mention several times that you feel your cancer was caused by you forgetting your own divinity and becoming subjugated to outside influences. How do you reconcile that with someone who has finally found happiness, is living a deeply fulfilled life, then is suddenly struck down with cancer?
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AM: First of all, we never really know what is actually going on within someone else. We simply can’t judge them one way or the other. We can’t judge them either positively or negatively. Our task is simply to love them unconditionally and to help them on their journey. Secondly, someone’s cancer might be for the benefit of that person, or even for the benefit of other people. We simply have no way of knowing. In my case, I often tell people that cancer was the best thing that ever happened to me. Far from taking my life, it actually gave me life! None of what I am now experiencing would have happened had I not had cancer; no NDE, no book, no radio show, no meeting all the wonderful people I have met along the way. None of it. In a very real way, cancer saved my life. I know that sounds ironic and possibly contradictory, but it’s true. So once again, my message is to live life to your fullest capacity and enjoy everything it has to offer. Love yourself and all others. If cancer is the result, then know that it, too, is just part of your experience and embrace it. It may actually be saving your life! MC: You worked in international business before you were ill, and write about your struggles to break through the ‘glass ceiling’ which women often face. Did your experience in the other realm give you any advice you could pass on to women facing a similar situation? AM: One of the things I’ve noticed is that women who try to make it in a “man’s” environment try to become more like men. This is not a criticism because I tried to do that, too. We don’t know any other way of doing it. If we wanted to climb to any position of significance, our mentors in the work place— at least historically—were all men. Men, after all, were the ones who created that work place in the first place, so it stands to reason that they would be the ones we would turn to. We really had no female role models to emulate. Thank goodness that’s changing because in many ways, the work place is way out of kilter! Anyway, what I learned in the other realm is that our gender is what it is for a reason, so we need to honour it. Regardless of what gender we are, we are not inadequate nor are we in any way “less than” the opposite gender. For a woman, this means to embrace our female authenticity and not feel the need to become more like a “man” to succeed. It means realizing that the traits we normally associate with women, such as sensitivity and empathy, are not weaknesses, but strengths. To deny them means creating an imbalanced environment.
Once we realize this and embrace this, we can start to display these traits with more confidence even in the workplace. Motherhood, and the responsibilities that go with this role, is also something that women don’t need to apologize for in the work place. It’s a natural part of life and evolution and needs to be seen that way and valued. In other words, we don’t need to be more like “men” to succeed in the world. And we don’t need to “fight” against men for recognition either, because we need to realize that we don’t need their approval for us to be who we are. As women, we just need to recognize the value that our feminine traits have, and bring these traits with confidence and strength into whatever environment we choose.
Then as I grew, people told me to stop laughing. “Take life seriously,” they said, “If you want to get ahead in this world.” So I stopped laughing. People told me, “Be careful who you love If you don’t want your heart broken.” So I stopped loving. They said, “Don’t shine your light so bright As it draws too much attention onto you.” So I stopped shining And became small And withered And died Only to learn upon death That all that matters in life Is to love, laugh, and shine our light brightly!
MEET THE AUTHORS
ANITA MOORJANI is the New York Times best-selling author of Dying to Be Me, an account of her battle with cancer that culminated in a near-death experience that completely changed her perspective on life. Now completely cancer-free, Anita travels the globe, giving talks and workshops as well as speaking at conferences and special events to share the profound insights she gained while in the other realm.
On the web
MC: And finally... you write with great passion about the need to be yourself rather than attempt to be positive in the face of difficulty when you really don’t feel like it. I found this to be especially true when I was being treated for lymphoma. Can you describe the best way for someone to be true to their own feelings of fear and negativity without being sucked down into a permanently negative thought pattern? AM: One of the things I ask people to do, no matter how fearful or negative they are feeling about a situation or diagnosis, is to hold on to optimism. Optimism is very different from positivity. There’s no “pressure” to optimism, whereas there’s a certain amount of pressure attached to feeling a need to be positive. We feel we are failing somehow for being negative, and end up bottling up our feelings which leads to an inauthentic experience. Optimism, on the other hand, gives us hope that things will not always be this way, while at the same time, it allows us to authentically feel our current emotions fully, with no pressure to be or do anything else. Optimism gives people hope and helps them to have a vision for the future, which helps them to climb out of the hole of fear and depression. This why I get so upset when doctors give people a terminal prognosis and say something like, “You’ve got xx number of months to live”. This is the worst thing you can do to someone. It takes away their hope! In essence, you’ve taken away their will to live! I don’t think ANYONE has the right to do that! And we often see this become a selffulfilling prophecy while the doctor feels that they have predicted it correctly! No one has the right to do that, because no one knows when you are really going to die! I’m living proof of that!
When I was born into this world The only things I knew were to love, laugh, and shine my light brightly.
MARGARET CAHILL is the author of Under Cover of Darkness: How I Blogged My Way through Mantle Cell Lymphoma and publishes books through her company The Wessex Astrologer and its MBS imprint Flying Horse Books. During 2013 she underwent six months of intensive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant for the treatment of Mantle Cell Lymphoma. She is now in remission and has returned to full time work. She still writes her blogs.
On the web
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 13
don’t miss! Insightful talks recorded at our bookshop: Marianne Williamson, Teal Swan, Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle, Mooji...
SUBSCRIBE TO WATKINS YOUTUBE CHANNEL WATCH FREE AUTHOR TALKS AND INTERVIEWS FROM THE LEGENDARY BOOKSHOP WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATKINSBOOKS
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New videos are added every week! 14 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
Opening the Doors of Perception
by Anthony Peake
Anthony Peake explores the work of Aldous Huxley and updates it for the 21st century
hat exactly is happening to you at this point in time? Stop and think about this for a few seconds. Those words should suddenly make you aware of yourself, your body posture, how the chair you are sitting on presses into your leg, if you feel cold or hot and the fact that you are breathing. Your brain is receiving all these sensations but you are blissfully unaware of them. You are totally focussed on these words, black lines and circles of ink that stand out starkly against a white background. By some amazing process your mind turns those lines and circles into images and ideas.
My thoughts and ideas, typed on a word processor months, or even years, ago, are spontaneously re-assembling themselves within your brain. But how does this happen? Is it not the most mysterious process imaginable? You are a self-aware ‘something’ located, you assume, inside your head. This something interacts through its senses with a world that it perceives to be ‘out there’. However, and this is a very important concept, what interfaces with this outside world is your body, your eyes, ears, fingers, and even your brain. You, that self-aware ‘something’, are not your body. All your body is, is a machine by which ‘you’ interface with ‘out there’. WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 15
“ The Doors of Perception was written at a time when our knowledge of the workings of the brain were fairly rudimentary. Huge advances have been made over the last sixty years.”
The vast majority of human beings do not worry about these matters. As far as they are concerned ‘common sense’ shows that reality is really out there and that the being they call ‘I’ is to be found somewhere inside their heads. The very fact that you are reading a copy of Watkins Mind Body Spirit magazine suggests that you may think otherwise. But “out there” is also a great mystery because what you know of “out there” is presented to whatever you are inside your head by your senses. But your senses are very restricted. For example, we believe that what we see is an exact image of how “out there” looks. The colours are exact in every way. But this is not true. At the back of your eye is a light-sensitive area called the retina. The light-sensitive cells in the retina convert a tiny, inverted, postage stamp-sized image into electrical signals that are then sent to the darkest place in the brain (the visual cortex in the occipital lobe) where they are re-assembled
MEET THE AUTHOR
ANTHONY PEAKE is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including The Out-of-Body Experience and The Infinite Mindfield, and has had articles published in magazines, academic journals, and websites across the world. He lectures and presents at conferences around the globe and has developed a reputation as one of the most exciting and creative writers within the field of Noetic Science.
On the web
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into an illuminated, bright, threedimensional, enveloping facsimile of the external world. But the source data, the postage stamp area of photonstimulated chemicals, is nothing like the image the brain creates. And there is more. The brain takes similar encoded information from the ears, pressure signals from the skin and olfactory signals from the nose to create a singular perception of being ‘in the world’. But ‘we’ are not in that world at all: it is an illusion. We are locked away deep in the brain, the ghost-like ‘observer’ of this illusion. These are exactly the issues that vexed one of the most influential thinkers of the mid-20th century, British writer/philosopher Aldous Huxley. In 1937, after the success of his novels Brave New World and Eyeless in Gaza he had moved to America living in Los Angeles to try his hand at being a movie script writer. It was here that he encountered an Indian philosophy known as Vedanta. This ancient belief proposes that there is only one reality in the universe and that is a singular consciousness known as Brahman. The universe that we experience through our senses is simply an illusion; something the Vedantists call Māyā. In 1945 Huxley had written a book entitled The Perennial Philosophy. In this he had attempted to link Vedanta to other belief systems. He argued that there is an inner truth to all religious and mystical traditions: a perennial philosophy. This truth is that all consciousness is a singularity and that the reality that is presented to us by our senses is an illusion. All things are simply aspects of the Divine. Huxley’s thinking had also been influenced by the writings of two philosophers; late 19th century Frenchman Henri Bergson and British academic C.D. Broad, both of whom argued that the human brain restricts how much information about the external world is presented to consciousness.
In other words, the brain creates around us the prison walls of Māyā, and in doing so denies us knowledge of the real universe. In this regard Huxley was reminded of the powerful poetry of William Blake who, in 1793, wrote: If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern. Blake was a great mystic and much of his work was inspired by his “visions” of the universe beyond the everyday senses. In another poem, ‘London’, he describes perfectly the power of Māyā when he used the term “mind-forg’d manacles”. Huxley was no Blake; he could not spontaneously see through the narrow chinks of his cavern. He needed to find an artificial way to shake of his “mindforg’d manacles”. But fate was about to lend a hand. In 1952 he read of a series of fascinating experiments that had recently taken place in a psychiatric hospital in Canada. There, British psychiatrist Humphry Osmond had been using a powerful hallucinogenic substance called mescaline. Huxley believed that this was exactly what he needed to break down the “mindforged manacles” of Māyā. After a short exchange of letters, Osmond agreed to bring to California a small amount of mescaline and under his supervision he would allow Huxley to take it. And so it was, in May 1953, with the assistance of a small dose of mescaline dissolved in a glass of water, Aldous Huxley was able to glimpse through the “mind-forged manacles” and perceive the universe beyond, an experience that changed his life forever. With the enthusiasm of a religious convert, Huxley quickly wrote up his notes describing his experiences and, a year later, his short book, The Doors of Perception was published. In the book, Huxley expanded upon the ideas of Broad and Bergson and, in doing so, created two crucial new concepts: Mind at Large and the Reducing Valve. He wrote that his experiences with mescaline had proven to him that:
… each one of us is potentially Mind at Large. But in so far as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive. To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funnelled through the Reducing Valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this particular planet. His book was to become hugely influential within certain intellectual circles. Huxley became a cultural icon for the hippy movement of the mid 1960’s and his work was regularly referenced. For example, Jim Morrison, the rock musician, named his group The Doors in honour of Huxley’s book. Sadly, Huxley was not to live to see his work being recognised in such a way. He died in November 1963, on the same day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Doors of Perception was written at a time when our knowledge of the workings of the brain were fairly rudimentary. Huge advances have been made over the last sixty years. We now have various devices that can scan the living brain and in doing so we can precisely isolate how the internal processes work. Advances in neurochemistry have allowed us to understand the role of neurotransmitters and a new field of science known as consciousness studies has opened up some fascinating data regarding how the brain perceives external reality. But the really Big Questions still remain. Advances in quantum physics have shown that the external reality that we take for granted is not at all what our senses tell us it is. Most of what appears to be solid is, in fact, mostly empty space, and even the tiny sub-atomic particles that have a form of solidity are understood to be ripples in non-physical energy fields. What can these discoveries, linked with the work of Aldous Huxley, tell us about human consciousness and its relationship with the external world? It seems that Māyā and the philosophy of the Vedantists is even more relevant now, in the early years of the 21st century, than ever before. I have been fascinated by the interface of consciousness and what is usually termed “consensual reality”
“ Advances in quantum physics have shown that the external reality that we take for granted is not at all what our senses tell us it is.” for most of my life. I have written a series of books on this subject, but for me, the most important book is the one published in September 2016. In this book, I update the work of Huxley in the light of our modern understanding of how the brain works and what quantum physics tells us about the true nature of “reality”. What have I called this book? Fairly obvious really - it’s entitled Opening the Doors of Perception. In the book, I present a concept I call The Huxleyian Spectrum in honour of Aldous Huxley. By this I mean a spectrum of perceptual awareness in which the doors of perception are gradually opened wider and wider until a full appreciation of the world beyond Māyā can be perceived. This will be of particular interest to people who experience, or know people who experience, classic migraine, temporal-lobe epilepsy, Alzheimers, autism, schizophrenia and savant syndrome. It will also attempt to explain what is really taking place in Out-of-the-Body Experiences, NearDeath Experiences, Lucid Dreaming, Charles Bonnet Syndrome, Deja Vu and UFO abductions. I suggest that all these experiences are glimpses of the reality behind this reality, a
place I call The Pleroma: a huge reality simulation created from holographiclike information and containing programs describing everything that has happened and everything that can happen. You may know of this as the “Akashic Field”. So if this article has intrigued you, then please join me on the adventure that is my new book. I guarantee that it will open the doors of your reality and, in doing so, will show you vast new landscapes of understanding. /////////////////////////////////////////////////
Bookshelf OPENING THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION: THE KEY TO COSMIC AWARENESS BY ANTHONY PEAKE, published by Watkins Publishing, Paperback (250 pages)
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 17
he Work consists of a practice in which four sequential questions are applied to our troubling thoughts, preoccupations, anxieties and fears. In addition The Work process adds to this a turnaround - a way of experiencing the opposite of the thoughts we believe as a way of provoking deep realizations into the patterns of our mind and, ultimately, to gain freedom from the neurotic, unconscious thoughts that are at the root of our emotional suffering. The four questions The Work asks us to apply to problematic thoughts are: 1 Is it true? 2 Can you absolutely know that it‘s true? 3 How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? 4 Who would you be without the thought? The turnaround then asks us to invert the original statement we are Working - switching the subject for the object, changing a yes to a no, or changing it to be self-referential. Byron Katie recently joined us at Watkins Books for a talk to discuss The Work, and answer some questions for those currently engaged in this process of self-inquiry. QUESTION: “When I approach The Work, my first feeling is often one of fear. Why?”
A talk with... BYRON KATIE at Watkins Books
Give it a shot Byron Katie’s The Work is a process of inquiry that asks us to identify and question the roots of our suffering caused by our own thoughts
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BYRON KATIE: I can see how The Work is frightening, it‘s frightening to the ego, but this is an interesting world - we‘re frightened most of the time anyway. So, what‘s a little more fear? Give it a shot. If you find a situation in the future that you fear will happen and notice what you were thinking and feeling in that situation as though it were happening, you will find the cause of that fear. What you were thinking and believing in any situation was the cause of fear - not the situation itself. When you collect and observe those thoughts, you‘re dealing with the cause of all suffering - so they‘re worth questioning! QUESTION: “In my practice, how would I work through a particular problem, a time when my wife really hurt me?” BYRON KATIE: So she hurt you. Everyone can find a place where she or he hurt you. Maybe they hurt your feelings, maybe they hit you, maybe they walked out on you, insulted you whatever; everyone focus on that moment in time and situation. She hurt you - so the first
question to ask is: is it true? So now, you look at that moment in time. Maybe you were in the kitchen, or maybe you were on your cell phone, but get that image in your head - that’s your anchor. So she hurt you - is it true? Now you’re going to witness the image, maybe you can get in touch with what she said, what she did, how she looked, look deeply into her eyes… she hurt me - is it true? Can I absolutely know that it’s true that she hurt me? You continue to meditate on that image, that moment in time. You notice how you react, what happens when you believe the thought “She hurt me”. You witness that moment in time and see - did you hurt her back? Did you give her the look? Did you get cold? Did you become silent, stop speaking, storm out of the room, did you look hurt? Maybe more hurt than you really felt? Very subtly, you meditate on that moment in time - how do I react? At some point, you begin to notice that you’re witnessing the images, and you’re seeing them from your position now, that you were too invested in to see them in then. You begin to understand how little you actually see of the world! You begin to see what you’re thinking and believing in that moment. And so you move to asking - who or what you would be without the thought “she hurt me”; you witness, slowly, keeping very still, how your story just drops. You get to be so connected with that person because it ceases to be personal. You see her eyes, that they’re frightened, not cruel. Then when you turn it around “She hurt me” becomes “I hurt her” -we begin to see all these subtle ways of being in which we behave when we believe the thought “She hurt me”. So often, we aren’t paying attention to the whos, the wheres, the whens - we’re simply reacting to what’s in our heads - illusions. No matter what she says or did, if she said “Good morning, honey” and you’re not connected to the reality, then you’re not clear about who’s who, what’s what or when’s when. When we get clearer on these, we have these turnarounds. Turnarounds like “She didn’t hurt me” - what did she actually say? What did she actually do? Maybe she said “You’re a fool!”. Work that turnaround. “She didn’t hurt me… she called me a fool… She didn’t hurt me… she called me a fool.” You can get great freedom from these turnarounds; it’s another place we’re meditating on in our own time in The Work. If someone calls me a fool - I question that, because if I don’t, I’m often so sure that they’re right! If someone calls me a fool and I’m hurt, I’m not open to that wisdom. If it hurts, it’s an opportunity to recognise a wisdom I haven’t yet contemplated.
“ If someone says “You’re wrong!”, and you don’t see that as a gift, then you lose that opportunity to see it as something to consider.” If someone says “You’re wrong!”, and you don’t see that as a gift, then you lose that opportunity to see it as something to consider. The only other paradigm that’s available to us when someone says “You’re wrong”, if we don’t contemplate that possibility, is war. “I’m not wrong! You’re wrong!”, and so it becomes war; and I started it. Defence is the first act of war. QUESTION: “I think your work is amazing, and I just wanted to thank you as it helped me through a very difficult time in my life. One thing I notice though, is that when I do it, I feel great for three or four days, and then I go back to the worrying, the catastrophizing over things- why?” BYRON KATIE: I love that feeling - it shows you what’s next to work. And your choices are: you can suffer, or you can work it - in other words, you can take it to inquiry. QUESTION: “And that process is normal?” BYRON KATIE: “It’s through that process that you realise that there’s noone that is not realized, there’s noone that’s not free, but what you’re thinking and believing that’s overriding that. Let’s say you do a worksheet, and it’s great, and you have some realizations, great! What’s next? You don’t even have to wait, it’ll come in time. The Work is a practice. We can use it as a first aid kit, and it’s really powerful, but what’s left will override that enlightenment and if you’re not free inside, you’re not going to see freedom externally. You have to be free here, if you want to be free there. That’s true for people who’ve had great realizations, powerful realizations, and then think “I’ve lost it. Where did that go? How did that happen?” . It’s a practice, not a one off! A daily practice - and I invite you to that hour every morning and enjoy a great life.”
MEET THE AUTHOR
BYRON KATIE's The Work began on a February morning in 1986, when she, at a complete dead end in her life, woke up without any concept of who, where, or what she was. She awoke to the fundamental, luminous state of being that is without any separation, that experiences itself as pure love. She knew she had reached the end of confusion and suffering. Determined to give people a way to discover for themselves what she had realized, Katie developed her simple method of self-enquiry, a system for discarding the stories we tell ourselves, which are the source of suffering, and replacing them with the truth ("what is") and a life of total joy. In addition to her bestselling books (Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, I Need Your Love - Is That True? and A Thousand Names For Joy: How To Live In Harmony With The Way Things Are) she teaches her methods at free public events, in prisons, hospitals, churches, corporations, shelters for survivors of domestic violence, universities and schools.
On the web
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 19
any people wish for love and find that it eludes them. What they don’t realize is that they hold within them the ability to become a love magnet – attracting love of all kinds into their lives. Several years back on one of my Spiritual sojourns, I brought a group of about 30 people to Sedona, Arizona for a UFO expedition. Supposedly, due to the ore minerals in the ground the craft and their inhabitants were known by all the “inner-circles” to venture into the Sedona vortexes quite frequently. It was a Saturday night at about 10 o’clock when I brought my group to the top of the mountain at Boynton Canyon and awaited our connection. After staring at the clear starlight sky for several minutes, we saw NOTHING. I became frustrated, knowing these people had joined me, expecting to have an experience. Suddenly I heard one of my guides say very clearly in my mind: “You must meditate and raise your vibrations.” I shared this with the group and we did a wonderful guided meditation for ten minutes. Just minutes after our meditation, everyone started seeing colored lights and “craft” resembling television antennas. A local guide approached me and said: “They’re here, can you get communication?” I walked into the middle of a field and opened up my chakra points. Suddenly, I became clearly aware of beings around me. I knew they were attempting to slow down their frequencies so I could hear them. A few seconds passed and I heard and felt the most incredible loving presences. They said: “We are from the Pleiades and there is one thing we do not understand about the human race. You have the ENERGY of LOVE all around you, yet you choose NOT TO USE IT, why is that???” And that was all they said. This cosmic message confirmed something that I had always known, and I want to share it with you. Love Is your natural state of being. Your soul wants to resonate with love, and by bringing it back to its natural frequency, you will attract love in all forms – including romantic. These simple exercises will help you get rid of what’s standing between you and attracting love into your life.
of love! 1 World-renowned medium James Van Praagh shows how to activate the energy of love in your life and send it out into the world
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IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE LOVE, FIRST LET GO OF FEAR. Your natural state of being is love, but you can block yourself from experiencing love by choosing to live in the unnatural state of fear. Marianne Williamson expresses this beautifully when she says “Love is what we were born into, and fear is what we learned here.”
“ Love Is your natural state of being. Your soul wants to resonate with love, and by bringing it back to its natural frequency, you will attract love in all forms.”
>> EXERCISE - For the next few days, pay attention to the experiences in your life that are fear-based. Keep track by drawing two columns on a piece of paper. In the first column, make a list of your fear-based reactions, and right next to each one, write down how you could respond to the same situation from a place of love, rather than fear. For example, rather than hurrying past a homeless person on the street, you might stop, hand them a few dollars, and acknowledge them as a fellow soul having a human experience! Train yourself to relax your fear defense and let go of the need to control – instead go with the flow of love, the natural energy of the universe.
PRACTICE LOVING YOURSELF. Before you can truly love or be loved by another person, you have to first love yourself. That means accepting yourself, flaws and all. Instead of being your own worst critic, treat yourself the way you would treat a dear friend. If a friend shared a mistake they made at work, you wouldn’t say “how could you be so stupid, you’ll probably get fired!” Instead you’d remind them of all of their good qualities, and tell them how valuable they are. >> EXERCISE - Write down a list of positive things about yourself. Consider your appearance, the way you treat other people, things you’re good at. When the critic inside you speaks up, replace that thought with a positive affirmation from your list. The love you give yourself will help you project loving energy outward. When you are in a state of loving yourself and have an awareness of yourself as a loving being that’s when true love can blossom.
ATTRACT LOVE, THEN SEND IT OUT INTO THE WORLD. You have the power to restore yourself to your natural state of being, a state of love. When you exist at this level, the love that you feel for yourself and the world acts as a magnet – attracting more love into your life. When you reach that LOVE VIBRATION where you are coming from a place of love, the next step is to find opportunities to send that love out into the world. As the song says “what the world needs now is love.” I invite you to perform loving acts wherever you can and enjoy the positive ripple effect that results!!
Bookshelf THE POWER OF LOVE: CONNECTING TO THE ONENESS BY JAMES VAN PRA AGH, published by Hay House, Paperback with accompanying audio download of guided meditations. Also: The Power of Love Activation Cards (44-Card Deck & Guidebook).
There’s nothing more important than love – it’s the force that inspired my latest book - The Power of Love: Connecting to the Oneness. I wrote it for anyone who needs a little help activating the innate force of love that dwells inside all of us. Through vivid examples of various everyday situations in life and knowledge gleaned from the Other Side, I demonstrate that love knows no limits—it is the power that holds together everything! ////////////////////////////////////////////////////
When you come from a place of fear, you build an energetic wall around yourself to protect you from death, disease, being hurt by other people – whatever it is that you’re trying to control. Since you have no real control over any of these things, what that wall is really doing is blocking you from loving and being loved.
MEET THE AUTHOR
JAMES VAN PRAAGH is the internationally renowned #1 New York Times bestselling author who has worked as the voice of the Spirit World for the past 35 years. He has appeared on Oprah, Larry King Live, Dr Phil, Coast to Coast and many other programmes. He is also the successful creator and producer of CBS’s long-running series Ghost Whisperer, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.
On the web
www.vanpraagh.com WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 21
A LIBRARY OF CRYSTAL KNOWLEDGE from
Crystal Prescriptions Vols. 1-5 From book retailers
22 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
THE ASTROLOGICAL DYNAMICS OF THE
by Demian Allan
MEET THE AUTHOR DEMIAN ALLAN is an astrologer working in London and does face to face readings every Friday at Watkins Books. To book a reading, email: email@example.com
On the web
Reference: The United Kingdom, 00.00 LT, 1 January 1801, Westminster, 51N30, 0W07. The coming into force of the Union of Great Britain and Ireland. United States of America, 17.10 LMT, 4 July 1776, Philadelphia, 39N57, 75W10 Ref – The Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolised ‘La Volasfera’ Sepharial
DECEMBER 2016 – FEBRUARY 2017
We start by closing 2016, a year which has seen more political changes and farcical dramas being played out to the public. The implication of these will be felt in 2017 on a global scale. Uranus and Pluto have done their square dance with each other but the main astrological theme for 2016 was the square aspect between Saturn and Neptune. Going into the New Year this combination is waning in power. However, the planetary aspects are still going to make 2017 an interesting year, especially for the mutable signs of Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. From a political point of view it is the metaphorical hangover from 2016 that will be dominating the news, picking up the broken pieces of policies and promises from Governments. The New Year starts with Mercury going direct from the 8th and the rest of the planets all moving forward in the sky. This carries on through February, apart from Jupiter on the 6th moving backwards; enjoy the peace and quiet for the start of 2017 as it will liven up by the time we get to spring.
The New Year starts off with a whimper rather than a bang. Mercury goes direct on the 8th in Sagittarius, an interesting political start of the year for the USA to do with its identity as a collective. Mars moves through Pisces making a conjunction on the 1st with Neptune, nebulous forces at work cloud thinking with those in power. On the 12th we have a Full Moon at 22 degrees in Cancer, the degree of indolence. The scene is set in terms of the tone of the year, ‘smoke and mirrors’ is a key phrase that comes to mind. On the 13th we have a conjunction between Venus and Neptune, a delightful aspect that can bring out some of the highest artistic callings in others and spiritual insights; however in Pisces we can delude ourselves into thinking it will be all okay. The New Moon on the 28th is at 8 degrees in Aquarius ‘A lion standing in the open arena’ which is the degree of escape.
Two heavyweight planets oppose each other on the 22nd - 30 th; Jupiter and Uranus on the axis of Libra and Aries, a powerful symbol of the individual working against other people’s views. This is an idealistic aspect that demands attention in the political arena, which the UK will feel since Libra and Aries are in the UK’s 1st and 7th houses, and open political enemies will make themselves known. On the 14th we have a Full Moon at 22 degrees in Gemini ‘a young woman lying beneath a tree, throwing food to the birds which gather round her’; artistic achievements can be excelled during this period as well as the art of forgiveness to others, a fitting Moon for the celebrations in the Western world at this time. Mercury the planet of communication goes retrograde (yes that time again) from the 19 th in the sign of Capricorn, and the establishment will be taking a hit for things they have said in the past that have been incorrect.
Venus and Mars join forces in the sign of Aries this month, a passionate planetary energy that brings about a focus on relationships, both romantically and with political allies. Jupiter goes retrograde from the 6th in Libra for the first time since 2004; any expansion that was promised back last year will be put on hold and the cause of many delays and religious questions. This will be especially prevalent in the UK, as the zodiac sign of Libra is the first house. The USA is still being tested by the transit of Saturn in Sagittarius in the last ten degrees. This is a difficult time for the USA in regard to how they make money and it certainly takes a long hard look at the ‘American dream’. On the 12th the Full Moon is at 22 degrees of Leo, connecting with Uranus in the sky in the degree of injury. The symbolism is clear, rash actions in the governments responses will lead to the innocent getting hurt.
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The Googleplex BY THICH NHAT HANH
“ In 2013 I led a day of mindfulness practice for Google employees at the Google headquarters in California - they call it the Googleplex.” There were about thirty monks and nuns in our delegation,
and over seven hundred Google employees had signed up for the day. Starting early in the morning, we led sessions of sitting meditation, walking meditation, eating in mindfulness, and total relaxation - exactly like a day of mindfulness in Plum Village. The Google employees were young, intelligent, and creative, and we could see they invested themselves wholeheartedly into the practice. The energy of concentration and presence was very strong, and they practiced very well. I think the reason they practiced so wholeheartedly is because they suffer. They were thirsty for a kind of spiritual practice that could help them suffer less. We knew that they had been working very hard. All companies are striving for success, and there’s a strong desire to be “number one.” That is why many young people invest all their time and energy into their work, into their company, and they don’t have time to take care of their body, their feelings, their emotions, and their relationships. Even if they do have time, they may not know what to do with that time in order to really take care of their body and mind. I shared with everyone how to practice walking meditation, and we began the day by walking slowly, mindfully, in silence around the campus. After fifteen minutes or so, we sat down quietly, without saying a word.
I held my cup of tea in my two hands and was enjoying my tea as people began to arrive, to sit down all together, and to follow their breathing. We sat there peacefully for a long time, enjoying the silence and stillness of the morning. Meanwhile, many employees were arriving late for work, and each time someone came around the corner, they stopped suddenly in surprise. They saw something happening: a lot of people sitting down and doing nothing, just breathing. It was so quiet! It was something entirely new and unexpected. Time is no longer money. Time is peace; time is life. Many of us are so busy and work so much that we don’t have time to live. Our work can take up all our life. We may even be addicted to our work, not because we need the money, but because we don’t know how to handle the suffering and loneliness inside, and so we take refuge in our work. There are times we don’t know what to do with our loneliness, pain, and despair inside. We try to look for something to cover it up. We check email, we pick up a newspaper, we listen to the news, anything to forget the loneliness and suffering inside. Our body is restless, our mind is restless, and we don’t know what to do. We try to sit, but it’s as though we’re sitting on burning coals. We may take a walk, but it’s as though we’re walking on fire. When the energy of restlessness manifests itself, we have to recognize what is going on and say, “Hello my restlessness. I know you are there. I will take good care of you.” Then we start to practice mindful breathing, and bring our mind home to our body. When mind and body are together and you are established in the here and now, then you can get in touch with life and take care of the feelings inside. Then nature reveals itself and all its wonders. If we keep working so hard, we will not have enough time to live; we will not have enough time to touch life’s wonders and get the nourishment and the healing we need. We need this insight in order to free ourselves from our restlessness. In the country of the present moment, we can heal ourselves and enjoy life deeply.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Zen Master THICH NHAT HANH is a worldwide revered spiritual leader, poet and peace activist, He wrote over 100 titles on meditation, mindfulness and Engaged Buddhism, as well as poems and children’s stories, His key teaching is that, through mindfulness, we can learn to live happily in the present moment - the only way to truly develop peace, both in one’s self and in the world. He lives in France at Plum Village, the Buddhist community and meditation centre he founded.
On the web
Bookshelf AT HOME IN THE WORLD: STORIES AND ESSENTIAL TEACHINGS FROM A MONK’S LIFE BY THICH NHAT HANH, published by Rider Books, Paperback (192 pages)
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 25
Mystery School in Hyperspace Ethnopharmacologist Dennis McKenna introduces Graham St Johnâ€™s landmark book on DMT
Vishvarupa by Luke Brown
Anadenanthera species were in use in the pre-Incan Tiwanaku culture possibly as early as 1000 BCE. Snuff trays have also been recovered from the most ancient megalithic site of the New World, the five-thousandyear-old ancient city of Caral-Supe (also known as the Norte Chico civilization) of north-central coastal Peru. It is likely that the shamanic technologies utilizing Anadenanthera in these ancient civilizations predated the construction of these megalithic structures by centuries, if not millennia.
time when the newly minted discovery from Sandoz Laboratories, LSD-25, was creating most of the excitement and garnering all of the attention. By 1956, the year of Szára’s self-experiments, the curious and fascinating properties of LSD had been known for some thirteen years, ever since Albert Hofmann’s wild bicycle ride through the streets of Basel on April 19, 1943. Hofmann’s discovery sparked great interest in the psychiatric and neuroscientific communities (such as they were at the time), especially when its structural resemblance to the recently discovered neurotransmitter,
“ DMT was synthesized in the 1930s but was not recognized as a natural compound until 1946; and its psychedelic properties were not recognized until 1956.” DMT can be viewed as a kind of molecular virus, permeating nature since earliest times, quietly awaiting discovery by neurologically complex, curious, tool-using, language-using primates. The human species has been learning from DMT ever since this coevolutionary partnership was forged. We have barely scratched the surface of what it has to teach us. Graham St John’s landmark work, Mystery School in Hyperspace: A Cultural History of DMT, should more properly be termed a “modern cultural history,” because it focuses on the twentiethcentury events that followed its discovery by science. The prehistoric and indigenous use of DMT in New World shamanism is a prequel to the story narrated here, which begins in the mid-twentieth century following its isolation in several plant species and Szára’s self-experiments demonstrating its psychedelic properties. Although the decades discussed in this work encompass a relatively short time frame compared to the centuries of its indigenous usage, the story is nevertheless both rich, and dense. What St John’s narrative makes clear is that DMT has a modern cultural history, a realization that comes as a bit of a surprise to those accustomed to thinking of it in the context of its ethnopharmacologic history. DMT came to the attention of science in the mid-1950s, in an era before “psychedelics” as a class had become vilified and marginalized, but also at a
serotonin, was noted, and because its unique psychological effects appeared to be partly mediated by effects on serotonin. Speculation was rife that an endogenous metabolite resembling LSD might play some role in the etiology of mental illness, and the search for a possible “endogenous psychotogen” became a bit of a Holy Grail quest for the emerging science of biological psychiatry. Stephen Szára, at the time head of the Biochemistry program at /////////////////////////////
DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is, structurally, the least complex of the naturally occurring psychedelics, and yet it is the most enigmatic. In biology, it derives from tryptophan, one of the twenty amino acids that are coded by DNA as structural elements of proteins. Tryptophan is found universally in living systems, from the simplest bacteria to the most complex lifeforms. DMT originates from tryptophan via two utterly trivial enzymatic steps, the cleavage of the carboxylic acid group to yield tryptamine, and the addition of two methyl groups to the side-chain nitrogen. The enzymes that catalyze these reactions serve multiple functions in basic cellular metabolism, and thus, like tryptophan itself, are also universal components in living systems. Since tryptophan, the precursor to DMT, is present in every living thing, the implication is that DMT itself very likely occurs—albeit usually at vanishingly small levels—in every living organism on the planet. Nature, in other words, is drenched in DMT. Is this simply an accident of biochemistry or is it an indication of something more profound, an inherent “intelligence” that is built into nature? DMT invites us to look just a little more closely at the most fundamental levels of biological organization to perceive there a mystery, present since the origins of life and yet unsuspected until the vicissitudes of evolution granted a certain group of primates the neural complexity to apprehend its pharmacology, and the tools to isolate it, and the capacity for astonishment at the transcendent vistas it illuminates. DMT was synthesized in the 1930s but was not recognized as a natural compound until 1946, and its psychedelic properties were not recognized until 1956, following the heroic self-experiments of Hungarian psychiatrist Stephen Szára. Of course, plant-based preparations containing DMT and other tryptamines as the active constituents were at the center of New World shamanic traditions for millennia before Western science turned its gaze in their direction. Unambiguous archaeological evidence, in the form of carved snuff trays and snuffing tubes, confirms that DMTcontaining snuffs prepared from
MEET THE AUTHOR
DENNIS J. MCKENNA’s professional and personal interests are focused on the interdisciplinary study of ethnopharmacology and plant hallucinogens. He is the brother of well-known psychedelics proponent Terence McKenna and is a founding board member and the director of ethnopharmacology at the Heffter Research Institute, where he continues his focus on the therapeutic uses of psychoactive medicines derived from nature and used in indigenous ethnomedical practices.
On the web
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 27
Lipótmezõ, Budapest, was one of those questing scientists. Stymied by Sandoz’s denial of his request for clinical samples of LSD (probably because he was working behind the Iron Curtain), Szára turned his attention to DMT, stimulated by recent reports of its isolation from samples of cohoba, a psychoactive snuff powder prepared from the seeds of Anadenanthera peregrina by the Taino Indians. With the help of his colleague, chemist Miomir Mészáros, Szára cooked up 20 g of DMT and after some animal experiments and a false start in which he discovered the oral inactivity of DMT, he injected 75 mg and thereby became what St John has termed “the Neil Armstrong of DMT.” Thus began 28 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
the scientific and cultural odyssey of DMT in modern times. It is an odyssey that continues to unfold in the decades following. Unsurprisingly, William Burroughs was among the first of his countercultural generation to explore its properties, and pronounced it a “nightmare hallucinogen.” Such a sinister compound could not and did not escape the attention of the CIA’s MKUltra program in “mind control,” sited in the VA Hospital in Menlo Park, California, and the nearby Stanford Research Institute. Some four years after Burroughs’s experiments with a DMT-enriched extract that he called “Prestonia” triggered his nightmare
trips, Terence McKenna’s ontological reference frame was thoroughly shattered by his first encounter with DMT in his apartment in Berkeley in 1965; according to the apocryphal myth, the source of this material was boosted by an unknown “mole” at the SRI from a putative “fifty gallon drum” of military-grade DMT; more likely it found its way to Terence through the aegis of his high school friend, one William Patrick Watson, who was working on a summer organic chemistry project at the Stanford School of Medicine. In his unpublished account of the events leading up to Terence’s encounter with DMT, Watson speculates that, rather than fencing government research chemicals as he thought, he (Watson) was an unwitting participant in a “controlled release program” in which these chemicals were selectively disseminated into civilian populations while maintaining plausible deniability for the agencies conducting this covert program. Whatever the ultimate source of the catalytic chemical that Terence bioassayed on that rainy night in Berkeley, there is no denying that it changed him, and everything, forever. Unlike Burroughs, who found a nightmare in DMT, Terence discovered the “Secret that cannot be told,” and it was in quest of an understanding of this Secret that led us, as brothers, to undertake our journey to La Chorrera in Amazonian Colombia in 1971 and there to execute the now-famous “experiment at La Chorrera.” For the next three decades, until his death in April 2000, Terence’s life and career, as well as my own in part, unfolded in the light of the discoveries and revelations we stumbled upon together in the mist-shrouded pastures of that remote Colombian mission. I remained out of the public eye, by choice and inclination, focusing on my scientific endeavors; Terence, however, by choice and perhaps compelled by destiny, became the public spokesman for DMT and mushrooms. Our collaborations in developing and publishing the simple techniques for growing psilocybin1 mushrooms from spores collected at La Chorrera opened the visionary portals to the wider world. The methods for growing mushrooms, and eventually simple techniques for extracting DMT-rich fractions from numerous plant sources, have been developed and improved over the years by a new and younger generation of
aspiring psychonauts, so that now the “tryptamine dimension”1—for that’s really what it is—is accessible to anyone with the courage and motivation to visit its exotic shores. And yet it remains a Secret, and a Mystery; as fascinating and puzzling to twenty-first-century humans as it was to the first curious primate who ever munched mushrooms and closed their eyes in wonder. As a species, and as a society, we are not done with DMT, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that DMT is not done with us. It continues to teach, and we continue to learn from it. DMT has spawned entire movements of visionary art and mind-altering music. New psychedelic communities, committed to ritual and spiritual explorations, have coalesced around it. Some are even proposing to initiate formal diplomatic relations with the hyperdimensional entities they have encountered “beyond the chrysanthemum.” Experimental ethnopharmacologists have developed new formulations of DMT-rich extracts generically known as “changa” that have made it more accessible, less “alien,” and certainly more widespread. Building on the pioneering work of neuroscientists such as Szára, Julius Axelrod, and psychiatrist Rick
“ Terence McKenna’s ontological reference frame was thoroughly shattered by his first encounter with DMT in his apartment in Berkeley in 1965.” Strassman, we now know that DMT is endogenous in the body and brain, that it is indeed a “spirit molecule” whose functions, while still poorly understood, must be profound, that must, in fact, lie at the heart of what it means to be conscious beings in a universe of life and mind and intelligence. The cultural, historical, and evolutionary story of DMT is still being written. Graham St John’s engaging and well-researched chronicle casts its gaze back on the recent past much as a traveler crossing a pass might pause to look back on a road hard traveled, and provides an important and muchneeded narrative of the events that have transpired since science’s discovery of the Spirit Molecule. The future of this ongoing relationship, as futures usually are, is a bit murkier but it is likely that
we will be seeking to understand the Secret for some time to come. For anyone interested in that quest, Mystery School in Hyperspace is required reading.
Image above: Contact by Cyb Left : Dreamcatcher by Android Jones (www.androidjones.com)
MYSTERY SCHOOL IN HYPERSPACE: A CULTURAL HISTORY OF DMT BY GRAHAM ST JOHN, FOREWORD BY DENNIS J. MCKENNA, published by North Atlantic Books, IIlustrated Paperback (534 pages)
1 Psilocin—the physiologically active form of psilocybin—differs from DMT only in having a hydroxyl group in the indole ring. This trivial molecular difference is crucial pharmacologically since it is this structural feature that renders it orally active without the need for MAO inhibitors. Psilocin is the perfect orally active form of DMT that we sought at La Chorrera.
Excerpted from: Mystery School in Hyperspace by Graham St John, foreword by Dennis J. McKenna, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2015. Reprinted by permission of publisher. WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 29
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30 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
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Dream T yourself
AWAKE Author Andrew Holecek shows us how to illuminate our lives through Lucid Dreaming and the Tibetan Yogas of Sleep
32 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
he nocturnal meditations of lucid dreaming, dream yoga, and sleep yoga are little known in the West, but they’ve been around for thousands of years in the East. These uncommon meditations have been at the core of my spiritual path for over thirty years, offering a unique opportunity to practice even while I sleep. Lucid dreaming is when you wake up to the fact that you’re dreaming, while still remaining in the dream. It’s a fantastic experience of freedom and control, and the ultimate in home entertainment. You become the producer, director, writer, and main actor in the theater of your own mind. You can script the craziest adventure or indulge your wildest fantasies. In sweeping terms, lucid dreaming is mostly concerned with issues of self-fulfillment. During the first decade of my lucid dreaming, I did what most people do. I simply had fun. I loved to fly in my dreams, to feel the wind blowing through my hair, to soar above the clouds, and then to dive-bomb towards the earth like a fighter pilot on a joy ride. If a beautiful woman happened to appear, I’d screech to a halt for a brief tryst in the wilds. Lucid dreaming can also be used to rehearse situations, solve problems, and work through psychological issues, which is a more evolved use of lucidity. It can help with nightmares and depression, and has been shown to boost confidence and assist in the management of grief. It has also been shown to improve motor skills, and therefore has the ability to improve athletic performance. Training your dream body can train your physical body. Lucid dreaming activates the brain in the same way as waking life. If you sing in your dream, for example, your right hemisphere is activated; if you work on a math problem in your dream, your left hemisphere is activated – just as in life. Lucid dreaming can also facilitate healing. One doctor published a paper about a patient with a twenty-two year history of chronic pain who cured himself overnight with a single lucid dream. I used to have nightmares, but by becoming lucid within them I was gradually able to transform my relationship to these unwanted states, and incorporate the disowned aspects of my identity that were seeding the nightmare. Instead of running away in fear from what is in essence my own mind (what else is a nightmare made of?), my lucidity gave me the confidence to do the opposite. I would turn around, face whatever was chasing me, and then embrace it. In so doing, the monstrous aspect of my mind would usually dissolve into me, and the nightmare would end. By doing this repeatedly, all my nightmares ended.
As marvelous as lucid dreaming is, in the spectrum of the nocturnal meditations it’s just the first step. Lucid dreaming can evolve into dream yoga, which is when the theater of the mind is replaced with a laboratory, and the psychological benefits evolve into the spiritual domain. While lucid dreaming is mostly concerned with self-fulfillment, dream yoga works with self-transcendence. It’s a “yoga” because it stretches the mind into previously unconscious territory, and because it serves to “yoke” us to deeper aspects of our being. Just as physical yoga makes your body more flexible, dream yoga makes your mind more flexible. And as the saying goes, “Blessed are the flexible, for they are never bent out of shape.” A flexible mind is adaptable, malleable, supple, accommodating, amenable – and open. Who wouldn’t want a mind like this? Once a mind is open and pliable, you can wrap it around all sorts of new experiences. Dream yoga uses the medium of the dream to explore the nature of mind and reality. Just as astronauts explore the reaches of outer space, “oneironauts” (oneirology is the study of dreams) probe the depths of inner space. Once they become lucid, dream yogis engage in a series of progressively more subtle practices, each designed to go deeper into the darkest recesses of the mind. “Darkness” is a code word for ignorance, and these practices illuminate the darkness, and therefore eliminate the ignorance. The final result is discovering who you truly are, which is what the Buddha (“the awakened one,” or “one who knows”) did. Stage two is about transforming the contents of your dream. For example, once you’re lucid in your dream, look at your dream hand and then try to make five hands. Or transform your dream table into a car. Take your dream mansion and shrink it into a doll house. Why do you want to do this? Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche says: “Just as dream images can be transformed in dreams, so emotional states and conceptual limitations can be transformed in waking life. With experience of the dreamy and malleable nature of experience, we can transform depression into happiness, fear into courage, anger into love, hopelessness into faith, distraction into presence. What is dark we can change to light. Challenge the boundaries that constrict you. The purpose of these practices is to integrate lucidity and flexibility with every moment of life, and to let go of the heavily conditioned way we have of ordering reality, of making meaning, of being trapped in delusion.” In other words, when you’re transforming the contents of your dream, what are you really doing? You’re transforming your mind. You’re changing the way you relate to the contents of your mind.
With stability in dream yoga, you can progress into the final “dark meditation” of sleep yoga. This practice shows you how far the nocturnal meditations can go. With sleep yoga you maintain awareness (lucidity) in deep dreamless sleep, and transform the archetype of ignorance. Being formless and nondualistic, the experience of sleep yoga is hard to describe. Ego is exclusive identification with form, and when it dissolves into formless sleep, the untrained mind blacks out. Imagine floating in outer space, where the light of the sun is constantly streaming. If there’s no object (form) placed in that light and space, then nothing is actually seen. The only thing you see is the blackness of outer space. You don’t see the light. But the instant you put an object into that streaming light, both the light and the object suddenly appear. Duality instantly manifests. Physicist Arthur Zajonc lends a hand, “How does light look when left entirely to itself? . . . Absolute darkness! . . . without an object on which the light can fall, one sees only darkness. Light itself is always invisible. We see only things, only objects, not light.” It’s exactly the same with the darkness of the deep inner space of your own mind.
MEET THE AUTHOR
ANDREW HOLECEK has completed the traditional three-year Buddhist meditation retreat and offers seminars internationally on meditation, dream yoga, and death. He is the author of The Power and the Pain, Preparing to Die, and Meditation in the iGeneration.
On the web
“ When you fall asleep every night, you’re actually falling awake – into a dimension of reality that’s as vast as the cosmos.” The light of awareness is constantly streaming.But if an object – in this case a thought form, dream image, or emotion – doesn’t arise in that light and space of the mind, nothing is seen. It’s perceived as a total blackout, which is exactly what the untrained mind “sees” in dreamless sleep. Awareness, like light, is invisible. But with sleep yoga, and the daytime formless meditations that support it, you come to rest in formless awareness itself – which is what you really are. You’ve finally yoked to your true nature. Then instead of blacking out when you fall into dreamless sleep, you “light up.” You rest in the light which lies at the heart of “enlightenment.” If you live to be ninety years old, you’ve spent thirty of those years sleeping, and entered the dream world around half a million times. That’s a lot of time in a state of consciousness you know very little about. Don’t you want to change that? Think about how much you could learn in “night school” if you had even a few of those thirty extra years.
Bookshelf DREAM YOGA: ILLUMINATING YOUR LIFE THROUGH LUCID DREAMING AND THE TIBETAN YOGAS OF SLEEP BY ANDREW HOLECEK , published by Sounds True, Paperback (352 pages)
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 33
THE WAY OF REST Jeff Foster encourages us to find the courage to hold everything in love by deeply accepting ourselves as we are.
strange yet familiar feeling of utter fragility and rawness greeting you as you wake. A reflection of a reflection of something vaguely remembered in a piece of broken glass on the sidewalk as you hurry to work again. An unexpected diagnosis. A long-lost friend, returning. An old relationship breaking apart to make way for something new. Taking a friend’s hand in the darkness, helping them to walk when they cannot walk, or do not want to walk. A cup of tea with a loved one. That look in your grandmother’s eyes before she passed into infinity. Billions of light-years away, comets shooting through the vastness in profound silence . . . There is so much beauty and so much sorrow, so much pain and so much joy, so much creativity, so much to be felt and discovered here in this crazy, 34 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
beautiful world that we so often take for granted. Perhaps if you were to take in all of this life, all this experience, your heart would not be able to hold it. Perhaps it’s not death we’re afraid of but too much life. When you were young it was nothing less than an act of pure creative intelligence—genius, in fact—to begin constructing a protective wall around your raw, sensitive, beautifully fragile and innocent heart. It made perfect sense back then to try to numb yourself to the overwhelming intensity of things, both negative and positive; to block out your pain, your fear, your anger; to distract yourself from your feelings of loneliness; to disconnect from your sorrow and your joy too; to try to build a fixed and consistent “self ” in order to fit in, feel safe, be accepted. It made sense to try to control yourself, adapt yourself, manipulate yourself, hide parts of yourself, in order to get love and approval from those you looked up to.
You were a tiny, sensitive love warrior, seeking love outside yourself, and you were not wrong. But perhaps now is the time to end this selfabandonment, and rediscover the love that is within you. Perhaps all your brilliant childhood defences and seeking strategies are no longer necessary. Perhaps your heart is—and always was—vast enough to hold all of life, the sorrow as much as the bliss, the agony as much as the ecstasy, the boredom as much as the excitement. Perhaps you are now finally ready to let all experience flood in; not just the good parts, the shiny parts, the “spiritual” parts; not just the happy, positive feelings, but all feelings; to feel them all at last, no longer afraid that they will harm you, no longer ashamed. To think all your thoughts, positive and negative ones, too, and not apologize for either. To walk your own path, finally; to speak with your own voice, speak out loud in the clear air, without compromise. This is courage! Courage not as the absence of fear, or anger, or doubt, but the willingness to truly live, to include all of yourself, the messy and painful bits too. Courage not as the eradication of your vulnerable humanness but as the willingness to make mistakes, to
fall down, to get back up again; to keep going, even though you’ve lost your map, even though you don’t know the way, even though you feel scared and broken and doubt your own ability to walk. To paraphrase Joseph Campbell, if the path in front of you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. If you are fed up with walking someone else’s path; if you are sick of trying to control your thoughts and feelings, trying to live up to some inherited, second-hand image of “happiness” or “beauty”; if you are ready to drop the idea of how you should be, and love yourself exactly as you are, flaws, imperfections, doubts, scars, birthmarks, bruises, warts, and all; if you feel like you just want to embrace the whole damn universe in all its madness, joy and sorrow, sadness and ecstasy, clarity and confusion; if you are disillusioned or disappointed with the promises and paths of well-meaning authorities—parents, spiritual teachers, self-help gurus, world leaders—and long to be authentic and real, well, then you are ready for the Way of Rest. The message of this book is simple. Stop trying to be happy; stop running away from your unhappiness; embrace yourself as you are, and discover a deeper happiness. There is nothing wrong with you, and there never was, no matter what you believe, or were told. You are complete, whole, exactly as you are; perfect even in your imperfections, awesome in your humanness, strong in your fragility. Your flaws are beautiful. Your doubts are sacred. It is okay to feel broken and wounded sometimes, it really is. Your pain or discomfort, your sadness, your anger, your fear, are not signs of your failure or spiritual weakness; they are important and precious parts of you that just long to be held in love. There is no longer any need to be ashamed of your wounds, to hide them or push them further away, to pretend to be happy, or “okay,” or perfect or enlightened. There is no need to pretend at all anymore. You are exhausted from the fight and the flight, tired of seeking love outside your own heart, fed up with disconnecting from the present moment, and you long for rest. My dear reader, this book is your permission to rest, permission to feel, permission to live . . . without needing to wait for permission any longer.
Please don’t take anything I write as indisputable fact, as some inarguable, absolute truth. I am only a little bird, singing my song, offering these imperfect yet very heartfelt words to you. I write only from my own experience as one who has suffered and found a way through suffering; as one who once wanted to die and be numb and pure and enlightened, but who has now fallen in love with his imperfect humanity. I see the human and the spiritual as one; the Absolute and the relative as indivisible lovers; and enlightenment not as a future state, but as what we already are, the brilliant light that shines from our very core. Many of the pieces in The Way of Rest I don’t even remember writing; they flowed out freely and spontaneously from a profoundly still and silent place within; in many ways the book wrote itself as I sat and watched, amazed. I have never thought of myself as some expert, some infallible teacher or spiritual guru. I know the true teacher is the one we carry in our hearts, and the true authority is life itself, the
MEET THE AUTHOR
JEFF FOSTER shares from his own awakened experience a way out of seeking fulfilment in the future and into the acceptance of “all this, here and now.” He studied astrophysics at Cambridge University. Following a period of depression and physical illness, he embarked on an intensive spiritual search that came to an end with the discovery that life itself was what he had always been seeking. The author of numerous books, including The Deepest Acceptance, Jeff lives near Brighton, England.
On the web
“ There is nothing wrong with you, and there never was, no matter what you believe, or were told. You are complete, whole, exactly as you are.” present moment, shining brightly beyond all ideology, prior to human religion or systems of thought, prior to even these words. Before you are a success or a failure, good or bad, happy or sad, rich or poor, spiritual or unspiritual, strong or weak, Christian or Buddhist or atheist, even male or female, you are. You are alive. You are awake. You are life itself, inseparable from the power that grows the flowers and gives birth to galaxies. You are consciousness, the very consciousness that was there at the big bang; that is how essential you are. And so happiness is not something you earn, or are given by others; it is your birthright. I hope the words in The Way of Rest inspire, challenge, and encourage you; but most of all, I hope they remind you that you are alive and worthy of the kind of love that moves the stars.
Bookshelf THE WAY OF REST: FINDING THE COURAGE TO HOLD EVERY THING IN LOVE BY JEFF FOSTER, published by Sounds True, Paperback (250 pages)
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 35
The Bard and the Stars:
Shakespeare’s Use of Astrological Symbolism and Its Deeper Meanings By my prescience / I find my zenith doth depend upon / A most auspicious star, whose influence / If now I court not but omit, my fortunes / Will ever after droop. PROSPERO (THE TEMPEST, I, ii, 180-4)
n Shakespeare’s time, this speech had a meaning entirely missed by modern audiences: they knew that Prospero’s “most auspicious star” had to be Jupiter, “the greater benefic”, considered throughout western cultural history to be the bringer of success and prosperity. These lines signal that the play is a comedy since it implies that the hero’s fortunes are on the rise. As well, knowing that Jupiter has a twelve-year cycle (it takes twelve years to circle the Sun as viewed from Earth), the spectators of Shakespeare’s time got the significance of Prospero’s twelve-year exile on the island: with one revolution of Jupiter completed and another about to begin, his luck is about to change. Shakespeare’s works are filled with references like these to heavenly bodies and stellar events. This isn’t surprising since people of his time were more aware of the skies and the stars than we are: with no electric lights and few clocks, farmers, mariners, and the average Elizabethan looked to the sky to determine time and weather. Even for the illiterate, oral traditions passed down for many generations made the astrological language commonplace. In rural areas gardening and farming were often practiced in conjunction with lunar cycles, and herbalists learned their lore with reference to astrological signatures. Since personalities were classified in relation to
by Priscilla Costello specific planets (an early form of psychology) and medical practice was based on planetary profiles (or “temperaments”), the meanings and importance of astrological symbols were familiar to them. We in the present day don’t catch many of the astrological allusions in Shakespeare’s plays and understand their significance because we’re no longer steeped in the grand worldview that was fundamental to Elizabethan thinking and that included astrology. To understand Shakespeare’s plays and the significance of astrology to them it’s essential to become familiar with this worldview and its implications. We’re conditioned in our time by the beliefs of conventional materialistic science that dominate public discourse: only physical things are real and the only way to acquire knowledge is through five-sense perception. (Though these beliefs are being challenged in the 20th and 21st centuries by both quantum physics and alternative spirituality, the mainstream remains stubbornly materially oriented.) But for hundreds of years before Shakespeare’s time it was taken for granted that there was a relationship between the heavens and the Earth, and that this was reflected in human appearance, temperament, and experience. The religio-philosophical model that supported this idea conceived of a universe unfolding from Divinity in an orderly progression of hierarchical levels, down through the realm of the fixed stars, through the “crystalline spheres” of the seven classical planets, and ultimately into the physical world of human beings, animals, plants, and minerals. You can visualize this as a series of cascading waterfalls, with each level taking different forms but having a similar essence. The implication is that the original Energy of creation permeates all the unfolding levels: that the cosmos is thus “ensouled”. In poetic terms this model was described as “The Ladder of Heaven”. Souls not only descended to become incarnate but also might ascend to higher levels either during their human lives through spiritual effort or in after-death states consciously cultivated before dying. (This purpose inspired such tracts as the
Egyptian and Tibetan Books of the Dead.) The planets are an integral part of this worldview, as steppingstones between the mundane and higher spiritual worlds, and Shakespeare makes extensive use of them for both poetic and philosophical purposes. In this paradigm each level is linked with all the levels above and below it through “sympathetic resonance”, so that references to the planets trigger a host of associations on all other levels. An important point about these correspondences and Shakespeare’s use of them is that one at a particular level of the hierarchy can be substituted for another at a similar position but on a different level, making them comparable. This makes the astrological language supremely useful for a poet, for it sets up many analogies, so that Sun = king = heart in the human body = lion in the animal kingdom = eagle in the bird kingdom = gold in the mineral kingdom. Here’s an instance of such comparisons (italicized) from Richard II, when Richard appears before his court: Bolingbroke: See, see, King Richard doth himself appear, / As doth the blushing discontented sun / From out the portal of the east . . . York: Yet looks he like a king. Behold, his eye / As bright as is the eagle’s, lightens forth / Controlling majesty. (III, iii, 61-3, 67-9)i Given these subtle connections between all levels of creation, Shakespeare can write of tempests both external to King Lear and within his mind, of eclipses that portend the fall of kings, and of horses that eat each other when Macbeth murders King Duncan. Events on one level of being can reflect events on another. This reflects an important idea intrinsic to this model and relevant to Shakespeare’s works—and fundamental to astrology: interconnectedness. (Modern physics has reframed this concept as “entanglement”, and has convincingly demonstrated that the universe is fundamentally interconnected and interdependent.) Shakespeare’s works reflect this generally accepted worldview of his time. He naturally draws on familiar astrological symbolism as creative inspiration for his art in both obvious and subtle ways. He uses it for various purposes: to establish time and its passage; to create characters in line with planetary associations; and to allude to philosophical ideas and esoteric meanings embedded in astrological symbols. Even so prominent and familiar a symbol as the Sun has meanings other than the exalted position of royalty or the function of leadership at any social level. In one of Shakespeare’s most affecting tragedies, Romeo and Juliet,
“ The planets are an integral part of the Shakespearian worldview, as steppingstones between the mundane and higher spiritual worlds.” Romeo sees Juliet emerge on her balcony late at night after the masked ball at her parents’ house, and rhapsodizes on her glorious beauty, comparing her to the Sun: But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon . . . (II, i, 43-5) This is at one and the same time an appreciation of the external Juliet’s beauty, and an indication of an enormous internal shift within Romeo. Since the Sun represents in part the heroic principle, it coincides with a birth within Romeo of the powerful and courageous force generally attributed to the active, masculine principle paradoxically catalyzed by love. We are not surprised that Romeo now has the courage to take the actions he does later in the play: marrying, functioning sexually, defending Juliet’s tomb, and dying for love. In psychological terms we might say that Romeo is projecting his own essence onto Juliet, but, as sometimes happens in relationships, the dynamism of the connection may enable you WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 37
MEET THE AUTHOR
PRISCILLA COSTELLO is a teacher, writer, speaker, and counseling astrologer. An enthusiastic lover of Shakespeare’s work, she taught English language and literature for over 30 years. Founder and Director of The New Alexandria, a center for religious, spiritual, and esoteric studies, she is also the author of The Weiser Concise Guide to Practical Astrology.
On the web
priscillacostello.com and shakespeareandthestars.com Watch Priscilla’s talk on Shakespeare and Astrology hosted by Watkins Books on youtube: http://bit.ly/2d1o2Zb
Bookshelf SHAKESPEARE AND THE STARS: THE HIDDEN ASTROLOGICAL KEYS TO UNDERSTANDING THE WORLD’S GREATEST PLAY WRIGHT BY PRISCILLA COSTELLO, published by Ibis Press, Illustrated Paperback (536 pages)
to recognize your own deeper self in another. The most significant esoteric meaning of the Sun symbol is that it represents the indwelling Divine spark, the spiritual essence that is your true Self, and that’s what Romeo sees in Juliet. Since the relationship between the heavens and the Earth is a given in Shakespeare’s time, there has to be a correlation between stellar patterns and human personality. This is a specific application of the general theory: the macrocosm is reflected in the human microcosm. Contemporary astrology tends to connect character qualities to the twelve signs of the zodiac. People born with the Sun in the sign of Aries, for instance, are characterized as extroverted, energetic, self-oriented, and “fiery” in quality. For the people of Shakespeare’s time and before, however, the connections were focused elsewhere. Because the material world (the one below the sphere of the Moon) is composed of the four elements (fire, air, water, and earth) in varying proportions, your appearance and personality (or “temperament”) is in part explained by the combination of elements specific to your constitution. These elements are best thought of as qualities—earthiness or airiness, for example. We still refer to people as “couch potatoes”, disinclined to activity, or “airheads”, caught up in thoughts and often unaware of or inept at managing the physical world. These four elements are also associated with four particular planets: the Moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Shakespeare repeatedly uses these types as templates upon which to create his characters, whose thoughts, motives, and actions coincide with them. Macbeth, for example, is clearly a fire/Mars or choleric type, a warrior given to taking direct action but also predisposed to irritability and anger if his goals aren’t easily achieved. Hamlet is a classic earth/Saturn or melancholic type: pessimistic, easily depressed, yet thoughtful and capable of profound reflection on deeply significant philosophic questions. An even more expansive way in which Shakespeare uses astrological symbols is as templates for entire plays. Most of his plays focus on one particular sign of the zodiac and its associated ruling planet, with the “key” of the piece being conveyed by the language and allusions in the opening scene and being carried through the entire play by the characters’ types (their behaviour and expression), and the play’s consistent symbols and themes. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is set in the “key” of the Moon: the play’s opening lines have Theseus and Hippolyta bantering about the timing of their wedding with the upcoming new moon; every group of characters who enter talks about the Moon; the action of the play is entirely during one night (the time of day under the rulership
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of the Moon); and the Moon even comes on stage as a character in the mangled version of “Pyramus and Thisbe” performed by the “rude mechanicals” for the wedding celebrations! Like the Sun, the Moon has many layers of profound philosophic and esoteric meaning. It is the pre-eminent symbol of impermanence and change. Unlike the Sun with its steady brilliance, the Moon waxes and wanes, changing shape in its cycle from new to full and back again. It symbolizes the constant changes and mutations of the visible world. Reflected in both the alternating tides of the ocean and the fluctuating tides of human emotion, no wonder that the young lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream seem inconstant in love, abruptly switching affections during the night they spend in the Athenian forest. The deeper message is to step back and reflect on the nature of our physical world experience. We can gain a liberating detachment by identifying with Puck, the mischievous faery who exists outside the human world, in his perspective on human antics: “Lord what fools these mortals be!” If we can laugh at the transformations of affections and appearances in the play, we may be able to laugh at those we experience in our world—a true indication of the detachment that often leads to wisdom. It’s clear that Shakespeare’s use of astrology encompasses many layers of meaning the mythological, the psychological, the philosophical, the religious or spiritual, the esoteric, and of course the mundane (in references to gems and minerals, plants and animals, weather conditions, and even separate parts of the human body). This reveals that Shakespeare is in fact a transmitter and expresser of the Western wisdom tradition and that he’s primarily using astrological symbolism, with its multi-faceted language of mathematical, geometrical, and poetic beauty, to convey profound ideas. Discovering how integral astrological symbolism is to Shakespeare’s plays will surely intrigue perceptive play-goers and eager readers of Shakespeare’s works who wish to explore their hidden depths from a new and different perspective, one that provides fresh insights into Shakespeare’s extraordinary creations. His “capacious” consciousness, combined with literary craft, midwived a unique body of work that could only have been produced at that particular time by an individual having an unusual combination of literary artistry, astute perception, and vivid imagination, along with a profound understanding of philosophical, esoteric, and spiritual wisdom—which included astrology. It is this combination of gifts and talents that has made his works vital and intriguing for over four centuries.
Jill Purce HEALING VOICE
A sensitive teenager’s quest to release a ghost trapped since the French Revolution. Vividly written, an exciting spiritual time-slip novel for all ages, especially the novice MBS reader.
www.veryanwilliamswynn.co.uk Available on Amazon and at bookstores.
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WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 39
THE SECOND ADVENT: How and When? Dr. Zinovia Dushkova reveals the information she received from Himalayan sages during her numerous trips across Tibet MEET THE AUTHOR
ZINOVIA DUSHKOVA, Ph.D., is an awardwinning Russian author. Her research of ancient mysteries has taken her to remote Buddhist monasteries and sacred Abodes hidden within mountains and deserts in Tibet, Nepal, Mongolia, and India, where she has studied ancient manuscripts inaccessible to Western researchers. Dr. Dushkova has devoted 25 years to the acquisition of secret wisdom, which she is now sharing with people through her books.
On the web
Nowadays a mysterious and sacred flower called udumbara is noticed everywhere in the world. The Buddhist scriptures say it blossoms only once every 3,000 years and heralds the coming of the King of Shambhala, a legendary kingdom hidden in the Himalayas. This Supreme Spirit is the Messiah known to all nations but under different names: Christ, Maitreya, Mahdi, Kalki Avatar, Saoshyant, Li Hong, and so on. According to the world renowned esoteric philosopher Helena Blavatsky the anomalous weather conditions we witness almost every day, new temperature records, and the increased number of natural disasters signify a new cycle of human evolution, in the beginning of which the awaited Messiah must come. The mystery of the birth of the Highest Spirits on the Earth has always been piously guarded by the sages of the Himalayas. But now some part of it may be revealed. Each Saviour of the World is born in the ray which dominates in a particular territorial space and period of time. This ray projects onto the corresponding energy centre of the Mother and in this way brings about an immaculate conception and birth, as recorded in the legends of almost all the Saviours proclaimed by various religions and beliefs. For example, Buddha appeared from the side of His Mother — this is the solar plexus, the third
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energy centre; the Immaculate Conception of Christ is the second centre, which is associated with the fifth. As Blavatsky revealed, humanity is now in the Fourth Round of Evolution, which means that the fourth energy centre — the heart — should experience the greatest development. Consequently, the conception and birth of the Supreme Spirit must come through the heart. This is a higher level, called the third fire, which is typical for the most developed planets in the Universe. If one projects this onto earthly conditions, then one can imagine that two people, thanks to their fire of love, create a third fire at the level of the heart, within the membrane of which, just as in an amniotic egg, a luminous creature is born. He may be borne for a long time by this pair, germinating in the heart of his mother for seven, nine, or even twelve years. And then, if this spirit feels compelled, he may be born on the physical plane, but his body will have a completely different material structure from that of Earth-dwellers. If not, he will go higher, and his parents will be able to see their baby in the Ethereal World, where he will appear as an Angel. The Advent on the Earth of the Greatest Spirit comes about in like manner. Nevertheless, His Coming proceeds in strict accordance with Cosmic Laws, taking billions of causes into consideration. He can be incarnated solely upon the call of people. By this time, the answer is being weighed on the Cosmic Scales as to whether people are waiting for Him: yes or no.
If yes outweighs no, then He will be born in the flesh, and people will be able to behold Him with their own physical eyes. If humanity says no, then the eyes of the heart alone will be capable of seeing Him. And, after fulfilling His invisible mission, He will depart again. The Messiah has the right to be born only in the heart, which does not cause discomfort to people who are not waiting for Him. It is clear that if He were born in a physical body, it would be a struggle and a waste of energies. The Messiah comes not to take away the sins of humanity just so that people might deride Him, call Him the Antichrist, and crucify Him again. His Advent from the Supreme Divine Worlds transmits the mightiest current of energies, which lets all the worlds — i.e., those located not only within the Solar System, but also beyond its boundaries — begin a new stage of their development. As the sages of the Himalayas revealed to the author, the Messiah descended from Shambhala in July 2005. Everyone who was at that time in the area, noticed that even the grass was charred in the Himalayas. The forces of Nature
humanity must return the Son to Mary at the age where She had lost Him because of the sentence pronounced by Earth-dwellers. Then His body will be visible to “physical eyes”, but this will be the “Glorious Body”, composed of the matter in which Jesus Christ was resurrected and seen by His disciples. In other words, symbolically speaking, much like as in Maitreyavyakarana, He will emerge from the heart of His Mother when the Cosmic Event described in the Bible takes place: “Maitreya, the best of men, will then leave the Tushita heavens, and go for his last rebirth into the womb of that woman. For ten whole months she will carry about his radiant body. . . . He, supreme among men, will emerge from her right side, as the sun shines forth when it has prevailed over a bank of clouds.” (Maitreyavyakarana, transl. Edward Conze) “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.” (Rev. 12:1–2.)
Bookshelf THE BOOK OF SECRET WISDOM: THE PROPHETIC RECORD OF HUMAN DESTINY AND EVOLUTION BY ZINOVIA DUSHKOVA , published by Radiant Books, Paperback and Hardback (270 pages). Also by Zinovia: Parables from Shambhala: The Wisdom of the East for Everyday Life and Leaves of Maitreya’s Garden: The Call of the Heart (The Teaching of the Heart, Book 1).
“ Each Saviour of the World is born in the ray which dominates in a particular territorial space and period of time.” were manifest in all their might: on one and the same day one could feel the strongest heat of the sun, followed by the most powerful cold, snow, and hail. This was how the gigantic energy waves expressed themselves — the waves which accompanied the descent of the King of Kings from Shambhala. But all this happened at the level of the heart, since it is not expedient for Him to be incarnated at a lower level. For a period of twelve years ending in 2017, the Messiah, being in the heart of His Mother, is transpiercing the entire planet with fiery energies. And after that, He will go higher. Owing to this “fiery baptism”, the human structure of those who have preserved the purity of their souls will change over the next few decades. And in the subsequent generation, the children of those born after 2012 will give life to human beings who possess immortality. Certainly, if by 2017 the call of the hearts of Earth-dwellers is sufficiently strong that yes outweighs no on the Cosmic Scales, He will be born in a mature “physical” body. From the perspective of Cosmic Justice,
These citations should be understood with the help of an astrological key. In 2017, there will be a unique alignment of the celestial bodies: the Moon, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Regulus; the Moon will be “under the feet” of the constellation of Virgo, “clothed with” the Sun, and the nine stars of Leo together with three planets (Mercury, Mars, and Venus) will form the “crown of twelve stars”. Since ancient times, the planet Jupiter, the King of Planets, has been a planetary symbol of the Messiah, while Regulus, the King of Stars, is His stellar symbol. Thus, symbolically, the King of Kings will descend from the “Tushita heavens” through the aligned planets into the “womb” of Virgo, being represented as Jupiter, which will enter her “womb” for 42 weeks, or almost ten months. However, as mentioned before, whether these prophecies will be fulfilled in our physical world or not depends upon every single person and the collective will of the people of the Earth, since stars never force something to happen against human will, but merely create the necessary conditions.
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 41
How Magic Works or Used to Work I
n the interest of full disclosure, let me say right away that I’m not going to tell you how magic works today, right now, in the year 2016. I can’t tell you that because I don’t know. To study magic as it is, you’ll need to take Magic 101 at Hogwarts. Instead, I’ll describe how people used to think magic worked – until a few hundred years ago. I’ve recently told this story in two books: The Book of Magic (Penguin); and Magic in Western Culture from Antiquity to the Enlightenment (Cambridge University Press). A fascinating part of the tale is who the students of magic were. They were very accomplished and widely respected, though some of their names are no longer as famous as they used to be. Isaac Newton is an exception: he’s still very well known, mainly as an inventor of modern physics and the mathematics that underlies it. Fewer people know that Newton was an alchemist as well as a physicist. Other European intellectuals of the first rank – Plotinus, Proclus, Albertus Magnus, Marsilio Ficino, Pietro Pomponazzi, Tomasso Campanella – also theorized about magic. Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and Robert Boyle (who wrote The Sceptical Chemist) were less friendly to magic, sometimes hostile, but they all took it seriously. What do I mean by ‘magic’? A good 42 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
Brian Copenhaver, Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and History at the University of California, explores the history of magic in the Western world
MEET THE AUTHOR
BRIAN COPENHAVER is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He studies philosophy and science in late medieval and early modern Europe. His twelve completed books and many articles are about Renaissance philosophy and logic, modern Italian philosophy, the Hermetica, Kabbalah, astrology, magic in Western culture and other topics.
On the web
place to start is Newton’s famous book: The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy. Writing in Latin, the great physicist said that he was writing about philosophia naturalis – ‘natural philosophy,’ not ‘natural science.’ In his day, philosophy was a bigger subject than it is now: the field covered what experts now call ‘philosophy’ but also much of what we now know as ‘science,’ including physics, chemistry, biology and so on. And ‘natural magic’ was part of natural philosophy, a core subject in universities and schools of medicine. Magia, the Latin word for ‘magic,’ could be used narrowly or broadly. Narrowly, it might be someone’s special theory about how magic works, like the one developed by Proclus in the fifth century CE, or it might be some other person’s practice of a theory, like the ‘magick’ that ravished Faustus in Christopher Marlowe’s play. But magia in the broader sense also included alchemy, astrology, demonology, divination, Kabbalah, sorcery, witchcraft and so on. Around 1530, a new label was applied to the same list by Henry Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim – Agrippa, for short – in his book On the Occult Philosophy. With Agrippa’s book as deep background, people eventually started talking about ‘occultism,’ but not until the nineteenth century.
Newton, an eminent scientist, and Agrippa, a notorious magus, both wrote books about ‘philosophy.’ When Newton died in 1727, custodians of his fame knew about his work in alchemy, but it embarrassed them. Alchemy and the occult philosophy were no longer respectable for Newton’s admirers. Not so in Agrippa’s day. He took his theory from Marsilio Ficino, the most distinguished philosopher of the fifteenth century, and magic was part and parcel of Ficino’s celebrity when he died in 1499. What happened between 1499 and 1727 to make magic disreputable? The key change was that Aristotle ceased to rule Western thought. His natural philosophy dominated the universities founded in the thirteenth century – Bologna, Cambridge, Oxford and Paris. After that, for the next four hundred years, Aristotelian natural philosophy was essentially the only option, until Descartes, Galileo, Hobbes and their followers replaced it with a ‘mechanical philosophy.’ These critics of Aristotle started to think of nature as a machine made of bits of matter in motion: we call them ‘molecules,’ ‘atoms,’ ‘photons’ and so on. The critics insisted that these particles could be fully described by mathematics, so that measures of motion, position, structure, weight and so on would produce a complete explanation of the physical universe. Aristotle’s natural philosophy, by contrast, was not a quantified science of matter in motion. It was a physics and metaphysics of qualities and the substances qualified by them. The technical term for the core of this theory is ‘hylemorphism.’ When thinkers in Newton’s era discredited hylemorphism, they concluded that magic could not work because it was hylemorphism (the theory that they refuted) that had given European intellectuals their most important reasons for believing that magic worked. Like many successful theories, hylemorphism is abstract and technical: the name comes, by way of Greek, from matter (hulê) and form (morphê) as components of all substances. Here’s the technical part. Forms belong to different types. Some forms put horses in the equine species, for example, not the bovine species, where cows belong: these are ‘specific’ or species-making forms. A form also accounts for a horse’s existence as a distinct thing, a substance: this is a ‘substantial’ form. That there is a distinct thing depends on its substantial form; its specific form determines what that thing is. ‘Substance’ was another key term in the theory of magic. If an apple really hit Newton on the head, what struck him was a substance – a distinct thing existing on its own. And if the apple was red, its color wasn’t a substance because colors can’t
“Natural magic uses powers that come from nature but are hard to find, requiring the skills of a magus to locate and deploy them. Magical powers in nature produce astonishing effects.”
exist by themselves. Colors are ‘accidents’ that substances have, and some accidents are ‘qualities.’ Many things that are made of matter and have forms are ordinary natural objects, like red apples. They are detected by our senses, unlike specific and substantial forms, which the senses cannot detect because they are immaterial. Things also have forms called ‘accidental’ – not because they occur by accident but because they come and go without eliminating what they leave behind. If a green apple turns red, it’s still an apple – the same substance. People sense many accidental forms, like red or green, light or heavy, hot or cold, wet or dry and so on. Accidental forms are ‘manifest’ if people can sense them – by seeing them, for example. Because some accidental forms are not material, they cannot be sensed. They are ‘occult’ or ‘hidden,’ not manifest. The source of these ‘occult qualities’ – immaterial and not sensed – is substantial form, which is also immaterial and not sensed. Imperceptible occult qualities explain why magnets attract iron, why chaff clings to amber, why rhubarb purges and why opium is narcotic: these are all real effects, commonly observed. But occult qualities also explain other effects accepted as real because people read about them in books, not because they observed them: mighty lions fear puny cockerels, say the ancient books; the evil eye harms its victims without contact; and a tiny fish (the remora or ‘ship-holder’) stops huge ships under sail. Well-attested accounts of such phenomena supplied data for magic. The hylemorphic metaphysics of substantial forms and occult qualities provided a theory to save the magical phenomena. Hylemorphism, the heart of Aristotle’s natural philosophy, gave people reasons to believe in magic until the seventeenth century, when Descartes, Galileo and others changed many minds by eliminating the theoretical basis of magic – at least the natural magic that was part of natural philosophy. Even in Newton’s time, however, many people still feared a different kind of magic, not natural but demonic and diabolical. The last trial (not the last lynching) for witchcraft in England took place in 1717, ten years before Newton died. Non-bodily spirits – God, angels, souls suffering in Purgatory, disembodied saints in Heaven – were as real to Newton’s contemporaries as leaves on a tree or wheels on a cart, and demons, devils and the Devil were just as real. This fundamental Christian doctrine was the basis for believing in witches and the cause of horrendous slaughter in Europe for more than two centuries. People who believed in non-natural or demonic magic considered it sinful, but they did not consider it WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 43
ineffective. One way to study magical effects by laying out a taxonomy is to use pairs of opposites like natural/demonic, good/evil, effective/ineffective and so on. Learning from his friend, Marsilio Ficino, Giovanni Pico della Mirandola made the natural/demonic distinction in 1486. He was a famous philosopher in his own day. To some extent, he was famous for being famous.
give a reasoned account of nature’s magical powers. Pico invented Christian Kabbalah and advocated natural magic in his early twenties. A few years later, before he died so young, he turned against a key component of magic in the Western tradition – astrology. But he left his enormous polemic against astrology unfinished. We still don’t know exactly what Pico was attacking when he attacked astrology.
“Non-bodily spirits – God, angels, souls suffering in Purgatory, disembodied saints in Heaven – were as real to Newton’s contemporaries as leaves on a tree or wheels on a cart, and demons, devils and the Devil were just as real.” Like Mozart, he was brilliant and died young, leaving a great story behind. Dead at thirtyone, he had no time to complete a settled philosophy. Pico is best known for a short speech that he did not call an Oration on the Dignity of Man and which is not about dignity. The subject is ascetic mysticism. Mysticism is nothing mysterious or weird. It’s a well-articulated religious practice, based on a theological theory: by behaving in certain ways, mystics try to speak directly with God, without help from priests or preachers. Pico saw this direct contact as a step toward complete union with God, so that the self could be absorbed in the Godhead, deified and annihilated. Pico underwrote his Christian mysticism with the Jewish mysticism called ‘Kabbalah.’ Adding Kabbalah to the main body of Western magic was a momentous change. Pico’s enthusiasm for Kabbalah was motivated by his (mistaken) belief in its antiquity. He thought that Kabbalah was the secret, oral revelation that God gave to Moses, who wrote down a different revelation in the Bible and did not keep it secret. Parallel to these two channels – written and oral, public and secret – of divine revelation, Pico also found a third tradition of pagan wisdom in writings ascribed to primordial figures like Hermes Trismegistus, Orpheus and Zoroaster, handed down to later sages like Pythagoras, culminating with Socrates and Plato and then passed on to Plotinus and the Neoplatonists. This theory of cultural history, the ‘ancient theology,’ was Ficino’s before Pico was born. To reinforce his Kabbalah, Pico advocated natural magic and distinguished it from the demonic kind that he did not permit. Natural magic uses powers that come from nature but are hard to find, requiring the skills of a magus to locate and deploy them. Magical powers in nature produce astonishing effects. Aristotle’s hylemorphism, well known to Pico and explored in detail by Ficino, enabled them both to 44 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
Bookshelf THE BOOK OF MAGIC: FROM ANTIQUIT Y TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT, published by Penguin, Paperback (672 pages) and MAGIC IN WESTER CULTURE - FROM ANTIQUITY TO THE ENLIGHTENMENT, published by Cambridge University Press, Hardback (612 pages) BY BRIAN COPENHAVER
Today, Pico is the modern world’s favorite Renaissance humanist, the bold young herald of human freedom and dignity. After World War II, as publishers supplied material for college courses on ‘western civilization,’ this misunderstanding of Pico as a progressive optimist became a fixture in textbooks, though he was actually a body-hating, world-fleeing ascetic. In 1964, in a best-seller still in print, Frances Yates (an inspiration to me) of the Warburg Institute linked this distorted picture of Pico with her equally incorrect account of magic in Pico’s culture – which was also Ficino’s environment and, later, Giordano Bruno’s. Her hugely successful book, Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, misrepresents magic as ‘Hermetic,’ though there is no magic to speak of in the relevant Hermetic texts, the fourteen treatises of the Greek Hermetic Corpus translated into Latin by Ficino. Yates romanticized magic as Faustian proto-science, as ‘working’ on a brave new world untested by medieval ascetics, who only prayed for a good exit from it. But Pico’s Kabbalist mysticism, with his magic alongside it, was deeply indebted to the Christian asceticism of the Middle Ages. When Pico and Ficino saw ancient philosophers taking magic seriously and justifying belief in it, they read the texts correctly. Not so, however, when Pico interpreted Kabbalist writings as proofs of Christian doctrine: those were arrogant mistakes by a young genius whose enthusiasm for esoteric wisdom left good judgment behind. Pico’s story has been told for more then five hundred years, and magic is a big part of it. To learn more about magic, let me recommend the two books that I’ve already mentioned. The Book of Magic, starting with the Bible and ending in Newton’s era, is a collection of short texts about magic – more than a hundred of them – with introductions and notes. Magic in Western Culture deals with the same period, explaining how magic developed in the Western world.
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THE HIDDEN ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE AND THE SEVEN DISCIPLINES OF WORLD CULTURE In the final book of his American trilogy, historian Nicholas Hagger focuses on America’s secret destiny
have been particularly struck by the insistence of some scientists that the universe is an accident, and by overlooked facts within the sciences that suggest the opposite, that the universe has a hidden order. The more I studied the universe the more I was amazed at its structure. It emerged from an infinitesimal point and is shaped like a shuttlecock, the top rim of which is now expanding faster than ever before. Stephen Hawking has said that there was nothing before the Big Bang as spacetime began with the Big Bang. But the shuttlecock is surrounded by a void that also pervades it. I imagined myself surfing on the crest of the wave of the expanding rim and came up with a paradox in the tradition of Zeno’s paradoxes (Hagger’s paradox). The surfer’s feet and ankles on the surging wave of the expanding edge of the universe are in space-time. Where are his head and arms? The answer is, they are outside space-time, in the infinite. The surfer’s feet are in space-time, the rest of him is in the infinite into which our shuttlecock-shaped universe is expanding. The universe is surrounded by, and pervaded by, the infinite. In my most recent book, The Secret American Destiny, I have coordinated all the latest information in all the sciences to see what the sciences have to say about the order in the universe as opposed to the universe’s being an accident. I list
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40 conditions in cosmology and astrophysics which are exactly right for life, and the slightest variation in any one of them would preclude life. As all life has come out of one cell all living creatures are brothers, and humankind is a oneness, a unity. I give examples of order in biology, ecology, physiology and physics. I dwell on selfimprovement in biology, food chains and webs and mutualism in ecology, the brain’s autonomous systems and homeostasis in physiology and the balancing of gravity and light in physics. Gravitons, which were verified earlier this year, a hundred years after Einstein proposed them, reinforce the contracting force of gravity as counterbalancing the expanding force of light which Newton spent 30 years trying to establish and Einstein followed in his cosmological constant, which described a static universe. (He later regarded his turning against this idea as his biggest mistake.) Light seems to energise human brains via the eyes’ retinas and photoreceptors just as sunlight energises plants. Order gleams through the 326 constants and 75 ratios. I conclude that in view of the 40 biocosmological conditions the likelihood of the universe being an accident is 10120. Secular materialists who hold that the
universe is an accident have based their view on only 4 per cent of the universe as matter comprises only 4 per cent of the universe, dark energy forming 66 per cent and dark matter 30 per cent. In seven disciplines a traditional metaphysical view co-exists with, and is being drowned out by, a secular view. In mysticism the traditional inner vision of the Light co-exists with secular pantheism. In literature, the traditional quest for immortality since the Epic of Gilgamesh, c.2600BC, co-exists with modern novels, plays and poems that are exclusively social and secular. In philosophy and the sciences, the traditional view that the infinite pervades the universe co-exists with a social, secular focus on logic and language. In history, the traditional view of the metaphysical vision within religions as being central to civilizations co-exists with partial social and secular histories. In comparative religion the traditional view that all religions have a common essence, the Light, which is like the one sun shining on a range of mountain peaks, co-exists with a secular view that religion is social rituals. In international politics and statecraft the traditional view of the enmeshing of the State with the metaphysical
vision of a religion (the Church in European politics) co-exists with social and secular politics. In world culture the metaphysical view co-exists with the social, secular view. The secular view is in fact in a minority. Of the 7.3 billion alive today, surveys I quote have found that 5.8 billion have metaphysical or religious beliefs and only 0.8 billion are sceptics. The sceptical view of world culture is held by a minority of only 1 in 6 human beings. The dialectic between the metaphysical and the secular in the seven disciplines has a synthesis. In 1965, when I was in Japan, I met Junzaburo Nishiwaki (then regarded as Japan’s T.S. Eliot) in a restaurant. I asked him for his view on the wisdom of the East and he took a business reply card and wrote: ‘+A + –A = 0.’ He explained that the wisdom of the East sees all opposites being reconciled in unity. I immediately understood what he meant: war and peace, day and night, life and death, time and eternity – all opposites are within a reconciling and underlying unity. The same is true of the metaphysical and the secular. It can be said that world culture is +A (a metaphysical perspective) + –A (a secular perspective). Both are in balance. Within this balance I have sought to ‘desecularise’ and ‘remetaphysicalise’ the seven disciplines to give a better, more accurate balance. The metaphysical and secular can be reconciled within Universalism, a philosophy of Oneness that reconciles all opposites. Universalism’s reconciling eye sees each of the seven disciplines as comprising these two co-existing opposites. There are at first sight seven Universalisms – mystical (the Light as One), literary (all world literature has one theme), philosophical (the universe is one, from one source), historical (all history including the rise and fall of all civilizations have to be seen as one), religious (all religions have one essence, the Light), political (all nation-states should be within one World State) and cultural (the world’s culture is fundamentally one) – but these seven Universalisms are like the bands of one rainbow. There is one Universalism that includes seven disciplines, all of which are bound together. The Universalist rainbow
unites world culture by bringing together conflicting parts. My study of history – of 25 civilizations going through 61 parallel stages – has shown nation-states passing into conglomerates. In my American trilogy, The Secret Founding of America, The Secret American Dream and now most recently The Secret American Destiny, I have seen the US as the country that can potentially turn the world’s nation-states into a world conglomerate, unite the world’s culture by bringing in a democratically-elected world government. In The Secret American Dream I have shown that President Obama has put America on a course to do just this. In The World Government I set out the structure of a UN-based partly federal world government that has enough supranational authority to impose disarmament and abolish war, famine, disease and poverty. The UN General Assembly (or UN Parliamentary Assembly) would become a lower house of 850 representatives in a democraticallyelected world government that would
MEET THE AUTHOR
NICHOLAS HAGGER is a poet, man of letters, cultural historian and philosopher. He has lectured in English at the University of Baghdad in Iraq and the University of Libya, and was a Professor of English Literature at Tokyo University and Keio University in Japan. He has studied Islamic and Oriental philosophy, and led a group of Universalist philosophers. He is the author of more than 40 books, including The Fire and the Stones, The Rise and Fall of Civilizations and The World Government. Following his recent work in setting up a World State, he was awarded the Gusi Peace Prize 2016 for Literature.
On the web
“ Of the 7.3 billion alive today, surveys I quote have found that 5.8 billion have metaphysical or religious beliefs and only 0.8 billion are sceptics.” include an upper house or World Senate of 92 and a World Commission of 27. In my structure the oligarchs’ looting of gas and oil would be controlled and kept in check, as The Secret American Destiny shows. Such a universal peace would mirror the order within the infinite that surrounds and pervades our shuttlecock-shaped universe. The way forward to a united humankind and the end of war is through diplomatic initiatives involving the UN and the US, still the world’s greatest power and therefore able to subordinate its own interests to philanthropically benefiting humankind. Let us hope that America is able to further its secret destiny by taking steps to establish a democratic World State that will bring an end to wars and solve the world’s problems.
Bookshelf THE SECRET AMERICAN DESTINY: THE HIDDEN ORDER OF THE UNIVERSE AND THE SEVEN DISCIPLINES OF WORLD CULTURE BY NICHOL AS HAGGER, published by Watkins, Paperback (320 pages). Also available: The Secret Founding of America and The Secret American Dream
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 47
A Virtual Reality Art Work Inspiring ‘Awakening’ Artist Alexander de Cadenet introduces the amazing work of Jose Montemayor
ose Montemayor is a young Mexican artist, working in London, who is pioneering a deeper experience of art through the use of the virtual reality medium. On a trip to the mountains of Nara in Japan he experienced a spiritual ‘awakening’ and a sense of how his work may make a contribution to solving the problems of the world. From this awakening and his experimentation with the emerging field of virtual reality, ‘Virtual Awakening’ was born. This visionary platform brings art and technology together to create fully immersive and provocative perceptions of reality that expand viewer’s perceptions of reality and expose negative cultural conditioning. He hopes to enlighten people’s perceptions of themselves and the world. Jose showcased his most recent virtual reality experience, ‘Virtual Awakening’ between July 23rd and 24th 2016 at the very first TAC, aka The Art Conference in London, a series of exhibitions, talks and screenings dedicated to the relationship between technology and the arts. ‘Virtual Awakening’ takes participants through an experience as if they are actually dying and proposes how that experience may be for the individual. One is taken on a journey within a 360 degree panorama which changes and alters depending on which direction an angle one looks within the headset.
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The virtual reality experience is made from a collection of photos that are stitched together to create a fully immersive experience when one dons the headset. The various experiences along the journey begin with entering a church to the voice of counter culture writer/philosopher Alan Watts (who famously posited the idea of The Institute for Creative Dying), speaking about death – “You have a great chance right now, before it happens to let go of everything…When you have accepted your own death, in the midst of life, it means that you have let go of yourself and you are therefore free, you’re not any longer plagued by anxiety and worry.” Next we encounter ourselves being lowered into a hole within the church, surrounded by otherworldly alien-looking ‘sentinels’; we are then being confronted below the ground with an abstract ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ scenario, something often reported by those immersed in a near death experience. What follows is a collection of moments back in the real world that typifies many of the current ills of the world today. At one point we are standing within a crowd in Parliament Square, a politician is speaking about the inequality of wealth distribution on the planet; on another occasion we visit a shanty town and experience how some of the poorest people on the planet are living, all the while with the paradoxically
beautiful sound of wild birds singing within the jungle. On another occasion we are informed how much CO2 is released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuel or how much food is wasted in the Western World while others are starving. Throughout, an ominous, deep vibrational musical ‘mantra-esque’ accompaniment adds to the gravitas and ‘otherworldliness’ of the statements being made. At various times and set within each environment visited, in the sky or between the factories bellowing out smoke and toxic refuse, statistics or quotes from enlightened individuals are presented to educate the subject on his ‘near death’ experience. As the participant, there’s the
Above: Still from Montemayor Light Installation by Jose Montemayor Left : Virtual Awakening at TAC (The Art Centre) by Jose Montemayor Right : Jose Montemayor by Alexander de Cadenet WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 49
MEET THE ARTISTS
the impact you have made on these issues during your lifetime. Encouraging others to question their role in this reveals a deep engagement with social and ethical issues of today and belies a maturity in Jose that is beyond his years. Jose’s manifesto gives an insight into his aims and objectives and how his artworks have been born from his own awakening: WE BELIEVE ART HAS THE POWER TO COMMUNICATE AND REVEAL A DEEPER, MORE ECSTATIC TRUTH TO PEOPLE. AS ARTISTS WHO ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT WHERE THE FUTURE OF OUR PLANET LIES, WE FEEL IT IS OUR DUTY TO BRING OUR CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION TO PRODUCE AND CAPTIVATE AN AUDIENCE IN A STIMULATING, INTERACTIVE ART PIECE THAT HAS THE BENEFIT OF INSPIRING AND CHANGING THE WAY PEOPLE SEE THE WORLD. IN AN ERA WHERE THE ABSENCE OF CONSCIOUSNESS IS EVIDENT DUE TO THE REPERCUSSIONS OF OUR CHOICES THAT ARE DAMAGING OUR WORLD SOCIALLY AND ENVIRONMENTALLY THERE HAS NEVER BEEN A MORE DIRE NEED TO BRING AWARENESS IN THE HOPES TO REDEEM THE HUMAN SPIRIT SO THAT WE CAN LEARN HOW TO UNITE AND LIVE IN HARMONY.
Above TOP: The Being of Light. Above MIDDLE : Death is Only the Beginning Right : Mexican Rural Lifestyle All images by Jose Montemayor
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JOSE MONTEMAYOR is an emerging young Mexican visual artist and photographic pioneer based in London whose work is transcending traditional media. He began a search for deeper meaning in his work and life and a selfdiscovery expedition to the mountains of Nara, Japan, transformed both. Jose’s evocative work explores areas ranging from fashion and nudes to documentary photography, film, art installations, visuals for music and virtual reality experiences.
On the web
ALEXANDER DE CADENET is a visual artist who has been exhibiting his artworks internationally for the past twenty years. His artworks reveal an exploration into philosophical and spiritual questions such as the meaning of life and death, the nature of human achievement and the sacredness of art itself. The first comprehensive retrospective of his work, Alexander de Cadenet by Edward Lucie-Smith, was published in April by Unicorn Press.
On the web
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https://larsonpublications.com For more information on Paul Brunton and his teachings visit www.PaulBrunton.org
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Catching the lizard
by the tail A teaching story by Nissim Amon
otila was a well-respected monk who lived at the time of the Buddha. He was so knowledgeable about the Buddha’s teachings that he could quote and explain them better than anyone else. Potila was charismatic, with a strong personality. His discourses were inspirational and he was loyal to the Buddha’s teaching. As one of the most outstanding monks in northern India, Potila gained wide respect and eighteen monasteries were under his responsibility. One day Potila came to visit the Buddha. Happy to see him, the Buddha said: “Welcome venerable empty book.” They talked about many things and when it came time to depart, the Buddha asked him “Are you going already, venerable empty book?” Potila was confused. Why did the Buddha call him “empty book” twice? He didn’t specify and didn’t expound, 52 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
but what exactly did he mean by “empty book?” Potila thought deeply, considering all he had learned and eventually he understood – a monk who only studies but doesn’t practice is no more than an empty book, and has nothing to offer to others. He understood that even though he knew the Buddha’s teachings by heart, he had neglected to actually practice meditation, thus missing an understanding that is beyond words. Potila began searching for a meditation teacher, but he encountered a problem – none of the teachers in the area dared to accept the position. In the end he swallowed his pride and went to see an enlightened young novice monk, recommended by the Buddha. The young monk agreed to teach him, saying “The goal of meditation is to learn to recognize the process that is expressed in thoughts, by directing our observation inward. Meditation is not related to anything external;
it is a continual process where you are attentive to your own thoughts, as if you were attentive to someone else speaking. Gradually a distinction is created between the speaker and the observer. Find the observer in you and become a Buddha yourself.” The young monk then gave the following example: “Suppose you want to catch a lizard hiding in an anthill that has six entrances. The lizard can always escape through any of them. The best way to catch the lizard is to block off five holes and wait patiently outside the sixth. The five blocked holes are the five senses. When we sit motionless in meditation with our back straight, we are not engrossed in sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch. Generally consciousness escapes through these openings. When the five openings are blocked, silence diffuses inside and it’s possible to hear the lizard running around. Then, when it finally tries to escape, we can catch it immediately.
MEET THE AUTHOR
NISSIM AMON is an Israeli Zen master and meditation teacher. He practiced Zen meditation in Korea and Japan where he was trained and certified as a Zen Master. His teaching combines Zen Buddhism and western psychological approaches, especially Gestalt Therapy. He published several books in Hebrew and leads meditation groups and retreats internationally.
On the web
Potila started observing his own thoughts and saw how they jump around without rest. One moment they’re on one thing and then they immediately jump to something else. He listened to criticism, ideas, doubts, and fears of things he didn’t even know he was afraid of. He began to understand how thoughts obscure reality because of the mind’s duality. He learned to see the sophisticated lies that are generated in the mind and the extent of selfdeception. He realized that the circle of ever-changing pleasure and pain is just an illusion. It was not long before Potila caught the lizard by the tail. Try to be attentive to your own thoughts as if someone else were speaking. If that “someone” is at ease and relaxed, then the problem isn’t severe. But if this voice makes you feel miserable, small, and guilty, then without you even noticing it, it is creating an unpleasant reality of life for you.
In Zen monasteries one sits silently for three months facing the wall. All the openings are blocked – there is no talking, writing, or reading. In the silence of the meditation hall all you can hear is the ticking of the clock on the wall. Time crawls by slowly. Tick… Long gap…. Tock… Long gap … Only two seconds have gone by. At first it seems as if you are going mad, as the lizard bumps its head in every possible corner. It takes quite a while before you begin to hear your thoughts as if from a distance. You gradually stop taking them seriously, because they keep repeating themselves over and over. Slowly you begin to detach yourself from the flow of unpleasant thoughts. At the next stage, as you become even
more detached, the gaps between your thoughts become wider and longer. Suddenly one day there is silence within. Then you hear a bird calling and another bird answering. One of them flies away, perhaps offended. But then you hear an additional fluttering of wings from the same direction, and with a heart full with excitement you fly away with them, in an unfamiliar happiness consisting only of great, perfect, complete freedom. WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 53
On a trip to New York City over thirty years ago, I walked into the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. The cathedral shop was playing the chants of Hildegard of Bingen. The music was the most spell-binding I had ever heard, and the soaring chants filled that glorious space. It was one of those experiences that the ancient Celts would say “touch heaven.” Since then I have experienced her works through study, spiritual direction, preaching, retreat leading, and spirituality groups. Her recent and overdue canonization opened the world of Hildegard of Bingen to a new generation interested in spirituality and mysticism from many traditions, as well as feminist and ecospiritualities. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) was one of the most accomplished women in the history of Christianity, the first German mystic, and the precursor to many of the great women mystics. She was a mystic, visionary, abbess, writer, composer, dramatist, adviser, poet, preacher, scientist, political commentator, and healer. Her spiritual gifts were manifest at the age of three. Little else is known of Hildegard’s childhood before she was taken to the anchoress Jutta of Sponheim (10921136) when she was eight years old. As a child oblate, Hildegard lived in Jutta’s cell where she was shaped by the Benedictine Rule of life through the Divine Office, instruction in Latin, the psalter, prayer, fasting and penitential rites, as well as the ten-string psaltery and appropriate manual labor. Hildegard became magistra of her small community of women attached to the men’s monastery at Disibodenberg after Jutta’s death in 1136. In 1141, in her 43rd year, she received a vision from Jesus Christ that instructed her to write and preach about her visions. As a woman religious in a patriarchal church and culture Hildegard risked her own position and physical safety, as well as the reputation of her monastic community, if her visions were deemed false or misguided. First encouraged to record her visions by the Archbishop of Mainz, Hildegard gained a critical endorsement in 1147 when Pope Eugene III authorized her to write and to speak in public. In the same year, Hildegard made the unprecedented move of securing land and founding a new convent intended 54 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
To see our own Light The Writings and Chants of Hildegard of Bingen by Dr. Sheryl A. Kujawa-Holbrook “ We cannot live in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a hope. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening. To use our own voice. To see our own light.” HILDEGARD OF BINGEN
to be free of the monks’ control. Despite fierce opposition, the majority of the nuns opted to move to the new Rupertsberg convent near Bingen in 1150, choosing Hildegard as their leader. She won the right to give the nuns a voice in choosing a prior, and refused an advocate. Having worn down her opponents, Hildegard secured an independent foundation. For Hildegard, midlife was a period of intense generativity. Her body of work is unusually expansive in terms of genre and subject matter for any theologian of the period. For Hildegard, God was Love, and she had a direct and intimate relationship. The impact of Hildegard’s experiences of “the living light” reveal a wide range of feelings and emotions – love, joy, wonder, awe, fear, despair, hope – and for a time euphoria, the absence of all pain and sadness. Hildegard is the first saint whose official biography includes her own firstperson memoir. Her first public work and one of the most popular, (Scivias, or Know the Ways) was compiled over the course of a decade, between the years 1141 until 1151, and documents her visions. Hildegard’s style throughout the Scivias is passionate and symbolic; she encourages the reader to enter her world through images and metaphors. An important concept found in Hildegard’s work, found in the Scivias, and in other of her works is viriditas or “greenness” which is used in relation to spiritual and physical vitality and growth. Greenness is a sign of great harmony in creation, and the power and unity of the Holy Spirit. Though used by other writers the term is most associated with Hildegard, perhaps inspired by the lushness of nature around her convent. Hildegard of Bingen was the first composer of her era known by name, and music was an integral expression of her spirituality. Hildegard was also the first European composer known to supervise the copying of her complete musical works. Hildegard believed that music was not only a form of prayer, but a reflection of the songs of the angels in the celestial harmony, and one of the means whereby humanity could capture a glimpse of the joy of paradise. Like her visions, Hildegard claimed that most of her music came to her directly from God. Until the last 30 years, Hildegard’s music was largely ignored by musicologists because her unique style made it hard to reconcile with
other medieval composers. The poetry of her texts is infused with the images found in her visions, vibrant with light and color, and the music constructed of varying formulas over an extremely wide vocal range (up to two octaves), large leaps, and complicated melodies, especially suited to her nuns. The texts and the music of Hildegard’s songs are said to be inseparable, focusing upon the deeper meaning behind both words and music. As such, the songs are designed as a form of contemplative practice. In addition to her visionary and musical works, Hildegard wrote two scientific and medical works during the years 1151-1158. Hildegard had a wide reputation as a healer, attracting large numbers of pilgrims and suffering people seeking medical care. A distinctive feature of Hildegard’s writings on the human body is her generally positive, for her time, view of sexuality and procreation from a woman’s perspective, including one
of the first descriptions of the female orgasm. Hildegard believed that medical knowledge was an important discipline because it relieved suffering, and that practicing healing was an important demonstration of the church’s work in the world. These works were in regular use until the 15th century, and Hildegard’s remedies are still practiced today. Hildegard’s writings from the 1170s, during the last decade of her life, were shorter homilies or letters which bespeak her mature confidence. No other twelfth-century woman interpreted scripture and wrote homilies that were sought by male monastic audiences. In addition, Hildegard wrote nearly 400 letters to popes, bishops, kings, abbots and 25 abbesses, as well as persons from various levels of society throughout Germany and abroad, including luminaries as diverse as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II of England, Abbot Suger, and Frederick I, Holy
MEET THE AUTHOR
DR. SHERYL A. KUJAWA-HOLBROOK has been helping people deepen their spiritual life for over thirty years, introducing them to the works of medieval women mystics through spiritual direction, retreats, sermons, and classes in seminaries and churches. She is an Episcopal priest and professor of practical theology at Claremont School of Theology as well as a popular teacher, speaker and retreat leader on topics related to Christian spirituality, mysticism, social activism and interreligious encounter. She is the author of Pilgrimage – The Sacred Art: Journey to the Center of the Heart, among other books.
On the web
Roman Emperor. Hildegard’s letters demonstrate her acclaim beyond her religious community, and they contained spiritual teachings, political commentaries, short sermons and prophecies, and often direct advice. Now over 900 years after Hildegard’s birth, there is renewed interest in her writings and in her chants. Her words and music reach across the centuries to enrich hearts, minds, bodies, and spirits today. Her texts deserve to be read and re-read. Her music can transport the listener to the gates of paradise. The wisdom of this twelfth-century mystic has much to share with those on spiritual journeys today. /////////////////////////////////////////////////
Illustration from Hildegard von Bingen’s Liber Divinorum Operum
HILDEGARD OF BINGEN: ESSENTIAL WRITINGS AND CHANTS OF A CHRISTIAN MYSTIC BY DR. SHERYL A . KUJAWA-HOLBROOK , published by Skylight Paths, Paperback (240 pages)
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PEMA CHODRON’S COMPASSION CARDS
RUMI’S LITTLE BOOK OF LOVE AND LAUGHTER Coleman Barks
THE CHEMISTRY OF CONNECTION Patrick Holford
Boxed Set (59 cards) Lojong has been a primary focus of Pema’s teachings and personal practice for years. Offering powerful teachings for awakening the heart in everyday life, this set includes: An introduction to lojong, 59 cards for daily inspiration and contemplation, practical commentary from Pema on the reverse of each card, an audio download of Pema’s teachings on the related practice of tonglen.
ANGELS: THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO ANGELS FROM AROUND THE WORLD Marie-Ange Faugérolas Pb (560 pages) Angels appear in every major world religion - from Christianity to Judaism, Islam to the Native American Thunderbirds. This book is a celebration of all the world’s divine messengers and a definitive resource containing all of the knowledge collected about these awe-inspiring beings.
MALA OF THE HEART: 108 SACRED POEMS Ravi Nathwani & Kate Vogt Pb (144 pages) A celebration of the eternal spiritual truth within each heart: Since ancient times, this hidden essence has been symbolized by the number 108. There are 108 desires, 108 human feelings, 108 beads in the meditation mala, and 108 sacred poems in this anthology. Ageless wisdom from the great poets, sages, saints, and mystics of the world.
Pb (240 pages) Rowdy, ecstatic and sometimes stern, these teaching stories and fables reveal new and very human properties in Rumi’s vision. Here are more than 40 stories that deal with love, laughter, death, betrayal and the soul. Like a painting by Hieronymus Bosch or Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the stories are exuberant, earthy and bursting with vitality.
Pb (304 pages) In his search for a deeper understanding and experience of connection, health expert Patrick Holford finds connections between cultural, scientific and spiritual traditions and offers five keys to a richer, happier, fulfilling and meaningful life. With practical exercises, meditations and contemplations, this book will help you enhance connection in all areas of your life.
WHAT IS HYPNOSIS? Tom Fortes Mayer
STOP BEING LONELY Kira Asatryan
Pb (144 pages) An exploratory journey through the world of hypnosis, uncovering its immense therapeutic and healing power, and showing how to tap into this power for personal transformation. It also addresses key questions: Where did hypnosis come from and how has it developed over time? How does hypnosis really work? How can I bring hypnosis into my daily life?
Pb (272 pages) Loneliness has a reliable antidote: the feeling of closeness. In this book Kira Asatryan offers three simple steps to developing close friendships and deep relationships. Whether with romantic partners, friends, family, or business colleagues, these techniques will help you establish true closeness with others.
WHAT IS NUMEROLOGY? Sonia Ducie
UNCHARTED Colette Baron Reid
Pb (144 pages) Numerology enables us to use our minds and intuition to observe, connect with, and interpret the cycle of numbers governing all aspects of life. Each number has its own set of qualities and meanings that Influence us at different levels. This book provides an behind-the-scenes tour of the power of numbers and their ability to enhance our lives.
Pb (224 pages) In the new norm of uncertainty, we can overcome feeling disoriented and helpless, and chart a path to new possibilities. It’s in the places unfamiliar to us - the uncharted places - that magic lies. A handbook for turning fear into possibility, Uncharted illustrates how to step courageously into the unknown and make a radical shift in perception from material to spiritual.
FEATURED TITLE THE BOOK OF ROUNDS OCTOBER PROJECT CD (60 mins) The Book of Rounds is an album to comfort, heal, and awaken listeners. Originally composed as “modern mantras” or plainchants for listening or joining in, these contemplative rounds, voiced a cappella, return us to the spiritual origins of all song—the merging of words and music among kindred souls, to illuminate and elevate. Performed beautifully here by a choir specially created for this album, these tracks evoke the felt experiences of grace, shelter, hope amidst darkness, joy, renewal, and more. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSBOOKS.COM • 57
Illuminating the Shadow: Transmuting the dark-side of the psyche by David Furlong
e all have a predominantly hidden shadow element to our psyche, which can affect us in many subtle ways. Science tells us that 95% of the universe is composed of ‘dark energy’ or ‘dark matter’ of which we know practically nothing. Fortunately, our shadow is not so difficult to uncover and understand once we know what to look for. This article explores how our shadow operates within us and the steps we can take to change and amend some of the deep seated patterns and drivers of our life. One of the first people to use this term psychologically was Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, who described ‘the shadow’ as carrying all of the repressed, buried and traumatised aspects of the psyche that are held within the sub-conscious. According to Jung these elements could seep out and affect the life by acting as the unconscious drivers to behaviour. It was the task of the therapist to help the client bring these impulses into full consciousness. We are sometimes fully aware of their effects such as irrational fears or phobias but generally not mindful of their cause and the methods needed to release the underlying trauma. In my book Illuminating the Shadow, I have called this part the ‘negative’ shadow, because its origins lie in past trauma, whether from the current life or any previous life.
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“ One important aspect of our ‘positive’ shadow, of which few people are aware, is our Higher-Self.”
However, in addition to the ‘negative’ shadow, we all have a ‘positive’ shadow that carries our potential for all that we might be. Think for a moment of something you would like to achieve in your current life that has not yet been realised. Until the moment of the full realisation of that achievement it sits within your shadow. In other words, working with your ‘positive’ shadow is the process of becoming or individuation. Seen in this light, your ‘positive’ shadow must be infinite, if you accept the continuation of consciousness beyond the death of the physical body, for the process of potential growth is endless. Indeed, I argue that the ‘positive’ shadow has to be a fundamental component of an expanding universe. One important aspect of our ‘positive’ shadow, of which few people are aware, is our ‘Higher-Self’ (H-S). When we incarnate our spirit puts only a small part of its essence into the body, which becomes our soul or life energy. Our H-S is the part of our spirit that remains in the spirit world and therefore, as well as knowing us intimately, has access to all of the support of the spiritual domain. I see my task as a therapist to help my clients access this aspect of their being with astounding results. For this part has a clear perspective of all facets of the psyche and can therefore help to uncover the root causes of different issues and the underlying patterns of the ‘negative’ shadow. However, the H-S will not step in to assist unless its help is specifically requested because it obeys the universal principle of honouring the ‘free-will’ gift that allows for the unique experiences of all spirits, whether human or otherwise. We have to specifically request our H-S for help to deal with our shadow whether ‘negative’ or ‘positive’, for as well as helping us heal our traumas, our H-S can help us achieve something that supports our growth, such as passing an exam. When traumas occur there is a tendency to split off part of the psyche to carry the wound. For that part to exist it has to be imbued with a fragment of soul essence. In effect, it becomes a separate character within the psyche, which is generally referred to as a ‘sub-personality’ or ‘ego state’. These characters also have their free-will, which the H-S will not override, unless that part is willing to be helped. What the H-S will do is first highlight and then help us connect to the part where the trauma resides. When the sub-personality is willing to receive the ‘light’ from the H-S the full healing can be affected in a most powerful way. We only have to look around the world to realise that there is another aspect of the shadow that manifests in what might loosely be termed evil acts or deeds. Evidence of this aspect of human expression can be found WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 59
MEET THE AUTHOR
DAVID FURLONG is the Director of the Spirit Release Forum and has been a therapist and teacher for more than 45 years. He is the author of numerous books including The Healer Within, Healing Your Ancestral Patterns, Develop Your Intuition and Psychic Powers, Working with Earth Energies, and The Keys to the Temple. He sees clients for counselling, soul-centred healing and spirit release and runs courses in the UK and abroad on related subjects.
On the web
Bookshelf ILLUMINATING THE SHADOW: TRANSMUTING THE DARK SIDE OF THE PSYCHE BY DAVID FURLONG, published by Atlanta Books, Paperback (350 pages)
throughout history in many different forms, although what we perceive as evil today might not necessarily have been recognised in that way by past civilisations. What is evident is a polarity divide with, on the one side, love, compassion and forgiveness, whilst on the other sits fear, hatred and revenge. The forces of ‘light’ operate predominantly through the positive side of this polarity seeking to understand, balance and unite. However, because of the free-will gift, spirits and individuals can operate through this negative aspect, which I have called the ‘malign’ shadow. To further understand how this process works we need to be aware of another fundamental component of the universe, which is that of polarity. All things have different levels of polarity running through them. The computer that I am using to write this article is based upon whether a single circuit is ‘on’ or ‘off’, the combination of which allows for all of the intricacies of the internet and computer technology. Similarly, we are all affected by and need to understand how polarities operate through both us, and the collective. For as soon as I make any statement about myself, or put myself into any category, its opposite has to be part of me at some level. The tendency is for these polarity aspects to be part of our shadow and then projected out to be carried by those around us. So one way we can come to understand our shadow is by looking at what is happening in our outer world. Think for a moment about your life and the individuals within it, including those that push your ‘buttons’ and those that inspire and uplift you. Think also of other elements of your life on whether you are happy or depressed and the different challenges that beset you. Life is a reflection of who and what we are and by looking into that mirror we can learn to see our shadow. Once discovered the best approach is,
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with the help of the H-S, to learn to heal the corresponding part within rather than trying to tackle the outer world issue. For when the inner self changes that outer has to follow suit, or it will simply go out of our life. In conclusion, we cannot understand the light, without understanding the shadow for this is what adds depth and meaning to the universe. We first need to heal and balance the splits within us and then as a collective to start to heal some of the splits, which are causing so much grief in this world through fear, hatred, bombs and bullets. All aspects of our society have a shadow side, whether it be business, religion, governments or countries. We need to be very mindful of the malign shadow element that operates through fear, control and the inflation of the ‘ego’. In this we need to be mindful how easy it is to project onto others our unresolved inner issues. Our perceived ‘enemy’ is, in truth, our potential ‘friend’ if we can learn to heal and understand the corresponding aspect of our being. The cover of my book Illuminating the Shadow, shows two archangels Michael and Lucifer, united together in balance. Therein lies the hope for the future.
Using Mercury Retrograde BY BERNIE ASHMAN
“ Knowledge is Power is a saying I am sure many of you already know.” The astrological cycle known as Mercury retrograde occurs four times a year and lasts for about 3 weeks. Knowing when a Mercury Retrograde
is going to start and end can empower your decision making in creative ways. You will get more from the time you put into major plans for your future. Even your daily routines will prove less frustrating when you are aware of a Mercury retrograde time period. Retrograde simply refers to a planet moving backward through an astrological sign. A planet in reality does not move backward in the sky. But when observed from the Earth a faster moving planet passing a slower one gives the appearance that the slower moving planet is moving backwards. What does this retrograde movement of Mercury offer you? In mythology Mercury is referred to as the “winged messenger”. Since Mercury rules communication and managing the everyday details in our lives, the Mercury retrograde cycle makes it a key time period to make sure we are on top of our clear thinking game. It is a good time to make sure your business decisions are well thought through. Mercury when moving retrograde can alert you to be more patient in making major choices. Mercury has the potential to deepen your insight into any situation. It is good to know when Mercury is retrograde if you are about to make major decisions. I am often asked by my clients if they can successfully buy a new car, cell
phone, computer or a house during a Mercury retrograde. The answer is yes. There are times you cannot put your life on hold if a new opportunity presents itself. You can certainly accept a new job being offered to you during a Mercury retrograde. When I was asked to write my new book, How to Survive Mercury Retrograde by my publisher, Llewellyn, I focused on helping people not only get through this challenging time period but just as important on how to prepare for one! You can do your best to formulate a plan or even finish a project before a Mercury retrograde begins. Don’t panic if you need to tweak an idea or a job during a Mercury retrograde. It is actually a great cycle to edit anything you are working on. I included several Mercury retrograde survival tips in my book. One tip is “Let go of Perfection”. It is easy to try to make something too perfect during a Mercury retrograde. The best thing is to take small steps and not overly worry about how you are doing. Chances are you are doing better than you think. Our analytical mind can grow stronger during a Mercury retrograde. “When in Doubt, Think Positive” is another survival tip in my book. Negativity can sneak in quicker during a Mercury retrograde. Maintaining a positive mantra in your head really helps you flow and stay productive during this three week backward movement of Mercury. Your intuition can come alive in surprising ways during a Mercury retrograde. It seems to find a way to escape the confines of our conscious mind. Mercury is a strong left brain influence in astrology. It is the power of perception. Retrograde Mercury opens its gates to a flood of intuitive water that you can channel into your creative pursuits. At the start of a Mercury retrograde this may not be so obvious to you. A few days into the cycle your intuition makes itself known to you and sometimes in mysterious ways. Events that will seem like an interesting synchronicity or “meaning coincidence” can occur. There is a silver lining embedded in a Mercury retrograde cycle. It is what author Marianne Williamson called a miracle in her book, A Return To Love, “a shift in perception”. In other words what I am saying is that when Mercury turns retrograde we can have an altered or more flexible way of seeing the world. Sometimes it might feel like a true miracle!
MEET THE AUTHOR
BERNIE ASHMAN is a highly respected professional astrologer who has been studying, practicing, and teaching for over 35 years. His books include Intuition and Your Sun Sign, Sun Signs & Past Lives, and SignMates. He has also written for various astrology magazines and journals, including Dell Horoscope, Astro Signs, The Mountain Astrologer, and Welcome to Planet Earth. His insightful interpretations have also been used for three different astrology software programs.
On the web
Bookshelf HOW TO SURVIVE MERCURY RETROGRADE [AND VENUS & MARS, TOO] BY BERNIE ASHMAN, published by Llewellyn, Paperback (220 pages)
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THE SCIENCE of the RISHIS Mataji Devi Vanamali reveals the spiritual and material discoveries of the ancient sages of India
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he Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism as it is commonly called has no founder. It cannot be dated as it has existed since well before calendars came into use. The foundation of this culture or religion lies in a set of books known as the Vedas, of which there are four. The Vedas are anadi or without a beginning in time and therefore they are also ananta or without an end. They have no authors as such, but the names of certain rishis have been attributed to them. The rishis were a set of supernormal humans who were both philosopher-saints as well as scientists and they existed from the dawn of civilization which is the dawn of time. The rishis themselves never claimed authorship of the Vedas. They only claimed to be the hearers or seers of the Vedic mantras. Hence the Vedas are known as “sruthi,” or what has been heard. However we can say that the credit for ensuring that this culture never died goes to these rishis. Hence this culture has been called “sanatana”, ancient. These spiritual giants lived in the Himalayas and strode across the Indo-Gangetic plains long before the dawn of historic time. They were the sublime expression of the perfect human being, the cream of Nature’s evolutionary cycle. They were multi-sensory beings who had the gift of inner vision and were able to see the past, present and future as one huge canvas unrolling in front of their eyes. They could describe with startling clarity, things which would take place in the misty dawns of an unknown future. We can say with certainty that they were not merely philosophers or mystics but true scientists whose findings are so astounding that it is only with the start of the 20th century that they have been “discovered” by modern scientists. They conducted their experiments with nature in laboratories which are known as yajnashalas. The mantras are syllables which have the ability to capture the essence of nature and encapsulate them in sound form. The Vedas are filled with such mantras which the rishis heard. These sounds forever exist in the ether but only those with extra auditory perception will be able to hear them. We are only fivesensory beings but the rishis as mentioned before were multi-sensory beings and thus they were able to capture these sounds and memorise them. These sounds were passed on
orally to their disciples. It was only much later that they were written down. The Vedas classify a rishi as one to whom the Vedic mantras were originally revealed. They were the ones who had mantra-drishta or the ability to see the mantras. Like all scientists the rishis also looked at the world and wanted to know how everything worked. Curiosity is the basis of all science. However there was a difference between them and modern scientists. The modern scientist is outer-oriented and tries to prise out Nature’s secrets by force, as it were. The rishis on the other hand realised that without understanding the nature of the “I” which wants to discover Nature, all their findings would be imperfect. “Who or what is this “I” that wants to know everything?” was their question. Thus the very first science which they uncovered was psychology or the science of the mind which is actually one of the last to be discovered by modern scientists. Making use of the laboratory of their minds, they perfected certain techniques called yogas by using which they could delve into the unknown recesses of their minds and discover the secrets of Nature! How it is possible to discover the secrets of Nature in their own minds is a question which we might normally ask. The fact is that through deep concentration they discovered that they could pierce the veil which separated them from nature, thus enabling them to peer into the heart of nature and discover all her secrets without disturbing her normal routine. If they wanted to find out the qualities of a medicinal herb they simply meditated on that herb and “became” the herb, so that everything about that herb was revealed in their own minds without causing the slightest problem to the observer or causing any change in the observed! This is perfect and infallible knowledge which will not be disproved by anyone else. This is why the findings of the rishis have never been refuted by anyone else that came after them, as was the case with western scientific theories. The same was the case with the planets. They simply entered into the planets and thus gained accurate first-hand information about them without the use of instruments which tend to detract from perfect knowledge. When we go into the Vedas we are amazed at the accuracy which they have attained about the nature
“ The rishis were a set of supernormal humans who were both philosophersaints as well as scientists.”
MEET THE AUTHOR MATAJI DEVI VANAMALI has written eight books on the gods of the Hindu pantheon, including Shakti, Hanuman, Shiva, The Complete Life of Krishna, and The Complete Life of Rama, as well as translating the Bhagavad Gita. She is the founder and president of Vanamali Gita Yoga Ashram Trust, dedicated to sharing the wisdom of Sanatana Dharma and charitable service to children. She lives at the Vanamali ashram at Rishikesh in northern India.
On the web
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 63
“ Through deep concentration they discovered that they could pierce the veil which separated them from nature, thus enabling them to peer into the heart of nature and discover all her secrets.”
Bookshelf THE SCIENCE OF THE RISHIS: THE SPIRITUAL AND MATERIAL DISCOVERIES OF THE ANCIENT SAGES OF INDIA BY VANAMALI, published by Inner Traditions, Paperback (256 pages)
of the world, the nature of the sun and the planetary system. They were great astronomers and astrologers, mathematicians and healers long before the western world came to have any idea about these things. Hence you will find that there was never a quarrel between science and religion in India as existed in the west. The founders of our religion were scientists first and then only spiritualists. The spirituality which they advocated was itself a science – the Science of Being. From this came the technique of living in this world without fear and showing only love and consideration for the whole of creation. What is the basis of this knowledge? How could they attune their own small minds to that supreme consciousness from which everything is derived? From the experiments with their own minds they discovered that the foundation of the universe as well as of the human being is spiritual and not material. All the gross objects we see in the world have their source in the subtle and not vice versa as science would have us believe. They realised that the world existed because of the human mind. When the mind folds into itself as in the case of deep sleep the world ceases to exist for us, therefore unless we know the method of controlling the mind we will never be able to fathom the secrets of the universe, far less control it. They then
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discovered many types of yoga including the yoga of deep meditation or “Samadhi” in which the intellect becomes so subtle that it dissolves like sugar into the object of investigation which is the Self or innermost truth of the individual and which is our only reality. This reality which exists in each one of us is the same reality which exists in the universe. Hence anything in the universe can be “discovered” or experienced by the individual in that state of “Samadhi.” If the essence of Nature was totally different from our own essence, she would ever remain an inexplicable enigma to us. It is because we are made of the same stuff that we can know her. They used two different words for these two realities which are actually not two but one – advaita (non-dual). The external reality in Nature was referred to as “Brahman” and the corresponding reality within us was called the “atman”. Due to their intense yogic practices, they got super-normal powers or siddhis. They could control the elements, travel with ease in the astral worlds as well as within our own ecosphere, catch sound and light waves within their minds as if on a TV screen and discern what was happening miles away. All forms in the physical world are created by the shaping of light and the rishis who were always immersed in that super conscious state could conjure up any form they chose through their minds, just by formulating a wish! No other civilization except perhaps the present one has reached the heights of knowledge that they achieved but unlike this culture that craves only for material wealth and power, they declared that knowledge of the external world was inferior to the highest knowledge of the Self or Brahman. Therefore they did not crave any material possessions. Having discovered the secret of all existence they continued to live with only one desire, “lokasamgraha”, the good of the world, the good of all creatures. They were the very embodiments of compassion. They had discovered the source of all happiness within themselves and this was truly a never-ending source! Though they had the power to conquer the whole world they did not do so for they had already conquered themselves and thus dried up the endless flow of desires for external excitements which are ephemeral. They were fully conscious of their own power so they did not fear anyone or anything. It is because we do not know this power which lies dormant in each one of us that we have to depend on external sources of power, like the police and army, to protect us. They showed us that if heaven exists it has to be found within our own minds and not in the external world. Hari Aum Tat Sat
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CRYSTAL Mindfulness Judy Hall shows how you can still your mind, calm your thoughts and focus your awareness with the help of crystals
So where do crystals come into it?
Gazing into the clear depths of a crystal, or carrying one with you, offers instant clarity and stillness of mind. Crystals clear the toxic thoughts that drive ingrained emotions and behaviour, shutting off automatic pilot and helping you to move into awareness of your Self. 66 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
In addition, crystals can create an environment that supports constant mindfulness and wellbeing. But they do more than this, they heal, and transmute. Have not the small Particles of Bodies certain Powers, Virtues or Forces, by which they act at a distance, not only upon the Rays of Light for reflecting, refracting and reflecting them, but also upon one another for producing a great part of the Phænomena of Nature? SIR ISAAC NEWTON (1643-1727) I love this quote – but I needed a long moment of mindfulness and a crystal to get my head around it. Trying to think it through quickly made my brain hurt. Sitting quietly, holding an Auralite 23, and just being with the quote opened up its wisdom for me. It explained how, and why, crystals calm the mind and heal the soul. But don’t ask me to explain. You’ll have to experience that for yourself. The crystal ball exercise below will undoubtedly assist. Auralite 23 (© Michael Illas)
indfulness. You probably think you’ve heard it all by now. Mindfulness is extremely popular and is being universally promoted as a route to mental, emotional and spiritual health. But are you able to enter into mindfulness effortlessly, without thinking about it? Mindfulness is absolute awareness of the present moment and it is highly effective. It involves noticing the sights, smells, sounds, textures and tastes that are being experienced, as well as the thoughts, feelings, moods and sensations that occur from one moment to the next, without making a judgement. Mindfulness simply accepts it is as it is. But mindfulness is a mode of being rather than something to be done. It does not switch off memory, it utilises it as appropriate. It also teaches you how to stay calm and centred, bearing in mind that ‘this too will pass’. This isn’t always easy, which is where crystals come in.
If you find yourself tossing and turning at night, going over and over the events of the day - or waking up with thoughts racing through your head – Auralite 23 can assist. When you get into bed, simply gaze at the picture of Auralite 23, slowly taking your eye down from that vibrant top into the calm stillness of the reflection below. Breathe gently but deeply as you do so. Close your eyes and retain the picture. You’ll sleep surprisingly soundly. Better still, buy yourself the crystal and put it under your pillow. Good sleep guaranteed.
As you gaze at this picture of a crystal ball you may see images within it and realise just why such balls have been popular for scrying down the ages. There’s so much to see in there. But instead, just try being with the ball. Sense it drawing you in, gently enfolding you in its energy. Notice how that makes you feel. But don’t dwell on it. Instead, let your mind slowly come to a point of stillness suffused with clarity. A dynamic stillness but paradoxically one that is softly attentive rather than laser-focused. Like the crystal itself. Now you understand crystal mindfulness!
But what if ‘the moment’ is truly horrendous?
Mindfulness teaches you how to stay calm and centred. Knowing that ‘this too will pass’ but without needing to escape or accelerate change. To me this was the biggest question about mindfulness. How could I stay in the present moment when that moment was unbearably awful? Housebound, virtually blind and severely disorientated for five months, all I could do was sit with my crystals. They supported me and offered hope and comfort in each moment. Similarly, many people with intense, chronic physical or mental pain, serious illnesses or extremely challenging life situations are finding that they too can cope with the seemingly unendurable. With the help of my crystals, I came through into mindfulness. So can you.
Each crystal has specific properties that it brings to mindfulness and I’ve gone into these in some depth in Crystal Mindfulness, carefully selecting crystals to assist various issues. Each crystal resonates at a different level depending on its vibration. Some are physical, others emotional, mental or spiritual. These unique qualities assist in switching off mind chatter and compulsive thinking. They ease your anxieties, ameliorate your anger, show you how to forgive and let the past be, and so much more. Crystals facilitate making decisive moves – when it’s appropriate. They also connect you to yourself at a very deep level – and access expanded awareness so that you become aware of the height and breadth of your being. A crystal helps to re-cognise your spiritual Self. It could also resolve issues standing in the way
MEET THE AUTHOR
JUDY HALL is known world-wide for her crystal work and a wide range of MBS books. Her Crystal Bible (Vol. 1) has sold well over a million copies and now runs to 3 volumes. An international workshop leader for over 45 years, her latest titles include The Little Book of Crystals, The Crystal Wisdom Healing Oracle and Crystal Prescriptions Volume 5.
On the web
Quartz (© Michael Illas)
Crystal ball (© Judy Hall)
of mindfulness. Each crystal may have unique properties but all have a generic ability to heal – that is, to bring you back into balance. The beauty of it is you don’t need to do anything, just being with the crystal is sufficient. Sometimes the crystal that you instinctively shy away from is actually the very crystal you need. It encapsulates qualities that heal your deepest issues, flagging them up so that you can recognise them and then let them go. As crystals have only your highest good in mind, they can be trusted to bring you back into energetic harmony.
Bookshelf CRYSTAL MINDFULNESS BY JUDY HALL, published by Watkins Publishing, Illustrated Paperback (96 pages)
“Crystals clear the toxic thoughts that drive ingrained emotions and behaviour, shutting off automatic pilot and helping you to move into awareness of your Self.” WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 67
BEYOND THE ROBOT: THE LIFE AND WORK OF COLIN WILSON Gary Lachman Pb (416 pages) Historian Gary Lachman delivers a fascinating, rollicking biography of literary and cultural rebel Colin Wilson. Across his 118 books, Wilson purveyed a philosophy of mind power and human potential that made him one of the most important voices of the past century. Now, acclaimed historian Gary Lachman, a friend of Wilson and a scholar of his work, provides an extraordinary and delightful biography that delves into the life, thought, and evolution of one of the greatest intellectual rebels and underrated visionaries of the twentieth century.
AWAKEN YOUR INDIGO POWER Doreen Virtue & Charles Virtue Pb (216 pages) The generation of Indigos - the bright, intuitive, strong-willed children born from the mid-1970s on are now adults, and they have fresh healing information to teach! Doreen Virtue and her Indigo son Charles explain the Indigos’ group purpose of bringing truth and integrity to our planet, and show how this new energy is beneficial to us all. In this book - part ‘survival guide’ for Indigos, part teaching manual for non-Indigos to decode what’s driving these gifted youths and learn from their positive example - Doreen and Charles discuss how all of us are able to awaken our ‘Indigo Power’.
DEEP AWAKE Tim Freke Pb (225 pages) Pioneering philosopher Tim Freke shares the transformative ideas and practices you need to experience the exhilarating WOW of becoming deep awake. The deep I is our spiritual essence, which is one with everyone and everything. We experience the deep I as a feeling of limitless love. Tim’s powerful paralogical insights reveal that the personal self is not an obstacle to our spiritual essence which must be overcome but rather a doorway to the deep I. Indeed, it is only through the personal self that we can find and then embody the deep I in our lives. Elucidating his revolutionary approach to awakening, which celebrates the ego as the hero - not the villain - of the spiritual journey, he shows us how to both wake up to oneness and fully enter into the human adventure by celebrating our individuality.
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NO GREATER LOVE Mother Teresa Hb (224 pages) Featuring Mother Teresa on love, prayer, giving, service, poverty, forgiveness, Jesus, and more, No Greater Love is the most accessible and inspiring collection of her wisdom ever published. Brought out to celebrate her canonization in September, this Commemorative Edition includes Pope John Paul II’s homily from her Beatification Mass in 2003, and ends with a biography and a revealing conversation with Mother Teresa about the specific challenges and joys present in her work with the poor and dying.
A SEARCH IN SECRET EGYPT Paul Brunton Ill. Pb (380 pages) In this book, philosopher Paul Brunton (1898-1981) encounters the mysteries and magic of Egypt in the 1930s, including an eerie yet illuminating night spent alone inside the Great Pyramid. Alongside his explorations of ancient Egypt’s monuments and gods, Brunton encounters a variety of occultists, fakirs, and dervishes. This new edition has been updated to incorporate Brunton’s final revisions.
RAINBOW BODY AND RESURRECTION Francis V. Tiso Ill. Pb (408 pages) A wide-ranging and deeply informed study of the transformation of the material body into a body of light. Seeking evidence on the boundary between physical science and deep spirituality that might elucidate the resurrection of Jesus, Tiso describes the spiritual practices that give rise to the rainbow body and traces their history deep into the encounter of religions in medieval Central Asia.
THE BOOK OF MASTERY Paul Selig Pb (384 pages) The channelled books of Paul Selig - who receives clairaudient dictation from his Guides - has quickly become the most important expression of channelling since A Course in Miracles. The first of an extraordinary new trilogy, The Book of Mastery provides a deeply practical prescription for heightening your abilities, aptitudes and sense of personal excellence. The Guides teachings go much further, however, instructing you how to improve life for others and, ultimately, for global humanity.
NESSIE Nick Redfern Ill. Pb (264 pages) An exciting journey into the paranormal origins of the Loch Ness Monster, from the earliest sightings in 565 AD to the ‘Nessie’ craze of the twentieth century. This comprehensive guide offers lore, unique theories, hot spots, and photos. Experience firsthand encounters, discover how Nessie is connected to the occult, and meet other mysterious monsters that live in Loch Ness.
RISE SISTER RISE Rebecca Campbell
THE SECRET FOUNDING OF AMERICA Nicholas Hagger
Pb (320 pages) A call to arms for women to rise up, tell their truth and lead, this a manual for healing the insecurities, fears and limiting inherited patterns that stop women trusting their innate power and wisdom. Full of tools, rituals and exercises, this book will inspire you to listen to your intuition and act on it, to gather the courage to be seen and heard, and to heal the world around you by first healing yourself.
Pb (352 pages) Introducing the two groups of founders - the Planting Fathers, who established the earliest settlements along essentially Christian lines, and the Founding Fathers, who unified the colonies with the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution - Nicholas Hagger argues that the new nation, conceived in liberty, was the Freemasons’ first step towards a new world order and charts the connections between secret societies and libertarian ideals.
HOW THE SECRET CHANGED MY LIFE Rhonda Byrne
THE OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE Anthony Peake
YOUR 3 BEST SUPER POWERS Sonia Choquette
Hb (272 pages) Since its publication a decade ago, The Secret has brought forth an explosion of real people sharing real stories of how their lives have miraculously changed for the better. Presenting a selection of the most heart-warming and moving stories, this book provides an authentic, true illustration of the pathway that leads to success in every area of life: money, health, relationships, love, family and career.
Pb (240 pages) Beginning with his own unexpected introduction to astral travel, Peake takes the reader on a historical, theological and mystical journey through the history of the out-of-body experience in all its varieties and forms. Discussing the science behind the experience, he reviews the latest research in psychology, neurology and neuro-chemistry, and proposes a scientifically viable way of creating ‘Astral Travel’.
Pb (192 pages) According to world-renowned intuitive guide and spiritual teacher Sonia Choquette, you are blessed with three incredible super powers: meditation, imagination and intuition. Filled with inspiring stories, the book provides proven techniques and practical tips that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine, e.g. how to use meditation to clear mental space and let go of everything that no longer serves you take charge of your imagination and use it to envision and then create your heart’s desires connect with your intuition to make the smartest, safest and most satisfying decisions in all situations.
MINDFULNESS: A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO AWAKENING Joseph Goldstein Pb (459 pages) Exquisite in detail yet wholly accessible and relevant for the modern student, Mindfulness shares the wisdom of Goldstein’s four decades of teaching, study and practice. His source teaching is the Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha’s legendary discourse on the four foundations of mindfulness that became the basis for the many types of Vipassana (or insight meditation) found today.
ZECHARIA SITCHIN AND THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL ORIGINS OF HUMANITY M. J. Evans Ill. Pb (296 pages) Drawing upon her many conversations with Sitchin, long-time friend and colleague M. J. Evans provides an in-depth analysis of Sitchin’s revelations about the Anunnaki, focusing on Anunnaki activities on Earth and Earth’s future. Includes the Anunnaki arrival on Earth, the lineage of the Nefilim, their space travel technology and their creation of modern humans.
THE UNIVERSE HAS YOUR BACK Gabrielle Bernstein Pb (192 pages) The Universe Has Your Back teaches us how to transform our fear into faith in order to live a divinely guided life. Each story and lesson guides us to find strength when we are down, synchronicity and support when we’re lost, safety in the face of uncertainty, and joy when we are otherwise in pain. Through practicing the tools in this book, we can learn to stop chasing life and truly live.
THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF CHURCHES & CATHEDRALS Richard Stemp Ill. Pb (224 pages) Decoding the sacred symbolism of Christianity’s holy buildings, this book unveils their lost spiritual meaning. Stemp provides a three-part illustrated key by which modern visitors can understand the layout, fabric and decorative symbolism of Christian sacred structures – thereby bringing back to life their original atmosphere of awe and sanctity.
THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF JEWISH MYTH, MAGIC AND MYSTICISM Geoffrey W. Dennis Ill. Pb (504 pages) Jewish esotericism is the oldest and most influential continuous occult tradition in the West. Presenting lore that can spiritually enrich your life, this one-of-a-kind encyclopedia is devoted to the esoteric in Judaism—the miraculous and the mysterious. This comprehensive treasury of Jewish teachings, drawn from sources spanning Jewish scripture, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Kabbalah, and other esoteric branches of Judaism, includes over one thousand alphabetical entries with extensive cross-references to related topics. In this second edition, Rabbi Dennis has added over thirty new entries and significantly expanded over a hundred other entries.
TRAUMA AND MEMORY Peter A. Levine
THE SUPER NATURAL: A NEW VISION OF THE UNEXPLAINED Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J. Kripal Hb (384 pages) A fast-paced and exhilarating study of why the supernatural is neither fantasy nor fiction, but a vital and authentic aspect of life. The authors show that all kinds of “impossible” things, from extra-dimensional beings to bilocation to bumps in the night, are not impossible at all - rather, they are a part of our natural world. But this natural world is immeasurably more weird, more wonderful and probably more populated than we have so far imagined. And all we have to do to see this, is to change the lenses through which we are looking at it.
Ill. Pb (206 pages) In this groundbreaking look at how memory is constructed and how influential memories are on our present state of being, Dr. Levine tackles one of the most difficult and controversial questions of PTSD/trauma therapy: Can we trust our memories? Building on his 45 years of successful treatment of trauma and utilizing case studies from his own practice, Dr. Levine suggests, while acknowledging that memory can be trusted, the only truly useful memories are those that might initially seem to be the least reliable: memories stored in the body and not necessarily accessible by our conscious mind. By learning how to better understand the complex interplay of past and present, brain and body, we can adjust our relationship to past trauma and move into a more balanced, relaxed state of being.
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 69
THE ILLUMINATI and Counter Culture Author and researcher Robert Howells explores the Counter Culture Revolution from Secret Societies to Wilkileaks and Anonymous
MEET THE AUTHOR
MEET THE AUTHOR ROBERT HOWELLS has spent the last twenty years investigating the mysteries of Rennesle-Chateau, the Priory of Sion and the history of conspiracy theories. During this time he has built up an extensive knowledge and experience of secret societies, symbolism and esoteric thought. He is the author of Inside the Priory of Sion and The Last Pope and can currently be seen in a documentary series called Forbidden History on the BBC Yesterday channel.
On the web
www.robhowells.co.uk www.facebook.com/ rdhowells
he term Illuminati belongs to three distinct groups in history. The first is the original Bavarian Illuminati, a secret society that appeared in 1776 among European Freemasons and academics with the intention of liberating humanity from physical, mental and spiritual bondage. Many secret societies were founded to protect and promote spiritual ideals in the face of inquisition, and the Illuminati drew upon these but chose to be far more politically active in shaping the world to suit their beliefs. As the pinnacle of counter-culture and subversion, the Illuminati stood in open revolt against all forms of oppression set upon humanity and became the archetypal secret society. They challenged the corrupt governments, monarchs and religious institutions by working in the shadows for the emancipation of humanity. Their subversive rituals were designed to liberate initiates from political and religious influence and to undermine the patriotism that kept the royal families of Europe in power. The questioning of all forms of authority brought them into conflict with the monarchs and the Catholic Church, but during their brief incarnation they encapsulated counter-culture into a single system of organized dissent that is still relevant today. Facing inevitable persecution from the conservative ruling classes the Illuminati chose to take refuge within a myriad of other societies to continue their work from the shadows. Eventually they would be seen as a driving force in the dissent that culminated in the French Revolution.
“Any group rooted in the old money of the corrupt banking systems and aristocracy is the antithesis of the original Illuminati who valued individual freedom above all forms of control.” 70 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
The name Illuminati all but disappeared from history at this time, but in their absence their ideals would continue to find a voice in the many counterculture movements of Europe and America in the 18th and 19th centuries until they eventually resurfaced as a myth in the 1970s. The second incarnation of the Illuminati came in 1976 when authors Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea published The Illuminatus Trilogy; a vast work of fiction placing the Illuminati at the centre of every major conspiracy and key event in history. The idea of a hidden group manipulating society was perfectly timed to capture the imagination of those who were living in the wake of the Kennedy assassinations and the Watergate scandal. This mythic Illuminati was incorporated into a growing cultural idea that the world is ruled by a New World Order, a secret cabal devoted to the control, enslavement and exploitation of humanity at the hands of banking cabals and wealthy aristocrats. To conspiracy theorists this was seen as the work of the Illuminati rather than the rich vying to maintain their wealth and any power it affords them. The existence of a New World Order is still in question but any group rooted in the old money of the corrupt banking systems and aristocracy is the antithesis of the original Illuminati who valued individual freedom above all forms of control. While their name was being usurped by conspiracy theorists a new form of counter–culture mirrored their aspirations. Among the emergent communities of the internet and in a climate of pranks, memes and youthful exploration the hacktivist collective ‘Anonymous’ was born. The disruptive technology of the internet allowed groups like Anonymous and WikiLeaks to thrive as the latest incarnation of secret societies. These online communities shared a common loathing of injustice and corruption and in their use of secrecy and social engineering to further their aims they have become the true successors to the Illuminati. Their hacktivist ideals helped them play a key role in the Arab Spring uprisings, just as the Illuminati were a driving force in the
Bookshelf THE ILLUMINATI: THE COUNTER CULTURE REVOLUTION FROM SECRET SOCIETIES TO WIKILEAKS AND ANONYMOUS BY ROBERT HOWELLS, published by Watkins, Paperback (256 pages)
dissent that culminated in the French Revolution. As codes and cyphers were employed by the secret societies, groups like WikiLeaks use encryption and anonymity to enable whistle-blowers to expose the illegal actions of government agencies. Their revelations bring society closer to the truth and undermine the corporate control and censorship of traditional media. They fear the transparency forced upon them by those among their ranks who are willing to speak out. In response to such an uncensored outpouring, governments are pursuing ways to silence the whistle-blowers by waging war on the connected communities of the internet age. From the first secret societies that protected spiritual truths to WikiLeaks hiding the identities of whistle-blowers, the same battle has been fought on a continuous timeline, and the ideals of the Illuminati still ring true today. The political corruption and religious control that inspired the creation of the Illuminati have been replaced by the corporations and financial institutions that are trying to exploit society for their own ends. Through their actions, Anonymous and WikiLeaks have become the spiritual and political successors to the Illuminati. Their masks are the new face of counter-culture and their distributed power is capable of challenging abuses of power, but the war against personal liberty is escalating as government agencies try to criminalise privacy and personal freedom. It is a new inquisition that has its origins in a war that has raged for centuries between the rigid structures of existing society and the counter-culture that is struggling to emerge. The world is at risk of being ruled by corporations via their political lobbyists and mired in restrictive laws that benefit big business over the individual, but through digital communities there is an opportunity to bring to fruition the Illuminati aim of replacing the old wealth and power structures with a meritocracy. This is the third incarnation of the Illuminati and an opportunity for every individual to become an agent for change and shape the coming counter culture revolution. WINTER 2016 â€˘ WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM â€˘ 71
The POWER of WHEN Psychologist and sleep doctor, Michael J. Breus, explains why Timing Is Everything
o you want a simple, straightforward life hack that requires little effort and gets you closer to happiness and success? Of course you do! This might sound like a promise waiting to be broken. It’s not. You’ve probably already seen a lot of tricks and tips about the “what” and “how” of success.
≥ How to lose weight. ≥ How to please a sexual partner. ≥ What to say to your boss to get a pay increase. ≥ How to raise your kids. ≥ What to eat. ≥ How to work out. ≥ What to think. ≥ How to dream. “What” and “how” are excellent and necessary questions. But there is another crucial question that must 72 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
be addressed in order to make fast, dramatic, lasting improvements in the quality of your life across the board. That question is “when.” “When” is the ultimate life hack. It’s the foundation of success, the key that unlocks a faster, smarter, better, and stronger you. Knowing “when” enables you to perform “what” and “how” to your maximum potential. If you didn’t change a thing about what you do and how you do it, and only made micro-adjustments to when you do it, you’d be healthier, happier, and more productive, starting . . . right now. “When” really is that simple, and that powerful. Just by making small tweaks to your schedule — such as when to have the first cup of coffee, when to answer emails, when to nap — you’ll nudge the rhythm of your day back in sync with the rhythm of your biology, and then
everything will start to feel easier and flow naturally. What do I mean by the “rhythm of your biology”? Contrary to what you might have heard, there is a perfect time to do just about anything. Good timing isn’t something you choose, guess, or have to figure out. It’s already happening inside you, in your DNA, from the minute you wake up to the minute you fall asleep, and every minute in between. An inner clock embedded inside your brain has been ticking away, keeping perfect time, since you were three months old. This precisely engineered timekeeper is called your circadian pacemaker, or biological clock. Specifically, it’s a group of nerves called the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), in the hypothalamus, right above the pituitary gland. In the morning, sunlight comes into your eyeballs, travels along the optic nerve, and activates the SCN to begin each day’s circadian (Latin for “around a day”) rhythm. The SCN is the master clock that controls dozens
of other clocks throughout your body. Over the course of the day, your core temperature, blood pressure, cognition, hormonal flow, alertness, energy, digestion, hunger, metabolism, creativity, sociability, and athleticism, and your ability to heal, memorize, and sleep, among many other functions, fluctuate according to and are governed by the commands of your inner clocks. Everything you can do or want to do is controlled by physiological rhythms, whether you realize it or not. For fifty thousand years, our ancestors organized their daily schedules around their inner clocks. They ate, hunted, gathered, socialized, rose, rested, procreated, and healed on perfect bio-time, or biological time. I’m not saying life was fantastic in prehistoric, biblical, or medieval times, but as a species, we thrived by rising with the sun, spending most of the day outdoors, and sleeping in total darkness. We created civilization and societies and made incredible advances that, ironically and effectively, turned our finely tuned and evolved inner clocks against us. The most disruptive event in the history of bio-time occurred on December 31, 1879. At his research lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey, Thomas Edison introduced the long-lasting incandescent lightbulb to the world. He famously said, “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” Within a decade, night, for all intents and purposes, became optional. We no longer rose at dawn and slept in total darkness. We once worked from dawn to dusk and ate our last meal in twilight. Working hours and dinnertime shifted later and later. We spent more time indoors exposed to artificial light and less time outdoors under the sun. In an 1889 interview with Scientific American, Edison said, “I hardly ever sleep more than four hours per day, and I could keep this up for a year.” In 1914, on the thirty-fifth anniversary of incandescent light, Edison used the occasion to identify sleep as a “bad habit.” He proposed that all Americans
sleep far fewer hours per day, and predicted a future of sleeplessness. “Everything which decreases the sum total of man’s sleep increases the sum total of man’s capabilities,” he said. “There really is no reason why men should go to bed at all, and the man of the future will spend far less time in bed.” The second major disruption of your biological time was transportation advances. Cars and planes allowed people to travel great distances rapidly. It takes a day for the body to adjust to a one-hour time zone difference, and, on horseback or in a coach, it’d take about that long to go that far. Starting in the mid-twentieth century, in the blink of an eye, evolutionarily speaking, we could travel multiple time zones in a few hours, leaving biotime lagging behind. Computer technology brought us to where we are now, in a 24/7 smartphone culture of perpetual dusk where we work, play, and eat around the clock. It took only 125 years to undo 50,000 years of perfect biotimekeeping. Saying that our physiology hasn’t evolved as quickly as our technology is the understatement of the millennium. As a result, our “when” is way, way off. Being out of sync with bio-time is devastating to one’s physical, mental, and emotional well-being. The phenomenon is called chronomisalignment (“chrono” means time). In the last fifteen years, scientists have been connecting the socalled diseases of civilization (mood disorders, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity) with chrono-misalignment. Symptoms include insomnia and sleep deprivation, which lead to depression, anxiety, and accidents, to say nothing of what feeling overwhelmed and exhausted does to relationships, careers, and health. Unless you turn off every screen and light at 6:00 p.m., you are likely to deal with chrono-misalignment in one way or another, whether it’s morning fogginess, extra weight, feeling stressed out, or not performing
“Everything you can do or want to do is controlled by physiological rhythms.”
MEET THE AUTHOR
DR MICHAEL J BREUS is a clinical psychologist, a Diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. He writes regularly for the Huffington Post, the Oz Blog, and Psychology Today, and is the author of The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan and Beauty Sleep. He is also on the clinical advisory board of The Dr. Oz Show and appears regularly on the show.
On the web
to your potential. (It’s unrealistic to power down at dusk, of course. But you can turn off screens a bit earlier than usual, and dim the lights as the night goes on.) A sparrow doesn’t rush to work by 9:00 a.m. on a coffee buzz while fighting traffic. A salmon doesn’t attend a midnight concert. A deer doesn’t binge-watch House of Cards all weekend. Imagine a house cat napping, playing, and cleaning on a societal schedule. It would never happen. Animals heed their inner clocks. Humans, with our big, superior brains, willfully ignore ours, cramming our circadian rhythms into a “social rhythm,” often in direct opposition to what our bodies are supposed to be doing at that time.
Bookshelf THE POWER OF WHEN: LEARN THE BEST TIME TO DO EVERY THING BY MICHAEL BREUS, PHD, published by Vermilion, Paperback (384 pages) WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 73
The English Magic Tarot Author Andy Letcher describes how this new, dynamic, graphic-novel style tarot came into being
he English Magic Tarot is a brand new deck that we hope will draw you into the vibrant but often hidden world of English magic. It’s set in the colourful yet turbulent period of English history that stretches from the time of Henry VIII through to the Restoration of the Monarchy. This was something of a golden age for English magic: John Dee was Queen Elizabeth’s Court Astrologer, antiquarian John Aubrey rediscovered ancient sacred sites such as Avebury
74 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
stone circle, and the great physicist Isaac Newton devoted much of his life to the study of alchemy. Also, during this time of social and political upheaval archetypal forces were very much at play. The monarchs and mountebanks, visionaries and fools, knights and vagabonds that shaped the world are all there in the tarot, too, making this a perfect setting for the cards. There are, of course, many thousands of tarot decks in the world but when artist and visionary Rex Van Ryn approached me to see if I would collaborate on the project
and write the accompanying book, I immediately spotted that here was something special. While employing a style reminiscent of the great Pamela Colman-Smith, who created the iconic images for the legendary Rider-Waite deck, Rex’s dynamic artwork has more the feel of a graphic novel (his background is in comics and movie storyboards). Rex regards the tarot as a device to help people discover and take control of the stories they tell about themselves and their lives. It shows. His inspired pictures leap from the page. You can’t help but wonder what’s
going on, and what might happen next. They invite you to speak with the force of a storyteller. And then, there’s this unique focus on English magic. There’s currently a revival of interest in English magic, and an appreciation that this tiny island has produced a remarkable number of magicians. English magic is a distinctive, local branch of natural magic. It has evolved through many iterations, from prehistoric times to the present day, and freely blends high magic – such as that practised and developed by the Order of the Golden Dawn – and low magic, such as the charms and wort-cunning of traditional witchcraft. English magic is profoundly interested in the spirit of place. It regards the cosmos as animate, and our place in the world as significant. It calls us to rediscover a magical connection with the land upon which we happen to live, whether that be England or elsewhere. It supposes that through practice and study (not least, of the tarot) we can attain a greater understanding of the disparate parts of the self, and the magical connections that permeate the universe. Through English magic we can attain a state of gnosis and true knowledge of the world. It was a trip to see a fortune teller in St Ives, when he was just eighteen, that prompted Rex’s lifelong interest in the mysteries of the tarot. This Romany woman (who appears in the deck in The Wheel of Fortune) laid out the contours of his life with what proved to be amazing accuracy. Rex went on to study both magic and shamanism, and when he came to create The English Magic Tarot he used a form of shamanic journeying to ‘receive’ the images. “I meditated on the cards’ meaning using a drum beat to induce a trance state… sometimes dancing...sometimes prone. When I had imagined the “image,” I broke my trance and drew what was in my mind.” Having inked the pictures, Rex then passed them on to artist Steve Dooley, our third collaborator, who coloured them beautifully. “After much discussion and pouring over Rex’s drawings I shut myself away”, Steve explains. “At no point did Rex say how I should colour the cards. He had faith. I devised an entire palette purely on instinct. It had to work for me on many levels. Each card had to work as an individual image, yet they also had to work together. I wanted them to
MEET THE AUTHORS
REX VAN RYN is a comic book artist who has worked for Marvel and IPC, producing strips for 2000AD and Scorer, amongst others. He has worked as a storyboard artist for numerous films and TV shows. STEVE DOOLEY has worked extensively in Britain and Europe painting murals and trompe l’oeil frescoes. He recently co-produced the Wind in the Willows app for the iPad. ANDY LETCHER is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom and numerous scholarly articles on paganism, shamanism, and folklore. He has been a practicing Druid for 20 years and gave his first tarot reading at age 11.
On the web
www.rexvanryn.com www.stevedooley.co.uk andy-letcher.blogspot.co.uk
be earthy yet bright, old but relevant to today. I also had to listen carefully to what the cards told me to do. They spoke volumes.” I too have studied tarot since my teens, but when it came to writing the book and the interpretations of the images, I put aside my learning, sat quietly, and allowed the cards to speak. I found I wrote almost automatically, so I can attest to the power of what Rex and Steve have realised. To add to all of this, we have embedded riddles, references, and lore through every card. Attentive readers will spot strange writing, books with unusual titles, or letters printed in odd colours. All are significant. On one level, they are there simply to encourage people to pore over the cards ever more closely, and to entice them into a deeper understanding of English magic. But Rex also wanted there to be an overarching theme to the cards, something that ran through them all and bound them together, something unique to English magic. So the riddles
do all point to something. It’s a kind of treasure hunt, if you will. When assembling the pieces of this puzzle, I was inspired by Kit William’s mesmeric book Masquerade, which haunted and fascinated me through my childhood. The clues in his book led the reader to a beautiful golden hare, buried in the English countryside. Alas, we have no actual treasure for you to try and locate, other than the inner treasure that lies at the heart of the tarot. But there is an answer to the riddle, and we hope you’ll enjoy finding it. Throughout our many discussions, as we created the deck and the book that comes with it, we all agreed that the tarot is a kind of distillation of Western esoteric wisdom. By using the cards you will be playing with the building blocks of an ancient story. We trust that they will help you make sense of your lives, the trials and tribulations we all face, and to help you name and adjust the stories you habitually tell yourselves. May the gods and guides of English magic guide and bless you on your way.
“We have embedded riddles, references, and lore through every card. Attentive readers will spot strange writing, books with unusual titles, or letters printed in odd colours. All are significant.” /////////////////////////////////////////////////
Bookshelf THE ENGLISH MAGIC TAROT BY REX VAN RYN, STEVE DOOLEY & ANDY LETCHER, published by Weiser Books, Boxed set (78-card deck & 160-page guide book) WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 75
Owain’s Burial Site
THE LOST TOMB
OF KING ARTHUR Historical investigator Graham Phillips describes his search for Camelot, the Isle of Avalon, and the real King Arthur 76 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
uring the Middle Ages many tales were written about King Arthur. Although certain themes within these so-called Arthurian romances - such as the supernatural, mythical beings, and damsels in distress are clearly invention, a much older manuscript, written three centuries before the earliest of these tales was composed, records that Arthur had been an historical figure. The work of the ninth-century writer Nennius, the History of the Britons, refers to Arthur in a purely historical context, unfettered by such flights of fancy. The Britons were the native Celts who occupied all of Britain before being pushed into Wales by the AngloSaxons who invaded the country from their homeland in northern Germany. Arthur, Nennius tells us, was one of the last leaders of the Britons to make a successful stand against the AngloSaxons around the year 500. This was during the early Dark Ages, an era of tribal feuding following the collapse of the Roman Empire, after the Romans left Britain in the fifth century. If Arthur lived in the late fifth or early sixth century as Nennius records, he would not have been a king in shining armour, but a Celtic chieftain struggling against foreign invasion. I began my search for the historical Arthur by asking a simple question. From where did he rule? In the medieval tales Arthur is said to have ruled form a magnificent city called Camelot. Unfortunately, the authors disagree on its location, and where it was originally thought to have been has long remained a mystery. However, if it existed, wherever it was, the city would not have been called Camelot during a historical Arthur’s time: the name “Camelot” was an invention of the twelfth-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes. As the name of Arthur’s fabled city had been forgotten by the period Chrétien was writing, the word “Camelot” was adopted by subsequent authors. The capital of early Dark Age Britain had been an old Roman city called Viroconium, around five miles east of the town of Shrewsbury in the English county of Shropshire. When the Romans left Britain in AD 410, most Roman towns were abandoned but Viroconium continued to be occupied. It had been the fourth largest town in late Roman Britain, but the three others, London, Lincoln
and York in the east of the country, were quickly overrun by the invading Anglo-Saxons. Viroconium, however, being in the centre of the country, remained free and effectively became the most important city in early Dark Age Britain. Remarkably, the ruins of Viroconium – some of its walls and foundation stones - still survive in open countryside just outside the modern village of Wroxeter. Over the last 35 years many archaeological excavations have taken place at Viroconium to reveal that, unlike most other Roman towns that had been abandoned for more easily defended hilltop fortifications, the city was still a thriving, walled town for well over a century after the Romans left. The latest archaeological excavations at Viroconium have revealed that there was a major rebuilding of the city around AD 500. The nerve centre of this new Viroconium was a massive winged building that appears to have been the palace of an extremely important warlord. As this building work seems to have been taking place at the end of the fifth and beginning of the sixth centuries, it may well have been the seat of power for the chieftain who led the Britons at the time Arthur is said to have lived. The stories of King Arthur say that he had been the most powerful British leader and ruled from the most important British city around the year 500. Historically, Viroconium had been the most important British city at that time. In other words, from the archaeological perspective, Viroconium was the most likely capital of a historical King Arthur. So was the person who ruled from Viroconium in the late fifth and early sixth centuries really called Arthur? The man who ruled the city at the time is contained in a tenth-century manuscript including the family trees of important Dark Age chieftains. Now preserved in the British Library, where it known as the Harleian Genealogies (in a manuscript catalogued as MS. Harley 3859), it reveals the name of the king who ruled from Viroconium around AD 500: he was one Owain Ddantgwyn (pronounced “Owen Thant-gwyn”). Initially it seemed that my search had been thwarted. The man who ruled the most feasible historical Camelot when Arthur is said to have lived was not called Arthur after all. But then I discovered something remarkable. In his On the Ruin and
MEET THE AUTHOR
GRAHAM PHILLIPS is a historical investigator and the author of The End of Eden, The Templars and the Ark of the Covenant, Atlantis and the Ten Plagues of Egypt, The Chalice of Magdalene, and The Moses Legacy. He lives in the Midlands of England.
On the web
“If Owain was the historical King Arthur, as I believe, then my search for King Arthur’s tomb is over. ” GRAHAM PHILLIPS Conquest of Britain, written around AD 545, a monk named Gildas praises this king as a valiant and powerful warrior, referring to him by his title, “The Bear”. It was tradition at the time for high-status individuals to be given the honorary name of a real or mythical creature to symbolize their prowess, such as the Lion, the Hound, the Eagle and so forth. Gildas uses the Latin word for “bear”, ursus, but in Brythonic, the daily language spoken by Britons, the word for “bear” was arth. In fact, this is still the word for a bear in modern Welsh that derived from Brythonic. Could this be the origin of the name Arthur? Surely it was beyond coincidence that the man who ruled from the most powerful city in Britain at the very time Arthur is said to have done just that was known as Arth, a name that could easily have evolved into the latinized Arthur. The man upon whom the legend of King Arthur was based, it would appear, had
gone down in history under his battle name or title. Owain Ddantgwyn, it seems, must have been the historical King Arthur. The location of Owain’s burial site is known from contemporary records – a small hill near a village called Baschurch about eight miles north of Viroconium - and I organized an archaeological survey of the site. These days, modern technology has made it possible to see what lies buried beneath the ground without the need to dig. It’s called geophysics, where various types of equipment, such as ground-penetrating radar, can produce computer-generated images of what hides in the soil. The survey revealed disturbances in the ground – signs of a six foot ditch - right where my research indicated Owain was laid to rest. The archaeologists were certain this had not been a house or any other similar structure, and was likely to have been a burial. It was indeed precisely what would be expected of a royal burial from the early Dark Ages. Furthermore, at the centre of the ditch there was a single piece of metal about six inches wide, possibly the central boss of an ancient shield. And highstatus warriors of the post-Roman era were often buried on their side with a shield on their arm. As it was a single, isolated burial, it was probably the grave of someone important. Although the technical restraints of the equipment made it impossible to reveal the presence of aged and fragile bones at that depth, the scan had produced compelling evidence that there was indeed a grave right where the ancient records said Owain Ddantgwyn was buried. And if Owain was the historical King Arthur, as I believe, then my search for King Arthur’s tomb is over. All I have to do now is persuade English Heritage to grant permission for an excavation. At the moment, that is proving easier said than done, as such requests take months to process. /////////////////////////////////////////////////
Bookshelf THE LOST TOMB OF KING ARTHUR: THE SEARCH FOR CAMELOT AND THE ISLE OF AVALON BY GRAHAM PHILLIPS, published by Bear & Company, Illustrated Paperback (304 pages) WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 77
Transformative FESTIVALS of the world
A calendar of events around the world where people meet to enjoy music, dance, art, workshops and to harmoniously discover their similarities and celebrate their differences /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
1 BELOVED FESTIVAL
TIDEWATER, OREGON, USA 4 DAYS IN MID-AUGUST BELOVED is a 4-day camping, art and music festival on the Oregon Coast. It intends to present sacred music to help eradicate the illusion of separation from each other, from the earth and from the Beloved. The term “The Beloved” embraces all of the names and forms of the Divine, affirming their Unity. www.belovedfestival.com
2 BOOM FESTIVAL
IDANHA-A-NOVA , PORTUGAL 8 DAYS IN MID-AUGUST BOOM is a biennial transformational festival in Portugal. Its main focus is to integrate a sustainability ethos with arts and culture. It is “inspired by the principles of Oneness, Peace, Creativity, Sustainability, Transcendence, Alternative Culture, Active Participation, Evolution and Love, it is a space where people can converge to experience an alternative reality.” www.boomfestival.org
3 BUDDHAFIELD FESTIVAL TAUNTON, SOMERSET, ENGLAND 5 DAYS IN MID-JULY BUDDHAFIELD is a gathering of up to 3,000 beautiful people - a joyful and unique creation of community. Ritual, song, dance, arts and crafts, yoga, tai chi, meditation, and play, blend together in a drink- and drugfree environment. The Festival is for people from all traditions — and none — coming together in a mindful and family-friendly space, allowing hearts and minds to open. www.buddhafield.com
4 BURNING MAN FESTIVAL
AUCKLAND, NEUSEELAND 3 DAYS BEGINNING OF APRIL EARTH-BEAT is a conscious gathering that provides a platform for co-creation and community connection. It is full of transformational experiences that help us reconnect and tune to our innate ability to listen to the beat of the Earth. It envisions a world where life is not only sustainable but regenerative; a world where we focus on potential rather than problems, where individual contributions are aligned with the greater good. www.earthbeatfestival.com
BLACKROCK, NEVADA , USA 8 DAYS BEGINNING OF SEPTEMBER BURNING MAN is not just a festival it is a catalyst for creative culture in the world. Once a year, tens of thousands of people gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, a temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. Almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the experience. www.burningman.org
7 ENVISION FESTIVAL
5 DESERT HEARTS
BERGHEIDER SEE, GERMANY 5 DAYS IN MID-JULY Five days of wild dancing, inspired art and “emotion in motion”, FEEL FESTIVAL offers a diverse celebration of beauty, music and community. Since its beginning in 2013 a fast-growing, progressive multigenerational culture has established around this festival. Besides non-stop music and dancing it offers lots of fun and inspiring workshops. www.feel-festival.de
SAN DIEGO, K ALIFORNIEN, USA 4 DAYS BEGINNING OF APRIL DESERT HEARTS was manifested from sheer determination and an abundance of positive energy in 2012 as a 300 person renegade Mojave gathering. Since then, it has grown into a unique music and dance festival that offers numerous workshops for yoga, meditation and all aspects of mind, body and spirit. www.deserthearts.us 78• WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
6 EARTH-BEAT FESTIVAL
COSTA RICA 4 DAYS END OF FEBRUARY ENVISION is a celebration dedicated to awakening our human potential, and provides a platform for different cultures to co-exist in sustainable community, and inspire one another through art, spirituality, yoga, music, dance, performance, education, sustainability and our fundamental connection with nature. www.envisionfestival.com
8 FEEL FESTIVAL
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9 FIRE IN THE MOUNTAIN
ABERYSTW Y TH, WALES 3 DAYS BEIGINNING OF JUNE FIRE IN THE THE MOUNTAIN is a grass -roots, folk and wild festival nestled in the welsh countryside. Operating cocreatively with the wider community as a fully transparent, inclusive and notfor-profit organisation, it is the epitome of down to earth local collaboration. www.fireinthemountain.co.uk
10 FUSION FESTIVAL
LÄRZ, MECKLENBURG, GERMANY 4 DAYS END OF JUNE “Music of all kinds, theatre, performance and cinema, installations, interaction, arts and communication. Diversity of people, diverse in their intentions. Still, their strive for individual freedom unites them, everybody finding her and his own way of action. Free of boundaries and prejudice.” www.fusion-festival.de
2 10 9
SDE BOKER, NEGEV, ISRAEL 5 DAYS BEGINNING OF JUNE For 5 days, a temporary city is set up in the Negev desert, creating a platform which will allow a communal life style, creativity, art and radical self-expression. What happens at MIDBURN is created by its citizens who are active participants in the event. www.midburn.org/en/
11 WINTER 2015-16 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 00
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Every breath you take BY ROSE ELLIOT
Renowned vegetarian food writer Rose Elliot shows how to breathe your way to a happier and more mindful life Like many people I had heard of mindfulness: I knew that it meant paying
attention to my actions and feelings without attempting to control or judge them. I had tried it a few times, on and off, but each time I found it so dull and boring that I gave it up. Then, as I have described in I Met a Monk, a Buddhist monk came into my life and his quiet suggestion to make breathing part of the mindfulness process really helped me. In fact it helped me so much that I decided to research the subject for myself – and what I found nearly blew me away, and is the basis of my new book, Every Breath You Take. So many people talk about mindfulness today; it has become one of the buzz-words of our age, but hardly anyone ever mentions the Buddha in that connection. I myself did not realise, until I researched the subject, that it was to the Buddha, 2,500 years ago, that we owe the teaching, and that in its original form it is actually a very specific technique, based on our breathing. Yet when you go back to that, it brings everything alive, and although it is really simple and easy, it
goes so deep that, as one Buddhist teacher said, ‘it can take you all the way to nirvana’. Since I started following the Buddha’s simple instructions for mindfulness, and started practising regularly – just a few breaths night and morning, or throughout the day, maybe on the hour, nothing demanding or difficult – I have really felt the benefit. There is something about this method that not only brings immediate peace – like flicking on an instant ‘peace switch’ when you are feeling sad, angry, or troubled, but also, with a bit of practice, puts you in touch with reserves of inner strength and wisdom that you might never have known you had. It has certainly helped more than I can say, and I have had plenty of opportunities to put it to the test, I can assure you, because while I was developing my practice, and throughout the time I was writing Every Breath You Take, I was also making daily visits to be with my beloved husband who was in a high-dependency nursing home with rapidly advancing Lewy body dementia. In fact I do not know how I would have got through that time without the mindfulness breathing – and a number of the staff and visitors to the nursing home started doing it too, because they noticed how much it was helping me. My husband died before I had finished writing the book, and I felt the enormous grief and loss, just as anyone would. But being able to breathe mindfully as I experienced these feelings really helped me. It doesn’t take the pain away – and one would not wish that to happen, because as I explain in the book, it’s no good pushing things under and hoping they will go away. But the breathing does provide a kind of cushion – a bit like an air cushion – that protects you and allows you to experience the feelings fully whilst being protected and cushioned by your breath, almost as though someone were putting their arms around you. It is an amazing feeling, and one that you can call on to help you at any time, in any area of your life, and that you can gradually build into a meditation practice too if you wish. For me the meditation just naturally, grew out of the moments of mindfulness that I was developing throughout the day, and it’s true to say that it really has changed my life. The much-loved Zen Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh said that when he first discovered the Buddha’s teaching on mindfulness breathing he was ‘the happiest person in the world’, and that’s exactly how I felt, and still feel about it. Try it for yourself and see if you agree.
MEET THE AUTHOR
ROSE ELLIOT MBE is one of Britain’s foremost vegetarian cookery writers, with over 60 vegetarian and vegan books and sales of 3.5 million copies worldwide. She also wrote several books on astrology. Raised in a spiritual environment, her grandmother, Grace Cooke, was the medium for White Eagle and founded the White Eagle Lodge. Some years ago, Rose heard a Buddhist monk speak about the Four Noble Truths which inspired her meditation practice and her interest in Buddhism.
On the web
Bookshelf EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE: HOW TO BEATHE YOUR WAY TO A MINDFUL LIFE BY ROSE ELLIOT, published by Watkins, Paperback (144 pages). Also by Rose from Watkins: I Met a Monk: 8 Weeks to Happiness, Freedom and Peace.
WINTER 2016 • WWW.WATKINSMAGAZINE.COM • 81
JOHN BRADSHAW 29 June 1933 – 8 May 2016 /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
John Bradshaw was one of the leading figures in the fields of addiction and recovery, family systems, relationships, and spiritual and emotional growth. He brought the phrases ‘dysfunctional families’ and ‘inner child’ into the mainstream and found renown as an educator, counsellor, author, motivational speaker, and talk show host. Born into a troubled family in Houston, Texas, Bradshaw was abandoned by his alcoholic father at a young age. Winning scholarships to study for the Roman Catholic priesthood, he spent over nine years at a Basilian seminary. During that time he earned a BA in Sacred Theology and an MA in philosophy from the University of Toronto, but left the seminary just days before being ordained, citing alcohol addiction and other problems as the cause of his decision. In 1965 he underwent an alcohol recovery program.
Soon after he began to lecture at a local church, and before long, was in high demand as a counsellor, teacher, and public speaker. As an author, Bradshaw has sold over 12 million books, published in 42 different languages, including: Homecoming: Reclaiming and Championing Your Inner Child, Healing the Shame that Binds You, Creating Love, Bradshaw On: The Family, and Family Secrets. He appeared on Oprah, and many other programs and during the 1980s and 1990s he hosted a number of PBS television shows based on his books. In 1991, he was nominated for an Emmy for ‘Outstanding Talk Show Host’ for his series Bradshaw On: Homecoming and in 1999, he was honoured by a group of his peers and elected ‘One of the 100 Most Influential Writers on Emotional Health in the 20th Century’. He died of heart failure on May 8th aged 82. - Stephen Gawtry
JONATHAN CAINER 18 December 1957 – 2 May 2016 /////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
On the 2nd of May 2016 the astrological community lost one of its key ‘secret weapons’ and best ambassadors. Jonathan Cainer was known for his succinct ability to relate astrology to just about anyone, and with his overwhelming enthusiasm he was also responsible for encouraging many people to take the extra step towards actually studying his beloved craft. After leaving school with no qualifications at age 15, Cainer drifted until in the early eighties he ended up in the USA, running his brother’s musical career as well as a night club in Los Angeles. It was there that he met psychic Charles John Quarto, who told him he would be a world famous media figure with a column read by millions – and it would be in astrology. Eager to leap into his future, Cainer came back to the UK where he studied with the Faculty of Astrological Studies; after qualifying he was
soon drawn into the world of Sun Sign astrology through an invitation to write for Today newspaper. Moving to the Daily Mail where he was Sun Sign astrologer for 20 years,. Blending astrology with philosophy he cajoled readers into thinking for themselves, and it was this approach which drew him a readership of millions. Fearless in the face of criticism, Cainer easily held his own when confronted by detractors. Away from the bright lights, phone lines and publicity he supported numerous astrological schools and organisations and in doing so became an inspiration for a whole generation of astrologers. Jonathan Cainer’s untimely departure due to a massive heart attack has deprived us of a true master of his art – and his contribution to astrology can never be understated. - Margaret Cahill
82 • WATKINS' MIND BODY SPIRIT • ISSUE 48
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