On Civilisation, Shamans, Ecstasy and Stone
We are at the cross over point between civilisations. The best of times and the worst of times. As I have written extensively about elsewhere, ( try https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruce-lyon/a-new-era-a-new-cosmology-a-new-alignment/105429380271) the key cosmological symbol for this transition is the move from the sun at the centre to the black hole – the central spiritual sun. Whatever symbol lies at the centre of our imagination and awareness generates our cosmology. We are making the shift from reliance on consciousness – philosophy, religion, ideology, vision, light – to a direct relationship with source, mystery, darkness, not-knowing, resonance. This shift is occurring in each individual, in cultures and in the global civilisation as a whole. Times of change bring fear and oscillation, – perturbation.
As the unknown and unknowable begins to penetrate us it can open us to ecstasy as well as contract us into seeking certainty in some thing or someone, however illusory. It helps to have the context of the time we are living in as well as access to that which lies beyond time. Peter Kingsley, in his beautiful book “ A Story Waiting to Pierce You” reminds us of the importance of our ecstatics.
“ Cultures are created and destroyed in ecstasy – and for every moment in between there is nothing that keeps a world alive aside from the breath of ecstatics. “ “They are the ones who are given permission to sound the note that will bring a new world into being and then sing the song that will bring it nearer to its close”
The journey from a life or civilisation led by mind and reason to a civilisation based on the heart requires the shamanic death and rebirth, where all is lost and all is gained. All over the world the interest in shamanism, tantra, non dual spirituality, entheogens, trance dance and so on is part of this great shifting of our collective identity. The midwives for this rebirth are the millions of souls who have passed or are passing through that door in the centre of their own being.
“Everything begins as it ends in that moment, outside of time, when the arrow is shot straight into your heart and penetrates the whole of your being. And there, where the shaman becomes nothing, is the magical point from which all things come.”
This image of the arrow is an important one for it is the arrow of Sagittarius that points to the centre of the galaxy and encourages us to approach the event horizon with everything that we know, and then surrender our light in order to pass through the portal of unknowing into the eternal. There is one other arrow in the zodiac however which also points to the same place – the arrow on the tail of the Scorpion. This image lets us know that in order to pass through the door we must face our deepest shadow, get stung by the poison of everything that has been disowned in us. We must pass through with empty hands and sometimes the things we cling to are those we are most ashamed of, or in denial about. The unconscious must be made conscious. We can remember the tail of the Balrog reaching up and dragging Gandalf down into the pits before he emerges again as the white wizard.
An awareness of this essential process that accompanies all initiation can help as we pass through the next decade when we are likely to experience an intense clearing of shadow as we approach 2025 – a date the esoteric traditions tell us is a pivotal cross over point for the planetary change that is occurring.
Once awareness has known emptiness – a tantric way of expressing an established relationship between the soul and the void or the sun and the black hole – then bliss results. This bliss is not an attribute of the identity – in other words we don’t experience bliss, the bliss arises as a result of being free of identity. It is not the self which becomes free but freedom from the self. ( this is probably the key difference between the energy of freedom that emerged in the sixties and that which is emerging in this next spiral of transformation ) Emptiness is revealed as resting at the core of the soul as well as all ‘things’. This has profound implications. One of them is the ending of any attempt by the soul to ‘escape’ incarnation or embodiment. Once inherent freedom is realised then it is also realised that it can never be lost or taken away even in the middle of the densest materialism. The battle between dark and light, matter and consciousness, is over.
One side of the ecstatic experience is the firing of the arrow of awareness into the void but Nietzsche reminds us that ‘ When we gaze into the deep, it gazes into you ‘. When awareness has known the void, that void can now pass through that awareness and penetrate all things. The rays from the centre of the galaxy pass effortlessly through the densest rock on the planet. The sword, once pulled from the stone, can now reenter it as returning spirit. The life force of the universe can know itself as permeating and upwelling through and as all beings and all things.
This is why civilisations on the planet have always used stone to anchor themselves and store the ecstatic currents over the time cycle of the culture. This is why we gaze still with awe at the pyramids or stonehenge, sensing still the emanations of the mystery. Awakening is not just a function of consciousness but for any earthly heaven to be fully realised, ‘the stones themselves must start to sing’
Osho had this to say about the temples of Khajuraho
” If you meditate there, you will know what the Tantra masters were doing. They were creating in stone something that is felt in the ultimate orgasmic joy. It was the most difficult thing to do, to bring ecstasy into the stone. And if the stone can show the ecstasy, then everybody can move into that ecstasy easily. ”
To penetrate and carve the stone of the world, of our bodies, and of our hearts – requires an arrow shot from beyond time and space. This ecstatic arrow is not shot by us but through us. It is the arrow of grace coming through the centre of our divinity, opening the way to a future we not only cannot create for ourselves but is wholly unknown to us.
Peter Kingsley again..
“There is an ancient myth from Central Asia that describes how civilisations are born. It was known to the early Avars; to the distant ancestors of Tibetans as well as Mongols. This is the myth of the impenetrable mountains. The people are completely stuck, cornered, hemmed in, the path ahead blocked by insurmountable obstacles rising in front of and all around them. There is no way forward, no hope. And then the impossible happens. In one version a wild wolf finds them, feels compassion, shows them how to bore a hole through the solid rock into what will become their future. In another, the mysterious shaman shoots an arrow straight through the impenetrable mountains – creating what would come to be known as ‘the arrow path’. “
This myth gives us two important clues on the journey of global transfiguration. The first is to look to the wild. When we look outside us we can see that something miraculous and irreplaceable still lives in those places on the planet that our global civilisation has not yet tamed. There is a deep hunger for it. When we look inside we find energies repressed, denied and resistant to colonisation by our own consciousness. We generally have both fear and longing when it comes to awakening them. The second clue is the mysterious shaman representing the soul – individual and world. The myth tells us that the only way through is to arrive at a place where there is no way through – or none that we can possible perceive or imagine. The way cannot be opened by us but only for us. In this place of helplessness …when we cannot help ourselves and are not in any illusion or hope about being able to – only then can true power manifest itself – only then can grace demonstrate to us that we are part of something much more miraculous than we can possibly know. Only then can we become the living, arrow- opened stones of the new temple.