“Guru Purnima is a sacred night in the Tantric calendar of giving honour to the teachers and the elders who guide us on the path of wisdom.”
The Full Moon of July (5th July) is known to the Tantrics as Guru Purnima, ‘The Celebration of the Teacher’, and it has been reserved since aeons to give honour not only to the personalities of one’s teachers, but also to the principle of devotion and effort that the teacher represents ( at the end of this email you will find a reference to the myth of Shiva and his devoted disciples).
The Guru is the inner quality that we all possess. The quality of attention to detail and unwavering voyage into the depths of a single subject.
This effort to surpass oneself and attain the hights of wisdoms is said to come from the GuruTatva. Tatva can be translated as ‘element’. The Guru Tatva implies ‘weight’ and ‘heaviness’. The word Guru is often defined in various ways according to modern custom, but the root of the Sanskrit word means ‘ heavy’, whereas the word denoting the aspirant means ‘light’.
A great weight is required to ground wisdom.
To follow the austerity to accomplish any profound skill in a single subject takes weight, and so the Guru represents a weighted immovable force that stands above all for the subject that is represented. The element of devotion exists within all as the Guru Tatva. This is the element that drives us to achieve successes and overcome obstacles, but the Guru Tatva is more than just this. The true essence of the Guru Tatva is a one pointed focus on a branch of wisdom. A wisdom that stands outside of rewards of personal satisfaction and a learning and devotion which differs from the drives of sentimental ambition.
The Guru Tatva aligns the human instrument to very subtle layers of reality.
The art of the Guru is often learned and devoted to from early childhood, passed down the ages in unbroken lines. Our society may give credit to all manner of attainments and skills. The contemporary development of contest shows and a culture of awards to actors and musicians may make it seem like a common place thing to honour those within developed ranges of skill. The difference being that the Guru represents someone who passes on a line of teaching and has as their main interest the passing on of the wisdom and the development of the students art. This is quite a difference of focus to taking credit for or indulging in praise at the accomplishment.
In India it is said that a true Guru lives for his student, which defines his role as teacher.
Upon the Full Moon of July we come to the time honoured tradition of Guru Purnima. Upon this day the astral forces are strong for setting the Guru Tatva within us into motion. It is a day for remembering the elders and those that have given to us the gifts and fruits of their labours. If you would like to join our online ritual…
Shiva is known as the Adi Guru and is legendarily revered as the first Guru. Adi meaning ‘first’ or ‘origin’. He had been absorbed in Samadhi for unknown ages and was discovered in a small Himalayan cave by 7 Seekers of Truth. When they approached Shiva he roused from the trance to be asked what he was doing. He replied he was listening and watching and then he went back into his meditation. 84 years passed until Shiva roused once more only to find himself in the company of the 7 seekers of truth who had been there all along attempting to imitate Shiva. He was pleased at their effort and granted them the secrets of Yog.
The seven seekers became the Sapt (7) Rishis of legend who are said to have spread the yogic arts and inspired the scriptures.The seven Rishis are reflected in the seven stars of the Big Dipper constellation and are activated by the full Moon of July.
It is the drive of the Guru Tatva within us than urges the 7 stars of the chakras to balance within us through the yogic art of listening and watching. The overseeing Guru Tatva is brought to its full power on this Moon Phase and provides the opportunity to develop the gift of devotion. The Guru Moon has passed the halfway mark in the lunar year to shower it’s Moonlit gifts upon us. A gift that is at once saturated in sweetness and also a certain ruthlessness that is required to delve into the twilight regions of wisdoms constellation.
Esoterically the Sapt Rishis represent the 7 chakras within us. The 84 years refer to the 8.4 million different forms of life that are said to exist in Indian philosophical thought.
The myth reveals how the Rishis who represent the 7 chakras came to know all levels of existence through the art of listening and watching that was imparted to them by the Adi Guru Shiva. In the same way the 7 chakras within is come to know of the vastness of existence when we take up the art of listening and watching.
This will be the mood with which we will approach the practice on the Guru Purnima Full Moon ritual…
This will be a three day ritual & initiation course of three hours per evening. We will work with the very fuel of the Tantric journey: Desire.
The story of Kamakhya goes that there was once a king who worshiped the Goddess Adiparashakti who represents the original feminine essence. Adi means origin, Para means beyond, and Shakti means Goddess.
By his yogic austerity the king was able to call forth the Goddess who granted him a wish. He wished that she would take birth in human form as his own daughter. Adiparashakti agreed to this on the condition that she be honoured in whatever she did. She said that if she were ever insulted by him then she would take up her spiritual form and abandon him.
This symbolism reveals how the Feminine must be honoured and allowed her freedom if she is to give her blessing and being, and if she ever be dishonoured then she no longer can exist, it shows how the Feminine must stand for itself and can only give her presence where it is received in its entirety.
The Tantric quest is the seeking to nurture the ground so that it’s a fertile place for Shakti to grow and bloom. The birth of Adipatashakti on earth represents the manifestation of the feminine on the earth plane. In time the daughter was born and named Sati. Being the manifestation of the Goddess she sought union with a God and she only found this manifest in one rare man. This man was Shiva, who was her equal opposite.
However Shiva was ascetic, reclusive and remote. He was too austere and beyond any interest in human affairs.
Adiparashakti had come down from the spiritual world to the human manifest level, Shiva stood in the human world but travelled far beyond into the spiritual dimensions. They were opposite poles.
Nothing that Sati could do would grab Shiva’s attention. Shiva lived in the mountains, occupying a small cave from where he was transported to the realms beyond the human during his states of Samadhi. As a human Shiva was cold and disinterested, but Sati had as her mission to bring the masculine divine quality to earth to join her in the dance of Shakti and Shiva. And indeed the Tandav dance did begin through her efforts to unite as we shall soon see. Once Sati entered Shiva’s cave with her full femininity on display, but the austere sage did not shift from his concentration.
Shiva’s Yog was so concentrated that he was far away from human sentiments.
Sati hatched a plan and summoned Kama, the raw force (and god) of Desire. Kama swept into the cave certain to arouse the interest and passion of the ascetic Shiva. Usually the mere fragrance exuded by Kama would be sufficient to arouse desire in the most ardent ascetic, but Shiva was so far beyond the human he was dwelling in Adiparaparush (the great soul beyond). So Kama resorted to his sugarcane bow and magical arrows and shot Shiva with five of them.
Kama’s arrows represent the desire of the 5 terrestrial Chakras of the body and they are represented. Kama’s arrows represent the desire of the 5 terrestrial Chakras of the body. The upper two centres in the head are the abode of Shiva and are portals beyond the terrestrial world. Ea h of the 5 bodily arrows is represented a flower.
The first arrow that Kama shot Shiva with was a Lotus and represents the Base Chakra. Having struck Shiva in the Mooladar Chakra it had no effect. The second arrow was the Asoka flower, the tree of which is sacred to Kamakhya. It is a fragrance connected to the second chakra, the Shaktistan, and Kama shot the arrow straight in Shiva’s lingam, but again it had no effect. The third flower was a Mango, representing the desire of the Solar Plexus. Yet shooting Shiva in the Manipurchakra did nothing to awaken Shiva from his Samhadi. Next Kama shot the Jasmine flower straight into the Heart Chakra, which again caused not reaction in Shiva. Kama drew out the Blue Lotus flower and aimed it at Shiva’s throat. The Blue Lotus had never failed to arouse desires, but it failed on Shiva. Having failed for the first time ever, Kama’s two wives stepped up to the task. Rati and Priti, each one representing pleasure and longing. Caressing Shivas half naked body Rati was surprised she could not get a reaction out of the ascetic yogi. So Priti stepped forward and put the palm of her left hand across Shivas heart. The longing found its way into Shiva’s Heart Chakra.
In the space between the beats the longing entered inside Shiva’s heart.
This brought Shiva out of his Samadhi for a short moment, during which he opened his third eye and cast a burning gaze upon Kama, burning him into flames and reducing him to ashes.
Kama (desire) was no more and creation was in peril, yet Shiva refused to concern himself with such matters. Sati wept tears believing she would never know Union and wandered why she had ever come down to the manifested plane from her Adiparashakti form.
Shiva proved cold as ice in the Himalayan abode upon his seat of snow. Yet, as he heard the tears of Adiparashakti (the essence of woman beyond the visible) he began to melt from his immovable Samadhi and the Adiparaparush awoke on the earth plane to find Union with Adiparashakti.
The meeting and union of opposites is finally expressed and all was brought to fulfilment. Sati implored Shiva to restore Kama to life for the longing without desire is the deepest form of sorrow: the state of Pardesi meaning the ultimate lostness. Shiva promises it to be done and in due course it is. But first he must suffer the curse of Pardesi himself, as we shall soon see. The one who longs with no object of desire.
There are various ways the story can be told, but the basic detail is that Sati brought Shiva to her father who could not accept this wild untamed creature who stood outside of royal convention – a yogi half naked with matted hair and a mysterious unfathomable aura that intimidated the King.
A fight ensued and Sati felt deeply insulted by her father who became possessed by anger and broke the promise of honouring his daughter.
True to her promise of staying only if honoured, Adiparashakti departed and left her physical form. The lifeless body of Sati fell to the ground and into the ritual fire that was meant to mark the divine marriage.
As the Goddess departed she cursed the fire and the masculine element of light to never be able to show the way alone. She returned to the original void that is the dark womb of the Goddess from whence she came.
This curse reveals how the masculine fire element should not burn so bright as to make the Feminine invisible or incinerated. Interestingly, the chief mode of worship amongst the Male lineages in orthodox Indian religion has been the ritual fire. For the Tantrics, orthodox convention means very little and many orthodox taboos are traversed in giving honour and balance to the Feminine within Tantric lines.
The story could end there but the longing of Shiva had been aroused and he became maddened by the events. He took Sati’s burned body and wouldn’t let go of it. He becomes a lost wanderer roaming in longing endlessly. Full longing with no place for his desire, Shiva went half mad with rage and begun the dance of Tandava.
The Dance of Tandava comprises 108 yogic moves that when put together become a dance. They are very vigorous dynamic moves practiced carefully and secretly by tantrics.
Rudra is the howling, raging form of Shiva. the Rudra Tandava is a hath Yog practice that brings latent subconscious anger into motion. Tantrics danced it at the time of Kamakhya Puja.
Shiva’s rage was so great it left his body as he tore out his jatta (matted hair) from whence two fierce forms rose and wreaked further destruction: Bhadra Kali and Veer Bhadra. These represent ‘rage’ and ‘pain’ so deep that they tear the soul apart. Together they form the male and female destructive forces known as Manobadra and are the pinnacle of destructive polarities within the soul.
When the situation goes so far as to bring Manobadra there is little hope for balance, for they both seek the mana pralaya, which means the utter annihilation and dissolution of life.
Veera Bhadra sliced off the head of Sati’s father and Bhadra Kali sunk her teeth into it and consumed it with several crunches.
The gaze of the Manobhadra fell on the body and caused the headless father to run amok in the worst state of suffering a soul can ever know.
Shiva danced so long that he became Bhairav, his most terrifying form. The dance of destruction was near to consuming all of creation and there seemed to be no way back.
The rotting body of Sati was flung around the mountains, parts of it falling on 108 places. These 108 places are the Shakti Peeths where there temples of the Goddess can now be found.
Conventional Hindu religion recognises only 51 of these temples, but the Tantrics know of the lesser known ones which compromise 108 in all. They are places of power that relate to points of magnetism on the earth plane. One can experience profundities by simply being there.
Some of the Shakti Peeths are dangerous to go to if unprepared, as the magnetism and energy there can overstimulate the system. The spirits at these places can be very strong and require ritual to prepare for or the guidance of a siddha.
Hence the secrecy surrounding many of these temples.
The main Kamakhya Tempe is a Shakti Peeth, where the Yoni and womb of the Goddess Sati landed as Shiva danced the Tandava.
Indian temples normally stay open all year round, but unique about the Kamakhya Tempe is that it closes its doors with the dark time and honours the Feminine rhythm of nature.
It closes three days a year for the menstruation of nature after the longest day bleeds into darkening nights, the lengthening nights become the menstrual flow of nature. The temple is in the hands of priests as the orthodox religion is high class and male driven.
Tantric legend says that one day it will go to the hands of women shamans and be reversed so as to open in the night time hours instead of the day.
The temple seems small but it is very deep and extends far underground with many secret chambers. Little is known about this side of the temple and those priests who work rituals there are able to obtain siddhi (powers) such as to extend the life beyond the standard measure as the influx of energy is profound in the temple.
There is a stone yoni upon which a natural spring pours.
It is said that the water turns to blood at the time of the menstruation of the Kamakhya festival.
The river surrounding the temple known as the Brahmaputra river magically turns red for the three days that the temple is closed. It is said to be the menses of Kamakhya.
And so the Story continues, Shiva’s Tandav was so extreme that it broke the boundaries of the physical world and tore the fabric of reality, taking its destructive hunger into the spiritual worlds. Shiva was burning and becoming himself the accursed fire. His suffering and rage were beyond measure. As the dance continued for endless ages the headless father in his torture pleaded to Adiparashakti for her mercy for breaking his oath as a father. Adiparashakti watched from beyond the veils. She still longed for Union as it is the force of nature that she was. She therefore took birth once again as Pharbhati, the daughter and light of the mountains, and in the coldest regions she prayed intensely that she could ground the full Adiparashakti force upon the Earth-plane.
Fearlessly she went to the crazed Shiva and sat upon his lingam and in her ice coldness she appeased the fire of suffering. The story then found completion as the polarities between the beyond and the manifest unified in all ways. Kama was brought back to life as Shiva had promised. Desire and longing united and healed the soul. Some even say the headless father was redheaded. Others say he can still be seen running amok and headless.
Through the Union of Shiva and Adiparashakti, order was restored.
The Manobhadra melted away as Love grew. The Garden bloomed once more with magical flowers.
“On the May New Moon (friday 22 may) the Tantrics sacrifice themselves intentionally & practice very harsh Hatha austerity that is a great effort to execute (tapasya) and raises unresolved issues. The purpose being Healing.”
The subject of the Crow Moon is extensive. Here we endeavour to keep it within the Context of Tantric practice, using the name Shuni, Saturn and Crow interchangeably as they refer to the same one.
Tantric law dedicates this coming dark Moon to the Crow. They refer to him as Shuni the planet and God Saturn. Shuni Kah the Crow man, master of darkness and the unseen. Tantra regards Shuni as the master of all the planets. He goes by many names such as Babhru. Shuni is the force of weight and darkness. Taking the form of a dark intense man who rides upon Crow, Shuni is overbearing, majestic, mysteriously and fearsomely – punishing and spellbinding.
The Orthodox name of this festival is Shuni Jayanti, Which refers to the Birthday of Saturn. Religious rituals and offerings are made to appease the Planet Saturn who is known by the name Lord Shuni. Prayers and sacrifices to lift relentless afflictions are paid for with austerity.
On this day the Tantrics sacrifice themselves intentionally and practice very harsh Hatha austerity that is a great effort to execute (tapasya) and raises unresolved issues.
The purpose being Healing.
This is the best day of the year in the Tantric calendar to work on your most obstinate afflictions. Whether it is physical or spiritual or anything else. The Saturn energy opens a portal to the underworld and can release long entrapped spirits. This is an ancient festival of India and is based on planetary currents and lunar and celestial constellations that make this work of facing the underworld more effective at this time than on any other.
Shuni Kah is the Crow man. He is tall with humanoid body and head of crow. He visits in dreams and is a good omen, terrifying but a friend.
Tantrics who meet with the inner planes of Shuni Kah are approached by Crows. Those who go very deep on the path of the Shadow are befriended by Crows.
The Crow is a creature of very special vision and sees people in another light. Crows shun those who Shun the Feminine underworld and in favour the solar plane. A person who is in touch with their shadow will have crows eat from their very hand. There are some Tantric Shamans who have this Siddhi. They are the very powerful healers who are able to locate the shadows that create distress for people and bring blind dark spots to awareness in people so healing can ensue. Spending long periods in the dark gives one this Siddhi.
WHAT WE FEAR HAS POWER OVER US
What is refused must be met courageously. The shadow it may be called. It is a dooorway to wholeness. So called ‘bad’ arises when the shadow is repressed & refused.
To cut the light from the dark is something that Lord Shuni will never allow us. Saturn’s affliction gets greater the more it is turned from and unfaced. Many of the remedies and rituals of India for appeasing Shuni are all about ways of getting us in touch with our repressed feelings. Whether it is a ritual, mantra, gemstone or austerity.. the main focus of these things in relation to Saturn is that they are such as to bring an awareness of that which we do not see. The Hatha Yog practices that raise the unconscious forces are undertaken at this particularly favourable moon phases. They are the inner and outer Crow Mudras and The Chaya Karana practices of the Shadow.
It does well to reflect on the matter of the underworld within us. We might have a lifetime of judgement upon this part of ourselves as an unholy or bad place, whatever we might think of it. The Tantric axiom of ‘’What we Fear has Power over us’’, would be worth to ponder.
Shuni Kah is the Crow of the Dark Moon who has access to the never regions. He is the one in us to bring the eye to the underground sediment that toxifies our lives. If this unresolved sediment it is left in the unseen world there is no healing. Shuni Kah the Crow and gatekeeper to the world of dreams is the grand healer. Just singing his name is a powerful mantra that causes us to see in the dark.
The Mantras related to the Crow use specific bijas or seed syllables that activate the unconscious sides of our Chakras. In Tantra they are secret Mantras that are carefully handled as they have very strong effect to arouse the latent spirits. They resonate sound vibrations and activate the shadow Nadi’s (meridians). This is a an undertaking that must obviously be handled with care. Much of the Tantric path of healing involves bringing the spirits that rule us from the unconscious to the eye of awareness.
TANTRA IS SLOW
Left hand Tantric practice is very much under the rule of Shuni & such practices raise latent & unfaced things from the underworld.
Shuni raises the darkest shadow and latent karmas from deep in the unconscious. Shuni’s face is black because he dwells in the dark and unseen, he is a slow moving planet and this slow movement represents a very important theme in Tantric practice…
When the rhythm & speed of our inner life is slowed down, it becomes simplified & the things that escape the gaze are brought into view.
In this way, Tantra shows us what we do not always see and also what we don’t want to see or perhaps fear to face. When we pursue the practices of breath, Mudra and mantra, the energies of superficiality and rushing of body and spirit are brought to the slow pace of Saturn. Then the dark face of Shuni reveals that which dwells in the shadows. Shuni sits on a throne of black bone behind the veils of boredom. He brings suffering and strife and throws the unresolved pieces of our life right in our path, some pieces are sharp and heavy and cause us to fall. To go on in the path the pieces have to be put in order and the burden must be borne.
THE ENTRANCE TO SATURN
The entrance to Shuni is through the femminine. His Mother is Chaya, the Shadow Woman, and his father is Surya, the Sun. His Mother was not able to realise her power beside her Husband, the sun, for his glow burned and make her feel overwhelmed and insignificant and so she fled leaving behind her shadow. This signifies how the Feminine is brought into insignificance when the Solar or active force is ruled over her. Having left her Shadow with her husband, Shuni’s mother whilst still pregnant performed prayers and yogic austerity to Shiva under intense heat. Her effort was so great and the heat generated became so hot that her child, Shuni, was burned black. This signifies how heat and tapasya (yogic purifying Fire of austerity) reveals the darkness within the unconscious recesses of one’s being. When Shuni was born and seen in his blackness, his father was shocked at how dark he was refused to recognise him as his child, accusing his wife of being unfaithful. He raged greatly and insulted his wife. Seeing his Mother thus insulted raised Shuni’s wrath!
Shuni thereby cast a single glance upon his father, the sun, which made him lose all his light and turned the previously radiant father to utter blackness.
This represents the astrological impact of Saturn and why he is Known as the Dark planet, when he appears upon the sun in astrology all light is darkened and the unseen is hilighted. Saturn has the ability to take away all light within us and take us into the parts of ourselves that have previously not been seen.
Some Tantric methods of working with the Shadow eclipse the solar vision and make us aware of the spirits of the unconscious world that colour our lives.
By seeing and addressing these forces, they are brought to the alter of the soul for healing. The fact in the story that Shuni’s gaze Is invoked by seeing his mother insulted hilights a very important Tantric point that Shuni is the protector of the Feminine. His slow Tantric rhythm is punishing and crushing if the Feminine is not honoured. Shuni means the punisher. The subtlety of this symbol conveys how if we ignore the Feminine rhythms of our being we will face great darkness. Tantric law is the protector of the Feminine mysteries that our civilisation and culture might blindly ignore at a price. By following nature we become a Tantric and restore inner order.
NEVER IGNORE THE FEMININE
Shuni’s wife was very fine, she was from the from the star constellation Gandharva and was the grand mistress of all the Feminine arts. This points deeper into his roll and connection to the Feminine mysteries. The one who by his slow dark rhythm allows the Feminine to open. One aspect of his wife is so intimate with him that she lives within him in oneness. The myth goes that once when Shuni was in deep meditation on Shiva his wife was menstruating (touched by the Goddess, as it is known in Tantra). She craved his attention and became angry and felt ignored as he was absorbed in samadhi. The Feminine wrath was aroused and she proclaimed that his gaze be ever down cast and whomsoever he would gaze upon be brought to great suffering. Thus Shuni’s gazes is ever down in the underworld and arouses suffering. He Rides on the Crow and his wife rides on the Swan. One is the bird of the underworld and the other is the bird of the Celestial spheres.
The completion of Tantra is known as the Kiss of Crow & Swan. The meeting of opposites.
Tantrics have since eternal times attempted extreme measures in order to become like Shuni, with roots.`
Whether it has taken the form of ritual, meditation or Yog, the principle of austerity in the Yogic sense is to go to the places one does not know of… it is a path of utmost effort to undo oneself.
Shuni is the most austere of all the Yogis. All Tapasya (effort) is done in his name. The myths tell of many yogis and gods attempting to reach to the stature of Shuni. But his rhythm is so slow that it is crippling and misses not a single thing. When we slow down the rhythm to his – we see everything. Shuni is the King of austerity. Suffering may crush the heart but the crushing force is what makes a diamond. There is no way around suffering. The diamond like stars that shine through the dark night sky take voyage through the dark. It is known as the path of Karma.
Suffering and blocks in our destiny are simply pointing us towards that which need to be resolved. And the path of Tantra can show us the way.
Power & Love, Father & Child May Full Moon & the Quest for Balance
Today is Narashima Jayanti, the day of the half man and half Lion God known as Narashima.
Other than an outer astrological significance it also has an inner astrological meaning, for the mythology of the story is a very detailed and profound allegory connected to the world of the Solar Plexus Chakra and one’s hunger for heartless power.
Since ancient times, the mystics of India understand that the celestial constellations & planetary energies have a mirror-like connection to the inner spiritual cosmos of each individual human being.
The corresponding energies of this day are to do with the Solar Plexus Chakra, or Nagmanipur Chakra, as it’s known in Tantra.
INNER & OUTER BATTLES
The tale of Narashima is the story of an ongoing battle between father and child. Both father and the child’s names in this story mean ‘Joy’, for they were both possessed by great inner joy. However, whereas the father’s joy was fuelled by a Solar energy, the child’s was possessed by a Lunar quality. The difference lead to the father displaying an ego that tended to dominate for the sake of self-aggrandisement, whereas the child nurtured a hidden devotional power that displayed an introverted quality that lead him to withdraw.
Father & child were in a celestial karmic battle between power & surrender… a pattern that can exist outwardly between the father & child as well as inwardly between our father/child archetypes.
THE FREEING OF SHAKTI
The Tantrics have codes for unravelling inner and outer conflicts, but the codes are not always obvious, nor are they meant to be.
Tantra is a process of decoding, & concerns itself with the passing through many doors & the opening of many coded locks to liberate our inner power, Shakti.
Today the planetary constellations are in favour of resolving the Karmic obstructions that separate us from Shakti. It is a day for honouring our inner Fire! In this story the lion god Narashima comes and tears out the intestines of the self-important father and frees the solar force (Shakti) which had become stuck there. This slaughter symbolises the release of our ego from the illusion of self-importance.
AN AUSPICIOUS TIME FOR HEALING
When our focus becomes stuck in the Solar Plexus Chakra it then swallows up the finer currents of Prana that would otherwise carry Shakti to the Heart. On tonight’s Full Moon in Scorpio and with the Lion-God on our side we wish you all to find the inner balance between Power and Love, Father and Child.
Today is India celebrates the New Year in the Sun Calendar.
The Indian Calendar has a parallel of Moon and Sun that run in sync to each other.
There are two New Year days that comprise the calendar(s) in the ancient Indian pagan calendar: one for the Moon year, and one for the Sun year.
In this newsletter we hope to shed some light (and shadow) on this almost forgotten tradition and offer an explanation as to what it signifies to Tantric yogis in their quest for healing and, for lack of better words, enlightenment.
We hope you will find the reading of interest and use to you in these challenging times…
WHY TWO NEW YEAR DAYS
It is based upon an ancient Tantric honouring of both of these forces which are radically different and, in some ways, we could say opposing each other and yet together.
Hence these two calendars run in synchronised union. These forces exist within us and are mirrored in nature. Or the other way around, if you will.
“The Lunar New Year started with the Spring New Moon, and today the Solar New Year commences.”
This is a very detailed subject from a Tantric viewpoint.
But what does this New Year actually signify from a Tantric perspective?
Many points are raised by considering the Indian New year and we will touch on a few first and then endeavour to explain its significance from a Tantric viewpoint and present perspectives of how this day can assist us in the Tantric quest for Union.
UNWRITTEN TALES OF TANTRA
Recently we have started giving information of this Tantra line of Yog through our newsletters. These being small excerpts from a greater work we plan to publish in time.
A lot of what is imparted here has not been written about before & comes from the oral tradition of Tantra in India.
It is important to know that the British rule left a big imprint and laboured under a long standing Vatican objective to eradicate Shamanic cultures the world-over – a mission that was first institutionalised around the year 1300 through the signing of a document titled the ‘Institution of the Crown’.
It is no surprise therefore that the New Year days, of Moon and Sun, have fallen out of favour and are not so commonly honoured or remembered even, amongst modern Indians. Mainly the pagan folk and the Tantrics celebrate today. There are religious services and festivities in different regions that do celebrate this festival, some with an agricultural slant. It is much in the same way we might celebrate Easter. For example, some regions make a special sweet from mangoes on this day. The deeper meaning behind this offering and indulgence is that the mango symbolises the sun by its colour – It could be seen as the Eastern version of the Easter egg.
Only in relatively recent times has permission come to me to present such Tantric Hatha Yog principles. Yet translating this wisdom into concepts that can be understood in Western terms has proven a phenomenal challenge. I feel my writing is most inadequate but the process if being ever perfected also through the close exchange with Kim who has been accompanying me on this journey and motivating me over these past six years of collaboration.
TANTRA, MODERNITY & CHRISTIANITY
India and the West are radically different cultures.
Spiritual Tantric concepts and Christian moral values don’t interact and intersect so easily.
It is important to know that the British rule left a big imprint and laboured under a long standing Vatican objective to eradicate Shamanic cultures the world-over – a mission that was first institutionalised around the year 1300 through the signing of a document titled the ‘Institution of the Crown’.
It is no surprise therefore that the New Year days, of Moon and Sun, have fallen out of favour and are not so commonly honoured or remembered even, amongst modern Indians. Mainly the pagan folk and the Tantrics celebrate today. There are religious services and festivities in different regions that do celebrate this festival, some with an agricultural slant. It is much in the same way we might celebrate Easter. For example, some regions make a special sweet from mangoes on this day. The deeper meaning behind this offering and indulgence is that the mango symbolises the sun by its colour – it could be seen as the Eastern version of the Easter egg.
The occult understanding of India has known of the power of this day and that’s the reason behind pundits, astrologers and magicians prescribing this day to effect new ventures.
Note that the Sikh religion and military in the North India on this day centuries ago was erected and is orthodoxly celebrated.
For the Tantrics the meaning and ritualistic inflection of this day is rather more than a festival. It presents a magical doorway of possibility within the realm of healing one’s life. It is seen that a doorway that opens planetarily and aligns to a specific focus and spiritual / physical practice for working with and balancing the fire element.
WHITEWASHING & OF WESTERN YOGA
Modernity, as a political project of the West, has traditionally replaced the wisdom of Nature with secular, social and economic interest.
Even within the modern development of Yoga there has been a whitewashing of an ancient & detailed practice that leaves out so much important information – much of it not being available at a price (ie: teacher training programmes), but only through initiation.
Is it such a bad thing to absorb an ancient culture and put it out within our own terms, or should we go towards the original spirit and why?
Questions such as these are raised when we consider disappearing wisdom. What are our own cultural terms? is a question that will bare much fruit both collectively and personally if we dare ask.
It is relatively easy for anyone to present the subject of yoga after a few weeks of training, and many well-meaning enthusiasts do precisely this – but equally many important stones may stay unturned in the reduction of a profound subject into the uniform we ascribe to it.
There are important things to consider in completing the wheel of yoga: points such as the effect of the moon and the corresponding moon practices, or the gender of the practitioner, which is of the utmost importance when moving and working with psychophysical energies.
Not surprisingly, in the predominantly patriarchal civilisation in which we live, many of the common modalities of Yoga are practices that do not suit the feminine constitution and can work counter-productively for the woman’s body and health.
Just like the disappearing remembrance and knowledge of the Indian New Year days, the disappearance of the wisdom of mantra and ritual is being forgotten in the modern Yoga band wagon that modernity packs itself full with in its attempt to transplanting ancient modalities and wisdom into the reductionist structure of modernity.
ILLNESS & IMBALANCE IN MODERN YOGA
The thing with psycho physical practices is that they can disorder the physical and spiritual system if not undergone with correct knowledge. A well-meaning or positive approach is no safeguard to destructive effects.
I’ve seen numerous times imbalances derived from modern yoga, among practitioners coming to this work and seeking help.
Disorder such as imbalance of menstrual cycles and gynaecological problems, because of sustained incorrect practices such as Astanga yoga are not uncomon and much work – from this Tantric line – was required to rebalance the system.
For example, if a woman takes to practicing with regularity the masculine mantras and bija mantras that do not suit her constitution, she will invite problems of the reproductive and sexual areas of her body.
This can in turn follow the meridian to the knee and can present problems there too, and from there progress further into the body and penetrate the sphere of the emotions and the psyche. The emotions and the psyche are touched very deeply through psychophysical practices, it goes beyond the layers of the body.
The network of physical and psychic circuitry being intimately connected.
The Solar practices (such as most modern styles of Yoga popular in the West) are not suited to all constitutions and can create heat which in turn creates hardness and increase heart rate – something we touched upon in the previous newsletter about Hanuman and Pranayama. This is especially increased if they are carried out at the unfitting time of the season. The lunar practices are for woman and invite fertility in many areas.
These practices are radically different from the male practices.
Some of the modern practices incorporate moves that can block the Heart meridians & this works counterproductively when working with the Breath & Heart, both on the physical & psychic levels.
These are often practices that are implantations that do not come from Yoga but were developed along gymnastic type lines of training and got mixed in – Mark Singleton’s historical documentation of the influence of Western circus gymnastics on India’s modern yoga (‘Yoga Body’, 2010)is a must-read for anyone interested in the subject of the origins of modern yoga.
SOLAR & LUNAR PRACTICES
IN TUNE WITH NATURE
Tantra follows nature and prescribes Solar practice for both woman and man around this time of season. The fire is brought into balance in the system by this, that is: the fire that has been slumbering in the dark months and perhaps entered into Tamasic (withdrawn) mode.
Generally working the inner channels of Nabi Chakra (belly button) and focussing on the colour gold is an injunction for stoking the fire element in the body. A (Tantric) mantra chanted repeatedly in support of this objective is the following:
Moon and Sun must go together so first a mention of the recent New lunar year. At the time of the Moon New Year (first New Moon after the Equinox – see Spring Full Moon Newsletter) the Moon energy is activated and favours the addressing of the soft rising feminine energies of the Moon through the Chakras.
At the middle of April each year, when the moon is half lit and half dark, the solar calendar commences. On this day the solar plexus Chakra is in balance. The rising warm season is upon us and the solar plexus is brought into activity now after a long Winter slumber – the solar plexus not being so active in the colder months.
Physical appetite in the solar plexus is strong in this time and it is a time to eat well but not to overtax the fire. Projects and activities started on this day are imbued with solar energy and can be brought to success by this planetary assistance. That is to say, the Tantrics believe that to set an intention on this day – if propagated with the effort of keeping the fire alive – will yield great results.
INTENTION & VISION
CHAKRAS CONNECTING THE TWO FIRES
The solar plexus Chakra is fully active when it’s in balance with the third eye.
The colour of the solar plexus is yellow, or gold, and the opposite colour in the spectrum is indigo, which corresponds to the colour of the ‘Third Eye’ Chakra. The third eye is connected to the dark side of the Moon, and is at its maximum on the New Moon – that is when the Moon is entirely dark.
The third eye becomes a vacuum that draws up the energy at the new Moon. The half illumined and half enlighted Moon on this day represents the balance of the Chakras that deal with fire.
The Fire at the Solar Plexus is called Agni and is a hot consuming flame. The Fire at the Third eye is Called Teja and is cool and known as Moon fire.
When this condition is unbalanced, or reversed, the sun moves to the third eye and the solar plexus becomes weakened as the dark moon takes residence there.
This translates into a busy mind and no strength – a condition we might be familiar with.
The old and highly esoteric yogic injunction to ‘raise the Moon in the day and the Sun in the night’ would be worth pondering over. Tantra says:
Set your spiritual vision of fire & work for it from this day henceforth to the result. Be wise in the use of energy for what the Heart truly needs. To put the power for healing is the code of the Tantrics.
“To access our true power of who we are
is the place where the true essence of things will show itself to us.
This is, possibly, the only real opportunity
the current situations is offering us.
To perhaps stop the old clockwork reaction
through insight and self-study,
to stay on a path of deep travel to oneself.
To hear that which we might forget to listen to in the midst of noise.”
Dear friends of the Healing Circle of Shadow and Light, of Moon, Crow and other wonders of the Tantric pantheon.
Sending you blessings and remembrance on this powerful Equinox.
Current events will make it difficult for us to meet in person for the time being, but we are thinking of alternative ways to come together and continue a collective healing journey. Among the many voices that have spoken about the present situation we thought to write and offer a Tantric approach and perspective in light also of the powerful forces offered to us by the present circumstances.
TANTRA IS AN AWARENESS OF ENERGY
Awareness requires insight and study into the nature of our reactions to things, people and situations. In life we often filter choices in order to give ourselves what serves us best. If we know we are gluten intolerant we would filter out many products from our shopping list and we would not waste time looking at bread or pasta in shops. We would clearly see that as a waste of our time and energy. Yet, much of the information we take in from other people, the news and social media is unfiltered, despite it might cause us indigestion of a different kind, a psychic indigestion that over time can lead us to sickness and chronic imbalances, both in the psyche and in the physical body.
“We may have got so used to this feeling of being off center
in the whirl of the events present in our lives,
we might have associated a state of ‘normality’ with it.”
The Tantric Vision wants us to see through an empowerd standing point no matter what the challege we are presented with is. Currently much is being reported about things going on in the world that draws our fascination, obsession and fear towards it. The over-occupation with certain events can become an escape that seems very justified and most important. It can become like ‘psychic junk food’. It is unhealthy and disempowering when overly consumed, and yet seems so tasty and can become almost addictive. It does not nourish or fulfil us in any way and leaves us in a state of spiritual indigestion – if not kept in check this can lead on to spiritual & psychic constipation. The unresolved within us is sometimes in want of finding a voice and expression as a way to deflect from the pain of the original wound. Anything within emotional range can become a scapegoat for not facing deeper issues in out soul.
TANTRA IS THE NURTURING OF ENERGY
Much power is required to successfully follow Tantric practices, not just theoretical weavings. Actual practical, tangible, physical and psychic techniques require us to have a lot of power.
“One of the reasons why
it is so challenging to weave tantric practices
into the fabric of our ‘normal’ lives
is because much of our inner power is easily expended
in a cycle of unconscious self-sabotaging activities.”
To truly commit to the healing path a lot of awareness is required of us about the ways we literally ‘waste’ our power. A keen and watchful eye must be developed in order to check the tendency we may have to indulge in inner or outer drama, sensationalism, and other forms of escaping from the challenge of going the healing way towards our centre.
TANTRA IS THE PATH OF SOBRIETY
Anyone practicing regularly Tantric, magical or ritualistic methods will know that much psychic energy is needed to carry out healing processes. Consequently, psychic energy cannot be spent recklessly.
“When psychic energy is given away we become empty.
This emptiness can then be filled with systems & formulae,
created by others that overly consume us
& take us away from our centre.”
This dissociation from our centre disconnects us from our power and becomes a vicious cycle that ends up impacting our health, both psychic and physical. Remaining psychically sober and physically rooting deeply into ourselves will prevent us from falling prey to fantasies, disempowering thought structures and systems, and imprints that deplete our energy. It is only in our own creative center that we can begin to empower ourselves. To redirect our focus away from the external cause and turn into the root of the emotions deep within us will lead us back to a state of dignity and true self power.
TANTRA LEADS US BACK TO OURSELVES
Tantra guides us to look at where we are expending our emotions, for this expenditure is tied up to our spiritual, psychic and physical energy.
“If it is not the latest media outburst,
it might be the noisy neighbours, the roadworks,
a family member, or a work colleague
we may see as the reason for our emotional unrest.”
Tantra invites us to look beyond the cause of our unrest and seeks the root deep within ourselves. This will then reveal what is lacking and longing in us. The cause alone creates nothing more than an effect or a stimulation which, if not traced back to its root, will leads us only to a chain of effects. If we delve into things too far away from root feelings we can end up far away from the real source of our power and become easily manipulable and affected by external expressions. The source of our spiritual power is at the root feelings that we all have in ourselves.
“If anything the spiritual path is the practice of listening to deeper layers and octaves of emotion, breath and sensation.”
The attraction of stepping into the fire of destruction and leaving the creative circle is a tendency to watch with a Tantric eye. If we allow ourselves to release the cause and trace its origin back to the root within us, it will leads us to an awareness that can kick-start a process of self-healing. A process that will unroot disempowering structures and relinquish us back to our Shakti, to our original source of Power.
TANTRA IS BEYOND POLARITY
Tantra recognises that we might become overly pessimistic about a given event. We might use any situation to project upon it our unfaced feelings. Then again we might be equally distracted from ourselves by following an optimistic approach, proposing to see an event as an opportunity to dream of a different reality. Tantrics propose that this is nothing more than another form of escaping from going within and facing in oneself that which is buried deep inside the spirit, beyond the volatile sentiments of negative and positive, of pessimism and optimism. Healing & Empowerment will emerge only when we truly start listening to what is deeply buried within, then the nature & essence of all things will reveal themselves to us.
THE TOOLS OF TANTRA
There are many tools and practices available within the Tantric line to help us root into our centre. The Tantric system offers many opportunities to visit and heal the complex inner landscapes and the many characters and spirits that populate it.
“If stepping outside is no longer possible,
then we can choose to move inwardly.”
Tantra reminds and shows us through its application how, healing our inner world inevitably leads to the healing of the outer world that is reflected in many aspects of our lives and relationships. A bridge is therefore create between these seemingly separate realities, and the Equinox with its equal hours of day and night gifts us with the opportunity to venture towards balance.
This is, possibly, the only real opportunity the current situations is offering us. To perhaps stop the old clockwork reaction through insight and self-study, to stay on a path of deep travel to oneself. To hear that which we might forget to listen to in the midst of all the noise.
We invite you to make time this evening for a short practicethat aims at reconnecting one to their inner fire and ground into one’s inner reality.
For those who are physically challenged you may like to listen to ashort lead meditationas a way to access the centre of your emotions.
“Seeta Maam Bholo ….Raam Naam Seeta Raam pranayam Hanumaan Pranam.”
This morning at 04:35 (Central European Time) Spring had its first Full Moon, known to many as the Pink Moon and by the Tantrics as the Monkey Moon. The Full Moon of Spring signals the awakening of Life. Many see it in the blossoming of plants. Tantrics see it in the quality of the Prana.
HANUMAN | TEACHER OF PRANAYAM
Tales tell of Hanuman being the child of the Apsara Anjana. Apsaras are said to be Angels come to Earth from the star constellation of Gandharva. They are beings who live by the order of grace and beauty. Hanuman’s father was the Forest King of the Monkeys.
In deep prayer & yogic devotion to Shiva the pregnant mothersummoned the wind into her womb & gave birth to Hanuman. That is why Hunuman is called the Child of the Wind & the teacher of Pranayam.
Hanuman is also known as Shiv-Ruup, which translates as ‘having the spirit and power of Shiva’. Hanuman’s mother summoned and raised the Shiva power, carried by the Prana of her devotional focus on the truth of the pure soul: Shiva. Thus Hunuman is also considered to be an incarnation of Shiva. Hanuman was a devotee of the Goddess and of the god, and when his devotion was questioned he would reveal his bare heart which contained nothing other than pure devotion to Shiva and Shakti.
That is why the Hunuman Mudra is the physical pulling the chest apart to reveal our heart’s true devotion.
Hanuman had power and poise; his blessing is the yogic opening of Prana flow. He is the noble and poised Monkey. He opens beyond the terrestrial and can fly like the wind.
“A teaching legend tells of Hunuman attempting to eat the sun and getting scolded as a result, for he took the sun to be a mango. This is a story of the dangers of psychic injury when raising heat through Pranayam without knowledge of how to control it.”
We will introduce Chandra Bhand (‘Moon Lock’) and it’s cooling effects on Pranic Heat in this year’s online workshops in which we will raise the Prana in a safe way – we plan to run our workshops online during the lockdown and we invite you to keep in touch in order to stay updated on our calendar.
A BRIDGE BETWEEN POLARITIES
Another legends tales of when Hanuman was separated from the Goddess Sita and the god Ram: Sita being cooling energy, and representing the Moon; Ram being heat, and representing the Sun. When Hanuman, who is Prana and represents breath (or Wind), was separated from the Goddess and god, Ram was left suffocating until the three of them were reunited: for fire can’t live without air. It is a tale about the importance of maintaining a balance between all the elements and not fall into the illusion that one can be favoured over the others if we wish to live in balance and harmony.
“The Tantric brings these two polar aspects of fire & water, or hot & cold, of Moon & Sun, into balance through Prana: Hanuman. This is the unwritten symbol inherent to the story of the union between Sita, Ram and Hanuman.”
MOON & PRANA
Within the Tantric mirror of nature, the Full Moon represents the monthly pinnacle of Pranic (breath) strength in the atmosphere & body. On this day the pranic and fluidic pressures are most potent in the physical atmosphere and therefore mirrored within ourselves.
“Practice of pranayam, fasting from food and sleep is the Tantric approach at the full Moon that yields opening of the psychic and spiritual layers of oneself.”
Spring is the time when the Prana and Shakti force leaves the ground and enters the atmosphere. Prana is at its strongest in the Spring season and it’s energy is sparked by the full Moon.
AN OFFERING TO NATURE
In line with the Tantric Shamanic approach to nature this is the day of Pranayam, for the inner and outer atmosphere offers much nourishment in this endeavour. Nature is said to flourish because of this influx of atmospheric Prana. This planetary occurrence is the natural basis at the root of the religious orthodox festival known as Haunuman Jayanti.
“Red, orange, yellow offerings and flowers are made in the orthodox fashion on this day. This represents the offering of Shakti and Prana that sit in the Moon and the Solar Chakras.”
Nature at this time of the year mirrors this as the flowers break through and the season springs outwardly from its previous inward state.
THE MONKEY LIVES IN THE LOWER CHAKRAS
The Monkey power comes from the lower chakras. We can see this when we practice the Bhandar Karana practices of Tantra. This translates as ‘doing of Monkey’. These are the Tantra practices that work with a lot of crouching mudras and focus on concentrating the sexual energy in the lower Chakras. They are often practiced up to and around the Monkey Moon day.
“With the April full Monkey Moon the concentrated sexual energy and Shakti starts to draw upwards until the new moon takes it to the Third Eye in the next cycle.”
A NATURE-BASED TRADITION FOR HEALING THE SHADOW
After the Monkey Full Moon the Tantric practices become Baba Karana and are done by connecting with the upper chakras – those laying above the Kalabhand, known to the Tantrics as ‘The Dark Bridge’ and physically represented by the Diaphragm.
When considering the religious inflections upon these sacred days, it gives insight if we bear in mind that the Tantric culture is a pagan-style tradition that spoke the language of Nature. Truth based on the tuning-in and listening-to Nature.
“In the Tantric Calendar the Monkey Full Moon is considered to be one of the most propitious times of the year for working with our Shadow & for healing the darker burried issues related to sexuality, unresolved traumas & abuses by bringing them into our hearts like Hanuman does.”
SILENCE AND MINIMALISM – A TANTRIC STATE
In silence and minimalism the correlation between the outer and inner worlds may become apparent. This silence and minimalism has a deep place in the Tantric unfolding and it is something to be cherished, not fought against. The present condition we are sharing globally is a powerful opportunity, albeit tough, for going inside and working with our Shadow to resolve inwardly whatever may be showing itself…
Wishing you all a powerful and healing Hanuman Full Moon. Hara Ring