Monday, 23 January 2012

The Stars and the Voyage to the Higher World (by Franco Santoro)

Touch the Sky, by ~NusiaxD
The Higher World is shamanically regarded as the realm of cosmic beings, spiritual masters, wise people, gods and goddesses, planets, galaxies and universes. 

The relationship with this dimension has always been present since the dawn of human race. The first human rituals were meant to honour the energies of the Sky in exchange of well-being and abundance for the Earth. These ceremonies worked as real acts of exchange and were regularly practised in order to assure balance and the survival of the community. 

In this context, as time went on, a few individuals emerged. They became the specialists of such practices. While the majority of people invested their energies in agriculture and the manipulation of natural cycles, these individuals continued to keep and develop the capacity to move along the vertical axis to travel in the areas of the three shamanic worlds. 

In the course of various ages their role underwent shifts and contamination. When the majority of human beings definitively gave up their relationship with non-ordinary reality, they assumed the roles of shaman, priest, astrologer or medicine man and began to give form to specific hierarchical structures aimed at mediating between Sky and Earth. Ordinary men resigned themselves to resort to such category of few elects and the mysteries of the Sky became a heritage accessible only to a very privileged minority.

In the last decades, the Sky, both from the spiritual and scientific perspective, is meeting a growing interest. Astronomical discoveries, space voyages, science fiction movies and books, UFO, channelling from other galaxies, etc. currently play a major role in the collective thought system. Many eyes are pointed toward the starry sky, as they were in ancient times.

From the Earth, looking at the night sky, it is possible to see up to 20000 stars with the naked eye. A small number if we consider that only in the Milky Way there are more than 200 millions stars. Among the visible stars, 110 of them have had a special significance in the course of human history. They are called fixed stars. As a matter of fact they are not at all fixed, but as their distance from the Earth is so remote, they appear so because their movement is not perceived by human eyes. The views of astrologers about fixed stars are different: some ignore them, others employ them only in particular situations. 

A fixed star is generally considered significant only if it is in a close aspect of conjunction (the same longitude) or parallel (the same declination) with an angle or a prominent planet in the natal chart, and also when it stresses characteristics which are emphasised in the general theme.

Some channellers maintain that the function of certain stars toward the Earth is that of involving it in an activity of exchange meant at releasing grievances and receive blessings. According to such visions the power of stars is emanated through rays that reach the Earth in different ways. This power is often considered as the element of activation and transformation of the whole universe and is also seen as providing the energy to connect with the Higher World. From this perspective each human being on Earth becomes a channel through which starry waves flow. 

Stars and planets are here like teachers that educate us on how to grow and transform ourselves. “At the time of the creation of the universe, the heavier elements, which our bodies and other physical matters are composed of, were not created. These came from the explosion of a great star, a supernova even. The immense heat generated by a supernova  resulted in a fusion that, in turn, resulted in carbon, iron, and so forth. How paradoxical that the unimaginable destruction of a star resulted in the creation of the ingredients of physical matter. We are star-born, literally.”.[1]

Most tribal cultures have many myths and wisdom about the stars. Among them some cultures give special privilege to the Sky and have developed an understanding of the universe preceding the astronomical discoveries that took place after the invention of the telescope. 

For example, the Dogon (Mali) were already aware of the Saturn’s rings, the four main satellites of Jupiter, the elliptic orbit of the planets around the Sun and the spiralling form of our galaxy. The source of this awareness is traditionally due to the descent of a group of superior beings from the stellar system of Sirius. They were the first founders of civilisation on Earth. The Dogon religion acknowledges the star Sirius as the centre of the universe, together with its twin and smaller satellite star called po tolo (tolo means “star” and po is the smallest cereal grain known to the Dogon) which is actually considered as more important than its much larger counterpart. The latter is totally invisible to the naked eye and can only be identified with a very powerful telescope. The Dogon, like other people, aspire to reconnect to their star of origin and wait the return of their forefathers. 

Another example is that of the Skidi Pawnee who once lived in the prairies of what are now Kansas and Nebraska (USA). While most Native American cultures consider the Earth as mother and the Sky as father, the Skidi Pawnee look at the Sky as their only parent. They, together with the Earth, are sons of the Sky. The Sky is therefore their place of origin to which they are going to return. This has probably already happened as the Skidi Pawnee no longer exists on this planet. One of their myths says that “when the time comes for things to end our people will turn into small stars and will fly to the South Star, where they belong. When the time comes for the ending of the world the stars will again fall to Earth. They will mix among the people for it will be a message to the people to get ready to be turned into stars”.[2] 

The role of stars as heralds of divine will and the reference to their fall is also mentioned in the Bible: “the sun turned black as a funeral pall and the moon all red as blood; the stars in the sky fell to the earth, like figs shaken down by a gale; the sky vanished, as a scroll is rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place.” (Revelation 6, 12-14). 

In the Kabalah and many other esoteric traditions, the seven stars of the Pleiades (and in particular Alcyone which is the brightest) are considered the core or central sun of our universe. In the Game of the Sacred Cone they are called Urplei and are regarded as the upper core of one of the two spirals that make up the Sacred Cone or Pahai which lies within the Grey Sphere. The Pleiades and other stars are also credited in the Bible: “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades or loose Orion’s belt? Can you bring out the signs of the zodiac in their season, or guide Aldebaran and its train?” (Job 38, 31-32). 

In general terms the Higher World can be astrologically connected to the planets Neptune and Uranus. The energetic prevalence of these planets is indicated by various factors in the natal chart: for example, the conjunction of Uranus or Neptune to one of the angles, to the Sun or Moon. Those who have such traits tend to develop, at times prematurely, a strong sensitivity to the Higher World and make it the major inspiring factor in their lives. Their experiences are often in contrast with those of ordinary human beings and the attempt of having their perception being acknowledged by the outer world can be a source of instability, pain and shocks. 

For those who are closely connected with the above planets, the limitations and illusions of conventional life are very tangible, as well as the need to rise one’s awareness to another level. This necessity can often express itself through rebellion, escapism, lack of grounding, addictions, repulsion for material life, etc. Such attitudes often indicate an incapacity to accept the responsibility as regards one’s presence on the Earth which can render impossible a true connection with the Sky.

Shamanic wisdom emphasises the need to retrieve, understand and heal the relationship with the roots of our past and the current state of the Earth. Before being able to transcend material reality, I need to incorporate qualities like self-discipline, integrity, maturity, constancy, respect for traditions, etc. In astrology these characteristics are represented by Saturn. This planet, which was once the limit of our solar system, gives grounding and stability to access the powers of Uranus and Neptune.

The relationship with the Higher World can be stimulated in any moment through the exposition to the Sky, dreams, inner journeys, meditations, rituals, stellar epics, science fictions, etc. Apart from the predominant glamorous effects available in such field, an effective connection with the power of stars is feasible only to those who have an awareness which is particularly rare on this planet. This can be defined as galactic consciousness

For the majority of people on Earth it is already uncommon to go beyond the identification with one’s family, race, country or nation. Only a minority of individuals is able to fully experience, and not only intellectually, a planetary consciousness. This means to consider oneself, and virtually live, as a cell of this planet. Such attitude is possible when a deep relationship with the Lower and Middle World has been established. It requires time to progressively release the grievances and the sense of separation usually perceived on this planet. And this is only the first step. 

To develop a galactic consciousness, after the identification with the Earth, I need to move on to experience that with the solar system. Here I acknowledge the Sun as my Centre and enter into full communion with all planets and bodies that exist in the solar system. Once I have achieved such goal, I can proceed further to a wider identification. 

This does not mean that I have to give up my relationship with the Sky and the stars until I am able to accomplish the above. If that gives me wisdom and pleasure, there is no reason why I should renounce to create a dialogue with the stars at my current level of awareness. I am a product of the stars and the long path of retrieval of my memories will inevitably lead me to them. It is natural to feel attraction toward the stars: what appears above is just a spark of the memories of my original dwelling place. A place to which I can access if only I am ready to open up to and take full responsibility for what brought me on Earth.

In astroshamanism the work with the Higher World usually consists in visiting one’s star or planet of origin and connect with the Guide of the Higher World. The latter is, according to various traditions, a member of the Trinity of the Spirit Guides (one for each world). His function is to introduce and guide me into the infinite landscapes of the universe and make me aware of what exists beyond my limited identification as inhabitant of planet Earth. This Guide operates in conjunction with the other two. His task consists in receiving grievances from the Lower and Middle World, and then in letting them flow to the Higher World where they can be transformed. He also regulates the descent of blessings and finer energies as part of this interchange.

Each one of us has his own connection with the Higher World due to our original link with such dimension. According to some channellers this connection can be activated through specific codes (in form of images or vibrations) that allow the access to a sort of Central Galactic Programme. Here the user can access information specially prepared for his understanding and level of awareness. As a way to conform to our current social schemes, this system can work as a highly advanced virtual computer. The aim is to activate the circuit of the receiver through a constant process of deprogramming, insertion and processing of data. 

In astroshamanism, for example, a similar system is employed which is named Sacred Cone Initiation Programme. In this context the individual concerned receives, or the facilitator provides, a first key of access that then find definition and complete development through the work with the Spirit Guide. 

A major operation here can be described as the reunion of the starship crew and its organisation for the return to the original land. Here the Earth is considered as a starship blocked in a net of oblivion and separation. The purpose is that of allowing its engine to function again, gathering the whole crew and inverting the sense of direction so that the Journey Home can take place.

[1] Page Bryant, Starwalking: Shamanic Practices for Traveling into the Night Sky, Bear & Co., p. 92.
[2] Von del Chamberlain, When Stars Came Down To Earth, p. 144, quoted in Bryant, op. cit., p. 212.

© Franco Santoro, Findhorn Foundation Cluny HillForres IV36 2RDScotland;

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