"...it's no secret that many of the mystery schools of ancient cultures sought a spiritual rebirth within the individual using the zodiac as a teaching tool. . . . The zodiac described the inner constitution of humans, the structure-function-order of ourselves, mirroring that of the universe. According to the ancients, the archetypal principles revealed by arithmetic and geometry, represented by the zodiac, seen manifest in the designs of nature, technology, art, the clock and calendar, temple architecture, myths, measures, and whole societies have correspondence within each of us. The initiate was taught to see the world inside-out, to see twelve-part wholes as our reflection."
|A rare 12-pronged snowflake captured by photographer Alexey Kljatov (link)|
Psychadelics, likely played a role to inspire humanity's knowledge of sacred geometry
Below is a visual tribute to the geometric cosmic art of the Shipibo people of Peru, known as masters of the psychadelic "spiritual" drug Ayahausca. Since paleo-lithic times visionary and consciousness altering drugs have been used by shamans in the communities around the world who knew how to prepare and use them for sacred purposes, who were entrusted by the community to gather and share the knowledge that came from them. Shamanic vision (like all types of brow chakra exploration) is likely the inspiration behind all forms of sacred geometry. The enlightened ones do not need drugs. It is possible to develop psychic skills that bring insights like this without drugs. These states come to those who have access to the akashic realms and were born for the purpose of sharing this kind of knowledge. It can also be a seductive trap for sincere spiritual seekers. But in ancient times, this was accessible to any culture and quite possibly its access to the Divine knowledge it needed. Then during the course of interpreting the drawings based on these insights, there would come an understanding of higher mathematics and the geometry's relationship to the stars, planets, seasons, agricultural cycles, human fertility...etc. These things would have very naturally become a civilizing factor in nation building - or even in smaller tribal levels, part of the lore and oral tradition, part of the religion, part of the calendar, part of daily life. And to those cultures who had avataurs, even greater truths would be revealed, as Sri Aurobindo writes in his book on Mystic Hymns.
To touch the Reality that exists we need to become more awake to the great wisdom that lies before us in the simple things. The mystic William Blake wrote :
“To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.”
The Truth is right before us. We need only the eyes to see It. The men and women of ancient wisdom had these eyes. We can learn all the great truths by observing the wondrous workings of Nature. Open your eyes and see the handiwork of our Divine Creator. The Universe is the manifestation of Great Intelligence. Observe it with eyes of simplicity, with the humility of a true seeker of wisdom and with a heart filled with the sincere desire to uncover its mystery. If It finds you worthy it will unfold its secrets to your heart.Sri Vasudeva, Satsang message, 2002
The Cosmological Circle
As found at Stonehenge...
There is a geometrical representation of the 28 psychic points within us linking to the 28 points of the multidimensional universe in which we live. Here is a very superficial synopsis of some of the most astounding things I found in my research.
When I was doing some research on sacred geometry I found Michael Schneider's wonderful research on how numbers show up in the sacred geometry of life - in Nature and in Life's Processes. The ancient template of the Cosmological Circle, rediscovered in the 1960s by John Michell, is based on the number 12. Click on the image below to see more details about it on Schneider's webite "Constructing The Universe". (See also his article re. today's practical applications.)**
This image is geometrically aligned to the actual distance between the Moon and Earth. It forms a perfect marriage called "squaring the circle" between the materialist (square/straight lines) and the spiritual (circle). According to Michell and Schneider's research, ancient civilizations knew about this and built structures and organized themselves according to the teachings of this sacred geometry.
Here we see plainly how the 28 nakshatra system fit in between the 13 moons formed in the circle, like the 28 days of the month in the lunar year.
13 "moons" & 28 points made of 4x7-pointed stars
|The Cosmological Circle with the 28 Star PointsAdapted from Michael Schneider's Diagram(click image to link to his site)|
This image can be seen as a template for understanding the philosophies that emerged about cosmology in various cultures.
Cosmos on the back of a tortoise/turtleIt is said that the secrets of the I Ching were inspired by the markings on the back of a turtle, and in a flash revealed how the cosmos works. This has to do with the ba gua / pakua cosmology "compass" used in feng qui. There is a pre-heaven version and a post-heaven version. The post-heaven one came from a shamanistic experience:
"Traditionally, Fu Xi is considered the originator of the I Ching (also known as the Yi Jing or Zhou Yi), which work is attributed to his reading of the He Map (or the Yellow River Map). According to this tradition, Fu Xi had the arrangement of the trigrams (八卦 bāgùa) of the I Ching revealed to him in the markings on the back of a mythical dragon horse (sometimes said to be a tortoise) that emerged from the Luo River. This arrangement precedes the compilation of the I Ching during the Zhou dynasty. This discovery is said to have been the origin of calligraphy. "
A lot of these insights come from altered states. Terrence McKenna, who took psychadelic trips using mushrooms, discovered secrets of the I Ching and the speculation is that the ancient Mayans could have discovered the same secrets through their use of hallucinogenic substances also. Our inner truth can be accessed in all kinds of ways. So, yes the Universe does rest on the back of a turtle - if you know what "Universe" really means:
|The Cosmos/Universe on the back of a turtle|
13 moons and 28 smaller sections
We see in in Hinduism:
|Guardians of the 4 Directions|
quincunx design, the gemetric basis of Mesoamerican solar cosmology
(from archeologist David Stuart, The Order of Days: Unlocking the Secrets of the Ancient Maya, p.78)
The swastika - a misunderstood ancient symbol
|solar cross (swastika) from around the world|
Sacred Dimensions in Medieval Europe
"While Leonardo realized that every figure is different, all were believed to be governed by the same underlying principles of harmony that governed the universe. The microcosm of the human body was mirrored in the macrocosm of the universe and vice versa.
. . . .
In a remarkable series of Studies of the human skull, dated c1489, Leonardo investigated the architecture of the human skull. The main axes of the skull are sectioned just as some of the church designs in his architectural drawings, in order to locate the position of the human soul within. Leonardo locates it at the point where the proportional axes of the skull intersect."
The fascinating science of cymaticsAs the wise ones knew, when they created Sanskrit letters/sounds to go with every petal of the seven major chakras, sounds have awesome power! That's why names and words matter. That's why mantras are sound formulas that effect consciousness, mind and matter - all levels!
There are scientists who study the visualized manifestations of sound waves under the umbrella term cymatics (see Wikipedia). Cymatics produces fascinating physical evidence of the relationship of sound waves and geometric patterns. It may prove to be linked to the formation of crop circles as well.
Here is an excerpt from The Grand Illusion: A Synthesis of Science and Spirituality—Book One, by Brendan D. Murphy, 2012 (link). I have not read the book so I can't comment. The article claims that the Sri Yantra shape was produced from the sound of OM using a tonoscope (see below) however I have not seen this reproduced anywhere myself:
|Sri Yantra - visual representation of OM sound (in 3D it becomes an idealized Mount Meru)|
|(Tonoscope Image of Om - link)|
"…this natural timing of 13:20 is a cosmic indicator based on relationships inherent in natural processes: on the macrocosmic level, in the motion of the stars, planets, and galaxies; on the microcosmic level, as reflected in the proportions of the human body and the biological rhythms of plants and animals; and even further still, on the infinite level, in the subtle inter-dimensional movements of consciousness and mind. It is like the processes of division and multiplication: we find that it is consciousness that divides creation, by a factor of 13, because it is only when we are conscious of something that we can appreciate that part of creation; and it is creation that multiplies, by a factor of 20, the number of creation."
Men, Hunbatz, The 8 Calendars of the Maya: The Pleiadian Cycle and the Key to Destiny, 2009 (Kindle Edition, loc.113)
The cosmos in our head
13:20 and the synodic cycle of Venus (shamanic astrology)
13:20 & the 4 partitioned brain
|From The Global Mind & The Rise of Civilization by C.J. Calleman|
Could the Cosmological Circle be None Other than the Muladhara Chakra?
(see also my post Secrets of the Vimshottari Mahadasha Sequence; also Shiva Nataraja and the Ananda-Tandava Cosmic Dance)
9 mahadashas and their 9 planetary lords...what are these talking about? The Sri Yantra has nine levels, same as the Mayan cosmological pyramid. They are all talking about time - time experienced in the mind, in the Maya. What is the long count in the Mayan system has its counterpart in the Yuga system. Nine has to do with stages of transformation. In Buddhism we have 9 levels of consciousness. As I have been taught by Sri Vasudeva there are seven levels of consciousness, and in astrology we have the seven planets - but two have been added that are not really planets but nodes - Rahu and Ketu. There are 4 descending and 4 ascending yugas, and perhaps the 9th is the big bang that restarts the whole cycle. 9 has to do with stages of growth - 9 months in the womb, and I believe it is in agriculture also.
I will need to research this from an enlightened source. For now, a last word from Satguru Jaggi Vasudev:
Cosmology of Sri YukteswarContemplating Sri Yukteswar's The Holy Science and the Four Ideas.
Links to Kryia Yoga Practice
Kryia Yoga practice is a yogic purification and transmutation practice with links to ancient astrology. Paramahansa Yogananda gives a short explanation of the basics here (ch.26 "The Science of Kryia Yoga" from An Autobiography of a Yogi). You can read the short introduction in the link where he explains the correspondences to astrology. Basically what he is saying is that six chakras are doubled into lunar and solar gives us the twelve zodiac signs that we can link to within our subtle bodies (the astral and causal bodies). This is what he learned from his Guru, Sri Yukteswar (see above).
From what Sri Vasudeva has taught I think this aspect of the Kryia Yoga practice is the Indian version of the Taoist macrocosmic orbit. What jumped out at me from Paramahansa Yogananda's introduction is this part of it:
"The Kriya beginner employs his yogic exercise only fourteen to twenty-eight times, twice daily." Paramahansa Yogananda (link)Why 14 to 28? Why these particular numbers? I don't know that much about Kryia Yoga, but I do know that in Hinduism there are 14 lokas of 7 higher and 7 lower worlds/dimensions that are accessed through the chakras. Twenty-eight is of course a doubling of fourteen, but I also wonder whether that has any relationship to the nakshatras.
My research is showing how the nakshtras are related to yogic purification practices. For example, Ardra (GV4) which is (to me) an obvious reference to the yogic practice of creating a kryia (subtle energy experience) to convert sexual energy into spiritual energy by focusing attention on the swadisthana (sexual chakra) and pulling the prana upwards so it becomes more refined and can be taken to any chakra and transmuted there into more and more subtle energies. Just as in Taoism practitioners works to transmute Jing energy into Chi energy and ultimately into Shen at the head, in yoga is it the same from any of the pancha vayus (the five kinds of prana) transmuting ultimately into ojas. The energy not being used at the sacral chakra for sexual pleasure or procreation instead can go to the navel chakra to replenish the body's store of vitality, or to the heart to get that "madly in love" energy, or to the throat for charismatic and seductive speech, or to the brow where it becomes a kind of intoxication. I've experienced all of these in my own practice so I know without a doubt that the mythology associated with the nakshatras alludes to these kind of energy transmutation practices.
The Moon is known as Soma, that elixir of immortality that is transmuted from Amrita and in its ultimate purified form becomes Ananda, the bliss of Self that comes through grace when one becomes Self-realized. Sri Aurobindo writes about this. This is telling me that the Nakshatras are all about energy transmutation...but not only energy, consciousness also - because that is the journey of life. Energy and Consciousness are the basic components of the Universe (according to Tantra). If Consciousness does not shift, then it is a superficial experience only. Here is what Swami Vivekananda has to say about it:
"It is only the chaste man or woman who can make the Ojas rise and become stored in the brain, and that is why chastity has always been considered the highest virtue, because man feels that if he is unchaste, spirituality goes away, he loses mental vigour, and strong moral stamina. That is why in all of the religious orders in the world that have produced spiritual giants you will always find this intense chastity insisted upon. That is why the monks came into existence, giving up marriage. There must be perfect chastity in thought, word and deed. Without it the practice of Raja Yoga is dangerous, and may lead to insanity."
What I take from this is that anyone can practice energy transmutation for total wellbeing (and my own Guru Sri Vasudeva has provided a step-by-step series on how to do this - free of charge, open access - no sign up required - see link) - however to become enlightened requires the guidance of a master. Perfect chastity is actually on all levels of being, not merely celibacy. Only the most advanced yogis require it, so that all the pranas from all the chakras below the crown can be taken up to the highest point, and for this to happen grace is required, the grace of the Inner Guru and the grace of the Supreme Divine. Nobody can give it to you. It has to be earned.
Cities Based on the Cosmological Circle
Societies ancient and modern where the urban planners had access to sacred geometry built cities and probably the social structures of society to go with it. More enlightened social structures are badly needed and the intentional community movement is a step in that direction. We need to get away from hierarchical thinking and return to a deeper understanding of soul purpose and Self, to live in harmony with all forms of life, respecting all roles and the global ecosystem that is currently out of balance, and its place in the macrocosm. The ancients and the sages of today have a much better understanding than the current elites who now rule our planet.
There is going to be a long list here, an ongoing project, but for now I begin with Auroville, based on Sri Aurobindo's teachings, that grew out of a basic concept drawn by his spiritual partner (below):
|Mother Mira Alfrasa's sketch for Auroville - see link for details.|
There are many more cosmological cities to explore...the list will continue here...
Hindu temple constructionThe Manduka Mandala is a template for the construction of a basic Hindu temple. Many of the names especially along the edges (the moon path) correspond to nakshatra names or the names of their deities - this is the realm of mind (nakshatras are lunar mansions). Notice how we have 7x4 boxes adding up to the 28, same as for the Chinese system. The inner square is made up of 12 boxes, same number as the zodiac.
By Mark.muesse - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=34593205
*(Not intending to demonize Ayuhuasca, click here to see possibilities for certain controlled clinical psychology applications. Dr. Gabor Mate is a really progressive thinker and champion of harm reduction for substance abusers. Being a natural product not extracted and reprocessed it doesn't have the side effects of other psychadelics. Apparently it is more the ritual factors than the actual drug itself that is the real change mechanism in this intervention for PTSD patients...which I suspect is the same for people who take it for spiritual purposes. The mind is a powerful healer too.)
- Read also THE ROAD TO ELEUSIS: AN INTERVIEW WITH ALBERT HOFMANN, an interview done in 2014 "To Hofmann, the most important thing was to prove that the ingestion of these substances was always linked to the sacred, and that their use had to be subjected to the demands of the ritual and the observance of a high priest. By abolishing the habitual division between the self and the other, between the subject and his surroundings, and facilitating the access to a non-dualist reality, the experience with psychedelic substances, in his view, was almost identical to the enlightening experience of religions. But he also warned that, without the correct treatment, without the correct preparation that was granted in mystic environments, the experience with these substances could be fatal ––they can prompt several types of psychic trauma. Today, in absence of a religion like that of Eleusis, only psychiatrists would be qualified to replace the priest on the path to an enlightening experience."
** Excerpt from this article: "In 1970 I had also come across the writings of Vitvan, an American master trained in the early 20th century in the ancient Hindu tradition of meditation. His writings provided deeper insight into this cosmos as a vast energy system and the geometric language of nature which can be understood as consciousness manifesting materially as geometric configurations of units of energy, atoms. I think he’s correct in that each of nature’s forms in this living cosmos, from crystals to flowers to creatures, planets, stars and galaxies, is a geometric expression revealing the state in which it’s conscious. Consciousness itself is evolving, trailed by its form. I was amused to realize that the words “matter” and “pattern” derive from the Latin mater and pater, “mother” and “father” — the cosmos takes the form of matter in patterns; i.e., the Periodic Table of Elements, etc. Through Vitvan I was also introduced to the longest and most profound poem written in English, Savitri by Sri Aurobindo Ghose, the astrological language of Biblical symbolism in The Restored New Testament by James Morgan Pryse, and Science and Sanity by Alfred Korzybski with his teachings of “General Semantics” and how the words we use and think with influence what we “see”."
***Feng Shui expert Derek Walters has researched the Pakua/Bagua used for Feng Shui and noted in one of his lectures that the 28 lunar constellations were originally incorporated in older versions of it.