Steeped in the mystery of Meso American tribal ritual is the legend of Bat. Akin
to the ancient Buddhist belief in reincarnation, in Central America,B at is the symbol of
rebirth. The Bat has for centuries been a treasured medicine of the Aztec, Toltec,
Tolucan, and Mayan people.
Bat embraces the idea of shamanistic death. The ritual death of the healer is
steeped in secrets and highly involved initiation rites. Shaman death is the symbolic
death of the initiate to the old ways of life and personal identity. The initiation that brings the right to heal and to be called shaman is necessarily precede by ritual death. Most of these rituals are brutally hard on the body, mind, and spirit. In light of today’s standards, it can be very difficult to find a person who can take the abuse and come through it with their balance intact.
The basic idea of ancient initiations was to break down all the former notions of
“self” that were held by the shaman-to-be. This could entail brutal tests of physical
strength and psychic ability, and having every emotional “button” pushed hard. Taunting and spitting on the initiate was common, and taught him or her to endure the duress with humility and fortitude. The final initiation step was to be buried in the earth for one day and to be reborn without former ego in the morning.
This ritual is very similar to the night of fear practiced by natives of Turtle Island.
In this ritual, the shaman-to-be is sent to a certain location to dig his or her grave and
spend the night in the womb of Mother Earth totally alone, with the mouth of the grave
covered by a blanket. Darkness, and the sounds of animals prowling, quickly confront the initiate with his or her fears.
As the darkness of the grave has its place in this ritual, so does the cave of Bat.
Hanging upside-down is a symbol for learning to transpose your former self into a
newborn being. This is also the position that babies assume when they enter the world
through the womb of woman.
If Bat has appeared in your cards today, it symbolizes the need for a ritualistic
death of some way of life that no longer suits your new growth pattern. This can mean a time of letting go of old habits, and of assuming the position in life that prepares you for rebirth, or in some cases initiation. In every case, Bat signals rebirth of some part of
yourself of the death of old patterns. If you resist your destiny, it can be a long, drawn
out, or painful death. The universe is always asking you to grow and become your future. To do so you must die the shaman’s death.
Our basic experience of the Universe is layered into different dimensions. To explore this in depth, take a journey through Numerology and the Ray of Creation. Here we will look at the three primary realms of experience, and their relationship to Magical Operations.
Many people discovered through movies like “The Secret” that our thoughts create our reality. However, this is only part of the Truth. Thoughts work like containers, creating forms and spaces in which creation can happen. Think of an “area of thought” like a room. When you enter that area of thought with your mind, you begin to experience things that are possible within that room. Let’s say you are thinking about being very hungry. You begin to find that as your thought focuses on this “space” of hunger, you get more and more hungry, and it seems like it is more and more challenging to simply go eat. This is because in the “area of thought” that is hunger, being hungry is what has the most powerful energy for creation.
Your emotions are also part of your creation process, and “The Secret” shared this as well, though it tends to get less attention than the “thinking” part. In fact, you can look at Thought as being a layer of reality, one that works in forms and geometries. Inside this layer is the layer of Emotions, like a vibrating fluid of color and light, and inside this layer is the layer of the Physical, where the vibrating fluid condenses into Physical substance. In this way, you can see that the Emotional layer is actually “closer” to the Physical than the Mental.
Through the Ages, the Sages and Wizards have described these layers as the Astral (Mental), Subtle (Emotional), and Gross (Physical). In the Astral Realm, everything is constantly changing and shifting with thoughtforms, literally the “Dreamstate” of Creation. In fact, this is where many of your Dreams take place, whether you are exploring this realm from inside your body or are journeying outward to explore the “Templates” of the Physical and Etheric Realms in the Astral.
The Subtle Realm is less structured, just as Emotions tend to be less formulated and solid than thoughts. It is like the Breath of Creation, a permeable Energy field that carries vibrations from one space or time to another. Each action you take or feeling you have is like a musical tone, which is carried through this layer of reality until it is “heard” or received by someone or something else. Sometimes old “songs” remain in spaces for very long periods of time, and you can feel this old music when you enter those places.
The Physical Realm is where these field layers condense into the Material World. In Dreams, Thoughts and the Astral Realm, you may be in one part of the world at one moment, and in another location the next. In the Subtle Emotional Realm, resonance still travels through Space-Time very quickly and easily, and can be in multiple places at the same time. In the Physical, the fabric of Space-Time becomes thicker, and energy brought down to this level may be manifested most easily in another location, which means it must then be brought to you for you to recognize it.
On the Physical level, there are many actions that can be taken to accelerate or ease the process of the creation being asked for to come into being. Here is where symbols can be very powerful, using physical objects as tools to represent certain energies or actions, and then performing a ceremony or ritual that expresses your communication or request to the Divine Source.
When these three layers are woven together proficiently, anything can be Created. The studious Magi learns to trust the unfolding of the Physical layer, allowing time for a response to come from the place where each of the other layers had the greatest ease in “condensing.”
Advanced Magi create spaces and situations that will allow the “condensation” process to happen locally, or in the immediate vicinity of the Magical practice, so that the manifestation may become immediately apparent.
Each of these Three Realms interconnect and cause changes in each other. In my practice, I have found that creating effective Mental or Astral constructions (containers) is a great way to begin a Magical Operation. Then when the time is right, enter an Emotional or Subtle State that best reflects the vibration or “music” of the creation, and take physical actions with either symbols or direct engagement that can bring your manifestation into being.
Begin by gently breathing in and out a few times, relaxing your body slowly. Make sure it is quiet where you are. Do this for a few minutes until you fell totally relaxed and at peace.
Next, imagine that you find yourself walking along a pathway that leads you further and further away from civilization, and deep into the heart of a primeval forest. As you follow this trail, imagine that you are winding around and among trees that are hundreds of years old. Flowers carpet the ground and birds sing. In the distance you hear the muffled roar of the ocean waves, rising and falling, rising and falling, like music. Your heartbeat, your breath, and the ocean waves keep time with the rhythm of nature.
Soon the path you are on brings you to a tiny, crumbling, stone sanctuary. A place so old and hidden it had been forgotten by time. Thickly covered with vines and gnarled branches, it is clear that no one entered this chapel in centuries, perhaps even thousands of years. Intuitively you sense that something mysterious yet deeply familiar lies within this ruin of a forgotten shrine. Slowly you push open the door and enter. As you open the door, something old and timeless opens within your soul as well.
Once across the threshold, you find yourself immersed in an atmosphere that is sacred and holy. Vaulted ceilings arch over a rough, stone altar at the front. Candles are burning, there is a smell of fragrant incense. On an altar stands a statue of the female deity, the Goddess. Her face is so old and dark with time, the lines on her body so worn from the touch of praying hands that you cannot even tell what religion she belongs to. She is simply the Mother, god as a woman, the one to whom the world turns in all its grief and suffering. She is Sofia, Kwan Yin, Mary, Sarah, Fatima, White Buffalo Woman, Isis, Sita, Innanna, and Demeter.
Kneeling before her in reverence, you bow your head in prayer. Immediately you are embraced by her being, and the cares and worries of the world fall away, soothed in her loving acceptance of all your human faults and frailties. Entering even more deeply into your meditation the statue you are praying before suddenly comes alive as a real being and now you find yourself before the mystery of the living mother of all creation.
As she comes to life, the chapel fills with a warm and golden light. Now the face of the ancient mother becomes animated with feeling. Seated before her you gaze into each other’s eyes. She penetrates your soul with a glance that loves you to the core of your very being. Emotions of sweetness, mercy, and loving forgiveness emanate from her, sweeping over you in waves of bliss, healing all the parts of your that are hurt, broken, and wounded. Held within her arms, taken onto her lap, you become like a little child with its mother. You touch her hair, her face in loving affection, and feel her loving affection for you in return.
Going more deeply into this experience you begin to feel as if the body of the ancient mother is the gateway to the body of creation itself. Going beyond her form, you enter into a communion with the body of the earth — all her creatures, trees, oceans, rivers, mountains, cities, and people. Going even beyond the earth, feel the body of the ancient mother expand into space, becoming the bodies of the stars and the planets and the whirling galaxies that are spread over the universe like a mantle of bright jewels.
Held in the womb of this mystery you feel a powerful force, a holy energy and the breath of life, the soul of the cosmos. Feel your heart beat in rhythm with the rhythm of life itself. Slowly begin to return your awareness to your body, still seated before the ancient mother in prayer. Inhale deeply, taking into every cell of your body, every thought in your mind her cherishing nourishing life-sustaining love. Exhale, letting this energy flow out of you like a river of grace watering your life and all those you know and care for, with a stream of blessings, happiness, and well-being.
Now close your meditation bowing once more before the ancient mother. Rise and exit from her humble little sanctuary, closing the door behind you. As you make your way along the path back to the life you left behind, remember that you carry within your heart a precious secret: faith in the goodness of life, the gift of love of the divine mother of the world.
Art by: Josephine Wall
The link to this original meditation can be found here: Beliefnet.com
Crow, Power Animal, Symbol of Sacred Law, Change & Keepers of Magick.
This is an active meditation for calling on the power of Durga.
Wherever you are, imagine the form of Durga coalescing out of your surroundings - out of the sky, earth, furnishings, drawing crackling strands of electricity out of nearby power sockets, a corona of energy about her. Visualize the form of Durga forming above you. Feel her feet upon your head, sending shockwaves of power through your body, and imagine yourself to be seated on the back of her tiger. Feel the power of Durga coursing through you and meditate upon her qualities.
The weapons which Durga bears (given to her by the gods) can be taken, in this meditation, as ‘attachments’ - things which you think you need; tools which you perhaps rely too much on. As Durga defeated Mahisa by herself, so too, your power and poise resides in you, rather than your tools and attachments.
The legend of Durga and Mahisa1
Mahisa was a son of Rambha, an asura2, and Mahisi, the goddess Gauri in her form of a female buffalo. Mahisa, chief of the asuras became, through austerities skilled in magical prowess. Invincible, he threatened the gods who were powerless to defeat him.3 In desperation, they invoked the goddess for assistance. To resounding incantations and mantras, the goddess appeared as a mountain of light, the colour of gold, with the brilliance of a thousand suns. Her eyes were like the nilotpala flower, the blue lily; her hair was black as night; her high, round, prominent breasts proclaimed her feminine divinity. To her, each god contributed his fiery essence and weapons. Siva, his trident; Visnu, his disk; Varuna, his conch; Agni, a dart; Yama, an iron rod; Vayu, a bow; Surya, arrows; Kubera, a mace; Indra, a thunderbolt; Brahma, a rosary and waterpot; Kala, a sword; Visakarma, an axe; Himavan, a lion.3 Thus armed, Durga went to her home on the Vindhya mountains,4 where she was worshipped by the tribes of the Savaras and the Pulindas. Mahisa, hearing of her intoxicating beauty, sent a message to her, claiming her as his own, for was he not Lord of the three worlds? Durga smiled and replied that she would only wed the hero who defeated her in battle.
Boastful Mahisa accepted the challenge and first sent his asura army to war with her. Katayayani5 lifted her bow and arrow, and mounted on her Sarabha,6 she defeated the asura hosts. Seeing the slain, she seized a vina and a damaru and laughing in joy, played music. Then Mahisasura advanced, assuming his form of a deep-black, maddened, buffalo, now bellowing, now running, now stamping the ground with his hoofs. A cataclysmic battle commenced. The mountains were rent asunder, the oceans trembled and the clouds scattered in the sky. In vain the goddess used her god-given weapons, but the buffalo hero escaped her. At last, filled with engulfing anger, she flung aside her weapons, dismounted, and with her bare hands, sprang on the back of Mahisa; with her tender, fragrant foot she smote his head. The asura, immune to the weapons of all the gods, fell senseless at the touch of the goddess’ feet.7 And she, poised in the serene knowledge of her all-consuming power, took her sword and cut off the head of Mahisa. Then, making the gesture that dispels fear with her hand, the goddess appeared smiling. Seeing her victorious, the male gods of the Puranas hailed her:
Whatever gentle forms of thine,And whatever of thy terrible forms wander in the three worlds,By these forms protect us and the Earth.8
(Arthur Avalon, Hymns to the Goddess, p.118)
(Based on the variant recounted in: The Earth Mother, by Pupul Jayakar, Penguin Books 1989)
1. There are many variations of this legend - we prefer the versions whereby Durga is self-existent prior to being called on by the gods, rather than created from their essence. In some versions of the myth, Mahisa is said to become invincible via a boon granted by Brahma - that no man could kill him - and that he could not believe that any woman could kill him so he neglected to include this eventuality in his boon - which of course led to his downfall.
2. The asuras are usually taken as demons. This is not necessarily the case and some commentators have it that they were wild tribes who were hostile to the Aryans.
3. In some variants, Durga’s mount is a tiger. Or see 6, below.
4. Vindhyadevi - goddess of the Vindhya (mountains) is a title of Durga. This region was considered to be populated by wild, hostile tribes and inaccessible to all but the most heroic.
5. ? Presumably a title of Durga.
6. The Sarabha - a mythical animal, half-elephant and half-tiger.
7. The significance of the foot is discussed at some length in Jeffrey J. Kripal’s Kali’s Child. The foot is the transmitter of divine power or grace - further examples being the depiction of Shiva-Nataraja with his foot holding down a dwarf-demon; the tradition of worshipping the feet of a guru, and Ramakrishna’s ‘scandalous’ practice of placing his foot in the lap of one of his youthful disciples.
8. Durga is not only a goddess who responds to threats to the established cosmos, but responds directly to the petitions of her devotees. Moreover, Durga, like all deities, acts from the position of lila or play. She battles Mahisa because it pleases her to do so. As a battle-goddess, Durga reverses the Puranic stereotype of women as submissive wives or daughters. See Hindu Goddesses by David Kinsley for more details.
Characteristics : Strength, Morality, Power, Protector Other Names : Jagdamba, Shakti, Bhagwati, Devi, Maa Weapon : Trident, Chakra, Snake, Conch shell, Mace, Bow, Long sword, Thunderbolt Abode : Trikoota Mountain Vehicle (Vahana) : Lion Mula Mantra : Om Sri Durgaya Namah Durga Gayatri Mantra: Aum Girijaye Cha Vidmahe
Shiva Priyaye Cha Dheemahi
Tanno Durga Prachodayat
Following is a guided shamanic journey with the Egyptian god of the underworld, Anubis, Opener of the Way. Anubis is the son of Nephthys and Osiris, and was raised by Isis. Among many other functions, he is the god who looks after miscarried and abandoned children. He guards and protects equally in the day and the night, and knows all the pathways that lead from the darkness into the light. His keen senses and watchful eye assure that no outside forces will endanger you while you do your inner work.I have found him to be a trustworthy guide, teacher and protector, and am honored to share this important process with you.
I suggest that you read this journey before taking it for the first time. Having a trusted friend read it to you works well, or you can do it on your own or make a tape in your own voice, leaving ample space or using the pause button while you do the work. It is also helpful if you determine before you journey what fears you intend to work with, and bring them as strongly into your consciousness as you are able when you are ready to begin.
Ground and center yourself with some deep, grounding breaths… Look within and find your eternal heart flame… It will enter your perception, either through imagining, feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling, or simply knowing its presence. Feed your heart flame with love, and notice how it grows. Continue feeding your inner heart flame as it intensifies and sends warmth and light throughout your being… Take a moment to recall the fear that has been compelling you… Allow yourself to feel where in your body it is most noticeable. Bring it to the surface of your awareness so that it is more easily available for transformation…
You will become aware of the presence of Anubis just outside the the light of your heart flame. He is looking at you from the darkness beyond with glowing eyes. Let your perception come into focus in whatever way works for you; you might see, feel, hear, know, smell, or simply imagine his presence. With your full focus and attention, you can begin to perceive the full presence of his being… He leads you into the darkness, looking over his shoulder occasionally to be sure that you are following him. Anubis guides you through the darkness, deeper and deeper until you come to a river between you and what appears to be a dark, rough hewn land flickering with fire on the other side. You must find your way accross this river. As you focus on your strong intention to complete this transformation, you will discover how to cross the river.
When you find yourself on the other side of the river you are struck with the smell of sulfur similar to that of reeking rotten eggs. It takes a great force of your will to enter the large, yet stifling cavern where Anubis directs you. He positions himself as a sentinel while you find your place within and allow your fears to surface. The sulfur reacts as brimstone to flint, and your fears immediately ignite. You must stand in the fires of your own fear as the transformation takes place. Allow yourself to breathe in the acrid smell of the sulfur and stay with this process as you witness the burning transformation of your fears… Anubis appears when the work is complete, and guides you further into the cavern, to a far crevice where there is a small opening you must crawl through that leads into a spacious underground grotto. A shaft of light shines upon flower blossoms protruding from a ledge, nourished by the spray from a waterfall feeding a sacred spring with clear, sweet water.
Enjoy some time bathing and swimming in the cool, clear waters, rinsing away the last remnants of the sulfur and fear. Anubis will show you where steps have been cut into the rock, and you climb upward until you emerge once again into the bright dawn of a new day. Notice how much lighter you feel. Offer your gratitude to Anubis, and receive any further messages or instructions from this powerful ally and guide. Bring your attention once more to your physical body and ground and center yourself.