Theosophical Lectures

All of us are aware of the effect music can have on us.  A mother humming or singing lullabies to get a baby to sleep, background music at work, in lifts, or the supermarket; rock music energizing huge crowds at stadium concerts; dance, hip hop, and rap music at rave parties and night-clubs; all show us the hidden power of music and vibration to move us.

Holy prayers, sounds, chanting the name of divinity, or stories of God(s) are a feature of religious practice all over the world.  From the rhythmic drumming of a Siberian shaman through to the harmonies of the Kings Choir in a London church, we all know that music has a power to spiritually move us and help us find a stillness within the Buddhists call ‘Mindfulness’ amidst the stresses of life in the modern world.

In India such holy chanting is called ‘Mantras’ derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Manas’ meaning ‘to think’ and ‘Tra’ meaning ‘instrumentality’, therefore Mantra originally meant ‘the instrument of thought’. This gives the clue that mantras can affect the mind and mood in dramatic ways if performed accurately.

Mantras: Sacred Sounds: The earliest mantras were composed in Vedic Sanskrit in India, and are at least 3500 years old. Mantras now exist in various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. In the Japanese Shingon tradition, the word Shingon means mantra. Similar hymns, chants, compositions, and concepts are found in Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Christianity, and elsewhere. The Scandinavian Runes in certain respects correspond to the Hindu mantras.

Mantras considered esoterically were originally as magical as they were religious in character. In the composing of the mantras, the wise men/women of old (Rishis) knew that every letter had its occult significance, and that the vowels, especially, contain occult and even formidable potencies when properly chanted.

The words of the mantra were made to convey a certain hid meaning by certain secret rules involving:

  • the secret potency of their sound,
  • the numerical value of the letters;

The language of incantations or mantras is the element-language composed of sounds, numbers, and figures.  The ancients who composed the mantras, knew how to blend these three to call forth the response from the Regent-God of the specific element needed.

Communication with Other Dimensions: For, in order to communicate with the Gods/Goddesses, it was said that men must learn to address each one of them in the language of His/Her element.:

Sound is “the most potent and effectual magic agent, and the first of the keys which opens the door of communication between Mortals and the Immortals” (from HP Blavatsky: The Secret Doctrine Vol.1: page 464).

The hidden voice or active manifestation of the latent occult potency of the mantras is called ‘Vach’ meaning in Sanskrit, ‘Voice’.  In exercising the power of Vach, G de Purucker says:

“…The would-be magician attempting to evoke the “spirits of the vasty deep” by uninstructed chanting or singing of any ancient mantras will never succeed in using the mantras effectively in a magical way, until he himself has become so cleansed of all human impurities as to be able at will and with inner vision to enter into communion if not direct confabulation with the inner realms…”

Psychological Effects: Mantras are based on specific repetitive sounds. Mantra’s use these repetitive sounds to reach the subconscious mind.  The sounds are soothing, they calm the mind, even if we do not understand fully understand the phrases – which is most often the case for us Westerners when listening to Indian Mantras! Of course, translating a mantra into your own language, gives a much greater depth to the experience of repeating the mantra in its original language – you have an affirmation where the words have the additional benefit of imparting a sense of confidence with time when repeated.

While mantras are often thought of in reference to eastern religions, by no means is this the only place you have mantras. Often repeated Catholic and Christian prayers are also mantras.

All repeated and spoken phrases in the English (or any) language can be thought of as mantras. Commonly known as “affirmations” these mantras are repeated for the purpose of building confidence, quieting anxiety or trying to take advantage of the brain’s capacity to adapt itself to new habits of thought (neuroplasticity). Daily mantras can help quiet anxiety and counter depression. They can help to boost happiness, help to inspire self-confidence, but constant practice and therefore repetition is required. According to the Annual Review of Nursing Research, mental health mantras can be used effectively to treat Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome  (PTSD), reduce stress, and even decrease blood pressure.

Here are some of the traditional types of Sanskrit mantra’s:

Shanti – Peace; Dharma – Righteous Path; Ananda – Bliss; Prasada – Radiance or Happiness; Prajna – Wisdom; Bhakti – Devotion, Faith, and Love.

AUM (OM): The Sacred Sound: Mantras come in many forms, including verses from the ancient Vedic book, the Rigveda, and Sāman, musical chants from the Sāmaveda for example.They are typically melodic, mathematically structured meters, believed to be resonant with numinous (religiously awe-inspiring) qualities.

At its simplest, the word ॐ (Aum, Om) serves as a mantra, it is believed to be the first sound which was originated on Earth. The Aum sound when produced creates a reverberation in the body which helps the body and mind to be calm.  The Aum sound is most often repeated at the beginning and end of chanting to create and sustain peace in the audience.

There is a whole mystical science attached to the meaning and use of the sacred word Aum (Om).

Japa: Silent Repetition: In more sophisticated forms, mantras are melodic phrases with spiritual interpretations such as a human longing for truth, reality, light, immortality, peace, love, knowledge, and action. Some mantras without literal meaning are musically uplifting and spiritually meaningful.

Repeating Mantras quietly to yourself is called Japa. It is most auspicious to repeat them at least 108 times and for this purpose private repetition of mantras is assisted by 108 beads on a string, Malas, which are handled as you repeat the mantra.

Any verse of the sacred scriptures such as the Rig Veda, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, can be repeated.  The most auspicious mantras for Japa are said to be the Gayatri Mantram and the Purusasukta mantras both verses from the Rig Veda. They are best repeated at sunrise and sunset.

The Gayatri Mantra: the most universally chanted of all Hindu mantras. Dedicated to Savitur, the Vedic Sun God, Gayatri is also the name of the Goddess of the Vedantic Mantra in which the verse is composed. Hindus are supposed to chant it at least 108 times per day to help purify their inner constitutions from low vibrations which well up from within and are imposed by society from without. Invoking the universal Brahman as the principle of knowledge and the illumination of the primordial Sun, the mantra is extracted from the 10th verse of Hymn 62 in Book III of the Rig Veda:

Bhuh Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat

~ The Rig Veda (10:16:3)

Translation: “Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of divine light, that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat.” – WQ Judge translation.

Buddhist Mantra: Om Mani Padme Hum: Probably the most famous mantra of Buddhism is:

‘Om Mani Padme Hum’ meaning ‘Om the Jewel in the Lotus, Hum’

The six-syllable mantra of the Bodhisattva of Compassion, Avalokitesvara, (Tibetan, Chenrezig, Chinese: Guanyin). The Dalai Lama is said to be an incarnation of Avalokiteshvara, and so the mantra is especially revered by his devotees. In esoteric philosophy Avaloki, the “on-looker”, is the Higher Self, while Padmapani is the Higher Ego or Manas. The mystic formula “Om mani padme hum” is especially used to invoke their joint help.

One of the most sacred Buddhist mantras or verbal formulas; used very frequently in Tibet and in surrounding countries of the Far East. Not only is every syllable said to have a secret power of producing a definite result, but the whole invocation has a number of meanings. When properly pronounced or changed, it produces different results, differing from the others according to the intonation and will give to the formula and its syllables.

This mystic sentence above all refers to the indissoluble union between man and the universe, and thus conveys “I am in thee and thou art in me.” Each of us has within himself the ‘Jewel in the Lotus’ or the ‘Divine Self’ within. When understood in a Kosmic sense, it signifies the Divine Kosmic Self within, inspiring all beings within the range of that Kosmic Divinity.

Tantra and Jainism: Similar mantras, hymns, chants, compositions, and concepts are found in Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and elsewhere.

The use, structure, function, importance, and types of mantras vary according to the school and philosophy of Hinduism and Buddhism. Mantras serve a central role in Tantra.  In this school, mantras are considered to be a sacred formula and a deeply personal ritual, effective only after initiation. In other schools of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism, initiation is not a requirement and an earnest student will be given a mantra suitable for them individually from their Guru.

In Jainism for example, the concept of mantras is not focused on material aspects, rather mainly deals with seeking forgiveness, praising their Saints (Tirtankharas), or Deities like Nakoda, Padmavati, Manibhadra, Goddesses like Saraswati and Lakhsmi, and others. Some mantras are claimed to enhance intellect, prosperity, wealth or fame. There are many mantras in Jainism; most of them are in Sanskrit or Prakriti, but in the last few centuries, some have been composed in Hindi or Gujarati languages. Mantras, couplets, are either chanted or sung, either aloud or by merely moving lips or in silence by thought. The most popular mantra in Jainism is the Navkar Mantra (literally, “Nine Line Mantra”). The initial five lines consist of salutations to various sanctified souls, and the latter four lines are explanatory in nature, highlighting the benefits and greatness of this mantra.

Sikhism: In the Sikh religion, the term mantar or mantra refers to Shabad, this may be a word, a sentence or a hymn from the, Guru Granth Sahib – the holy book of Sikhs (also known as Adi Granth). All shabads describe God’s attributes, grace and virtues. Through repetition and reflecting upon the qualities of the Divine, the mind rises above materialism and conquers the vices (Lust, Anger, Greed, Attachments and Ego). By continually repeating and contemplating upon Guru’s teachings, the mind is stimulated to create positive thoughts practicing Truth, Contentment, Empathy, Divine Wisdom and Forgiveness. It encourages one to live a practical life with high morale.

Mantras in Sikhism are fundamentally different from the secret mantras used in other religions.Unlike in other religions, Sikh mantras are open for anyone to study, use and embed. They are not used in secret sessions. Instead, they are preached and discussed in front of assemblies or a congregation of Sikhs and non-Sikhs.

The Mool Mantar (Fundamental Belief), the first composition of Guru Granth Sahib, was written by the founder of the Sikh religion, Guru Nanak. It is the most widely known Sikh mantra.

In Sikh faith, the word Wahe Guru (the Wonderful Lord) is used repeatedly to thank the Lord for giving us the virtues and guiding us on the righteous path. According to Sikh poet, Bhai Gurdas, the word “Wahe Guru” is the Gurmantra mantra given by the Guru, which eliminates negativity and ego from the mind.

Islam and Christianity: The Islamic mystical sect, the Sufis, use the ‘Names of God’ or particular phrases found in the Holy Book of Islam, The Quran, or, sayings/actions of the Prophet Mohammed, The Hadith, in a mantric way, which they call ‘Dhikr’. Of particular importance is the phrase Lāilahaīlla-Llāh (لا إله إلا الله) and numerous variations. These words or phrases are often counted on a string of beads called a Tasbiḥ or Misbaḥa or in Iraq Sibha, similar to a Mala but generally consisting of thirty-three or ninety-nine beads. The recitation of these formulas can be done individually, or in unison in large assemblies with musicians and directed by an elder (Shaikh). Each Sufi Order has its particular formulas and group ceremonials.

We tend to think that Mantras are just an Eastern concept and practice but they have a long tradition in the West for all the same reasons we see in the East. Repeating a prayer which is familiar to us from our own predominantly Christian culture can also have the same uplifting influence on us. This has been long recognized in the tradition of church music, monastic chanting such as Gregorian chants, and in Jewish synagogues where the ‘cantor’ leads worshippers in song.

Mantras: The Importance of Repeating the Name of Divinity: According to American Bhakti (Devotional) Yoga practitioner and teacher, Krishna Das, the repetition of the Name of Divinity strikes a deep resonance with the godlike source of strength within oneself so we should practice this constantly no matter how we feel.

The power of the name is not exclusively in us, but is the vibrationary form of the Divine which connects us all. We are effectively calling out to the Higher Self by calling the Name of Divinity, which may vary according to the society to which we belong.  Chanting the Name can extricate ourselves from the trivialities of life, emotions, false beliefs, and so the ‘mirror of our hearts’ is polished.

In this way, even though we may be depressed and anxious, we see what is reflected in that mirror differently and we start to see changes in ourselves. We start to act differently. The constant nagging self-critical inner voice starts to fade in the harmony of repeating the Name.

Bhakti Yoga: Bhakti (ie Devotional) Yoga, also called Bhakti Marga (literally the Path of Bhakti/Devotion), is a spiritual path or spiritual practice within Hinduism focused on loving devotion towards a personal god/guru. It is one of the paths in the spiritual practices of Hindus, others being Jnana Yoga (the Path of spiritual Knowledge) and Karma Yoga (the Path of Good Works). Bhakti Yoga, based on chanting or repeating the Name of Divinity is said to be the most suitable form of spiritual practice for the majority of people during the present Kali Yuga age with its many stresses and diversions from the pursuit of spiritual knowledge which requires much study, time, and inner effort not freely available to most people.

Chanting the divine names is a simple path suitable for the present-day context. It has no ‘binding’ rules and regulations. Nama Kirtan (chanting the Divine names) can be done by anybody, anytime, and anywhere.

Kirtan Chanting: Kirtan, is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘narrating or telling a story’ but is most commonly applied to the practice of singing/chanting sacred mantras with the audience joining in the chanting and emotion of the occasion. Such chanting is primarily an emotional experience providing the audience with the opportunity to express themselves through movement, dance, praising Divinity, but primarily singing along with the song leader or ‘Kirtankara’. Kirtan is an essential feature of ‘Bhakti’ or ‘Devotional’ Yoga and it is becoming very popular in the West due to the efforts of a range of Western performers putting a new twist on an ancient Indian religious practice.

Kirtan, or musical mantra-chanting, was first popularized in America by Krishna Das (Jeffrey Kagel) in the 1990s following his travels in India in the 1970s and his devotion to his Hindu Guru, Neem Karoli Baba (Maharaj-ji). He was referred to as the “Rockstar of Yoga” by the Grammys when he was nominated for a 2013 Grammy Award. His powerful baritone voice and skilful playing of the traditional Indian harmonium, accompanied by a band playing a combination of Indian and Western instruments have become enormously popular in America, Europe and Australia.

Krishna Das has attracted the participation of such rock luminaries as ‘Sting’ (of the famous English rock band, ‘Police’), and Walter Becker (of American iconic rock band, ‘Steely Dan’). Krishna Das gives concerts all over the world and is a foundation performer at New Age and especially Bhakti Yoga festivals in the USA. He has released 17 albums since 1996, but his live performances capture the true spirit of Kirtan. I would recommend his live performances on You Tube, particularly his performance at the Church of St Paul and St Andrew in 2013 in New York.

This concert is a truly heartening experience of universal brotherhood in action with Krishna Das, an American Jew from Long Island, singing sacred Hindu mantras in Sanskrit language, accompanied by a mixture of traditional Indian and Western instruments, in a Christian church, with an audience of Western Hindu converts, New Agers, and curious onlookers!

Krishna Das says of his own music that he does not put on shows or set out to entertain: “A kirtan is a spiritual, meditative practice. And that is completely different from a concert. [Chanting] is something I share with people. When I sing, I am sharing my practice, and they are doing the practice themselves while we chant together.”

This is where Krishna Das found the purpose of his music, and the same could be said for all practice of chanting mantras. He believes it was meant to take him somewhere—not to fame or fortune, but to enlightenment. Music and Bhakti Yoga are the vehicles of his transcendence.

“It’s a repetition of mantras, the names of your own inner being. The practice is to repeat those names and to pay attention and have an experience of quieting down and opening up.”

Krishna Das thinks the problem with our culture is that we’re always looking for happiness from external sources. He believes that kind of happiness is fleeting:

“Everything is changing all the time and one has to find peace of mind within.”

Modern Forms of Mantra: Other modern performers of Kirtan and the chanting of mantras in Sanskrit language with modern melodies include:

German singer, Deva Premal, her English partner on guitar, Mitten, with the traditional flute of Indian performer, Manose.

 Julia Elena, with her own style utilizing synthesizers and guitars.

Why not also check out on You Tube the beautiful singing of American Sikh Kirtan and New Age singer, Snatam Kaur, especially when she is working with German-born American pianist/composer Peter Kater.

Australian devotees of Kirtan will know and love the music of Gold Coast band, Sacred Earth, which combines flutes, recorders, electric and acoustic guitars, and synthesizers with their own beautiful versions of Hindu mantras.

For the really adventurous try the band, Shanti People, which features a combination of Rap/Hip Hop and traditional Hindu mantras.

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I wish to start with a couple of verses from the poem, Haunted Houses, by the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882).


All houses wherein men have lived and died,

Are haunted houses. Through the open doors

The harmless phantoms on their errands glide

With feet that make no noise upon the floors.


We meet them at the doorway, on the stair,

Along the passages they come and go,

Impalpable impressions on the air,

A sense of something moving to and fro.


So from the world of spirits there descends

A bridge of light, connecting it with this,

O’er whose unsteady floor, that sways and bends,

Wander our thoughts above the dark abyss.


Does this poem not also describe the tales of ghostly visitations of our animal friends, as discussed in a previous talk?  And if the ghosts of animals truly exist, then surely these ‘Phantoms’ reside in another realm – if only for a time.

Today we shall explore the concept that animals, once they have ended their journey on the earth plane, shall enter into a place of tranquility.  I do not necessarily exclude other life-forms found within Nature, to be able to enter this same place of tranquility, the Afterlife.

The event which we style death, allows the animal’s Spirit to enter into a world collectively known as The Afterlife. You may choose to call the world wherein their spirits reside Heaven, Utopia, the Summerlands, the Otherworld or similar term.

The idea for this talk came about given they I often hear folk make comments like, “I’m glad mosquitoes won’t be in heaven” or “It’s great to know that all the animals will live in peace for there shaln’t be nasty insects  or animals there such as cockroaches or lions and suchlike.” Or that dreaded fiend, the Crocodile.

Such sentiments are to be understood given that we all find certain animals repugnant but these sentiments are not helped when New Age authors inform their readers that—

Mosquitoes are not divine creatures, they are astral entities. People send out thoughts all the time. In low frequency times, when humans were intensely irritated they projected their anger and frustration powerfully into the ethers. This eventually became a thought form, which materialized into matter and the mosquito was born. Like all dark forces, mosquitoes continue to serve us by rousing our irritation or by being attracted to us when we are annoyed.

And furthermore that—

Flies are also astral entities, created by the buzzing, angry thought forms of humans. They are the downside of a human’s power to co-create with the Divine. Once Atlantis fell, the world started opening up and people traveled. The ecological issues that had been developed in pure Atlantis were no longer followed. Waste became a problem and with it flies spread and proliferated. (Diana Cooper, DISCOVER ATLANTIS, 2007)

None of these beings are “Astral Entities” or “Dark Forces,” they are a part of Nature.  Such teachings, to my mind, are disrespectful, and need to be challenged for they do not take into account the goodness of these insects, either individually or collectively. If ALL LIFE is truly interconnected, then surely Mosquitoes, Flies and Crocodiles, too, exist in Heaven.

Last year we had the opportunity to learn about Animal Ghosts. If such tales that we heard at that time are even partially true, then it seems logical to explore the issue of whether or not animals exist in The Afterlife.

Sadly, a lot of people will give their utmost respect to animals and then turn around and deny them a place – and I emphasize here the words—A PLACE WHERE THE ANIMALS SHARE IN THE WORLD OF THE AFTERLIFE ALONG WITH OTHER ANIMALS AND PEOPLE.

For example, the mystic Emmanual Swedenborg, (1688-1772) whilst recognizing that animals have many spiritual truths to teach us, taught that they have no place in heaven as individual beings.

He informs his followers that:

“… the spiritual nature of animals is not the same as ours. We have an inmost nature that animals do not, a nature into which the Divine flows and which it raises toward itself, in this way uniting us to Itself. So we, unlike animals, can think about God and about divine matters of heaven and the church. We can love God because of these matters and by engaging with them; and so be united to him; and anything that can be united to the Divine cannot be destroyed. Anything that cannot be united to the Divine, though, does disintegrate.” (Heaven and Hell #435)

So it is our love, as humans, that unites us to God – not so the animals, they seemingly cannot love God and therefore cannot be united to God. However, I’d argue that animals, indeed everything in Creation, is imbued with the same Spirit and thus All Life can be united back to God or Deity. Who knows the heart of another? More importantly, God’s love is not bound up by our love for our God but emanates independently from our own thoughts and emotions.

In the book, The Afterlife, by Prajnananda (2017) we are told how the Paramatma is manifested in the reflection of Purusha (as the masculine) and Prakriti (as the feminine).  Purusha is the life-force of every being from the microorganisms to the largest, from insects and moths, from birds and animals to human beings.  Prakriti is to found residing in the constellations and stars.  On earth She permeates the hills and valleys onwards to the mountains and rivers. She is found in the seas and oceans and in the groves and forests, in the plants and trees.  Prajnananda goes on to say that:  “Each Being has the same life-force within for without this life-force of the Paramatma THE BEING IS A DEAD BEING.”

Turning to the teachings of American Psychic and Healer, Edgar Cayce (1877-1945), I came across this insightful teaching:

“In the material world, where we find expressions of the physical and of the spiritual, we find Mind. Yet what is known as the Group Mind—or that of the plant kingdom, the mineral kingdom and the animal kingdom…returns (as is destined) to the Creative Force which is its author, its maker. MAN—the free will agent…makes his Destiny as to whether his Mind…is one with or in opposition to the Creative Forces.” (Reading 262-80)

A commentator, Jennie E. Taylor, shares her thoughts concerning this reading:-

“This concept of a Group Mind sounded to me like what we call animal instinct. I did not feel that this meant animals could not also be individuals, but rather I was reminded that animals are full of innocence. As this reading seems to indicate, that’s because animals are always in accord with the Creative Forces. Whereas humans—with free will—can act in “destructive” ways that are against the Creative Forces, this reading seemed to be saying that animals cannot act in the same manner.” [1]

The reason I have mentioned Prajnananda and Cayce is because it is necessary to establish if animals have the capacity or the opportunity to exist after death else this whole talk is futile. If animals cannot exist once they die then why talk about animals and the afterlife. Again I must lament the fact that for some reason – nearly all religions, faiths, cults and sects teach that man is different to the animals and is somehow more worthy of a place in the afterlife.

When I was a little boy, I always felt that all life, once it died, that it’s Spirit or something that I really couldn’t name – a spark that somehow magically seemed to disappear – such would still LIVE, as it were, in another world. Of course, as a child, I did not have the words to describe what this all meant, but I certainly felt it deep within my heart. As a child, I always believed not only in a Presence (a God that I really could not describe), but also my belief was that God never would make anything that was deemed useless or less than others in relation to it.   The ant was as important as the bird outside my bedroom window or the dog that roamed our home at night; protecting us from the bad things getting in.

To be truthful, I think my connection with non-humans has always been extremely deep and far exceeds that of my connection with people.    This bothers some folk but for me I see it as a Gift from above – a gift bestowed by the Lord and Lady. Maybe even as a child I was destined to follow the Pagan Path or at least the Path of an animal lover whose life path is imbued with a deep connection to ALL LIFE FORMS, be these the mineral, plant, animal or celestial manifestations. I can not look into the face or the eyes of any creature and turn away for I perceive a Spark of the Divine in everything around me – though I do admit that I have a hard time seeing the Divine in a maggot!

Are my thoughts only vain or naive concepts that I hold onto given my views as a five year old child? Maybe so, for my feelings way back then took into account the Inner life of inanimate toys such as teddy bears, soft toys, G.I. Joe and such like. One time, when I was just five years old, my father threw a little toy tiger that I had (one stuffed with sawdust) into a fire outside and this really upset me for I truly felt the pain of my toy tiger and a great sense of loss.  Telling this story may sound weird but the feelings and the beliefs that I had are still with me today. Even today I see this Spark of the Divine in rocks and rivers and in mountains such as that of Arunachala.

Now if my thoughts are empty and wishful, then I am in good company for many cultures throughout the world have held similar views and emotions of the same nature. For example, the Ancient Egyptians would embalm animals so that their Soul or Ka, could journey safely into the otherworld. According to Egyptologist, E.A. Wallis-Budge [2]:

“…the Egyptians were not only renowned for their devotion to religious observances, they were famous as much for the variety as for the number of their gods. Animals, birds, fishes, and reptiles were worshipped by them in all ages, but in addition to these they adored the great powers of nature as well as a large number of beings with which they peopled the heavens, the air, the earth, the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, and the water.” (1904)

We could argue that the Egyptians “peopled the heavens, the air, the earth,” and so forth, with other beings because they knew no better and were a superstitious lot.   For the worship of —

“… the crocodile, ibis, dog-headed ape, and fish of various kinds as venerated in Egypt is true enough; they were not, however, venerated in dynastic times as animals, but as the abodes of gods.” [3]

This is reiterated in the book, Reincarnation: A Study of Forgotten Truth, by F. W. Walker (1901) page 66, where we read how:

“… the gods frequently inhabited the bodies of animals, and therefore they worshiped animals as incarnations of special divinities. The sacred bodies of these godly visitants were also embalmed as a mark of respect to their particular class of deities. For they placed certain gods in certain animals, the Egyptian Horus choosing the hawk, Thoth the ibis, Hatmehit the fish, Bast the cat, Bacchus the goat, Shu the colt, Apis  the ox, Sobek the crocodile etc.” (Slightly edited)

Yet behind their viewing animals as “the abodes of gods,” to my mind it does indicate a veneration of sorts for surely animals would not be viewed thus if such animals were, in the first instance, lesser than the gods themselves.  And if not lesser, then why not concur that these beings (crocodiles, ibises, fish, etc.) did at one time harbor a Spirit or Soul that was worthy of continuing to survive in the Otherworld.

I believe that we are all born with an innate sense of there being Something higher than ourselves (The Divine, the Creator, God, the One Divine Creative Principle) and a sense of deep servitude to this Something.  But as we grow and are exposed to intellectualizing our ‘Inner Promptings of Spirit’, we lose the innate connection with this Something and we move away from our connection with the Community of Nature.  The “abodes of gods” became a figment of the imagination, the animals mere automatons, lacking Spirit or Soul.

Sadly, Animism, which teaches that the Spirit of the Divine resides in everything from rocks to trees to birds and animals, died that we might be free from the gods yet in becoming free, we have imprisoned the Spirit of the animals, seeing only our own as free and worthy.  The Spirit Guide, White Eagle, speaks of these things when he tells how: ‘Even the minerals are alive with God. Each wayside stone is vibrating with a light and life it share with every plant that grows…metal, stones, wood…pulsating with…Divine Life.’4

A lot of us gathered here have had experiences involving animals that have taught us something that we might need to learn.   These experiences show to me that animals do indeed have the capacity to teach us and are worthy of a future life once they leave the earth plane.

My Possum friend, who I have spoken of before, taught me a lot about trust (that she would not bite me), friendship (she came to the realization that she could be friends with me), sharing what I had (as we sat together to share a biscuit), discipline (learning to feed her the things that were good for her) and mutual respect.    There were no doubt other lessons that I learnt or at least was meant to learn.  Surely her life is worthy of entering the Afterlife, if not, why so? Or do I simply imprison her Spirit?  I think not! I am certain that every one of us has a similar tale to share or an experience that they may like to keep to themselves.  Throughout the world there are many tales of animals existing in the Afterlife – in folklore, myth and fable, religious teachings and in the stories of everyday visitations of animals (usually beloved pets) from the other-side.  I feel it not too far-fetched to argue that behind these numerous writings is to be found an element of what I might style “Reality” or “Truth.” The Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist, Carl Jung (1875-1961) might view such tales as Universal Archetypes.

In the Introduction to the book, Power of Archetypes, (2017) by Marie D. Jones, is to be found the following explanation of an archetype:

“… An archetype is an idea or original pattern/model from which all things of the same type are representations or copies…from which all similar persons, objects, ideas, concepts, and themes are derived, copied, modeled and emulated.   In Jungian psychology, an archetype is an inherent idea or mode of thought derived from the experience of the species/race and present in the individual and collective unconscious.”

Given this explanation, one may ask, What is the basis of these tales of the Afterlife and its animal inhabitants?   If none (and I emphasize the word, none) of these stories or events as recorded contain no truth or at least harboured a degree of truth, then none of us gathered here today most likely has an Afterlife – we only have the life that we live now.

Now if only one story of an animal existing post mortem ever proves true, then that one story adds proof to the existence of an Afterlife itself and the reality of an immortal component housed within the physical confines of an animal. Such should change our thinking concerning the Inner Life of animals and our treatment to boot.

For myself, I think it foolish and a tad boastful to believe that animals have no inner Spirit or Soul that continues to exist once they have left the earth-plane.  Or, in the words of one Sidney H. Beard, Editor of the Herald of the Golden Age: “let us at least prove our ‘higher nature’ by something more convincing than mere talk, or the thoughtless repetition of ancestral beliefs concerning our celestial origin, which may possibly be born of racial conceit.” (July 1913)  I really like how he puts this.

There are numerous books written about animals and the Afterlife; some are possibly just a collection of subjective experiences by a grieving human who finds it difficult to move on after their beloved pet has died and their imaginations come to the fore to give them inner peace. However, not all of these tales can be so easily dismissed.  As one example, when it comes to hauntings by animal ghosts, such have often been witnessed or experienced by many people – and often over time and by people who have never crossed paths. Elliott O’Donnell’s Animal Ghosts (1913) is replete with such tales.

As I believe I said before, if animal ghosts exist, then they surely must reside somewhere, at least for a time.  If we all have a part of us that reincarnates – then surely animals have the same part (let us call it the Soul) and this must surely reside in the state we are taught that we reside in when between our own incarnations. Naturally I am not suggesting that all the Souls of mosquitoes, flies, dogs, cats, crocodiles, elephants etc., reside for evermore in a place I call the Afterlife.   What I am trying to say is that if each living thing has a Soul, then that individual Soul shall live on as we humans believe that we ourselves do, until their next incarnation.

One of the problems which I have found that tends to hamper people from believing the various stories of animal ghosts or animals continuing to exist in the Afterlife is that many folk view the human race is the apex of Creation and ergo worthy of special consideration.   It seems the entire animal creation—which scientists estimate to be around 8.7 million species —is somehow ‘less’ in their eyes and that animals have no inner Spirit and therefore they cannot enter into Heaven.  One author in a book concerning the Spirit World, is so bold as to state categorically that—‘earthly animals have no existence beyond this life.’5

Irish author Elliott O’Donnell expresses so beautifully what he perceives as the purpose of a heaven for animals, found in the introduction to his 1913 book, ANIMAL GHOSTS:

“… Take, for example, the case of the horse. Harming no one, and without thought of reward, it toils for man all its life, and when too old to work it is put to death without even the compensation of a well-earned rest. But if compensation be God’s law,—as I, for one, believe it to be—and also the purpose of a hereafter, then surely the Creator, whose chief claim to our respect and veneration lies in the fact that He is just and merciful, will take good care that the horse—the gentle, patient, never-complaining horse—that it is well compensated—compensated in a golden hereafter.     Consider again, the case of another of our four-footed friends—the dog; the faithful, affectionate, obedient and forgiving dog, the dog who is so often called upon to stand all sorts of rough treatment, and is shot or poisoned, if, provoked beyond endurance, he at last rounds on his persecutors, and bites. And the cat—the timid, peaceful cat who is mauled, and all but pulled in two by cruel children, and beaten to a jelly when in sheer agony and fright it scratches. Reflect again, on the cow and the sheep, fed only to supply our wants; shouted at and kicked, if, when nearly scared out of their senses, they wander off the track… And yet, you say, these innocent, unoffending—and, I say, martyred—animals are to have no future, no compensation. Monstrous! Absurd! It is an effrontery to common sense, to philosophy—anything, everything. It is a damned lie, damned bigotry, damned nonsense. The whole animal world will live again; and it will be man—spoilt, presumptuous, degenerate man—who will not participate in another life, unless he very much improves…”


Even in the Islamic tradition, there are ten animals admitted to the Moslem’s paradise or Jannah. These are:

1. The dog Kratim, which accompanied the Seven Sleepers.

2. Balaam’s ass, which spoke with the voice of a man to reprove the disobedient prophet.  The donkey of ‘Uzayr (whom Allah The Almighty caused to die for one hundred years). When ‘Uzayr was revived, he found his donkey next to him as it was.

3. Solomon’s ant, of which he said “Go to the ant, thou sluggard.”

4. Jonah’s whale.

5. The ram caught in the thicket, and offered in sacrifice in lieu of Isaac.

6. The calf of Abraham which was slaughtered for his angel guests.

7. The camel of Saleh who was hamstrung by those who denied the truth.

8. The cuckoo of Belkis.

9. The ox of Moses.

10. Mahomet’s mare, called Borak. An animal with wings, that is bigger than a donkey and smaller than a mule) and upon which the Prophet rode on the night of Al-Israa’ (Ascension)

Let the Christian who believes that animals have no future-life recall the words from the Old Testament which poses the question:

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (Eccl. 3:21) implying that both people and animals possess a Spirit.  In a preceding verse, the writer informs his audience that “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts…as the one die, so dieth the other; yea, they all have one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  All go unto one place, and all turn to dust again.” (vv.19-20)

To those who believe that animals have no place in the Afterlife, I can only reply, How truly sad if true.   If the Creation of animals is something that adds to the beauty of our earth, not only visually but ecologically so, (the ecology is what creates the larger tapestry) then I could think of nothing as grim as an Afterlife devoid of animals and really would not wish to be there but I’d rather be where the animals are, to paraphrase American actor, Will Rogers (1879-1935)

I wish to share the sentiments of a writer of old, E.M. Beeby, as I admire his way of expressing this concept further:

“… How strange to me is the desire for…the absence of animals from the spirit world!   We little realize how much of the beauty of our earth is due to its animal population, still less, perhaps, how much we gain spiritually by the presence and love of animals.  How inexpressibly dull the earth would be without animals; and if [in] this earth, then, as we hope to retain our individuality, [then in] the next world equally so…” (LIGHT Psychical Journal, August 1904)

On the other hand, we hear many folk advance the argument that as animals were indeed created for our benefit—an argument often employed by the churches—then their lives are for one lifetime only; not for a future time.  When I meet such folk I point out that, according to the words of their own Holy Scripture – the inerrant Word of God – animals were created prior to Adam and were once on friendly terms with him for ‘Adam gave names to them.’ (Gen.2:19-20).  A Christadelphian man that I met many years ago believed that this proved that animals were not always afraid of mankind but that it was the Fall in the Garden of Eden which caused the division that we now see between humans and animals, as manifested after the Noachic flood.    Of course, many argue that humans were given dominion over the animals – though if correct, then we have a far greater responsibility to the Creatures created out of God’s imagination than is presently being undertaken.

From an esoteric perspective, let us reflect upon the insightful words of Alice A. Bailey (1880-1949) who informs us that:

“… A grub or worm working out its little life in a mass of decaying substance is as much a spiritual manifestation as an initiate working out his destiny in a mass of rapidly changing human forms.  It is all manifested Deity; it is all divine expression and all a form of sensitive awareness and of response to environment, and therefore a form of conscious expression.” 6

 In the 1882 Oahspe Bible we read how…”the beasts of the field and the birds and fowls of the air, and for many animals that are companions to man, made I a place in heaven, where their spirits should survive for a season.” [The Book of Judgment v.8]

Another aspect that I believe adds weight to the argument that animals have a Spirit or Soul which continues on is that of animal communication.    For why are animals able to communicate with “Whisperers” if their life is simply a one-off event and one that is basically that of servitude to mankind? Why give an animal its own individual thoughts (to commune with the “Whisperer”) if they are here purely for our benefit? Or is it only to benefit us humans? Let us remember the role of the Power Animals who come from other planes not of this earth, to teach us lessons about how to live in harmony with the earth and each other. Many of these communications come from animals that have already ‘passed over’ and their messages are a lot about the need for mankind to get its act together.    These messages are generally brought to our attention via Channeling or, for many of us, they may come via our dreams or meditations or our intuition.

In the numerous writings of Spiritualism come many incidents of animals visiting humans or we read about those who have been privileged to enter the Afterlife and who have come back to tell us of their journeys. For people  interested, you may wish to read A SOUL’S JOURNEY by Peter Richelieu (orig. published in Durban, South Africa as From the Turret, 1958) or RETURN FROM TOMORROW by George C Ritchie, who died in 1943 and allegedly visited the Astral Plane. Or Raymond Moody, who coined the term Neath Death Experience in his 1975 book, LIFE AFTER LIFE, again well-worth the reading of. Or Betty Eadie’s EMBRACED BY THE LIGHT — This last title is especially recommended for those who are of a Christian persuasion.

 Please note that these books do not necessarily refer to animals in the Afterlife but give one a good insight into what the next world is, or may be like.

How often have we read about people who have come back and shared with us how an animal friend that had died years before, was waiting to meet them as the person (or should I say their spirit or astral body) neared a Portal giving ingress into the world of the Afterlife. The meditation, which you may know as The Rainbow Bridge, paints for us a vivid picture of such an event.

The testimony of one spirit, as recorded in LIGHT Psychical Journal for August 1904 is worth sharing here:

“… I have animals around me here; I see both those I knew on earth, and others, some of whom have been here hundreds of years—thousands of years it perhaps may be.  I do not assert that they will persist eternally, I do not know; but they are here, as real, as individualized as when on earth, and with their faculties more highly developed…”


And in the book, Spiritualism which is a record of discourses with a Spirit that was held in 1853 by John W.Edmonds (1799-1874), we are told concerning the Spirit world that:

“… Here there was a clump of trees, entwining their tangled arms together over the deep shade that rested below, and there a single tree or two, beneath whose shelter animals were seen, giving life at once and repose to the scene. And, in fine, as the light of the morning increased, it opened to my view a lovely landscape, gently undulating and diversified by land and water, and field and forest. Many animals were seen moving about, or reposing quietly, playing wildly, or grazing or slumbering.    Birds in great numbers, and with every variety of song and plumage, were flying across the scene in all directions, some just skimming the surface of the water, and others soaring aloft, up, up, until their melody seemed mingled with the distance…” (John W.Edmonds, Spiritualism, 1898 ed.p. 163-164.)

Now for some tales about animals in or from the Afterlife and the experiences of people who once shared their lives with these “angels in disguise,’ to paraphrase a Minister writing in 1874.

One lady, Bianca Unorna, writes:

“… I was once sitting in social conversation with several ladies, when all at once I exclaimed, ‘Oh, here is such a nice dog!—a big black dog, with a curly coat—a retriever—do any of you know him?”  One of the ladies, the hostess, at once said, ‘We once had a dog like that, but it is a great many years ago.  Do you think you could give us his name, madame?’  Like a flash the name was given and I said, ‘It was Rover!’ and to my surprise I found it was correct.  Within the last few weeks, a client from London was accompanied by the spirit form of a small lap dog, which leaped and frolicked around her, and evinced all the usual signs of canine joy at finding himself once more in her company, at being recognized…” (LIGHT Psychical Journal of May 1904)

You could say that ‘Rover’ is a common name but this medium had just met the spirit dog and the chances of getting the name right are pretty slim and if stumbled upon, still most impressive. The Spirit dog must have come from to her from some other place—the Afterlife, perhaps.

In a small booklet titled, HEAVEN OPENED: or Messages for the Bereaved from Our Little Ones in Glory (1870) wherein the author, a Medium, refers to her dealings with a cousin who had died from an undisclosed illness in 1865 at the young age of 16. She sent her medium-auntie the following description of the Afterlife:

“… Therefore I awoke in the beautiful gardens of the Spirit Land, where all the happy spirits suited to my capabilities were thronging around me. I lay where I was brought by the spirit, on the couch of flowery essence, yielding forth refreshing and supporting perfume, and my ear was aroused to spirit life by thrilling songs of welcome and of love! Oh! I did not wish for earth!   I forgot it all for some long time (in your earth measurement). I was revelling in joy!  Surrounded by all beauty-all music! Even my favourite animals in life were there, to delight me.  The most beautiful horse, with a bright shining star over his eyes, was at my side, and I mounted it to explore the surrounding gardens. I was not absolutely conscious that I had passed the gates of death. I had not thought of dying!”

Another spirit that came through was a young boy called Ernest who talked about:

“… Very lovely trees, and fields, birds, and flowers, and pretty horses and dogs, and all that is very pretty…”

This same medium writes:

“… I saw the message given to Miss T—last evening by her sweet little niece, about the pet canary [awaiting its human companion]. I know this will be pleasant to know, upon the subject of the mystery of spirit-life in the animals of earth, The dear little spirit knew very well, and expressed it very well…”

The loves of pet animals or things become incorporated with the life of the atmosphere surrounding each individual.

Coming into more modern times, we have many books describing the Afterlife and the animals who reside in it.  Alas, these books generally report on those animals that most people do not have an issue with – dogs and cats (usually beloved pets). A list of books is available for those who wish to learn more.

However, I can only quote from one. It Is an interesting little book written by Spiritualist Harold Sharp, called Animals in the Spirit World, (publ.1966) who relates an interesting tour into the Astral Plane. He explains:

“… I remember a walk with Brother Peter in the ‘Out of Body’ state when we met a group of little children singing and playing as they romped along the road.  An Alsatian was with them, big, powerful, yet with those children he was as gentle as a lamb.  When it was on earth a boy was teasing it and it snapped at him, tearing his jacket, no doubt meaning to teach him a lesson.  But the law decided that the dog was a menace and must be shot.  It was surely the boy who should have been punished—the woman to whom it belonged wept and pleaded, but to no avail.  If she could but see it now, she would stop grieving.  Of course, she misses it.  Of course, she realizes that [an] injustice was dealt out instead of justice, but it is so happy with children and they with it, where injustice and ignorance cannot reign.  One day she will be with it again.   When I think of that journey I can almost hear the dog’s joyous barking, so impressed was it upon my memory…” (p.50)

 “Where injustice and ignorance cannot reign.” What a grand thought.    And, “Where injustice and ignorance cannot reign,” one should expect to find other animals of which Harold Sharp makes a brief reference to, as he explains how:

Further afield, I found lions and tigers, foxes, elephants, monkeys and meditative camels, and tropical birds of beautiful colour. Indeed, every living creature you could think of. (p.44)

For those who scoff at the belief of animals—be they friend or perceived foe—being welcomed into the Afterlife; the Otherworld, I feel sad yet my hopes are raised when I think of how many things are yet to be discovered, unveiled or —and this is my own personal saving grace—we return to those teachings of old (animism. Paganism, panpsychism) and reconnect with the Spirit of our Ancestors and embrace what they not only perceived with the eye or ear, yet too with the deepest part of their heart or Soul.

A writer of times past and of who I can supply no further details, one A.C. Vernon Harcourt, reflects that:

“… If the time could arrive when all was known, when there could not be a new investigation of experiment, our keenest pleasure would be at an end.  We may, therefore, feel happy in the thought of how much is still unknown…”

To sum up, I believe that by accepting that the Soul of an animal—whatever its manifestation—continues to exist in the Afterlife, such should go a long way to our accepting each one of these beings as equally deserving of our respect and, I trust, shall increase our desire to protect it from harm, by that animal an ant, silverfish, earwig, cockroach, spider, snake, shark, rat, skunk or, indeed, my beloved crocodile. That is my dream and the main motivation for giving this talk today. So Mote It Be. – Heathclyff St.James-Deville



[1]  Accessed June 1, 2019

[2] E.A. Wallis-Budge, God of the Egyptians (1904) p.4

3 God of the Egyptians. p.2

4 Spiritual Unfoldment Volume 2, (1981 ed. P.93)

5 Crowell, The Spirit World (1879) p.117

6 Alice A. Bailey, Esoteric Psychology Vol.1 (1936)


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Please note that the above are the views of the writer and not necessarily those of the Theosophical Society Pasadena.

Religions: a long history, a huge influence: Religions have been a dominant force in human history. But how did they start? What aspect of human nature requires religion? What are the positive and negative aspects of religion? What does the Ancient Wisdom have to say about religions?

The oldest religious temple in the world discovered so far was found at Gobekli Tepi in south-eastern Turkey in 1994. This enormous structure has been dated back 12,000 years, ie dating back to the close of the last Ice Age!

Before then, there is abundant evidence of ‘folk-religion’ amongst cave dwellers and indigenous people, including our own Australian Aboriginal peoples, going back at least 40,000 years and almost certainly much longer amongst early humans.

Since then, of course, we now have a multitude of religions and they have all had a dramatic influence on the development of society, science, culture, art, and architecture throughout the world.

Religions: Who believes What? There are an estimated 10,000 distinct religions worldwide, but about 84% of the world’s population is affiliated with one of the five largest religions, namely Christianity, Islam,  Hinduism, Buddhism, or forms of folk religion. The religiously unaffiliated includes those who do not identify with any particular religion – Atheists and Agnostics. While the religiously unaffiliated have grown globally, many of the religiously unaffiliated still have various religious beliefs.

The study of religion encompasses a wide variety of academic disciplines, including theology, comparative religion, and social scientific studies.

Religions: Definitions: There is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion. It may be defined as a cultural system of designated behaviours and practices, world views, texts, sanctified places, prophesies, ethics, or organizations, that claims to relate humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements.

Religions: What Are They About? Different religions may or may not contain various elements ranging from the divine, sacred things, faith, a supernatural being or supernatural beings, or “some sort of ultimacy and transcendence that will provide norms and power for the rest of life”. Religious practices may include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration (of deities), sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trances, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service, or other aspects of human culture.

Religions have sacred histories and narratives, which may be preserved in sacred scriptures, and symbols and holy places, that aim mostly to give a meaning to life.

Religions may contain symbolic stories, which are sometimes said by followers to be true, that have the side purpose of explaining the origin of life, the universe, and other things. Traditionally, Faith, in addition to Reason, has been considered a source of religious beliefs.


Functions of Religions: Inspirational and Mystical:

  • Fulfil human yearning to regain Unity with God/the All.
  • Understand the Cosmos and our place within It.
  • A pathway to connection with divinity.
  • Explain the unexplainable.
  • Fear of the unknown and an attempt to explain it.
  • Help us to understand/manage a dangerous and unpredictable world.
  • Give comfort for what happens after-death.
  • Give a sense of meaning to life and suffering.
  • Fulfil a deep-seated urge in humanity for an explanation of our yearning for higher truths.
  • Comfort in extreme situations in life.
  • Explain nature. Creation stories.
  • Reverence for the unseen powers of nature.

Functions of Religions: Social:

  • Social and legal control through divinely sanctioned laws.
  • Control of fertility and kinship groups through religiously sanctioned marriage and guidelines for sexual behaviour.
  • Men controlling women by religious laws.
  • Stratification of society, eg caste system (India), feudal system (Europe).
  • Establishment of a religious elite class and hierarchy.
  • Control of social groups by class, gender, etc through religious sanctions.
  • Provide a moral framework for society.
  • Social aspects of religion, eg psychological support in a group of like-minded people.
  • The human tendency to anthropomorphise what we cannot explain . We tend to see the unseen in human terms, for example, the image of God as an old man with a white beard. Cognitive theorists call this HADD – Hypersensitive Detection Device, or, the tendency to detect human agency, and hence human cause, behind any unexplained event.

Functions of Religion: Political:

  • A potent political control mechanism.
  • Power over others through fear of the supernatural.
  • A reason for wars and conquest of others and depriving them of their resources.
  • Establishment of a class of religious professionals who act as intermediaries between the divine and ordinary people and who are richly supported by other sectors of society.
  • ‘Politicomorphism’: the divinization of earthly politics, ie. political realities are reflected in religious myths. For example, religious dogma reflects and legitimizes the political structure of the time. To this day this is one of the central features of nearly every religious system in the world, eg. hierarchical structure of the gods reflects hierarchical structure of society and is closely associated with those in power, eg. the head of the Church of England is the Queen of England.

Different Types of Religion: Religions can be categorized broadly into different types:

  • Monotheistic,
  • Polytheistic,
  • Henotheistic,
  • Pantheistic,
  • Folk Religions.
  • Animist Religions.

Monotheism: Monotheism has been defined as the belief in the existence of only one god that created the world, is all-powerful, and intervenes in the world. A broader definition of monotheism is the belief in one god. A distinction may be made between exclusive monotheism, and both inclusive monotheism and pluriform (panentheistic) monotheism which, while recognising various distinct gods, postulate some underlying unity.

Monotheism is distinguished from Henotheism, a religious system in which the believer worships one god without denying that others may worship different gods with equal validity, and Monolatrism, the recognition of the existence of many gods but with the consistent worship of only one deity.

The broader definition of monotheism characterizes the traditions of Bábism, the Bahá’í Faith, Balinese Hinduism, Cao Dai (Caodaiism), Cheondoism (Cheondogyo), Christianity, Deism, Eckankar, Hindu sects such as Shaivism and Vaishnavism, Islam, Judaism, Mandaeism, Rastafari, Seicho no Ie, Sikhism, Tengrism (Tangrism), Tenrikyo (Tenriism), Yazidism, and Zoroastrianism.

Elements of pre-monotheistic thought are found in early religions such as Atenism (Ancient Egypt), Ancient Chinese religion, and Yahwism (Israel).

Polytheism: is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. In most religions which accept polytheism, the different gods and goddesses are representations of forces of nature or ancestral principles, and can be viewed either as autonomous or as aspects or emanations of a creator deity or transcendental absolute principle (monistic theologies), which manifests immanently in nature. Most of the polytheistic deities of ancient religions, with the notable exceptions of the Ancient Egyptian and Hindu deities, were conceived as having physical bodies.

Polytheism is a type of theism. Within theism, it contrasts with monotheism, the belief in a singular God, in most cases transcendent. Polytheists do not always worship all the gods equally, but they can be henotheists, specializing in the worship of one particular deity. Other polytheists can be kathenotheists, worshiping different deities at different times.

Polytheism was the typical form of religion during the Bronze Age and Iron Age up to the development of the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), which enforce strict monotheism. It is well documented in historical religions of Classical antiquity, especially ancient Greek religion and ancient Roman religion, and after the decline of Greco-Roman polytheism in tribal religions such as Germanic paganism or Slavic paganism. Important polytheistic religions practiced today include Chinese traditional religion, Hinduism, Japanese Shinto, and various neopagan faiths, such as Wicca and Asatru.

Henotheism: is the worship of a single god while not denying the existence or possible existence of other deities. Examples of Henotheism:

Zoroastrianism: Ahura Mazda is the supreme god, but Zoroastrianism does not deny other deities.

Hinduism: many deities, but praises them successively as the “one ultimate, supreme God”, alternatively as “one supreme Goddess”, thereby asserting that the essence of the deities was unitary, and the deities were nothing but pluralistic manifestations of the same concept of the divine (God).

Greek classical religion: “all divinities were interpreted as aspects, particles or epithets of one supreme God“

Early Judaism: Rabbinical Judaism as it developed in late antiquity is emphatically monotheistic. However, its predecessor—the various schools of Hellenistic Judaism and Second Temple Judaism, and especially the cult of Yahweh as it was practiced in ancient Israel and Judah during the 8th and 7th centuries BC—have been described as henotheistic.

Folk Religion: Folk religion, popular religion, or vernacular religion comprises various forms and expressions of religion that are distinct from the official doctrines and practices of organized religion. The precise definition of folk religion varies among scholars. Sometimes also termed popular belief, it consists of ethnic or regional religious customs under the umbrella of a religion, but outside official doctrine and practices.

Examples folk religions such as Shenism and Taoism. Shenism describes Chinese mythology and includes the worship of Shen (spirit, god, awareness, consciousness) which can be nature deities, Taizu or clan deities, city gods, national deities, culture heroes and demigods, dragons and ancestors. Taoism is sometimes classified as a Chinese folk religion.

There are also folk versions of Christianity, Folk Islam: has been described as the Islam of the “urban poor, country people, and tribes”, in contrast to orthodox or “High” Islam Sufism and Sufi concepts are often integrated into Folk Islam.

Animism: is the religious belief that objects, places and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence. Potentially, animism perceives all things—animals, plants, rocks, rivers, weather systems, human handiwork and perhaps, even words—as animated and alive.

Animism is the world’s oldest religion. Animism predates any form of organized religion and is said to contain the oldest spiritual and supernatural perspective in the world. It dates back to the Palaeolithic Age, to a time when humans roamed the plains hunting and gathering, and communing with the Spirit of Nature.

Animism is a term for the belief system of many indigenous peoples, especially in contrast to the relatively more recent development of organised religions. Although each culture has its own different mythologies and rituals, “animism” is said to describe the most common, foundational thread of indigenous peoples’ “spiritual” or “supernatural” perspectives. The animistic perspective is so widely held and inherent to most indigenous peoples that they often do not even have a word in their languages that corresponds to “animism“, or even “religion“.

Pantheism: means that ‘God is All’ or ‘All is God’. God and the Universe are one and the same – nothing exists outside of God’s necessary existence. What we call the world and what we call God are not independent or discreet. Rather the world is God’s self-expression. It is God’s essence realised and experienced. Examples:

Hinduism, especially the Vedanta tradition, which holds that the Brahmin (Absolute reality) alone is real and everything else is illusion.

Buddhism: all phenomena have their being in a single reality;

Taoism:the divine principle is the ground of all being;

Jewish mysticism the concept of Tzimtzum or divine withdrawl, the belief that God had to make room within himself to allow for the universe to come into being;

Christianity: mystical thinkers such as Meister Eckhart;

Philosophy: Benedict Spinoza: one substance displaying infinite attributes;

Science: Albert Einstein, Nicolai Tesla, Carl Jung, Carl Sagan.

Religions: Positives:

  • Provide moral framework for society: a purpose and reason for doing the right thing. Punishment by God(s) if we do the wrong thing.
  • Charitable work in the community.
  • Provides the basis for social change.
  • Gives positive goals in life.
  • Sense of community: gives people a sense of belonging.
  • Major inspiration to the arts and architecture.
  • Inspires people to compassion, giving, humanitarian service, sacrifice for others.
  • Encourages altruistic behaviour and social justice, such as overcoming barriers based on race, social position, gender, etc.
  • Health: people with religion have much better mental health than those who don’t.
  • Economics: Christians own most of the world’s wealth. Protestantism and Capitalism. Jain Sect.
  • Festivals and positive aspects of religious Ritual.

Religions: Negatives:

  • Wars
  • Violence and terrorism of many types.
  • Discrimination based on caste, Gender, and Religion.
  • Dogmatism and of religious thinking.
  • Establishment of powerful religious hierarchies and all the evils this can bring.
  • Extremism.
  • Superstitions.
  • Intolerance and denigration of the truth of another’s religion.
  • Fundamentalism.
  • Political and Social Control.
  • Sexual Abuse.
  • Economic Abuse.
  • Break up families: Plymouth Brethren, Commonwealth Brethren, Jehovah’s Witnesses.
  • Bogus combinations of Science and Superstition, eg. Scientology.
  • Encourages Faith and Superstition over Reason.
  • Sacrifice: both animal and human.

Religion: a Perspective from the Ancient Wisdom: Of all the divisive forces rampant throughout history, religion has been amongst the most potent. Dogmatic belief in what men believe to be right, has caused them to unleash terrible suffering on the fellow humans in the name of their God(s).

From the persecution of the Christians in Rome, through to the Spanish Inquisition, to a world threatened by dogmatism and terrorism today; it seems that the greatest evils in the world have been wrought by men with an outraged sense of virtue.

Amid the clash of contending ideas, how often do we pause to consider what religion really represents? The word ‘Religion’ itself gives the key to its true meaning for the salvation – not the ruination – of Humanity. The great Roman orator, statesman, and scholar, Cicero, tells us that the word is derived from the Latin word, ‘Relegere’, which means, ‘To gather together that which once was one’ (from his De Natura Deorum II xxviii, 72).

Far from being a cause of strife, the ancient wisdom perceived religion as an ultimately unifying force.

The Ancient Wisdom teaches us that in the distant past a direct knowledge of the Unity of all things was the common property of mankind.

The Men (ie Humanity=Men and Women) of those early eras were in unconscious harmony with the kingdoms of Nature both above (angels, gods, etc) and below (animals, plants, minerals, elementals) them in a similar fashion as we see amongst the animals, plants, and the natural environment of our world today.

Just as each of us emerges from the playgrounds of childhood to adult responsibilities, Man of the distant past fell necessarily into greater materiality as he grew in experience which clouded his vision of the Oneness of Universal nature.

Foreseeing this event and its potential disasters for fledgling humanity, high intelligences descended to earth to instruct man in the arts of civilization and the mysteries of the Oneness which later found outward expressions as religions.

These events have been celebrated in the worlds mythology and religions which tell of Golden Ages of the distant past when God, or the Gods, moved freely amongst men, guiding, instructing and ruling them.

Just as parents must relinquish their direct responsibility for their children if they are to grow successfully to adults, the Gods have long since left direct and open communication with Humanity.

Nevertheless, their emissaries/students/servants and those great man and women who have been worthy of direct knowledge or visions of the Universe-as-it-is-in-Itself, have been active amongst the world’s peoples throughout the ages bringing the message of brotherhood which forms the basis of all the world’s great religions.

They have repeatedly encouraged man to self-consciously rediscover the Unity which is his natural heritage and the fulfilment of what it means to be truly Human. Through the power of their example, they point to the royal road of such understanding which lies within; to Unity with the Inner-God which is at the core of us and which is an inseparable part of the infinite Universe.

Let us celebrate the opportunities life offers us for learning in the true and original sense of ‘religion’, adding our effort ‘to gather together that which once was One’ for the sake of our brothers and sisters, and the future of our world.

From G de Purucker:

“…sooner or later mankind as a whole will once again become keenly conscious of the fact that there exists in the world a wisdom which once was the common property of the human race over the earth, and which…is what (students of the Ancient Wisdom) call by various names, such as the Esoteric Tradition or the Esoteric Philosophy, or the Wisdom of the Gods, and in modern times by the term Theosophy.

It is only this Wisdom, which is Knowledge of things-in-themselves, which can adequately feed the hunger of the human intellect and supply the spiritual and ethical needs of the human heart.”

–from The Esoteric tradition Vol.1 page 366.

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Major Concepts:

Karma: the law of action and reaction;

Reincarnation: we have several lives in order to learn the lessons of life in their completeness;

Caste and Gender Roles: determined by birth: Four principle Castes but literally hundreds of minor divisions: Brahmins: philosophers and teachers, Ksatriyas: warriors/administrators; Vaishyas: shopkeepers, traders, those concerned with economics and money-making; Sudras: the lowest cast doing basic jobs and Dalits: the lowest of the low doing the jobs no-one else will do; Gender Roles: Hinduism prescribes strict rules for gender roles and for arranged marriage so that caste remains intact.

Dharma: duty both personal cosmic in the sense of the ‘laws of life’;

Samsara: the wheel of life and suffering in which we are caught until we break with the cycle of ignorance of Spirit and how it operates in the world;

Moksa: escape from the wheel of life to Nirvana or a higher state of existence beyond the human stage;

Maya: the ‘illusion’ in which most people live of life’s purpose and our understanding of Reality;

Rita: the divine harmonious law keeping the universe intact;

Avataras: great teachers of humanity who come at cyclic times;

Stages of Life (Asramas): Bramacharya: student; Grihasti: householder/family life; Varna Prastha: retired person; Sanyassi: ,

Sacred Cows.

Gods and Goddesses:

330 million of them! Major ones: Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Ganesha, Durga, Pavrati, Laxsmi.

Ista Devati: personal favourite God/Goddess.

Paths to Understanding/ Union with the Godhead (Trimarga):

Karma Marga – Action/Good Works.

Jnana Marga – Wisdom/Study.

Bhakti Marga – Devotion to a Deity.

Four Goods of Life:

Dharma: Duty.

Artha: Wealth.

Kama: Pleasure.

Moksa: Escape from the wheel of life/suffering (Samsara).

To achieve Moksa you must give up the other three Goods, otherwise you remain wedded to the Wheel of Life (Samsara) and put off Moksa or escape from the wheel of suffering, for a future life.


3000BC: Indus Valley Civilization–1600BC: Migration of the Aryans; Vedas–800BC: Upanishads—561BC —Buddha. Jainism—400BC: Mahabharata—327BC: Alexander the Great—200BC: Bhagavad Gita; Laws of Manu; Ramayana; Dharma Sastras; Puranas—500AD: Tantras— 700AD: Muslims invade India—1469AD: Sikhism— 1757: British invade India—1947: Independence from Britain; Partition of India—2001: Kumbh Mela Festival becomes the largest religious gathering in history.

PROBLEM OF SUFFERING: Suffering is a universal experience. Buddhism provides a philosophical path out of the constant cycle of suffering. Buddha is not a God, he is a human being who found his way out of the cycle of suffering and it is possible to emulate his achievement. It addresses basic questions in life: What is ultimate Reality? Who am I? How can I develop my full potential as a human being? Buddhism doesn’t depend on belief. It is all about questioning and understanding. It has a number of pathways to greater awareness of Reality – ascension to Nirvana, or staying on Earth to help suffering humanity as a Boddhisattva (ie. one whose essence is Compassion). These pathways do not take us to the extremes of spiritual asceticism on the one hand, or materialistic indulgence on the other. The spiritual Path recommended by the Buddha is a sensible balance between extremes that each person can follow according to their abilities and situation – The Middle Way.

THREE JEWELS OF BUDDHISM (TRIPLE REFUGE): Buddhists take refuge in the Three Jewels or Triple Gem (also known as the “Three Refuges”). The Three Jewels are:

  • the Buddha, the fully enlightened one.
  • the Dharma, the teachings expounded by the Buddha.
  • the Sangha, the monastic order of Buddhism that practice the Dharma.


1 – ‘Attachment’ or ‘Thirst’ (‘Trishna’) for objects of sense causes suffering and heartache.

2 – Attachment can be made to cease by:

3 – ‘Living the Life’.

4 – Through application of the Exalted Eightfold Path.

Along life’s journey it is inevitable that we all encounter the Three Awakening Sights: Disease, Old Age, and Death. The realization of our own inevitable mortality provides us with the opportunity to ‘open our eyes’ to our purpose for being here and to some of these truths that the Buddha and other great spiritual teachers have spoken of in their own way.


  • Right Belief.
  • Right Resolve.
  • Right Speech.
  • Right Behaviour.
  • Right Occupation.
  • Right Effort.
  • Right Contemplation.
  • Right Concentration.

THE PARAMITAS (PERFECTIONS): Generosity; Ethical Discipline; Patience; Joyous Perseverance; Meditative Stabilization; Wisdom. 

Why should we develop these particular qualities along the Path of spiritual learning? To achieve the aims of others for spiritual understanding you must first help them with material goods as they won’t appreciate spirituality if they have an empty stomach! Since no benefit will come from Generosity accompanied by harmfulness towards living beings, you need Ethical Discipline, which has great purpose for others; this is the state of desisting from harm to others and the causes of harm. To bring this to its full development, you need Patience that disregards the harm done to you. You need to develop the ability to fix your mind on your ideals so you need to develop Meditative Stabilization. Calmness and single-mindedness in the service of others lead to Wisdom. None of this is attainable by laziness, so you need Joyous Perseverance in pursuit of wisdom through service to others and so this quality is the basis of the other Perfections.[These comments are based on Tibetan spiritual teacher Tsong-Kha-Pa, from his Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment]


Date(s) Historical Event(s)
5th Century BCE Life of Shakyamuni Buddha, based on whose teachings Buddhism developed.
269-231 BCE Reign of King Ashoka, patron of Buddhism; sends first Buddhists to Sri Lanka in the third century.
100 BCE to 100 CE Rise of Mahayana Buddhism.
First half of 2nd century CE Reign of King Kanishka; Mahayana Buddhism spreads to Central Asia.
1st century CE Buddhism first enters China.
520 First Zen patriarch Bodhidharma arrives in China.
538 Buddhism enters Japan from Korea.
7th to 8th century Vajrayana Buddhism established in Tibet.
11th to 14th century Theravada Buddhism established in Southeast Asia.
1199 Nalanda University destroyed; demise of Buddhism in India.
13th century Zen, Pure Land, and Nichiren Buddhism established in Japan.
1881 Pali Text Society founded.
1893 World Parliament of Religions (Chicago).
1956 Celebration of 2,500 years of Buddhism.


Most Antahkarana literature consists of definitions of the Antahkarana as the bridge between lower and higher mind, – this will be Part One of the talk.


Part Two is about the Rainbow Bridge aspect of Antahkarana, and Part Three is how we, trying to reach the “flower”, can follow the path of compassion and be antahkaranas too, and links or bridges with other people, by our behavioural example.



Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen’s definition of the Antahkarana: “the vibratory “bridge” between the Divine Presence and the individual human Soul transmitting the spiritual qualities acquired by the Soul, to the Divine Presence”. (1)


Antakharana is a Sanskrit name, combining antar,”interior, within”, and

karana, “sense organ or instrument”). (2) or: antar, between or intermediate, and karana, the present participle of kri, to do, hence meaning effecting”, acting”. (3) Kri also means to create, as in “Creator & Creators”.


Sankaracharya says Antaskarana means “understanding”, others says it’s “the internal instrument, the Soul, formed by the thinking principle and egoism”, whereas the Occultists explain it as the path or bridge between the Higher Manas and the Lower Manas, the Divine Ego, and the Personal Soul of man. It serves as a medium of communication between the two, and conveys from the Lower to the Higher Ego all those personal impressions and thoughts of men which can, by their nature, be assimilated and stored by the undying Entity, and be thus made immortal with it, these being the only elements of the evanescent Personality that survive death and time. It thus stands to reason that only that which is noble, spiritual and divine in man can testify in Eternity to his having lived. At death the Antahkarana is destroyed as a Path or medium of communication, and its remains survive in a form as the Kamarupa – the “shell”. This shell must be left to dissolve away, it is mortal and not needed, to keep connection with it would draw us down into the infernal depths, among the Brothers of the Shadow, the murderers of their Souls, the dread Dad-Dugpa clan.”(4) Likewise, we may become an animal, if the Antakharana is broken. (5)


Before entering the threshold the Path to mergence with the Universal Soul, before crossing the foremost Gate, the aspirant must “merge the two into the One and sacrifice the personal to SELF impersonal, and thus destroy the “Path” between the two – Antaskarana”. (6) It is only the ‘process’ of bridging between the Higher & Lower Manas, and only exists when you commence to ‘throw your thought upwards and downwards”. (7)


The aspirant must tune him/herself to the Higher Self, of himself and of the Hierarch, like “the strings of the soul-echoing vina, (a lute), mankind, unto its sounding board; the hand that sweeps it to the tuneful breath of the GREAT WORLD-SOUL. The string that fails to answer ‘neath the Master’s touch in dulcet harmony with all the others, breaks – and is case away. To the collective minds of Lanoo-Sravakas. They have to be attuned to the Upadya’s mind – one with the Over-soul – or break away, like the lost souls do Once the aspirant is attuned his her being to “Humanity’s great pain”, a candidate for light, he enters the path of sorrow, compassion. (8)


“Man thus becomes fully illumined by the higher Pitris within him – the Kumaras, the Agnishwattas, and the Manasaputras – he becomes a Budha, having learned to discern between Purusha and Mulaprakriti. Living in Alaya, he will thus destroy his Antaskarana; he will become one with Swabhavat, buyt ever retain his Swabhava. – This is recorded by the Lipikas.”(9)


This can only happen, I think, when these higher powers permit it, when we are evolved enough. At the Crucifixion of Christ, which I take to mean the initiation of The Son of Man, into the Son of God, the inner sanctum of the Synagogue, housing the invisible God Yahweh, (which sanctum in pagan temples housed the image a particular god), the curtain between the inner court reserved for the elders and priests, was torn in two, FROM ABOVE, i.e. by God, removing the barrier between Man and God, and creating a link between the two, instead. The Sanctum was only visited once a year by the High Priest, on the Day of Atonement, or At One-ment, and on behalf of the ordinary folk, who could only worship at the steps of said temple. The high priest would sacrifice an animal to atone, for one year only, for the sins of the people. I think this sacrifice was the scapegoat, laying hands and transmitting all the people’s sin in onto the goat’s head – this goat was then released into the wilderness, a first goat having been killed for atonement from sin. – see Lev. 16: 20-28).




Theosophical researcher, Dr Don Shepherd, defines Antahkarana as a temporary link, the Sutratman carries forward, improved by the imprint of the karmic lessons learned in one life, to the next life – because Antahkarana is an activity, Sutratman is a structure, as opposed to an activity. The Antakharana links the twofold Manas lower, and higher, as it is both the subject and object at once, the cause of cognition within the human self, which simultaneously appears within that internal cognition which it has created. It is our human spiritual search for the inner god within the human frame. The very nature of cognition allows for the division between subject and object – the basis of individuality – that gives the lower Manas a momentary glimpse of higher states. But even when the glimpse fades, the lower Manas retains the impression.


Dr Shepherd goes on to say: Sutratman at whatever level, is the garments of the Monad, the combination of aggregates around the Monad that allow the Monad to be identified as an individuality. Monads are individuals and therefore can be identified. The Sutratman, as the thread-self, establishes an identity for the Monad. (10)


Antahkarana means inner sense organ, instrument, conscience, mind, heart, soul, seat of thought and feeling. In Hinduism, out psychological-spiritual structure, comprised of manas, buddhi, chitta, and ahamkara. This is distinguished from the term Bahya Karana, outer instrument or the senses or Indriyas) through which you sense, perceive, think and reason out. (11)


The upper, middle and lower selves are brought forth from Mother nature. The physical elements are the five bhutas with their “subtle prototypes”, the five bhutamatras or tan-matras, but also the physical faculties, senses and organs; the indriyas, i.e. the ten outer ones (= 5 karmendriyas” (faculties of action + 5 jnanendriyas (faculties of knowledge)] besides the threefold inner organ (antahkarana) comprising manas (mind), aham-kara (consciousness of individuality, and buddhi (universal intellect), all of which together with prakriti itself make up the total…24 tattvas” principles of nature, the five; also, the abstract principles of existence, physical and metaphysical – five ordinary senses, or seven, including two as yet latent in Man. (12).




This section of the lecture involves chakras, which we are encouraged not to develop, not to want powers, if they come the powers would be given to us by the hierarch, when needed, and not for us to decide to be kept, after this happens.

HPB says the antakarana is “wedged” in the uterine baby’s brain at the eight month & the higher Manas does not unite itself with the child before the completion of the seventh year of life (the age of Reason). There are seven cavities in the brain, empty during life, and fluid-filled upon death, and the Antakharana is the fourth – the seven steps of antkharana correspond with the Lokas. (13)


The seven selves were reached serially in meditation classes run by HPB, only for those qualified for such an experience. HP Blavatsky made a diagram for her inner group students – Buddhi is the yellow semi-disc, (maybe the golden “bowl” discussed in Ecclesiastes, to be discussed later), the vehicle of the Paramatmic shadow, and is the human Atman, the sun with the white sphere above Buddhi.  Within the blue Auric Egg is the orange macrocosmic pentacle of Life, Prana, within which is the red pentagram representing Man, and symbolizes matter. The orange pentacle symbolizes both the universe and Man; the upper manas (indigo) connects with the lower manas, (green), by a thin green line which binds the two together. This is the Antakharana linking the personal being whose brain is under the sway of the lower (animal) mind, with the reincarnating Individualality, the spiritual Ego, Manas-Manu, the “Divine Man”. (14) [I still don’t know what the inner sides on lower half of the pentagram, coloured in “the tenderest violet”, symbolizes].


Antakharana also means any kind of link, even between people – “every path or bridge between any two monadic centres…or intermediary between anyone or thing low, that is high – every messenger of truth and light between the Masters of Wisdom and mankind or someone that is low, to one that is high – every great and good person is an antahkarana between humanity and the spiritual essence of his or her own inner god. A person living in the noblest and loftiest part of his or her being, becomes such a bridge between the spiritual realm he is in touch with, and all other entities and things contacted by that person which belong to human life”. (15)  (Therefore is this similar to the Sephirophal tree, in the Kabbalah, with the Kether or Crown at the top, and all the branches below this making a diamond-shaped form, with disks naming the various “selves”, each counter-linked diagonally, vertically, and horizontally.




In Ecclesiastes: the Antakarana is the “silver cord” that joins the physical body with the internal bodies, or the eternal, divine man, which alone reincarnates, from the ephemeral bodies, which return to dust . “Remember your Creator (i.e. the spiritual heart of the universe) …(…or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” i.e. take the upward path at death, so you’ll be linked with the highest. (16). (I think this means you go to “heaven” when your consciousness is skewed to the Path of Compassion, and for eternity”, because you’ll be living in the Eternal, i.e. timeless, non-corporeal, part of yourself – of course we believe we reincarnate, so eternity isn’t everlasting, a Catch 22?).


Diagram of Ra-symbol, Star of David, to Cross, to Cross with face in unfolded cube.  In Vol 2 of the SD, HPB describes the evolution of the Cross, from a horizontal line, Matter, intersecting with a vertical, Spirit, to a Star of David, through other stages, and finishing with a cube, unfolded into six squares, linked to form a cross, at the crossing of which is a face of a man, or a man himself – our inner Christos pinned at the intersection of spirit, “heaven”, and matter, the world.


There’s a stained glass window in a local church, where Christ is robed in white (as he appeared to the apostles, after His resurrection), haloed, but wearing a cloak of red. To me, this symbolizes the inner majesty of the inner Christos, hidden/protected, in the outer covering of our outer, physical self. Remember how the gods said they’d hide the inner god somewhere Man would never find it, (’til he was spiritually ready), they’d hide it within Man himself?


The hieroglyph for Ra, the sun-god (and the sun within the sun). seems to describe svabhava, or self-becoming, of the heart of hearts in you being informed by the soul of the soul of the universe, the sun within the Sun. The dot in the middle of the circle is the path through we are reborn, linked with the All, then return to be an example unto our fellow human beings, to become that which we were ever meant to be – a friend says this ios “going back to Life Central with all we’ve learnt in life”.


Christ gave himself up to death, upon the Cross. I think this means that the Great I Am, or Tat (That, the Great I Am), imparted himself into a pure human (Mary), “death” meaning the human condition of mortality, the Cross being the meeting of Spirit (the vertical bars of the cross), with matter, the horizontal bars thereof.


Initiants are initiated upon a cruciform couch, go to the heart of the Sun within the outer sun, and return three days later, clothed in glory. Before crucifixion, Jesus was referred to himself as the Son of Man (who has no place to lay His head), and afterwards, as the Sun of God. This is an involution by God, and an evolution of the human vehicle. Thus we go from being in Eden, non-self-consciously being linked with God, eating of the Tree of Knowledge, being expelled to learn about God, in the World, (which is his physical raiment), and finding Him again, through the Tree of Knowledge, (the Cross, in the garden of Gethsemene).


Christians believe there is a chasm between us and God, which resulted from the Fall of Man (as we would say, into matter, and self-directed evolution). This chasm is made crossable by accepting Christ as your saviour, the cross upon which he died, lays itself down over the chasm, so we can contact God.


HPB quoted Colossians in her Secret Instructions to Probators of the Esoteric School, under the Philosophical Rationale of the Tenet, p.88-89: re right living, once you’ve found the Path – Follow the path, and Be it: “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God”. The text continues: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature….because of these, the wrath of God is coming…But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language… Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your off self with its practices, and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of its Creator. … clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience…” (Colossians. 3: 5-12).




Randdall C. Grubb, when he became Leader of TS Pasadena, enjoined us to live the teachings and to try and give back to the font of divine love, from which we draw so much spiritual nurture. Rand’s predecessor James Long said this too: “Do the duty before you, no matter what your station in life, and thinking right thoughts can make a big difference, by living the Golden Rule – do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. The Masters of Wisdom and their helpers constantly seek to alleviate the burden of suffering in the world and guide us forward on the path of spiritual evolution, but only with the reservoir of karma already there for this manvantara (cycle of activity): – unless we add to it. By living the golden rule our example will influence others as a spiritual strength and a guidance, leading us a real step on the path towards to the Masters of Wisdom”. (18)


James Long  also said:  “There is a link between us, the Masters, and those we try to, in turn, influence. We do so by thinking of our other fellow person, before we think of ourselves – the Masters are very close to us, as we do our job and fulfil our responsibility we need to have no worries about what they will provide. They are right there. All we have to do is to take our steps in their direction, and they will come to us”. (19)


And lastly, Theosophy has been described as: “humility, obedience and submissive receptivity, it starts where Nature itself ends. it is taught by God. As growth starts from within…Divinity is within everything”. (20)




  • Roza and Margarita Riaikkenen, The Laws of Life, Glossary, on p. 337.
  • Don Shepherd’s article in Theosophy Downunder,
  • Sanskrit Keys to the Wisdom Religion, p. 68.
  • HPB, Theosophical Glossary, pp. 23-24), & Voice of the Silence, pp. 51-2 & 89.

(5) HPB, Collected Writings, Vol. XII, p.710.

(6) Voice of the Silence, p.50.

(7) HPB, Inner Group Teachings, p.17.

(8) Voice of the Silence, p.51.

(9) Sanskrit Keys to the Wisdom Religion”, p.126.

(10) Don’s definition.

(11) Quote from Swami Sivananda, in google.

(12) Vreede, F., The Essentials of Living Hindu Philosophy), London, Oxford University Press, 1958 PP. 28-29.

(13) HPB Collected Writings Vol.XII, pp. 624, 672 & 297.

(14) (ibid)

(15) Encylcopaedic Theosophical Glossary, from Google, internet.

(16) Ecclesiastes, Holy Bible, Chapter 12,verses 6-7.

(17) Ecclesiastes, Holy Bible, Ch.12, verses 6-7.

(18) Andrew Rooke, “A Reservoir of Spiritual Force”, Theosophy Downunder,  No. 95, Aug 2008, p.2.

(19) The Report of the Leader’s Tour in Europe, April-June, `951, Part 1, Holland, pp.67,69, & 70.

(20) Vas, Nivard L., quoting Antoine Faivre, in his Theosophy, Imagination and Tradition, p.37 of  his review of The Western Esoteric Tradition, by N. Goodrick-Clarke, Oxford University Press, 2008.




In dreams we do not wonder at the seeming impossible, such as moving through space at will or transformation scenes where animals are changed into human beings or vice versa.   In dreams we neither criticise nor deny.


Why then do we deny Animal Ghosts?


Having looked at the topic of Spirit or Power Animals last year, I feel it important that we differentiate these from Ghost Animals. The term, Power or Spirit Animal, is defined as: —”An internal helper, companion and guide, in the form of a natural or magical animal, which possesses qualities you need in this world…Your power animal helps you access higher wisdom, either your own or that of a higher power.”   By Ghost Animals or Animal Ghosts, I refer to the spiritual manifestations of animals that once lived here upon the earth and of which seek to accomplish some form of communication with the one to which they appear or haunt. They can manifest visually, be audible and/or tactile in nature, or a combination of these. I have decided to favour the term “ghost” in this talk, and have tried to avoid the term, Spirit, so as to avoid any confusion.

We shall investigate a few of the many theories abounding as to what these manifestations are, why they may exist and shall hear tales of animal ghosts, some good; some not-so-good.

I trust that you shall enjoy this talk as it is truly fascinating in both the stories told and the implications as to the truth of their reality.  If animals do, indeed, have a ghostly element to their nature, what of our treatment of them?


HAVE animals a soul, a ghostly counterpart? I unhesitatingly answer “Yes.”  If my dog lacks a soul then neither have I one—my dreams of immortality;  merging back into The One, of meeting with the Lord and Lady, are merely a delusion.  Animals really do display the highest attributes that we could all learn from and should attempt to emulate.




In all ages of the world and amongst all races of the earth people have claimed to see, sometimes in broad daylight, sometimes in the darkness of the night, ghosts in human shape, of animals, or of spiritual beings, appearing without material cause, and vanishing as mysterious as they came.




I undertook some minor research into how the term Ghost came about.  The word ”ghost” is of Persian origin and signifies guest. In Irish, which belongs to the same family of speech as Latin, we have anal, “breath,” and anam, “life” or “soul.” In Sanskrit, an elder branch of the same Aryan root, we find an, “to blow” or “breathe,” whence anila, “wind”; and in Greek anetnos has the same meaning. Psyche, pneuma, and ihymos, each meaning “soul” or “spirit,” are also from roots expressing that of “wind” or “breath.”  In Slavonic the root du has developed the meaning of “breath” into that of “spirit,” and the Gypsy dialect has duk, which is “breath” or “ghost.” Ghost, in the German is geist, and the Dutch geest, are each derived from a root seen in Icelandic geisa, meaning ” to rage,”  as in fire or wind, whence also come gust, gas, and geyser. In the non-Aryan Finnish, far means “soul” and “breath “; the Hebrew nephesh, ruach and neshamah (in Arabic ruh and nefs) pass from meaning “breath” to “spirit.” The like applies to the Egyptian kneph.    The terms may supply a further insight into why Ghosts are often “felt,” as they either pass us or indicate such as like a “breath of wind.”



It is not in our nature to rest satisfied with its first thought or observation—questions are posed and theories developed.  The question relating to our topic can be phrased—If it is possible for a ghostly counterpart to exist in humans, then why not a ghostly counterpart in animals, and ghostly counterparts in every important object in nature?  Who can limit the capacity of the ghost? That which might exist in people might likewise exist in animals, dwell in trees and plants, and make a home in a river or rock, exist in cloud and star, in short in everything. (The Supernatural, King 1892)


Such were the likely thoughts of early folk as they attempted to make sense of the world.  And even now, there are many who still subscribe to such a belief.


Early humans, to explain the world around them, saw that every element of Nature had an inner being; a Ghost as it were.  Later, as this belief developed, it made more sense of doctrines such as Immortality, Reincarnation and, to a large extent, Karma.   Treat the Natural World and animals and people with respect and good would return in kind.


Here we see the basis for the doctrine of Animism— A belief that all tangible objects, animate and inanimate alike, consist each of two separable parts—a body and a spirit. It is defined as a stage of culture in which people regarded any object, real or imaginary, as possessing emotions, thoughts, and actions like that they themselves possessed.


I really like what James G. Frazer, the anthropologist, has to say in relation to this in his book, Fear of the Dead (1936). He writes that “The strictly logical character of primitive thought has sometimes been doubted or denied, but in one respect at least, primitive man is more consistently logical than his civilized brother, for he commonly extends to the lower animals that theory of the survival of the soul after death which civilized peoples usually restrict to human beings.” (p. 283)


In researching this topic, it seems the rule of belief that it is human souls which take on the form of animal ghosts, implying that only humans have a ghostly nature and not so animals.  NOTE the connection to the witch’s familiar.  Sometimes even the Gods took on an animal form for concealment or protection.


In Greek mythology, Typhon was represented as a giant with a hundred heads like a dragon; the force of truth, or the power of his words by which he overcame idolatry was likened to “flames of fire darting from his mouth,” and his words to “horrid yells like the dissonant shrieks of different animals.” His story goes on to relate that the gods were so frightened that they fled away and assumed the shapes of various animals for concealment. – The Worship of the Dead by Garnier, 1904 p.265



Jupiter became a ram, Mercury an ibis, Apollo a crow, Juno a cow, Bacchus a goat, Diana a cat, Venus a fish, &c. The father of the gods at last resumed courage, and put Typhoeus to flight with his thunderbolts, and crushed him under mount AEtna, in the island of Sicily, or according to some, under the island Inarime. Typhoeus became father of Geryon, Cerberus, and Orthos, by his union with Echidna. Hygin. fab. 152 & 166.- Lempiere’s Classical Dictionary 1832 ed.




One Spiritualist tells of how he conversed with many very intelligent clairvoyants who have described apparitions which manifested themselves in the form of dogs, cats, bears, tigers, and other animals, and all these appearances they assured him, were but the representation of human beings under low conditions of development.   The same persons had informed him how they often saw different individuals surrounded by toads, lizards, serpents, and vermin, but that such objects had no real objective existence, but were projections from the evil tendencies of the parties, whose thoughts engendered them, as relate GHOSTLAND by Britten 1897 p. 97


During the Middle Ages (5th-15th Century), “a dead person sometimes took on the shape of a material object (a haystack) or, more often, of animal—a bird, a dog, a reptile, or a horse. In the metamorphosis that such tales attributed to them, the dead had a rich bestiary at their disposal, the symbolism of which was highly significant.”—Ghosts in the Middle Ages by Jean-Claude Schmitt, Trans. Teresa Lavender Fagan, 2000 p. 196


As we can deduce, this belief apparently has its origins in the old theory of metempsychosis which has existed in various stages throughout the various cultures of the world.


My own theory here goes something like this:—


Maybe another reason that people believed that humans took on an animal form after death, could be due to the fact the Christianity would have viewed only humans as having an “Immortal Soul,” or at least some “Inner Quality” that could be defined as Spirit or Ghost, hence the saying “giving up the ghost.”

Therefore, if animals lack a similar, it not the same, quality, then there was nothing that could manifest in the form of a spiritual apparition or ‘ghost.’ Let us remember that, according to most Christians, the Resurrection only applies to people.


To explain away the conundrum of an animal ghost would be simply to view such a manifestation as that of a dead human come back to walk the earth.       It could likewise have been that to see a dead person was more fearful to behold, (the dead do not walk, at least not prior to the Resurrection) whereas to see a dead animal, not so.  There is an apparent contradiction here yet one that seems to somehow make sense.  These are just some ideas that came to me that may contribute something to the debate in terms of theory.


In a book, Shropshire Folk-Lore by Georgina F. Jackson (1883) it has been suggested that ‘Possibly the animal form of ghosts is a mark of the once-supposed divinity of the dead. Ancestor worship is one of the oldest of the creeds, and in all mythologies we find that the gods could transform themselves into any shape at will, and frequently took those of beasts and birds.’ (p.131)


If a ghost resides in each individual as manifested in the natural world, surely such would continue to exist in other realms as it travels through its spiritual and evolutionary journey to attain liberation and become once more a part of The One.


One spiritualist, William Danmer, explains to us that: —


“The inherited concept of immortality does not directly apply to the living organic beings of our visible world. All of them are “mortals” who have to die sooner or later.     But by immortality is meant the lasting, persistent, self-sufficient existence of beings in the second department of organic life, the big realm of that individualized existence which has been called the realm of nirvana, the heaven of ghosts, the elysium, or the spirit-world. Immortality presupposes such a realm of invisible, persistent, undying organic beings which we simply call ghosts.” —Ghostology, 1924


In Ghosts I Have Seen Violet Tweedale explains that when a wild animal dies its life flows back into a group soul. As the animal becomes domesticated, such as a dog or cat, and learns to live with people, sharing in the joys and sorrows of its human companion, then it advances rapidly in evolution. Its closeness with a human helps it to develop human qualities, and in due time its ghost will no more return to merge in the group soul, but be born into the human family.   Of course, this is dependent on the treatment it experiences whilst on its life-journey. (publ. 1919, Chapter 9)


The life-spirit is first born into a primitive state to begin this human evolution, but the animal has passed one of the most important milestones on the long, lone trail. It will never more return to the world in the form of the beast, henceforth it will commence its slow ascent from the most elementary human body to the exalted heights of a god. They tell us in the East— “First a stone, then a plant, then an animal, then a man, and finally a God.” This is how the wisdom of the East understands Divine evolution. (See The Secret Doctrine, Stanza 8, Vol.2 p.698)


Violet was a close friend of H.P. Blavatsky and her book, Ghosts I Have Seen, contains an account of her first meeting with H.P.Blavatsky.


A similar view is advanced by the author of a book, A WANDERER IN THE SPIRIT LANDS, as written by a Spirit Author called Franchezzo in 1896. He inform us that “…animals as well as men hav[e] an immortal future for development before them. What are the limits of the action of this law we cannot pretend to say, but we draw our conclusions from the existence in the spirit world of animals [my emphasis] as well as men who have alike lived on earth, and both of whom are found in a more advanced state of development than they were in their earth existences.”

Harking back to Violet Tweedale’s reference to the Group Soul of animals, Andrew Rooke, in a talk on GROUP SOULS, SOUL GROUPS and SOUL MATES – Do they exist? explains that:—

‘Group Soul’ is the popular idea that there are entities which express themselves through a collective of living units and collectively are that unit with a single Group Soul covering them all. For example, many people think that when animals die they become merged back into a ‘Group Soul’.   But is this so from a theosophic viewpoint?

Every animal, plant, mineral, and even atom, has its own spiritual monad or permanent individuality which is on the path of evolution just as we human monads are on our Path. This individuality cannot be lost. The farther we go ‘back’ on the evolutionary ladder of life evolution towards the chemical elements, the less developed is their individuality – so the more alike they seem to us – like peas in a pod.

Another suggestion has been put forward that there are not ghosts per se, let alone Animal Ghosts. These apparitions are merely thought-forms that we create.  I tend to disagree, given that some of the tales of ghosts are more able to induce fear than, for want of better words, peace and serenity — and I naturally include the ghosts of animals here, as we shall discover shortly.   If these animal ghosts were thought-forms, is it not reasonable to venture that these ghosts would be welcomed and not, as sometimes is the case, shunned?

Another interesting point is that the ghost tales of old seem to be more malignant.  I think this may be due to the fact that the world back then was so different – gas light, no electricity, lonely roads, no noise pollution, more forest growth or isolated moors, fewer people meant houses were more isolated, bandits roamed the countryside, and a Christianity abounded that taught hell-fire & brimstone and the Devil to-boot and who, according to the Apostle Peter, roamed the country-side as “a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Pet.5:8)—no doubt, all this would have added to one’s imagination, thus generating far more ghastly visitations than of today.

The foregoing are just some of the theories that have been put forward to explain the reason for a belief in the existence of ghosts and an explanation as to why such a belief is valid, if not necessarily believed

Now for some tales of —

GHOSTLY VISITATIONS — Some dark; others light.

The accounts of the Ballechin House hauntings (Scotland) are well-documented. Upon the death of a former owner, a Major Stewart, in 1876, a series of ghostly animals were observed.  It is interesting to note that Major Stewart said he would come back to haunt the home in the form of a favourite dog, a black spaniel, after his demise

The remaining family had all of Major Stewart’s dogs destroyed; shot dead – fourteen in total – to thus avoid any future hauntings by such canines.


The account goes that — “The wife of the old Major’s nephew and heir was seated one day adding up accounts in the dead man’s study, when the room was suddenly invaded by the old doggy smell, and an unseen dog pushed distinctly up against her.  Many other unpleasant incidents followed after, but the really great happenings did not begin till 1896, when a hunting tenant, after a week or two, was compelled to quit the house, and forfeit the considerable rent he had paid in advance.” (Ghosts I Have Seen, p,121)


The Times of June, 1897 contains elaborate details of the various experiences and the names of the researchers of the Society of Psychical Research who, under the leadership of ghost-hunter, the late John, Marquis of Bute, conducted investigation at the house in 1892. We learn more about this haunting from a 1907 book on Haunted Houses by Charles G. Harper:


The bowed and bent figure of a spectral hunchback, gliding up-stairs, seen by two witnesses, was unnerving, but the most startling phenomenon was undoubtedly the frequent appearance of a spectral black spaniel, seen alike by those who had heard the story of the old Major and by many who had not. One of these last was a guest who, suffering one day from a severe headache, was trying to pass the time with setting up a camera in one of the rooms. He, strange to say, had a black spaniel of his own in the house, and thought he saw it run across the room. It looked larger, he thought, than his own dog; and then he saw his dog run into the room after it and wag his tail and seem pleased at the meeting. Casual mention of the incident elicited the fact that there was no other corporeal spaniel in or about the place.

For guests to be pushed and snuffled at by invisible dogs was a common occurrence, and  sounds as of dogs’ tails striking, in being wagged,  on doors and wooden wall panels, were continually heard;  while real undoubted dogs, with no suspicion of  anything ghostly about them, would frequently  be observed watching the movements of persons or  things invisible to merely human eyes. But one of the most unnerving episodes was that experienced by one of two sisters who were sharing the same bedroom.  She was woken in the middle of the night by the frightened whimpering of a pet dog that slept on the bed, and, looking round in the direction of the animal’s gaze, she saw — what think you? —nothing but two black paws on a table beside the bed


To conclude this particular haunting were to be seen two nuns in black, in the grounds of the house.   The first recorded of these was a solitary nun seen weeping in a snow-covered glen. On another occasion there were two nuns observed simultaneously (but independently of each  other) by two different ladies, and at the same time by a usually quiet dog that accompanied one of them, which ran up to the nuns, barking violently. It is to be remarked here that a sister of Major Stewart’s had died as a nun in 1880.     The fact that the dog also observed these nuns shows us that animals can see things often beyond our own limited perceptions.




This house was located somewhere in Surrey not many miles from London, existing in the mid 1800s. It was not very old and there was nothing remarkable in its appearance, nothing to suggest even to an impressionable, highly sensitive person that it was haunted. The house had in the rear of it quite a large garden, which from long lack of attention was overgrown with weeds.


One very still and quiet night, one of the house’s occupants, Ronald, was sitting by the warmth of the fire and, feeling snug, he did not like leaving it.   A sudden awareness of some presence behind him made him glance apprehensively round. There was no one to be seen.   Whilst looking intently at the wall-paper, a mixture of bilious yellow and green, with a jumble of flowers of an unknown species, he noticed that it was soiled and had probably been on the walls for many years.   The longer he stared at it, the more it jarred his nerves and he decided to get replace it as soon as possible. There seemed to be something unusual about it tonight; something that made him keep on gazing at it, at one spot in particular. Of course, it was just his silly imagination, but in the flowers and leaves he could see a grotesque resemblance to a face, such as one sometimes sees in a fire or in the pattern of a carpet.

This face became more and more pronounced as a queer, distorted face with prick ears, a grinning mouth and leering eyes.


About a week later, Ronald’s sister, Mabel, had a similar experience though this time the grinning face appeared in the designs of two separate cushions.  Believing that her imagination was playing tricks as she sat alone in the house, she rearranged the cushions.   Later she became again conscious of being watched, and on looking round she saw, with a start, that the cushions were not as she had left them. There were again faces, queer animal faces with the same expression of malicious amusement in their eyes. Becoming scared, she wondered if she was in a nightmare. To make sure that she was awake, she rose and looked at herself in the mirror over the mantelshelf. When she got back to her chair the faces were no longer to be seen. Spooky!


An English scientists, Robert Hunt inform us in his Popular Romances of the West of England, (1865) about A vicar named Jago, of Wendron in Cornwall, who was believed by his parishioners to have intercourse with the Devil. These were afraid of him, and declared that he had second sight, and could cast spells on those who offended him. Many people used to see him at crossroads and lonely spots at night, conversing with the evil spirits that haunted those places. The very ghostly horse on which he rode, a huge black animal, was said to possess supernatural powers and to be able to appear and disappear in the most unaccountable and alarming manner. (First Series pp.245-246)


In the same book can be found the story of Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596) and His demon. Sir Francis appears to have been especially befriended by his demon and was said to drive at night a black hearse drawn by headless horses, and urged on by running devils and yelping, headless dogs, through Jump, on the road from Tavistock to Plymouth. (First Series pp.260-262)




A naval officer was visiting a friend in the country back in 1864. Several men were sitting around the smoking-room fire when he arrived, and a fox-terrier was with them. Presently the heavy, shambling footsteps of an old dog, and the metallic shaking sound of its collar, were heard coming up the stairs.  “Here’s old Peter!” explained the visitor. “Peter’s dead!” whispered his dog’s owner. The sounds passed through the closed door, heard by all; they pattered into the room; the fox terrier bristled up, growled, and went in pursuit of some viewless object across the carpet; from the hearth-rug came the sound of a animal shaking, followed by a jingle of a collar and the settling weight of a body collapsing into repose.— This  story was written in a letter to Andrew Lang from an anonymous Lieutenant  of H.M.S Gunboat.




The following apparition of the spirit of a dog, occurring 106 miles from the location of his life experience and death, and at the very time of his “passing out,” is another interesting case.


Jim was a beautiful Collie, and was the pet of one General John Charles Thompson., who was residing at Cheyenne, Wyoming in 1905.  Jim had wide celebrity in the city as “the laughing dog,” as he seemed to manifest his recognition of and love for his acquaintances and friends by a joyful laugh, as akin to that of any human being.


His affectionate nature surpassed even that of his own kind, and was often cited by those who knew him intimately, as confirmation of the then (as sometimes still) current metaphysical conceit of that time, is was dogs alone of the dumb animals who possessed the religious instinct and thus worshipped man as God. What nonsense.


One evening in the fall of 1905, about 7:30 p. m., the General was walking with a friend on 7th. Street in Denver. As the two approached the entrance to the First National Bank, they observed a dog lying in the middle of the pavement, and coming up to him were was amazed at his perfect likeness to Jim in Cheyenne.    The identity was greatly fortified by the dog’s loving recognition of the General, and the peculiar laugh that accompanied it.  The General commented to his friend, then and there, that nothing but the 106 miles between Denver and Cheyenne would keep him from believing the dog to being Jim, whose peculiarities were explained to his friend before.


The dog astral, or ghost, was apparently badly hurt. He could not arise.

After petting him and giving him a kind farewell, the General and his friend crossed over Stout Street, and stopped to look at him again. Turning around, he found that the dog had vanished.   Upon the arrival of next morning’s mail, a letter from my wife said that Jim had been accidentally killed the evening before at 7:30 p. m.   The General has stated that he would always believe it was Jim’s ghost that he saw. (The Swastika, July 1907)


Other stories concerning dogs are supplied by Irish author, Elliot O’Donnell (1872-1965) in his Byways of Ghostland (1911)who explains how:—


“Occult dogs are very often of a luminous, semi-transparent bluish grey—a bluish-grey that is common to many other kinds of superphysical phenomena, but which he had never seen in the physical world.  He had heard of several houses in Westmoreland and Devon, always in the vicinity of ancient burial places, being haunted by blue dogs, and sometimes by blue dogs without heads. Indeed, headless apparitions of all sorts are by no means uncommon.   A lady, who was well known to him, had a very unpleasant experience in a house in Norfolk, where she was awakened one night by a scratching on her window-pane, which was some distance from the ground, and, on getting out of bed to see what was there, she perceived the huge form of a shaggy dog, without a head, pressed against the glass. Of course, Elliott argues that is does not necessarily follow that because one does not actually see a head, a head is not objectively there—it may be very much there, only not materialised.”    And what of our feline friends?


One Canadian lady described a ghost cat which would appear in her home from time to time —an old brick house that was over 100 years old.   The cat would be “felt” nibbling her hair or snuggling against her as she took a nap on the couch.  Violet had her own cat, named Soldier, at the time, who would often be observed sparring with an invisible partner.  At other times, Soldier’s food bowl would be mysteriously empty —and Soldier meowing the food that he evidently missed out on.     When Violet remarked about this to her Japanese-Canadian mother, it was explained to her that the Spirit Cat was eating the food, same as the spirits located of Japanese shrines would eat the food offered to them.  (Ghost Stories of Pets and Animals by Darren Zenko, Ghost House Books, 2004, pp.172-175)


Another lady, Janice Essex, relates a ghostly experience which occurred back in 1953, when her mother was pregnant with her. Her folks went to live in an old boarding house built in the 1890s. In this old house, a cat was frequently seen by Janice’s sisters and other family members—both those residing there as likewise those visiting. It seems that the cat was not really a problem in any way. (Phantom Felines…and other Ghostly Animals by Gerina Dunwich, Citadel Press, 2006, pp.30-31)




There is a legend mentioned in a poem composed by Wordsworth in 1807, ‘The White Doe of Rylstone,’ in which is embodied a Yorkshire tradition to the effect that a local lady of Bolton Abbey, an Emily Norton, revisited the ruins of the venerable structure in the form of a spotless white doe :


Which, though seemingly doomed in its breast to sustain

A softened remembrance of sorrow and pain,

Is spotless, and holy, and gentle, and bright,

And glides o’er the earth like an angel of light


The story is based upon an incident where her brother, Francis Norton, joined a Catholic rebellion against Queen Elizabeth the First (1533-1603) and was condemned to death. Francis was later released but was murdered whilst returning home.  Emily Norton, being in despair, sank to her knees but was befriended by a white doe which remained with her for life.   After Emily died, the doe faithfully continued to make the journey to Bolton Abbey and would lie upon the grass under which Emily’s brother was buried.


Catherine Crowe, in her Night Side of Nature, (1868) relates one case of a house near Philadelphia, U.S.A., that was haunted by a variety of phenomena, among others that of a spectre resembling a goat.    “Other extraordinary things happened in the house,” she writes, “which had the reputation of being haunted, although the son had not believed it, and had thereupon not mentioned the report to the father.  One day the children said they had been running after such a queer thing in the cellar; it was like a goat, and not like a goat, but it seemed to be like a shadow.”

This explanation does not appear to be very satisfactory, but as Elliot O’Donnell mentions hearing of one or two other cases of premises being haunted by what, undoubtedly, were the phantasms of goats, he feels it is highly probable it was the ghost of a goat in this instance, too.

And what about animals that experience ghosts, either human or animals? If we can accept that something occurs, then does this not add weight to the argument for a belief in, nay the reality, of Ghosts?




We have already noted the dog which had observed and ran up to the nuns in the case of Ballechin House.


A report, under the heading, Animal Clairvoyance, is found in an old UK magazine, The Occult Review, of February 1931.  The author relates that:—”One afternoon my sister and I, with our dog, were walking through what was supposed to be a “haunted” wood. (A man had hung himself on a lightning-struck tree, just off the path.)  Our dog, which had been running joyously about, stopped suddenly as we approached this spot ; and with every hair on her back bristling, her eyes glowing green, she backed away from something upon which her eyes were fixed, but which was quite invisible to my sister and me.”


It comes as no surprise that not everyone is going to accept the validity of ghosts or that animals can possibly see them. For example:


Canadian naturalist and a Fellow of the Royal Society, George John Romanes cites an interesting case in his book, Mental Evolution in Animals (1884 p.150)  as shared by a friend of his, Walter Pollock, who related to Romanes that he had:—


A Scotch terrier that had a curious hatred or horror of anything abnormal. For instance, it was long before she could tolerate the striking of a spring bell which was a new experience to her. She expressed her dislike and seeming fear by a series of grow and barks accompanied by setting her hair on end. She used from time to time to go through the same performance after gazing fixedly on what seemed vacancy, seeming to see some enemy or portent unseen by me, as if the victim of optical illusion.

I could produce the same effect by doing some unexpected and irrational thing until she had become accustomed to it, yet the seeing of some form of phantom remained unabated.”


The author again refers to a Mr. Pierquin, “who owned a female ape which had had sunstroke and afterwards used to become terror-struck by delusions of some kind; she used to snap at imaginary objects, and acted as if she had been watching and catching at insects on the wing.” (p.150)


The Scottish physician and botanist, William Lauder Lindsay  informs readers in his 1880 work, Mind in the Lower Animals, that— Delusions may be studied in the horse. The of sight in animals occasionally take the form, as in man, of phantoms, images of ghosts, or apparitions of imaginary persons, animals, or things” (II. p. 103) and that “Spectral delusions occur in several forms of insanity among the lower animals, as in the rabies in the dog, the sturdy (a disease) found in the sheep, and the sunstroke in the ape.”


Yet how do these authors know that these animals are displaying a form of delusion as opposed to seeing “something” that is “real” to their vision yet not visible to the people around them?  That is the question, to which a reply comes to us via British Psychic Investigator, Hereward Carrington (1880-1958) when he points out in his True Ghost Stories of 1915,  that:—


“…we have the behavior of animals, in haunted houses. They often appear to see figures visible or invisible to others present at the time—bark at them, rub against them, stare at them, act as though terrified at what they see, etc…. and can be explained only with difficulty if we are to believe that the figures seen are merely hallucinations.”


Castel a Mare


At Torquay, South Devon, at one time, a villa, the Castel a Mare, on the Warberry Road, was reputed to be badly haunted. A former tenant of the Castel a Mare” related to Violet Tweedale many details of her residence there. About thirty years ago she occupied it with her father and mother, and they were the last family to live in it for any length of time, and for many years it has remained empty. Soon after their arrival this family discovered that there was something very much amiss with their new residence.

The house, the garden, and the stable were decidedly uncanny, but it was some time before they would admit, even to themselves, that the strange happenings were of a supernatural order.


It seems that around 1870 a terrible murder occurred in the house. It is believed that the property was once owned by a local doctor who had moments of madness, and murdered his wife, and then their maid because of what she’d seen. Others say that a guest or patient was visiting the doctor and he murdered him.


It was also noted Animals fared badly at “Castel a Mare.” A large dog belonging to the family was often found cowering and growling in abject fear of something visible to it, but not to the human inhabitants, and the harness horse showed such an invincible objection to its stable, that it could only be got in by backing.


The Irish author, Elliot O’Donnell, writes in Dangerous Ghosts, (1954) another interesting tale concerning a horse.


In the little town of Nenagh was a bridge over a shallow stream which would sometimes becomes dry in the summer. The bridge and the stream are reputed to be haunted. One day, about the middle of the last century, a farmer was returning home from the fair at Nenagh in an unusually happy mood, having met several of his friends at the fair.  As he approached the bridge he saw a white object, no bigger than his hat, gliding along the road by his side. When he reached the bridge his horse stopped short. He dismounted and tried to lead the horse over the bridge, but it recoiled, snorted and trembled violently. It was a bright moonlight night, and the farmer, chafed by the horse’s obstinacy, and seeing nothing to account for it, lost his patience with the poor animal, and plied his whip and spur in earnest.   All of a sudden the horse shot forward, and the farmer saw very clearly, standing on the bridge, the tall, shadowy form of a woman in black, who struck him on the shoulder as he passed. The blow threw him forward upon the neck of his horse, which in wild terror reached the door of his house at a mad gallop, and stood there quivering and steaming all over.


There is a Scottish island located in the Outer Hebrides, known as  St. Kilda — now declared a World Heritage Site and no longer populated— yet at one time it was populated by a small band of villages.

They held onto many strange notions.    Popular opinion at one time was strongly in favour of the belief that beasts could see ghosts. The people of St. Kilda, according to one Martin Martin, writing in the year 1703, held that cows shared the visions of second-sighted milk-maids.


Firstly, Martin defines the phenomena: “THE Second Sight is a singular Faculty of Seeing an otherwise invisible Object, without any previous Means used by the Person that sees it for that end ; the Vision makes such a lively impression upon the Seers, that they neither see nor think of any thing else, except the Vision, as long as it continues: and then they appear pensive or jovial, according to the Object which was represented to them.”  He goes on to write “THAT Cows see the Second Sight appears from this—that when a Woman is milking a Cow, and then happens to see the Second Sight, the Cow runs away in a great fright at the same time, and will not be pacified for some time after.” He cites a similar experience concerning a horse which broke free from his rope, having seen a vision of the group of men carrying a coffin —did this horse have Second Sight of the death of a woman who was buried two days after this event? See A Description of the Western Islands of Scotland by Martin Martin, 1703 p.300, 307 respectively.


As we have noted in the works by Romanes and Lindsay above, they believed that dogs, cats and other animals can be easily affected by whatever it is that makes people think a ghost may be hovering nearby, or by the conduct of the human being on these occasions.  Of course, this is not to discount that some animals can “see” or “feel” when an actual ghost is present.




The folk-lore and ghost-lore of many countries contain accounts of phenomena that are an odd mixture of ghost and fairy. In France there existed until comparatively recently a belief in brous. A brou is a phenomenon that is a human being during the daytime and a sheep during the night. It derives its name from the American term for a thicket, because brous are supposed to gallop all night through woods and thickets.


There is a story of a man walking along a road who one night found a small sheep that had apparently strayed from the flock and seemed to be lost.

He picked the animal up, and was on his way home with it when it asked him in a human voice where he was taking it. He was so terrified that he dropped the brou, which at once turned into a woman, who bounded away, uttering peals of diabolical laughter. She proved to be a married woman whose home was in Liege.   As soon as it was known that she was a brou she had to leave Liege. What subsequently became of her was never ascertained.   Brous were sometimes very distinctive. They ran over the country at night killing and devouring dogs, poultry and occasionally little children.— SUPERSTITIONS AND CUSTOMS OF TOURAINE, as published in Chambers Edinburgh Journal, JANUARY —JUNE, 1845.




If animal ghosts are a reality —not all tales and experiences can simply be brushed aside; some must have a basis of truth to them, then what are the implications?    It surely follows that animals too continue to live in some other realm – the Spirit World, the Summerlands, Heaven — call it what you will.  And if so, then we have a duty of care as to how we treat them as they roam the Earth in physical form; a duty to protect them from harm and to nurture them that they may grow in the evolution of their Spirituality to likewise return to The One.


If we accept the notion of the One Divine Creative Principle (of which I see manifested in the God & Goddess), and thus accept the notion that all life contains a Spark of this Divine – then yes,  IT DOES BECOME IMPORTANT, for is not this ‘wee Spark’ akin to what we may term ‘the ‘Ghost’ of a given animal?   To thus abuse anything of Nature that we share this Planet with (indeed, the very Universe), is tantamount to abusing the Divine itself.


If Animal Ghosts exist – what of their fate once they die and leave us?


Though this talk has centred on the ghost, ergo, of the already-departed animal, I conclude here with two poems, the first by the English poet, Robert Southey (1774-1843), the second by the French poet Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869) Both poems envision what shall become of our animal friends future-wise, (that is, in their ghostly life) and may give us all a deep hope that our animal companions do still live on even after we bid them Goodbye.

“Ah, poor companion! when thou followedst last

Thy master’s parting footsteps to the gate

Which closed forever on him, thou didst lose

Thy truest friend, and none was left to plead

For the old age of brute fidelity.

But fare thee well. Mine is no narrowed creed;

And He who gave thee being did not frame

The mystery of Life to be the sport

Of merciless man. There is another world

For all that live and move—a better one!


Where the proud bipeds, who would fain confine

Infinite goodness to the little bounds

Of their own charity, may envy thee.”


—Southey (On the death of a favourite old spaniel, 1792).


Whilst the poet Lamartine beautifully expresses a future hope for his  own faithful dog which was named Fido.


“I cannot, will not, deem thee a deceiving,

Illusive mockery of human feeling,

A body organized, by fond caress

Warmed into seeming tenderness;

A mere automaton, on which our love

Plays, as on puppets, when their wires we move.

No! when that feeling quits thy glazing eye,

‘Twill live in some blest world beyond the sky.”

—Lamartine (Jocelyn’s Episode, 1836)



If you wish to contact the author, please write to:



As more and more clients present with issues, it is becoming increasingly important that counsellors take into account the Spiritual and/or Religious needs of the client.  This can be achieved by undertaking to do a Spiritual Needs Assessment Profile, listening to what a client may be saying though maybe in a veiled fashion, or by exploring with the client about their needs. The use of open-ended questions is a good way to begin this exploration.


We shall look at some definitions concerning the term, ‘Spirituality,’ and seek to address the issue of Spirituality in as far as it pertains to the counseling process.  In researching this issue, I have drawn on a number of texts, both professional texts accepted by the Profession itself, and allied texts. Other texts consulted, though not standard texts, help to highlight the relevant arguments made herein.


I trust to address the need for counsellor awareness of a client’s spiritual outlook, the need for counsellors to respect the right of clients to follow a spiritual path, and to increase their skills as counsellors to incorporate the three core skills of genuineness, acceptance and empathy when dealing with clients – as found in the Person-Centred approach.  A number of questions are put forward along the way merely to assist in facilitating awareness as counsellors.


I trust that after today, we will have a deeper appreciation for the need to include an assessment of client spirituality.  Apart from looking at some possible real-life situations and suggestions for appropriate use of interventions, I attach a lengthy reference list for those desiring to research the issue more comprehensively.




Plato, writing in 380 B.C, wisely said:


As you ought not to attempt to cure the eyes without the head, or the head without the body, so neither ought you to attempt to cure the body without the soul…for the part can never be well unless the whole is well …And therefore, if the head and body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul.(Charmides, or Temperance )


What do we mean when we use the term “Spirituality”?   One author, Danesh, (1994) informs us that


Spirituality…is not simply the opposite of materialism—Far from it. Spirituality is an active process that is inherently purposeful. Its objectives are growth, development, and transcendence. Through our spirituality, we seek to achieve the highest and noblest in ourselves and to create a united and ever-advancing civilization…It follows that a spiritual lifestyle calls for a major review of our thinking about our life experiences and perspectives


We can see that an individual’s concept of spirituality in relation to themselves is a matter of deeply going within and “finding” their place in the world. According to Carl Jung, the self is central in achieving spiritual growth and one such method for achieving this is “inner” or “self reflection.”—”Until you make the unconscious conscious,
it will direct your life and you will call it fate


Another definition from 1971 White House Conference on Aging


We shall consider ‘the spiritual’ as pertaining to man’s [woman’s] inner resources, especially his [her] ultimate concern, the basic values around which all other values are focused, the central philosophy of life…which guides a person’s conduct, the supernatural and non-material dimensions of human nature. We shall assume, therefore, that all men [women] are ‘spiritual’ even if they…practice no personal pieties. (Topper, 2003)


The Ramakrishna magazine, Vedanta Kesari, explains it like this: “We all want our life to have some meaning, some direction, some self-evolved authority for guidance. Values give us all this, so it would be foolish to close our eyes to them.” (Vedanta Kesari, 1996).


Corey (2001) points out to counsellors that while some clients embrace a spirituality in the context of a formal religion, others may embrace same yet without recourse to formal religion. It shows the importance that counselors need to be alert, to the difference between Spirituality and Religion, and the nuances contained within each.  It has been advocated (Hepworth, Rooney and Larsen 2002) that people fall into one of four categories:



  1. Spiritual & nonreligious
  2. Religious and dispirited
  3. Dispirited &nonreligious
  4. Spiritual and religious



Lastly, an even broader definition can be seen in the following as addressed by the Summit on Spirituality:


Spirituality may be defined as a capacity and tendency that is innate and unique to all persons. This spiritual tendency moves the individual toward knowledge, love, meaning, hope, transcendence, connectedness, and compassion.  Spirituality includes one’s capacity for creativity, growth, and the development of a values system.  Spirituality encompasses the religious, spiritual, and transpersonal (as quoted in Corey, Corey and Callanan, 1998)


From the foregoing, we have a fairly wide scope in which to work by.


Within the fields of counseling it is becoming increasingly acknowledged that by addressing the clients’ spiritual and religious needs, such can assist them to be able to move towards growth and healing. By exploring such issues with the clients in relation to their presenting problems, clients may be helped to find solutions to their struggles (Corey, Corey and Callanan, 1998). Evidence for the interest that spirituality and religion plays in our clients lives can be found in the increased number of articles in this area in professional journals and in presentations at professional conferences. (Corey, 2001) The American Psychiatric Association added the term religious or spiritual problem to its diagnostic manual in 1994 to describe: “examples include[ing] distressing experiences that involve loss or questioning of faith, problems associated with conversion to a new faith, or questioning of spiritual values that may not be related to an organized church or religious institution.” (Topper, 2003)


Carl Jung firmly believed in a broader view of life. According to his view, religion is not harmful; on the contrary, it is of great help. (Akhilananda, 1952)



As one writer put it


If we do not have a meaningful purpose that guides us every day and over the course of our lives, making important decisions, resolving internal and external conflicts, planning for the future, choosing friends and partners, and making sense of suffering become very difficult. Without a chosen, “higher” purpose, life gives us a sort of default purpose: avoid suffering as much as possible. If this is all life means, we are sure to suffer more, not less, because the human mind and spirit need creativity, accomplishment, fulfillment and meaning that the avoidance of suffering alone cannot provide. Further, the experience of some suffering is necessary for us to learn and grow; if we try to avoid it at all costs (which is impossible anyway), we never mature. (


Why is it important to understand the role of religion and spirituality in a client’s life? Ratliff (1996) in discussing health care settings, informs us that:


Religious beliefs may dictate food choices, clothing styles, customs of birthing and dying, etiquette in the sick room, use of modern conveniences, invasive procedures, organ donation, reception, use of blood products, certain diagnostic tests, gynecological procedures, spiritual influences on or control of sickness and healing, the wearing of protective devices or tattoos, and the need for prayers and rituals performed by various religious specialists (cited in Hepworth, Rooney and Larsen, 2002)


The Professional counsellor needs to develop awareness of, and respect for the clients’ view of their spirituality (or lack thereof) and their adherence to religion and what this means to them.  It is important never to assume what a client believes simply based on one’s own understanding of what Spiritual or Religious Path the client may identify with.   For example, if a Christian man is struggling with issues surrounding his sexuality, he may present with feelings of confusion, guilt and/or shame.  These may be due to how he perceives the teachings of his Church, the Bible, and his own concept of spirituality.   He may say that if he acted on his feelings of attraction to other man, he will be barred from the Kingdom of God or, even more frightening, shall burn for an eternity in hell.


Yes, there are groups who still push this line.



If one has had it driven into their head that their sexuality is wrong, because the Bible says so, and if their religion is ultimately important to them, then we can appreciate how those statements might cause great internal trouble. How can one justify their existence, their worth whilst apparently living outside of God’s laws?


Indeed, I feel some of the so-called “Christian” attitudes regarding “healing” gay people to do more harm than good. For example, Christian author Gordon Dalbey (2003) writes about Gay men seeking a Father-figure—which is really saying that two men (or women) cannot ‘truly care’ for one another, for there is naturally a part of themselves that ‘if healed’ would turn them into ‘normal, healthy, functioning heterosexuals. Others are at least addressing it in a more positive way yet remaining true as to how they see the word of God (Attridge, 2000 p.213)


Given that counsellors have an ethical responsibility to become aware of their own beliefs and how these affect their work with their clients (Corey, 2001, Geldard, 2003), the client’s story should be heard without any judgment. By being able to go with the client’s “frame of reference,” and empathically listening to what may lie behind their words, the client is placed in a better position to be therapeutically assisted.  I would suggest that a Person-centered approach is required here.


We can extend this further to include the divorced person, the person who may come across as not “toeing the line,” the victim of domestic violence, the woman who either seeks or has had an abortion, being pregnant outside of wedlock, HIV/AIDS issues or the so-called “unruly” child or issues surrounding addiction and abuse issues—I am thinking here of adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Of course, then there is Spiritual Abuse and issues surrounding the desire to join a group that may be perceived by family and friends as negative, for example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses or Hare Krishna movement. Some faiths even frown on issues such as depression, anxiety and other illnesses as being caused by a lack of faith either in God or, in the case of a cult, its leader.


To downplay a client’s beliefs and associated fears as somehow being “too out there” or “too abstract ” in no way validates their worldview – with the possibility that they may abandon therapy, and therefore remain “stuck” in their conflict. I would imagine that this would create further turmoil for them or even worse.


As counsellors take such clients, their own beliefs and values will be challenged as they listen to their clients and the stories that they share with us – and  it may assist us in our need to be on guard against being too directive with our clients (Corey, 2001)


To overcome such hurdles, counsellors are consistently taught to adhere to the three core concepts of genuineness, acceptance and empathy (Sharf, 2000) as taught by Carl Rogers and Person-Centred Therapy.


Again, we are told that: “The key is for counselors to be sensitive to the needs of their clients, to listen to them and let them lead the way, and to talk about areas they indicate they want or need to explore.” (Corey, Corey, and Callanan, 2001)  In the case of our Christian man above, we should simply let him talk and tell us about what it means for him to be kept from the Kingdom of God, to allow him to talk as he sees his problems not as we may see them (that is, how we may perceive sexuality in a Christian or spiritual context or the Kingdom of God scenario). A counsellor  might  be liberal in their own beliefs yet the client’s more orthodox views are what need to be dealt with. Of course, a counsellor may likewise be closed in their own religious outlook.


Other spiritual paths also either condemn outright certain so-called ‘Sins’ against God—Divorce, questioning the ‘Sacred Books’ of the group, questioning  even ‘God ‘ Himself.  Indeed, some even say that to question God is akin to sinning against the Holy Spirit, which, in the Bible, is known as “the Unpardonable Sin,” as taught by Jesus in Matthew 12:31-32.


As we can see, exploring with a client how they view life from a Spiritual and/or Religious context, will assist the counseling process tremendously.  Here we need to keep in mind that:  “Religious beliefs strongly influence when, how and why persons seek help for emotional dysfunction, and how others [ie. Counsellors] perceive their [clients] symptoms of emotional distress.” (Wilson and Kneisl, 1983)


By way of an example, a young Jewish man may be perceived as paranoid if he were frequently to leave open a female counsellor’s door while he in there, however, upon investigation we learn that his religion advises against his being alone behind closed doors with a woman who is not a family member  (Hankoff, Blumenthal and Borowick, 1977). This is known as Yichud or seclusion.  It could work the opposite way where a similar though less orthodox client may feel too exposed to disclose certain issues to the counsellor if the door were left ajar on the assumption of this same Jewish admonition is applicable to all Jewish male clients; that all Jewish male clients would accept it.




On way to obtain a lucid understanding of our client’s spiritual needs is to perform a Spiritual Assessment of Needs profile when initially meeting with our clients.  This Assessment can also explore the depth and practice of a given faith in terms of the individual client.   It can assist the counsellor to gain a deeper awareness of the client’s needs, and the client may feel at ease in talking about their respective spiritual beliefs.


Another factor to consider is that counsellors do not see a client’s needs only arising from out of a psychological basis – such as low self-esteem, anger, loss or frustration.  As people, we have the four aspects of Physical, Psychological, Emotional and Spiritual – each with its own independent, yet interdependent needs. Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ fits in well here (Diamond, 1994). Pagans have a similar tool – the 4Fs.


Clients also have spiritual needs for meaning, for hope, and for deeper connections in life and beyond.  Indeed, one’s spiritual needs are a deeper perspective of and/or completion of psychological needs.  (Topper, 2003).  Likewise, the spiritual contains a psychological need and neither should exclude the other.


One author describes such the division as leading to what he calls Counterfeit Recovery (Means, 2002) where a person is treated only as a spiritual being, not one who possesses other aspects such as physical, psychological and emotional needs.  He explains that “one dimensional recovery only drives the pain underground where it will later break out in some other form.”   Telling a client who may present with a problem such as guilt, to simply remember, and rely upon, a set of Scriptural injunctions, will not magically solve their problem.  It may certainly offer some form of comfort or respite but other interventions need to be concurrently in place, also an exploration of the client’s thoughts and emotions surrounding the issue of guilt. This author further adds that: “Many secular psychologists have their own version of one-dimensional recovery, because they leave God entirely out of the healing equation.” Too many people see problems in terms of “Sin” alone.


There is an interesting comment made in relation this very point by Swami Vivekananda, (1863-1902):


Do not talk of the wickedness of the world and all its sins. . . . The world is made weaker and weaker every day by such teachings. Men are taught from childhood that they are weak and sinners.  Teach them that they are all glorious children of immortality, even those who are the weakest in manifestations. Let positive, strong, helpful thoughts enter into their brains from very childhood. Lay yourselves open to these thoughts, and not to weakening and paralysing ones.


And again by Sri Ramakrishna, (1836-1886) who said to Vijay, one of His followers:   “Will you tell me one thing? Why do you harp so much on sin? By repeating a hundred times, ‘I am a sinner,’ one verily becomes a sinner. One should have such faith as to be able to say, ‘What? I have taken the name of God; how can I be a sinner?” (Gospel, p. 159)


Let us imagine that a client has a need for connecting to a group of like-minded individuals. The psychological need may consist of the fulfillment of issues pertaining to self-esteem or a feeling of ‘belonging.’  The spiritual need: To find purpose in one’s life via connecting with others who share the same outlook, the same hopes and dreams.  I follow Paganism as a spiritual path for it helps me – as an individual – to make sense of the world; it adds meaning to my life and to the life around me.   Without this ‘meaning,’ I would question the purpose of life and yet to no avail – for without finding a ‘meaning;’ a purpose, I feel life would lack that something for which I get up for each day. Finding the Spiritual meaning supplies my psychological and emotional needs for peace, inner strength and understanding of the ‘purpose’ of life per se.


If a counsellor seeks to specialize in a given ‘Spiritual’ or ‘Religious’ path, such as Christian Counselling, then they need to be aware of how they deal with their clients.  One example would be the appropriate and timely use when employing, for example, scripture to assist in healing (Cloud and Townsend, 2003). If a client were to present with distress concerning a pending divorce from an estranged partner – so as to remarry – yet concurrently feels “condemned” by the Bible, it would be remiss of the Christian Counsellor to say to him or her: “Well the Bible clearly teaches that divorce is wrong – let us turn to the book of Romans 7:2-3…”   To do so invalidates that person’s feelings and will simply add to their original distress.  Here inappropriate use of scripture could lead to them experiencing deeper guilt, grief and loss issues, and anger at God for creating this scenario in their life. They could turn from their faith yet hanker for this loss of faith, for this ‘meaning’ in their life.


As Christian author writes, “Although we often downplay suffering unintentionally with well-meaning comments such as “Everything happens for a reason” or “God has a plan for you,” spouting platitudes or Bible verses inappropriately can actually add to a person’s pain. This kind of use of Scripture can also prevent us from entering into the suffering of the other person.” (Sims, 2016)


In the Jehovah’s Witness magazine, The Watchtower of January 1, 1972, a reader asked whether the gay life a married person constitutes a Scriptural ground for divorce, freeing the innocent mate to remarry?     The answer given is one example of how an inappropriate response can be made—



In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ said: “Everyone divorcing his wife, except on account of fornication, makes her a subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” (Matt. 5:32) On a later occasion he told the Pharisees: “Whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, and marries another commits adultery.” —Matt. 19:9. Thus “fornication” is seen to be the only ground for divorce that frees the innocent mate to remarry… While both homosexuality and bestiality are disgusting perversions, in the case of either one is the marriage tie broken. It is broken only by acts that make an individual “one flesh” with a person of the opposite sex other than his or her legal marriage mate.


Let us remember that the person presenting this issue to the Elder of the Kingdom Hall, was desiring resolution from a difficult and emotionally-challenging episode of her marriage commitment.  We cannot assume that she has the capacity—Spiritually, Emotionally or Psychologically—just to “withdraw” from the Kingdom Hall, for to do so would then see her “disfellowshiped,” thus losing her anchor, and meaning, in life.


A more appropriate and timely response to her might have been, “It sounds like it’s really difficult for you to reconcile your wanting to remarry with what the Bible is saying to you.  Remember the words of Jesus from Matthew 11: 28 when he says to you: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”


Such a response would certainly allow a different experience for the client and offer her an avenue of hope as opposed to predetermined despair.  It allows the client to be able to open another “window of opportunity” that might otherwise have remained shut (if not hidden).  Here the appropriate use of scripture can be validating and, given that it is uplifting – for no judgment has been placed on her – it should add to the healing process.


For men, in particular, it is important for the Christian counsellor to allow the client the opportunity to explore their wounds not simply to seek for more strength via exhortation and admonition. (Koepcke and James Wilder, 1994)     By appropriate and timely use of scripture the counsellor may bring to awareness that which was previously hidden.


This is a bit akin to the Johari Window which, though used to represent the total person in relation to other people (Wilson and Kneisl, 1983), can be made to include an individual’s awareness of hidden thoughts – Quadrant 4: The Unknown.      By using alternative Scriptures to instill hope, such can generate new awareness and healing, for the client.  However, allowing men to speak up is very validating and can generate a whole new emotional awareness which, often hidden, will free men from their pain. (Means, 2002;  Diamond, 1994).


Other techniques are, though not limited to Christianity, are Prayer, Meditation, Reading holy texts and Spiritual books, Visualization, Mandala drawing, Yoga, Confession and Self-Examination, Practicing Mindfulness, Journaling, Dream Recording, Retreat, Attunement with Nature, Solitude.


For others of different spiritual persuasions, a more eclectic ‘Spiritual and/or Religious’ outlook needs to be employed.  For instance, often men who are starting out on the Pagan path tend to have difficulties relating to the God of Paganism and WICCA (Conway; 1997, Drew, 1998) for they may equate the word ‘God’ with the concept of a ‘Patriarchal Judgmental God’ as often taught in the various Abrahamic Faiths.  These men may feel alone as they have lost the ‘God’ of their family-of-origin, yet find it difficult to get over that hurdle – they find it hard to embrace such a God as a Creator of Life – yet the Pagan God is many things: a creator, a protector of animals, a joker, a god of judgment (Drew, 1998).  Yet without the embrace, these men can feel lonely, dejected, and that there is no Male Deity with which they can turn to and model in love.  As such, male pagans often turn to the Goddess as a Mother figure – but we men need a Father figure too.  As one Occult author C succinctly puts it, “In spiritual terms, we create a spiritual path through the combination of our personal masculine and feminine energies.”  (Conway, 1997)


Personally, it was difficult for me to embrace the God of the Pagan ways as I have been brought up in a predominantly ‘Christian’ society and family – with all the attendant teachings about what I would incur if I were to deny the God of the Bible.


Yet for me, as I have journeyed through the Pagan path, I have definitely become far more accepting of myself as a ‘Male’ – by learning more about the myths surrounding the Pagan God (Conway, 1997, Drew, 1998,  Farrar, 1984), I have been able to slowly identify with His ways.  His tales have taught me about issues relating to strength, courage, compassion, healing, acceptance, discernment, to walk in peace, to respect All Life as gifts from the gods.


When a professional counsellor can respect my right as a client to choose and then follow my own Path – not view it as somehow “out there” or “that’s far too abstract”– then naturally this quality causes me to disclose deeper than what may have been my original intent.  When the professional counsellor truly listens, then, and only then, do I believe that deep healing can begin to occur.


Counsellors need to be as respectful to a Pagan’s (or others) concerns as when dealing with any client’s concerns. Sadly, there is often confusion here.  I was told personally by a psychologist that “People who follow your path always end up suffering problems, I know, I see them everyday!”   I felt sad for this man’s limited worldview. But that was what he said – and believe me, if I were not as strong in my own beliefs as I am I would have faltered.  As one with a strong interest in counseling, I hope to be able to simply be there for others and “not to make decisions for clients but to let clients choose how their own values will guide their behaviors.” (Corey, 2001)  One way that I propose to do this is by reading more about different spiritualities and religions, yet taking on board the notion of not compartmenting these into small boxes.


It is crucial that counsellor’s recognize that the spiritual domain offers solace, comfort and often great sustaining power for a client in crisis.  The guilt, anger and sadness that clients experience often results from a misinterpretation of the spiritual and religious realm, which can lead to depression and a sense of worthlessness. (Corey, 2001).  A fair example here is the issue of sexuality – If one identifies other than heterosexual, not many religions will “truly” accept that person; rather, they might tolerate the person but rarely truly embrace them. Even some WICCANS tends to “shun” under the guise of it being a “fertility cult” whereby male-female is the rule.  No wonder there is guilt, anger and sadness. Sadly, these invariably will lead some folk to experience feelings of low self-esteem, loneliness and, if not healthily resolved, depression – possibly suicide.   This is a result from ‘a misrepresentation of the spiritual and religious realm’ as being heaped on the client by another’s understanding, be it from an individual, a cultural injunction or simply society.


There are some unwise religious teachers who erroneously emphasize the sense of sin and guilt and they are likely to create mental disturbances in some people. Dr. Fritz Kunkel makes an appropriate comment:


Why has nobody thus far provided a real and practical system of Christian psychology? Probably the deepest reason for this is to be found in a general mistake on the part of Christendom itself: Namely, in its approach to the problem of sin.   Vices, character difficulties, and nervous symptoms are said to be related to sin, and sin is only to be shunned, never to be discussed or investigated. Sin is bad, and the good man turns away in horror. This emotional attitude is one of the gross fallacies of theology, whether it takes itself out in indignation or pity.  We psychologists know that this attitude betrays the deficiencies of the Christian workers themselves.   The individual worker has not yet solved his own problems; therefore he cannot solve the problems of his clients. (Cited in Sw. Akhilananda, 1952)


We have already seen that Sw. Vivekananda condemns seeing people as ‘Sinners’


Yet other writers on the psychology of religion, such as Edwin Diller Starbuck and William James, go so far as to conclude that the sense of guilt is a necessary qualification for religious conversion.


To my own way of thinking, there are two types of guilt – 1. Guilt that causes us to convert to a spiritual path—of whichever persuasion is attractive to us and 2. Guilt that is bound up with shame.  This latter form of guilt is what can cause us to experience a mass of psychological problems. As Sw. Akhilananda (1952) writes:


The highest religion neither creates tension nor does it emphasize sinfulness. No doubt it gives a sense of inadequacy at times but it also gives in great measure inspiration, hope, and encouragement for the attainment of a harmonious life according to the supreme goal of life. The primary emphasis is not on sin, but on love of God


For a lot of clients who have experienced disaster or trauma, exploring issues with them surrounding grief and loss, anger, guilt, the concepts of good and evil, and forgiveness, can be a central part of the healing process (Hepworth, Rooney and Larsen, 2002). However, many people have their doubts about the religious ideal of forgiveness. They feel that others will take advantage of them if they practice this ideal.  Yet did not Jesus advocate: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Again, it was said by Buddha: “If one man conquer in battle a thousand times a thousand men, and if another conquer himself, he is the greatest of conquerors.” Dhammapada, trans. Max Mailer, VIII: 103.


Exploring such issues, though possibly anathema to some clients (i.e. a committing of blasphemy), may assist the client in coming to terms with whatever issue is affecting their life.     But to do so, I believe that counsellors need to have undertaken some form of deep soul-searching themselves on these various issues.


How can we deal with issues relating to a client’s anger at God if the client were to voice that “I hate and detest God with all my heart and wish him no longer in my life,” all the while tears streaming down their face!  What if I felt their anger to be most blasphemous – surely my body language (if nothing else) would convey my discomfit at the person’s need to express their anger. Yet by dealing with these issues beforehand, I feel counsellors are in a far better position to remain person-centred and to allow such expression as a natural outpouring of the client’s grief.


Corey (2001) points out the following for us:


In some ways a spiritual/religious perspective and a counseling perspective have similar goals. Both perspectives emphasize learning to accept oneself, forgiving others and oneself, admitting one’s shortcomings, accepting personal responsibility, letting go of hurts and resentments, dealing with guilt, and learning to let go of self-destructive patterns of thinking, feeling and acting….Because spiritual and therapeutic paths converge in some ways, integration is possible, and dealing with a client’s spirituality will often actually enhance the therapy process [italics mine].


Following is a brief outline of some of the attributes that a Spiritual Care Giver / Counsellor should try to emulate in their counseling of clients who identify spiritual or religious needs. It needs to be stated that where the term ‘God’ is employed, this is simply indicative of the authors own spiritual heritage yet does not detract from that which is meant to be conveyed.


  • Counselors need to allow clients to tell their stories. It is imperative that counselors communicate a sense of being loved by God and that clients are not responsible for what happened to them as a child.
  • Counselors give permission to clients to be angry, especially with God. Be nonjudgmental in allowing clients to explore spiritual issues. Counselors expressing unconditional acceptance may be the survivors’ only experience that demonstrates the possibility of God being able to love them in the same way.
  • Counselors help clients recognize that forgiveness is not simply an act but a process that can be begun and completed only after working through the issues concerned and their accompanying feelings. Do not try to rush this process by questioning their pace or suggesting forgiveness as the first step.
  • It is recommended that counselors use every avenue to give clients reassurance of their accountability before God and their place in God’s plan.
  • When appropriate, counselors celebrate, bless, and praise survivors’ rediscovery of a God of hope, a God of great comfort, and a God of great respect for them


(McBride and Armstrong, cited in Topper, 2003 – slightly paraphrased)


I have attempted to highlight the need for counsellors to be open to a client’s spirituality, religion and faith. To deny that such is important for the client, is tantamount to ignoring the client as an individual.  Even if the counsellor does not follow a spiritual path they must allow for their clients to have choice when it comes to the path they choose. If they are unable to respect the client’s right to this end, then I propose that they seriously need to question their motivation for entering the profession in the first instance.  Counsellors have an ethical obligation to continually undertake professional development so as to keep up-to-date and to better understand both future trends and their clients.  If a counsellor cannot assist a client for any reason, then referral is the natural outcome for the overall benefit of the client. Note that I say ‘Cannot,’ as opposed to ‘unable’ due to their own inherent bias or prejudice.


Some questions for possible reflection by a counselor include:


  • What is the counsellor’s own faith and spiritual prejudices?
  • Can a strong Christian-oriented counsellor work with clients of other faiths and more-so those faiths they believe their own negates – Paganism, for one example?
  • How do counsellors grow in awareness of other faiths, spiritualities etc., and thus develop empathy with clients whose persuasion is of these faiths, spiritualities etc?
  • Can an atheist work with a client holding deeply-held beliefs which may be seen, by the counsellor, to rule the clients life? How does the atheist develop their empathy for such clients?
  • How does a counsellor assist a client who presents with an issue that is totally at variance with their own beliefs?
  • If a counsellor feels all life is sacred and therefore abortion wrong, how can they overcome this belief to counsellor the woman wishing to work through this issue? Indeed, should they counsellor such a client? What if the woman herself believes abortion to be wrong but sees no other positive outcome than to have an abortion?


These are just some questions that I feel professional counsellors may need to ponder over in anticipation of meeting with such clients.  By thinking about issues such as these now, the counsellor shall certainly both grow in themselves and, I believe, be at an advantaged when meeting with clients who may hold to a Spiritual outlook on life.    I wish to conclude this paper on linking spirituality with counselling with the following quote which, for me, sums up best that which I have attempted to say.


Indeed, as one comes to learn the true meaning of life, both in general terms and in relation to individual purpose, every thought, every action is recognized for the full responsibility it implies as a representative of its author [the Creator, God, Universal Spirit etc]. The realization, not only that everything has a purpose, but more significantly, that that purpose is the acceptance of a very special responsibility, [such] is a measure of true initiation into the secrets of the inner [spiritual] self (Phillips, 1988)



  1. Akhilananda, Sw. (1952) Mental Health and the Hindu Mind. Jarrod & Sons Ltd UK p.8
  2. Attridge, C  (2000)   The Fruit of The Spirit,   The Dawn Book Supply   UK   2nd  Ed..
  3. Cloud, H & Townsend, J (2003)  Making Small Groups Work,   Zondervan  USA
  4. Conway, D.J  (1997)  Lord of Light & Shadow:  The Many Faces of The God,  Llewellyn  USA
  5. Corey, G (2001)  Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy,  Brooks/Cole  USA  6th Ed.
  6. Corey, G., Corey M.S, & Callanan (1998)   Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions, Brooks/Cole   USA     5th Ed
  7. Dalbey, G (2003)   Healing The Masculine Soul,  W Publishing Group  USA   2nd Ed.
  8. Danesh, H.B. (1994)  The Psychology of Spirituality.     Nine Pines Publ. Canada
  9. Diamond, J (1994)  The Warrior’s Journey Home: Healing Men, Healing The Planet,  New Harbinger Publications   USA
  10. Drew, A. J  (1998)   Wicca For Men,   Citadel Press  USA
  11. Farrar, J & Farrar, S (1984)  The Witches Bible Compleat,   Magickal Childe   USA
  12. Geldard, D & Geldard, K (2003)  Basic Personal Counselling: A Training Manual for Counsellors, Prentice-Hall    Aust.   4th Ed
  13. Hankoff, I.D., Blumenthal, M & Borowick, A.E. (1977)  Jewish Ethno-Psychiatry,  Federation of Jewish Philanthropies  USA
  14. Hepworth, D.H., Rooney, R.H & Larsen, J.A. (2002) Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills,   Brooks/Cole  USA   6th Ed.
  15. Koepcke, R & James Wilder, E  (1994)  ‘The Men’s Movement’,  Faith & Renewal, May/June 1994
  16. Means, P. A. (2002)  Men’s Secret Wars,   Fleming H. Revell Publ. USA
  17. Phillips, D.A. (1988)   New Dimensions in Health,  Angus & Robertson   Aust.  4th Ed.
  18. Ramakrishna, Sw. (2000) Gospel of Ramakrishna: Red Letter edition, Sri Ramakrishna Math, India p.159
  19. Sharf, R.S (2000)  Theories of Psychotherapy & Counseling,  Brooks/Cole USA 2nd Ed.
  20. Sims, Sally (2016) Together through the Storm: A Practical Guide to Christian Care, Matthias Media, Australia/USA
  21. Topper, C. (2003)  Spirituality in Pastoral Counseling and the  Community Helping Professions,  Haworth Pastoral Press   USA
  22. Vedanta Kesari (1996)  Values: The Key To a Meaningful Life,  Sri Ramakrishna Math  India
  23. Vivekananda, Sw. Works II, p.87
  24. Wilson, H.S. & Kneisl, C.R. (1983)  Psychiatric Nursing,   Addison-Wesley  USA  2nd Ed.




To find your own personal power animal, the following technique is suggested by Madonna Gauding, author of Personal Power Animals: For Guidance, Protection and Healing:[i]

  • Gather your journal or a pad of paper. Read the exercise ahead of time or recode it to play back.
  • Begin by closing your eyes and breathing deeply. Release any tension in your body by beginning at the toes and work your way up through your body. When relax, move to the visualisation that follows.
  • Imagine yourself in a field of flowers and see the very large oak tree close by. Look at this tree until you see the large hollow on one side. Step inside this hollow and see a stairwell that leads downwards. It is not dark for there are torches lighting the way.

You are not afraid and decide to explore where these stairs lead to.  At the bottom you find a small tunnel leading to a magical landscape.

  • The air is pure and you look up to see a blue sky, and white fluffy clouds.
  • The grass is green. There are a cluster of pine trees to your left—the fresh aroma of pines beckons you to them. It is peaceful as your walk among the trees; the sun shines down through the trees—it is quiet and serene.
  • There is a small crystal-clear pool that you sit down in the peace of the moment.
  • As you relaxed and look around you, you notice a movement our of the corner of your eye. You are not sure where the movement originates from but as you turn around, you find yourself staring into an animal’s eyes.  There is something familiar about this animal.  You may have once been afraid of this animal but the feeling now gives way to peace—it’s like you are meeting for the first time.
  • As you both sit there, locked in each other’s gaze, you hear it mentally telling you how it helped you in the past and/or how it can help you now. You are amazed to make its acquaintance.
  • Intuitively, you become aware that you time in this magical place is short. You thank the animal for making itself known to you and for any assistance it may have given, or will give in the future.
  • The animal, as a sign, may come to your in a newspaper article, through a program on TV, in a book you may be reading, or in a dream.
  • Before you know, this animal turns about and heads away back into the forest, the pool or the sky above. You rise and slowly walk from the pine grove to again pass through the meadow.  Again you back-track to the tunnel leading into the hollow of the tree—the stairs are waiting for your ascent. At last, you find yourself at the exit of this mother oak tree.
  • Leaving, you look around you for you are now back in the field of wild flowers. When ready, slow bring back your awareness to your breathing, slowly stretch to become ground in both your body and your environment.
  • Open your journal and describe your experience, concentrating on the animal you have met. Write down any prior experiences you may have had with this animal.

The animal may not be the one you feel is your power animal. If not, repeat the meditation.  Your power animal will eventually make itself know.


[i] Gauding, Madonna (2006) Personal Power Animals: For Guidance, Protection and Healing. A Godsfield Book USA pp.25

In my last talk on Shamanism, we learnt that many people have reported learning from the animals by making contact with the animal’s ‘Spirit,’ (its life-force) and that these animal ‘Spirits’ have responded back—by delivering messages that the individual  needed to hear and then heed.    It this last talk, we noted that the word ‘Silent ’ is an anagram for ‘Listen.’  By remaining Silent, we Listen and Hear.  Thus ‘Silence’ is the key to understanding and relating to the ‘Power Animal.’ As the Indian author of British descent, Ruskin Bond (b.1934) so beautifully put it: “To live in harmony with nature we must become good listeners.”[i]

Today, we shall talk about how the concept of ‘Power Animals’ can assist us to heal the earth— of which ‘Power Animals’ are naturally a part of—and to heal ourselves.

The term, Power Animal, is defined as:

An internal helper, companion and guide, in the form of a natural or magical animal, which possesses qualities you need in this world…Your power animal helps you access higher wisdom, either your own or that of a higher power[ii]

I think that what is meant here is that by tapping into the world around us, both the Seen and the Unseen, qualities that are most-likely dormant within us, are brought forth to our conscious self and this by our ‘Power Animal.’ The Animal may be, to my thinking, also external to self.

Others use the term ‘Spirit Animal’’ or ‘Totem Animal’ or, as one Druid Priestess styles them, ‘Animal Allies.’ [iii]  This can become a bit confusing as we may be thinking, for example, of the animal ‘Spirits’ that are believed to inhabit the Beyond world of the Spiritualists.  Of course, I do not mean to discount this concept but mainly we are looking at animals as they teach us or come to us via other channels – Dreams, Tarot, Stories, Meditation and Visualization, etc.


As each of the ‘Power Animals’ has their own unique attributes we are able to tap into these attributes as we open up our hearts and minds to a particular ‘Power Animal.’ This allows us to experience many ways of dealing with a multitude of issues that may be occurring in our lives. Some methods, apart from visualization techniques, can be taking note of our dreams and employing a divination technique, such as the Tarot or Oracle Cards.

One thing that I notice is that a lot of books refer to ‘a Power Animal ’ singular as opposed ‘Power Animals’ plural.  Giving this some thought, it is my own belief that we are able to tap into a multitude of these ‘Power Animals,’ and not just one.  Another point worth noting is that the animal is called, for example, Dog (singular) for Dog contains the essence of all dogs, not just the one visiting you.[iv]

Power Animals are not only animals as we know them, but can also be what we would term mythological animals such as Garuda, Griffin, Unicorn or Dragon.  Two excellent books for learning more about these types of animals are A History of Caricature and Grotesque in Literature and Art (1875) [v] and Fictitious and Symbolic Creature in Art. (1906)[vi]

In today’s world, it is unfortunately true to say that most people seem to live very much in the ‘Here and Now,’ but pay hardly any attention to the world around them; the world of nature and of animals—I include here the birds, insects, fish etc.   We should not forget that there is also the hidden life found within rocks, water, rivers, trees, trees, plants and so forth, that we have lost touch with.  Indeed, one of the main methods for contacting these animals or entities, it to visualize ourselves entering deep into the otherworld via trees such as the Oak or even through caves.

John Vinycomb writes in his book, Fictitious and Symbolic Creature in Art:

In all ages man has sought to explain by myths certain phenomena of nature which he has been unable to account for in a more rational manner. Earthquakes were the awakening of the earth tortoise which carried the world on its back; the tides were the pulses of the ocean; lightning was the breath of demons…

In the old Norse legends we read of waterspouts being looked upon as sea serpents, and wonderful stories are related of their power and influence. The Chinese imagine eclipses to be caused by great dragons which seek to devour the sun. [vii]

The point I am trying to make is that centuries ago, we humans paid respect to animals by relating the things of Nature back to them.  Today we have explanations that do away with such veneration and such has destroyed a lot of the ‘Wow!’ factor; done away with ‘Awe!’

As such, one of the issues that I see contributing to our problems, both as individuals and communities, is that we now talk about ‘Nature’ in environmental terms, and as something now distinct from us as ‘the human species’ and distinct from ‘Animals’ to some degree.  If we see ourselves as separate from nature then we are able to abuse nature for our own ends; if distinct from animals, then even more so, for no longer are animals dependent on nature.

A good example here would be the current fad to either do away with the traditional back and/or front yard or replace natural grass with man-made Astroturf (or such like).   Then we don’t have to water our lawn, no insects live in it—possibly an insect or two live on it—and therefore there is no food; no attraction for birds to visit.   How do we honestly expect to relate to Mother Nature; be Her Children, if we make ourselves so distant from Her?  If, however, we see humans as are a part of ‘Nature,’ as too animals, then I believe we are more likely to want to protect nature for all its varied life-forms, for every living thing is dependent on each and every other life-form.

In an article that appeared in Newsweek magazine, entitled, The Ravaged Environment, we find the following description of what we, as humans, have done to the planet that we live on:

It seems the curse of modern man continually to confront new possibilities of self-destruction.  He emerged from World War II armed with nuclear weaponry that soon gave him power to obliterate all human life.  His population has since grown at a rate that could threaten disaster on a global scale.  And now he has come face to face with a new man-made peril, the poisoning of his natural environment with noxious doses of chemicals, garbage, fumes, sewage, heat, ugliness and urban overcrowding.

Nearly unnoticed, the scourge of pollution has already spread so far that a few scientists say only a drastic cure can prevent devastation as thorough as that of nuclear holocaust.   Even to less doleful prophets, the danger seems sufficient to warrant a sudden boom in the science of ecology, which examines the precarious relationships between living things and their surroundings[viii]

A pretty grim picture is outlined in this Newsweek article.  This article appeared back in January 1970, yet it could have been written only yesterday, proving that things are still the same—or so it would seem—in 2017.

It is also interesting to note that this article was written in the same year that ‘Earth Day’ was officially inaugurated on April 22, 1970, as founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson.

Commenting on Earth Day, an Indian woman journalist, Sushmita Dutta, explains how:

The Sun with its family of eight planets – now that the distant ice-covered Pluto is no more a ‘planet’–make our galaxy, the Milky Way; but of all the planets the Earth turned out to be the luckiest. This is because it is the only planet where life became possible, at least far as our knowledge goes. Life in its most beautiful forms developed here, be it humans, animals, plants or marine life. The one thing that made Earth unique was the presence of a superb form of intelligent life called the human race. But somewhere on the way the human race lost its humanity, forgot to acknowledge the planet that gave it life; and used its resources ruthlessly. The world now marks the Earth Day to make the human race realise the importance of the Mother Earth[ix]

So you may be wondering how is it that Power Animals may assist us here? It is my belief that they can help us if we listen to their messages and reconnect with them and, by extension, return to being a part of the truly Natural World.    Many messages have been recorded that attest to the Truth that these ‘Power Animals’ are attempting to teach us just this.  And not all of these animals are necessarily appealing to all folk.


For example, A mosquito informs us that:

Human beings often hate what they do not understand. If you do not understand it, and it annoys you, you attempt to control or destroy it. Your solution to problems often revolve around killing, be it plants, insects, animals or humans. We (the mosquitoes) do not feel this is what love is all about.  Our message (to you humans) is to see things from a different point of view.  Each one of us—no matter how small or large—has a part to play in the scheme of things.   Begin to trust that there is more in the world than you can understand in a lifetime.[x]

This reminds me of the saying, ‘It to moves, shoot it; if it doesn’t, chop it down.’

In the Qu’ran we learn that:  “Allah is not ashamed to make an example of a mosquito or of an even smaller thing. As for those who believe, they know it is the truth from their Lord. But as for those who disbelieve, they say, ‘What does Allah mean by this example?’ He misguides many by it and guides many by it. But He only misguides the deviators. (2:26)


So the humble mosquito can teach us much about life.

And can flies too, have something to teach? It has proved extremely difficult for these creatures for generally they are viewed as ugly, dirty and the spreaders of disease. Though

“…the benefits which man derives from flies far outweigh their nuisance value and the damage they may do to crops.   There are a great many species of flies that are active pollinators of plants.  The parasitic flies are continually controlling the numbers of destructive insect pests.  Many of the aquatic flies form the major item of food for fish, particularly stream-inhabiting fish such as trout and young salmon.  Although we do not like to see a dead animal seething with countless thousands of white maggots, nevertheless, in this regard, the flies are performing a useful function in reducing such dead organic matter to a form which can eventually be utilized by plants. From a purely aesthetic point of view, if man destroyed all flies then many of the birds that brighten the countryside with their cheerful songs and brilliant colours would also vanish.[xi]

By the way, it has been calculated that a single pair of flies are potentially capable of producing 191, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 (191 quintillion) offspring in just six months. If they all survived, the earth would be covered to a depth of 47 feet.   However, they are kept in check by natural laws as opposed to man-made chemicals.[xii]

Ergo, a dead fly is not necessarily better than a fly that lives

There is a beautiful relationship between man and fly, which J. Allen Boon [1882-1965] describes in his 1954 book, Kinship with All Life. In this book he tells of how he developed a relationship with a fly—which he consequently named ‘Freddie the Fly.’ When Boone asked the fly why his species annoyed humans, Freddie asks why is it that humans treat flies so bad. Boone writes:

The more I was able to see beyond the physical form of Freddie the Fly, the easier it became to recognize him as a fellow expression of the Mind of the Universe.  I could then listen with him as well as to him. And again I realized that all living things are individual instruments through which the Mind of the Universe thinks, speaks and acts.  We are all interrelated in a common accord, a common purpose and a common good. We are [all] members of a vast cosmic orchestra, in which each living instrument is essential to the complementary and harmonious playing if the whole[xiii]

Boone informs us that he would pose a question to Freddie and then give “careful heed to all [the] freshly arriving mental impressions” that he received.

So here we have two insects—the Mosquito and the Fly—which are generally considered as pests who, if we listen to the message that they wish to share, may be able to teach us something as to how our lack of respect affects them and by extension, we humans.

I wish to concentrate on a few ‘Power Animals’ so that we do not become lost in a host of different species. We shall look briefly at each of these, if possible, as represented in Dreams, Tarot, and Symbolism. Under each entry I will list some of their Healing qualities.  But first, in attempting to connect with ‘Power Animals,’ we may need to think over some questions which have been posed by Madonna Gauding, in her 2006 book, Personal Power Animals.

These questions have been developed so that we can understand why some animals may appeal to us; yet other animals may repulse.   I shall give you my own responses to these questions in the hopes that it may generate your own personal responses.

  1. Remember the last time that you visited a zoo, a safari park [or a sanctuary]. Which animals did you really want to see? Which animals held the most fascination for you and why?

I can recall two separate occasions. One was when I visited London Zoo. The main reason for my going there was to see the alligators—alas, I did see them but they were more contented to lie perfectly still, floating in the water with the snouts peeking above the water. They took no notice of me which was terribly rude on their part, I have to say.   However, I came across a tank containing a Paddlefish, from the Mississippi River.  This fish has a long snout that gives rise to its name.

As I was standing there, looking at it through the glass, it swam tight up to me—as if extending a ‘Welcome’ to a friend.  When I moved, it followed me.  As leant down and it came to the bottom of its tank; when I stood up, it swam back up to me and stared into my face.    The whole experience was truly wonderful and this fish has become just another proof that animals wish to commune with us.

A similar occasion took place at Healesville Sanctuary that I visited in the hopes of seeing a koala—the koalas were hiding that day but I was rewarded by a Tasmanian Devil rushing out of his den, as if to say, ‘Here I am, folks, glad to make your acquaintance.’  A friend from America was with me and for her, it was magical for the Devil is the one animal that she was hoping to see.

  1. Which animals intrigued you as a child? Did you have a special interest in the bear, the rabbit, the horse or the hippopotamus? Which animals fired your imagination?

I do remember liking the bear but this was mainly due to Fred Bear and Humphrey Bear, which is interesting for the bear is recognized as a protector of children.  The rabbit was fascinating given its association with Easter and the chocolate eggs that I consumed as a child.  My only contact with the hippopotamus is that it was the first word that I learnt to break down into syllables.

The one that first fired my imagination was the Crocodile—and it still fires my imagination. Their look, their independence and their overall personality are, at least to me, outstanding. The female is a good and worthy example of the love and care of a mother for her children.

  1. List any other animals that elicit an emotional excitement when you think about them or see them [on TV, in books, zoos etc]. Why is this?

The Giraffe—due to its graceful movements, its height and its long eyebrows. They seem to be most gentle unless attacked.

The Rhinoceros—due to its power and because of its exploitation for its Horn.  A sad fate seems to be their lot in life.

The Cassowary—again, due to its power and its contribution to keep other species alive, be they other animals, birds or plants.

The Cockroach—Its ability to scuttle about in the dark.

The Camel—its ability to be most independent, some would say, obnoxious.  These animals can be friendly and protective.

  1. Now list any animals the very thought of which makes you recoil and evokes revulsion. This animal may make your skin crawl. What is it about them which provoke this repulsion in you?

My first choice would have to be the maggot. As these seem to be in plentiful supply when located, they literally do repulse me and make more skin crawl. I think it is the way that they squirm that repulses me and their colour.      My second choice is the Huntsman Spider as they rush about and have no need for a web.  Thirdly is the millipede with all those legs and the way they move quickly.

  1. Which animals frighten you and why? Did you have a traumatic experience with the animal in the past?

When I was about 13 years old, a Huntsman Spider, which I had mistaken for a frog, jumped on to me and ever since, I cannot abide being around them.

As you may appreciate, by taking time to reflect on and then answer these questions, you will be in a better position to gain deeper insights into your loves and hates for the animals around you.

Now let move on to a few ‘Power Animals’ to see what they may be trying to teach us.  There are a lot of books out there which give the author’s own interpretation. Therefore, the following comments are designed to generate ideas and, as such, should not necessarily be taken as the ‘end all, be all.’ Remember, this is Your Personal Journey.

Dog / Coyote

In dreams, Dog appears to represent loyalty, service, protection, compassion and companionship.  In his book, Dream Sight, Dr. Michael Lennox, records the following dream:

A man had a dream in which a puppy is one of the dream characters. When asked to make an association for puppy, he told a story about when he was a boy and he had kept a puppy under the porch for three days before his mother found out and made him give it away. Since dogs represent loyalty and enthusiastic affection in the Universal Landscape of Dog, the dream clearly involved these qualities in the dreamer’s life. By adding the personal association of a sad moment when he had to give up love and affection, which the puppy provided, the man was able to dramatically access more potent material with which to work.   In this way, he could apply what he discovered to the circumstances in his current life situation.[xiv]

Here we can see that the Power Animal could be the ‘puppy’ attempting to stir the first feelings of love and affection that the Dreamer may have ‘suppressed ’ over the years.  This could cause this man to be distant from family and friends, not able to share emotions, a lack of trust – ‘nothing is permanent.’

But what if one dreams of a ‘dog or puppy’ when, in the waking state, there is fear attached to this animal?  Maybe, and I am just throwing the idea out there for others to think upon, maybe such a canine visitation might be a warning of something bad, thus Dog may ‘bar the way’ to something that might otherwise be more frightful or, at this period of the Dreamer’s life, the person may not be emotionally or mentally able to confront as an underlying issue at this time. As such, the so-called negative dream-character of Dog might still be viewed benevolent even though the Dreamer may not at first feel it to be so.     The dream of a black dog or to see the likeness of a dog in the fire are both signs that a friend is near, say the gipsies.[xv]

In the Tarot, the first card of the Major Arcana is The Fool. He is often pictured with a small dog at his heels. In the Rider Waite deck, we see the Fool or Joker looking away from the dog who appears to be desirous of warning the Fool of some calamity ahead.  In Jung and The Tarot, we read that:

The Fool is in such close contact with his intellectual side that he does not need to look where he is going in the literal sense; his animal nature guides his steps.[xvi]

In The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot, we are told that the dog is:

An alert watchdog. Either The Fool himself is awake and aware in the intensity of the moment, or the dog calls a warning and shows what the human next to him has missed.[xvii]

In another set of Divination Cards, Animals Divine, the author, Lisa Hunt, explains that her:

Goal [is] to help inspire [us] to look at animals in a different light by gazing upon the art and seeing myriad ways these animals can be portrayed, rendered, and celebrated. In doing so, perhaps this will enable [us] to see [ourselves] in new and refreshing ways[xviii]

Her card corresponding to The Fool shows a coyote on a rocky path with six birds flying above him.   I will share now her explanation of the various symbols found within the card as it may help us to better appreciate the use of such divinatory tools as a means of tapping into the world of our ‘Power Animal’ friends.

The coyote’s journey takes him on a rocky path covered with entwined roots.  The roots represent the obstacles that the unwary traveler will most likely encounter.  The rocks contrast the roots with their stabilizing properties—but one must be careful not to trip on these earthly protrusions.  The six birds flying overhead represent changes and protrusions.  The raven in the foreground is beckoning the coyote to continue.  The coyote must pass the bones, symbolic of stagnation, in order to explore new opportunities of self-awareness.    The dead trees are reminders that all things must pass and new paths should be made in order to promote new growth.

The spirals on the rocks are reminders that life is a continual journey to be explored.   The dragonfly represents our goals and dreams and the penetration of veils of deception.  The necklace of feathers and beads represents flight and the continuous pursuit of truth.  The subtle winding snake is ever changing and merging with the tree roots, a reminder that we have to activate all of our senses while travelling on the path.[xix]

By focussing deeper on the various symbols, these will “activate all of our senses” so that we can make contact with the Power Animals—be they Dog or Coyote—and thus receive guidance on how we may need to change our situation to live in the world in a more happy, healthy and spiritually-uplifting manner.

Turning to mythology, we find many tales depicting dogs. For instance, dogs served many underworld gods such as Yama [the God of the Dead] in India who had two dogs, Shyama and Shabala. The Indian Vedic thunder-god, Indra, is often shown with a dog called Sarama, as his supreme companion.

In the Mahabharata, dating back to the 4th Century B.C., we find the story about Yudhisthira and his ‘adopted’ dog, both of which finally stood at Indra’s chariot. Note the transformation of this Dog.

Indra loomed over Yudhisthira—a noble and skilled man—and his trusty companion, an ugly dog that had joined him one day as he trekked up the Himalayas.

The story goes that Yudhisthira and his brothers had been searching for Indra’s chariot on the mountain to take them the final way to the gates of heaven. Yudhisthira and his brothers had heard that finding this place, this paradise, would bring them peace. They were brave men and many believed they could make the journey through the treacherous mountains but in the end it was Yudhisthira alone, with his trusted dog, which had made it

Yudhisthira was resting under a tree at the time of the dog’s appearance, Yudhisthira being alone and tired. He had lost his brothers, one by one, on the journey—one by one they died—from starvation, the bone-chillingly cold nights and the brutality of the heat during the day. It was when his last brother perished that the dog appeared to him and never left.

Together he and the dog had passed over jagged rocks that cut them, hot sand that burned, painful thorns from unwelcoming bushes, and deep mud that threatened to suck them in and not let them go.

When they found food—sometimes Yudhisthira finding it, sometimes the dog—they always shared it. When neither found food, they starved together. And as sometimes only loneliness can bring to two creatures, it brought Yudhisthira and his dog love. He trusted the dog with his life and the dog repaid him with devotion.

They finally made it to the place they were searching. His dog was looking up at him and he patted his head, and Indra’s voice bellowed out to him, “Oh, you finally arrived! I have been waiting for you so long! It’s a pleasure to have you here in my chariot, let’s fly to heaven.”

Yudhisthira and his dog took a few steps toward the chariot when Indra raised a hand, “But… the dog can’t come, look at it, it’s old and thin. It’s not worthy of my heaven.”   The dog stopped and Yudhisthira looked down at him. The dog laid down at Yudhisthira’s side, resting its head on its cracked paws.  Yudhisthira looked back up at Indra, “I’m sorry, if the dog can’t come with me, we will turn around and go back whence we came. I thank you for your invitation, but I cannot leave this animal. He has been my faithful companion during this journey.”   Yudhisthira headed back down the mountain, down the long hard path he and the dog had just left.

“Stop,” Indra cried out.

Yudhisthira turned and discovered not his dog on the ground where it had been, but the dog transformed back into its real shape: the God Dharma, Yes. ‘Dharma’. Righteousness, Truth, Goodness and Duty.’

“Now you can come, this was your final test and you showed that you deserve to come with me.” Indra opened the doors to the chariot and Yudhisthira stepped in. Indra closed the door and off they went.

The lesson. We should always treat everyone and every animal with respect, for we don’t know which form God will take when he comes. Or in the words of Bhagavan Ramana[xx]: “We do not know what souls may be tenanting these bodies and for finishing what part of the unfinished karma that they may seek our company.”

The Celts had their Cù, [Coo] or Dog, who is perceived as being protective, loyal and an able guide. Celtic ambassadors were accompanied by dogs which acted as bodyguards and chiefs and warriors had their names prefixed by Cù—for example, Cù-Chulainn.[xxi] When a mere lad, he was known as Setanta.  But he killed a ferocious hound of a King and, to make amends, he decided to guard the King’s castle. This King was called Chulainn, and in honour of the boy, Setanta’s name was changed Cu-Chualinn, meaning the ‘Hound of Chullain.’[xxii]

In the Druid Animal Oracle, we are told that “The time may come when you need to act with the spirit of Cùto defend your values and to protect that which you hold sacred.[xxiii]

As a healer, Dog heals the heart, can detect cancer and heart disease. See the excellent article, ‘Using Dogs as Healers.’[xxiv]


In an article by David Legg found on the website of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (UK) we read that:

The bear has been worshipped, probably as a brother, for many thousands of years. In this it can probably be said to be the oldest human-animal relationship. It can be seen why the bear is regarded as a Brother—they can walk on two legs, are omnivorous and like the same food as humans—honey, salmon, fruit, nuts and meat.

Worshipping a bear may have been a religion among the ancient hunter tribes in Eurasia and even of Neanderthal man. Drawings of bear worship have been found in caves in Southern Europe dating back tens of thousands of years.[xxv]

As a dream symbol, Bear  represents soul, introspection, inner vision, strength and transformation.[xxvi] Whilst others see Bear of not only introspection, but depression, [xxvii] or, to kill Bear in a dream means freedom from present troubles.[xxviii]

There was a belief of old that bear cubs were born without form, so the mother licked them into shape, creating order out of chaos. As such, bears were seen as a symbol of creation.[xxix]


In the Animals Divine Deck, Bear is allocated to the Nine of Pentacles of the Tarot. Here we are told that: “The bear is a powerful symbol of the cycle of life, motherhood and protection. The bear helps us to harness internal energy as a means of connecting with the external powers of the physical world” and “the pentacles represent illuminating power.”[xxx]

Bear as a ‘Power Animal’ symbol can be perceived as one who can help bring balance to those experiencing internal unrest with their external world as they learn to integrate the two components together.

In the Pocket Guide to Spirit Animals,[xxxi] Bear could be telling you to:

  • Set clear boundaries and don’t compromise, even if presumed.
  • Ask what you want whether or not you’ll get it.
  • Get going on that creative project you have in mind.
  • Take some time out from your usual routines and spend time in solitude.
  • You may be in need of physical or emotional healing.
  • Be gentle, and show your love to those you’re close to.
  • To find answers to your questions, go inside rather than reading or consulting others.

The Guide is designed to carry with you in your knapsack or bag and when you come across a particular animal, (in this instance, a bear), you open the Guide to the appropriate page and then Bear will speak to you whatever message you are in need of.

In mythology, there are numerous references to the Bear. Go to the website of the UK-based ‘Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids’ to learn more about the various myths surrounding Bear.[xxxii]

As healers, bears are associated with promoting balance and harmony. The bear can be seen as promoting ‘Herbal Medicine,’ as it too seeks out plants for its own healing.

One organization that I know of is Good Bears of the World (GBW), founded in 1969. They have given hundreds of thousands of teddy bears to those in need of love and a hug—The Oklahoma City bombing, the crash of TWA flight 800, events of September 11, 2001, Hurricane Katrina, Kansas tornados and floods and the Fukashima Nuclear Disaster.

Firemen, policemen, emergency workers, psychologists, and grief counselors have discovered the teddy bear’s magical healing power is invaluable when given to children and their families in traumatic situations.[xxxiii]



In Dreams, birds, being plentiful, each particular species has its own meaning. Flying birds denote joy and prosperity and a wounded bird as a symbol of coming sorrows through offspring.[xxxiv]

To cite some examples, Raven can be interpreted as a symbol of mysticism, death and rebirth, transformation and awakening. As a bird of prey, it teaches us about death and the natural cycle of life.

Eagle symbolizes a messenger, authority and spiritual power. To kill an eagle in a dream is to be able to overcome all obstacles.

To dream of Dove is to be interpreted as peace, emotional release, innocence and birth.  I would add here faithfulness as it was Dove who returned to Noah with an olive leaf in its mouth whilst Raven did not return – no doubt feeding on the dead animals that would be floating in the abating water. See Genesis 8:7-11

Owl of course would relate to wisdom, as also to mystery, magic, secrets and is linked to astral projection. For instance, Gypsy-lore believes that an Owl hooting closely after dawn, believe that the bird is calling a soul from a human body.[xxxv]

There are many birds mentioned in numerous tarot decks or oracle decks—for example, in the Wild Wood Tarot, the Animals Divine Deck and the Druid Animals Oracle Deck.  Each of these decks comes with a book/companion guide which delves further into each bird and its meaning for us. As there are so many, I will just pick the Owl from the last named deck.

The Owl comes out at night with its exceptional hearing allowing it to catch its prey. To walk in the twilight can help one to better appreciate these night birds—if you happen to spot one.  Walking by twilight can further aid one to develop their sensibility to the Otherworld.  You may find yourself drawn to a study of esoteric lore or clairvoyancy.  Working with Owl as your ally can be an excellent means of development to the end.[xxxvi]

Birds are great healers—depending on the species. For example, Raven has the power to draw out negative energy. Eagle is employed in healing conditions of the eye and cleansing the aura. Hawk is most useful in healing through internal cleansing and can assist in calming an overactive mind. Dove can be asked to help one overcome past emotional trauma and it does this by its soothing, meditative ‘cooing’ voice and Hummingbird can be utilized to correct blood-sugar levels and promotes metabolism.[xxxvii]


In dreams, Snake represents wisdom, potential, awakening, transmutation, initiation, resurrection and rebirth.[xxxviii] This is interesting, given that another author views the snake in dreams “as an evil omen predicting danger through enemies, deceit and general misfortune. If you kill the snakes, you will overcome all obstacles.”[xxxix]

I would say that the Serpent in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) is a apt symbol for the wisdom, potential awakening and initiation of this animal as a Dream Symbol.  For the Mosaic account tells us that it was by the Serpent speaking to Eve and enticing her to eat of the Forbidden Fruit, that did indeed create new awareness and initiation into knowing both good and evil.

In the Wild Wood Tarot, the King of Bows (Wands) depicts a group of intertwining adders. They represent magical power, balance and the healing arts.[xl] 

In the Rider card, Wheel of Fortune, Snake also represents the life force descending into the material world.[xli] However, another explanation is given: “During the late period in Ancient Egypt, the god Seth came to be seen as the personification of evil and destruction. His Greek name is Typhon. Here he is indicative of the negative or downward principle.”[xlii]

In the Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, we are told that:

Snake worship seems to be a very ancient custom. Images of snake-couples have been unearthed in the Indus Valley  Civilization. Worship of snakes is said to have existed in ancient Greece, Egypt and Assyria…Snakes are worshipped for obtaining wealth and children, for long-life and for protection from snake-bite.

Killing of snake, that too of cobras, is considered as heinous and sinful. Dead snakes are cremated with religious honours.[xliii] 

A few books about Serpent worship are Tree and Serpent Worship by J. Fergusson (1874); The Sun and the Serpent by Oldham (1905); Serpent Worship by C. S. Wake (1888) and The Evolution of the Dragon (1919). These texts should be available as free downloads in PDF via

Raymond Buckland relates how a corn snake that he and his wife had,  was an excellent healer and would move to the part of their body that required healing.[xliv]  As a healer, snakes can help with clearing the chakras—or Kundalini, the ‘Serpent fire.’

The Water Dragon

This creature was known as the Stoor Worm and lived off the coast of northern Scotland.  He brings to light the hidden things that reside in us—our dreams, memories and fears, that lay buried in the Unconscious.

Though fears may arise, by confronting them, we will have peace of soul and a greater sense of our connectedness with all of Life around us. Dragons originated from the Worm, hence the Water Dragon being called the Stoor Worm.[xlv]

In folklore, the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, and the Faroe Islands came about when the Stoorworm was dying under the hand of Ashipattle, who killed the beast by setting its heart on fire. As the Stoor Worm was thrashing about in its death throes, the teeth that fell from its mouth are what gave rise to these islands.  Then the Stoorworm curled up and lay still, for it was dead, and its great coils became the place called Iceland.


As we begin to pay attention to our dreams, use the Tarot or Oracle Decks for visual and inner inspiration, employ the various Visualization techniques available, and read the myths, fables and folktales depicting animals (or other creatures for that matter), then I believe that we all can eventually make contact with the ‘Power Animals.’



I can only trust that the insights gained in the talk today, may whet your appetite for learning more about ‘Power Animals’ and a greater appreciation as to why we should attempt to harness this alternative way to heal ourselves and, by extension Mother Nature and Her Children, the myriad life-forms that abound on our little piece of real estate, which we call Earth.


Thank you kindly for your time and attention.


Heathclyff St James-Deville


Delivered Saturday 4th March 2017

Theosophical Society (Pasadena)

Australasian Section

664 Glenhuntly Rd

South Caulfield

Victoria 3162




[i] Bond, Ruskin (2004) The Book of Nature, Penguin Books India p.188

[ii] Gauding, Madonna (2006) Personal Power Animals: For Guidance, Protection and Healing. A Godsfield Book USA pp.5

[iii] Forest, Danu (2013) The Druid Shaman,  Moon Books, UK pp.58-63

[iv] Farmer, Dr. Steven (2012) Your Pocket Guide to Spirit Animals, Hay House USA p.16

[v] Wright, Thomas (1875) A History of Caricature and Grotesque in Literature and Art, Chatto and Windus London

[vi] Vinycomb. John (1906) Fictitious and Symbolic Creatures in Art, Chapman and Hall, London

[vii] Ibid p.4. Chinese imagine eclipses…Remember this book was written in 1906

[viii] Auchincloss, Kenneth The Ravaged Environment, Newsweek, 26 January 1970

[ix] Dutta, Sushmita

[x] Brunke,Dawn Baumann, (2002) Animals Voices: Telepathic Communication in the Web of Life. Bear and Company, USA p.232

[xi] Urquhart, F.A. (1964) Insects,   Frederick Warne and Co, London [Revised Ed. Of 1949)  p.208

[xii] Schurter, Dale L. (2013) Mounting Worldwide Crisis in Agriculture,  Restored Church of Christ, USA p.67

[xiii] Boone, J Allen (1954) Kinship with All Life, Harper and Row, USA

[xiv] Lennox, Dr. Michael (2013) Llewellyn. USA, Fourth Printing p.70

[xv] Villiers, Elizabeth (1923) The Good Luck Book, R. Werner Laurie Ltd. London

[xvi] Nichols, Sally (1980) Jung and The Tarot, Red Wheel/Weiser, USA p.24

[xvii] Fiebig, Johannes & BÏ‹rger, Evelin (2013) The Ultimate Guide to the Rider Waite Tarot, Llewellyn USA 66

[xviii] Hunt, Lisa (2005) Animals Divine Companion and Cards, Llewellyn USA p.5

[xix] ibid

[xx] Osborne, Arthur (1954) Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge, Samuel Weiser, USA Chapter 11: Animals

[xxi] Carr-Gomm, Philip & Stephanie (1994) The Druid Animal Oracle, Fireside 1994

[xxii] Rolleston, T.W. (1917) Celtic Myths and Legends, George G. Harrap & Co, London pp.183-184

[xxiii] ibid


[xxv] Legg, David (n.d) art, The Bear –

[xxvi] Gauding, Madonna (2006) op.sit. p.66

[xxvii] Legg, David (n.d) op.cit

[xxviii] González-Wippler, Migene (2011) Dreams and What they Mean to You, Llewellyn USA p.106

[xxix] Saunders, Nicholas J. (1995) Animal Spirits, Duncan Baird Publishers, London p. 76

[xxx] Hunt, Lisa (2005) p.171

[xxxi] Farmer, Dr. Steven (2012) op. cit. p.47-48


[xxxiii] Good Bears of the World, Terrie Stong, Executive Director P.O. Box 13097 Toledo, Ohio 43613 USA

[xxxiv] González-Wippler, Migene (2011) op. cit. p. 108


[xxxvi] Carr-Gomm, Philip & Stephanie (1994)

[xxxvii] Gauding, Modonna (2006) op. cit.  All the examples are from this book

[xxxviii] Gauding, Madonna (2006) op. cit. p.87

[xxxix] González-Wippler, Migene (2011) op. cit.  p. 196

[xl] Ryan, Mark and Matthews, John (2011) The Wild Wood Tarot, Sterling Ethos p. 96 Illus. Will Worthington


[xlii] Fiebig, Johannes & BÏ‹rger, Evelin (2013) op. cit. p.42

[xliii]  Harshananda, Sw. (2012) A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism,  Ramakrishna Math, p.355 (of Vol.2)

[xliv]  Buckland, Raymong (2001) Wicca for Life: The Way of the Craft – from Birth to Summerland, Citadel Press USA  p. 188

[xlv] Carr-Gomm, Philip and Stephanie (1994) op. cit. p.130-133

In our everyday life as in science, we commonly perceive time as a straight line from the past through the present to the future. However, where the realities of the motion of cosmic bodies come into our lives, we start measuring time in conformity with their cyclic-spiral movement.


This cyclic-spiral movement is reflected in our everyday vision of Time progression based on our knowledge of the rotation of Earth around its axis. So in our clocks every 12 hours we return to the same point in time but a half-day forward, or every 24 hours – a day forward. We also use our knowledge of the rotation of Earth around the Sun in our calendars (after every 365 or 366 days we return to the same date but a year forward).


According to C.J.Calleman’s book, The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, The ancient peoples of America, most notably the Mayans, had a Sacred Calendar, ‘tzolkin’, made of ‘cycles within cycles within cycles’. A cog model of the ‘tzolkin’ is based on the 260 cog combinations. These are generated by two engaged rotating cog- wheels. The twenty cogs of one of the wheels represent the energies of twenty sacred day signs, and the thirteen cogs of another wheel – the thirteen day and night count (7 days and 6 nights).  In addition, there was a Mayan year of 360 days called ‘tun’. 20 ‘tuns’ made a ‘katun’, and 400 ‘tuns’ – a ‘baktun.


There were also thirteen ‘heavens’ and nine ‘underworlds’. For example, the last baktun of the thirteenth heaven came to the end in December 2012 of our calendar. However, it wasn’t actually the end of the Mayan calendar, but only the end of the ‘Planetary Underworld’ and the beginning of the ‘Galactic Underworld’. As we understand it, our planetary consciousness should change to the galactic one. Our perception of ourselves as only planetary beings should progress to the understanding of ourselves as cosmic beings. (We understand the Mayan ‘underworlds’ as worlds under the ‘heavens’, i.e. actually as our Solid World).


One of the oldest people on the Earth, the Australian Aborigines, also may serve as an example of a similar way of thinking of Time. “Their Time is circular, not linear, as each generation relives the Dreaming activities” (Library – As aboriginal elders explain, each generation has to literally walk and sing the traditional curved pathways. They constantly refer to the ‘Dreamtime’, the world of ‘dreaming’ which ‘clothes’ itself in a body of the ‘waking’ world. According to Robert Lawlor’s book Voices of the First Day, the Aborigines understand the creation as a ‘movement of consciousness from dream to reality’. They believe that they originate from a ‘Rainbow Serpent’ of universal energy. As we will see later, the image of a ‘Serpent’ is directly connected with the nature of Time.


It seems that Western science inherited the traditions of the European religions, with their notion of linear Time. Aristotle and Newton both believed in absolute Time, independent on Space and any material objects.  It worked well with objects on or close to Earth and moving slowly compared to the speed of Light.


In the beginning of the 20th century Albert Einstein changed the understanding of Time-Space and Matter interrelationships with his Theory of Relativity (primarily the ‘special theory of relativity’, for non-accelerating bodies, in 1905, and then the ‘general theory of relativity’, in 1915). Starting from the publication of Einstein’s theory, the properties and role of Time became one of the major topics in modern science.


In the world famous Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time, the author describes some of the properties of Space and Time from the standpoint of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity. This theory states that “Space and Time are dynamic quantities: when a body moves, or a force acts, it affects the curvature of Space and Time – and in turn the structure of Space-Time affects the  way in which bodies move and forces act” (Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time).


In the general theory of relativity the subject of Time is closely connected to the subject of Light. For example, in Einstein’s famous formula: E=mc2 (where E is energy, m is mass and c = 299792458m/s is velocity of Light in vacuum). So, velocity of Light (distance that Light covers in a second) defines how energy of an object relates to its mass. Also, the energy of Light greater the higher its frequency, where frequency is a number of waves, or vibrations, per second. Massive cosmic objects deflect the ray of Light which passes them; and the theory predicts that Time slows down in the proximity to massive cosmic bodies.


In a word, Time appears not to be anymore absolute, but rather interconnected with Light and Space in the common fabric of being.

We modern people are used to ask our sciences about the physical nature of things. So what is the actual nature and purpose of Time? How did Time appear and how is it moving? How does Time relate to Space? How does Time relate to Light? How does it affect life in common and personally?


We will try to answer these questions on a foundation of synthesis of theosophy, metaphysics, and modern science. From theosophy, we will take the cycle of Manvantara and Pralaya – the rhythmically interchanging periods of universe’s state: manifested and unmanifest. From Kalagia – the book of metaphysics – we will take some metaphysical definitions and mechanisms involving Time; and where possible we will compare them with the findings of modern science.


Let’s start from the beginning of the Manvantara, from the starting point of manifestation of the universe. There is no sequential Time, only the eternal rhythm which awakens ‘Brahma’ (Spirit, the Supreme Consciousness) from the state of Nothing/Everything to Its creative condition.


Agni Yoga states: “In Cosmos lives that conscious power which is called the cosmic rhythm and the whole of human life depends on the cycle of this rhythm”. HPBlavatsky also speaks in The Secret Doctrine of “the absolute universality of that law of periodicity, of flux and reflux, ebb and flow, which physical science has observed and recorded in all departments of nature. All alternation such as that of Day and Night, Life and Death, Sleeping and Waking, is in fact so common, so perfectly universal and without exception, that it is easy to comprehend that in it we see one of the absolutely fundamental laws of the universe.”


Manvantara is replacing Pralaya in conformity with the cosmic rhythm, or ‘the heartbeat of the universe’. The process of creation – manifestation begins, and Spirit starts the holographic manifestation of Matter of the universe. Spirit does it by releasing a Ray of Light from the Fire of Its Consciousness. Light becomes the medium through which Spirit’s Thought produces holograms of Matter.


However, Light wouldn’t propagate without Time. Kalagia also says that no Matter could continuously exist in the timeless Space of Spirit – it would immediately explode and turn back into Fire. The process of holographic manifestation is impossible without Time. So,Time became an attribute of the holographic process and the means of stabilizing and carrying the holograms of Matter.


The cosmic rhythm contains a potential for Time to take a form of a wave, vibration, a spiral ‘serpent’, as it becomes the inner space forming Matter. As Kalagia defines: “The inner space of Matter is Time, the substance Time or the hologram of the past.” This grand Illusion provides the environment for life, and life reflecting the cosmic heartbeat produces its variations of rhythms of the manifest universe.




So, as soon as Time appears, Light starts to form Rays (in Time) and to propagate. A Ray of Light has its maximal intensity in Spirit, and while moving away through the three worlds of existence (the Fiery, the Fine, or Subtle, and the Solid worlds), to lesser frequencies, is gradually losing its intensity.


Time is interconnected with Matter, and so is Space. We cannot say what is manifest earlier, and what later – Time or Matter, Space or Matter. Everything in an instant. Kalagia states that “Time and Space are closely interconnected. As the substance of Time (hologram) is the inner part of Matter, Plasma of its ingredients, so Space is ‘the outside’ of Matter, Plasma outwardly inherent in the ingredients of Matter. They are united by Fire.”


As Kalagia says on the qualities of Time, “Time, beside of its flow, possesses also its density. The flow is measured by a clock, density – by a galvanometer.”  Why is the density of Time measured by galvanometer? Galvanometer is a device for measuring electric current using its electromagnetism; and the electromagnetic wave of Light is the source of Matter whereas Time is the inner space of Matter.


So, we should have in mind that the linear sequential time that we are used to is an illusion of our perception.  Time is non-linear; it is a wave with its flow and density. Kalagia calls the wave of Time density Nag, or Serpent, that exists in all dimensions. The image of the Serpent of the wave of Time is intimately connected with the snake symbolism of occult traditions around the world. We saw this in the image of the primordial ‘Rainbow Serpent’ of the Australian aborigines.


At the dawn of Creation, the wave of Time density appears from

the state of Everything potential and nothing manifest. In Hinduism it is connected with the image of Brahma who is sleeping during His Night (Pralaya). He is awakening to begin His Day (Manvantara) by creating (manifesting) His Universe. Kalagia explains this phenomenon as the change of the position of Spirit within Itself. Fire becomes released from the Spirit’s Consciousness and forms the wave of Time density. The pressure of the wave of Time density becomes manifest where the holograms appear. In a sense, we can say that this pressure is forming the holograms or at least holding them intact. Every hologram receives from the creating Spirit its own energy field. Every hologram possesses its own Time density.


Science operates with the concept of particles like atoms and subatomic particles called together ‘leptons’. Kalagia speaks of the pressure of the wave of Time density that produces the energy field around and within the atom and makes life possible:

“There are no leptons; there is Nag – the wave of Time density, and atoms and Worlds exist in the zone of its pressure. A wave after a wave follow, only Spirit knows the speeds of their movement; for Us they are moments of Our existence, as a standing wave of life is constantly changing because of the interchange of atoms scudding across the Infinity…”

So, where Spirit’s Fire of Consciousness is released there the pressure of Time density brings the standing wave of Life to manifestation. In other words, the zone where Spirit focuses Its attention and releases Its Fire becomes a ‘holographic focus’ for the manifestation of Life.

Spirit’s Thought begins manifestation of Matter in the first, Fiery, World of existence. Time, which is inseparable from Matter as the inner space of Matter’s vibrations, also begins in the Fiery World. Time begins as a reflection of the cosmic rhythm, ‘the heartbeat of the universe’ – a space helix, serpent, or wave of extreme density (call it ‘zero’ or ‘infinity’ – it is the same in the condition of No- Thing/Every- Thing).  In the Fiery World everything is together – past, present and future.

The process of manifestation of Matter continues throughout the Fine and Solid Worlds gradually lowering the energy and frequency of the waves of Light (in complete agreement with Einstein’s theory).

In the second, Fine, or Subtle, World, where the holograms of Matter start receiving their forms, Time is still not that noticeable.  People who have shared their memories of appearing in the Fine (Subtle) World, in their meditations, dreams, or Near Death Experiences, usually notice that they didn’t perceive time as they had perceived it in their ‘normal’ waking condition. In the Fine World they could instantly change things by thought. For example, according to The Holographic Universe by Michael Talbot, they could immediately change their appearance – body and clothes – if they so wished. The deceased relatives were seen there as young people at their best prime.


Everything is so fluid in the Subtle World that the wave of Time can be ‘squeezed’ to zero with no apparent effort. The effortlessness of ‘squeezing’ the wave of Time in the Fine World justifies for us the necessity of Solid World conditions for our experiences.  We need the illusion of linear sequential time in order to make efforts: sow causes, reap the effects, and learn our lessons. In this way we refine our consciousness and bring the precious gifts of our spiritual achievement to the Universal Consciousness of Spirit.


In the Solid World, we commonly perceive Time as a straight line from the past to the future. Because of this illusion, we become dependent on Time to fulfil our dearest desires and dreams. In a way, we become ‘slaves of Time’, of our own illusion of its linearity.

However, it appears that even in the Solid World we sometimes manage to feel the reality of the spiral of Time. Its spiral essence is manifest in everyone’s experience of life, with its ups and downs, mistakes and lessons, returning to the same point, but on a different level of understanding.

Every one of us has their personal Time which conforms to the quality of our thoughts, intentions, and karma collected and balanced.  This Time is changing as we spiritually mature. A moment may come when we become capable of ‘squeezing’ our Time to the point where everything comes together. This is an instant of passage through the boundaries of Worlds, and of power over Time, which would be one of the highest achievements for a human being on his/her spiritual Path. To some extent, we can sense the Nag’s condition when we are co-creating with the spirit within us. In this state of creativity we are sometimes able to actually change the density of our personal time.

In our book The Laws of Life, we discuss the appearance, life and decline of civilizations as standing waves of Time density.

The waves of Time density ripple out in all dimensions. The pressure of these waves forms gigantic standing waves of Life in different zones of Space.


A standing wave of Life exists in a certain zone of Space as a hologram supported by Spirit’s energy of Fire and Light, for long ages. Such a wave becomes compact, more solid, while it is

undergoing materialisation. It then turns into a full-blown ‘cocoon’                                  cradled within its own Illusion. Then, within the old, compact, materialised wave of Life, the spiritual movement of Evolution starts raising a new, young standing wave of Life. This spiritual movement ignites the inner Fire and Light, which reaches outside the boundaries of the Illusion of the ‘cocoon’ of the materialised life. Eventually, the new wave of Life replaces the old one.




Blavatsky, H.P., 1977, The Secret Doctrine, v.1&2. Pasadena, Theosophical University Press.


Calleman, Carl Johan, 2004, The Mayan Calendar and the Transformation of Consciousness, Bear & Company, Rochester, Vermont.


Einstein, Albert, 2001, Relativity. London, Routledge.


Hawking, Stephen, 2011, A Brief History of Time (From the Big Bang to Black Holes). Bantam Books.


Lawlor, Robert, 1991, Voices of the First Day. Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont.


Lommel, van, Pim, 2001, Consciousness Beyond Life. Harper.


Naumkin, A., 1998, Kalagia (Russian). Kaunas, Gyvata.


Riaikkenen R&M,  2004, The Laws of Life/The Return of the Prodigal Son. Victoria, Canada, Trafford Publishing.


Roerich, Helena, 1929 (Republished 1997), Agni Yoga. New York, Agni Yoga Society.


Talbot, Michael, 2011, The Holographic Universe. New York, Harper Perennial.


If you wish to contact the author please email:



The other day the phone rang in the early evening, right on teatime. It was a lady from the SIDS for Kids call centre. I’m afraid I thought: “Oh God, not another donation-dodge”. I said something like: “I’m afraid I can’t help you, just now”. Then she said to the effect that: ”I’m a paramedic, and you sound really raddled”, and I thought: “Oh no, you get psychoanalysed for saying what you think, but thanks, you’re very kind”. Anyway, she said she’d phone back the next Thursday. She was ringing from work; I apologised for being so short with her, and then we talked about singing in church, and how good it made you feel. Like love pouring into the cracks in your soul. Then she told me about a dog who was allowed to come to church, and who howled along with the hymn-singing congregation, and we laughed and she said she’d send me a picture of the dog. Nice. I hope I contact that lady somewhere, somehow, again. People can be angels sometimes. Just being concerned for others; it’s selfless, you step into another space, think of others, express your concern for them, give selfless love, which brings healing. Wonderful. Now for my talk.

I thought of some songs which inspire this heartfelt feeling:

“Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly”, (how can we? But we do). Leonard Cohen sang: “There’s a crack in the world, that’s how the light gets in”, the Moody Blues sang about a man who was overwhelmed by the beauty of nature, sat in the moonlight beneath an orange tree, thought how bad he had been, and ate of its fruit, found compassion. There’s a hymn called: “The Lord of the Dance” – I am the Lord of the Dance, and I still live on” – he picked up and rejoiced, even after great suffering.

When preparing this talk, I’ve just used my experiences in life, over the past 18 or so months, when many beautiful examples of the milk of human kindness, have happened. I have tried to capture some of the most remarkable of them for you. I guess it’s just through life experience, rather than doctrine from written sources. First I experienced compassion, then had to give it unstintingly to a loved-one, had  then to learn again what compassion was, from actual experience of suffering, and then learnt how to apply it to others, lovingly and from the heart. This was after people had been helping me unstintingly, from the heart – I became a different person, ‘almost reborn in the spirit”.

Some spiritual organisations and groups, seem to attract “broken” people, mystics from prosaic families, refugees from brutal regimes, the deserted, the unloved, those in grief. Yet these people are often extremely strong, spiritually, and good at the art of living the inner law of life, stout of heart, tender of feelings, understanding of others’ cares and woes, selfless and giving, but not hapless fools – they are worldly- wise and, “street-wise”, almost. I used to meet a little homeless cat, it lived in a copse of young elm trees beside the local Catholic school playground, The cat and I both have white hair, and like walking alone, but not alone, when others are having their evening meal, with family or friends.

Some years ago I discussed the subject of Compassion with Tony and Marjory; they used to do volunteer work with the intellectually handicapped – we felt that compassion is a very visceral experience, simple, and primitive.

We remarked how when one baby in the nursery begins crying, the others soon follow suit, either hurting because they’ve been woken up, or sharing one another’s suffering. Magpies utter their mournful trolling when a tune in a minor key is being played on the radio – but perhaps the birds are thinking of some unspeakably lovely place, lost to all, and to  which they yearn to return,  – perhaps the Amitabha Paradise? The Buddhas of Compassion who dwell there, have been human, and have known the poignant, and the blissful, moments of life in our human sphere. Avaloketesvara, “the Lord of Compassionate Glances, The Lord who Looks Down” “The on-looking Lord” synonymous with our higher self (Blavatsky, Theosophical Glossary, p.44 (he has 1,000 pairs of eyes watching mankind, and 1,000 arms to reach out to us). He is the Tibetan embodiment of loving kindness, (in Chinese cosmology, the Quan Yin, like the Virgin Mary). He gets down from his throne of magnificence and descends to help humankind.

Once a mother duck was trying to shepherd her babies to the Yarra River, across Lower Heidelberg Road, which is generally frantically busy. I watched her behaviours, which seemed to follow a simple pattern, unfortunately including avoiding me, as a threat. I waited for someone to come by, and we found a break in the traffic, said: “Go for it, Mrs Duck!” An older couple heard the commotion, got alarmed, saw the ducks, and screamed to a halt. We waved our arms at the ducks and they toddled across to the other side, and down to the river. The mother duck did not think of flying, as her babies couldn’t, again, compassion can be instinctive. Everyone involved was either a parent or had a parent – our tender side came to the fore. And the other lady had a grey vest, just like ducks wear – it almost seemed like she was sent by the Aborigine spirits.

I think Compassion means “co-suffering”, understanding the pain and humility of others’, often by having experienced the same hurts as those that you “hurt for”. The dictionary definition is “Pity inclining one to spare or help”. (The Concise Oxford Dictionary, p.247) I think it gets back to “The Love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit”.

Curtis Beach wrote in Sunrise magazine that when life  leaves us in ruins, we have to get up again and start rebuilding  life, because hard times test the soul. He thinks when Christ said: “Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted”, the mourners also become comforters, as they understand what those they comfort have gone through, having just gone through similar trials themselves – “the man who has found God to be living in him as a close companion, always present in time of need, knows the comfort of which Jesus was speaking”. (“Light in Shadow”, Curtis Beach, Sunrise, August-September, 2000, pp. 210-211).

Perhaps we grieve because we haven’t been able to sufficiently alleviate another’s suffering. I only learnt about compassion by experiencing some of the health problems of someone I was caring for. We can also learn about it by a sudden spiritual insight,.

As a result of this co-suffering, sometimes, Life seems to break us, tear us to pieces, leave us shattered and like “sweet dreams, and flying machines, in pieces on the ground:”, or like the god Osiris, torn apart by Seth. Osiris’s wife, Isis, had to gather all the pieces of him from the waters of the Nile, and put them back together again, so Osiris could have proper burial rights.  Some humans feel like this when a loved one passes away.

We feel seemingly un-mendable. Once I was walking up Burgundy Street in the early evening, feeling utterly miserable, and remembered a hymn which says: “I’m humbled by your mercy, and I’m broken inside”, (Redman, Matt, “Once Again Lyrics” MetroLyrics.Com Sunday 21/8/2016). I said: “I’m just useless”, and nearly burst into tears. The other locals must have thought I was balmy. But then a wonderful feeling of calm came over me, like honey coming down from the cells of a honeycomb, a great, all-overpowering calm, sweet and gentle. We are funny, broken, shadows of our former selves, but through the cracks, the light can shine, and give its warmth to a frozen soul. Then, mercy flows like the nectar of the gods, from the reaches of heaven that are sequestered in the secret places in people’s heart of hearts. This is a real thing, and it happens, like meeting some beautiful wild creature, a lorikeet or a dove, a gentle, innocent, pure, a tiny possum, from a completely different reality to Man’s hustle and bustle, but strong in their own ways, too. Then I felt a great need to help others, as they had helped me. So now I try and help those in need, and be a minor wellspring of compassion, which we all are, and shine its glory onto others, in like fashion. I had a need to care for people again. It was wonderful, like being part of something bigger than oneself, the great life within life, bigger than the sum of its parts.

I’ve had an increasing end-on chain of compassion happening in my life, before and after the passing of that loved person.

I went back to church. One of the vicar’s homilies was built around this saying: “We live our love for God, in our love for others (meaning other people)”. When you do Bhakti Yoga, singing hymns and praying, meeting in fellowship over a coffee and mini-muffin, you link up easily with your inner divinity. You “share in the love”. Someone else, giving the Sermon at another church, gave a definition of Agape:  “Sacrificial, selfless love, that focuses on serving the wellbeing of another, with no expectation of reciprocal action” Agape is a part of Compassion; compassion is a greater, in that more expansive, form of selflessness.

Like the Osiris-experience, the grieving person left behind on earth needs to reconstruct his or her self, from the scattered pieces. After my mother died, friends and family, and sometimes complete strangers, shewed forth an abundance of loving kindness, really, the Milk of human kindness. As I had helped her, others help me reconstruct myself. My brother’s family said to come and live with them, I became part of the household, back to being about 13 years old in a way, constantly bathed in loving-kindness. I felt I’d been reborn.

About two years ago, a very dear friend contracted cancer, and had to undergo surgery to remove the tumour. On her return home, the parishioners had secretly moved to help their stricken friend; she told me, with a tear in her eye and a wobble in her voice: “when I came in the door, I found my freezer full of casseroles”, they had provided for her physical needs when she couldn’t do so for herself.

Then when my mother was trying to board a taxi to return home from an appointment, the driver was coaxing her to step across the gap between the curb and the open car door. To no avail. She was afraid of falling. A wonderful Irish ex-nurse suddenly appeared, and we asked her to help. She said: “I just had to come and help, I can’t bear to see a fellow creature suffering”, and ably helped Mum into the taxi, and when we arrived home the driver helped Mum get back indoors.

Much later, after my mother passed into the great life, the parishioners of another church, helped me. They obtained a double doona from the op shop, and dry-cleaned it, at a cost of $50 to themselves. – “do as you would be done-by”.

I had once I helped at this church shop, but church politics made “enemies” of those with opposing views. Many years later, those erstwhile standoffish and cruel, completely turned full circle, and on advice from their main “foe”, since resurrected into their love, the church-people gave me the double doona to beat the winter chill, and friends took me to buy heaters and an electric blanket, and gave helpful advice. I had stayed strictly on the side of this friend, just because she was a loyal and good friend. Unfortunately, later on this “can of worms” opened up again, but they’re still loveable, and I learned the beauty and healing power of forgiveness. I think it can overcome sin, in that we break the cycle of Karma, a person does a wrong one lifetime, only to experience the quality of the same experience, in another lifetime – and the provider of this experience? He or she might just be as big a victim, by furthering the cycle of distress. Maybe forgiveness is possible, in this way. We theosophists have Karma to think about, Christians don’t.

One day I chanced to meet the mother of the girl who tormented me daily at primary school; another of the parishioners. The mother had long ago explained to me, knowing I was within earshot of a mutual friend, of the reason for this, it was family problems, inexplicable to 11 year olds, and the very young mother also had to rear three kids on her own. The mother and I became friends, and shared cake and tea at a church get-together after a friend’s funeral, of all things. I went to the funeral to honour the memory of my friend, not to have a free afternoon tea. Then, regarding the aforesaid gift of the doona, much later it occurred to me that I’d made blankets for the homeless for years, and suddenly, someone gave me some blankets, out of the goodness of their heart. It’s like the “pay it forward” principle. People had been helping me through the chill of grief, you see, on the passing-away of my Mum. They all knew about it, as they were a bit older than me. In a strange, indirect way, it was my Mum who inspired a lot of this understanding about compassion.

COMPASSION, naturally, induces HEALING. Thich Nanh Hanh Anger:  believed in practicing “right mindfulness”, from the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path, putting himself into a spiritual frame of mind by mindful walking and Mindful living, thus being filled with positive energy. Meditating on compassion, he filled himself with compassion, when talking with an upset person, this would prevent the dissonance from affecting, and instead filling, the upset person with calmness and love. Gary Holz told of how he was healed by Australian Aborigines, living and learning with them in their outback community. He had MS, and couldn’t feel, he needed a catheter to drain his body of urine. But the healer said his body needed positive self-talk, so they put upon his chest pages written with positive thoughts, which they said his body could “read”. He lay there with this “poultice” on his chest, for most of the day, and that evening they removed the pages from his chest, and he found he could feel again, and didn’t need the catheter. There was great rejoicing from young and old, and their positivity had begun to heal him. (Holz, G., A Physicist’s Journey, Ch.  11, “Love and Foregiveness”). He had numbed his emotional feelings, & his body had followed suit, numbing itself as well.

Again, Compassion means “co-suffering”, understanding the pain and humility of others’, often by having experienced the same hurts as those that you “hurt for”. Quote some of the Welsh Church quotes.

Once a mother at the local kindergarten awoke to be told by her husband that he was leaving her  – alone with five children, the youngest only a babe in arms. This mother could speak barely any English, her whole life was tied to him, the family, and the home. The kindergarten teachers were all “wrecked” at hearing this, too. But an evangelist church took her in, and after a while the congregation pooled their funds and bought her a car, taught her to drive, advanced her English language skills, and eventually found her work giving at-home childcare to other people’s children. She was our hero, and the teachers and us volunteers, gave them all our loving kindness throughout the five siblings’ kindergarten sojourns. The teachers and volunteers were touched by the sadness of the situation, and gave their all to remedy it.

Do you remember the spontaneous cheer of delight, from the watchers-on, when Stuart Diver was rescued, alive, from between the pancaked concrete slabs of his former dwelling, after the Thredbo disaster? Unbeknownst to the inhabitants of the chalet, a burst water pipe had soaked the hillside above the township, the resultant landslide burying many people therein, in the dark and cold, and the middle of the night. They were probably just glad to see some sign of life, amid the terrible devastation, but some groundswell of human love burst forth, transforming, transmogrifying, the devastation of the groundswell of destructive floodwaters.

Another time, experiencing a break between jobs, I had promised the kindergarten some painting smocks and library bags, so bought some material at the op shop, as that way Brotherhood of St. Laurence would get the money to do good works for others. On the way home I found some antique chairs on the side of the road, and asked the ladies who owned them: “But don’t you want them?”- “No, take them now, they’ll only be taken away to the tip; we have to move out, the owner of the house wants us to move on”. “Sorry, that’s awful”- “Oh well”, and they went inside, still talking. I put one chair over either shoulder, and moved off down the hill to home, when two ladies in a Mercedes stopped and said: “Here, put one of those in the back of the car” – it was the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ ladies, whom I recognised, and I hadn’t turned away with harsh words, earlier, but listened to them. I said I had my own faith, but was friends with a neighbour of the same faith as them, and she was marvellous – they knew her too. They let me alone to my set of values, which Denise and I found similarities between. One lady drove the first chair to my home, the other lady and I carried the chair and the by now broken off seats, and talked about our friend. Then I said I understood their interpretation of the Pater Noster prayer, – “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven” – letting go in trust of the greater good to lead our lives and destiny. But one lady said she and her friend had to go and help the first lady’s husband, who was recovering from a stroke, and one of the ladies had a pacemaker – but they were as cheerful as anyone could be, about life. That day was a real blast.  They came back once, and we talked about the Bible, and their interpretation of things. It made me think Selflessness is the key to opening the door to our inner god, and letting the light of the greater good shine through that conduit. That’s compassion, too. They waved to me from their car just the other day – nice.

I hope this isn’t too sacred a thing to mention, but since these things happened, over the last many months since Mum’s passing to the Great Light, the “pay it forward” idea has been having its own cause and effect mechanism, which had its beginnings from happenings even before then, in “random acts of kindness”, mutual and selfless help, and, in my case, sisterly-ness, always a joyous wonder, not to be pursued when others  are suffering themselves, you learn to help from afar, with kind thoughts, but not be stupid about it.  There’s the “Golden Chain of Crafty Women”, sharing our skills and providing the materials to do so, freely and caringly. Heather makes hats, Kirsty and I bought some prior to them going to the shop, and Kirsty providing her with wool to do so with – I provide wool for her to make knee-rugs and doll-clothes for poor kindergartens. Renee makes felt, so does Liz. It’s wonderful!

That’s what I have to offer, from my life experiences recently, I should go into technical details now, and also ask you for your feedback about what you think on the subject.

There’s a TS manual called The Heart Doctrine, which is really a name for the whole of Theosophical doctrine, seen in the light of this viewpoint. So compassion steers us through the act of living the Life? Katherine Tingley writing in the same manner, in her “The Wisdom of the Heart, Katherine Tingley Speaks”. Also the “The Path of Compassion” by GDP, which we have recently been studying in the Study Groups, begins with the words: “Live the Life and ye shall know the doctrine” say the wise of all cultures and eras. If we were consistently to live the higher life we would experience the reality of the spiritual realsm. Being in communion with one’s higher self, one’s inner master or guru, one is privy to its wisdom garnered through many lives of learning and evolving …our higher self…our inner monitor”. (G. de Purucker, The Path of Compassion intro by G.F. Knoche, p. vii) G. de Purucker then wrote: “There is but one occultism, one truth. The fountain source of wisdom on this earth is the Brotherhood of adepts, the spiritual heart of the world, from which streams unceasingly a flow of inspiration and enlightenment. It is the supreme source from which have derived all the facets of truth that the religious and philosophical systems of the world contain.”  (G. de Purucker, op cit., p. 3) The great white brotherhood is the source of compassion, just like Avaloketsvara, and the Buddhas of compassion, the Bodhisatvas, who forego Nirvana, so they can keep returning to life, to help poor, suffering Humanity. The good that the devas on high, do, returns to them, who can’t experience directly for themselves any more, and whose servants we are, in the furthering the Golden Chain of Compassion. They are the source, the wellspring of Compassion, and we are the minor wellsprings, all flowing down like the main course of a river, branching off into rivulets, nurturing the ground, the earth from which we are made, with the waters of the Spirit.


————————SOURCES: ————————–

The Concise Oxford Dictionary, Ed: (H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler), Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1964.


Holz, G, with Holz, R., Secrets of Aboriginal Healing, A Physicist’s Journey with a Remote Australian Tribe, Rochester, Vermont, 2013.


Judge, W.Q., The Heart Doctrine, Los Angeles, The Theosophy Company, London, The Theosophy Company (India), Ltd., and Bombay, 1951.


Purucker, G. de, The Path of Compassion, Pasadena, California, Theosophical University Press, 1986.


Tingley, K., “The Wisdom of the Heart, Katherine Tingley Speaks”, San Diego, California, Point Loma Publications, Inc., 1978.


Thich Nhat Hanh, Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames, New York, Riverhead Books, 2001.


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Synopsis of the lecture on The Divine PlanThe Divine Evolutionary Plan for Man given by Jenny Ryan  -  6/8/16
Part of the Ancient Wisdom series presented to the Theosophical Society (Pasadena) at South Caulfield                          

The Divine Plan and Evolution
Firstly it was pointed out that I am not proselytizing as I do not belong to a particular religion, my interest being in the Oneness of all.  Firstly I refute the creation account of the universe in the Bible, the Genesis story, as too simplistic a description of the formation of the universe, but like many creation stories it was provided to explain the universe with the information that was available at the time.

The role of the Creator and the Plan – being the creation of the evolving universe, the earth and life on it, are examined in this lecture in the light of the evidence from scientists and mathematicians, who are also, in some cases, mystics.  In Theosophy the scientific and mystical modes of search are complementary rather than antagonistic.

Intelligent Design
Creationists who insist on the Genesis story about the formation of the universe have had to revise their claims in view of the scientific evidence of evolution so they use the label Intelligent Design (by God) to explain parts they claim evolution cannot, such as complexity in parts of the development of life on earth. This has been refuted scientifically.  My claim is that Evolution is Intelligent Design and provide scientific and mathematical evidence for it.

Describing The Divine/God  (a neutral term for the purpose of the lecture)
God is identified as omnipotent, omniscient, an omnipresent (all powerful, all-knowing and everywhere) given by many names and by evidence by many religions and by mystics which support these attributes.  In general, to western mystics God is depicted more as a person; to the eastern ones by ‘wholeness’ of existence and they tend not to name God.  God refers to himself as “I am”

God as Energy & Light
Mystical accounts mention God being energy.   These include that of Taosim (The Way) (God being nameless) which states that to produce from itself it becomes concentrated energy.  Physics can identify some kind of universal intelligence regulating the energies.  Light as well as energy is in many descriptions by mystics, who seem to be specifically chosen by God,  such as what the English astronomer, Sir Fred Hoyle  in the 1960’s saw as a “huge brilliant light…” and in five seconds he was given the answer he sought to a theorem of the elements of the universe.

The Plan and its Laws  The universe has been described as orderly and beautiful.  Others refer to the Reason, Logic and wisdom in the Plan.   For the universe to develop in the right way, incredibly precise fine-tuning had to be required in its basic structure and in the conditions at the time of the “Big Bang” 15 million years ago.  These are the flatness of the Universe and expansion, and in its not being too smooth to allow the solar system to form out of the cosmic dust.  Scientists and mathematicians such as Isaac Newton, have written about the Laws of Nature such those seen in systems e.g. the solar system, the ecological system etc.  The Statistics of the universe are staggering in its size and time required for it evolving, but even more unlikely is that of earth and the forming of life.

God as the Ultimate Scientist.  The universe is science based as expressed in e.g. electrodynamics (what makes everything work).  Atoms have been revealed as pure energy when broken down.  Quantum Physics explains how God communicates and creates:  Thoughts = energy; Energy = matter; therefore, thoughts are matter.

Mathematics in the Creation of the Universe
Pythagoras and Plato declared that God geometrizes as is shown in the proportions of ratios of whole numbers of ½, 1/3 etc. which had been used in architecture, manufacturing, arts as sculpture, painting and music.  These ratios such as phi (1.6180) are shown in parts of the body in relation to other parts.  What may be seen as an accident, is likely to be a part of a plan e.g. chaos theory is now described by mathematical fractals.

The Search for The Unified Theory of Everything or “The Mind of God” has been sought by scientists such as Einstein and Stephen Hawking.  It is noted that God obeys his own laws in Nature e.g. E=mc2.

The Minds of Humans   Astoundingly it seems that the human mind is designed to understand the laws of the Cosmos.  There seems to be speeding up of the human brain development such as the 80% increase as shown in homo sapiens being explained by the first climate change with extreme weather changes in East Africa.  What now?

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These days, when there’s so much worldwide suffering, I think all of us with conscience are looking for solutions, and tonight we’re going to deal with the three subjects, Old Age, Disease, and Death, hoping that together we can find some solutions, that will help remove some of the pain and misery connected with these inevitable  advances. It’s interesting, that these experiences, old age, disease, and death, are considered by psychologists to be traumatic, often devastating, and yet they are the very ones, the very events, that awakened the Buddha, and led to enlightenment. It happened twenty-five hundred years ago, when the young Hindu prince, Sâkyamuni, or Siddhartha Sâkyamuni, who had been raised in royal splendour, with nothing to fear, no pain, or suffering, surrounded by purity, and enjoyment, ventured outside the palace grounds and saw, within the city, sights that so horrified him that they not only troubled his soul, but they awakened ancient memories of a yearning to help all in need.

The first awakening sight was seeing, for the very first time in his life, an old, a very old man. In his Light of Asia Sir Edwin Arnold describes it beautifully, and with these lines:

“Bent was his back, with load of many days, his eye-pits red, with rust, of ancient tears”

The second sight was a stricken wretch, writhing with pain, gasping, and begging for help. As the prince lifted this man upon his knees, and comforted him, as much as he could, with kind words, his charioteer explained that while some few grow old, most suffer, and all, die.

The third sight brought the prince face to face with death, and the agony of those left behind. Greatly distressed, the Buddha to be cried out to God, how could he make a world, and keep it so miserable, when I, I could would not let one cry, whom I could save. In soul searching desperation to know the reason for, and the truth about, birth, disease, old age, and death, Siddhartha left home, and position, to seek the counsel of wise, and holy gurus, for six long years he followed their methods of meditation and austerity, but found them baron. Exhausted, and near death, he sat under a great Bo tree, determined not to move, until the truth was known, and then it came, knowledge, of the cause, and cure, of human misery, and the purpose of Life. Exalted, and enlightened, he went forth to share his vision with Mankind, that they might follow the path that leads from suffering and death, to peace, light, and life immortal.

Over the centuries, and in most countries of the world, these teachings have been expounded, under the heading of the Four Noble Truths, and the Eight Glorious Virtues. The Four Truths acknowledge that suffering and sorrow exist; that these are caused by desires, and attachments, to people, and things, of this world; that this cause can be overcome, can be made to cease, by living in a manner that frees the soul, from ignorance, and attachments. This manner is delineated as the Noble, Eightfold Path. The Path is open to all, to young and old, to householders, seeking a healthier, happier life, for themselves and their families, and to chelâs, aspiring, for spiritual attainment.

In keeping with Buddha’s final injunction: “Be lamps, unto yourself, seek out your own salvation”; he who treads this path is expected to do so, creatively, that is, to do the very best he can, every moment of the day, to have, first of all, and most importantly: Right Belief, for all conduct depends on understanding and motive. Next, to have the best and highest possible resolve, to harbour no ill will toward any living creature. Then follows Right Speech, Right Behaviour, not to harm or destroy anything that lives, then Right Occupation, Right Effort, striving never to allow an unkind, selfish, or evil thought to arise in one’s heart or mind, and finally, Right , best, highest, Contemplation, and Concentration, this last quality is essential for success in any field, especially those seeking enlightenment.

This Eightfold Path is never easy, it is sometimes steep, and lonely, for to change the habits of a lifetime, to go against social conventions, requires tremendous and untiring willpower, determination, and motivation, but once we attune ourselves, with the spiritual, life is transformed, understanding comes, and courage. Fear disappears, and with it, the flames of anguish, and pain. Personal concerns fade away, as we become involved, in benefitting others, and in helping these, those in need, wonders occur, new strengths develop, opportunities open up, and we discover, as Mother Teresa did, that we are protected from ill-fortune, and disease. Is it naïve to say that we can avoid, prevent, and or cure, serious illnesses, that we can resolve horrendous problems that fact the world, by living a virtuous life? No, it is not, if we believe, and accept the words of the great teachers. They have told us repeatedly, it is the only solution, for by purifying our natures, from the negative, misfortune-attracting, life-destroying influence of ignorance, fear, and selfishness, by opening ourselves to the light, life, and love-giving forces of the Cosmos, we benefit ourselves, and all others. Medical and scientific reports reinforce this, citing evidence that our attitudes, knowledge, thoughts, and actions, which altogether make up our collective, individual karma, has everything to do with health, healing, and environment. For we are part of the Universe, Saint Paul is right, “In it we live, and move, and have our being”. More significantly, we are made of its stuff, the carbon in our tissues, the calcium in our bones, the iron in our blood, are derived from planets, and suns. Our minds, lit by the fire of the gods, gives us power, not only to create wonders, that reach into space, but also to understand the spiritual laws, from which beauty, and truth, are derived.

Let us consider the sights that troubled the Buddha, old age, disease, and death. At first, of course, there is birth. Those who believe in reincarnation, look upon death as a doorway, through which the soul enters earth life, and death, the door of their exit. They regard each soul as the sum total, our aggregation of karma, acquired in past lives, and now integrated into the individual’s composite nature, these aggregates, this karma, not only shapes the body, mind, psychological, and spiritual nature, but also brings it into conditions and situations appropriate for its needs and desires, situations possibly of misfortune, accident, and disease, which offer opportunity for the evolving soul, to modify, that is to harmonise, that which it formally created, or disturbed. By this methodology, we develop and perfect the many qualities of our nature, and set in motion effects that will benefit, or harm, ad infinitum, ourselves, and all living beings.

Ancient cultures refer to human existence as a period of pain, and confinement, in comparison with the glories enjoyed in the ethereal regions. Even now we can sense this glory, both in the very old, and the young, something about them, especially with newborns, tells us they “come from afar, not in entire forgetfulness, and not in utter nakedness, but trailing clouds of glory, and that soon, shades of the prison house began to close, and glories they had known, fade, into the light, of common day”. This aura of the spiritual soul does become obscure, when the needs, and concretions, of material life, take over, but it does not depart, it cannot, for it is our real self, and it remains nearby, though unseen, to comfort and inspire.

Those who care for the elderly know this, having seen the sweetness of light, in the eyes of their patients, having felt a luminous presence, when the departure draws near. We’ve often heard that, ideally, old age is the golden harvest, of life, a time rich in love, and memories. In addition it offers special dividend, opportunities, to make, and remake karma, which many take advantage of. Let us not be fooled by appearances, though seemingly inactive, weak, lowly, and infirm, our parents and grandparents, handle vicissitudes that the young would flee; nor does life lack compassion, no one is burdened with more than he can handle. The elderly, enriched by the wisdom and courage of long and bitter experience, freed at last from the strenuous demands of personal, and vocational, commitments, are at this time able, not only to right all wrongs, but to lay foundations for a healthier, happier, and more productive, future life. Furthermore, once they understand the opportunities offered, they participate in them, and the inevitable transitions, serenely and constructively, enduring, often overlooking, the daily reminders that their vital, and normally restorative powers, are withdrawing. In doing this they find new appreciation, for the world they are about to leave, new opportunity, to follow the trail-marks of thought, they set into motion, and best of all they find time to love, reflect, and listen, with understanding, to those in need .

Disease, the second of the awakening sites of Buddha, was the second sight that awakened the Buddha, his teachings, that we are makers, of ourselves, and the cause of our misfortune, is finding expressed today in the writings of physicists and physicians alike. They tell us that our bodies know what our minds tell them. Some are diseases our minds, and emotions, contract, and that because we take part in a getting sick process, we can, and must, take part, in our recovery. Williams James found this the greatest discovery of our age, that human beings, by changing their inner attitudes of mind, can change the outer aspects of their lives. This approach gives us an appreciation of our bodies, that that labour so tirelessly, to neutralise the poisons we consume, to fight off the hordes of bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and viruses, surround and infest us. (laughter) It reminds us too, that it is we, the often thoughtless, overindulgent, self-centred, human consciousness, who catch diseases, and inflict them, onto our bodies, our physical and psychological bodies, which are often, which have often become so weakened that they are by dissipation, that they are no longer able to function as they would. Preoccupation with self, anger, jealousy, hateful thoughts, overeating, over drinking, any excess, increase our vital temples, block, disrupt, and or deplete energies, that flow normally, to maintain health, and healing. Nature wants us to be healthy, strives for balance, harmony, and wholeness, if we give her a chance; learn about, and purposely follow, her laws, she will restore, and maintain healthfulness, which is now, throughout our lives, but the chance we must give, means being considerate, harmonious, and cooperative, at top to bottom, and inside, out. Remember the first of the Buddha’s Virtues, Right Belief? This applies to all levels of our nature, because each is reflected upon, and acts upon, the other. When our attitudes are constructive, our knowledge complete, at least as far as possible, whatever type of therapy we select, will be beneficial, whether allopathic, homoeopathic, surgical, faith, healing, psychotherapeutic, or any of the New Age methods, this is because, by giving the physician or healer our trust, we make a positive commitment, and participate intelligently, in the healing processes. Norman Cousins discovered this magic, of participations, saying:

“I have learned never to underestimate the capacity of a human mind, and body mind to regenerate, even when prospects seem most wretched”

He and his colleagues readily admit physicians do not heal, nor does their medicine, nor their treatment, it is the self-correcting life forces of nature that heal us, and it to them that physicians give their trust. Isn’t it a pity they keep this a secret. We go to them with our problems, they examine, and treat us, and then, confident that nature will heal us, they send us home! Had they explained, we would be spared a great deal of anxiety and pain. Yes we have one advantage over our doctors, our bodies tell us what is wrong, through pain, hunches, sometimes dreams, we, they pinpoint the trouble, suggest cures, or, sound warnings, either to get professional help at once, or, to change our attitudes and behaviour. Physicians discovering such advice, is often more revealing than examinations, now tell their patients: “Listen to your bodies”.

Right Belief, Right Attention, so far, so good, how about Right Thoughts. The real seeds of disease, and of accidents too, are our thoughts. These mental emotional dynamos can actually cure, or kill, according to the power we give them, they are subtle, work unseen on all levels of our nature, and occasionally lie dormant for ages until conditions are conducive for their expression. When we think, feel, or desire, we generate energy, karmic, cause and effect energy, this energy then seeks expression, or motivates action, it is through it the thought is loving it flows into action clothed with peace and beauty, and benefits all it contacts, but if it is selfish, and harmful, it damages, shrivels, pollutes, everything it touches, and in doing this, forms the fetters, and obstacles, that the Buddhas speak about. These obstacles create the conditions that break down our immune system, block our circulation, cause the diseases of the mind, thought, and body, or they cause tensions, that build up and explode, in a great fullness of misfortune. Could we follow this sequence of thought, desire, will, act, after-act, cause, and effect, and all the subsequent after-acts, we would understand, that the misfortunes, accidents, illness, that beset us, are self-caused, just, and deserved, just as H. P. Blavatsky, a long-time student of oriental thought, explains:

“But verily, there is not an accident in our lives, not a misshapen way, or misfortune, that cannot be traced back to our own doing, in this, or another life. If one breaks the law of harmony, one must be prepared to fall into the chaos one has himself produced”.

We know this, instinctively, intuitively, and when we get in touch with our spiritual selves, we accept what happens, as being our due, and opportunity to harmonise, the forces we set awry. Why then do doctors’ prognoses fill us with dread? Is it because we have lost touch with the norm within, or, because being human, we dread the unknown, and changes in our lifestyle, or, is our dread a result of some real, and imagined, occurrence, that happened in childhood and left us with this inordinate fear of disease, and death? Whichever, fear is destructive, and should be avoided. Most of us know from experience how it paralyses our minds, plagues us with nightmares, upsets our digestion, puts nerves on edge, contracts blood vessels, activates the sweat-glands, shortens our breath, and isolates us in cell, of self-centred depression. Knowledge, on the other hand, dispels fear, understanding the doctor’s prognosis, realising that we’ve brought this condition upon ourselves, in one way or another, and we can resolve it, gives us an incentive to rid ourselves of the causes that are upsetting our system. However, getting over the illness is not always essential, restoring harmony, is; on the day we face our condition, welcome physical and psychological suffering, as a chance to transform our lives, on that day we will free ourselves of 90% of our troubles. And what greater help can we have, in this lifesaving endeavour, than the Buddha’s Eightfold Path, what can bring peace and happiness more quickly, than knowing that we are doing  the very best we can, every moment of the day. Such knowing generates self-confidence, strength, and a sense of wellbeing, throughout our entire constitution. However, there are some, who under the stress of modern life, find it difficult to follow this pathway of virtue; there is an easier way, infilling ourselves with love, and light, giving love to all, with no thought of return. Love not only awakens spiritual capacities, it keeps us well, for it is the most powerful, healing force in the universe. According to doctors, love fights off disease, by increasing the immune system, and globulins. It lowers the level of lactic acids, and gives us additional energy, it increases the endorphins, which now have been found to exist not only in the brain, but throughout the body, and it is these endorphins which make us euphoric, more energetic, and less subject to pain. When our hearts are filled with love, there is no room for disease, or fear, or darkness, not even in the presence of death, especially not in the presence of death, for at that time love takes us into itself, as Meister Eickhart so beautifully observed, when he wrote:

“The bodily food we take in is changed into us, but the spiritual food we receive changes us, into itself. Therefore, Divine Love is not taken into us, for that would make two, but Divine Love takes us into itself, and we are part of, with it”.

When this occurs, death, the third awakening sight, becomes, especially for those who have suffered intensely, a welcomed therapy, one that enables them to move with dignity into the realms of light. People who are sensitive feel something of this wonder, when a soul begins to depart, they sense its vitality withdrawing, feel it rise, in a flash perhaps, yet leaving a part of its glory behind, amongst those it loved. I once knew a nurse who cared for an elderly patient, and after he was passing she told me: “There was so much joy, in the room that day, I lingered, unable to depart”, and as she spoke, I knew, that she, who had comforted so many, understood these three awakening sights, and that she had seen the beauty of Man’s soul.

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The Elevator of Consciousness: What causes all the problems we see in ourselves, other people, and the world?

Theosophy tells us that most of these problems can be explained by the fact that people and the Universe are composite beings made up of the 7, 10, or 12 different planes of reality, both spiritual and material.

It’s as if most people in the world are riding an elevator of consciousness in the Empire State Building between the grossest aspects of themselves down in the basement, to the spiritual realities up in the penthouse on the top floor!


Living in the Penthouse of our Being: Our challenge is to bring the elevator under control and gradually inch our way up towards living more permanently in the ‘penthouse’ of our Being – then most of our problems in ourselves and the world will simply melt away!

But how did we get to be riding this elevator anyway?

Where does the composite nature of Man and our world come from?

Hindu philosophy as expressed in that Bhagavad Gita tells us that it is because we are caught in the threefold nature of the manifest Universe – the Three Gunas (in Sanskrit: ‘Triguna’).


What Are the Three Gunas? ‘Guna’ is a Sanskrit word meaning literally a ‘String’ or ‘Thread’ which both hold the manifest universe together, are the mode of action in the universe, and also bind us humans to the wheel of manifestation – until we can see beyond them.

In the unmanifested universe, energy has three qualities, or rather ‘tendencies’, known as the Gunas, that exist together in equilibrium: SATTVA: spirit/purity; RAJAS: passion, activity, the process of change; TAMAS: ignorance, inertia, darkness.


Once energy takes form, ie. once the Universe is manifest, one quality or other of the three predominates , and the interaction of the three Gunas drives the process of spiritual evolution. But no matter which quality predominates, an element of the other two will always be present as well – this includes people too!


The Three Gunas in People: How does Hindu philosophy say that the three Gunas manifest in people?


Rajas Character: The majority of people in the Western culture with a mixture of all the three qualities but with rajas/tamas dominant. The rajas mind is active, intense, has the potential to become incendiary and aggressive. Those with a rajas-like mind are prone to argument and can be challenging.


Tamas Character: The tamas mind is lethargic, slow, and has the potential to become negative and destructive. Those with a tamas-like mind are prone to disengaging from situations and becoming lazy.


Sattva Character: The sattva mind is balanced and pure. The sattvic person finds a sense of truth and light in their life.  They are more open to creating spiritual influences in their lives. Many people may be sattvic momentarily, but truly sattvic people are extremely rare in today’s world.


Let’s look at the three Gunas in more detail:


 ‘Tamas’: Ignorance, Inertia, Ignorance: Let’s start off with the Guna that we are most familiar with in this troubled world – Tamas. This quality represents the tendency to inertia, ignorance, downward flow, apathy, reluctance to engage in meaningful activity, don’t want to change even if we are suffering, contentment out of ignorance, totally selfish, the desires are dominant, eats harmful foods, worships demons and ghosts , no concept of right and wrong except what gives pleasure to them, ignorance producing misapprehension – the way that you feel when you need to get up in the morning but are reluctant to face the day – even when the alarm is ringing in your ears!


‘Rajas’: Passion, Desire, Activity: The majority of the human race at the moment are said to be dominated by the Rajas or Rajas/Tamas. Rajas presents the tendency to agitation, passion, desire, ‘I want more’, greed, incessant activity, the mind is constantly agitated by attachment to material things and the intellect is devoted to ambition and the fruitless search for happiness through the acquisition of objects, movement, expansion, binds to the world by passion born of craving and attachment, is the ruling trait when greed, excessive projects, cravings and restlessness arise, hot spicy food which tastes good at the time but has longer term bad affects, worship higher beings. Rajas is not all bad as there is a knowledge of right and wrong outside of total selfishness to some degree, a partial awakening but the spiritual vision is restricted to your own personal world and flawed by constant longing for the benefit of oneself.


 ‘Sattva’: Spirit, Truth, Goodness: The highest and most spiritual of the Gunas is Sattva. Sattva is the tendency and quality of Spirit, Purity, Goodness, Light, Illumination, Intelligence/Consciousness, Upward Flow,.

Such a person’s mind is always on spiritual realities, he/she is content, contributes to the welfare of humanity, experiences a higher joy, indifferent to what he/she has because he/she has a knowledge of the higher and is concerned with what he/she may become, mind is calm, intellect creative, eats pure  foods which guarantee health.

Sattva still binds us to the world by attachment to pure happiness, knowledge and spiritual study. This means that you would rather reject daily life pleasures for spiritual happiness such as reading spiritual books, meditation, service for others, etc. There is the possibility of mistaking such high spiritual pleasures for spiritual realization.


Progress Upwards to Remaining in Sattva: Obviously, Sattva is the most desirable condition for us and our world. But how to reach it considering most people are fixed in the Desire-Mind (Kama-Manas), or Rajas/Tamas, as their centre of consciousness at the moment resulting in most of the suffering we can see in the world? How can we keep our consciousness-elevator in our spiritual penthouse and express the Compassion Mind (Buddhi-Manas) or Sattvic condition?

Our mission then is to establish ourselves in Sattva. Those fixed in Tamas should aspire to Rajas qualities, those stuck in Rajas (the majority) should aspire to the Sattvic qualities. All the time we should remain resolved in our progression and avoid ‘yo-yo’ efforts. We can start with purification of our body and physical habits by doing such things as eating the right foods, abstaining from negative habits, recreational drugs, and get up in the early morning when Sattva is ruling the day.


Sattvic Foods: nourish the body and maintain it in a peaceful state. A Sattvic diet leads to true health: a peaceful mind in charge of a fit body, with a balanced flow of energy between them. Sattvic foods include: cereals, wholemeal bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, pure fruit juices, milk, butter and cheese, legumes, nuts, seeds, sprouted seeds, honey and herb teas.


Progression to Living in Sattva: Fix a spiritual goal to overcome weaknesses and develop what is already good within us – transforming material desires to higher desires to help humanity. Talk to someone who is clearly living in the Sattvic qualities and get their advice. Practice unconditional love (Bhakhti Yoga), good deeds (Karma Yoga), and spiritual knowledge (Jnana Yoga). Study these things every day with Joyous Perseverance. The Bhagavad Gita stresses that the most important aspect of our journey is to not become obsessed with the results of your actions but do good simply for its own sake as indicated in the ancient Sanskrit saying: ‘Manushya Yatram, Bhagvan Kripa’, that is, a person should do right without consideration of the result, then the Gods will bless you. In this way you can progress through the Gunas and remain fixed in Sattva for longer and longer periods – try it and you’ll notice a distinct change in your behaviour if sincerely practiced for a year – you’ll be noticeably progressed in living in those high spiritual qualities of Sattva!


Rising Above the Gunas: When we identify with the modes of nature (the Gunas), we forget our own eternity and we use mind, life, and body for egoistic satisfaction. To rise above bondage, we must rise above the modes of nature – become ‘Trigunatita’- and then we put on the free and incorruptible nature of spirit. Sattva is sublimated into the light of consciousness – ‘Jyoti’; Rajas, into austerity – ‘Tapas’’; and Tamas, into tranquillity or rest – ‘Shanti’. Even living in Sattva or goodness is imperfect since this goodness has for its condition the struggle with its opposite. The moment the struggle ceases and goodness becomes absolute, it ceases to be goodness and goes beyond all ethical compulsion. By developing the nature of Sattva, we rise beyond it and obtain transcendent wisdom. Therefore, the Bhagavadgita encourages us to develop all the Sattvic qualities we have mentioned but without attachment and you will eventually reach enlightenment at a time which is right for you.


Some Practical Advice on Rising Above the Gunas: The Bhagavadgita thus recommends that we immerse our concentration in Spirit and then gradually we will turn to that which is above the Gunas.


A practical way to do this was suggested by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, who saw more than his fair share of conflict and human frailty. He gave a practical guide for us spiritual students to follow in what often seems to us a dark and cynical world, when he said in his ‘Meditations’: “In all the universe, reverence that which is the highest: namely, That to which all else ministers, and which gives law to all. In like manner, too, reverence the highest in yourself: it is of one piece with the Other, since in yourself also it is that to which all the rest minister, and by which your life is directed.” In other words simply look for the highest spiritual potential in everyone and every situation you meet and in this way you will align yourself with the guiding energies of the Universe and rise above the conflict of opposites and the realm of the Gunas.


How Will You Know Someone Who Has Risen Above The Operation of The Three Gunas? In the Bhagavadgita, Arjuna asks Khrishna the question: “How would you recognize someone who is above the three Gunas? What is his way of life? How would such a person get there?” Krishna (representing the Godhead) replies: “He who does not abhor or shrink from the operation of enlightenment (the result of rising Sattva) or impulsion to works (the result of rising Rajas) or the clouding over of mental and nervous being (the result of rising Tamas), nor longs for them, when they cease.

He who, established in a position as of one high above, is unshaken by the Gunas; who seeing that it is the Gunas that are in process of action stands apart immovable. He who regards happiness and suffering alike, gold and mud and stone of equal value, to whom the pleasant and the unpleasant, praise and blame, honour and insult, the faction of his friends and the faction of his enemies are equal things; who is steadfast in a wise and imperturbable and immutable inner calm and quietude; who initiates no action (but leaves all works to be done by the Gunas of Nature) – he is said to be above the Gunas. He also loves and strives after Me (Krishna representing the Godhead) with an undeviating love and adoration, passes beyond the three Gunas and he too is prepared for becoming the Brahman (advanced spiritual person).” – From the Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 14.


Further Reading:


The best source of information about the Gunas is from Chapter 14 of the Hindu classic The Bhagavadgita. Our Society publishes a version translated and with commentary by W.Q.Judge. Available free online at:


Also highly recommended is the translation with commentary by S. Radhakrishnan available at any good bookshop.


A very good article on the Three Gunas is available from the American Institute of Vedic Studies at:

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Somewhere, in an unknown land and an unknown time, surrounded by the stern mysteries of wild nature, a man begins his training. He is sheltered by giant pines and cedars, which for centuries have kept the sun from penetrating the green gloom under them. At times, uninterrupted rest reigns supreme here; the drowsy ocean murmurs softly, beating against the rocky shore; the green giants are also asleep, gently whispering with their prickly branches.


But when the blustering wind begins to walk over the trees old heads, they can creak, and crack and thunder in a way, which together with the sea waves booming against the rocks, drives any living being crazy with awe and fear. Birds and beasts alike tremble and shudder in their shelters, helpless and restless with anguish. The future shaman alone has no fear in his heart. In the howling storm and the noises of ocean and forest, he hears the voices from the mysterious world he is trying to become conscious of.


To him, this is the talk of the elements; the spirits he wants to master and to use. And he firmly sets out to approach the mysterious lives through fasting and abstinence, drumming and chanting, until he enters into such mysterious worlds.


Such is the Way of the Shaman


Please note that the above has been slightly edited that those reading it may enter into the mood of what the Shaman and Shamanism is about.






Firstly, we need to have some definition of just what Shamanism means and role that the Shaman held within the community.

As with a lot of these subjects, there are various views; some are from people who are more interested in the Shaman from an anthropological frame of reference; not a modern-day practitioner.  I will also speak about the Shaman in a contemporary fashion.

In Chambers Encyclopedia of 1927, the following definition is given:

Shamanism [is] a name applied loosely to the religion of the Turanian races of Siberia and north-eastern Asia, based essentially on magic and sorcery. Their Heaven God Ukko is but the chief among a host of nature spirits capable of being influenced and even forced into obedience by the spells of shamans or sorcerers.

The Siberian shaman works his cures by magic and averts sickness and death by incantations.

Lewis Spence in his Encyclopedia of the Occult (as published in 1920) adds that these Shamans are of the ‘Medicine Man’ class. He also refers to the Inuits and their religion as again being Shamanistic.

In the North American tribes, the Shaman was also known as the medicine man, for healing was one of his tasks.

In cave paintings, animal figures appear in over 600 rock art sites that are known to exist along the Northwest Coast from south-western Alaska to British Columbia to the lower Columbia River and extending to California. As well as these, animals make their appearance in carved objects such as seen in the figure of a wolf carved on a comb (ca, 800 AD). A Raven appears from ca. 1000 BC. Many unidentified large eyes creatures have also been found.

Many researches surmise that they are the work of Shamans. These sites are dated from 4500 BC to about 1800 AD.[i]

Sadly, as time has passed, we have lost, or at least, diminished our relationship to other entities of a ‘non-human’ kind.

And therefore it has come about that during:

….the Eighteenth Century there already had developed a more or less fixed image of “Shamanism” as a specific type of religion. For most enlighteners the shaman was a model of irrational behaviour…and Catherine the Great even wrote a comedy entitled Der sibirische Schaman, ein Lustspiel (1786), in which she tries to ridicule shamanism and lead her subjects to a new age of enlightenment.[ii]

The term, ‘Shaman,’ comes from a Mongolian word. Shamans, as bounded by these definitions, can be found among the Inuit, Maoris, Mongolians, Polynesians and also among the native North American people. A Shaman can be either male or female.[iii]   Shamanism is believed to have been practiced for some 20,000 to 30,000 years. One author, Prof. A. Hultkrantz[iv] informs us that:

“It is evident that shamanism is deeply anchored in the old hunting cultures…shamanism is less well adapted to the cultures of the agriculturist and cultures of a higher level of technological and social complexity. There is therefore good reason to expect that shamanism once was represented among Palaeolithic hunters.”[v]

Some authors see Shamanism as a form of animism. For instance, Lewis Spence, in his Introduction to Mythology (publ. 1921) informs us that the belief of animism is one whereby primitive man:

“…imagines that all other physical entities in nature are, like himself, gifted with the powers of speech, volition [the act of wishing or choosing] and thought. This is called ‘animism’— the bestowal of a soul (Lat. anima) upon all objects. The winds and the waters speak and obviously travel; the trees are articulate; the lower animals (primitive man) regards as his equal.”

Who really truly knows if whether or not things such as trees, winds and waters do not communicate between themselves? I personally do not see any reason to deny this.   Just because we generally lack the ability to penetrate this barrier does not mean that it does not occur.

The word, Animism, was originally coined by E. B. Tylor[vi] but sadly was later misused in a derogatory sense. Such was a primitive religion and one that its devotees had not reached the higher concept of a personal God.


Jonathan Horwitz[vii] of the Scandinavian Centre of Shamanic Studies, informs us further that:

‘Animism’ is the awareness of our connection to the world that is the foundation of the practice of shamanism. These two things are inseparable.[viii]

It is interesting to note that in some Pagan Paths the term—‘Voice of the Wind’—is used traditionally of one being taught through Spirit Voices. It is an external element outside of us.  To our Shaman ancestors, this Voice emanated from the trees, rocks, mountains, the sky, lakes and oceans. The Whispers were from the Nature spirits and other such beings of the Otherworld.

Maybe there is something to say about Lewis Spence and his interpretation of Animism.     For the Shaman, be they ancient or modern, such a view has allowed him or her to cross between the bridges and to penetrate into these otherwise ‘guarded’ terrains.

The Shaman sees the world as divided into three levels: The lower, middle and upper.

In Scandinavian mythology, the Great World Tree is styled Yggdrasil [pronounced, ig’dra-sil; lit. ‘the horse of Ygg, or Odin’]. It is the tree of existence, the tree of life and knowledge, the tree of grief and fate, the tree of time and space; it is the tree of the universe, of both organic and inorganic life. The Yggdrasil was an Ash – a tree oft-times mentioned in Wiccan verses: “by oak, and ash, and thorn.’- a triad of power in Celtic lore whereby, where these three trees meet, one can see and speak with the faery-folk. Kipling’s “A Tree Song” which sets the scene for the stories & poems of “Puck of Pook’s Hill” (1906) also refers to this sacred Tree. Nothing is known of the origin of this tree though it appears to have existed before the beginning of the world and believed destined to survive Ragnarok, the apocalypse of the world and the gods as found in Norse mythology

Many who practice Shamanism today do so by envisioning an opening into the earth such as via a cave, a lake, a hollow tree. To make contact with the entities of the air can be done via visioning oneself as a bird as it flies upon the wing, and others may envisage a flame or a candle to make contact with the elementals of the fiery realm; the salamanders.   A Shaman will usually have a spirit guide such as a plant, or an animal, to assist in along his way.

Shamans had many devices to help them go into trance to enter these various levels, for example: Lack of sleep, repetitive chanting, drumming, rattling, or music, dancing, isolation and sometimes the use of drugs. I would also imagine that special ritual clothing would come into play here as the clothing takes on its own vibration to get one into ‘the mood.’ Even now, such methods are employed.

Another way that a Shaman, in many traditional communities, would make communication is by Shape-shifting. The Shaman:

“…may dress up in animal pelts, feathers or antler headdresses when about to contact the spirits. Indeed animals are usually crucial to shamanistic systems: thus, in hunter-gatherer and hunter-herder communities, a particular beast, often the one on which the group’s survival most depends, may be perceived as an animal-helper, a creature that aids the shaman in transgressing between worlds, and paving the way for negotiation with the spirits.”[ix] (Quest for the Shaman)

Many Pagan Paths still employ ‘Shape-shifting’ as a way of working Magic, though more through visualisation and ritual. The stories of Myth and Legend are full of Shape-shifting tales, such as the tale of the Norse God Odin who could change into a eagle; his spirit could be translated to distant lands as any other bird or creature or Loki, friend to the Norse Gods could take the form of a falcon – maybe there is more Truth in them than we give credit to.

If you look up ‘Shape-shifting’ in some Witchcraft references,[x] they tend to refer to the days of the old Witchcraft Trials of the Middle Ages, ‘the Burning Times,’ of the mid 15th to early 18th centuries. They generally tell about the ‘belief’ in either the Witch’s Familiar — be this cat, dog, hen, or where such be lacking, a bee or fly or a mouse would do—; or the witch having the ability to be able to transform into an animal. Though in the 10th. Cent. just to believe in the ‘Witch’s Tales’ was condemned as heresy—such tales being of:

“wicked women…who profess that in the dead of night they ride upon certain beasts with the pagan goddess Diana, and fly over vast tracts of country.” –The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology. Entry: Transvection.


The ‘Shape-shifting’ that I am referring to is akin to that of the Shaman ‘changing’ into an animal in terms of its attributes, and not ‘physically.’ — It is a Spiritual transformation only. By being able to do this the Shaman enters into a relationship with the ‘Spirit’ of the particular animal in question. It has nothing to do with “wicked women” flying around on beasts and such like.

A good definition of what is meant by Shape-shifting is that given by Eileen Holland in her Wicca Handbook:[xi]

“Shape-shifting is a psychic experience, in which [one] perceives reality from an animal’s viewpoint. It is used for escape and to gain knowledge or advantage.”

Finding a definition that scholars agree upon is very mixed. As such I like the various features that may at least hint at a broader view. These are found in a book called Shamanic Cosmos – From India to the North Pole (publ. in 1999). This book is a selection of Papers that were presented at the First International Conference on Shamanism that was held in Venice at the Auditorium Santa Margherita, Venice University on October 11-12. 1996.

Here are some key-features of what Shamanism entails:

Animation or spiritualization of the whole surrounding world, in which human beings exist. A conception of ‘non-living nature’ is alien to the world-view of the early cultures. As P. T. Furst said “…in general shamanism expresses a philosophy of life that holds all beings — human, animal, or plant — to be qualitatively equivalent: all phenomena of nature, including human beings, plants, animals, rocks, rain, thunder, lightning, stars and planets, and even tools, as animate, imbued with a life essence or soul or, in the case of human beings, more than one soul.”[xii]

Other aspects that make up this definition, overall, include:

  • Belief in mutual all-embracing connections to nature. Activity of the gods and spirits who dwell in the cosmos can influence everyday life of the people
  • A man doesn’t distinguish himself from the surrounding world.

Again, P.T. Furst writes that the “Shamanic world view assumes no human superiority over the rest of nature: people, like other life forms, exist with and depend upon nature and the goodwill of the spirits that animate and rule over the environment.”

  • The Cosmos is close to man. It is accessible to those who practice Shamanism. The cosmos is directly inter-linked with the everyday needs of people.
  • A person is close to the worlds of the gods and the spirits of nature. A very special person, a Shaman, is chosen by the spirits to cross between the boundaries.
  • Therefore, becoming a Shaman takes place in the world of spirits. This belief allows for a human to mix with the spirits and is, accordingly, an important and specific feature of shamanism.
  • Today, we seem to have pushed the gods and the spirits away as we become more mechanistic in our thinking. P. T. Furst states that: “ in a very real sense an ecological belief system.”[xiii]


As we can see, Shamanic Cosmos, supplies us with some special features that are components of an ideological content; a belief in the gods and spirits.  These ‘Features’ are discussed more in-depth in this book covering 6 pages in length, and I have just cited some that are, I feel, relevant to this Lecture.

It is noted in the same book that: “…according to Prof. A. Hultkrantz, shamanism is not a religion in the full sense of the word (‘in its own right’), but only a part of a system of religious belief.”[xiv]

When I read these of these ‘features,’ I was at once struck by their beauty as they are extremely Pagan and earthly. As one who tries to live by the Pagan concept that ‘All is one,’ I believe these descriptions are more in keeping with the topic at hand as far as Neo-Shamanism goes. But before I move on, I found the following affirmation by Annie Besant, (1923) to be relevant to share before moving on, for it describes this concept beautifully:

O Hidden Life, Vibrant In Every Atom O Hidden Light, Shining In Every  Creature O Hidden Love, Embracing All In  Oneness May Each Who Feels Himself As One  With Thee Know He Is Therefore One With Every Other[xv]



This is something to think upon as we move forward. For if All Life is Vibrant with an Inner Light, then the Shaman Path is not only more understandable but also more workable and necessary in today’s mechanical and computerized world. It is more so needed as a way of Healing the Earth.

As stated before by A. Hultkrantz above:

“shamanism is less well adapted to the cultures of the agriculturist and cultures of a higher level of technological and social complexity.”[xvi]

So maybe lessening our dependency on our mechanical and computerized tools, we need to become more dependent on the world of Nature—to commune with the other ‘Beings’ who share the planet with us. We are no longer hunter-gatherers but we still need to be connected to the same source of Spirit.

Now as to a definition of Neo-Shamanism, I think the aspects cited from Shamanic Circle to be one that can work with the Shamanic Path as now practiced today.   What is different is not so much the definition as to how it may be practiced or interpreted today.

For example, compared with indigenous shamanism, modern Shamanism:

“…tends to deny the reality of intrinsically nefarious spirits. Furthermore it is oriented toward personal and spiritual empowerment among practitioners. Hence the role of the community is of less importance than it is in shamanism’s more traditional context.”[xvii]

One writer, Olav Hammer, Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Southern Denmark, notes that:

Neoshamanisms are typically eclectic. The neo-shaman may also practice tarot reading, believe in channeling or visit non-shamanic healers. Pre-modern shamanisms rarely coexist with alternative ideologies that could form the basis of any eclecticism. The cosmology associated with traditional shamanic practices is typically complex, featuring numerous spirits, sets of origin myths and world transformation myths, far-reaching webs of correspondences, etc.[xviii]


We are witnessing more and more people turning to shamanic techniques as a way of getting in tune with this All Life that we are hearing more about as the years go by.

Today’s Shaman is one likely to seek out communication with other life forms – be they animal, vegetable or mineral; even the folk of the Elemental worlds. As we have heard already, the Shamanic Path even considers so-called inanimate objects to possess a life-force or spirit of one type or another.

Madame Blavatsky’s refer to this in The Secret Doctrine, (1893) wherein we find the concept that:

ALL IS LIFE, and every atom of even mineral dust is a LIFE, though beyond our comprehension and perception.[xix]

As an aside, there is an interesting incident recorded in Madame Blavatsky’s From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan (1892)[xx] where a tiger that was bothering the travelling party, was killed silently and without any weapon, by one Gulab-Sing, by ‘word’ alone. The book relates to the reader

“It is very seldom that one meets with a man [Gulab-Sing] why possesses the word. Yogis and Sadhus do not generally kill wild animals, thinking it sinful todestroy any living creature, be it even a cobra or a tiger…

I found this is quite an interesting book to read and recommend it to anyone who enjoys good travel writing. Was Gulab-Sing employing a Shamanic practice?

If we can embrace the concept that All is Life, then we are more likely to appreciate the Shamanic Path.

The one thing that is necessary is that of being able to visualize here is the ability to enter into a trance. This helps us to communicate with the animals, plants and so forth.

This trance is not a trance where one goes into some deep state and is not aware of their surroundings. It only means that when they purposely seek out other ‘beings’ from the other planes of existence, that they are aware of what is occurring around them, yet still in touch with the mundane world.

A further aspect that is important is where the Shaman seeking to communicate with other life forms – and here I mean the folk of the trees, plants, minerals, animals and so forth, is that of ‘Intent.’ This should be put place so that an answer can be found.

This ‘Intent’ helps one to become in-tune with those animals etc., that the Shaman is searched an answer or insight from. This will help the Shaman whilst in a trance. I have read, however, that we should not seek answers on another’s problems but focus on how we may improve to assist a friend or family member.


This is really true of life generally — we cannot change another’s attitude or actions but we can change our own response or our own issues that may be getting in the way.

As we journey along this spiritual path, we are allowing ourselves to become ‘at one’ with the unseen life that surrounds – to ‘see’ it anew, to hear ‘voices’ that would normally be shut out, and to ‘feel’ the world like we have never felt it before.

I find it interesting that once we begin to be ‘At One’ with all life, we are then best able to ‘Atone’ in some small way, for the things we have done as people.   It is no wonder that we have become separated from nature— we have asked for it with the crimes we have done.

However, more and more people are beginning to want to live with all the things of life—witness the growth in nature-based spiritualities; even in eco-tourism and the environment movement.

You may be wondering, ‘Where do the animals fit in hear?’

Well, for one thing, the Shaman’s helping spirit is nearly always represented as an animal, as too are the Shamanic costumes.[xxi] In Siberian aboriginal myth, people believed that the Shaman had the ability to transform him or herself into animals, birds and fish.

Many people who follow the Pagan Path, are becoming more and more open to the Shamanic Journey. One good book that I know of is by D.J. Conway, called By Oak, Ash, and Thorn: Modern Celtic Shamanism. (1995)



Many people have reported learning from the animals by making contact with the animal’s ‘Spirit,’ (its life-force) and these animal ‘Spirits’ are responding back—giving messages that we need to hear and heed.   It is interesting to note that the word ‘Silent’ is an anagram of ‘Listen.’ By remaining Silent we Listen and Hear.

I will now read to you a description of how we can learn from the animals.

It is taken from a book called Speaking with Nature (2015) by Sandra Ingerman and Llyn Roberts— I trust it speaks personally to each of you in some positive way.

Snowy Owl

…Close your eyes and take a few long, deep breaths. With each slow exhale leave your ordinary thoughts behind. Allow your imagination to take you to the northern region of the Arctic. You are now in an environment of deep snow and ice. Without the intrusion of power lines, the airwaves are still and silent. There is a deep power in the stillness of Mother Earth.

Look around you and take in the beauty of this snowy terrain. Feel yourself standing in the frozen earth.

Although the ground is frozen, the molecules within are in constant movement, as life is always in movement. Take some deep breaths and breathe in the clean, fresh, cold air.

Imagine what the air would taste like in your mouth. Feel the air travelling down your throat and into your lungs. Touch the snow and ice with your fingers—feel the coldness and texture. Notice how your heartbeat changes as you connect with the majestic nature of this land. Listen to the silence. Experience a state of wonder as you go further into a landscape filled with deep mystery.

Notice one of the inhabitants of the Arctic—the Snowy Owl—swooping in for a landing. The powerful presence of the Snowy Owl in nature, or even its image in a photo, is breathtaking.

Delight in the owl’s intense beaming yellow eyes and soft, regal feathers. These predominantly white feathers allow Snowy Owl to blend into the frozen landscape of the Arctic snow and ice, hidden from both predators and prey.

Fully experience the great beauty and power of Snowy Owl, and when you feel complete take some deep breaths and bring your awareness back into the physical space where you started.

After this descriptive meditation or Shamanic trance, Sandra goes on to speak about the Snowy Owl and what it can teach us: For instance, about earth changes.

The Snowy Owl is migrating more and more to the US where it stands out more against the greenery. She informs us that the message for us is to become and more visible, to help the planet through its Earth changes. [italics are my own words].

Among the Native Americans of the Plains, the owl was seen in the role of a supernatural protector and this gave rise to the practice of wearing owl feathers as magic talismans.[xxii]

By learning about animals, we are then in a better position to find one that may become our totem or power animal. For myself, I tend to relate to the crocodile though a description of the snake as a Power Animal seems to suit my nature better. The term, ‘Power Animal,’ is one that can be applied to the Shamanic Path.

To find your own personal power animal, the following technique is suggested by Madonna Gauding, author of Personal Power Animals: For Guidance, Protection and Healing:[xxiii]

  • Gather your journal or a pad of paper. Read the exercise ahead of time or recode it to play back.
  • Begin by closing your eyes and breathing deeply. Release any tension in your body by beginning at the toes and work your way up through your body. When relax, move to the visualisation that follows.
  • Imagine yourself in a field of flowers and see the very large oak tree close by. Look at this tree until you see the large hollow on one side. Step inside this hollow and see a stairwell that leads downwards. It is not dark for there are torches lighting the way.

You are not afraid and decide to explore where these stairs lead to. At the bottom you find a small tunnel leading to a magical landscape.

  • The air is pure and you look up to see a blue sky, and white fluffy clouds.
  • The grass is green. There are a cluster of pine trees to your left—the fresh aroma of pines beckons you to them. It is peaceful as your walk among the trees; the sun shines down through the trees—it is quiet and serene.
  • There is a small crystal-clear pool that you sit down in the peace of the moment.
  • As you relaxed and look around you, you notice a movement our of the corner of your eye. You are not sure where the movement originates from but as you turn around, you find yourself staring into an animal’s eyes. There is something familiar about this animal. You may have once been afraid of this animal but the feeling now gives way to peace—it’s like you are meeting for the first time.
  • As you both sit there, locked in each other’s gaze, you hear it mentally telling you how it helped you in the past and/or how it can help you now. You are amazed to make its acquaintance.
  • Intuitively, you become aware that you time in this magical place is short. You thank the animal for making itself known to you and for any assistance it may have given, or will give in the future.
  • The animal, as a sign, may come to your in a newspaper article, through a program on TV, in a book you may be reading, or in a dream.
  • Before you know, this animal turns about and heads away back into the forest, the pool or the sky above. You rise and slowly walk from the pine grove to again pass through the meadow. Again you back-track to the tunnel leading into the hollow of the tree—the stairs are waiting for your ascent. At last, you find yourself at the exit of this mother oak tree.
  • Leaving, you look around you for you are now back in the field of wild flowers. When ready, slow bring back your awareness to your breathing, slowly stretch to become ground in both your body and your environment.
  • Open your journal and describe your experience, concentrating on the animal you have met. Write down any prior experiences you may have had with this animal.

The animal may not be the one you feel is your power animal. If not, repeat the meditation. Your power animal will eventually make itself know.


As I have said before, I now see the snake as my Power Animal.

The Shamans of the Celts had an extremely deep relationship to the animals as different animals would identify their various clans that were part of the Celtic heritage. By visualising an animal, the Shaman would identify with that animal’s strength.

People who use Shamanistic techniques today are able to draw on the past as the Shaman of old is really not that different—for both employ the same techniques—drumming, chanting, dancing etc..   I suppose that it is our interpretation of the messages that have changed for we most likely view the world in a global context; but not so the early Shamans. His world was his clan and his immediate environment.

The Shaman of old would employ such techniques as they assisted him in gaining food, clothing, and shelter. Therefore there was, how shall I describe it, a more profound sense of the symbioses that existed to benefit both parties; a symbiosis that needed no explanation—the All is Life was simply a given.

Saying this, it must be born in mind that the Shaman viewed all things to have ‘Spirit.’— all phenomena of nature, including human beings, plants, animals, rocks, rain, thunder, lightning, stars and planets, and even tools, as animate.

The Shaman of today is not necessarily dependent of the ‘Spirit’ of an animal for food, clothing or shelter, although some may depend on such a relationship.

For instance, I know of one Witchcraft group where the daughter of the High Priest and High Priestess, hunts with a cross-bow and might use Shamanism as a guide to helping to kill an animal for food.

The Shaman of today can be found in several Pagan Paths, such as in WICCA and Druidry.   I would say that these techniques are employed to help work ‘Magic,’ [xxiv] to help understand what we need to know to help the earth and all of Her myriad life-forms.

I wish to read out a poem that speaks about one finding his ‘Inner Shaman,’ as it were.[xxv]




SHAMAN (1)[xxvi]

I have been tried on the barren mountain of my

Loneliness $

And seen the eternity of the stars, there finding


I have been left alone with the wild beast of my

Inner chaos

and fought with the hands of my mind

Through blood burnt with fever.

I went out of the tribe

away from the clustered houses

from the loving eyes of my forefathers

to learn the primeval tongues of twig-form and


I called the angel of darkness to wrestle with

and defeated its strength of madness to lay

claim to the Earth*

(the journey is but beginning)

I came back to the clustered houses

And was hailed, not as a chieftain or a guru as in

olden times,

but as a stranger, as alien

as if I had changed and they had not—

I have been away too long:

but I cannot live on the mountain

for it is there that I hunted for my food and found

no love!

(Oh where is Miriam by the desert well?) @




The words’ modulators recalled undulations

of loving bodies and growing landscapes,

the bitterest meaning with dreamlike invocations

like rhyming death and earth!


As long ago, a tree-bough bed

as the shaman blew smoke of hemp leaves

across the face of the ill who bled

with fear, not knowing what to do,

with a rhythmic wail, a dance of arms

to bring the evil spirit out

(or a state of mind)

what else can the magic flower do? +




The poison insects walk outside,

accepted like men who hiding in uniforms,

the evil of exploiting ways, their

preying on the body’s blood-sucked earth,

while poets intone condolences for pain.

There is a soul apart, an immortal bard!


He paints our sadness as the road to bliss,

Nirvana as liberation so the animal flesh

need struggle no more for life;

the Shaman knows he will die too

and likewise so believes

till love, I glimpsed your flower through smoking


and, crying for you saw

the Shaman’s prophetic eyes

as my own in a mask of images nightmare ugly,

with a railing old man inside

who tried

to deny me in my weakness

the right to a warrior’s strength.


Transmuted by the Word,

I saw the word’s excuse

For every wrong by means of explanation!


The Shaman praised the sky-god

for my healing while I laughed

in my strength wielding its sword;

the Shaman intoning his own solace

through others’ masks and voices—

I trembled, awed!


What a grand sentence to end this talk – I trembled, awed!


It seems to me that we have lost our ability to be ‘awed’ by the things found with the realm styled Nature. These days we tend to view Nature from a mechanistic worldview — as pointed out in this Lecture.


A few months I visited a wildlife sanctuary and as the time went on, a loud speaker announcement asked that visitors make their way to the main exit. Just as I was leaving, I passed a den where a little Tasmanian Devil came rushing out to say ‘Hello.’ — as you can imagine, I couldn’t help but be awed!



[i] Kramer, Pat (1998) Totem Poles, Altitude Publishing Canada p.13

[ii] von Stuckrad, Kocku (2002 Reenchanting Nature: Modern Western Shamanism and Nineteenth-Century Thought, Journal of the American Academy of Religion pp. 771-799

[iii] Crow, W.B. (1968) A History of Magic, Witchcraft and Occultism, Chpt. 2

[iv] 1920-2006. Recognized as a major authority on Native American religions and shamanism. professor of religion at the University of Stockholm, Sweden. During the years 1948 and 1958, Professor Hultrkrantz conducted field work at the Wind River reservation, which resulted in his ground-breaking book, Native American Religions of North America: The Power of Visions and Fertility

[v] Hultkrantz, A (1978) Ecological and Phenomenological Aspects of Shamanism in Diόszegi, V. and Hoppál, M (1978) Shamanism in Siberia.

[vi] Sir E.B. Tylor (1832-1917 is the founder of Cultural Anthropology who coined the term in 1866. However, the development of the word might relate to the German Animismus, as coined by the German physicist, G.E. Stahl, 1600-1734. As cited in Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (1988)

[vii] Jonathan has been working with shamanism since 1972, and has a master’s degree in anthropology. In 1986, he founded the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies together with Annette Høst

[viii] Horwitz, Jonathan (1995) Animism — Everyday Magic, Sacred Hoop 9: 6-10 , 1995

[ix] Aldhouse-Green, Miranda and Stephen (2005) The Quest for the Shaman p.13

[x] Hope Robbins, Rossell (1959) The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology, Crown Publishers USA

Ellen Guiley, Rosemary (1989) The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft, Facts on File, USA

[xi] Holland, Eileen (2008) The Wicca Handbook, Red Wheel/Weiser p. 128

[xii] Furst, P.T., ‘Introduction: An Overview of Shamanism’ in Ancient Traditions – Shamanism in Central Asia and the Americas (ed. By G. Seaman and J.S. Day (1994)

[xiii] Furst, P.T., p.3. Peter T. Furst is the author of many books and essays on the Huichol and is Research Associate at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

[xiv] Mastromattei, R and Rigopoulos, A (1999) Shamanic Cosmos: From India to the North Pole Star, D. K. Printworld INDIA p.21

[xv] Mills, Joy (1976) The Theosophist, Volume 97, June 1976.

[xvi] Hultkrantz, A (1978) Ecological and Phenomenological Aspects of Shamanism in Diόszegi, V. and Hoppál, M (1978) Shamanism in Siberia

[xvii] Von Stuckrad, Kocku (2002) Reenchanting Nature: Modern Western Shamanism and Nineteen-Century Thought in J. American Academy of Religion, December 2002, Vol.70 No.4 pp.771-799

[xviii] Hammer, Olav (2004) CLAIMING KNOWLEDGE: Strategies of Epistemology from Theosophy to the New Age, Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden, The Netherlands p.137

[xix] Blavatsky, H.P. (1893) The Secret Doctrine. Vol. 1 p.269

[xx] Blavatsky, H.P. (1892) From the Caves and Jungles of Hindostan. Chapter 2

[xxi] Mastromattei, R and Rigopoulos, A (1999) Shamanic Cosmos: From India to the North Pole Star, D. K. Printworld INDIA

[xxii] Saunders, Nicholas J. (1995) Animal Spirits, Duncan Baird Publishes, UK p.112

[xxiii] Gauding, Madonna (2006) Personal Power Animals: For Guidance, Protection and Healing. A Godsfield Book USA pp.25

[xxiv] According to Aleister Crowley, Magic is “the Science and Art of causing change to occur in conformity with will,” when ‘Magic’ is spelt with a ‘K.’

[xxv] The author writes that when it “came” to him, he had not ever studied, read or seen anything about Shamanism though had heard of it via Aldhous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (publ. 1954). He poses the question: was I a shaman in a past life? He sees the poem as just one of those “stream of consciousness” things that come on a dark, silent night.”


[xxvi] See Footnotes Box below


Footnotes by the Poet


$ In the wake of a traumatic emotional heartbreak & loss in 1965 following by a ‘dark night of the Soul.’

* A reference to Jacob, son of Isaac, wrestling by night with an Angel, in the Jewish Old Testament – see EXODUS 2:16-22

@ A reference to Moses, exiled from Egypt, wandering the Sinai Desert, and finding hospitality, with Jethro, the Midianite, by the well in the wilderness, where he falls in love with and marries his daughter Miriam. GENESIS 32:24-29

+ What is this mysterious ‘Magic Flower’? It could be the hallucinogenic flowering button of the Mescallin Cactus, used by Native Americans for Shamanic initiations which I have read about, but did not try till into 1968 or it could be simpler than that, the transformative POWER of LOVE itself?


If you wish to contact the author please email:

In our previous lecture we talked about the holographic nature of life, where every its manifestation appears out of Light. In this lecture we are talking about music and colour, and look at the participation of music and colour in the manifestation of Nature, and at the ways how we perceive Nature’s music and colour through our senses.

Why Music and Colour? How are they connected? Music and Colour both are made of energy waves, vibrations that originate in the primeval Fire (Fohat). Some of these vibrations we perceive as light and some of them as sound. They reverberate in human Fiery, Fine and Solid bodies.

As in the Bible, “At the beginning was the Word”. And this Word, which in Theosophy we call “Logos”, is on the one hand the first Thought– form of the Creator – Spirit, and on the other hand – the Sound (soundless sound for us humans because our physical senses don’t hear it). However, our energy bodies have the ability to perceive the vibrations that are inaccessible to the physical senses through their sensors. For example, prominent yogi Paramahansa Yogananda depicts how human chakras perceive astral sounds (see

Our solid bodies use sensors different from the sensors of astral bodies and in the earthly atmospheric conditions the perception of sound changes. Light that we perceive through our eyes is still an electromagnetic wave, and it travels with the speed of light. Sound, however, is perceived by our ears from a mechanic pressure (acoustic) wave. This wave affects our ear drums through the medium of air.

An example of a unified source of light and sound can be a powerful electric discharge in the atmosphere simultaneously causing a lightning bolt and a thunder. We can see the lightning bolt practically immediately, and hear the thunder after some time because the pressure wave has to travel through the air, and its velocity is lower than the velocity of Light.

According to physics, Light is a spatial electromagnetic wave. Our physical eyes can see frequencies approximately between 1017 to 1011 Hz, which corresponds to wavelengths of 400 to 700nanometers (nm). (A nanometer is one billionth of a meter).

L= c/v, where L is wavelength (m), c – light velocity (m/s), and v – frequency (Hz or 1/s).

Light velocity in air is equal 299702547 m/s.

The visible light, from one end of the spectrum to the other, as in a rainbow, consists of violet (400 nm), which contains the most energy, then indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and finally red (700 nm), which has the least energy. Natural light is produced by a mixture of all these wavelengths.

Human ears can hear sounds at frequencies from about 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz, though we hear sounds best from 1,000 Hz to 5,000 Hz, where human speech is centred.

Thomas Carlyle, a Scottish philosopher (born 1795) once said: “If you look deeply enough you will see music; the heart of nature being everywhere music”.

Russian scientist Chigevsky while measuring Solar radiations discovered that the Sun is “singing”. Recent discoveries show that the whole universe is alive with melody. “In 2003, NASA studied the Perseus Cluster black hole and found it has murmured a B-flat for the past 2.5 billion years. In 2006, Professor Adam Burrows of the University of Arizona found the stars sing a “death knell” in middle C before they explode as supernovae. Even Earth has its own song. In 2008, Discovery News reported on a subtle and mysterious global hum detected by seismologists. Earth’s hum is deep and rhythmic, like the sound of heavy drums or the didgeridoo.” (Rebecca Cavalot, All you need is la, Wellbeing magazine,2015, relaunch issue).

We can say that at the beginning of the universe there was music because universe began from rhythm, and rhythm creates music. Percussion music, for example, is based only on rhythm.

Katherine Tingley stated in The Theosophical Path: “The secret of music is rhythm, and rhythm is the manifestation of the spiritual principle in all art.”

So, “the secret of music is rhythm”. As we understand, rhythm is in existence always. Even throughout the Pralaya, when everything including Time disappears, rhythm doesn’t disappear. It is Rhythm that “awakens Brahma” to start the new Manvantara – the period of Manifestation. The drum-like rhythmic “humming” of the Earth may be the sound of the beating of its heart. Human and other life organisms’ hearts also start beating in response to the cosmic pulse. We are manifested out of Light. The electromagnetic wave of Light which creates us also has its rhythm.

Our ear perceives different frequencies of the vibrating wave as higher or lower sounds. In music, it defines the pitch of the tone. With the changes of the pitch of the tone, melody became possible. The “shape” of music, its order, is represented by a musical scale. The seven notes of the diatonic scale correspond to the seven layers of the human Monad.

The spectrum of seven basic colours also corresponds with the seven bodies of the human Monad: “The Human Spirit has seven its bodies – envelopes of the Monad, within which the Source of the Spiritual Life – the Spirit – comes into being” (Kalagia, 1.15.14).

M.S.Schneider writes in his book, A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, about the sacred philosophy of the ancient people and their notion of music’s order: “The seven note music scale is meant to model the hidden side of a macrocosmic design, the universe ruled by mathematical harmonies of music. The scale structure implies that the universe emerges from absolute divinity, descends through a seven-stage celestial hierarchy, and returns to absolute divinity.” (p.234).

According to Schneider, in ancient days “the earthly music was seen as a mirror image of the heavenly ideal descending from above” (A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe, p.241). And in conformity with such understanding, a musical scale on the lyre was played starting from the highest note, the shortest string at the bottom of the Greek lyre.

Not only the great cosmic Essences like stars and planets “sing” their tones. People also have their own tones – frequencies to which we resonate. Every our chakra has its tone and colour, as we can see in the chart: – chakra sound and colour chart.

We can visualize colours and/or sing tones, to reach out to the Bija (seed) of certain chakras. The energy of the red-orange-yellow spectrum of lower chakras can energize our body, and the blue-violet spectrum light can purify it. And vice versa – we can meditate on chakras, from the lower ones up to the higher ones and back, and enliven all the basic tones and colours and make them work with our body.

Colour and music provide us with powerful ways and tools for healing. The most effective methods of healing are now based on the application of lasers. Lasers are usually monochromatic and give a very precise wavelength of light. “The frequency most used for laser healing is red light, at a wavelength of 660 nanometers. But infrared light is also used typically at highly specific wavelengths of 840 or 830 nanometers.” (Norman Doidge, The Brain’s Way of Healing). Healing with lasers mostly helps sick cells to energize and heal themselves.

Kinesiology – another method of healing of human body – which is alike tuning a pianoforte – uses tuning forks to check the resonant tones of the chakras and tune them up where they are out of tune.

Daniel Levitin in his book This is your Brain on Music, shows how music affects human emotions. As we know, the emotional body (or principle) is one of the human energy bodies, and its energy fluctuations affect all the other bodies which are made of lower vibrations, including the brain in the physical body. Because it is so, music can be used for healing.

With its ability to influence the work of the brain, music is now becoming often successfully applied for the treatment of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Researchers and practitioners noticed that the most effective therapy is coming from singing. Singing turns human body, through its vocal chords, into an instrument for the tuning of nervous system.

As Rebecca Cavalot from the Wellbeing magazine (2015, relaunch issue) informs us, a Melbourne based speech pathologist Nina George, together with a music therapist, uses Melodic Intonation Therapy (MIT), a style of singing designed to stimulate activity in the right hemisphere of the brain to eventually reactivate the left brain function, if it has been weakened by a neurological disorder. Some other practitioners, such as Garth Stone, play didgeridoo to promote a sense of wellbeing. Nowadays, an interested person can find a multitude of technics and information on the healing properties of music and their applications on the internet.

“Colour which like music is a matter of vibrations, reaches what is most general and therefore most indefinable in nature: its inner power,” once said the famous impressionist artist Paul Gaugin.

The primordial Light is White. It contains the potential of the full spectrum of Light frequencies reflected in a basic seven colour spectrum of a rainbow and additional countless tints and shades. In other words, all the colour vibrations, or the colour radiations, are in the colour white.

Referring to the experience of Russian prisoners in a Siberian salt mine calling themselves collectively “X7”, we can say that nature receives its inner power from the Rays of Light of different colours.

The incarcerated underground anonymous Russian prisoners X7 described their direct spiritual experience in the book The Mysterious Story of X7. Exploring the Spiritual Nature of Matter. From them we learn that Rays of Light create holograms in conformity with the qualities of the Rays – colour and tone.

Why colour and tone? Supposedly when we develop our currently latent sensory abilities, light and sound merge into colour-tone radiation as they did for the X7 in their underground cave: “All is light, light is radiation, radiation becomes colour and/or tone. The two are equivalent.”

X7 achieved the ability of seeing and working with the colours as aspects of Light. They describe the shades of indigo and blue as a sustaining colour. When we are looking at the shining blue of a summer sky, we are feeling good because we receive the sustaining energy of the colour blue. With this colour we receive our strength – the most prominent quality of the colour blue.

Mother of pearl, with irradiations of rose-pink, is the colour of love, the foundation of life. Therefore this colour could best reach human consciousness. The quality of peace has a perpetually harmonious, strong multi-coloured beam.

The colour Yellow, according to the X7, means freedom, joy, and relief from tension. We all know the green colour of chlorophyll which enables plants to absorb energy from light through the process of photosynthesis. We also know that looking at something green relaxes us and promotes healing.

While explaining the way in which nature created holograms of different objects by using the rays of light and the archetypal idea of the object, the X7 give us an example of a tree, which reflects the quality of “tree-ness” – something like strength, endurance and stability. And so on – endless types of holograms of living beings can appear in Spirit’s Memory thanks to the colour-tone qualities of the creating Rays. “The whole body of a man – physical, emotional and mental – is composed of very fine radiations.”(The Mysterious Story of X7. Exploring the Spiritual Nature of Matter).

In another book, Lords of the Seven Rays, the spiritual teacher and author Elizabeth Prophet speaks about the differently coloured Rays of Light of the Ascended Masters. El Morya, the Master of the Will of God representing the indigo color; St.Germain – the purifying violet Light, etc. As we understand it, the archetypes of the Ascended Masters are aspects of the complete archetype created by Spirit, parts of the spectrum of Its vibrations.

Creative people of all times, composers, artists and scientists, wouldn’t be able to come to their best and highest achievements without tapping into the mystical inner power of nature. And they would often become especially sensitive to the colour-tone association.

Russian composer, Alexander Scriabin, realized this colour – tone correspondence and showed us an example of colour-tone creativity in his symphonic masterpiece Prometheus: The Poem of Light, op.60 (1910), composed in music and light. This was a symphonic work for piano, orchestra, optional choir, and colour organ, where the part for the colour organ added an extra dimension of light to this already transcendent masterpiece of sound.

Besides music and colour, Scriabin’s score for Prometheus included associations of notes with a spiritual (cosmic) phenomenon. For example, C is associated with “Human Will”, D with “Joy”, E with “Dreams”, and so on.

Scriabin also associated each note in an octave with a specific colour. Other composers such as Berlioz, Debussy, Wagner and Rimsky-Korsakov also had their ideas about the music-colour association. And the mathematician Charles Fourier in his Theorie de ‘Unite Universelle (1846) stated connection between colours, notes and metals.

All these associations reflect the individual approach and understanding of the author. There are different renderings of the colour part of Scriabin’s Prometheus. Some of them added form to the colours, and in the interpretation that we chose to watch the forms remind us of the basic archetypes of nature.


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Did we invent the Devil? Yes, I think we did, and since ancient times we have been inventive and creative in the names, forms and roles we have given him.

His origin and history is fascinating, perplexing, and at times most confusing. Major theological structures have been built around him. They were however, always made of sand and are now dissolving in the light of contemporary scepticism informed by reason, our painful memory of the Inquisition, and a better understanding of how nature works.

In some ways the history of the Devil is a history of human evil, and not of the supernatural. We’ve often used the Devil to shift personal responsibility away from our own evil and failings. We have also used the Devil to explain, and perhaps even help us come to terms with, natural catastrophes such as floods, plagues, and crop failures.

For many today, the role of Devil is to still to tempt and corrupt and destroy. The theological logic is that God has allowed a near equal as a way of testing our faith.

I do not think the Holocaust, Pol Pot’s atrocities in Cambodia, or Stalin’s purges were a test of faith by an all powerful and compassionate God. These were human acts of untold cruelty that we could not, and still cannot, understand how our fellow human beings could commit. And because they are beyond the reach of our understanding, they must in some way have been the work of some darker force, the Devil supposedly, sanctioned by a supposedly more powerful God. We found it convenient to shift blame from ourselves to what I think is a fictitious third party, and on many sad occasions, we found it a convenient tool way to condemn others cruelly.

What are the origins of the Devil?

The seeds of this fictional figure of evil were born 3000 years ago when there was a big shift in religious thinking, introduced by Zoroaster (aka Zarathustra).

I have an optimistic intuition. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking. It is that I think the more profound minds among these early Iranian or Zoroastrian thinkers were trying to simplify a set of multiple Gods to a set of mutually complementary energies working on the physical plane. Much in the same way as the Taoist idea of Yin and Yang represents two impersonal, complementary and fundamental energies permeating reality, constantly in motion.

But it seems not all adherents in ancient Iran were of the same mind. Some thought it made more sense and would be easier to understand to personalize these two energies behind the visible world, such as light and dark, positive and negative, death and rebirth, as a God and his adversary. I guess if you are illiterate, and most people were, then an old man with a beard that looked human would be easier to understand than invisible and abstract energies driving reality and all the invisible worlds around us.

However, confusion and distortion stepped in early. It is, by the way, important to acknowledge profound spiritual ideas get distorted over time for all kinds of reasons. This is one of the reasons Madame Blavatsky wrote the Secret Doctrine, to set the record straight.

Encyclopaedia Britannica gives this example how the meaning of the deava and devas, the origins of the word devil, were variously distorted through the lens of different religions:

“The positions of spiritual beings or entities viewed as benevolent or malevolent may, in the course of time be reversed. Such has been the case in the ancient Indo-Iranian religion, from which evolved early Zoroastrianism and the early Hinduism reflected in the Vedas (ancient Aryan hymns).

In Zoroastrianism the daevas were viewed as malevolent beings, but their counterparts, the devas in ancient Hinduism, were viewed as Gods. The ahuras of Zoroastrianism were good ‘lords,’ but in Hinduism their counterparts, the asuras, were transformed into evil lords.

In a similar manner, Satan, once the prosecutor of men in the court of God’s justice in the Hebrew Old Testament book of Job, became the chief antagonist of Christ in Christianity…” [1]

“The word Satan (or Shaitan) in Biblical Hebrew meant something akin to ‘adversary’ or ‘anti-advocate,’ or more idiomatically, ‘prosecutor.’ It was the job title of an angel (not always the same angel) whose duties were to test the faith of the righteous, to force the souls of people to defend themselves before the Heavenly Court, and who was the guardian angel or ‘patron’ angel of the yetzer ha-ra, the ‘Urge to do Evil,’ or the ‘Urge to Chaos.’ This angel was seen as simply doing the will of God, faithfully executing an office needed by Heaven: there was never any suggestion of rebellion, since in Jewish theology, angels have no free will, nor did the Satan rule in Hell, since Judaism has no Hell. [2]

In Christianity he began his work in the Garden of Eden, supposedly inhabiting the serpent that suggested the tempting Red Delicious apple might be a good thing. Here we see the distortion of an ancient symbol. The serpent was in ancient times a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. The original meaning of eating the apple, I think, was that at some stage humanity had developed the power of wisdom, i.e. a conscience, a new self awareness that gave us the ability to choose right from wrong.

Even though Satan started out as (again, by taking a most optimistic view), be someone that challenged us to be our better selves in the ‘courtroom of life’, by the middle ages, he’d been turned into a malevolent force unto himself, equal to God.

He was able to live underground, but at the same time, whisper bad thoughts into every living person’s ears (the population was at that time over 900 million), creating chaos and his own brand of vicious madness.

We should understand that when the Devil was invented and given more and more influence in our lives, we did not understand how the real forces of nature worked. For example, the biological systems for humans, animals and plants were complete unknowns. Diseases such as the black plague were caused by mysterious forces. In one Italian city, Siena, two thirds of the population died. And neither did anyone understand what made the tides rise and fall, the grass grow, the clouds move, eclipses come and go, a storm appear, where the sound of thunder came from, the seasons change, crops fail, a baby to be stillborn, or even a volcano to erupt. Invisible darks forces were behind many dark events and human failings.

“Some medieval scholars of demonology ascribed to a hierarchy of seven archdemons the seven deadly sins: Lucifer (Pride); Mammon (Avarice); Asmodeus (Lechery); Satan (Anger); Beelzebub (Gluttony); Leviathan (Envy); and Belphegor (Sloth). Besides tempting men to sin, the fallen angels, or Devils, were believed to cause various types of calamities, both natural and accidental.

Like the demons and evil spirits of nature in primitive religions, the fallen angels were viewed as the agents of famine, disease, war, earthquakes, accidental deaths, and various mental or emotional disorders. Persons afflicted with mental diseases were considered to be ‘demon possessed.’[3]

A fear of the Devil helped to strengthen the hold of the church on a poorly educated and illiterate population. It helped weaken the hold of the ancient Gods of the field and what remained of the pagan approach to worship. Now, our ‘salvation’ was only possible through Jesus, and anything not condoned by the church was likely to be the work of Devil. On a positive note, a new development was that personal spiritual salvation was now possible, whereas it had not been available before. A new code of ethics, the Ten Commandments also made it easier to build a consistent moral code for an entire society.

Even so, the next stage was to turn the abilities of a ‘fallen’ and supposedly over-proud angel into what today would be portrayed in the cinema as a criminally insane mastermind to oppose God’s will. Fear, rather than a moral compass of encouragement, understanding and tolerance, became a tool for character development.

But it went even further than this, to a dark and cruel fanaticism. The Inquisitions and all their atrocities, such as the burning of children suspected of witchcraft. The inquisitions eventually saw 10,000 people burnt at the stake and 80,000 tortured. This is an extreme and terrifying example of how a fanatical fear of the Devil and Satan were cultivated. Even my Dutch ancestors fled the inquisition along frozen canals in the mid 1500’s to settle in northern Germany.

So you can see, an attribute or a complementary force in nature, at its simplest and most profound appreciation, let’s say the dark or yang side of creation both inside and outside us (that is, goodness cannot exist without evil, as light cannot exist without dark), when seen through the eyes of human values became a dark force. It was nearly as powerful as God, no longer complementary, but twisted to represent an entity somehow working independently of us, trying to oppose us as a species, to undermine us. Yet, at the same time the Devil was condoned by a supposedly all powerful God, and helped to conveniently explain the unfathomable and the inexplicable.

In Wind of the Sprit by G De Purucker,[4] he writes: “All peoples have taught of opposition in the universe, and they taught beautifully of it. But as far as I know it is only the very savage tribes and later Christianity which have ever personified of humanized this cosmic principle into an angelic entity, in Christianity of the demoniac type.”

No wonder does the idea of an all powerful devil make little sense. An all powerful God is either all powerful or it is not.

The various name of Devil and their origins

  • Devil, based on a corruption of the ancient Indian word deva, which originally meant a shining God, and from Greek diabolos, ‘slanderer,’ or ‘accuser’
  • From deamon to demon
  • Prince of darkness, Manichaeism
  • Satan, in the old testament a prosecutor in Yawweh’s court
  • Beezlebul lord of dung, Beezelbub or beelzebul, ancient Egypt’s God of the flies, also confused with Apollo the household God, apparently a mistranslation, but correctly means ‘God of the dwelling’
  • Lucifer, ironically the light bringer, the planet of Venus as the bright morning star, Before Milton Lucifer was never the name of the Devil, but one of God’s angels. Interestingly Jesus says of himself in revelations “I am the bright morning star”, ie Lucifer
  • Demiurge, ‘the creator’, the Gnostics

The ever changing appearance of the Devil

If you think of all the ways the Devil we have portrayed physically, my sense is we seemed to have made it up as we went along. We changed his appearance to suit our needs.

In William Woods’ book, A History of the Devil, he describes how our perception of the Devil moved to a more physical form: “In the early days Satan had been a spirit, but by the time of St Martin in the fifth century, he had become palpable, weighty and of course visible. Being the antithesis of God, he was course unbearably ugly.” As time went on his appearance became more and more menacing. He was now a real being we needed to resist, and not simply an abstract energy of evil.

Remarkably, the earliest and perhaps most unexpected evidence of our creativity at work was that the Devil began life a blue angel, assisting Jesus on judgment day separating the goats from the sheep.

At some point he developed a red, not blue skin. The latest Devil often wears a suit, sports a pointy beard and sideburns. Contrast his changing appearance with the fairly static appearance of Mary, Buddha, and Jesus for example. I think their images have stayed much the same perhaps because they were real people, whereas the Devil’s appearance is a fiction. Even what we call him and what he does has kept changing, depending on the fashions, fears and fanaticisms of the day.

Although often disguised as a young man in the middle-ages and blamed for many teenage pregnancies in the countryside, he is often drawn as having:

  • a pitchfork
  • a tail
  • menacing dark eyes
  • wings like a bat
  • cloven hooves or claws
  • horns
  • red skin
  • the body of a goat and a goatee beard (I guess that’s logical if the rest isn’t)

Pan as a source of inspiration for the Devil

One could argue that if we asked today’s cartoonists to draw a new Devil, they would likely use some reviled public figure’s nose or ears to satirize and undermine. This is similar to how the Devil’s appearance came to be.

What seems clear after one reads the explanation of the origins of his appearance is that, for most of his illustrated life, he looks like Pan. For those who you who do not know who or what Pan was, he was the Greek God of forests, pastures, flocks, and shepherds in pre-Christian times, in the ancient world.

On a more profound level, Pan was a figure of reverence. Pan represented the creative divine energy inherent in nature, destructive too, but bountiful, often seen holding pan pipes. Pan had cloven hooves and the body of a goat, but human arms, chest and face. Just like the Devil.

As M Blavatsky writes in the Theosophical Glossary published in 1892, “Pan means ALL, and is the origin of the word pantheon. He was the inventor of the Pandean pipes, and is related to the Mendesian goat, only so far as the latter suggests, as a talisman of great occult potency, nature’s creative force.”

Artists, I think, used Pan as they could easily rework his image into an object of fear. At the same time, recasting him would erase the memory of important figure of the ancient world. Transforming Pan into the Devil is an example how one transforms cultural memory, in the same way churches were built over ancient sites of worship. For example, “St Paul’s in London was remembered well into the middle ages as a shrine sacred to Diana”,[5]

Madame Blavatsky, unamused by this jaundiced transformation, says in the Secret Doctrine, that we turned what once represented the “abstract and divine power of procreative nature – Pan – into something so malevolent, and anthropomorphized.”[6]

But, Christianity had to isolate itself and assert its authority, the church needed something, an antagonist to contrast and strengthen its protagonist, the ‘shining Jesus’.[7]

The abode of the Devil – Hell

After looking at pictures where hell is represented though the ages, we see the Devil often lives in a burning ‘hellfire’. However, he is also shown as living in the clouds, walking around earth.

“The Old English hel belongs to a family of Germanic words meaning ‘to cover’ or ‘to conceal.’ Hel is also the name, in Old Norse, of the Scandinavian queen of the underworld. Many English translations of the Bible use hell as an English equivalent of the Hebrew terms Sheʾōl (or Sheol) and Gehinnom, or Gehenna (Hebrew: gê-hinnōm). The term Hell is also used for the Greek Hades and Tartarus, which have markedly different connotations. As this confusion of terms suggests, the idea of hell has a complex history, reflecting changing attitudes toward death and judgment, sin and salvation, and crime and punishment.” [8]

There is even confusion about where hell is. “The physical location of hell is similarly ambiguous. Some ancient and medieval Christian texts describe places of postmortem torment and demonic mischief in the upper atmosphere, while others locate hell in the centre of the earth, finding entrances in caves, moors, bogs, and volcanic fissures.

Drawing on diverse biblical, Classical, and folkloric sources, a great variety of cautionary tracts and tales…further developed the imagery of hell, mapping its flaming lakes, perilous bridges, demon-infested pits, and stinking cesspools and enlarging its catalogue of torments while at the same time providing milder sufferings for penitents.

In the 2nd-century Apocalypse of Peter, for example, blasphemers hang by their tongues over a lake of flaming mire, murderers are tortured in the sight of their victims, and slanderers have their eyes burned out by hot irons.” [9]

The character and role of the Devil is changing

Philip Almond is professorial research fellow at the University of Queensland and author of ‘The Devil: A New Biography’ He recently wrote a wonderful piece about the devil in the Daily Telegraph online, Giving the Devil His Due, from which I will quote selectively:

“In a recent development along these lines, the Church of England removed the words Satan from its baptism ceremonies. All struggles now are against an impersonal power of evil, not the Devil or Satan.

For some forms of modern conservative Christianity, the Christian story of the Devil is very much alive still. The belief remains that the Devil is active and will remain so until finally consigned to an eternity in Hell at the end of history. The existence of the Devil and his capacity to act in history, nature, and human lives, remains for many Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, a satisfactory explanation of natural misfortune and human suffering.

Christianity has always wrestled with the apparent contradiction between a God who is both all-powerful and all-good, and yet appears either unable to control the Devil or unwilling to do so.

Still, the story of the Devil is one that had lost its central role in Western intellectual life by the middle of the 18th century. By then, for an educated elite, if not for the masses, the Devil was no longer a matter of fact but of fiction, and even occasionally a folkloric figure of fun. For some, the Devil became merely a metaphor for the evil within us. For others, he became merely a personification of an impersonal force.

It was no longer a valiant struggle against sin, the world and the Devil but rather, as the new baptism service has it, a matter of ‘standing bravely’ and opposing ‘the power of evil’. For others, it was a convenient excuse for men, as Daniel Defoe put it in 1727, to “shift off these crimes on Him which are their own” [10]


So if there were a Devil, who is he? Perhaps Satan is us.

There is a Theosophical teaching, elegantly stated by the author in the Wind of the Spirit, that “there is no such cosmic individual acting as an opponent or adversary of men or of the Gods; for the accuser, the adversary or opponent is in actual fact, so far as humans are concerned, is our own weaknesses, evildoings, evil thoughts, evil emotions which will someday sooner or later spring up in our path to face us, and facing us as it were, point us out as the evildoer.” [11]

And so, the need to use the Devil as a scapegoat is slowly falling away. “Many Christian theologians have found some of the concepts of psychoanalysis helpful in reinterpreting the meanings underlying primitive and traditional beliefs in angels and demons. The tripartite cosmos was re-mythologized into a tripartite structure of the personality—the superego (the restrictive social regulations that enable man to live as a social being), the ego (the conscious aspects of man), and the id, or libido (a “seething, boiling cauldron of desire that seeks to erupt from beneath the threshold of consciousness”).[12]

We have a better understanding of the forces of nature around us and the forces at work within us. As we become better educated we’re more willing to question the basis of a frightening and effective fiction.

I think the challenge of human is to know ourselves fully, to tune into the deeper self awareness that drives the better part of our human selves. To understand that many of our so called sins are borne of anxiety, stress and fatigue and sometimes early traumas we could not process.

So let’s not to be too hard on ourselves. We’re not saints, and neither do I think should we try to be. Life is challenging and difficult enough. A line from the Desiderata, written in 1927 by Max Ehrman, is still as potent as when I first read it and sounds very much like the wise Buddhist injunction to take the middle path: “Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself”.

So, I don’t think we need a devil, just our own inner guru to push us past our comfort zones to be better hu

[1] Angel and demon. 2015. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 23 August, 2015, from



[3] Angel and demon. 2015. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 23 August, 2015, from

[4] G De Purucker, Wind of the Spirit, Theosophical University Press, 1984,p283

[5] Woods, William, History of the Devil p97

[6] Blavatsky Helena, Secret Doctrine, The Theosophy Company, 1925, p358

[7] Ibid., p508

[8] Hell.” Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite.  Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, 2014

[9] Ibid.

[10] Almond, Philip, the Telegraph, retrieved from, July 14, 2014


[11] G De Purucker, Wind of the Spirit, Theosophical University Press, 1984, p280

[12] Angel and demon. 2015. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Retrieved 23 August, 2015, from


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Animal Communicator, Joanne Hull, writes in her 2010 book, THE PET PSYCHIC that:

By communicating with animals we can understand their needs and wants, their dislikes and likes. Don’t you think this is important? I most certainly do. By listening to the animals we can unlock the secret of their desires in life and find out what they have always wanted to do. Who is to say animals don’t like to have a purpose in life? I am convinced they do, whether it’s a job of some description —such as guarding, training, or even just looking after their family—or taking part in an activity they enjoy. Shouldn’t they have a right to this.

She poses some questions that we need to reflect upon. I’d like to reinforce here that , given that we as humans are increasingly losing our contact with the world of nature, that it is important to give this subject – interspecies communication, its fair hearing.

I will be dividing this talk into five main areas, bearing in mind that there may be some crossover. These five are:


Number 5 on a Hindu Perspective is to bring into focus the spiritual element as related in Hindu texts in relation to how some of the great teachers lived out these teachings.


I’ll begin by saying that I believe that all living things, be they mineral, plants or animals, have a need to be able to communicate. Social Deprivation is defined as a condition where one lacks social stimuli.

To add weight to this belief, in relation to animals, I would like for us to consider the following information:-

  • Studies show that socially isolated animals are more depressed and more anxious than animals that are grouped together
  • Isolated rodents showed a significant increase in locomotor activity, were more immobile in the forced swim test and had an increase in emotions that relate to anxiety and depression.
  • Isolated primates showed several symptoms of depressive behaviour, higher levels of stereotypy, less grooming, higher levels of self-clasping and more passivity to social stimuli long after the experiment was had been completed.   Social isolation has also been linked to more aggressive behaviour.
  • Rats that were isolated when they were 2 months old, showed a constant aggressiveness in their first year of life. Isolated male mice also show increased tendencies to fight after isolation and generally became more aggressive.
  • Social isolation has also been shown to cause animals to consume alcohol and other drugs when available.
  • Isolated animals have shown memory disorders and sleep disorders. They also have higher risk of developing diseases.


Studies also tell us that:


Animals submitted to social deprivation from weaning show profound and long-lasting changes in aggressiveness… In addition, early social deprivation affects brain mechanisms relevant for aggression control.[i]


These are some of the research-outcomes that have appeared in various studies that have been undertaken to measure Social Deprivation as a means of torture. How disgusting is it that innocent animals are being employed simply to find out about something as inane as torture.

The website of the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, the following information can be found:


In separation experiments, he separated infant monkeys from their mothers at birth and placed them in partial or total isolation. Some infants spent the first 24 months of their lives in what was labelled “wells of despair“—steel enclosed chambers that admitted no light or contact with the outside world.

After two years, Harlow described these monkeys as “totally destroyed.” Rhesus monkeys reared this way developed into non-functioning adults.[ii]


I have chosen to share this as a basis as to why communication is an important concept for the growth and health of both animals and people. Let us now move on to explore just how some animals do communicate with us.

I know that some of what I have been sharing is disturbing and I do apologise for this. However it is necessary so that we truly grasp our topic and the rationale of the need to communicate.


Let us begin with the question that might be on all our minds: What do we mean when we talk about an Animal Whisperer?

A good definition here would be that an Animal Whisperer communicates with animals, generally still living, to sort out an animal’s problems, to locate lost animals, to communicate with wild animals and sometimes even to communicate with those who have passed over.

The terms, Animal Communicator is simply another name for an Animal Whisperer.

Some of the situations in which we may find it helpful to talk with our animals through the assistance of an animal communicator include:

  • Deepening our understanding, intimacy and sacred bond with animals by discovering what they are thinking, feeling and what means most to them
  • Understanding how animals view their lives, informing us of their everyday likes and preferences for food and any needs that they may have.
  • Understanding how animals view their relationship with us, the purpose of your coming together, and how any past life issues may be relevant to the present
  • Behavioural or Emotional Problems: Discovering the causes, negotiating changes and solutions, and about emotional upsets such as fear, aggression, withdrawal, depression, etc.
  • To be in a better position to heal trauma, such as from injury, illness, death or grief.   Assisting an animal whose spirit may be earth-bound.
  • Helping rescue animals to understand sheltering and fostering, identify what they want in a new home (i.e. kids, other animals), adjust to new family and home, heal from neglect, abuse and abandonment
  • Understanding how animals view and experience illness and health problems; preparing an animal for surgery or other medical interventions and explain procedure. This is a good one in terms of taking an animal to a vet. This is also good for helping a wild animal understand what is occurring around them.
  • Being there to support an animals’ needs through death and dying
  • Being able to communicate with an animal after their death Supporting and understanding an animals’ needs through grief and anticipatory grief regarding death of other family members (animals grieve the death of animals and humans just like we do)
  • Looking at reincarnation issues. Why is the animal where it is now or where it may end up. Does the animal wish us to know something that may be otherwise hidden.
  • Helping your animals understand family structure changes: new arrivals of animals or humans; discussing your pet’s needs before adding a new animal family member; departures of other animals or humans through divorce, separation, death, etc. This is different to grief issues as it is about family structure.
  • Travel and moving: helping animals understand that their humans will return from business trips and vacations and who will care for them to reduce or prevent separation anxiety; showing them “pictures” of a new home beforehand, including any important physical boundary concerns.

There are many animal whispers abounding today, most of which have published books on this subject. Some of these people are:


  • Penelope Smith of Arizona, author of Animal Talk, When Animals Speak, Animals in Spirit. Penelope Smith developed the CODE OF ETHICS for INTERSPECIES COMMUNICATORS (1990).


This Code covers things such as compassion for all beings, having empathy for clients, only to give assistance when such is asked, being open to working with other professionals when required and that the animal communicator follows their heart, honouring the spirit and life of all beings as One.


  • Joanne Hull, Scotland, author of The Pet Psychic
  • Rosina Maria Arquati, based in Hong Kong, author of The Life Journey of an Animal Communicator
  • Thomas Cheng, Hong Kong, China. Thomas promotes and teaches animal communication with a focus on Science. Author of Animal Communication – Looking at Animals’ World from A Scientific Point of View (in Chinese). He is from the Institute of Scientific Animal Communication.
  • Trisha Mc Cagh  Perth Western Australia, author of Stories from the Animal Whisperer.
  • Ned Bruha, the Skunk Whisperer, from Oklahoma, Bruha will relocate squirrels, raccoons, opossums, geese, foxes, coyotes, and other creatures

·        Kevin Richardson, the Lion Whisperer from South Africa, author of Part of the Pride. He has the uncanny ability to relate to South Africa’s wildlife, especially lions.

·        John ‘Spikehorn’ Meyers, from Harrison, Michigan. He opened a ‘Bear and Deer Park’ on his property around 1930. ‘Spikehorn’ passed away in 1959. He was affectionately called ‘The Bear Man of Michigan’.   The term, ‘Whisperer’ was not in vogue at the time of his death.

·        RC Bridges, the Buffalo Whisperer, of Quinlan, Texas. In 2005, he took in an orphan baby buffalo he named Wildthing. Wildthing was treated like any member of the family, coming and going in the house like a human. As Wildthing grew, he was given a room of his own.

The first animal communicator might be that of the Italian brother known as St. Francis, (1181-1226), the Patron saint of Animals.   He would speak to all the animals and they in turn would respond. In the book, The Little Flowers of St, Francis, There is the story of a Wolf who attacked people when they left the village of Gubbio, Italy.

Upon hearing about this, St. Francis ventured forth and upon meeting the fierce animal, he gently tamed it speaking to it. It is believed to have followed St. Francis around like a pet after this and was fed thereafter by offerings from the townsfolk. (The Little Flowers of St. Francis, J. M. Dent and Sons, London 1912 Chapter 21, p.38)

There are numerous events in the life of St. Francis that he is, as said before, and therefore is aptly referred to as the Patron Saint of Animals .World Animals Day is observed on October 4th each year in honour of the Feast Day of St. Francis; the day the he died in 1226. World Animals Day itself began in 1931.

Many are the stories of saints who possessed an ability to communication with animals or vice versa. Some of these Saints are:

St. Bartholomew and the duckling that strayed and fell into a deep ravine.

St. Columba and the tired crane who spent three days care for by the saint.

St. Leonore, the robin and a field of corn that was planted to feed the poor when no corn could be found.

St. Felix who was saved by a spider who built a web across a gap that was previously entered by St. Felix, thus protecting the saint from his enemies; soldiers out to kill him for being a Christian.

St. Martin (1579-1639) who was known for protecting mice from being killed by his monastery. He had the mice line up at the end of each day so that they could be fed instead of stealing throughout the day.

St. Roch, (1295-1327) who went into a forest to die after having contracted the plague, but was instead taken care of by a dog who would bring food to him.

and St. Blandina (d. 177) who, even though tied to a post to be killed by wild animals, was saved when these lions and bears did not touch her.


Yogananda (1893-1952), famous as the author of Autobiography of a Yogi, had a psychic connection to a Fawn that was ill. Yogananda took the fawn and placing it in his lap, he went into a deep meditation. The fawn appeared to recover but on the next night, it came to Yogananda in his dream and said, “You are holding me back! Please let me go!” In his dream, Yogananda answered, “All right.” He immediately woke the boys living in the dorm and announced that the fawn was dying. They all gathered around it. The fawn, upon seeing Yogananda, struggled to its feet and tottered towards Yogananda, collapsed, and died at his feet.[iii]


So what are animals communicating to those who listen to, and work, with them?

In a fascinating book, Animal Voices,[iv] by Dawn Baumann Brunke, we learn that animals are very concerned about us and the planet.

Here is a message from a bug:

I am an old bug. I watch. I listen. I heard you were talking to animals, so I came to see for myself.   I am a slow bug—walk, walk, sometimes fly. I see many humans moving around…Not much mindfulness of where they are or the gifts present in each place, each moment.

I speak of slowness, of seeing the beauty and wonder of wherever you find yourself.   I speak of saying hello to all creatures you meet….Good tidings come to those who appreciate the simple things. This is an old truth, a simpler way of seeing the world.

A message from a jaguar reads:

I was asked to help with a problem concerning jaguars coming too close to a village in Costa Rica. What I got from the jaguars was that they’re being so crowded in their environment that their impinging on human life.

And again, another message, this time from a lion:

You ask us what our purpose is in the grander scheme of things and we find this amusing. Humans figure each form of life must serve some “purpose,” must have some grand role to shape its life and destiny…You come to us because you desire to save yourselves. If the planet were bigger and had more resources, you might not be asking these questions….When humans see lions, they think of power, pride, kings.   You see us at the top of the pecking order, because you see through your own filters of domination, control and hierarchy. All the qualities you relegate to us can be seen in a wren or a shrew.

There is no doubt here that we truly need to wake up to ourselves and stop abusing the world because we think we are the apex of creation.

To quote the Eckankar Mahanta, Harold Klemp[v]:

We tend to think of humans as the pinnacle of evolution. This may be true of biological evolution, but it is not necessarily the case from a spiritual perspective. Many souls in the animal form are already highly evolved spiritually. They can give and receive divine love in a way that many humans would not understand.


How do those who communicate with animals interpret the ‘voices’ in their own language? Do they ‘see’ using clairvoyance what they are attempting to communicate? Do they ‘feel’ by employing clairsentience what is being conveyed, do they ‘hear’ by the medium of clairaudience or do they simply understand intuitively? And how do animals interpret what is said to it?

It is generally taught that animals communicate in pictures via telepathic powers. For example, an animal will ‘communicate’ an image so that a person can then understand them. Animal souls that are, let us say, ‘earthbound,’ will often hold on to a picture of their companions whilst living. A pet psychic will be able to then explain to the animal that it is no longer living, and that its companions (human or animal) can no longer be around to feed or play with.

The former Olympic team show-jumper, David Bowen, relates how when he was nearing a fence to jump, he would ‘visualize’ him and the horse ‘jumping’ over the fences – and the horse would indeed ‘jump’ with ease.[vi]

And how do animals interpret what they are being fed back?

The following story by the Rev. Caesar Otway (1760-1842) shows how an animal can understand what is going on around it. It is to be found in the book, Man and Beast – Here and Hereafter (1878), by the Rev. John G. Wood.[vii]

A gentleman of property had a mastiff of great size, a very watchful and intelligent animal. One particular day, it would not leave its master. This was strange for generally it would be tethered outside by a servant.

On this day, the dog clung to its master, and became angry toward the servant. Later that evening, the dog ran upstairs and hid under the bed of its owner.

In the night a man burst into the room and with a knife in hand, attempted to stab the sleeper. But the dog went for the robber’s neck, fastened its fangs in him, and so kept him down until the robber was secured.

The owner of the mastiff later learned that the servant had colluded with the robber, and both had conspired to murder him. The truly interesting aspect to this story was that they had plotted the whole scheme leaning over the roof of the dog’s kennel.

No one need to accept that the mastiff knew all that was being said, but that the dog had somehow gathered the intent of the conversation is evident.

Another case involved a dog not seen but heard. The dog’s owners were woken up by hearing their pet walking about the bedroom but not seeing the animal, they went back to sleep. A while later, their daughter rushed in to stay that the dog was dying. The girl’s parent rushed downstairs to find that their pet held entangled himself in his collar and was strangling. His ‘appearance’ was that which ultimately saved him.

In a fire in the menagerie tent of Barnum & Bailey’s Circus that occurred at Cleveland, Ohio on August 4, 1942, the elephants did not move until their trainer appeared. At a word from him, each elephant grasped the animal in front by the tail, and marched out in good order. The circus veterinary surgeon, J. Henderson, wrote afterwards:

I realized than that there must be a characteristic in animals comparable with the inner greatness of the human being. It is not their physical size alone that counts, nor their agility, wildness or strength – no, they possess a kind of spiritual nobility, an inner relationship to that which is enduring in Nature. At that moment I acquired a respect for them which I had never known before.

Among Animals of Africa by Bernhard Grzimek (1970)

Another example of animal communication, this time, with no verbal contact, relates to a cat and a prisoner, a Seventh-Day Adventist minister.

The minister was jailed for refusing to deny God and was sent to a prison in Siberia. The Commandant asked again for the minister to deny God and when this was denied, the Commandant took a different stance – He refused to allow the minister any food.   Each day the Commandant came to visit the prisoner, the prisoner does not deny God and so no food.   However, each day a piece of black bread is placed on a window ledge – from the outside.   The prisoner cannot see who is bringing this food to him so, to prove God is looking out for him, he decides to keep the bread.   Eventually, and five days later, the minister shows the Commandant the slices of bread. As they are together, the Commandant, after raving on about ‘disloyal’ prison offices, they both see a shadow appear at the window and try to look up. Stepping back, what appears but a huge black cat – owned by the Commandant no less. So, amazed, the Commandant turns to God for forgiveness.[viii]

Then we have the story of Voodoo the Vulture who is found with a broken wing and befriend his ‘healers’ to become a regular part of their lives even though he was free and often lived away with his own kind.[ix]

What about animals coming back from the ‘Other Side’ to communicate with their human companions?

Like Yogananda and the deer, the author, H. Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was visited in a dream by his dog, Bob, a favourite retriever of his. In two short dreams, in a small interval of sleep, he dreamt that the dog was telling him that it was dying. The next day a person brought Bob’s collar to him. Three days later, the dog’s body was sighted in a river beneath a bridge. It appeared that the dog was struck by a train passing over the bridge, and his body tossed into brush near the river bank. In this case the dog had already died, whereas the deer in dream to Yogananda, was alive but sought release.

A similar tale appears in The Pet Psychic by Joanna Hull. This concerns a dog who was 15 years old who choose his own ‘exit’ from this world by running on to a busy road where he was hit by a car and later died on the way to a vet. He had overheard his owner saying how she could not bear the thought of having him put down. He did this out of love for his owner. (2010, pp.247-250)




We will now look at some of the communication displayed by animals.

Animals do not have the need, it would seem, to gossip or share their views on the latest sports scores – but then, who knows, maybe they do.

All animals, be they insects, birds or mammals, have the same basic needs as us. obtaining food, staying safe, finding another mate and protecting their territory. So if they require these, then it would be foolish to think that they do not ‘really’ communicate or that they when they make sounds, these are akin to a clock as did the French philosopher Descartes (1596-1650)

As one writer notes:

Descartes may have never owned a dog, and was no doubt unfamiliar with the language of bees, dolphins, and whales, but based on his experience with animals he concluded they are distinctly different from humans who possess a soul and who use language and reason. Animals were, in his opinion, machines (Cleverly designed automata)[x], and humans had no obligation to treat animals any different from any other machine, and with total disregard for their feelings as they had none and were devoid of a mind. Descartes was also an advocate of the dissection of live animals (vivisection) since he believed that despite their screams, they could not feel pain.[xi]

I would like to think that we have moved on from such ridiculous thinking though I can sadly say that there are still some who think this to be the case in a similar way.

We have seen in the first topic of Social Isolation, that animals do need to be able to communicate. This is firstly, with their own kind or, failing this, with another animal, bird or possibly even an insect.

All animals communicate, and the people who study this area are called ethologists. Ethology is a relatively new science that has its beginnings in the early 1900s; its work begun by three scientists: Konrad Lorenz of Austria, Nikolass Tinbergen of the Netherlands and Karl von Frisch of Austria who did most of his work in Germany.   These three men shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for “their discoveries concerning organization and elicitation of individual and social behaviour patterns“.

Some ways that animals communicate are:

  • The wriggle dance of the bees
  • The bioluminescence of the firefly
  • By gift-giving such as undertake the male roadrunner to his prospective mate
  • Through colour such as seen in the display of the peacock

It is interesting to note that the song of one bird species does not necessarily have any impact on another.   For example, a male finch may be proclaiming his right to a territory; but this will not have any effects on blackbirds which may be in hearing distance. This is not merely because of a difference in pitch but it seem as if birds of one kind were indifferent or even death to the songs of others.[xii]

Young birds will hear all manner of songs of other species yet it will attune to the encoded song of its own species.[xiii] Though the Lyre Bird copies the sounds of the things it hears around it, such as other birds, dogs, chainsaws etc.

For those who may be interested in this field, this area of research of what is termed avian bioacoustics.

Some animals have formed what we may call ‘unusual relationships.’

One such story of a horse who was totally alone in a field having formed a relationship with a solitary hen. These two animals spent much of their time together in a lonely orchard, where they saw no other animal except each other.[xiv]

Another story involves a tiger who befriends a goat. Staff at the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary (India) released a live goat in the enclosure of a full grown male tiger which had been rescued in 2009 as an orphan. Staff hoped the tiger would make a quick kill. To their astonishment and horror, the tiger instead decided to make friends with its intended meal. Officials who watched the sequence of events are worried that having been raised in captivity, the big cat may have lost its hunting skills. After two days, the tiger did not kill the goat despite being hungry. Instead it played with the goat; at one point even playfully dumping it in an artificial waterhole. Finally, the goat was taken out and the tiger was given

beef to eat instead.[xv]

Many similar tales can be found in the book, Unusual Friendships by Jennifer Holland.   This is a beautiful book for both the writing and the photography. Read the book and I believe you’ll come away with a greater respect for animals; both wild and domesticated.

And let us not forget that many people have formed friendships with insects, birds and animals. This is especially true of those fighting on the battlefields. World War Two has given us many such examples.[xvi]


The Sufi teacher, Said Bediuzzaman (1877-1960) writes:


I saw that a fly had alighted on my hand and had begun to thoroughly clean its eyes, face, and wings, which were its trust from God. The fly was cleaning itself as a soldier cleans the rifle and uniform given to him by the state in trust. I said to my soul, “Look at that fly!” It looked and learned an important lesson. The fly became a teacher to my conceited and idle soul.[xvii]


I am including this as a means of showing that we must have compassion for All Life.   If animals, living or who have passed on, do indeed communicate with humans and or with other animals, then we need to reassess our thinking. So even though looking at the Hindu concept may appear foreign to our subject, I strongly feel that it has its place in this context.

In Hinduism, The ethical treatment of animals is fundamental to the core belief that the Divine exists in all living beings, both human and non-human, and the whole world is viewed as one family.  Animals and plants are not regarded as mere objects for wanton human use and consumption in the Hindu tradition. Rather, they are equally embodied with the existence of the Divine and are fully deserving of respect and human compassion.  Some verses that we will look out may appear to somehow degrade animals but that is not their intent.

Vasudhaiva (Va-Sood-ha-va) comes from a phrase found in the ancient Maha Upanishad (Chapter 6, v.72), which says, “Only small minds discriminate saying, ‘One is a family member; the other is a stranger.’ For those who live contemplatively, the whole world is but a single family.”

Ramakrishna (1836-1886) taught that “if a man thus serves God through all beings, not through men alone but through animals and other living beings as well…this too is a way to realize God.” (The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, p.670)

Once Sri Ramakrishna during the peak of his bhakti yoga saw a dog (who had sneaked into the kitchen) running away with a few chapattis held in mouth! In India chapattis are normally first soaked in ghee (or butter) and then served for eating. Seeing the dog running away with dry chapattis…

Sri Ramakrishna thought that dog being a reflection of god would not be able to digest the dry chapattis. He took some ghee in a big spoon and ran after the dog to serve him better.

When the dog saw the owner of the chapattis coming after him stick in hand… he ran faster. What a contradiction in the thinking of two living beings. Sri Ramakrishna only wanted to serve God that existed in miniscule form inside the dog

Sarada Devi (1853-1920), The Holy Mother and wife of Sri Ramakrishna, taught that “He is unfortunate indeed who does not feel my compassion. I do not know anyone, even an insect, for who I do not have compassion.” She once shared her life with a cat that belonged to her niece, Radhu, and which often would lie peacefully with her. In her more mischievous times, Sarada would pretend that she was going to hit the cat with a stick – this would only bring the cat closer to her feet. Sarada would toss the stick away, laugh and pick up the cat to cuddle. Sometimes this same cat would steal food , to which the Mother would say, “To steal is its dharma (its duty), Who is there to always feed it lovingly.” The Mother was once overheard to say to a monk who was beating the cat, “Do not beat the cat. I dwell inside that cat too.”     We can learn much from her example. These comments can be found in the book, Sri Sarada Devi, The Holy Mother: Her Teachings and Conversations by Sw. Nikhilananda

Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) was a Holy Man who loved animals and would often stand up for them in defiance of conventional forms.   For example, from his first days at the hill of Arunachala, in the Virupaksha cave, he had many canine friends and they were a part of his life at the Ashram.

He would often talk to them and he seemed to instinctively know their wants and needs – maybe he was a ‘Whisperer’ too. He would see that the dogs, his ‘children,’ were fed even before the devotees and the dogs would often sit with him, even on his lap.

Bhagavan Sri Raman Maharshi looked on all with the spirit of Samabhavatvam (this being the attitude of equal consideration for everyone, and treating all alike) . He once said: “The sparrows also have the same consciousness, ‘Atma,’ like human beings. Only the forms are different.” (Letters 17.1.1946)

If there is no place for Bhagavan, but only hell, then I would rather choose hell and live a life of true Ahimsa and Samabhavatvam whilst here on earth, and sit before Bhagavan and learn from his example.     Ahimsa means to practice no violence whilst Samabhavatvam is to extend compassion. As far as I can tell then, Ahimsa is a path on no action (refraining from violence), and Sambhavatvam is an active concept (showing and extending compassion).

Bhagavan Ramana’s view on life is even more interesting when we learn that in the Mahabharata is found the following sentence: “There is no place in the heaven for those who keep a dog as a pet. The demons name Krodhavasa devour the virtues possessed by a man performing religious sacrifice and by getting wells and ponds constructed. Therefore act thoughtfully and leave this dog. It involves no cruelty” (M, Mahapra 3/10). The inference being that one’s religious sacrifices – such as the construction of wells and ponds – will amount to nothing if one associates with a dog as a pet or companion. Please note that this verse is not advocating cruelty, merely detachment.

This belief is further implied in the Bhagavad-gita where Lord Krsna says: “Whatever being a man thinks of at the last moment when he leaves his body, that alone does he attain, O Arjuna, being ever absorbed in the thought thereof.” (Bg. g. 8.6) Again, if you think of your dog at the time of death, you shall be reincarnated as a dog. This verse again is not advocating cruelty, but merely detachment.

However, elsewhere the Gita, Lord Krsna teaches that “The wise [knowers of the Self] look with equal eye on a learned but humble Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a chandāla living on dog’s flesh.” (Bg.g. 5:18) A Chandāla is a member of the lowest caste.

There is a tale relating to the Saint Sankara who, returning with his disciples from the temple of Viswanath after a bath in the Ganges meets a Chandāla. This man (considered as an outcaste), is followed by four dogs. Sankara asked him to clear away from the path. The Chandāla with a smile asked him, “Whom are you asking to move away? The soul or the body? Your soul, my soul and every other soul in the world are all one. There is no impurity in the soul. It is just like the moon reflected in a pot of Ganges water or in a can of liquor. The moon will not become impure by its reflection.  Or do you want the body to move? Without the soul the mere body is inert. It cannot move. And moreover, for a Sannyasin what is caste, purity and impurity?”

Sankara was taken aback by this bombshell of a question by the Chandāla. He prostrated himself at the feet of the Chandāla for teaching him such a great truth. But the Chandāla vanished and in his place there stood Lord Viswanath. The Lord had come in the form of a Chandāla to teach Sankara that distinctions like Brahmana, Chandāla etc. are only for the narrow-minded. The Lord blessed Sankara and disappeared.

A Sannyasin is one who has come to understand the futility of so-called worldly life. The lesson here being that All Life is One.

If we can understand that these Holy people would stand up for animals and seek to protect then; even talking with the animals, who understood what was being conveyed, then we are on the right path.

If these Holy people thought it not beneath them to converse with nature; with animals, then can we really deny that animals can and will communicate with us if we open ourselves to hearing their concerns, and their needs?

A Personal Experience

Some years back now, as I was reading a book on the path of a Christian, THE NEW LIFE by John Marshall, a fly alighted on the page that I had open before me. He took my attention and as I studied him for a good 10 minutes – thus to discern the beauty of this insect; a Creature created ‘very good’ (Gen. I).

He was so cute (to me at least) and seemingly enjoyed himself as he ambled across the pages and along the book’s spine. Again, I feel blest as I entered into a deeper unison with one of the Creatures created ‘very good.’

I have had similar experiences with a Grasshopper, a Praying Mantis, a Cockroach, a Lapwing, a Mud Lark, a Paddlefish, several outdoor Spiders, a green Beetle, some Ravens and Mynah birds and, by exercising much patience and respect, numerous Possums. One such possum comes up to me now and then where I work and we share a biscuit together; she nibbling on the biscuit and allowing me to stroke her little ears.

We can all achieve such sacred moments in our life as we learn to respect ALL LIFE, no matter its manifestation, and sit in Sacred Silence. The animals know our intent even before we do – as did the Fly. He knew, I really do believe, that I would not squash him.

So we have seen that insects, birds and animals do possess the ability to speak with each other and ourselves. They have a message for us to listen out for and they employ some humans to be the vehicle or channel of such messengers.

My hope is that we not only listen but likewise put into action what they are telling us.

Animal Communication (covering Animal Whisperers, Psychic Communication, Communication between animals, and some interesting historical events that occurred in the Middle Age




[i] In a paper titled, Early Social Deprivation Induces Disturbed Social Communication and Violent Aggression in Adulthood (Ma´té To´th, Jo´zsef Hala´sz, Éva Mikics, Bogla´rka Barsy, and Jo´zsef Haller and published in Behavioral Neuroscience 2008, Vol. 122, No. 4, 849–854

ii (

[iii] Autobiography of a Yoga by Paramahansa Yogananda Self-Realization Fellowship (1998) Cpt. ‘Founding a Yoga School in Ranchi’

IVBear and Company (USA) 2002

v Animals are Soul too! Eckankar (USA) 2005

vi Quoted in Psychic Pets by John Sutton, Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) 1997

vii Originally cited in the Notes of the Rev. Caesar Otway, The intellectuality of domestic animals, a Lecture [Delivered Before the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland, February 27, 1840] p.42


[viii] The Seventh-Day Ox and Other Miracle Stories from Russia by Bradley Booth, Review and Herald Publishing Company (2011)

[ix] On Safari by Armand DeniÅ› Collins Sydney (1963) pp.283-284

viii It is also a very remarkable fact that although there are many animals which exhibit more dexterity than we do in some of their actions, we at the same time observe that they do not manifest any dexterity at all in many others. Hence the fact that they do better than we do, does not prove that they are endowed with mind, for in this case they would have more reason than any of us, and would surpass us in all other things. It rather shows that they have no reason at all, and that it is nature which acts in them according to the disposition of their organs, just as a clock, which is only composed of wheels and weights is able to tell the hours and measure the time more correctly than we can do with all our wisdom. (Animals are Machines by René Descartes. Reprinted from: Passions of the Soul (1649)


ix Journal of Cosmology, 2011, Vol. 14.

x Birds as Living Things by Maxwell Knight, Collins (London) 1964 p.152

xiNerve Cell and Animal Behaviour by Peter Simmons and David Young, Cambridge (UK) 2010 p.249

xi From THE SATURDAY EVENING REVIEW of August 11, 1832.

[xv] From the Indian Times, March 6 2013 by Vijay Pinjarkar,

[xvi] Tommy’s Ark: Soldiers and Their Animals in the Great War by Richard Van Emden, Bloomsbury UK (2011)

[xvii] The Gleams: Reflections on Qur’anic wisdom and spirituality. Translated by Hüseyin Akarsu, Tughra Books (USA) 2008 Chpt. The 28th Gleam p.377


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What do we understand as “archetype”? The definition we can find on the internet is: “the original pattern or model from which all things of the same kind are copied or on which they are based; a model or first form; prototype”. In Jungian psychology: “pattern of thought, image, universally present in individual psyche”.


In our understanding “archetype” is a pattern of thought which becomes a model for the creation/manifestation of any form in the universe. All forms of life are created through the mechanism of holography using the archetypes of the Universal Thought of the creating Spirit as perfect patterns for manifestation. Our human consciousness as co-creator of the Creator’s Universal Consciousness, when perceiving such an archetype, is able to modify it from the standpoint of our experience, and to produce a new archetype.


An example is the “Vitruvian Man” by Leonardo da Vinci. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born c. 80–70 BC, died after c. 15 BC), commonly known as Vitruvius, was a Roman author, architect, and civil engineer during the 1st century BC perhaps best known for his multi-volume work entitled De Architectura. Vitruvius explained his perception of the harmony of human body which he set up as a model for building temples. Leonardo (1452-1500 AD) made a drawing which became an archetype.


Why do we speak about mathematical archetypes? Because the archetypes reflect the order of Creation, and it appears that humans from ancient times onwards are seeing this order through number and pattern. We call the order – mathematics. The order of the pattern we call – geometry. Mathematics is the way of orderly division of the One. It defines the order of division. In geometry – the pattern of division. This provides the Creation with the variety of forms. Not accidental, but orderly forms.

It happened that two different and yet complementary books contributed to our understanding of the origin and mechanism of the archetypes in nature, art and science: Kalagia by a Russian author Alexander Naumkin, published in 1993, and A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe by an American mathematician and educator Michael S.Schneider, published in 1994.


Interestingly enough, A.Naumkin wrote his book after climbing the sacred mountain Belucha in Russia and living there in seclusion for several years. M. Schneider composed his book after studying ancient mathematics in India. Both books appeared almost simultaneously, but on different continents.


Kalagia has been published only in Russian, and though eagerly studied since by the spiritual students of Russia, has been never completely translated into any language other than Russian. Some excerpts of it translated into English, you can find in our book The Laws of Life.


Kalagia is one of those rare books dictated directly to a chela by an Ascended Master. This is the book of “The Teaching of Evolution of a Human Being and Universe accepted on the Mahasatyana’s Ray from the teacher of Humanity Jesus Christ – Maitreya by the chela A.P.Naumkin in the mountains of Altai”, in 1992.


Actually, Kalagia is a book of metaphysics. In auxiliary, we can see 52 tables, full of diagrams of unknown and incomprehensible content. The editor of Kalagia Nikolai Sijanov later described in his book The Echo of Kalagia the process of receiving and drawing of some of these diagrams by a group of spiritual students under the leadership of Naumkin.


Unexpectedly for us, we have found in Kalagia and in the Schneider’s book some identical diagrams.  A diagram titled in Schneider’s book “Harmonically decomposed square”, in Naumkin’s book meant “The first experiences of Crystallizing the Void and Formation of the Substance of Space”.


This gave as the key. By analyzing the diagrams of Kalagia, we came to the conclusion that the tables of Kalagia depicted the geometry of some archetypes of Involution/ Manifestation and Evolution of our universe.


The simplest archetypes, however, we have found in “A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe”. The first archetype, the dot in a circle, symbolizes the unity of Spirit, and its essence, its core, or “seed”.


Spirit is in a condition of complete Unity. Life is born in and from this Unity and is manifested holographically through the medium of Light.  That’s why every part and particle reflects the whole. The “seeds” of creation in all the seemingly separate beings are unified in their essence. Hence arises the power of attraction which we can call magnetism. The magnetic forces in each essence, from a sun to an atom, take their beginning in their core. Agni Yoga calls this attraction of the parts of unity – the “Cosmic Magnet”. The Spirit’s Cosmic Magnet becomes the real source of any magnetism and attraction, including gravitation, which is perhaps the most familiar aspect of this principle to us.

The state of unity is a static condition. Spirit sacrifices Its unity for the manifestation of life that leads to the division of the One. This division could be graphically represented by a circle divided into two opposites, two intersecting identical circles.

Division into two circles represents the process of separation into any opposites: Light and Shadow, Feminine and Masculine, etc.

Spirit, though dividing Itself, nevertheless remains intact and forms together with the opposites a working Trinity. An archetypal pattern representing this trinity is the so-called “Cosmic Egg”. Ancient myths and religions direct us to the primeval opposites as to the “Great Father” (“Divine Father”) and the “Great Mother” (“Divine Mother”). The “Cosmic Egg” then is an image of the “womb” where the archetypes of Matter are born.

Let’s now go from the images to the mechanism of the process of “birth” of the archetypes. The division incurs polar tension – repulsion of division and attraction of magnetism simultaneously. The poles are repelling each other, but the Magnet of Unity is always there, as is the yearning to return, to unite. It is a shift which on the one hand disrupts the unity, but on another hand requires and makes possible further motion and creation of something new.

As Agni Yoga says: “The correlation of cosmic transformations is called cosmic creativity. When Cosmos shifts the forces, the balance of the spheres is disturbed. When the balance of these forces is upset, forces in the space are drawn into a new tension. Thus, when Cosmos shifts, all spheres are shaken. Indeed, all forces expand in response to an attraction, and the cosmic harmony is intensified by the Cosmic Magnet. Thus is Infinity created.”  (Infinity II, 223).

The opposites are swirling in opposite directions producing whirlwinds of energy (electromagnetic vibrations) which follow in their motion the harmony (order) of Spirit’s Thought. The pattern of this motion in the electromagnetic field can be likened to weaving or to making a spider web, where all connecting lines actually are “lines of force” of the electromagnetic field. The ancient Egyptians expressed their understanding of this process as “the Goddess Neith weaving”, where Neith was the goddess of weaving, wisdom and war.

The result is the matrix of archetypes which lays the foundation for all the shapes of created Matter. And the symbols shown in the diagrams  are some of the first archetypes as we human observers see and interpret them. The symbols may well be the observer’s conjecture. But, because “The Creator is inseparable from the Creation, the Creation is inseparable from the Creator” (Kalagia, auxiliary), so our thought is taking these images from the Creator’s Thought.

Spirit’s Memory is all-dimensional, and Spirit’s Thought is not limited when creating Its archetypes. That’s why the archetypes can be orderly shapes of different levels of complexity.

The question remains: what is the holographic mechanism manifesting Spirit’s Thoughts in the material world?

The medium for holographic manifestation are Rays of Light.

As physics knows and applies, information can be stored by an interference pattern of high frequency waves (vibrations), either of light, or of sound. The meaning of the process of creation (manifestation) is that the information of Spirit’s Thought gets turned into an image, which would be animated by Spirit enabling it to live.

The process of manifestation by Light is a holographic process producing holograms of Matter. The technology of holography is based on the interference of two beams of light. One of them is a high frequency beam which we call the initial ‘reference ray’.  In technology it is usually a laser beam diffused by a lens and directed to a photographic film.


The other is the ‘working ray’ which passes through an object or experience. It is split from the initial beam and directed to the object by a system of mirrors and a diffusing lens. Meeting, illuminating and interacting with the object, the ‘working ray’ receives an experience. After being reflected from the object, the ‘working ray’ also falls on the film.

Interference of the ‘reference’ and ‘working’ rays produces an interference pattern on the film. This pattern contains information about the object (or the ray’s experience), which can be decoded and read as an image by a ray of observation. When the film is illuminated by whatever coherent light (in technology the same laser light used for making the interference pattern), a three-dimensional image of the object appears in the air. This is the hologram, and it can be of whatever complexity depending on the object which the hologram is mimicking.

 Spirit manifests the universe through a similar process using Its own Ray of Light as a ‘reference ray’. This initial Ray becomes a ‘working ray’ after any encounter with an experience. Thinking is Spirit’s “experience”, and the “Cosmic Womb” reflects the process of Spirit’s thinking.


The ‘working ray’, in this case, contains all Spirit’s Consciousness, yet carrying the imprint of the experience of Spirit’s Thought. In this way, an archetypal potential for a hologram of Life is produced and recorded on the ‘film’ of Spirit’s inner Space which Kalagia calls Spirit’s Memory.


Thus Spirit creates a potential for holograms. To form a real hologram, a whole trinity of rays is required. So, the third ray would be the Ray of the Observer, which in this case is Spirit. It observes Itself through experiencing Itself and thus all these three Rays exist in Spirit’s Memory, and produce the first hologram of Matter – Prima Materia.


Thus the primordial Light creates the potential for the ideas to be developed into the perfect pattern, the archetypal matrix, which forms the body of the Fiery and Fine Worlds. The archetypes of this matrix can then be manifested in the Solid World in which we consciously exist and act at the present time.


All the forms of life manifest Nature in form, colour and sound. We humans as observers manifest all that our collective mind can perceive and accept at this point of our development. In this sense we are co-creators with all the living beings and with the Creator in all of them. We are “drawing and painting” together this miraculous “coloring book” of Nature, using the archetypes to form its manifestations.


Where can we see the manifestations of the mathematical archetypes?


In different times, scientists observed the periodicity of such properties of elements of matter as atomic size, valences, melting points, reactivity and conversely inertness. Therefore they created different versions of the Periodic Table of Elements showing us that the patterns of the elements of matter are created not chaotically, but in a mathematical periodic order.


One of the most widely manifested archetypes in the Spirit’s Memory is the Spiral form. A spiral form reflects the periodic cyclic nature of universe’s life, including the gradient of its development.


As above, so below. We find manifestations of spiral structures everywhere in Nature, from a shell on a beach to a constellation of stars. We also find them in the spiral forms of embryos, horns, ears, fingerprints and many other forms of natural objects. We find a spiral in the shapes of whirlpools, cyclones and tornados, movement of planets, and in all types of trajectories of different objects, beginning from the wave of Light energy.


We find the spiral shape also in all kinds of plants. In the patterns of bracts in pinecones and small dry fruits in the kernels of maize. In the coils of climbing plants. These coils can be right-handed or left-handed, and however you try to change their direction, they will always eventually return into the position natural for the plant. We find the spiral archetype in the pattern of leaves on a stem for any plant as it provides the plant with the best conditions of exposure as to sunlight as to rain drops.


In our three-dimensional world of matter the maximum of dimensions in which we see material forms is three. So, for example, Plato saw the first archetypal expressions of three-dimensional nature in his so-called “Platonic solids”.

Mathematic calls them “regular polyhedra”, which means “many bases” and states that they are the only five types of three-dimensional forms equal in all directions. Plato identified the four of them with the states of matter (fire, air, water and earth), and the fifth – with cosmos (“Heaven above”).

The archetypes reflected by Platonic volumes are also widely applied in the Nature’s shapes. For example, crystals of salt are made up in the form of a cube. Capsids (protein shells of viruses) take the forms of different Platonic volumes, very often icosahedral (20 triangular faces) forms.


The archetypal patterns of the whole repeat in its parts because of the non-locality of a hologram. We can see the pattern of branching of a tree in the pattern of veins in its every leaf.

And the pattern of branching is also an archetype provided by the mathematics of the “Fibonacci sequence” (see A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael S.Schneider).


Fibonacci sequence starts from two numbers: 0 (No-thing/Every-thing) and 1(Unity, Monad). Their sum is the third to make up a Trinity: 0+1=1. If we continue adding every two last numbers together, we will receive the series of the Fibonacci sequence: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21,34,55,89,144,233,377,610,…


Michael S.Schneider writes: “Look at these series. At the first glance we see a chain of numbers. But look beyond the visible numbers to the self-accumulating process by which they grow. The series grows by accruing terms that come from within itself, from its immediate past, taking nothing from outside the sequence for its growth. Each term may be traced back to its beginning as unity in the Monad, which itself arouse from the incomprehensible mystery of zero” (p.117). The same appears in any pattern of branching.


Michael S.Schneider also shows us that the average number of petals in the field flowers as well as the number of pine needles in the clusters of pine cones is following the numbers of the Fibonacci sequence. The self-accumulating process shows itself everywhere, and in all the periodic qualities we can notice.


For example, piano keyboard is a metaphor of accumulating vibration – structured by terms of the Fibonacci sequence: the black keys go in twos and threes, and the white keys are forming the eightfold scale – 7 keys, and the eighth is starting a new octave.


The Fibonacci sequence leads to the proportions of the “Golden Mean”: the ratio which we receive by dividing any number of the Fibonacci sequence by the previous number (for example, 3/2, 5/3, 8/5,etc). The Golden Mean ratio is usually symbolized by the Greek letter Phi (Ф). The ideal Ф is equal to the endless number 1.61803398875…, or rounded off to 1.618 or to 1.62. The further we go in the Fibonacci sequence into the bigger numbers the Ф is closer to the ideal.


If we divide a line at its Golden Mean, then the ratio of the whole line to the longer section is equal to the ratio of the longer section to the smaller (section). If we bend a line into a half- rectangle applying the Golden Mean, we receive the basis for a best balanced rectangular frame.


Nature widely applies these archetypal proportions in all of its shapes and structures. They provide these structures with perfect balance. The parts of human body are balanced by the proportions of the “Golden Mean”. The navel divides the body, the brow divides the face, the wrist divides the arm/hand, and the bones of our hand are divided at the Golden Mean.


It appears that the “body” of our Solar System (having in mind the distances of the planets from the Sun) is also structured roughly at a Golden Mean if we take into account the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. (Roughly – because the planets are constantly moving against each other, and distances change).


The ratio of the “Golden Mean” has been applied by humans – the great architects and artists of the past – from the Egyptian pyramids and further up to the Gothic cathedrals and paintings of the Renaissance. The masterpieces based on this ratio are always powerful, harmonious and therefore beautiful.


All living beings carry the images of the archetypes of the Perfect Picture of Creation within their consciousness, but not all can yet consciously tap into the depth of Spirit for a pure and whole archetypal pattern, the crystal of Spirit’s Thought. Those mature Souls who went through the wholeness of experience and spiritual maturation in many incarnations, the great thinkers and sages of all times, the artists, composers and philosophers, the scientists making “the cutting edge” discoveries – it is they who “dig up” these jewels for the benefit of humanity.

 Our human consciousness transforms these archetypes into forms that conform to our human understanding and reflect our common visual perception. That’s why we can see in different cultures, in their myths, religions and fairy tales similar themes and images: the Father, the Great Mother, the Great Serpent, the Egg, etc. We are emulating these forms and through many lifetimes of experiences and learning of our lifestream are building ourselves into new forms that will eventually become archetypes themselves. Like Christ or Buddha.

The examples of archetypes that we know are also: Brahma the Creator, Siva the Destroyer of the old ways creating the possibility of new ways of development, and Vishnu the Protector of the new offspring.

Nowadays, in many places on the Earth, we can see fighting for religious or other ideals. The opposites are trying to unite through war. People are suffering and looking out for a Messiah.

The archetype of the Messiah is already there as a potential in the Memory of the Creator. However, people cannot manifest this archetype because they imagine a Messiah whom they would appropriate, who belongs only to them. That’s why tension is growing and will continue to grow until many of us will start seeing the Messiah with their heart, as Spirit that is within and for everyone. People are waiting for the Messiah to come to them whereas they have to come to the Messiah.     





Naumkin Alexander, Kalagia. Kaunas: Gyvata, 1998, (Russian).

Sijanov Nikolai, The Echo of Kalagia. Moscow: Publishing House “Yachtsman”, 1996, (Russian).

Schneider M.S., A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe (The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science). Harper, 1995.

Bentov, Itzhak, Stalking the Wild Pendulum. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1988.

Riaikkenen, R.&M., The Laws of Life. Trafford Publishing, 2004.

Roerich H., Agni Yoga. New York: Agni Yoga Society, 1929 (Republished 1997).

Simblet, S., Botany for the Artist. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited, 2010.


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Many years ago at school during a class on the Bible, I was told by the Headmaster: “Downey, you haven’t the sense you were born with”.  I can still remember my reply: “So everybody is born with sense Sir”!  I think the lesson was linked to the story in the Old Testament Bible of the parting of the Red Sea. This story always lacked an adequate explanation to me.  The Headmaster said to me that sometimes we just have to believe in things that are too difficult to understand if they come from a good source.  The Headmaster was really a nice old fellow steeped in the Anglican tradition, but a definite example from my point of view as a then 13 year old school-boy, of someone lacking in Common Sense!

How I wished at that time I had come across the saying of the Buddha:

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own Common Sense!”


What is ‘Common Sense’? I have many quotes regarding common sense but firstly let us look at a dictionary definition:

“Common sense is a basic ability to perceive, understand and judge things which are shared by (i.e. common to) nearly all people and can be reasonably expected of nearly all people without any need for debate.”

The senses that most of us have are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.  If we lack one of these senses there is an ability to use a combination of the others to cover an absence of one. For example, if sight is absent, a blind person can use all the others.  In the absence of hearing a deaf person can use sight and lip-read.

Philosophers on Common Sense: The term common sense has been developed and much discussed by philosophers throughout the ages and in many lands.  The ancient Greek philosopher, Aristotle (540 BC), was perhaps the first person we can trace in the Western world who discussed the term Common Sense.  He was describing the ability with which animals and humans process sense perceptions, memories, and imagination in order to reach many types of basic judgements.  But he said only humans have real reasoned thinking.

Plato and Aristotle: said that the normal five individual senses do sense the common perceptible reality, but it is not something that they necessarily interpret correctly on their own.  Aristotle proposes that the reasons for having several senses is in fact that it increases the chances that we can distinguish and recognise things correctly and not just occasionally, or by accident.  Each sense is used to identify distinctions, such as sight identifying the difference between black and white. But, says Aristotle, all animals/humans with perception must have “some one thing” which can distinguish say black from white. Their Common Sense is where this comparison happens and this must occur by comprising impressions (or symbols) of what the specialist senses have perceived. This is therefore also where a type of consciousness originates – for it makes us aware of having sensations at all, and receives physical picture imprints from the imagination faculty which are then memories which can be recollected.

Aristotle’s understanding of the ‘Soul’  has an extra level of complexity in the form of the “Nous “ or intellect which is something only humans have and which enables humans to perceive things in a different way to other animals.  It works with images coming from the Common Sense and imagination using reasoning as well as the active intellect.  It is the ‘Nous’ which identifies the true form of things while the Common Sense identifies shared aspect of things.

Rene Descartes: As can be expected, many other philosophers have expanded and offered other arguments concerning Common Sense, and it is easy to become somewhat confused with all these theories.  It should be mentioned however, that one of the last notable philosophers to accept something like the Aristotelian Common Sense, was the French philosopher Rene Descartes, in the 16th century who thought that sensations from the senses travel to a Common Sense centre in the brain seated in the pineal gland, and from there to the immaterial spirit. I will leave you to research this finding – using your Common Sense of course!

Modern Philosophers: To bring us more up to date on Common Sense theory, there is an essay written by the twentieth century philosopher G.E. Moore in 1925 – “A defence of Common Sense”.  This essay argues that there are many kinds of statements which individuals can make about what they judge to be true and which the individual and everyone else know to be true. 

Another 20th century philosopher and political theorist, Hannah Arendt, argued that there was often a banality to evil in the real world which consisted of the lack of Common Sense and thoughtfulness generally – ‘Sense’ being used in cases of the acceptability or otherwise  of the moral good in society.  To stretch the point – most despots in history would be capable of this lack of Common Sense.  At the Nuremberg war-crimes trials following World War II, this point was actually used in the trial of Adolf Eichmann. The argument was put forward that the accused were devoid of Common Sense as a moral issue as they were – “just following orders”.

Hinduism and Theosophy: A paper which was presented at the Parliament of World Religions held in Melbourne, Australia, in 2009 emphasized the three laws of cause and effect that is the cornerstone of the Hindu tradition. These are:

  • Every effect has a cause.
  • The effect is nothing but the cause appearing in a certain shape.
  • From the effect, if you remove the cause, nothing remains.

We have now reduced by Common Sense to the very foundation of the ALL: the “I AM”.  Perhaps we should at this point finish with the first fundamental proposition of HP Blavatsky’s The Secret Doctrine which establishes three fundamental propositions, the first of which is like this ‘I AM”:

“An Omnipresent, Eternal, Boundless and Immutable PRINCIPLE on which all speculation is impossible, since it transcends the power of human conception and could only be dwarfed by any human expression or similitude.  It is beyond the range and reach of thought – in the words of Mandukya, ”unthinkable and unspeakable.”


A few quotes from various sources on Common Sense:


·        Common Sense is in spite of, not as the result of, education – Victor Hugo.

·         Common Sense is that which judges the things given to it by the other senses – Leonardo da Vinci.

·         Common Sense in an uncommon degree is what the world calls wisdom – Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

·         It is inaccurate to say I hate everything.  I am strongly in favour of Common Sense, common honesty and common decency.  This makes me forever ineligible for Public Office – unknown.

·         Falling in love consists merely in uncorking the imagination and bottling the Common Sense – Helen Rowland.

      Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one’s mistakes – Oscar Wilde.


A young theosophist once asked HP Blavatsky, the principle founder of the Theosophical Society: “What is the most important thing necessary in the study of Theosophy?  Madam Blavatsky replied: “Common Sense, a sense of humor, and more Common Sense.”

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I was wondering about three expressions I’ve been hearing more about lately, the power of the moment, living in the moment and mindfulness. To keep things simple, let’s agree the three terms mean the same thing.


More and more often its being suggested that we should try to quieten our minds down, find our centre so we can fully sense the power of the moment, find mental clarity and other benefits. We should try to return to this feeling of being in the present as often as we can, and as deeply as possible. It sounds sensible enough. But, to me it seems strange that we have to return to the present. Aren’t we here in the present, all the time, anyway? Where are we if we’re not here now? What is mindfulness? What is being in the present? How does it feel? Is it simple and easy to do? Or is it, and are we, more complicated?


So, rather than simply swallow what sounds like others’ well-intentioned advice I decided it would be interesting to dissect this topic from the viewpoint of an average person’s everyday experience, that is, someone like me.

The power of the moment is not always the same moment


See if you can relate your experience to these five anecdotes about being in the moment.


A three-year-old boy called Ben clutches a red toy plane, and happily rambles on in a language only he can understand. He’s lost to the experience. His parents tell me he’s been playing with the plane for several weeks since he went to the airshow with them. There is a quiet natural joy here without intention. He’s lost in the moment, and perhaps for him the moment has lasted several weeks. Who knows. Only he does, and I wonder if he has the self awareness as a very young child to reflect on his own state of mind.


An elderly man, sits alone in the food court of a local shopping centre. As I walk past, I look into his face and see the inner man wrestling with a grim loneliness and despair. Its obvious to me at least, that he‘s bored and unhappy, and that this daily ritual has become buried in weeks, and the weeks of an unhappy solitude are burying his spirit with it. Perhaps he just has indigestion and I’m misreading the signals. But he’s totally in the moment. And he’s suffering in it. He’ll be back tomorrow.


A monk I imagine, meditates quietly, and has been doing so for years. Perhaps she smiles inwardly occasionally as she watches her thoughts like clouds form, and then drift by. In her earlier days of practice, her thoughts were like fierce air currents opposing each other, or a howling gale that only sometimes dropped to a breeze. These days she’s standing aside observing her thoughts, paying attention to them, rather than being overwhelmed by them. The storms are still passing through all these years later, but as her practice of mindfulness deepens, she finds quieter and quieter places from within to watch the storms go by. And by watching them she seems to have tamed their unruliness a little, as she is feeding them less emotional responses. I’d like to think their intricacies and richness are revealing themselves more and more to her.


An art teacher I recently took a course with is totally absorbed in her work. You can see it in her face and her hands. When she led the class, she successfully taught the less uptight in our art class to start finding the same spirit of joyful creativity through her simple warm-up exercises. This letting go, I think was actually was the most important thing we learnt in the class apart from the technical side of how draw. Perhaps the subconscious or something else was allowed out to play at last. When we were relaxed enough, we became less controlled by the disruptive and destructive voice in our heads. William Blake called this voice ‘the accuser’, you know, the voice that says “you can’t draw”. Once past that, we moved into what has been called “flow”, a state of concentration where our whole being was totally absorbed in the task at hand. In this case, time seemed an irritation, unimportant, yet it passed quickly.


And lastly, a few weeks back, just before I capsized in a small but tricky rapid in my kayak on the Yarra River, I fell into a ‘refreshing’ moment. While I was underwater the city and its tamed surfaces seemed far way, even though they were really just over the next hill. I had been concentrating extra hard on a fast section of river and rocks, but even that was not enough. Even when I was upside down and saw the roiling dark bubbly water pass me by, my sense of time slowed down, and I felt completely in the present, but it was an anxious, present and I had to get back up to where there was air, and then wade across a strong current to the river bank to empty a kayak now full of water. Then I was out of the moment thinking about a hot shower.


These five sketches show us that we can focus our attention in various ways. Our experience, for example, can be a relaxed inner joy, sadness and despair, a quiet disciplined attention, feeling free and creative, or feeling fear and anxiety. Our attention can be solely on our own emotions, on our surroundings, the past or the future, or a mix of all of these. And yet although we feel the here and now through the different inner lenses of our complicated human experience, some of these states seem more desirable to us than others, some just feel more peaceful, richer and deeper.


I think that this is a really important point, this idea that in among so many states of mind, some seem to keep calling us back, where other states feel more like we are just responding to what is happening outside or even inside. To expand on this, here’s a profound question and comment about this from the leader of our society “… How is it that we experience a striving to an awareness of “the moment,” and all the while the experiencing of any thought and/or feeling and/or sensory perception is already of  “the moment “?   What could this distinction be about?  What is it that allows us to be filled with the beauty of a sunset?  This is really a wonderful field of our nature to examine!  And the paradoxes it holds . . . . . . . maybe are openings to a being so balanced as to draw from the voiceless depths of our nature to light the world around…”


And so, with practice, we can find a more satisfying way of being fully here in the moment, where by refocussing our attention we can find what I’d call “a quieter spot by the side of the river”, like the monk who had practiced her deepening mindfulness over many years, but unlike the kayaker dreaming of the hot shower.


In his book Coffee with the Buddha John Duncan Oliver put it this way: “A well-trained mind is clear and aware. It isn’t pulled this way or that by desires, disturbances, or delusion. Mindfulness – attentiveness – makes every experience richer and more rewarding. When you’re paying attention you’re living in the here and now, not the past or future…The basis of mindfulness is observing what’s actually happening in the mind and the body at the present moment, without judging your experience, or adding to it, or trying to change it. Unless you consciously gather your attention, your mind is likely to be all over the place, forming ideas and opinions, framing questions, passing judgements, drawing conclusions – jumping from one thing to another. There’s no stability. An unstable mind wanders off into fantasy and projection, leaving reality behind. Mindfulness settles and concentrates the mind, stripping away fantasy to give you a direct experience of reality.”


Let’s do a two-minute-exercise right now to demonstrate what I mean. Do it if you want, or not. Leave the outside world outside the front door. Let it go. Close your eyes. Feel your breathing. Feel where the tension is in your body. Follow your breathing. Your thoughts might be here or they might be elsewhere. Just watch them, without judging. Rest a while. Feel where your body is tensing up and stay with that feeling. Just pay attention to your breathing and watch your thoughts as they come and go without judging, follow your breathing. Open your eyes.


That was my simplified version of a mindfulness check-in exercise developed by a Melbourne psychologist on the website. By focusing on the breathing we can bring our attention back to the here and now, but we’re not fighting ourselves, and our attention while active, is less divided.


Mainstream health practitioners are now catching up with the benefits of mindfulness meditation. Cognitive behavioural therapists are now using mindfulness meditation techniques to help their patients overcome stress, refocus unhelpful habits of thinking and manage conditions such as depression.


Even the Harvard School of Health lists the medical and other benefits of mindfulness meditation on their excellent HelpGuide ( website. On a page called the Benefits of Mindfulness and under a section called Ancient roots, modern applications, they explain to those new to the idea that “The cultivation of mindfulness has roots in Buddhism, but most religions include some type of prayer or meditation technique that helps shift your thoughts away from your usual preoccupations toward an appreciation of the moment and a larger perspective on life”. I like that. It’s a simple and balanced definition, easy for the average person to understand, but it also tells us that the practice of mindfulness while probably called other things, has a long history of practice across all religious traditions.


Here’s a summary of the benefits of developing mindfulness:   

·         we feel a fresh appreciation for our surroundings and our lives

·         it’s been shown as a way to treat heart disease, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, relieve stress, anxiety disorders, improves memory

·         we can worry less about the future or the past

·         it will slow us down, so we do not always react so instinctively

·         it can neutralise unhelpful habits of thought

·         it allows us to appreciate others more fully

·         we can stop and listen to what our body wants to tell us.


There are other impressive benefits. Ajahn Brahm, the Theravada Buddhist monk and current abbot of Bodhinyana Monastery in the hills south of Serpentine in Western Australia, said that after training prison inmates to meditate, he has been able to dramatically and consistently reduce the likelihood they’ll reoffend. However, at one prison he was surprised to see 95% of the prison population turn up for the first meditation lesson, but later realised they were hoping to learn to levitate themselves over the prison walls.


Brain scans of meditator show meditation actually changes the brain structure. On the website there’s a very detailed article about the research on this. What researchers have found can be summarised as: “… over the past decade, researchers have found that if you practice focusing attention on your breath or a mantra, the brain will restructure itself to make concentration easier. If you practice calm acceptance during meditation, you will develop a brain that is more resilient to stress. And if you meditate while cultivating feelings of love and compassion, your brain will develop in such a way that you spontaneously feel more connected to others.”


Also quoted on the same site, researcher, Philippe Goldin, director of the Clinically Applied Affective Neuroscience project in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, says he believes “mindfulness meditation teaches people with anxiety how to handle distressing thoughts and emotions without being overpowered by them. Most people either push away unpleasant thoughts or obsess over them—both of which give anxiety more power. “The goal of meditation is not to get rid of thoughts or emotions. The goal is to become more aware of your thoughts and emotions and learn how to move through them without getting stuck.” The brain scans suggest that the anxiety sufferers were learning to witness negative thoughts without going into a full-blown anxiety response.”


Now if that’s not a practical definition of detachment I don’t what is.


Even large corporates are introducing mindfulness techniques to their workers to combat mental fatigue and increase productivity. One business leader William George, was quoted in 2012 in the FT online magazine article The Mind Business: He said: “The main business case for meditation is that if you’re fully present on the job, you will be more effective as a leader, you will make better decisions and you will work better with other people.”


But why do we have this problem of being unable to stay in the moment?  I doubt that 300 years ago we needed to find out. How did our awareness of the here and now get so fragmented, so broken, that we now need to buy books, learn to meditate or come to talks like these?


There are several things working against us, and some are self-inflicted. They are: our natural inclination to plan ahead and worry, information and digital overload, distractions, multitasking, and the unhelpful conversations we have with ourselves. The obstacles will be different for each of us, but understanding them helps us to understand ourselves, and that’s often the first step.

Anxious planning or worry: survival tools

Winston Churchill said there are three kinds of people in the world. Those who bore themselves to death, those that work themselves to death, and those that worry themselves to death. So, maybe even he knew worrying comes naturally, but living in the moment does not!


We’ve thrived as a species because we can plan ahead and reflect and learn from the past. It’s the frontal part of your brain, the modern part that is hardwired to plan. It probably evolved from when we were a young as species and we had to learn how to avoid starvation, how to survive being eaten by wild animals or how to repel the neighbouring tribe’s next attack. We just had to learn from bad experiences and plan ahead or we would die. Then we would ready for the next encounter with a spear, sabre-toothed tiger or a rumbling stomach.


When we gave up being nomadic, in some parts of the world we had to make sure we had enough food for a long winter, so we had to plan even further ahead. All of this planning and imagining what might happen forced our attention out of the moment. Probably a lot of our planning, even then, fell into the category of worry, or anxious planning, but it helped us survive while shaping our thinking abilities and habits, and set us well apart from other less ‘self reflective’ species. So, I think our capacity to plan and even worry is an important part of our survival skills.

Distractions, digital overload, multitasking


Losing our concentration due to endless distractions is something we all know about. But there’s another side to distractions, especially those in the workplace not widely known. The evidence is that when we’re deep in concentration, and a distraction breaks us out of it, it takes us time to recover our focus. How long it takes varies person to person. David Brown, an Australian workplace psychologist wrote in The Pocket Stress Manager in 2003, that depending on your temperament, it takes about ten minutes to recover from an interruption to re-find your concentration. And if you’re interrupted every five minutes, for example, by a phone call, a text message, an email notification, a noise; you’ll spend the entire day recovering from interruptions and getting nothing substantial done. Another study found we were 20% dumber when we multitask, and those who thought they were the best at multitasking, scored the worst.


We are also saturated (if we want to be) by digital information. And there’s a constant pressure to stay connected. Some of us are now checking our digital updates as we drive. Or to my increasing annoyance, at the traffic lights.


One recent article on The Conversation website titled Approach your laptop mindfully to avoid digital overload, said this about the trend to towards controlling our digital distractions: “Others are turning to traditional mindfulness meditation techniques as a way of managing their digital dependence without having to switch off from their everyday lives entirely. It’s seen as a way to calm the mind and help the body to cope with the overwhelming amount of data coming our way from all different directions and sources.” The authors of the article also referred the reader to Time magazine’s main cover article of 3 February 2014, “The Mindful Revolution. The science of finding focus in a stressed-out, multitasking culture.”


So, as a result, more and more people are declaring a ‘digital free Sunday’ to recover something of the peace of the moment. I was a little surprised to read that the sister of the founder of Facebook, Randi Zuckerberg, wrote an article in the UK’s Mail Online last year, titled Why I want a digital-free Sunday… she said this: “I felt so much pressure to be always ‘on’, always connected, that by the time I looked up, a year later, I had been to 25 countries, made hundreds of friends and business contacts, built a production studio and launched a business. But I had forgotten to actually live my life without a device attached to my hand. Even though I love my phone and tablet, our shiny, beeping gadgets are competing with our loved ones for attention. I had forgotten how to just unplug and enjoy the company of those around me. I had forgotten how to be present in the moment.”


It sounds as though she entered and lived in another world, even while surrounded by this one.

Too much internal chatter


Another factor that takes us away from the pure and simple experience of the now is the internal endless chatter in our heads. These conversations in our head run endlessly. They are often about the past and perhaps the future. What we should have said, what we should done. Even when we try to sleep they continue their pointless retelling.


One author Spencer Johnson, who wrote a marvellous little book called The Present, advises us to stop just listening passively, but actively listen to the conversations we’re having with ourselves about the past. He says that if we actively try to understand and learn from past incidents and past pain, instead of simply replaying these painful experiences over and over, we’ll find it much easier to let these annoying conversations go. If we do this, we will have a quieter internal life, and automatically find ourselves more aware of the present.


Simple, easy methods to get back here now

This paper wouldn’t be complete without sharing a few simple methods you can try to help calm the mind and bring you back to the present. That’s all they do. The more demanding mindfulness meditation techniques are another area you may wish to explore. Just remember that without effort, there is no reward, so if you are like me, doing them once and expecting life-changing results is normal — but unrealistic.

1. Mindful observation from the Pocket Mindfulness website:  “Pick a natural organism within your immediate environment and focus on watching it for a minute or two. This could be a flower or an insect, the clouds or the moon. Don’t do anything except notice the thing you are looking at. But really notice it. Look at it as if you are seeing it for the first time. Visually explore very aspect of this glorious organism of the natural world. Allow yourself to be consumed by its presence and possibilities. Allow your spirit to connect with its role and purpose in the world. Give yourself permission to just to notice and ‘be’.”


2. Walking meditation: For better concentration and powers of focus, count your steps when you walk. Take six steps while taking a long inhale, hold your breath for another six steps, and then exhale for six steps. If six steps is too long for each of your breaths, do what you can comfortable manage. You will feel alert, fresh and mentally peaceful and centered after this exercise.


3. The Two Minute Mind: Stare at the second hand on your watch for two minutes and think about nothing else. At first your mind will wander but after three weeks of practice, your attention will not waver during the routine.


4. Erin Frey in the Better humans website recommends The Two Minute Mind Sweep. Spend two minutes writing down everything that is on your mind, everything that is holding your attention.


5. Australian health consultant Mark Bunn advises when you wake in the morning, walk outside in bare feet to reconnect, and ground yourself, and look at the sky in the area of sky the rising sun, at or just after sunrise, but obviously don’t look directly at the sun or you’ll damage your eyes.


6. Slow yourself down and simply do one thing at a time. It’s surprisingly hard.

If you wish to make a comment on this lecture or contact the author, please email:

Western esoteric tradition.


This talk is the last in a series of talks on western esoteric traditions. In the first two talks we discussed the historical development from ancient times up to the Middle Ages. Today we will close this series by discussing the historical development from the Middle Ages up to the Present day and the re-entry of esoteric knowledge. The re-entry of esoteric knowledge into human affairs is demonstrated by three dedicated university chairs on the subject in Europe. In Amsterdam, Paris, and Exeter. When we look at the history of humanity, we see only the outermost surface of events. The true historical event lies deeply hidden, experienced by all, but seen by none.

Humanity has grown to be so strong, and it is now dangerous for it to be disunited. War has revealed the destructive potentialities that are innate in the aggregations of people. This power to injure, is now scientifically organized. It is trained to wreck the fullest measure of evil. We must protect ourselves from this impending menace.

Why protect ourselves? The thing in you that says “I am”, is identical with the thing in me that says “I am”. Then why should we not unite in our common purpose?


We create various crisis in our world. At present it is a financial crisis, or recession going on. People long to find a meaning to these endless succession of crisis. Esoteric knowledge used correctly, for the unification of humanity, will help to find our way out of this endless spiral of crisis. By awakening our personal self, we can focus on the light of the true self. Only then can we fulfil our dream of modernization, civilization and progress.


What is the difference between esoteric and exoteric?

Esoteric comes from the Greek word esoterikos meaning inner. For example: Jesus gave his disciples esoteric or inner knowledge. To the public, he spoke in parables, which are exoteric.

The exoteric information spoken in parables is symbolic and we need keys to figure it out.  On the basis of this, esoteric is the inner knowledge of our soul or consciousness.

Religion and science have avoided the subject of our soul or consciousness for a very long time. They are in possession of the exoteric symbols. They need the esoteric keys to figure out the meaning. It is important to awaken the personal consciousness to see the unity of all life.


A good example of this is the subject of death and the states of heaven and hell after we die? The modern scientific knowledge of near-death experiences by health organizations is giving us insights into the infinity of human consciousness. We are awakening to knowledge of our Inner lives.


The ancient and occult writings, teach us of a continuation of consciousness after death. Humanity has forgotten this. It has become ignorant and disrespectful to the knowledge of the ancients. We intend to bring back the humble acknowledgement of the goodness of God. The ancients taught that God is not like anything that we know of or has a being. Space is the ever unseen and unknowable deity. It always is and ever will be. We have no knowledge of its transcendence. It is beyond human understanding. Astronomical science is making attempts in trying to map the physical Universe. Space or the macrocosms, like everything else in nature, is not only filled with matter. There are ethereal and rarefied spheres. An example of this is the invisible akasha realm that the ancients told us about. These spheres cannot be mapped out with instruments such as telescopes.


As I previously have put forward, since the early stages of human development the esoteric doctrine has come down to us from the unbroken oral teachings that were revealed by living divine men to the elect of humanity.

The teachings have reached us unaltered.

And there still exists a great brotherhood of humans, called the masters of wisdom and compassion. These masters are thoroughly versed in the sciences based on the uninterrupted teachings. They are men, who have evolved through self-devised efforts a high spiritual and intellectual supremacy. They are the guardians of the mankind and from time to time, when the world is ready to listen to them, they give out long-forgotten wisdom.


In the Middle Ages there arose, into the West, a reintroduction of Hermetism. Hermetism is identical to theosophy. It emphasizes the unity of everything in the universe. Life is governed by laws or ‘the Law’. These laws are eternal and not created. Deity is Law and Law is Deity. Basically Hermetism implies a participation between the human spirit and God or Space. Judaism and Christianity regard God as beyond comprehension. Hermetism states, that once humans can figure out the symbols, they can know God directly.


In the Middle Ages, printing was invented in Europe, and there was publication of knowledge in the various vernacular languages. This gave more people access to the various sciences. It brought about the reformation. For example, reading the Bible in the vernacular and the spread of literacy changed Christianity. People learnt to think for themselves. Protestantism came about.

The Middle Ages were a cruel, uncivilized and primitive period in European history. After the building St. Paul’s cathedral in 1710 in London. Europe came out of an age of religious wars, which had lasted 130 years! The French civil wars, the Dutch revolt against Spain, the Scottish rebellion, 30 year War in Germany, the Puritanical revolution and Civil War in England. All these conflicts had their origin in religious controversy. The Church manipulated the brute force of kingly power to deter progress. Kings believed that they had a divine right to rule the people. This obstructed the formation equality and democracy.

Through all the stormy periods of humanity, impressive people come and go. So for example were: George Washington, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. They too had participated in the French Revolution against the absolute power of the “Sun King,” Louis the XIV of France. Later these men fought a war in America, for the independence of the newly formed states, from tyrannical power of the King of England.

The Dutch humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam was also one of these impressive figures. He was against all forms of absolutism. He said that it was unthinkable that a monarch can rule of the conscience of his subjects.

Through the coming into existence of the United States of America, democracy entered the arena of human affairs in Western Europe. Democracy means rule by the people, as contrasted by a special person or group. It promotes liberty and equality, as compared, with dictatorship. The true meaning of democracy is becoming aware of the unity of all life. This realization destroys the competitive standard of civilization. Competition was founded upon a dualistic theory. For example, whenever two nations or religions think up a separate origin, they think that the one better or holier is than the other.

The mosquito is not the star, but in their essential nature they are both a manifestation of the common life.

The United States of America became the new world. People from every part of Europe who had no civil and religious liberty fled to its shores. They escaped the cruelty of the monsters, monarchy and dogmatic religion. To this new world, the masters of wisdom and compassion sent their servant and pupil Madame Blavatsky. She was given the task to educate humanity in the ancient wisdom of theosophy.

Against violence, war and crisis, theosophy was brought into the world to teach us the unity of all life. It is a doctrine of coming together. We need a code of ethics that can take us forward to the unification of Spirit. The situation in which we live has called theosophy forth. All human longings for peace and sanity need a canal to entry life. Theosophy already existed, it just needed a suitable messenger, to make it know to mankind. Madame Blavatsky served this purpose. She dedicated her masterwork, “The Secret Doctrine”, to all true theosophists, in every country and race. For, as she says: They have called it forth, and it was recorded for them. Here and now we are welding a link in that great chain of tomorrows, which extends from the instant to infinity.

The Secret Doctrine teaches the fundamental unity of all existence. Existence is one thing. Fundamentally there is one being. This has two aspects, positive and negative. Ying and Yang. The positive is consciousness. The negative is matter. The One Being is absolute in its primary manifestation. There is nothing outside of it. It is All Being. It is indivisible.

From the atom, man and god, each is the Absolute being in the last analysis.

There is no dead matter. Every atom is a life.


Theosophy is the whole body of truth about man and nature, either known now or hereafter to be discovered. It has the power of growth, progress and advancement, since every new truth makes it clearer.

What is truth? . . . . Truth is relative. Each individual can take in information, but if he is mentally not ripe to understand, it means nothing to him. Truth for George may be false for Peter. Truth is relative. The secret is truth dwells within all of us. Within every man there is a secret fountain of truth. It is foolish to think that we can know the whole truth. At the most we can have a good approximation to truth.


Mankind has a cyclic progressive evolution. From etheric to physical, then back into etheric. These cycles are Karmic. In the West, the Pagans had knowledge of these cycles. The full knowledge and significance of this profound truth has now been entirely forgotten. Karma is the creator of Nations and mortals. But once created, it is they who make karma to be beneficent or harmful. According to the Secret Doctrine, man is a microcosm. All hierarchies exist within him. In truth there is but one existence.

As it is in the inner, so is the outer; as is the great, so is the small; as it is above, so is it below. There is but ONE LIFE and LAW. In the Divine guardianship, nothing is inner, nothing is outer, nothing is great, nothing is small, nothing is high and nothing is low.


From time to time, great thinkers appear on the stage of life. They devote their lives to a single purpose. They are able to anticipate the progress of mankind, and produce a religion, a science or a philosophy, which bring about important effects. Blavatsky was such a figure. Theosophy became established in the West and East during the last quarter of the 19th century. Through the knowledge of theosophy, Rudolf Steiner formed the Anthroposophical movement. He empathized Western and Christian mysticism as opposed to the Eastern philosophy.


By limiting ourselves to only one religion, culture or philosophy, we see, “only one colour of the rainbow and are blind to the rest.” So to speak. Try to live in the Light that shines through the whole arc, and you will know it all.


Returning now to the historical development of human culture. All cultures across the globe, from remote antiquity to the present continually develop. This is demonstrated in the New Age movement. It came into being in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It came out of theosophical literature and UFO cults. It combines a system of various beliefs and popular practices. For example, healing, channelling, interest in crystals and positive thinking. The belief is that at present the world is going through an evolutionary transformation into a New Age. This is known as the Aquarian Age.



The New Age movement is an unsystematic construction of various beliefs that are available. Having historical links to ancient cultures of the Egyptians, Indians and native Americans. It absorbs modern science, especially quantum mechanics. Astrological or tarot interpretations of our past and future lives. Death being a transition into something new and better. The belief is that the entire cosmos is not just filled with material objects. It is an interconnecting web of meaning, identifiable with  consciousness or energy. We humans contain a spark of this energy. By using it we can change our reality. The belief is that the body, mind and spirit should be treated as a whole. This holistic approach should be used in healing. The idea being that there are states of consciousness, that can be accessed through channelling, giving us insight into a divine plan.


With this a short summery of what we have discussed. We do not have much knowledge of our ancient history. We know little of the Atlantians, Druids, Pagans, Phoenicians, Zoroastrians, and Babylonians.  Our historical information goes back only a couple of thousands of years. Christianity developed into the Western religion. After the destruction of Paganism and primitive cultures it spread to other continents of the world, through missionaries and colonialism. During the Middle Ages there was little tolerance for other beliefs, through the cruelty of the Inquisition.  Even now this is not the case. This will have, in time, its karmic consequences, for the comparative irresponsibility to the other nations of the world.


After the Middle Ages, democracy and theosophy had influence in human affairs. We are now slowly learning to think in a more responsible fashion by the development of our consciousness. Rebirth gives us a logical meaning to life. Death is not an end to our existence here. The future is looking up for us. Ahead of us is the study and manifestation of the Soul with its hidden powers.


Ubuntu is a humanistic philosophy of the Nguni tribes of Southern Africa. Mandela and others explained this to us. It is the next progression in the future from Democracy. Ubuntu states that humanity is a quality that we owe to each other. We create each other and we need to sustain this otherness of creation through brotherliness. We belong to each other and participate in each other’s creation. The spiral of violence will cease when we treat each other as equals.



I will close this talk with the following theosophical quote; “Do not kill your personality in the sense of wiping it out. You have brought it into being yourself; it is a part of you, the emotional and psychical part of you. The lower mental and passional part of you. This is the evolutionary work of aeons in the past. Raise the personality. Cleanse it, train it, make it shapely and symmetrical to your will and to your thought. Discipline it to make it the temple of a living god so that it shall become a fit vehicle. A clean and pure channel for passing into the human consciousness the rays of glory from the god within. These are the rays of the consciousness of the spirit, the divine consciousness. Be the noblest and purest that you can think of.”



Source references:

  • Dictionary of Gnosis and Western  Esotericism               W. J. Hanegraaff
  • Echoes of the Orient                                                             W. Q. Judge
  • ENCYCLOPEDIC THEOSOPHICAL GLOSSARY                     G. de Purucker
  • Golden precepts of esotericism                                                     “
  • Hermetica I: Westerse Esoterie, reader                             W. J. Hanegraaff
  • Lectures on ancient philosophy                                           M.P. Hall.
  • Occult Glossary                                                                    G. de Purucker
  • Oxford dictionary
  • Pseudo Dionysius                                                                 C. Luibheid
  • Raja Yoga                                                                              R. Iyer
  • Routledge Philosophy Encyclopedia
  • The Secret Doctrine                                                             H. P. Blavatsky
  • The Esoteric Tradition                                                          G. de Purucker
  • The western Esoteric Tradition                                          N. G. Clarke
  • Theosophical Encyclopaedia                                                P. S. Harris.
  • Theosophical Articles and Notes                                         P. G. Bowen
  • To light a thousand lamps                                                   G. F. Knoche
  • Wikipedia, Internet.
  • Wind of the spirit                                                                 G. de Purucker
  • Zohar                                                                                     N de Manhar



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There once was a battle, such as never was before.


The two parties were simply known as the Finian and the CuDan, their names were used to create division and unrest; one had to be aligned to one or the other. These both fought ferociously and none could stay the hand of either. They were not soldiers; only men out for what they could get.

The killing was merciless, even though some called and justified it as war and thus the dead were named as enemies to be slaughtered without regret. Is not War morally higher than out-and-out murder?

Homes were easily destroyed by fire for a thatched roof offers no protection. Women fared badly by the men who caught them; babes were cut down by sword, and the older children, killed before their mother’s eyes (though this may have been a mercy in disguise, for the child at least).

Older men were dragged to the village centre; the public square, then stripped and burnt alive –their wives forced to look upon this monstrous scene.  The screams were horrendous; the stench of burning flesh caused many an onlooker to retch as the acrid smoke wafted about the crowd.

But at last, a lone figure appeared from a nearby forest grove, dressed neatly in that of a long white robe to match his ancient beard. He steps forth between both these fighting tribes and speaks some solemn words.  Both tribes now stand still, unable to move; unable to comprehend the words just uttered.  Yet a power spreads to all, and both parties instinctively lay down their weapons and attempt to become friends once more; neighbour helping neighbour.

Those women, children and the old folk that remain, these are helped by those who just moments before, would have been either violated or killed them all. 

There was no other way than to lay down weapon for the Druid Priest had spoken and all were a-feared to dare ignore the words or the power that His words conveyed. 

Many that day could be observed crossing themselves and were heard to say, if only in whisper – Peace and thanks be upon our Druid Priest.

Who were the Druids and where are they now?

Thank you for coming along today.

But to begin, I wish to offer up what is known as the Druid’s Prayer. The Prayer has been slightly modified for Druids are encouraged to write from the heart, as opposed to merely reciting a set prayer or invocation:

Grant us, O Lord and Lady, Thy protection

   And in protection, strength;

   And in strength, understanding;

   And in understanding, knowledge;

And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;

And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;

And in that love, the love of All Life, be they

    Mineral, Elemental, Plant, Animal or Human –

And in the love of All Life, grant us the love of the One

   And may we go forth in all that is good.


This prayer is believed to have been composed by a great Welsh poet of the 6th Century, Talhaearn, teacher to Taliesin, according to a scholar of ancient Welsh, Iolo Morganwg. (pronounced as Yollo Morgan-oog). His real name was Edward Williams (1746-1826). Apart from the Druid’s Prayer, he produced much material on Druidry, such as The Triads of Britain and Barddas (publ. 1822)

Some people may find it hard to relate to a deity such as called by the name God – for they may have a negative view of God due to past experiences.   If such be the case, then one can pray to the Sun or Moon, to the Spirit of Life or whatever the one offering up pray can envision in their mind’s eye.



The History of Druidry comes in what can be loosely called the Four Phases:


The First Phase begins, if only as a romantic view, at the Dawn of time and was most likely a mixture of animism and shamanism.

This was a time of great stone circles and Megalithic structures that can be seen all over Britain, Ireland and parts of Europe.  In around 4200 BC, great monuments were being erected.  After 2500 BC, these megalithic structures came to an end.

The trees, stones, rocks, rivers, streams, plants and herbs held a life of their own; a spark of the Divine.   This can by extended, I feel, to include the concept known as Panpsychism –  “the theory according to which all objects in the universe, not only human beings and animals but also plants and even inanimate objects have an ‘inner’ or ‘psychological’ being.” – from the article: Pansychism by Paul Edwards, Editor-in-Chief as found  in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967)

The hunter became the animal that was being hunted (what we know as Shamanism). We can see this in the image of the god Cernunnos, Master of the Wild Hunt. He is represented by the horns of a ram or deer and he is often shown with a horned serpent as, for instance, in the famous Gundestrup vessel found in 1891 at Gundesstrup in Denmark – it dates back to 250 BC. It is believed to have probably been made by the Celts of south-eastern Europe. The scenes on the cauldron recall the Welsh story of Bran the Blessed and the cauldron of rebirth [see Mythology ed. By C. Scott Littlehorn, Dunan Baird Publishers , London 2002 pp.253-254 and for the story of Bran, see Celtic Myths and Legends by Peter Berresford Ellis, Carroll & Graf Publishes NY 1999 and Celtic Myths and Legends by T. W.Rolleston, George C. Harrap & Company, London 1911]

As to the mineral, there is Calleach Beare (Irish, pronounced Kal-lach [as in Bach]) the guardian goddess. She is the protector of the mineral realm. She is the dark aspect of the goddess and should be treated accordingly, as too all the deities.

The Second Phase is known as the Classical Druidry Period. It began about 400 BC  onwards 100 AD

As we shall see, a lot of the history of the Druids takes place in the Classical Druidry Phase, that consists of the writings of those often antagonistic to the Druids.

Julies Caesar (100-44 BC) who, writing about 50 BC informs his readers that Druidism originated, firstly in Britain, and then into Europe [De Bello Gallico, VI, 13-18]. Caesar tended to dwell on the negative aspects of the Druid Priesthood:

·        Druids were present at the sacrifice of criminals who were burnt alive in  wicker cages or the Wicker Man

·        If there was a deficiency of evil doers, then the Druid would even punish the innocent.

·        Animals captured in war were often sacrificed

Some propose that they originated much earlier, such as in Egypt or India.?

Diodorus Siculus (21 BC) writes in his Histories V, 28 and 31 how:

·        When working divination upon important matters, they will kill a man by a knife-stab in the stomach and then foretell the future by the convulsions of the dying man’s limbs and the pouring of his blood

Strabo (64/3 BC-21 AD) in his Geographica IV, 4, 198 tells of how Druids:

·        Hung the heads of their enemies from the neck of their horses when returning from battle, and of nailing them as an exhibition before their doors when they arrive home.

·        Animals were burnt alive in the Wicker Man

A lot of these writings are now being challenged

The Third Phase occurs around 600 AD when its public practice disappeared for about 1000 years. This came about largely by the growth of Christianity.  As one modern Druid author, Graeme K Talboys informs us:

Martin of Tours [316-397/401] , for example, set about converting the people of Gaul, (France) leading a mob that destroyed pagan groves and shrines wherever they found them, as well  as attacking Druids who even at the early stage were being regarded solely as priests and keepers of the old ways

The Druid Way Made Easy, O Books UK 2011 p.23

This phase has also been referred to as the Druidry Underground period.

The Fourth Phase is known as Revival Druidry for it is in the phase that we see the re-emerging of the Druid Path in the early 1700s.

Some of the key players in this period include:

John Aubrey (1626-1697) who was one of the first to describe sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury.  At the time, many farmers saw these as Roman ruins and tried to destroy them to clear the land for cultivation. It was Aubrey who recognised them as Druid temples.  As an aside, Aubrey came upon it by chance in the January of 1649 whilst out fox-hunting.

A haunting children’s TV Series, Children of the Stones (1976 or 1977) was filmed at Avebury and one can see the stones if they need a visual reference, both from the ground and air. I highly recommend folk to watch this series.

William Stukeley (1687-1765) was inspired by Aubrey and began to carry out detailed studies of both Stonehenge and Avebury between 1719-1724.  Stukeley’s work was a key factor in the-then modern science of Archaeology.   His investigations led to the publication of his book, Stonehenge, a Temple Restored to the British Druids. He also write another book called Avebury, a Temple to the Druids in 1723.

Then came one Edward Williams (1747-1826) who took on the name IoIo Morganwg (pronounced Yollo Morgan-oog). He had an extensive knowledge of Welsh and much of what he wrote, though developed from his imagination, still forms the basis of a lot of modern-day Druidry.

There are also the tales that speak of the Druids (both men and women) being the Magicians of Atlantis, some having fled the sinking island to go forth to the Americas; others to the British Isles and parts of Europe.  See Druid Mysteries (p.15) by Philip Carr-Gomm who cites Christine Hartley who writes in her book, The Western Mystery Tradition that ‘We, with perhaps our greater inner knowledge, are content to take it that their [Druids’] wisdom came with the basis of our mysteries from the great Temples of Atlantis.’ Hartley was a pupil of the Occultist, Dion Fortune (1890-1946) See also Fortunes’ Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart (1934)

Whilst yet another theory teaches that the Druids are descended from a race of Extraterrestrials that crash into the British Isles during the Bronze Age of 4000-3000 BC.

This Phase is a time that is most interesting for those who follow this path.

When Druidry went underground between 600 AD-16th Century, it was kept alive in the folklore, ancient customs and folk-memory or archetypal images. 

A lot of information concerning the Druids can be found in numerous literary sources. For instance, in the Greek and Roman writings as cited in the Second Phase. The writings of the Classical Greek writer Posidonius (135-51 BC), The Histories contain the first references to Druids, though earlier references to the Celts can be found in the writings of Herodotus (5th C. BC) called Histories.

Irish Sources are:

·        The Book of Invasions, written ca. 1150 AD concerning the tribes that came to Ireland.  This is a primary source for material concerning the Tuatha Dé Dana, being the children of the goddess Danu

·        The Cattle Raid of Cuailnge (the Tain) [kal ne] concerning the invasion of Ulster by Queen Medb and her King, Aililnn, written in Old or Medieval Irish ca.700-1200 AD. Also mentions the life of Cú Chulainn (Coo Hoolan)

·        Annála Connacht (or The Annals of Connaught) written between 1224-1562. Teaches about the Irish and how they lived with Druids

·        Aislinge Meic Con Glinne (The Vision of MacConlinne)

·        Annals of the Four Masters concerning Ireland between 2242 BC to 1616 AD

·        Bethu Brigte (Life of Brigit) concerning the life of this Saint

·        Buile Suibhne much concerning the Ogham alphabet, as based on the lore of trees

·        Deirdre of the Sorrows which tells of the wife of King Conchobar and her love for a warrior of the king, Naisi. This is a sad love-story

·        The Fate of the Children of Lir tells of how a stepmother turned her four children into swans to live out their lives on the lakes of Ireland.  Much concerning the Druids

Welsh Sources are:

·        The Mabinogion which contains 11 tales and romances.

·        The Life of Gildas written ca. 1130-1150 by the Welsh historian, Caradoc of Llancarfan, about Arthur and how he struggles to become King

·        Historium Britonium by Nennius, a British historian, ca. 853 AD.

·        Llyfr Du Caerfyrdin (The Black Book of Carmarthen), being the oldest manuscript written in Welsh. Amongst its poems are some relating to Myrddin [Merlin] legends.

·        Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch (The White Book of Rhydderch) written between 1300-1325.  This manuscript contains the oldest complete texts of 10 out of the 11 Mabinogion tales

Even now, by reading fantasy novels or fairytales, we are able to enter into the sphere that takes us on a journey into the Druid way, though Druidry is found not in books alone. Books such as the Mabinogion are extremely important to helping us enter into a world that existed at the time of the tales.

Philip Carr-Gomm, Chief of the UK-based Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) writes that:

The Druid Tradition…can only be found in places where we must set books aside – in places where both this world and the Otherworld are strongly present – by sacred springs and holy wells, by the sea-shore or in stone circles, beside great trees.  

When we open ourselves to these places, to the beauty and the splendour of the natural world, we discover the true source of inspiration of Druidry

Preface to The Druid Source Book ed. John Matthews (1996 p.5-6)

To show how this can be applied to everyday life, I am thinking of the attitude of the American writer, naturalist and founder of the Sierra Club, John Muir (1838-1914) who posed the question:

Why should man value himself as more than a small part of the one great unit of creation?  And what creature of all that the Lord has taken the pains to make is not essential to the completeness of that unit—the cosmos? The universe would be incomplete without man; but he would also be incomplete without the smallest trans-microscopic creature that dwells beyond our conceitful eyes and knowledge.

A Thousand-mile walk to the Gulf (1916)

John Muir

…was best known in some circles for climbing trees during thunderstorms to experience nature at its fullest. Muir believed that communion with nature brings people closer to God and that visiting ancient forests and alpine meadows for this purpose is morally superior to using them to cut timber or graze livestock

Fundamentals of Conservation Biology by Malcolm L. Hunter Second Ed. Blackwell Science (2002) p.11.

If this man does not sum-up the sentiments of Philip Carr-Gomm, I do not know what does.

The Druid Path helps its followers to experience a deeper way of connecting to the Four Elements of the Earth, Air, Fire and Water, to the Sky, the Moon, the Stars, the Four Seasons of Autumn, Winter, Spring and Summer.

Druid author, Penny Billington, writes in her book, The Path of Druidry that:

As Druids, we walk through the forest as brothers and sisters to the trees: we are deep-rooted, reaching high and wide. We are nurturing, sheltering, giving beings.  We may manifest our druidry in as many forms are there are trees in the forest  (Llewellyn 2011 p. 311)

The Forest Walk of the Druid likewise connects us to the stones, plants, and animals that abound.  Let us not overlook those of the Elemental Kingdom – fairy-folk, gnomes, elves, dryads, take your pick.

Trees in particular are the inspiration behind (or for) the Ogham [O-ham] Alphabet – a system of 20 letters and symbols that can teach us how to work magic. It dates from the 4th-6th Century AD on monumental structures, and in manuscripts from the 6th-9th Century.   Penny Billington mentions in her book, The Path of Druidry (p. 233) concerning the Tree Alphabet, the Ogham:

Ogham letters were regarded as intensely magical—placing them carefully could stop the passage of armies

Whist in an article on spiders, another author has this to say:

‘The Spider is the guardian of the ancient languages and alphabets. Every society has had myths about how the different languages and alphabets were formed. One example is the Ogham.  The Ogham can be found in the web of a Spider. This is why the Spider is considered the teacher of language and the magic of writing. Those who weave magic with the written word probably have a Spider as a guide’ – from the article: Spiders in Druidry by Dennis Hazenbroek from the website.

Indeed the word DRUID possibly comes from the Celtic  word for oak – dru– combined with the Indo-European root wid – to know – making the Druid a ‘knower of the oak’, or a ‘forest-sage’. [What Do Druids Believe? By Philip Carr-Gomm, Granta Books London (2006 p.2)

Again, we find others, who though not Druids as such, but nonetheless proving the truth of what such ancient teachings are able to teach us. In the foreword to a book on the Life of plants, called The Social Life of Plants, by Sukanya Datta, this gem is found:

When Sir J.C. Bose (1858-1937) experimentally proved that plants are sensitive and respond to external stimuli as well, the effects upon the Western mind were revealing. One gets some idea from Aldous Leonard Huxley’s book, Jesting Pilate, (Chatto and Windus, 1926)  wherein he has described his experience of a visit to Bose Institute, Calcutta to see for himself “the great experimenter” (meaning  J.C. Bose).

He himself was their guide and “followed him from marvel to marvel”— the marvel being the experiments of plant’s response and behavior towards certain stimuli.

On seeing the experimental demonstration of the agony of a poisoned and dying plant, Huxley wrote: “The last moments are so distressing like those of a man that we were shocked by the newly revealed spectacle of them, into a hitherto unfelt sympathy.” Such sentiments have been expressed by many others. Indeed, J.C. Bose in his book, Abyakta (The Mute) passionately described the subtle and intricate nature of many plants’ life and behavior with such great understanding that Rabindranath Tagore acclaimed it as a unique achievement.

Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose’s dramatic discovery proved that they have hearts, can feel and see. This discovery surprised the scientific world. He realized that there was a similarity in the behaviour of both lifeless and living things. It was however not easy to convince others. Bose suggested that the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms were one and had a great deal in common. In his  book, Abyakta, (published in 1921) Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose proved that plants and metals had a life of their own and could become tired, depressed or happy

We must learn to love our planet, its multiplicity of life-forms and respect the so-called inanimate world of rocks and stones and rivers and streams.

I find that it is interesting to observe that a lot of religions tend to view this world as something we need to leave behind if we wish to enter a better world; to gain freedom – be it Utopia, the Kingdom of God, Nirvana.  Conversely, the Druid Path teaches us to revere the Earth and all Her Kin – for this is what brings about one’s Spiritual Freedom.

To the Druid, Nature was, and is, alive with the Spirit or Awen (Ah-oo-en) but we must keep our eyes, mind and heart open to be receptive to this Spirit.

A short story that highlights this in a more succinct way is to found in a book called Bhagavad-Gita in a Nutshell by J. P. Vaswani (Sterling Paperbacks, India 2011 p.113-114

The man whispered: “God, speak to me,”

And the meadow lark sang

But the man did not hear!



So the man yelled: “God, speak to me.”

And God rolled the thunder across the sky,

But the man did not listened!


He looked around and said, “God, let me see you.”

And a star shone brightly.

But the man did not see!


And he shouted, “God, show me a miracle.”

And a life was born!

But the man did not notice!


So, he cried out in despair, “God, touch me.”

Whereupon God reached down and gently touched the man.

But the man brushed the butterfly away….


And walked on, disappointed.

He could not see God anywhere, because he failed to see Him everywhere

and in all beings.


A realised person experiences God in many ways:


In the chirping of the birds,

In the roll of the thunder,

In the twinkling of the stars,

In the miracle of the birth of a child,

And in the soft touch of a butterfly

He sees God everywhere and experiences God in everything


He sings in tune with the Mantra: Isaavasyam Idam Sarvam:

All that is, is a vesture of the Lord


Awen is a Welsh word for “(poetic) inspiration“.   It is historically used to describe the divine inspiration of bards in the Welsh poetic tradition. Awen is the spark of life, creativity, wisdom, the living principle.  It is believed to be the name by which the universe calls God inwardly. The AWEN is a concept that is likewise the goal of the Druid


In an interesting article on the OBOD website, I found the following tid-bit from an article, What’s In A Word? A Personal Perspective – by Kevin O’Reilly, that explains this concept in a more accessible way:

Every object in the physical realm holds a share of this spiritual phenomenon. Every tree, bird, animal, reptile, fish, every blade of grass and every other thing imaginable (or beyond imagination) possesses its own precious share of Awen.

The spirit of man, if openly appearing different in form and life to these things is still, in truth, a tiny part of this greater whole. Awen is never born and never dies.

Distinguishing human and non-human as separate existences is incomprehensible as Awen is the universal power behind all life, even beyond boundaries we can only imagine. In the physical realm we recognize Awen as nature, and humankind exists as a part of nature, not as an outside (nor superior) entity.

Awen (Ah-oo-en) is used as a chant, being repeated 3 times and is symbolised by a Circle that encloses 3 rays with 3 dot above each ray.  

The Druids held the number 3 in great esteem and their spiritual teachings come in 3 grades or streams (Bard: Writer/Poet, Ovate: Trained in Divination and Natural Lore (Herbalism, Tree Wisdom etc), and Druid: Priest) and the Welsh lore became known as the Welsh Triads. For instance:

·        The followers of Wisdom,

Imagination, Purpose and Endeavour


·        The three foundations of friendship are

     Respect and Trust;

     Understanding and Forbearance;

     A Loving Heart and Helpful Hands


·        There are three people accursed:

     They who work against the Laws of Nature without concern;

     They who know nothing of the Gods and do not seek to learn;

     And they who know much and do not share their knowledge with any               


The concept of the Awen leads to the concept of Creation.


There is not a traditional Creation myth within the Celtic worldview.

The Druids of Ireland lay claim to the creation of the world. King Connla of Connaught once convened a gathering of Druids to push this point. He was sceptical and challenged the Druids to alter the course of both the sun and the moon.  Coonla is mentioned in the Leabhar na hUidr or Book of the Dun Cow, written sometime before 1066

The Oran Mór by Frank Mills 1998 is another Celtic stance on Creation

Quiet— Eternal Quiet. Not even the sound of the restless, stirring, dark waters could be heard. Then, a great spiralling strain of Melody moved across the endless waters. Subdued at first, then quickly gathering momentum until it reached a great crescendo.

And, then, there was Life!  But the Melody did not stop. It continued its song, filling all of Creation with its divine harmony. And so it continues today, for all those who listen.

The primordial myth of Creation, common to all people, tells of a mighty melody – the very breath of the primordial god – that sang Creation into existence. To the Celts it was known as the Oran Mór, “The Great Melody“, a melody that did not cease with the initial creation, but goes on and on and on, inspiring Creation along its holy pilgrimage of giving and receiving blessing

To make a connection with the Earth and Her Cycles, the Druids celebrate 8 festivals:

Alban Arthan (Al-ban Artha-an)– Festival of the Winter Solstice (The Light of Arthur) This is the birth of the Mabon (Welsh) – the divine youth [N: Dec 21-22 / S: June 21-22]

Alban Eilir (Al-ban Ay-leer)– Festival of the Spring Equinox (The Light of the Earth) [N: March 21-22 /  S: Sept 21-22]

Alban Elfed (Al-ban Elv-ed)– Festival of the Autumn Equinox (The Light of Water)[N: Sept 21-22 / S:  March 21-22]

Alban Hefin (Al-ban Hev-in)– Festival of the Summer Solstice (The Light of the Shore)

Beltane/Bealteinne (Bel-tain)– Festival to celebrate Spring and the union of the God and Goddess. It means ‘the Good Fire’

Imbolc/Oimelc (Im-olc)– Festival of the Goddess, in particular Brighad or Brigid (Irish) She is the goddess of fire and flame [N: Feb 1-2 / S: August 1-2]

Lughnasadh/Lammas (Loo-nass-ah)– Festival of the Harvest; the cutting of the grain. It celebrates the deity of Light, the god Lugh [N: August 1 /S:Feb1]

Samhuinn/Samhain (Sow-Inn)– Festival of the Ancestors and honouring those who have died [N: Nov 1 (Oct 31-Nov 2 / S: May 1 (April 30-May 2]

Druids also believed in Shape-Shifting, as we see from the story of Taliesin, the ‘Primary Chief Bard of the Isle of Britain,’(6th Cent.) as he passes through many phases.  For example, Taliesin sings, from his poem titled Horses:

I have been a sow, I have been a buck

I have been a sage, I have been a snout

I have been a horn, I have been a wild sow

I have been a shout in battle

I have been a gushing torrent

I have been a wave on a long shore

I have been a gentle rain

I have been a speckled cat in a forked tree

I have been a circle, I have been a head

I have been a goat in an elder tree

I have been a crane bag well feed

—      A sight to behold!


Here we see Taliesin has a profound understanding of Nature.


It is interesting to note the following verses from the Bhagavad-Gita for they tie in nicely with what is being expressed by Taliesin. Sri Krishna is speaking to Arjuna, as recorded in Chapter ten:


Of the Daityas I am Prahlada and of reckoners I am Time;

     of beasts I am the Lord of beasts, and Vainateya of birds (30)


Of purifiers I am the wind;

    of the wielders weapon I am Rama.

    of fishes I am the shark, and of the rivers I am the Ganges (31)


Of created things I am the beginning and the end and also the middle,

    O Arjuna

    of the sciences I am the science of the Self;

    of those who debate I am the reason (32)


Of letters I am the letter A, and of word-compounds I am the dual

    I am verily the inexhaustible Time.

    I am the Dispenser facing everywhere (33)


And I am the all-devouring Death

    I am the prosperity of those who are to be prosperous

    and of female qualities I am Fame, Fortune, Speech, Memory,

    Constancy and Forbearance (34)


And whatever is the seed of all beings, that I am, O Arjuna

There is no being, whether moving or unmoving that can exist without     Me (39)


There is no end of My divine manifestations, O harasser of Foes

       This is only a brief exposition by Me of the extent of My glories (40)


The version of the Gita that I am citing from is published by Sri Ramakrishna Tapovanam (Publishers) with commentary by Sw. Chidbhavananda and contains additional comments throughout by Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886).  This is my personal preference though many others versions abound.


Another aspect or concept of Druidry is that known as the Kindred: These are

Our ancestors and the gods and goddesses.  Learning about the stories surrounding the gods and goddesses helps us to grow in our understanding of them and they, in turn, call us to them.


The Otherworld


The Druids also believed in the concept of the ‘Otherworld,’ or Annwn (Ann-oon), presided over by Arawn (Ar-ow-n) This is the place to where our soul goes when we die. It is important to realise that the ‘Otherworld’ is not a place of death but where the soul can enjoy a new life until the time comes for them to be reborn once more.  It is interesting to note that dogs lead us into the Otherworld


Animals can also exist in spirit-form in the Otherworld and will visit us in our dreams. Each carries a particular power, gift or healing and are called in Druidry, ‘power animals.’  The Druid Animal Oracle goes more into detail of these ‘power animals.’


To finish this talk, I would like to look at a list of principles or ethics that may guide the life of a modern-day Druid, as put together by Athelia Nihtscada and is taken from Philip Carr-Gomm’s book, What Do Druids Believe (Granta Books London 2006 p.59)


1.     Every action has a consequence that must be observed and you must be prepared to compensate for your actions if required

2.     All life is sacred and all are responsible for seeing that this standard is upheld

3.     You do still live in society and are bound by its rules

4.     Work with high standards

5.     Make an honest living

6.     Be a good host as well as a good guest

7.     Take care of yourself (Health was held in high esteem among the Celts, so much so that a person could be fined for being grossly overweight due to lack of care)

8.     Serve the community

9.     Maintain a healthy balance between the spiritual and worldly (Nihtscada writes: ‘Ethical and self-respecting Druids did nothing without being properly schooled or aware of the consequences ahead of time.  They knew when it was appropriate to visit the Otherworld and immerse themselves in the spiritual as well as when it was appropriate to be fully in this world’)

10.                          Uphold the Truth, starting with yourself

11.                          Be sure of your convictions, particularly when judging or accusing someone, but also when debating.  Ask yourself: are you really sure? Do you really know that this is the case?

And may the Lord and His Lady bless each of us as we go about our daily life and leave the Forest Walk of the Druid, both Ancient and Recent. So Mote It Be

Thank you kindly for your time and attention to this talk. I can only hope that I have done this fascinating subject justice and not misrepresented it.


From a talk given Saturday, March 1, 2014 before the   

Theosophical Society (Pasadena) 664 Glenhuntly Rd, South Caulfield Victoria

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The idea that Soul Mates, Soul Groups, and Group Souls actually exist is very popular today. Many people think that animals, plants and minerals have ‘Group Souls’. Several New Age groups and modern research into what happens after death based on past-life regression accept that soul groups and soul mates exist. Many books and films are based on the idea that soul mates exist, eg, The Lake House (2006), and Cloud Atlas (2012).


But do they actually exist? What does Theosophy say on this question?


What do we mean by ‘Souls’


Theosophy defines the ‘Soul’ as the ‘vehicle’ of spirit. It usually refers to all the intermediate parts of the inner constitution of man excluding spirit and the body. First comes spirit (monad), from it emanates its vehicle to enable it to work in the lower worlds – the ego, which in turn clothes itself in its own vital garment – the soul. The soul is evolved by experiences on different planes of being. In itself it is merely the ‘vehicle’ of the monad, but, informed by the monad (spirit), it is a living, conscious entity. Saying that everything – animal, vegetable or mineral – has a soul, refers to the intermediate nature of that thing – therefore – animal soul, etc. of which the physical body is the vehicle. Souls, like bodies, are aggregates of innumerable lives or ‘life atoms’ of various orders.


The Human Soul – a ‘pane of glass’ for the light of the spirit


Man has holy loves, aspirations, hope, and vision. These belong to the spirit, which is immortal and deathless, and are transmitted through the intermediate nature or human soul, which we normally call “I”. This is much as the sunlight streams through a pane of glass in a window. The pane of glass is the vehicle or transmitter of this wondrous quality or force streaming from the sun above. The human soul is like this pane of glass, letting through as much of the sunlight of the spirit as its spiritual evolutionary development enables it to do!


So what are ‘Group Souls’?


‘Group Soul’ is the popular idea that there are entities which express themselves through a collective of living units and collectively are that unit with a single Group Soul covering them all. For example, many people think that when animals die they become merged back into a ‘Group Soul’. But is this so from a theosophic viewpoint?


Every animal, plant, mineral, and even atom, has its own spiritual monad or permanent individuality which is on the path of evolution just as we human monads are on our Path. This individuality cannot be lost. The farther we go ‘back’ on the evolutionary ladder of life evolution towards the chemical elements, the less developed is their individuality – so the more alike they seem to us – like peas in a pod!


The Spiritual Monad: a voyager in space and time


The spiritual monads of kingdoms below the human are more alike to each other than the more spiritually self-conscious and therefore more individualized monads of the higher kingdoms of life – compare minerals of different kinds, plants of different orders, genera, etc., animals of different species, families, etc. – with the individuality apparent in humans.


Yet at their heart, they are like us humans, all spiritual monads travelling through space and time struggling to express themselves more fully as their spiritual monad’s ‘vehicles’ become more greatly individualized. The monad doesn’t transform into the higher kingdoms of life. It enters each kingdom, or classroom of life, when it has learned the ‘lessons’ of the previous class and when it needs a more developed ‘vehicle’ suitable for the next class higher up. It always retains its inherent individuality or ‘swabhava’ which it brought into this universe at the very beginning of this vast journey – the same for us!


We are all voyagers in Space and Time on an eternal pilgrimage of greater understanding and individuation.


Group Souls: why does it appear that they exist?


Monads below the human kingdom are so slightly in possession of an evolved ‘manasic’ (mind-based) power or individuality that, whilst they are , each one, an individual, they are incomparably more unionized with each other than are humans and hence group together like drops of water in the ocean.


All spiritual monads belong to, or are affiliated with, one or other of the 7 or 10 or 12 Solar ‘Logoi’ or ‘Rays’. Therefore, different families of entities conform very closely with the qualities of these ‘Rays’.


Further, with beings less than human (and higher too!) the hierarchical or class essential character (‘swabhava’) of the lower kingdoms works in and through its respective individuals more completely and in a more unitary sense than the Head of the Human Hierarchy (‘The ‘Silent Watcher’). This is because the lesser beings are blindly and unconsciously submissive to their respective kingdom-Hierarchs (the source of animal instincts?) because they have not sufficient sense of egoity to become intellectual ‘rebels’ against Nature as men so often seem to be.


How about Soul Groups and Soul Mates – do they actually exist?


After-Death research based on the hypnotic regression of thousands of people around the world such as done by Dr Michael Newton (USA) and Ian Lawton (UK), as well as visionaries, such as Edgar Cayce (USA) tells us that we all belong to groups of karmically-linked souls and that we do indeed have soul mates who play an enormously important role in our lives and future life planning.


Relationships extend over many lifetimes and we always take up in a new life where we left off in our last lifetime. Lessons come to us in the form of people and we must learn to heal relationships with problems being repeated until the ‘lesson’ is learnt.


We should therefore understand that we have strong reactions to people based on past lives but concentrate on the present in dealing with our problems, and remember that we always retain free-will.


It is important to note that Theosophy warns against being hypnotised: for any reason as hypnotism means surrendering your will to that of another and this is potentially damaging to your spiritual progress as you need a strong spiritual will to cope with the trials and temptations along the path of spiritual development. Secondly, knowledge of past lives through hypnotism may not relate to your past life, but rather be derived from the ‘sea’ of memories in the astral light. It takes a morally pure and skilled therapist to find their way through the morass of images in the astral light. Thirdly, even if memories of past lives gained through hypnotism are correctly yours, then knowledge of them at an early stage on the spiritual path may be subtly damaging as they are from the past and therefore from a time when we were less spiritually developed than we are now. Therefore it may be painful for us to know what we have experienced and less than edifying for us in looking to future possibilities. There will come a time far in the future for most people, when our past lives will be like an open book to us, but then we will have the spiritual maturity to place such information in proper context.


Soul Groups: What Does Modern After-Death Research Say?


All of us have a group of soul mates that we work with in varied relationships over many lives. Our time with this group is characterized by discussion about what we have shared, our reactions to each other, what we handled well, what we could have done better – we often replay and role play in this process of soul learning.


We sporadically move to a different soul group to work on new lessons. ‘Learning’ in the spiritual context means, in the first place, seeing both sides of ‘emotional lessons’, feeling joyous and, especially, painful experiences ourselves, but also to feel what it is like having them directed against us by others. This learning can become repetitive as we literally ‘bash our heads against a brick wall’ learning emotional lessons over and over until we start to move into more progressive patterns of behaviour characterized by ‘altruistic’  attitudes.


Eventually, we start to learn ‘altruistic skills’ such as healing, teaching, guiding and so on – which can be used in the world and the interlife as part of a soul group which shares the same skill set. Such altruistic souls as they progress increasingly choose to take lives which are more for the benefit and learning of others rather than themselves.


The most obvious example of this is when souls volunteer for short lives ending in infancy and childhood. These short lives may be traumatic for the infant/child souls but are far more aimed at challenging the parents and other close relatives to learn to cope with the myriad of emotions that surround such a tragic loss. [Summarized from Ian Lawton’s: Big Book of the Soul]


Soul Mates and Twin Souls – some perspectives from the internet


A search of the internet on Soul Mates soon reveals a widespread and romantic commitment to the idea of Soul Mates and Twin Souls. Amongst the many such ideas:


·        Twin Souls are the other half of your soul and a path to finding God though the union of the male and female halves of the Twin Soul.


·        We evolve and reincarnate with these souls through many lifetimes learning lessons good and bad along the way.


·        Our greatest joys and pains can be found with a soul mate – sometimes they come at what seems like the ‘wrong’ time – one might be significantly older than the other, one might be married to someone else, one might not be on the earth at the same time as the other and acts as a ‘guardian angel’.


·        We don’t meet them until we have learnt many lessons of love and loss with others.


·        There is a frightening intensity when dealing with your soul mate – time to deal with unresolved issues of many lifetimes, psychic and spiritual connections are profound and instantly recognized.


·        Synchronicity plays an important part in soul mate meetings – we may share pains, similar life experiences, perhaps we have lived as neighbours at some time in the past.


·        Meeting your other half is such a life-changing experience – there is no game-playing and transparent honesty is needed from the beginning. If there is karma from past lives to be worked out, it will be apparent and the opportunity will be there to work it out.


•         Meeting your twin soul challenges you to grow spiritually, physically, and to see beyond time, ego, and physical limitations. You will be driven with the desire to be the best manifestation of your soul on earth.


•         This is not a relationship of ‘hearts and flowers’, but one that will be tested in fire and will endure beyond time and space.


Soul Mates – What does Theosophy say?


All human beings are the sons of Father-Sun, but, just as the human race is divided into families, so certain portions of mankind belong to respective spiritual energies or forces – Rays – which, in their aggregate make the Spiritual-Sun. There are 10 principal such Rays and we can therefore divide mankind into 10 principle families.


Between two individual human beings who belong to the same Ray of the Sun, the same particular Solar Force, there is a quick and instant sympathy, a feeling as if they have always known each other. Genuine, real love between two people is based on this fact of Nature.


Spiritual Voyagers – What lies in the future?


If we are all spiritual voyagers on a Cosmic Pilgrimage to greater understanding and Individuation – how can we all end up working together and become as One?


The kingdoms of life higher than the human are more faithful to the sweeping essential nature or ‘swabhava’ of their respective Spiritual Hierarchs (Silent Watchers) than we are in the human kingdom.


These higher kingdoms are becoming more fully self-conscious divine or spiritual egos – Co-Creators with Nature – and thus their subservience to their Spiritual Hierarch is a glad and willing one – compare with beings below the human which are blindly and unconsciously submissive to their respective kingdom Hierarchs/Gods because they have not sufficient egoity to become intellectual rebels against Nature as men so often are.


Thus the Monad evolves – starting with unselfconsciousness – then assertive self-consciousness as a Man – then transformation of rebellious self-consciousness so evident amongst humans now, into divine and Buddha-like self-forgetful subservience to, and co-operative endeavour with, the divine will of the ‘Silent Watcher’ of our human Hierarchy.


How can we measure up to this challenge in our daily lives here and now? There is an old Christian saying: “Not My Will But Thine be Done” – not the will of the ordinary, selfish mentality that we mostly live within, but rather, the will of the Inner Divinity, which guides and leads, urges and impels us to live better constantly – that is the way forward!



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 There is a tremendous emphasis on Desire in our modern Western society. Fulfilling personal desires is the basis of much of our advertising, entertainment, education, and even our very idea of what constitutes happiness. The extent to which we satisfy our desires is a major measure of socio-economic status and our measure of self-worth. Why are we so caught up in Desire often at the expense of the finer qualities of our Being? According to Theosophy the reason for our love-affair with Desire is because the majority of Mankind’s’ consciousness is centred currently in the ‘Desire Mind’ aspect of our inner constitution rather than the ‘Compassion Mind’ aspect of our multiple and mostly invisible nature.


Desires and how to deal with them have been a real problem for most religions throughout the ages. Desire has usually been seen as the enemy of those wishing to live a good life according to the dictates of many different religions. Repression, Guilt, and even punishment have been inflicted on those seen to be indulging their desires. Whole religious systems have featured the question of temptation and resisting desires and this theme is central to Puritanical and Fundamentalist forms of any religious tradition. But is Desire really the Enemy of the Good?


Theosophical Definition of Desire: Theosophy does not view Desire in itself as inherently evil. Theosophical writer Dr Purucker defines Desire as a colourless force which brings ideas into manifestation made evil or good according to the motivation of the ‘Desirer’:


“…Desire: the fourth substance-principle of which the human constitution is composed: it’s desire or the driving, impelling force. Born from the interaction of Atman (Spirit), Buddhi (Compassion), and Manas (Mind), Kama (Desire) per se is a colourless force, good or bad according to the way the mind and soul use it. It is the seat of living electrical impulses, desires, aspirations, considered in their energetic aspect. When a person follows his lower impulses and centres his consciousness in the body and astral nature, he is directing that force downwards. When he aspires and opens his heart to the influence of his Higher Manas and Buddhi, he is directing that force upwards and thus progressing evolution…” – from G de Purucker, Encyclopedic Glossary.


Where Did Desire Come From? If Desire is so important in creating our manifest universe – where did it come from? According to Theosophy, we all arose from the One Essence at the beginning of the manifestation of our Universe. We are now on the road back to Self-Conscious reabsorption with that Essence in the far future for most of us. Going back to the dawn of creation (13.7 billion years ago according to modern science but much longer according to Theosophy) in order for the ‘One-Ness’ to manifest itself so we lesser beings can have an environment to learn in this Universe, ‘It’ had to ‘step-down’ its energies from a higher plane to this comparatively low plane of consciousness. To achieve this transformation of energy and thus, the creation of the material universe from the ‘Idea’ of the ‘One’, it had to energize the ‘Idea’ of the Universe, ie. it had to Desire that the Universe exist on the material plane or as Theosophy says: “Desire first arose in It” – utilizing the mysterious force known in Theosophy as ‘Fohat’ to create the material Universe. Thus energized by Desire, the One became the ‘Many’ and we now live in a dualistic universe of spirit and matter where we can chose to apply Desire in positive or negative ways as we progress on our Path of spiritual learning.


What is Fohat? “…the Cosmic ‘Life’ or Vitality by which by which ideas become material reality is known by its ancient Tibetan name in Theosophy – ‘Fohat’. It is the cosmic life or vitality; bipolar cosmic vital electricity, equivalent to the light of the Logos, ‘Daiviprakriti’, Eros, the fiery whirlwind, etc. As the bridge between spirit and matter, Fohat is the collectivity of intelligent forces through which cosmic ideation impresses itself upon substance, thus forming the various worlds of manifestation…” from G de Purucker Encyclopedic Glossary.


Getting Back to the ‘Oneness’: as we progress along the Path of spiritual evolution, Humanity, over vast ages began to lose sight of our inner connection with the Oneness as we became enmeshed in the attractions of the material universe. As Theosophy would say, we became subject to illusion – ‘Maya’ – and the three ‘Gunas’ or three qualities/aspects of all things in the manifest world – ‘Slothefullness (Tamas), Passion (Rajas), and the Spiritual (Sattva) – all of this enmeshes us further in the material world and directs our energies into objects related to the material world instead of recognizing their innate Oneness. We become ‘attached’ to objects of the senses and we are motivated into the ‘Desire’ aspects of our mind catching us up further into materialism, ie human behaviour generally as we see it everywhere today. Our job is to transcend this illusion of separateness from All-being, and self consciously work our way back to the Oness again starting with transferring our centre of consciousness from the ‘Me-Centred’ Desire Mind to the ‘Other-Centred’ Compassion Mind.


Social and Legal Methods: Given that our attachment to Desire for materialism can cause a multitude of problems (and let’s not forget, some advantages too!), how does society deal with Desire. The traditional way has been through outright punishment with physical force and repression imposed by social and religious conventions. Both of these externally imposed controls come with a host of problems such as burdening the judicial system/overcrowded jails though to all the psychological horrors of repression seen in our psychiatric hospitals and catalogued by psychiatrists such as Freud. At the other extreme, we are witness to the indulgence of Desires allowed by our modern free-thinking society, again with all the problems we see on the TV news and in the health-care system. In the final analysis, most of us seem to learn to curb our desires by endlessly repeating our mistakes until we learn better by suffering the results, ie. banging our stubborn heads against the proverbial brick wall!


Religious Methods – External Controls – Christianity and Islam: Mostly monumental religions have conspired with governments to control Desires by the use of fear based on concepts of divine judgement and retribution. Such religions impose prescriptive rules based on revealed scriptures such as The Holy Bible and The Holy Quran. Fear as a method of control takes many forms including after-death retribution – Satan and Hell. Fear of a monumental religious organization and legal system such as Shariah Law and social ostracism. Fear of being categorized as an outsider, or non-believer, and all that can mean for the quality of life. Fear related to the all-pervasive power of guilt and the attraction of the confessional. Many religions promote the idea that only the power of faith and surrender to an external God can overcome innate human failings manifesting as Desires.


Control of Desires according to Buddhism: quite the opposite approach has been advocated by Buddhism and Hinduism from India, and Taoism from China. These religions, and many other philosophies based on them, seek to strengthen our internalized control of Desires arising from attachment to materialism.


Buddhism looks to the source of Desires described as the Four Noble Truths:


  1. ‘Attachment’ or ‘Thirst’ (‘Trishna’) for the objects of sense is the real cause of suffering and heartache in the world.
  2. “Attachment’ can be made to cease by:
  3. ‘Living the Life’ conducive to breaking attachment to materialism by:
  4. Application of the ‘Exalted Eightfold Path’.


Along life’s journey it is inevitable that we all encounter the ‘Three Awakening Sights’ – Disease, Old, Age, and Death – which eventually will cause us to realize the necessity of breaking the cycle of suffering through attachment to desires and thus to apply the Exalted Eightfold Path being:


Wisdom: 1. Right Views. 2. Right Intentions.


Morality: 3. Right Speech. 4. Right Action. 5. Right Livelihood.


Meditation: 6. Right Effort. 7. Right Mindfulness. 8. Right Concentration.


Further, Buddhism provides practical mechanisms called the six ‘Paramitas’ (Perfections) which are necessary qualities to achieve liberation from the Lower Desires. These are: Generosity, Ethical Discipline, Patience, Joyous Perseverance, Meditative Stabilization, and Wisdom. In the words of the great Tibetan Buddhist spiritual teacher, Tsong-Kha-Pa, explaining the Paramitas:


“Why should we develop these particular qualities along the Path of spiritual learning? To achieve the aims of others for spiritual understanding you must first help them with material goods as they won’t appreciate spirituality if they have an empty stomach! Since no benefit will come from Generosity accompanied by harmfulness towards living beings, you need Ethical Discipline, which has great purpose for others; this is the state of desisting from harm to others and the causes of harm. To bring this to its full development, you need Patience that disregards the harm done to you. You need to develop the ability to fix your mind on your ideals so you need to develop Meditative Stabilization. Calmness and single-mindedness in the service of others lead to Wisdom. None of this is attainable by laziness, so you need Joyous Perseverance in pursuit of wisdom through service to others and so this quality is the basis of the other Perfections.” [These comments are based on Tsong-Kha-Pa’s Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment]. 


A tall order you might say! Let’s sum it all up with a little story from the Buddha’s life which could apply to all of us: “A man asked The Buddha: “I want Happiness”. Lord Buddha said: First remove ‘I’ – that’s Ego. Then remove ‘Want’ – that’s Desire. See now you are only left with – ‘Happiness’!”


Control of Desires according to Hinduism: The central message of Hinduism is to be ‘Non – Attached’ to the result of our actions, and to materialism. Instead we should do the best that we can in any given situation and trust to the reality of the Law of Karma as to the outcome, and accept whatever happens. As they say in India “Manushya Yatram Bhagvan Kripa” – “A man/woman should try and then the God(s) will bless you”. The spiritual ‘flow-chart’ for achieving non-attachment is indicated by Lord Krishna in the Hindu religious classic, The Bhagavad Gita (The Lord’s Song) where he says to his student, Arjuna: “A person who attends to the inclinations of the senses eventually becomes absorbed in them at the expense of pretty much everything else. From this Absorption in the Senses is created Passion; from Passion – Anger; from Anger – Delusion; from Delusion – a loss of Memory and Discrimination; from the loss of Discrimination – the Loss of All!”


The great Hindu Indian statesman, Mahatma Gandhi, put this exalted advice in a more down-to-earth way when he encouraged us to – ‘make a straight line’ from our Desires, through our Thoughts and subsequent Actions, for he said:


Your Beliefs become your Thoughts,

Your Thoughts become your Words,

Your Words Become your Actions,

Your Actions become your Habits,

Your Habits become your Values,

Your Values become your Destiny.

Managing Desires according to Taoism: Taoist sage, Lao Tzu, affirms that people that take less will always have more. People with insatiable desires end up becoming obsessed with the object of their “affection” which tends to throw their energies, and their thought processes, out of control. To Lao Tzu, greed without limits constituted the worse of the vices. If you work towards being content with what you have, you would find that you already have enough to be happy. One can easily reach Peace of Spirit when you limit the amount of desires to manifest in your life. Lao Tzu says: “The sage does not hoard. The more he helps others, the more he benefits himself, the more he gives to others, the more he gets himself. The Way of Heaven does one good but never does one harm. The Way of the Sage is to act but not to compete.”

But how do you get to this point of detachment from desires when modern society is pushing indulgence constantly? It all seems so overwhelming! Taoism advises that it is always better to deal with facts and situations while they are small, before they become bigger and more difficult.  If one is planning to reach a big goal, one should establish a series of small steps that would guide one safely to the destination.  This is essentially the principal of ‘Kaizen’: progress through small increments. As Lao Tzu says: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”

Managing Desires: some ideas from Theosophy: As we have seen, the major religions have taken basically two paths to the management of Desires – external control through fear, punishment and faith in an external God; and internal control by strengthening our capacity to make right choices and building a bridge to our Inner God. Theosophy certainly falls into the second category in its recommendations to seek inward strength through a variety of simple and commonsense methods. A ‘grab-bag’ of such methods from Theosophy includes:


  • Accept the reality of the Law of Karma and the process of Reincarnation and this will have a salutatory affect on how we live our lives.


  • Consider the voice of our Conscience, which is nothing but the inner ‘remembrance’ of hard lessons learnt in previous lives.


  • Balance our reactions to life events by not going to extremes of emotion.


  • Exercise the Spiritual Will by doing what we know is Right.


  • We can solidify our character by attending to small things. By attacking small faults, and on every small occasion one by one. This will arouse the inner attitude of attention and caution. The small faults and small occasions being conquered, the character gradually grows stronger and more grounded in the higher aspirations.


  • Feelings and Desires are not wholly of the body. If the mind is deliberately taken off such subjects and placed on other and better ones, then the whole body will follow the mind and grow tractable. This struggle must be kept up, and after a while it will be easier.


  • Chanting and Mantras: desires arising from the lower self are likely to come on quickly and can be overwhelming. A time honoured way of projecting the mind and heart to higher aspects of our inner nature is to chant or repeat prayers or mantrams over and over to put us on a different and higher vibrationary level. Examples would be repeating the Lords Prayer for Christians or the Gayatri Mantram for people of Hindu background. If you want to experience something of the soothing affect of chanting a Mantram, then click here: to hear Deva Premal chanting the Gayatri Mantram.
  • Meditation: there are many and varied techniques of meditation ultimately aimed at strengthening our connection to our Higher Self within. Two methods are suggested by theosophical teachers as especially valuable:


  • Practice a nightly review of the day extracting from it what we have learnt that was of enduring spiritual value before going to sleep each night.


  • Practice meditation in the sense of absorption of thought and aspiration in the noblest ideal we can envisage. We don’t have to worry about specific postures, techniques or gurus; there will be a natural inflow of light into the nature, for our Inner Master, our real guru, is our Higher Self.


  • Follow our duties (‘Dharma’) in life without distraction by the lower desires. As one of our Leaders, William Quan Judge, said: “Dharma is the Talisman”.


  • Practice non-attachment to the results of our actions doing the best we can to fulfil our individual Dharma.


  • Consider our real self as ‘The Observer’ of our daily activities. Are we up to the high standards of behaviour of the Higher Self which is the Observer of the activities of the Lower Self? We are not a Unitary being subject to our lower desires, but a composite of forces including spirit which is the ‘Driver’ of the lower forces which are its ‘Vehicle’. We have the capacity to analyse our desires and ascribe them to an aspect of ourself rather than thinking they are controlling our whole self. We can then step outside of ourselves as ‘The Observer’ and see them for what they are – aspects of our lower self  which can be managed if we find the will-power and strategies to do so – a kind of ‘Spiritual Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)’! As William Quan Judge said: “For Desire will cease to attract us when we no longer identify it with ourself.’ –WQJ Echoes of the Orient V.3, page 265 available online at:


  • Theosophy teaches us that man is a composite entity made up of the the different planes of the Universe with three competing ‘souls’ within us – the spiritual soul, the human soul and the animal soul. The temptation for us is to live in the animal side of our being when our future lies in the human and, eventually, the spiritual soul. We should analyse our thoughts and emotions to determine from which ‘soul’ they are emanating from, and whether we are going to grant them ‘house room’ in our consciousness. It is just because the great mass of people do not understand the processes which educe their thoughts, emotions and feelings that we find so much sorrow and suffering amongst men. For more information on this aspect, see ‘Human nature in the light of Theosophy’, by B. Finkernagel in the Theosophical Forum, Oct. 1940:


  • Consider always the purpose of our lives, ie, the attainment for ourselves and others of ‘Transcendance” or greater spiritual self-consciousness through experience in the world. Brotherhood and Service are the roots of this tree of spiritual growth – not the gaining of powers or self-growth or emancipation: these are the flowers and fruits. Are our actions and our use of Desire in accordance with our basic mission to move others, and ourselves onwards, and upwards spiritually to eventual self-conscious reabsorption into ‘The One”?


  • Follow the advice of all the great religions which in their own say as their central message: ‘Do unto Others as you would have them do to You’. This is the basis of all the world’s great religions as you can see below:


  • Baha’i: “Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself.” — Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, 71
  • Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.” — Udana-Varga, 5:18
  • Christianity: “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” — Matthew 7:12
  • Confucianism: “Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.” — Analects 15:23
  • Hinduism: “This is the sum of duty: do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.” — Mahabharata 5:1517
  • Islam: “No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” — Sunnab
  • Jainism: “In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self.” — Lord Mahavir 24th Tirthankara
  • Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the law: all the rest is commentary.” — Talmud, Shabbat 31a
  • Native American: “Respect for all life is the foundation.” — The Great Law of Peace
  • Sikhism: “Don’t create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone.” — Guru Arjan Devji 259. Guru Granth Sahib
  • Zoroastrianism: “That nature only is good when it shall not do unto another whatever is not good for its own self.” — Dadistan-i-Dinik, 94:5


Your Mission – Should You Decide To Accept It! According to Theosophy, we are now living at the beginning of the ‘Kali Yuga’ or ‘Black Age’. This is the materialistically oriented era of our present 5th Root Race of the 4th Global Round of Humanity’s long evolutionary journey on the various visible and invisible globes of the Earth’s Being. This means that the majority of the world’s population is absorbed in the ‘Kama Manas’, or ‘Desire Mind’ creating the world with all its many challenges as we see it today.


Our mission is to follow the example of such advanced forerunners of Humanity such as Buddha, Christ, and Krishna, and direct our Desires to the development of the ‘Compassionate Mind’ – the ‘Buddhi Manas’ – leading to more enlightened patterns of living eventually for all Mankind.


These suggestions are based on the work of William Quan Judge especially his books Letters That Have Helped Me and Practical Occultism available as a book from our library, by purchase through our website, or free online at: – and –


“…the path to [spiritual] freedom is found in “unbinding the attachments that constitute one’s preference, desires, or inclinations”. To find God, one has to empty oneself of oneself, to make room for God to enter. Or, as Jesus said, “first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; then shalt thou see clearly.” And it seems the only way to do that is to try and try again: daily practice…” – from Parabola Magazine Winter 2013.


If you wish to make a comment on this lecture or contact the author, please email:


Today’s presentation on “Pilgrimages: the mystic journey”, will start with a definition of the key term, ‘pilgrim’. The presentation will consider why a pilgrimage may be undertaken, and an overview of some of the great pilgrimages conducted by adherents of Islam, Hinduism and Christianity.

Furthermore, the five stages of a Pilgrimage will be explored.

At the conclusion of this presentation there will be an examination of some of the deeper elements associated with the pilgrim.There will be a consideration of how the experience of pilgrimage will inevitably change the pilgrim from within and without, and that the five stages of a pilgrimage, assists in such a transformation.


According to Wikipedia, “a pilgrim, from the Latin peregrinus, is a traveller (literally one who has come from afar) who is on a journey to a holy place.

Motivation for embarking on a Pilgrimage

As we will see during the course of this presentation, there are various reasons why people would embark on one.

Secular Pilgrimages

In modern times, pilgrimages are more secular than religious, the following are but some of the cultural/historical pilgrimages which are made: Graceland, home of Elvis Presley, Auschwitz Concentration camp, Gettysburg battlefield, Pyramids in Egypt, Jim Morrison’s grave inParis and Ground Zero, New York, Gallipoli Turkey.

Motivations may be some of the following:

·        Understanding of an event

·        Seeking closure of a traumatic event

·        Being physically present at the grave/house location/memorial of a person/event

·        Attracted by the Power of Place

·        Desire for life-changing experience

Religious Pilgrimages

Religious motivationsmay be for some of the following:

·        A period of exile to seek closer communion with God/divine

·        A break from the mundane world

·        Penitence

·        Petition for a miracle/cure for an aliment

·        Spiritual rejuvenation /purification/transformation

·        Lured by apparitions/miracles (Power of Place)

·        Desire for life-changing experience


Types of pilgrimages

There are many religious traditions which feature a pilgrimage to a place of special, spiritual significance. Usually, the devotee of a particular religious persuasion makes it his goal in life to make the great journey to the site he viewsas most reverential and sacred.

Islamic faith

Those of the Islamic faith would make travelling to Mecca as a major life goal. Hajj is Arabic for pilgrimage, which is considered to be a religious duty to be conducted at least once during a muslim’s lifetime.

The Hajj is made to the birth place of Muhammad.

At Mecca in Saudia Arabia is Masjid al- Haram, or the Sacred Mosque. This is the birthplace of Muhammand.

The Mosque can accommodate up to 820,000 worshippers during the Hajj period.

A number of rituals are performed over a week at the site to symbolise the lives of Ibrahim (Abraham and his wife).

One of the rituals involves the Ka’ba. This is as cubical structure which is representational of where Abraham offered his son Ishmael as a sacrifice to God.

The Royal Embassy of Saudia Arabia has kept records listing the numbers of pilgrims since 1920. In that year the number of pilgrims totalled 58,584,by 2010 it had grown to over 3 million people per year.

Hindu faith

For Hindus, a once in a life time pilgrimage to the Ganges is the objective.

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus. The religious significance of the river takes place in late May or early June when Hindus celebrate the Avatarana or the descent of Ganga from heaven to earth.

The 10th day of the waxing moon of the Hindu calander, is considered to be the most auspious day to be in the river.It is believed that for those who bathe in the waters of the Ganges river on this day, thatthere will be the remission of all sins and the action will bring about the liberation from the cycle of life and death, or plainly, the cessation of reincarnation.

Christian faith

Along with the pilgrimages undertaken by the Christian monks in the third century in the East, by the fourth century in the West under Constantine, Christians began to visit in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

“As a form of devotion that engaged the entire being- the body as well as the spirit-the pilgrim was removed from his familiar environment. The person who had decided to endure the difficulties and suffering of the road,wished to be sanctified.

Exiled, a stranger to those he met, the pilgrim’s long march was a form of asceticism and penitence, aiming for purification and salvation of the soul, perfected by the contact with the holy places.

…During the high MiddleAges, the holy places of Jerusalem and the tombs of the apostles Peter and Paul in Rome were the most popular pilgrimage sites of the West. The custom of bringing palm branches back from Jerusalem gave the pilgrims to the Holy Land the name palmers (palm), while those returning from Rome were known by the term Romieux in France.

After the invention from the Latin, meaning to find, the relics of the apostle James the Greater in Galicia in the 9th century, Santiago de Compostella became one of the three principal Christian pilgrimage sites of the West.

…to go on a pilgrimage was, above all, to reach a sacred place, sanctified by the passage of Christ, the memory of a saint, or the presence of relics, where divine grace was likely to be manifested more than in any other place, particularly through miracles”[1]. (pp 52- 53 )

For Christians, travelling to various site of Europe, particularly the Vatican in  Italy, Lourdes and Notre Dame in France and the Holy Land with the various sites such as Via Dolorosa, Sea of Galilee and the site of Jesus’s first ministry was the ultimate goal, yet for others it may have been a journey to Santiago de Compostella .

With reference to Santiago de Compostella, Compostella means “Field of Stars” and the route retraces a path along the constellation of the Milky Way from the centre of the galaxy to the star Sirius. It is believed that this is the path of transcendence.

 In England up until the Middle Ages, the Pilgrims way- was the path to the shrine of Thomas A’Becket at Canterbury in Kent.

Thomas A’Becket was also known as St. Thomas of Canterbury.

There is the famous Canterbury tales written by Chaucer about the personalities and experiences of the pilgrims; of which we have all come to recognise some fairly striking characters!

This pilgrimage started from Winchester in Hampshire to the shrine of Thomas A ‘Becket at Canterbury in Kent. Thomas A’ Becket was canonised in 1173.Until 1538, his shrine was the most important in England outside of Rome.

Thomas A’Becket was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170 and was considered a saint and martyr by both Catholics and Anglicans.

The historian William Coles Finch has stated that up to 100,000 pilgrims travelled to visit the shrine.However, other historians dispute such an estimate as accurate records were not kept to validate this number.

The experience of  Pilgrimage

 Increasingly, much is being researched into the experience of a pilgrimage for both the individual and groups of pilgrims.

Researchers have analysed that generally there are five stages of a pilgrimage. Additionally, a transformation occurs for the pilgrim, and in fact, most pilgrims largely undertake a pilgrimage because of the very fact that they wish to be transformed and altered via the experience of it.

Five stages of a pilgrimage

1.     Pilgrim commits to making the journey

2.     Pilgrim is involved with preparatory rites, ritual bathing, altering physical appearance – shaving head, fasting, abstaining from sexual relations

3.     Collecting evidence of the pilgrimage, ie gaining a part of a religious relic, or  verification of journey such as the ‘passport’ which is stamped on the Camino

4.     Arrival at destination, making appropriate preparations to enter site, or sacred location

5.     Conduct at the  sacred site such as praying, chanting, singing, bell-ringing, etc

The transformational nature of the pilgrimage experience ultimately brings about a change for the pilgrim. The pilgrim has a new identify both in relation to society and the cosmos.

The ritual of undertaking the journey, undergoing each of the five stages of the pilgrimage, empowers the pilgrim. Such empowerment is incredibly healing. The empowerment alters the pilgrim’s consciousness.

The pilgrimage is a metaphor of life. The pilgrim endures the physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, individual and political trials and tribulations of life.

The pilgrim has had the unique experience of being removed from familiar surroundings, the distractions of the mundane world and is transformed on every level. This is an unconscious process. It is no different for any of us today, when after returning from an amazing travel experience, views life and home, work and family with a much altered perspective.

It is this alchemical process, where the pilgrim, through the accumulative experiences on the path is changed. It is a mystical and mysterious exercise. It is a deeply moving, life-changing encounter with self, society and the pilgrim’s sense of the divine, his God.

Today with the advent of affordable airtravel, more and more people are making their way to the pilgrimage of their choice, whether it be a religious pilgrimage or a secular pilgrimage, each pilgrim is on a quest for transformation.






[1] The Roads to Santiago de Compostela  MSM 1999 France pp 52-53.

What is Nature? It seems that all of us know exactly what it is, but we wouldn’t find the exact definition of “nature” in most encyclopedias. Usually we perceive it as everything that is around us and isn’t produced by us. Wikipedia provides us with another clue: “The word nature is derived from the Latin word natura, or ‘essential qualities, innate disposition’, and in ancient times, literally meant ‘birth’.” Which points us toward the feminine aspect of the Creator, the creative force (Shakti) and creation altogether.


If we find something that is at the core of everything that we would call Nature, then we could better understand the essence of Nature, and where is our own place in relation to it.


Itzhak Bentov in his book Stalking the Wild Pendulum suggested imagining looking through a high definition microscope at a piece of wood, for example. The higher the definition the smaller the particles we observe. And eventually, no particles at all – we observe just void, which is in fact a field of energy vibrations.


Thus, at the core of everything, we have found energy! So, it appears that all Nature is made out of energy vibrations. And where is energy from? As we know and observe visually, we on the Earth receive most of energy from the Sun, through its rays of light, which is an aspect of the all-permeating universal Light.


In our understanding, the Creator, Spirit – the Source (whatever different religions, spiritual teachings and sciences call It) is sending Rays of Light. This Light is Creator’s tool and substance out of which everything is created, in our case through the spiritual Sun behind the visible Sun – infinite multitude of Rays. These Rays create everything existing through the process of producing holograms.


The initial Ray is reflecting the creating Consciousness of the Creator. This Ray, after passing through a certain phenomenon (or experience), together with the initial Ray, creates a potential of a hologram, an archetype for a hologram of Matter. This archetype is a perfect reflection (Perfect Pattern) of the creating Consciousness and of the experiences Its Memory contains. Then the ray of an observer perceives and manifests the hologram. We, living beings, are these observers and co-creators of the holograms of Matter.


As Kalagia states, humanity is created in a process of “Creation of a Creator by the Creator of Creation”. It is the only possibility for the Creator to know Itself  – through the process of Creation of a Creator. Every time, when we observe and create, we are ourselves created as creators. And the Creator knows Itself thanks to our creativity.


The archetype of the world, the perfect picture in the Memory of the Creator, in all its immense Beauty could be observed in information crystals formed of the highest vibrations of the Fiery World (Akasha).  We humans belong to all the three Worlds.  Inside us we have a potential of a Creator to manifest this perfect picture.  And our attention is constantly fluctuating between the perfect picture, where we find our revelations, and the matters of the Solid World, where we are going through our experiences and learning.


If we would be able to manifest the perfect crystal of Truth based on all the possible experience in the world contained as ideas in the perfect picture of the Creator, we would manifest this crystal immediately, without any time, by our thoughtforms, and manipulating with rays of light. But for this to occur there are some preconditions including the following:


We need to observe the archetype, or the perfect pattern of Nature, from which we are ready and willing to create timeless and endless Beauty, being personally disinterested in the result except that it should be Beauty. Then we would be a Buddha –Creator, who doesn’t produce any karma – only Beauty.


But usually we, while acting in the Solid World, haven’t experienced all the experiences upon which the perfect picture is based, and therefore our manifestation cannot be complete. Nevertheless, we often imagine ourselves as those who can unilaterally decide how the picture should be manifested according to our desires. And we thirst for power because we think in our delusion that we only lack Power to become the Masters of the picture of the world.


We then distort the picture of our own manifestation, produce karmic consequences, suffer from them and start learning. This is the normal process of our development.

While our attention is attached to the Solid World of Matter, our thought vibrations are not always reaching the frequencies of the Fiery World, and such thoughts usually lack Fire for their fulfillment. That’s why we cannot see the immediate results of our thoughts, but have to enforce our thoughtforms with effort, labor and skills for a required span of time.


At the same time, while we are working with karma and learning as creators, we are provided with examples of Creator created Beauty in Nature. All our surroundings (if we don’t spoil them) can serve as such examples. All these brooks and rivers, trees, flowers, animals and birds – all of them show us the endless possibilities of creation, and are calling to us to lend our hand and co-create with the creative force (Shakti) which is the cause and the essence of Nature.


 How does Nature receive and express all Its variable manifestations of beauty? The primordial Light is White. It contains the potential of the full spectrum of Light frequencies, in other words, of all the color (or tone) vibrations, or the color-tone radiations, as they are described in The Mysterious Story of X7. It creates this potential – the perfect pattern, the archetype, which exists in the Fiery and Fine Worlds as Idea, and can be manifested as a hologram in the Solid World.


Why color (or tone) vibrations? There is no contradiction in such statement, as well as in the model of creation with Light and “At the beginning was Word”. We can say that Light and Sound are color-tone vibrations, or waves, in the same spectrum of frequencies. We humans only perceive them as separate phenomena because we perceive them through different parts of our bodies supplied with different means of perception.


There are some people who can “see” sound or “hear” light with the help of other sensors which are possibly many in our bodies (not only physical ones). When we wake up and develop our currently latent sensors, then light and sound should merge into color-tone radiation as they did for the X7 (The Mysterious Story of X7) in their underground cave:  “All is light, light is radiation, radiation becomes color and/or tone. The two are equivalent.” (p.13)  Russian composer Alexander Scriabin showed us an example of color-tone creativity in his symphonic masterpiece Prometheus: The Poem of Light written in music and light.


The X7 mention the Solar Substance as the source of all color-tone radiations. We receive through the Essence of the Sun the channel, the Ray and all the endless possibilities of the creative energy, which is the Source of Nature’s manifestation.


Depending on the color-tone of a Ray, Nature is manifesting Itself in different forms. Its rocks, trees, flowers and any other living being reflect the initial thoughtforms in their shapes, colors and other qualities. We humans are conscious observers and in this way co-creators with Nature which we perceive as ourselves and all our surroundings.


Everyone is creating and co-creating with Nature. Perhaps, when people will understand that they can easily create their world this way, they will stop fighting for a chunk of already manifest hologram! And they will respect and endorse others in their unique creative ability. And the main goal of their effort will be to reach the state of purity of mind where their thought is able to form a hologram, as it is impossible to do from a tangled and undisciplined mind.


Our consciousness is, on the one hand, united as mass consciousness, and on the other hand, unique because each of us fulfills their role in the creation, or co-creation with Nature. In every incarnation, we are working with these color-tone Rays that we are able to perceive. We are forming our manifestation of Nature by our observation (in the Fiery and Fine Worlds) and by our actions (in the Solid World). We are cooperating (peacefully or in a fighting way depending on the state of our consciousness) with other living beings such as plants, animals and birds. They also respond to their parts of vibration spectrum.


Gradually, we learn to widen our color- tone abilities, and our spiritual qualities reflect these abilities. Through incarnations and initiations, through transmutation of our bodies in all the three Worlds, we can ascend to the state of an Ascended Master, a Master of a Ray. And when we master the whole spectrum of possible qualities, or color – tone abilities, we become the Master of the White Ray – we join in full the Creator of Everything. We become the Creator. We call this process human Evolution.


Summarizing our notion of the appearance of Nature, we can say that we people are inherently co-creators with Nature. Nature has its Laws, and where we are working in harmony with these Laws, there our co-creation with Nature produces Beauty.


In our book The Laws of Life we suggested a formula:





and described the Trinity of Laws that assist us in maintaining harmony and producing Beauty (see pp.131-142):


1. The Law of Sacrifice (The Creator sacrifices Itself to the Creation; the Creation through its sacrifice develops into the Creator).

2. The Law of Responsibility (We are responsible for whom we love and for what we love).

3. The Law of Purposefulness (Only that happens and continues which is purposeful from the standpoint of Spirit).


We all, as parts of the Creation, originated from the One all-permeating Consciousness that we call Creator, and remain in the timeless Creator’s Memory in the Unity of existence, which defines the harmony of our co-existence. In this Unity, all the Nature’s treasures – Sunlight and water of the oceans, and all the beauty and gifts of the mountains and forests – are available to our use. This is Nature’s sacrifice to us humans and all the other living on the Earth creatures.  To co-create in harmony with Nature, we have to match it with our unselfish sacrifice, and have in mind Nature’s needs when choosing our actions.


Love of Nature calls us to expand the sphere of our Responsibility. Expanding the sphere of Responsibility expands our consciousness. By expanding our consciousness, we are submitting to our will the elementals – the forces of Nature. Like Aladdin with his lamp, we then can put the genie into work, to express our great Love towards Nature.


In the Creator’s Memory, the Perfect Picture is already uniting the past, present and future as a harmonious Whole. But we are given Time as an opportunity for the realization of this Picture. Out of this understanding, comes our perception of interconnectedness and purposefulness of everything. If we choose our actions having in mind this unity, we will be closer to being in harmony with Nature in our common process of co-creation. We will be seeing with more clarity the possible consequences of our actions.


For example, when we are planting an acorn, we can expect in time to receive an oak tree. When we are planting an idea, we should understand that we will receive a “tree” of consequences. It outlines for us the endless necessity of learning about Nature and adjusting our behavior to its requirements.


It is not an immediate process. As our current growing civilization is based on building permanent habitats, we often clash with Nature. For example, the natural forests of Australia periodically require some fire for their reproduction and blossom. They are highly flammable, and this makes their co-existence with people problematic. So, fire containment became a subject of care for the Australian firefighters and the services taking care of re-vegetation. They learn and manage to tame the forces of Nature, and much of their attention and effort is devoted to the prediction and planning of measures preventing destruction of simultaneously the forests and all of their inhabitants, and human habitats.


It seems that such complicated way of dealing with Nature is our destiny. But from the old people in different parts of the Earth were used to come into co-existence and co-creation with Nature. One of the examples is a “living bridge” in a village in Northern India.


Consecutive generations of villagers are building a “living bridge” out of the roots of a living tree. They are tending the tree and stretching its roots. As the tree is developing, the roots are growing, and people are tying them together in such a manner that the roots eventually would make a bridge. People are sacrificing their time and effort for the village, for the community, understanding this as their responsibility and purpose in life.


Nature is calling for our co-creation by providing us the means for life and creativity. The Sun is our major provider of energy, which nurtures all the living beings on Earth. We can use unlimited amounts of solar energy for our needs and our co-creation with Nature. The Sun, the wind, the tide – we can use these types of renewable energy without any harm to the environment, either now or in the future.


Our actions become questionable when we intrude into the Nature’s realm without being called, for our own purposes that we ourselves define. We desire for more Power at any cost, and relentlessly dig into the bosom of the Earth to find it. We are having in mind some aspects of our purpose and completely forget about the other aspects, and especially about the future we are preparing as for Nature as for ourselves.


After digging up fossil fuels and turning them into energy for centuries we eventually got to know that we are polluting our environment and inducing climate change on our planet. Though already experiencing radioactive contamination from the damaged nuclear reactors (most notably, in Chernobyl and Fukushima), we nevertheless seldom have in mind the possible harm from nuclear waste we are preparing for the future.


Do our actions of today have a purpose compelling enough to justify our risky strategies of energy production? The main declared purpose is – growing humanity needs more energy. But we are a wasteful civilization. We waste our resources in endless wars and preparing weaponry for the future wars. Business is profiting from our wastefulness when we throw away the old gadget and buy the newest one. We daily dispose of a colossal amount of food and other goods as if there is enough for everyone.


On a bright side, we are learning. We are already recycling much of that what would become wasted and would only contaminate Nature. We are also creating and mastering new principles and methods of design that completely change the ways we are manufacturing the product.


As we can remember, 50 years ago, the manufacturing machinery was heavy, power consuming and waste producing.  Now, an industrial designer receives an idea of a future product, prototypes using computer technology and sends the results to a manufacturer. The manufacturer can use a 3D printer to receive a ready for application part.  This is much cheaper, much less power consuming and clean. The only waste are bits of information that can be easily deleted from the computer’s memory. Instead of heavy machinery, pure intellectual power is being applied. Instead of mass production, we are moving to individual creation employing not only intellect, but also imagination.


Our approach towards Nature is changing together with our developing consciousness.  If we learn to balance the Power of our intellect with such spiritual qualities as Love and Wisdom, we will truly be on the road which H.P. Blavatsky predicted to become the leading way to the 6th race of humanity – the road of balancing our developed intellect by spiritual development.


If we will change our approach towards Nature from forcing out of Her that what we desire to the approach with Love and Wisdom, this would make us conscious co-creators with Nature. This would raise us to a completely new level of existence. What we have heard of the alchemists of the past, the experiences of H.P. Blavatsky, Helena and Nicolas Roerich and other spiritual teachers, and what we can see in the experiences from The Mysterious Story of X7, show us the possibility of turning the mind of any human being into an instrument of manifestation relying only on our inner abilities and power, and Nature’s freely given gifts.




Anonymous, The Mysterious Story of X7, Findhorn Press, 2010.


Bentov, Itzhak, Stalking the Wild Pendulum. Rochester, Vermont: Destiny Books, 1988.


Blavatsky H.P., The Secret Doctrine, v.2. Pasadena: Theosophical University Press, 1977.


Riaikkenen, R.&M., The Laws of Life. Trafford Publishing, 2004.


Video on the living bridges of India:







Firstly, Merry Meet and Blessed Be in the Name of the Lord and His Lady and may they bless us as we explore this fascinating topic.

To begin.  Let us take a quick look at some terms that have been gleaned from several dictionaries as to what constitutes a Pagan


•         A Heathen, one who does not worship the true God” but rather leans towards “the worship of false gods.”  Note the small ‘g’

•         One who is not of the Abrahamic religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.  The Pharaoh Akhnaton (18th Dynasty d. 1350 B.C.) taught that Aton the Sun-God, was the One God.

•         A Inhabitant of an unchristian country

•         To  be one who has no religion


This Egyptian monotheistic revolution arrived under the 18th-dyansty pharaoh named Akhnaton, also known as Amenhotep IV, and his wife, Nefertiti, also known as Nefertiti or Nofretete. Akhnaton and Nefertiti ruled during the 14th century B.C. Nefertiti is well-known to modern scholars because an intriguing, beautiful and well-preserved limestone bust of her was uncovered at Tell el Amarna in 1913. The bust is now part of the Berlin Museum‘s collection. Yet despite her famous visage, little is known about Nefertiti. One of the most salient facts about her existence is that Nefertiti and her husband promoted a monotheistic belief in an Egyptian god known as Aton


•         A religious system of the heathens

•         Pagan

•         Barbaric

•         Unenlightened

•         Irreligious

•         Outside the generally accepted faith




•         Is To be Savage – Wild, Fierce, Cruel, Brutal

•         Foreign

•         Uncivilized

•         To be destitute of religion

•         Ungodly

•          Chambers Concise Dictionary 1988



•         A Christian is a believer in the teachings of Christ

•         A Jew is a person of Hebrew descent or a believer in the teachings of the Old Testament

•         A Muslim is one who believes in the teachings of Muhammad as espoused in the Qur‘an



•         Is a belief in the One God who makes known His purpose through the prophets

•         The Christian, Judaic and Islamic faiths are all monotheistic and all contain Sacred Writings

•         The Egyptian, Ahknaton (18th Dynasty) and his famous ‘Hymn to Aton’  taught monotheism in his time.  ‘Aton‘ is represented by the Sun – for this is the source of all life on earth


At the turn of the century, the Scottish scholar and folklorist, Andrew Lang (1844-1912) asserted that the beliefs of the most primitive peoples “did not reveal an animistic personification of natural objects and forces. Rather they gave evidence of a monotheistic belief in a supreme being, who was not only the creator, but also a good and kind father, whom they could approach for help in the conduct of their lives“. [Custom and Myth?]


The Catholic scholar, the Rev. Wilhelm Schmidt of Vienna  (1868-1954) wrote, “The supreme being is to be found among all the peoples of primitive culture, not indeed everywhere in the same form or the same vigour, but still everywhere prominent enough to make his dominant position indubitable“. [The Origin and Growth of Religion, 1971]


Professor Evans-Pritchard affirms, “The theories of (earlier) writers have not been sustained by research. As far as the most primitive peoples in the world today are concerned, the evidence points to the opposite conclusion, i.e. that monotheism preceded polytheism“.[ Nuer Religion, 1956]




•         Is The belief in several gods

•         The Pagan faith sees the gods as the manifestation of the One Universal Creator

•         There is both the:-

–        The Goddess, the Mother Earth and the Moon

–        The God, the Father Sun who impregnates the Mother to bring forth new life

•         Heathens worship several Gods and Goddesses who are each distinct Beings with their own stories and attributes




•         Worship more than one God

•         Sometimes view the things of Nature as containing a spark of the Divine – Pantheistic

•         Sometimes view the things of Nature as containing not only a spark of the Divine but are likewise conscious of their own life – This is known as Panpsychism and is the exact way that I view the things of Nature. Panpsychism was a term coined by the German philosopher and psychologist, G.T. Fechner (1801-1887)   




•         Is  one who subscribes to a polytheistic faith

•         Uncivilized

•         Has no real religion to speak of

•         Is barbaric and brutish

•         Is deemed a  Savage – Wild, Fierce and Cruel

•         One can add here: to be unimaginative, naive



In the book, Essential Ásatrú  by Diana L Paxson p, 132, writes that:


Through rituals and spiritual practices, our faith is strengthen as we contact our gods

Religion brings about a community of believers who help each other and offer support

Religion offers a worldview and guidelines on how to live in harmony with one’s self, in community and in relation to the gods

For heathens, “Live Trú” means keeping faith with the gods, with each other and with our own true selves.


“The ancient ethical worship, and after it had been excluded from its former shrines, and from the metropolitan towns, was maintained for a long time by the inhabitants of humble localities.  To this it owes its later designation. From being kept up by the Pagi, or rural districts, its votaries were denominated as Pagans, or provincials”

             – Alexander Wilder, as cited in The Secret Doctrine Vol.2 p.179

In the West, Pagan Wisdom has been seen as growing from and being developed by Dark Forces supposed to be at constant war and in opposition to the One God of the Abrahamic Faiths.  This being Satan, the Devil and so forth

•         The long held idea of this word – etymologically – means a villager, a rustic. The Christian Church first established itself in cities whilst the villages continued to dwell near the ‘heath‘ (= heathen?)

•         The Roman soldiers called them Paganus (rustic) and the Christians viewed them likewise.

•         Paganism was, and is, a way of living with nature and all that it contains.

•         The key point of Paganism is the view concerning the ‘spirit’ of a place, the genius loci. This is typified by the American Indians who taught that places can have a sacredness, a spiritual importance, quite apart from the more physical characteristics of the place.


•         Paganism is essentially a mode of working with the forces of nature, not against them

•         For some, the worship of the Horned God of the Hunt and the Goddess of Fertility are those forces of nature personified.

•         The Lord and Lady are neutral, neither fully good nor fully evil but rather simply ‘Are

•         Pagans are called to The Path or, as Buddha put  it ‘When the Student is ready, the Master shall appear’  This  Call is sometimes known as ‘The Voice of the Wind.’ It is something external – and to our ancestors, this ‘Voice’ was of the world of Nature: Be these the trees, plants, rocks, hills, as to the lakes, rivers and oceans.  Our ancestors, from an ancient time harkened to these whisperings of the Nature Spirits and the other Folk found in the Otherworld.   We must remember that within all things there is a Life that has its own need to exist.

•         Paganism can help us in combating evil – By ‘evil’ I refer to the disharmony that exists between we as people and the rest of Creation.  

•         Pagans  see places are being the realm of spirits and elementals rather than just places to buy and sell

•         Pagans  see the Creator in ALL LIFE and thus we respect ALL LIFE; both the Seen and  the Unseen

•         Pagans  try to accept all people but do not tolerate indifference – for indifference  leads to Apathy

•         Pagans may appear to live in the ‘otherworld,’  but I ask,  is this  truly a bad thing?

Gerald B Gardner writes in his book, THE MEANING OF WITCHCRAFT  (1959) this little poetic gem:

So many Gods, so many Creeds

So many Paths that wind and wind

When just the Art of being kind

Is all this old world Needs




The Old Ones that one reads about relates to the primal spirits of Nature before humans gave them guises such as fairies and other mystical creatures.  The Old Ones are the teachers who dwell within the trees, the hills and mountains, the lakes and oceans. They are before even the Gods and Goddesses. Indeed, our ancestors learned from such spirits as these – long before human teachers appeared.  

Their teachings are those of Oak and Boulder, the primal teachings of a forgotten age. The Standing Stones represent the ancestral memory and the Tree symbolizes the Living Teachers of that memory.  [from THE WELL-WORN PATH by Raven Grimassi and Stephanie Taylor]

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are great novels to read about such elemental folk

Such is why the Path of the Pagan is very in-tune with, and concerned for, the Environmental issues that currently affect Mother Earth and all that She supports.




•         Wicca/Witchcraft

•         The Druids

•         Heathenry

•         Ásatrύ (A Norse/Germanic Pagan Path)   Pronounced ‘AH-sa-tru’   or ‘Ow-sa-Tru’  (the term is Icelandic)

•         Ceremonial Magic – Basically, the art of communicating with spirits of various kinds and drawing aid from deities and elementals.  It is very structured and discourages spontaneity

•         The Hedge-Witch or Solitary.  Does not belong to a coven or particular Tradition, though they may follow a particular Tradition unless that Tradition entails Initiation by a High Priestess (HPS) or High Priest (HP) such as the Gardnarian or Alexandrian.   Historically, the Solitary Witch was the norm; only in 1662 did the concept or word, Coven,  in relation to witchcraft, appear. This was at the trial of one Isobel Gowdie who Sir Walter Scott speculated that “this wretched creature was under the dominion of some peculiar species of lunacy” – Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft (1830)

•         SATANISM – No.   For Satanism relies on the Christian, Judaic and Islamic worldview, not so Paganism or its various manifestations.  

However, I am sure some Satanists would deny this concept. As an aside, it was not until the year 447 CE that the Council of Toledo declared the legal existence of the Devil as an actual entity




Wisdom is the greatest characteristic of the Pagan cultures of old but sadly, such wisdom is rarely seen today.  There are those who are still wise and despite the mocking of such folk by the so-called ‘Civilized,’ the Pagan still has much to offer.

Here we shall briefly look at two systems that fall under the umbrella of Paganism, these being

Heathenry – more specifically Ásatrú, and Wicca


1. We are responsible for the beliefs that we choose to adopt.

2. We are responsible for our own actions and our Spiritual/personal development.

3. We are responsible for deciding who or what Deity is due our respectful worship and likewise for forming a relationship with that Deity.

4. As everything contains a spark of the Divine – We are responsible for how we mete out treatment to ALL things that surround us.

5. Everything is sacred due to its interconnectedness and Blessedness – thus we are responsible for how we choose to relate to all things be these animate or inanimate.

6. We are responsible for choosing how best to work our Magick – for good and bad. By Magick I refer to the outpouring of Ritual, the Intent behind our work.

7. As Consciousness survives death, we are responsible for choosing a way that elevates ourselves to a higher Spiritual level – Most Pagans accept the notion of Reincarnation, Rebirth and Karma according to their own ways of understanding




Until recently, the term heathen, like pagan, was taken to mean a person without religion, or at least without the civilizing influence of Christianity. The word was first recorded in the translation of the Bible into Gothic made by Ulfilas in the fourth century, where it was used to translate the term Gentile.  It has been assumed that just as pagan meant the people of the ‘pagus,’ or countryside, heathen meant the people of the heath who continued to practice the old ways when all the city folk had converted to Christianity. [However] this interpretation has been questioned.

From ESSENTIAL ASATRU by Diana L. Paxton and Isaac Bonewits , Citadel 2006 Introduction XIII

•         We must remember that most of the world’s tribal faiths are Pagan in Nature

•         The Northern European share a folk-soul with the Heathen Gods but should that exclude others – Personally I say NO!  For the Old Ones are present within all Nature and we humans are likewise of the world of Nature – we all share a connection to each other and everything. We simply need to reconnect back to the teachings found with the Eddas, the various Sagas and other such Norse writings

•         In addition to the gods, Heathens likewise honour the landveitter, the spirits of the land.

•         Heathens also follow the concept of Wyrd, this being a force that connects everything in the Universe.



Erin Lale, in her book, Ásatrú for Beginners (2010): writes that:


‘A Heathen is a Pagan whose faith  originated on the heath, that is, Germany, Scandinavia, Iceland, Scotland, and other parts of Northern Europe…The dividing line between what is the heath and what is not is the Rhine River, which is the border between the Roman Empire and Germany.’


The term itself is derived from Ása (from Aesir) referring to the Germanic Gods and Goddesses and trύ meaning Faith.

Heathens follow a Code of Conduct that has been compiled from the writings contained in the the Poetic Edda  (particularly the Hávamál), the Icelandic Sagas and Germanic folklore.  This Code is known as:




1.      Courage                                              

2.      Truth                                                               

3.      Honour                       

4.      Troth   –  ‘Fidelity’ or ‘Loyalty’

5.      Self Rule  – ‘Discipline’                                  

6.       Hospitality

7.      Industriousness                                              

8.      Independence – or ‘Self-Reliance’

9        Steadfastness


The First 5 Virtues  relate to the Individual and the remaining 4 to our relation with others.


Ásatrú is based on freedom, honesty, fidelity and respect for nature, and all life therein. The main principle of the heathen custom is that every human being is responsible for themselves and their own actions.

The Heathen finds his history and its religious teachings from the written material that dates back to the Anglo-Saxon (ca.800 AD) and Viking times (8th-11th Cent.)

Eight major Blots (bloats) are celebrated in the Asatru calendar each year. These are listed below with the modern English name of each given first, followed by its Old Norse name in parenthesis, and the date (although the usual practice is to hold the Blot on the nearest weekend).

1. YULE (Jol) 20th December – January 1st

2. DISTING (Disablot) 31st January

3. OSTARA (Ostara) 21st March

4. MAY EVE (Valpurgis) 30th April

5. MIDSUMMER (Midsumarblot) 21st June

6. FREYFEST (Freysblot) 31st July

7. FALLFEAST (Haustblot) 21rd September       

8. WINTER NIGHTS (Vetrnaetr) 31st October


Whilst another is known as the LESSER FEASTS or Days of Remembrance

THE NINE WORLDS of the NORSE GERMANIC COSMOS (In descending order):

1. Asgard – The home to the Gods and Goddesses of the Aesir

2. Alfheim – The realm where the Light Elves dwell

3. Vanaheim – The home to the Gods and Goddesses of the Vanir

4. Midgard – The home of the mankind

5. Jotunheim – The realm where the Giants dwell

6. Muspellheim – The world of primal fire where the Muspilli Fire Giants dwell

7. Niflheim – The “world of mists” and primal ice

8. SvartAlfheim – The realm where the Black Elves / Dwarfs dwell

9. Hel – The land of the dead, ruled by the goddess Hella.


By learning about the Gods and Goddesses, the Heroes of the Sagas, the Elemental beings of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, we shall learn about ourselves.

The American Mythologist, Joseph Campbell, (1904-1987) penned the following:

We have not even to risk the adventure alone.  For the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known.  We have only to follow the thread of the hero path.  And where we had thought to find an abomination we shall find a god.  And where we had though to slay another we shall slay ourselves.  Where we had thought to travel outward we shall come to the centre of our own existence.   Where we had thought to be alone we shall be with all the world.

          The Hero with a Thousand Faces  (1968)

Thus, stories are there for us to read and learn from as far as Virtues and Strengths are concerned.    For example, the Goddess Sif had her hair cut off by the God, Loki.  This was a great shame for her.   Sif has therefore become a Goddess who offers comfort and protection to those who have been abused or violated in some way.

Her husband, Thor (the Thunder God) is called upon for protection, courage, and the strength to face our own challenges, be these physical or spiritual.  He is called upon when a wildfire threatens our homes or the homes of the animals.

Before leaving Heathenry, a quick word must be said concerning Nazism.   It appears that this Path often attracts Neo-Nazis, given that many believe that only those who have a traditional link to the land; a cultural identity, can follow this Path.

Heathenry Is Not For Racists

It is important to the Ásatrú, Heathen, and Pagan communities that we and the general public alike, understand that racism, nazism, white-supremacy, and the propagation of hate have nothing to do with Ásatrú, Othinism, or any of the pre-Christian religions in practice today(or during the “golden-era” when our pre-Christian ancestors walked the lands of Europe.)

Hitler himself was raised Christian, and never actually believed in any of the Germanic gods. If anything, his beliefs most resembled those of the so-called “Identity Christians”, who use a warped interpretation of the Bible to justify racism and male dominance. The Germanic symbolism was used mainly because it appealed to the masses’ nationalistic feelings–and even then, its meaning was perverted into something that the pagan tribes wouldn’t have recognized or accepted.   During his time, Hitler even produced a New Testament that showed Jesus as being anti-Semitic



WICCA or Witchcraft reveres the Divine as manifested in the God (the Masculine, the Sun, the positive) and in the Goddess (the Feminine, the Moon, the negative).

I feel that these terms have arisen over time – not to separate the sexes but rather to respect each aspect together as one whole.  It’s funny but the Sun can often be harsh and kill plants and animals, whereas the Moon is gentle and soothing upon the face of the earth.  So the Sun is not positive per se, nor the Moon negative. Satanists, for one thing, accept the Christian duality between good and evil; Pagans not necessarily so. 


Wiccan folk venerate Nature for by understanding nature, we a given a peep into the Mystery of Deity – to quote the Greek God Hermes:

“That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.   And just as all things have come from this One Thing, through the meditation of One Mind, so do all created things originate from this One Thing.

Its father is the Sun; its Mother the Moon. The Wind carries it in its belly; its nurse is the Earth. It is the origin of All, the consecration of the Universe; its inherent Strength is perfected, if it is turned into Earth”

This is beautifully expressed by the Hindu monk, Sw. Vivekananda (1863-1902), when he once utter in response to a question, “How can I die when an earthworm still lives?



A lot of authors trace the origin of Witchcraft back to pre-Christian European beliefs, such as the British anthropologist Margaret Murray in her book, THE WITCH-CULT IN WESTERN EUROPE, (1921) whilst others say that it stems back (in its recent form) to another British anthropologist Gerald B. Gardner.  He wrote two books, WITCHCRAFT TODAY (1954) followed by THE MEANING OF WITCHCRAFT (in 1959).    Gardner also wrote a fictional book that contains a wealth of historical details – HIGH MAGICK’S AID (1949). Some folk believe that he wrote the novel so as to be free of the restrictions of the Witchcraft Act of 1736.

You may be interested to learn that this Act of 1736 was only repealed as recently as 1951.



•         In 1542 Parliament passed the Witchcraft Act which defined witchcraft as a crime punishable by death. It was repealed five years later, but restored by a new Act in 1562.

•         A further law was passed in 1604 during the reign of James I (1566-1625) who took a keen interest in demonology and even published a book about  it,  Demonology,  in 1603.  The 1562 and 1604 Acts transferred the trial of witches from the Church to the ordinary court

•         In Victoria 2005, the Government repealed Section 13 of the Vagrancy Act, which prohibits the practice of witchcraft and fortune-telling.

How scary to think that one could, technically, still be arrested as late as 2005 for simply practicing their faith




•         Gardnarian   – f. Gerald B Gardner 1884-1964)

   : Full Moon Gatherings, God/dess, Skyclad, Cakes and Ale. BOS

•         Alexandrian  – f. Alex Sanders 1926-1988, and Maxine Sanders

   : Ceremonial Magick, Enochian, Qabalah, 3o Hierarchy , Robed or Skyclad

•         Seax-Wicca  – Introduced in 1973 by Raymond Buckland and borrows from the Saxon or Norse traditions.  Its primary deities being Freya and Woden

  : Deities are Woden and Freya (Saxon)  No degree system or oath of secrecy

•          Janet and Stewart Farrar – Introduced by Alex Sanders but over time have developed their own system. Prefer to be simply known as Wiccan.

Though there may be differences the Craft is a religion of Love and Joy.  One that is close to the Land. It seeks to employ Magick via Ritual as a means of working with Nature – instead of against Nature. When casting the Circle, the ‘Guardians of the Watchtowers’ are called to guard and protect each of the Cardinal Points of East, South, North and West.

One of my most beloved Wiccans, Scott Cunningham (1956-1993) had this to say in his book, Living Wicca (1992)

Living Wicca is for those who have become enchanted by the moon shining through the trees; who have begun to investigate the sublime world that lies out beyond the fabric of daily life, and who stand in smoke-shrouded circles, raising aloft their hands to greet the Goddess and the God as the candles flicker on the altar…for those who, through choice or circumstance, meet with the Silver Lady and the Horned God alone.

And as a famous chef once said – “Mother Nature is the true artist and our jobs as cooks is to allow her to shine.”   We can easy paraphrase this as a working motto for living out the Pagan faith; the Wicca or Heathen faith, substituting the word ‘cook’ with ‘Her children’ is to allow her to truly shine.



In the book, Wicca for One, by Raymond Buckland, another of my favourite writers on Wicca, I found a beautiful Self-Dedication Ritual; the words of which truly sum-up (at least to me) this wonderful Path:

God and Goddess; Lord and Lady.  I am here a simple seeker of knowledge, a lover of life.  I here dedicate myself to you and to your service.  You are the ones I have chosen to serve.  I do this of my own free will, with no pressure from any other.  Guard me and guide me in all that I do, for all that I do is in love of you and of all life.   Help me live my life with harm to none.   Help me to acknowledge the depth and beauty of all life, animal, vegetable, and mineral.  The animals, birds, fish, reptiles, and all living things are my brothers and sisters.  The trees of the forest, the plants, flowers, herbs and all growing things are my brothers and sisters. 

The rocks, soil, sand, the rivers, lakes, seas, all waters of the earth, and all that is of the earth, are my brothers and sisters.   Make me one with this family.  Let me guard them and work for them as they all work for me.

Lord and Lady, from this day forth I accept all and will ever abide by the Wiccan Rede: ‘An it harm none, do what thou wilt.’   I pledge myself to you, the gods.   I will always protect you as you do me.  I will defend you against those who speak ill of you.  You are my life and I am yours. So Mote It Be.

Again, you will find another Self-Dedication Ritual in Scott Cunningham’s WICCA: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner (2000).


D.J. Conway, in her book, BY OAK, ASH OR THORN, writes that:  “Dedication, Self-Discipline, Patience and Reflection on what has been learned, all form a changed self with the aspiring Shaman” › or the aspiring Wiccan, Druid etc. “However,” continues the author,  “you will accomplish little if you are not dedicated, disciplined and sincere in your motives.”




When Wiccans refer to Magick, the definition generally used is that defined by the famous British occultist Alastair Crowley, (1875-1947) who said that Magick is “The science and art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.”    To thus create Change, one must first have the Will to work towards that Change – this is what True Magick is about. There are 6 components to create successful magick:

1. Personal Will – The Desire to Change

2. Timing – Noting the right time

3. Imagery – Creating the picture

4. Direction – Visualizing the Change

5. Balance – Is our Magick right?   What we give out comes back Three-fold. We must have the right emotional balance to work effective Change

6. Intent  –  Must  be pure and creative, not destructive


The 16th Century Alchemist, Paracelsus writes that: Magic has power to experience and fathom things which are inaccessible to human reason.  For Magic is a great secret wisdom, just as reason is a great public folly

As an aside, it is believed that Paracelsus first invented the Garden Gnome as a statue so as to help folk remember once more our Mother Earth.

Again, to cite Scott Cunningham:  “Magic plays a special role in Wicca.  It allows us to improve our lives and return energy back to our ravaged planet.   Wiccans also develop special relationships with the Goddess and God through magic.”  (Wicca, 2000). 

Magic be always be requested and never summoned.  Again, in Ceremonial Magic, spirits are both conjured and commanded – the Circle is cast to keep entities out, whilst in Wicca the Circle is Cast to invite in the Lord and Lady.

Magic and Witchcraft are not the same.  A Ceremonial Magic undertakes to work Magic though not the Path of Wicca – for Wicca is a way of life that employs Magic.  As I once read, “By his magic, so shall ye know him.”


There are some differences between Wicca and Heathenry worth noting.  Please remember that I am using  Ásatrú (Ow-sa-tru). as one strand of Heathenry.  Please note that this list is not complete but is simply a small sample.

Wiccans called on the gods of several cultures – Egyptian. Greek, Celtic, Norse

Heathens stick to the gods and goddesses of Germanic Lands – such as Odin and his wife, Frigg

Wicca is duotheistic – all the gods and goddesses are but aspects of the Lord and Lady. Dion Fortune wrote in her book, THE GOAT-FOOT GOD (1936) that:

“All the gods are One God, and all the goddesses are the One Goddess and there is one initiator.”

Heathens are polytheistic, and worship are range of gods and goddesses from the same culture

Wicca is organized according to the 4 elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water

Heathens see Fire and Ice as opposing each other: Thus there are the frost giant, barn wight (or spirit)

Wicca allows each member to become – eventually – a High Priest or High Priestess in a coven

Heathen folk tend to be more clan-based and members become skilled in different areas such as brewing, woodcarving etc. 

Wiccans cast a circle and other formal aspects are put in place

Heathens are much less formal and celebrate seasonal festivals or to hold blots (bloats) when performing a ritual with a specific purpose or stumbles to honour the gods, heroes and ancestors. However, a Magic Circle is cast when undertaking to do magic  (Norse Magic by D. J. Conway, Llewellyn 1990)

Wiccans hold to the Wiccan Rede: ‘An it harm none, do as ye wilt’ and the Threefold Rule:  ‘Every action affects us on three levels: mind, body and spirit’   What we do comes back threefold.

Heathens follow a Code known as the Nine Noble Virtues



‘Eight Words the Wiccan Rede fulfill, An It Harm None, Do What Thou Wilt’


The beauty of this Axiom is that it truly connects us to others; to all life (= Universal Brotherhood) and takes us deep within ourselves – ‘An it Harm None.’  I believe that the word ‘None’ likewise includes our self, as we are a part of the Rede.  This means we cannot take harmful drugs, practice unsavory or dangerous habits or acts or display a lack of virtues, ethics, or generally hurt ourselves.


‘Every action affects us on three levels: Mind (Mental), Body (Physical) and Spirit (the Spiritual)


Every action that we perform manifests as an emotion. Emotion causes a change in our bodily chemistry, and so this results in a physical change.  This change influences the way that we feel, which, in turn, affects our spirit.   Through one single act our Mind, Body and Spirit is affected.  Some believe that what one gives out, comes back threefold.    As such, we need to be mindful of what we do.    We cannot justify harming others simply because we might seek vengeance for some negative act done to us or others.


Both the Rede and the Law of Three cannot be separated as both depend upon each other.


Aleister Crowley (1875-1947) had a similar quote:  Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the Law…What is the Law?  Love is the Law, Love Under Will.



I sincerely believe – without a shadow of doubt – that the true value in Paganism and its numerous traditions, lies within its story-telling.

Many people read fantasy novels yet few there be that truly believe in the worlds thus describe with these works.   But if we open up our hearts and minds, we might just been granted the privilege to see that such worlds do truly exist.    They may not be called what the writers call them, but they are there nonetheless.

One of the things that I felt when watching the Never-ending Story years back was that there was a hidden or occult message to be had.   To me, the story teaches that we need to keep alive our imagination else the world of Imagination may either cease to be or it may simply cut itself off from us.

The greatest fantasy that I ever read was a the Tir Alainn Trilogy.    Reading about the killing of the Witches by the Inquisitors and the subsequent closing of the Roads (or Bridges) to the world of the Fey moved me like no other book ever has.  

I am so taken in by this Trilogy that it has almost become like an alternative Bible – as it were.  In this Fantasy, the Witches of Old – who do not interfere – are called upon to assist with saving the Bridges – And when the Witches finally give in, all the Powers of Evil cannot even hope to win.   These Witches are to me the ones who command my respect. There are also the Fay and beings such as the Selkies.

Within the pages of this book there is much truth if we but open our hearts and minds to the plot and the images that the author, Anne Bishop, has so beautifully described.   Indeed, a part of me would love to see it as a film but then my other half say No.  For is not true fantasy about imagination?

The novelist, Robert Carter, writes in his book, THE GIANT’S DANCE, [Harper Voyager 2011] a wee bit of wisdom that I believe we should all reflect upon – “It is the task of all people to make life less unfair if they can.” And this can be extended to all life.

So as I see it, the Pagan Path, no matter the Tradition that one follows, can help not only our immediate world as we learn to value the life both seen and unseen, but also the numerous planes of existence that we may not even  consciously know to exist.

Scott Cunningham had a sentiment that I wholeheartedly have taken on board for its truth is self-evident:

This [Wicca] can be a lonely path, because so few of us follow the Old Ways. It’s disheartening to spend your time reverencing nature and watching the Earth suffocating under tons of concrete while nobody seems to care.

Wicca: Guide for the Solitary Practitioner p.75

For myself, this is my worldview and one that I hope that you assembled here today may take away some of what I have said.

I shall end this talk by quoting from the Theosophical book, To Light A Thousand Lamps (2001) by Grace F. Knoche, who has so brilliantly written:

Already the theme of our oneness with nature has revolutionized present-day thinking and lifestyles.   Once again we are beginning to see ourselves as participants in an ecosystem of cosmic dimension.  We are discovering that we, the observers, measurably affect not only the object we are observing but the entire complement of evolving entities.  Best of all, we are realizing, though not sufficiently as yet, that we are one humanity, and that what you or I do to help another benefits all, striking a resonant chord in the on-going symphony that together we are composing.   Though the burden of our inhumanities are indeed heavy, the universe must rejoice over the slightest movement of compassion in the soul of even a single human being.

Is this not the goal; the underlying reason as to why we must not fear the Pagan, the Heathen or the Wiccan; the Witch?

Thank you all for your attention, and for allowing me to cover a subject that is both urgent and the greatest gift that the Lord and His Lady-Love have called me to partake off

May you take the hand of the Lord of the Forest or Lady of the Silver Moon and Dance the Sacred Circle Dance of Life





The concept of a single God is called monotheism. Monotheism originates from the Greek – monos = single, and theos=God.

Monotheism is a predominant feature of the Abrahamic religions- these being:

·        Judaism

·        Christianity

·         Islam

Monotheism is also a key feature of the Baha’i belief, Zoroastrianism and Sikhism.

While many may consider monotheism as a modern Western concept, it is in fact, a practice which emerged in the ancient East.

The scope of this paper will not allow an overview of those religions listed above, but rather to consider a particular moment in ancient Egyptian history were Monotheism existed, albeit for a very brief period during the New Kingdom era (1550–1070 BC : considered by many as the most glorious period of ancient Egyptian history).

This unique time when monotheism was a dominant feature of Ancient Egyptian religion, art and societal custom and tradition is today known as Atenism. This form of monotheism  was so named after the Sun.

When uttering the name Amunhotep IV, unless one has a sound knowledge of the lineage of Ancient Egyptian pharaohs, it is likely that this name will not raise much interest. However, mention the name Akhenaten and commentary abounds!

The much maligned Pharaoh has been described as a deformed heretic, a meglomaniac, and revolutionary. It is also noteworthy that he was the father of the boy King Tutankhamun whose intact tomb found in the early twentieth century is one of the most celebrated finds in archaeology.

Regardless of one’s view of him, Akhenaten’s legacy, like his reputation, has endured over the millennia and today we are able to consider his contribution to Ancient Egyptian religion, worship and art.

The theological experiment, to which it is sometimes referred, was a revolutionary belief system. It focussed on the notion of a single deity. In this case, the Aten or Sun-disk.

Indeed, the Pharaoh believed himself to be the Son of the Sun. Within the first few years of his reign, Amenhotep 1V had changed his name to Akhenaten meaning “Radiant Spirit of the Aten”.

This radical approach to worship, that is, monotheism, predated the Hebrew’s religion and that of Christianity.

Whether this relatively short-lived theological experiment directly influenced later religions such as that of the Israelites is a matter of great, academic speculation. I will present some commentators’ opinions at the conclusion of this presentation, of which you may evaluate for yourselves.

Akhenaton was born Amunhotep 1Vth and reigned a mere 14 years (1352-1338 BCE). It is likely he died in middle age. The cause of his death is unknown but I have found some amusing speculations as to the nature of his demise! Some scholars have offered the possibility that he may have died of skin cancer, or sun stoke on account of his unending “sun worship” at every opportunity.

We also have accounts of the many structures built in the capital and especially at the Royal Court which were constructed without a roof. Historical accounts detail petitions made by international emissaries complaining about standing in the sun for long hours wearing heavy regalia without the benefit of being under shade, whilst attending Royal ceremonies for many hours.

The Pharoah was obsessed with the sun. He decreed that his new city be situated on the eastern shore of the Nile which was essentially, the desert. Fittingly, he named his capital city Akhetaten meaning “Horizon of the Sun-disk”.  The location is now modern El Armarna. Today is it no more than ruins.

It appears that Akhenaten was dissatisfied with the worship of Amun at the time. The usual religious rituals involved the deity Amun being revered in a dark, inner part of the sanctum, of a temple and this was only for the select few. Additionally, it is likely that the attendant priesthood was another aspect of the religious practice with which he was not impressed, and so, over a period of time, he began closing down many of  the temples across Egypt.

While Akhenaten’s revolutionary approach to everyday worship and devotion of the divine may have been at odds against the previous prevailing orthodoxy, other aspects of the period were indeed fresh and inspiring. Religious representation changed from a stylised, iconographic manner to a more realistic depiction of the Royal Family. However, many have viewed the representation of the Royal Family  as  odd.

Mostly the royal portraiture of Akhenaten displays the pharaoh in unflattering light. Many historians have hinted that the Royal portraiture was ‘realistic’ in that, the family was afflicted with a genetic disorder (Marfan’s Syndrome) brought about by procreating amongst an interrelated gene pool, as close family members often married each other and spawn offspring.

A revisionist view is that the Royal family were depicted in a less stylised manner to demonstrate the notion that the family was different to mere mortals, and that they were unworldly and extraterrestrial. Depictions of the Royal Family abound and also testify to this idea. The family, though imbued with familial tenderness and devotion, in the many royal scenes, also denote ‘other worldliness’.  For me, there is something, somewhat fascinating but strange about the oddly-shaped face and body of the Pharaoh, with his beautiful Queen Nefertiti and their  children with their extraordinary, elongated, shaped heads.

So far as the new religion was concerned, the Aten (Sun) was not portrayed with the usual human or animal attributes as had the pantheon of Egyptian deities. The Aten was always depicted as a geometric solar circle – but such representation was beautifully rendered with little hands attached to the sun-rays.

There are many depictions of Akhenaten and his family having the loving, gentle rays of the Aten, figuratively toughing via the ‘hand and fingers’ of the Aten’s rays.

What is remarkable about Akhenaten’s Atenism, I feel, is that this religion was accessible for every Egyptian. One did not have to have come from the ruling classe, nor of the  elite Priesthood to have contact with this God. The Aten, the Sun, touched everything and everyone without distinction or favour.

The beauty of this religion was the brightness of it, for nothing was in the shadows so to speak, as was the worship of Amun. Every worshiper could have immediate, direct, illuminated commune with the Aten. The worshipper could always have his/her “time in the Sun”.

Not only did Pharoah’s influence extend into the Affairs of state but also how they were conducted. The reign of Akhenaten was a relatively peaceful one as was the social the  structure.

Cyril Aldred has said of Akhenaten;

…”there was one aspect in which he was wholly original, and that was his insistence upon a true monotheism, the worship of one god only, whose incarnation he was, to the exclusion of all else. Where this idea came from in the world of the fourteenth century BC, which widely recognised so many different manifestations of godhead , is not known; but his own identification with the Aten probably provides the key’’.p.260. –  Aldred, C. Akhenaten Pharaoh of Egypt a new study,p. 260.


Another author, Redford, has made the following comments of which I will not evaluate. Instead you may arrive at your own assessment of Akhenaten’s legacy concerning his contribution to the notion of monotheism.

Several revisionist historians believe Atenism did not begin as monotheism but as a preference and superiority of one god over others.

As stated by Donald B. Redford…

“There is little or no evidence to support the notion that Akhenaten was a progenitor of the full-blown monotheism that we find in the bible…(it) had its own separate development.”  Redford, Donald B. The Monotheism of Akhenaten  Princeton University Press. p. 26.


At this juncture it may be timely to consider that Redford here is referring to Henotheism.

Wikipedia, defines Henotheism as “…the belief and worship of a single god while accepting the existence or possible existence of other deities that may also be worshipped.” 

Finally, an analysis of Akhenaten’s legacy which appealed for me are that of Aldred,  when he says:

“In the development of religion and thought, Akhenaten stands out as against the momentum of traditional religion as the instigator of ideas which were in advance of his time. As such, he seems the world’s first individual and the world’s first idealist”. Aldred: Page 257.



Who was St Thomas better known as ‘Doubting Thomas’?


•         Thomas the Apostle also known as Didymus (meaning the ‘Twin’ brother of Jesus) died 72AD in Mylapore, India.

•         Best known for questioning Jesus’s resurrection then proclaiming “My Lord, My God” on seeing Jesus – John 20:28.

•         An architect and builder by trade he was directed to carry the gospel to Iraq/Iran and India following the death of Jesus.

•         Writings attributed to him, but never included in the Bible,  include: the Acts of Thomas, the Infancy Gospel of Thomas, and the best known of all, The Gospel According To Thomas.

•         The Gospel According To Thomas is a series of sayings of Jesus and may predate the writing of the gospels that made it into the Bible!


 The Missionary Travels of St Thomas:


•         Following the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostles cast lots to carry the Gospel to different areas of the then known world.

•         To Thomas fell India. He sailed to India in 52AD to spread Christianity amongst the Jews in Kerala where he established seven churches still there! He also went to Indo-Parthia (modern Pakistan) where he worked as a builder at Taxila (modern Islamabad).

•         From there tradition has it that he went to Kerala in SW India, and then on to SE India where he was martyred at St Thomas’s Mount in AD72 near modern day Chennai (Madras).

•         In 232 his remains were brought back to Edessa in modern Iraq. Marco Polo in 1292 mentions Christians in southern India. Some relics are still kept in a church at Myalapore in Tamil Nadu state, southern India. His relics are now in Ortona,Italy.


The Writings of St Thomas:


•         Three major writings which never made it into the Bible are attributed to St Thomas: these are, The Infancy Gospel of Thomas late 2nd century AD: a gospel about the childhood of Jesus.

•         The Acts of St Thomas 3rd century AD: portraying Christ as the “Heavenly Redeemer”, independent of and beyond creation, who can free souls from the darkness of the world.

•         The Gospel According To Thomas: perhaps as early as 1st century AD maybe predating the Gospels in the Bible: collection of 114 sayings of Jesus discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. Almost half of these sayings resemble those recorded by other Gospel writers in the Bible. Perhaps this is the most accurate record we have of the actual sayings of Jesus which may have been recorded by Thomas as early as 30-60AD!

Themes to consider in the Gospel According to Thomas:

·        Unlike the Canonical Gospels, there is no narrative of the life of Jesus – just a series of his sayings.


·        You will recognize some of the sayings and stories which were included in the canonical New Testament in different forms.


·        Many of the sayings are enigmatic and mysterious in the extreme – ‘Let him who has ears hear’. They provide a spiritually transformative process for those who ‘will hear’.


·        Jesus seems to talk about the ‘now’ rather than ‘what is to come’.


·        He often refers to what is divided and what is integrated – He comes from that which is undivided; light and darkness; poor and riches; spirit and body, male and female.


·        The Kingdom of the Father is invisible and difficult to describe in readily understood terms – yet it surrounds us.


·        The sayings presume and encourage ‘gnosis’ or ‘knowing’ – not intellectual knowledge but a spiritual knowing based on experience, intuition, ‘feeling’.


·        There are quite a few similarities between the ‘Gnosis’ described here and Mahayana Buddhism including:


·        Both traditions describe salvation by ‘gnosis’ or ‘jnana’ – that is, spiritual knowledge.


·        Ignorance (ie. blindness to the true facts of existence) is the cause of evil.


·        Spiritual knowledge is derived solely from revelation which each one of us has to experience within oneself.


·        The crucial role of wisdom within both the Gnostic an Buddhist systems.


·        The Nag Hammadi texts, including pre-eminently the Gospel According to  Thomas, clearly indicate that the earliest Christian groups were rooted in, and part of a larger esoteric movement proclaiming salvation through baptismal/spiritual initiation and gnosis (ie spiritual knowledge).


·        There is tons of debate about the nature of the Gospel According to Thomas both in the academic and the internet community generally.


·        Debate also in the academic community over the nature of ‘Gnosticism’ – is there enough commonality of belief in Gnostic texts to say that there is such a thing as ‘Gnosticism’? If so what did it mean, if anything, in the early centuries of Christianity?


·        Is the Gospel According to Thomas ‘Gnostic’?

Selected Sayings from The Gospel According to Thomas:


A few sayings are given below, but the complete version of the Gospel According To Thomas is available on the internet in several versions including:



•         These are the secret words which the living Jesus spoke, and Didymus Judas Thomas wrote them down.


•         (1) And he said: He who shall find the interpretation of the words shall not taste of death.


•         (2) Jesus said: He who seeks, let him not cease seeking until: finds; and when he finds he will be troubled, and if he is troubled, he will be amazed, and he will reign over the All.


•         (3) Jesus said: If those who lead you say unto you: Behold, the Kingdom is in heaven, then the birds of the heaven will be before you. If they say unto you: It is in the sea, then the fish will be before you. But the Kingdom is within you, and it is outside of you. When you know yourselves, then shall you be known, and you shall know that you are the sons of the living Father. But if ye do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty, and you are poverty.


•         (20) The disciples said to Jesus: Tell us what the kingdom of heaven is like. He said to them: It is like a grain of mustard-seed, smaller than all seeds; but when it falls on the earth which is tilled, it puts forth a great branch, and becomes shelter for the birds of heaven.


•         (24) His disciples said: Teach us concerning the place where thou art, for it is necessary for us to seek after it. He said to them: He that hath ears, let him hear. There is a light within a man of light, and it gives light to the whole world. If it does not give light, there is darkness.


•         (25) Jesus said: Love thy brother as thy soul; keep him as the apple of thine eye.


•         (28) Jesus said: I stood in the midst of the world, and I appeared to them in flesh. I found them all drunk, I found none among them thirsting; and my soul was afflicted for the sons of men, for they are blind in their heart and they do not see. For empty came they into the world, seeking also to depart empty from the world. But now they are drunk. When they have thrown off their wine, then will they repent.


•         (39) Jesus said: The Pharisees and the scribes have receive the keys of knowledge; they have hidden them. They did not go in, and those who wanted to go in they did not allow. But you be ye wise as serpents and innocent as doves.


•         (47) Jesus said: It is not possible for a man to ride two horses or draw two bows, and it is not possible for a servant to serve two masters; or he will honour the one and insult the other. A man does not drink old wine and immediately desire to drink new wine; and they do not pour new wine into old skins, lest they burst, nor do they pour old wine into new skins, lest it spoil. They do not sew an old patch on a new garment, for a rent will come.


•         (50) Jesus said: If they say to you: Whence have you come?, tell them: We have come from the light, the place where the light came into being through itself alone. It [stood], and it re- vealed itself in their image. If they say to you: Who are you?, say: We are his sons, and we are the elect of the living Father. If they ask you: What is the sign of your Father in you?, tell them: It is a movement and a rest.


•         (62) Jesus said: I tell my mysteries to those [who are worthy of my] mysteries. What thy right hand shall do, let not thy left hand know what it does.

•         (67) Jesus said: He who knows the All but fails (to know) him-self lacks everything.


•         (70) Jesus said: When you bring forth that in yourselves, that which you have will save you. If you do not have that in yourselves, that which you do not have in you will kill you.


•         (77) Jesus said: I am the light that is over them all. I am the All; the All has come forth from me, and the All has attained unto me. Cleave a (piece of) wood: I am there. Raise up the stone, an ye shall find me there.


•         (82) Jesus said: He who is near to me is near the fire, and he who is far from me is far from the kingdom.


•         (92) Jesus said: Seek, and ye shall find; but those things concerning which ye asked me in those days, I did not tell you then. Now I wish to tell them, and ye seek not after them.


•         (94) Jesus [said]: He who seeks shall find, and he who knock to him it shall be opened.


•         (97) Jesus said: The kingdom of the [Father] is like a woman; carrying a jar full of meal and walking a long way. The handle the jar broke; the meal poured out behind her on the road. She was unaware, she knew not her loss. When she came into her house, she put down the jar (and) found it empty.


•         (100) They showed Jesus a gold piece and said to him: They who belong to Caesar demand tribute from us. He said to them: What belongs to Caesar give to Caesar, what belongs to God give to God, and what is mine give unto me.


•         102) And Jesus said: Woe to them, the Pharisees! For they are like a dog sleeping in the manger of the cattle; for he neither eats, nor does he let the cattle eat.


•         (113) His disciples said to him: On what day will the kingdom come? <Jesus said>: It cometh not with observation. They will not say: Lo, here! or: Lo, there! But the kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth, and men do not see it.


 Further reading for those interested: