Review of Lunar Shaktis for 2008 - 09
NOTE: The purpose of the review is to develop insight on the shifts of dakini instruction timed to the lunar cycles. What may be learned in retrospect can then be applied to the current phase of instruction. I trust that readers will allow me some latitude with the biographical material, as I have only my own experience to report for the period under consideration. Since February of this year, others are involved with tracking the lunar shaktis. Their impressions and insights will be incorporated into future posts. jll on 2 June 2009
Practice with the lunar shaktis is arguably just an arcane form of "journaling." Variants of journaling, which are legion, derive more or less from the work of Ira Progoff (1921 – 1998), an American psychotherapist known for originating the Intensive Journal Method. Progoff put a humanistic slant on the Jungian idea that the psyche in its narrative function is self-guiding (an idea Jung drew from discussions with his first mistress and protege, Sabina Spielrein). The purpose of journaling was to let the psyche reveal its inherent order, thus giving meaning and direction to the events of life.
Tracking the lunar shakties resembles, we may record impressions, moods, and events with the aim of detecting a line of development, a psychological growth process, even a "story arc." I would warn against too much emphasis on narrative continuity and linear sequence: the devatas of the Shakti Cluster, and the Mahavidyas especially, operate outside our habitual frame of spacetime. Their frequencies are atemporal and non-sequential, and their effects are "non-local": not limited to a particular location in three-dimensional space.
Nevertheless, life is a story. Every incident is a story: when you go to the grocery store, that's a story. The extreme development of narrative function distinguishes our species from others, as far as we know.
Not everyone is able to recall the events of past months in sufficient and particular detail for tracking the subliminal operations of dakini instruction... Friends tell me that my systematic memory of dates and events is exceptional. Extraordinary recall belongs to the terton's vocation, of course. However, even a loose recall of the events of the past. considered month by month, can trigger striking associations with dakini motifs and attributes. A single event in the month-long period may signal the moment when instruction ripens, or resonates, or flashes.
Beginning in 2008 right after the spring equinox (March 21):
April 6 new moon in 17° ECL, the middle of the FISHES: completion of the shift of dakini instruction under Nairatmya, Diamond Sky Dakini "Lady of Emptiness, Whose Body is the Sky" (Miranda Shaw, Buddhist Goddesses of India).
Observations: I did not begin tracking the lunar shaktis with correlations to the Shakti Cluster until September 2008. To start the process, I backtracked to see what I might learn from what had happened over the previous months. On June 22 on Infinity Ridge, my Devi (guardian dakini since the age of four) delivered the astonishing message that my experience with Emma was the kickoff to a Tantric initiation that would last 108 days. To calculate the process, I went back to the exact moment when the trauma started: Sunday April 6. Amazingly, when I consulted the lunar shaktis in retrospect, I found that the Cinnamasta shift began on the following day!
This means that April 6 was the last day of the Nairatmya shift, the final day of completion. In the generic pattern for dakini instruction following the lunar cycles, completion runs from day 26 to day 30. In those five days, the entire sequence of instruction operating through the cycle comes into concrete embodiment; it coalesces and "downloads" in some manner. Nairatmya represents the total selflessness of enlightened realization that can be felt as loss of ego due to a lack or withdrawal of reflection, or abandonment. This is exactly what hit me with a full-body blow on that day, April 6, when my would-be Tantrika of 13 months abandoned me, flat. I can tell you it was the loneliest day of my entire life. Now, in the retrospective of the lunar shaktis, I realize that the Diamond Sky Dakini Nairatmya was overseeing this experience, so it took on the look of her instruction. Such was the kickoff of my 108-day initiation leading to the Ronda Moment, July 21.
The experience of self-loss with Nairatmya can have a sublime or transcendent quality. Almost a dreaminess. This moods eases the way into the sudden, devastating self-immolation of Chinnamasta—a total wipe-out of single-self identity. Thus, with the gracious entree provided by Nairatmya, I was plunged into the realm of Chinnamasta at the very first moment of the 108-day event.
Interpretation: What to make of this? Nairatmya and Chinnamasta will come on shift each spring, although not exactly on these dates. Does this mean that in the timing of these shaktis, March-April-early May each year, we are all somehow prone to have the experiences that match their operations? No, this is misconceived. Such experiences can occur at any time in the lunar cycles, through the year, through one's entire life. The shaktis are timing vectors, not causative sets. No Mahavidya or Diamond Sky Dakini causes any event to happen, but merely to appear to accord with the nature and direction of her instruction. Events in the lunar timeframe of any devata take on the look of her instruction. You detect the instruction by listening to your own mental radio, the stream of consciousness of the ordinary mind, with the anticipation of certain motifs and moods—this is the basic method of self-monitored entrainment to the lunar shaktis. It has nothing to with the shaktis causing events or creating situations. What causes events is other events (Long Chen Pa on the origin of bag-chags, Skr. vasanas, behavioral complexes—my paraphrase). One situation unfolds from the other. "This is like this because that was like that."
Dakini instruction is a subliminal intervention into the manner in which we mentally process events, not magical causation of events.
April 7 - May 5 skullcup moon in the RAM: Chinnamasta
Well, folks, what can I say? This year, 2009, I was so blitzed by the rapidity and lucidity of subliminal instruction on the Chinnamasta shift that I was unable to report on it and, as of this moment (May 1, 2009) still have to do so. In 2008, after the breakup with Emma, I was a living wreck, a sight of jaw-dropping devastation. The disgraceful and callous manner in which Emma dumped me was spectacular. The impact hit my ego like a wrecking ball. I went insane and walked around in a daze for a month, through the entire Chinnamasta shift, not eating, sleeping at most two or three hours at a time, caught in a total, all-consuming obsession with the object of my sexual-romatnci addiction. I could still see Emma during this time, but I could not reach her.
May 6 - June 3 skullcup moon in the BULL: Bhuvaneshvari and Tara, double shift
By the beginning of May, my emotional life had become intolerable. I had to force a crisis, a showdown of some kind, otherwise I felt that I would be strung out for months and would not survive the process. So I confronted Emma in the first week of this shift. I said, melodramatically, "Love me or lose me." "I'd rather lose you then," she replied without the blink of an eye. Now I can see the hand of Tara the Selector in this game: but in this case I was at risk of eliminating myself! I was gambling for all or nothing with this woman, to use a Kaliesque metaphor.
What ensued after that exchange was an extraordinary shift, unlike anything I had previously experienced in my life. Day by day, moment by moment, I realized that my life was being profoundly altered and enriched by the ordeal of losing this woman. I went down into hell, but hell proved to be a most fertile zone. Little did I know it at first, but I was living the mission of Orpheus in the Underworld. Loss and abandonment were worse than death. I wanted nothing more than to get my Eurydice back. That was my highest desire. I believe it was in this period, during the Bhuvaneshvari shift, that I inceptively detected dakini instruction on that crucial principle of Kala Tantra: the devatas of the Shakti Cluster hold you to your highest desire, and fulfill it for you. The trick is, to know what is your highest desire.
June 4 - July 3 skullcup moon in the TWINS: Bagalamukhi
Observations (written June 1, 2009): It is instructive to reflect on this past period during the current shift of the same Mahavidya, which runs earlier this year: May 25 - June 22. So far this year (2009) my impressions of the overseeing devata are less vivid and specific than any so far. I would not say that Bagala is elusive, but she may be in some sense furtive. This is unusual, as the Mahavidyas and Diamond Sky Dakinis I've tracked so far tend to be screamingly overt, outrageous, totally in-your-face....
Why and how would Bagalamukhi be different?
Looking back, I note three outstanding events that marked this time last year. First, I sent a nine-page, single-spaced "gratitude list" to Emma, thanking her for being just as she was, rather than as I wished her to be, and for all the wonderful things she had brought into my life. She was incommunicado at the time, but did acknowledge the list in Brit-style brevity with a one-line email. Second, I revised the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice so that the shaman does not lose his woman by looking back. Third, I got the message from Devi My Dakini that I was engaged in an initatory process. This came on June 22 on Infinity Ridge. Before that, I was just struggling through the breakup without a sense of development or instruction.
Bagalamukhi incites the reversal of attitudes or situations, including "the reversal of fortunes." She represents "the hidden presence of the opposite." When I composed the gratitude list, I was entirely sincere, yet gratitude was in reality the opposite of what I felt about the way Emma had abandoned me. I was grateful for what she brought to me when we were together, but not for the breakup, and certainly not for the way she conducted herself the last time I saw her. Writing the list, I was keenly aware of the tension of opposites: gratitude versus anger, tenderness versus outrage. Does Bagalmukhi operate through such tensions, forcing us to play both sides of any emotional game we may fall into? It seems likely that this m.o. fits her style of instruction.
As for a different ending to the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, is this not a clear example of "the reversal of fortune"? Looking back now, I would say the theme of Bagala's instruction might be reversing fate. That is a potent act of sorcery. Revising that myth was a paramount moment in my life as a comparative mythologist, a truly magnificent experience. After 20 odd years of contemplating Joseph Campbell's call for creative mythology, to be derived from individual experience rather than adopted from a received script, I was finally putting this incentive into practice. I did it with one of the greatest of all Tantric myths, a rare shamanic love story. As such, it resonates closely to the Tantric motifs of the TWINS: maithuna, sacred intercourse, consort yoga. This resonance may illustrate the Tantric and Erotic background of the Bagala shift, as suggested in my previous notes.
Finally, I got whacked with the realization about my 108-day initiation during the Bagala shift. On the 19th day, to be precise. After the full moon, during the phase of reflect and select. I was stunned, though not exactly paralyzed. I am still pondering how the menacing attributes of Bagalamukhi played into my experience of that time, and filtered through my tormented mind in subliminal instruction. Her association with cruelty and murderous intent is noteworthy. I felt jolting waves of emotional violence, sexual desparation, wounded male rage, and a sheer lust for vengeance. I faced the challenge of "turning" my emotional trauma with Emma into power, pleasure, and freedom. Once I was cued by my Devi, I did not spare myself the extremity of any emotion, positive or negative. I did not back off one millimeter from full-bore intensity of all I could feel and imagine. Somehow I knew that only by adhering to the most extreme emotional states could I "turn" those intensities into moral and magical assets.
The practical essence of Kala Tantric practice is rendering: Sanskrit sutaka (SUIT-ah-kah), as when you render fat by heating it, or render tallow into wax. To render is to convert, to pay off dues, to give in return or retribution, to cause to become, to surrender into another form or state. In Kalika slang, this dynamic process is called "turning." The primary skill of a Kala Tantrika is to "turn" any event, especially an event that involves obsessive and addictive emotions, extreme feelings of love and hate, compassion and disgust, joy and grief. The accomplished Kalika can turn any situation by going to the core of the raw forces that produce and sustain it.
Writing under the current Bagala shift, I can now sense why her instruction appears less forthcoming than the others. Representing as she does "the hidden presence of the opposite," does she also confer the paramount siddhi, sutaka, the skill of rendering? Would that skill be primary to her instruction? If so, it would only come to light in subliminal terms if you are facing a specific event or situation to be turned. What if this siddhi cannot be conferred arbitrarily but only an a case-by-case basis? I would guess this is so, and it accounts for a kind of withholding by Bagala, a tentative status of engagement unlike the precipitous instruction of the other devatas....
Last year during the Bagalamukhi shift, with a strike that hit me like a freight car, my Dakini got me to realize that I would render everything I thought and felt in connection with Emma, turning it from trauma and loss into rapture and liberation. To do so, I had to adhere relentlesslly to the white-hot intensity of extreme emotion. Kala Tantra is a practice of extremity. There are no half-measures on this path. No compromises or dismissing considerations. When I felt violence, I turned it ritually to protective power and sent it to Emma. I returned denial and fear coming from her with wrathful compassion. Reflecting now on that experience, I am convinced that rendering is the forte of Bagalamukhi. If so, it would be engaged under her shift by application to a specific situation. Otherwise, it would remain tentative and dormant.
July 4 - August 1 skullcup moon in the CRAB: Vajravarahi, Diamond Sow
Observations: Vajravahari is the Diamond Sow, correlated in the Zodiac to the constellation of the CRAB. This Diamond Sky Dakini represents a particular power of the planetary Shakti Gaia-Sophia, the focus of special clearing and healing properties of the Organic Light, of which she is a kinetic icon or animated image. As the primary form of Vajrayogini, she is an outstanding yidam (tutelary deity) of Tibetan Tantra. The Vajravarahi shift last year saw three momentous developments in my life: I was contacted on the site by the woman who was to become my Shakti, I received and performed the dakini rite of addiction on Infinity Ridge, and I underwent the Ronda Moment (in that order).
On July 6, the second day of the lunar cycle, when the first faint sliver of the skullcup moon appeared, I received an email from a woman who had been reading metahistory.org intensively for over a year. She had listened to my interviews on futureprimitive, redicecreations, and Coast-to-Coast AM. We decided to meet and she made arrangements to come to Spain.
August 2 - August 30 skullcup moon in the LION: Bhairavi, with Simhamukta
Observations: On 8/8/08 I met my Shakti at the train station in Ronda. At that moment we were total strangers with an email exchange of one month behind us. We had not even talked on the telephone. Within 24 hours Planetary Tantra erupted with the discovery of the Shakti Cluster. The two weeks that followed were without comparison the most spectacular of my life both in mystical and sexual-romantic terms.
Uh oh, here he goes again....
I realize that readers may quickly tire of my tales of mystical consorts and Tantric gal-pals, but I insist on this biographical material for one reason: to illustrate that nothing in Planetary Tantra can be accomplished alone. Tantra is a buddy-system. Consort yoga, which I practiced with my Shakti, is a sublime form of shared empowerment. I am basically a shy person with no tendency or need to parade my personal life in public. Until now, I have not written about myself—not ever in my career of writing and publishing since 1984. But, like it or not, my experiences with women in Tantra are exemplary: that is not to say, ideal models to be admired and imitated, but archetypal relationships that resemble those of other individuals who are, or will be, attracted to the Tantric way of life.
These notes are ongoing...To be continued.
August 31 - September 29 skullcup moon in the VIRGIN (head)
September 30 - October 28 skullcup moon in the VIRGIN (knees)
Note: The crescent does not appear in the Scales, a small constellation only 20 degress in extent.
October 29 - November 27 skullcup moon in the SCORPION: Kamala
November 28 - December 27 skullcup moon in the ARCHER: Kurukulla
December 28, 2008 - January 26, 2009 skullcup moon in the GOATFISH:
Mahakali. Delivery for Planetary Tantra
January 27 - February 25 skullcup moon in the MANITOU
February 26 - March 26 skullcup moon in the FISHES
March 27 - April 25 skullcup moon in the RAM
April 26 - May 24 skullcup moon in the BULL
May 25 - June 22 skullcup moon in the TWINS