Heart Drop Medicine
The Shakti Cluster as a Vortex of Gaian Correction
for the shakti who is
Although I have said that I will not present Planetary Tantra by argument and exposition, some framing of this new dimension of the site is required. Even with a complex mystical experience, hermeneutics can be applied. I can, and ought to, supply some approach vectors—for Kala Tantra is so radical, new, unprecedented, and downright startling (even to me) that I would be remiss were I not to do so.
Indeed, a great deal of the best exposition in Dzogchen and related teachings from Hindu Tantra is hermeneutic, "guiding the mind to understand." Intellectual explanation does not preclude first-hand experience, though it can, and often does, get in the way of it. For me, for some time now, the Shakti Cluster and the Diamond Sky Dakinis are a direct experience, evolving as I interact with it. You might compare me to a weatherman who is not just forecasting a turbulent front, but actually navigating into it. I report to you from the eye of a mystical hurricane. You all have a general idea what "weather" is. You may not yet have prepared yourself for the kind of weather system I am tracking, a "perfect storm" of cyclonic impact driven by animated currents of goddess force.
Then again, I suspect that a good many of you are not only sensing this weather but reveling in its approach....
So, I feel bound to risk intellectual buggery by offering a little precursory orientation to the mysterious phenomenon I call the Shakti Cluster, the superstorm of the Divine Feminine. Consider the following an alternative version of "Gaia's Revenge" as understood by a natural-born mystic who has been under dakini supervision from the age of four.
My argument will show that the Shakti Cluster is an epiphany disclosed through three events simultaneously: an outgrowth of religious imagination, a mystical display aborning in the infrasensory zone of perception, and a turbulent eruption in the terrestrial atmosphere.
Not in His Image was the calculated assault of a mystic warrior delivering the coup de grace to patriarchy. Most of that book was about the problem, how we got into this terrific mess. The revelation of the Shakti Cluster in Planetary Tantra is all about the solution. The solution is not matriarchy, not at all, but it does require a terrific whack of exclusively feminine power—like the brutal chiropractic adjustment of a chronic spinal deformation. Why the decisive blow that brings a self-selecting group of human folks back to the sanity and beauty of the awakened heart must come from an exclusively feminine source will, perhaps, be more evident at the close of this essay.
In mid January, the countryside of Andalucia above the Straights of Gibraltar has been bathed in the cool nacreous light of a winter full moon. I follow the cycles of the moon—"observation of the lunar shaktis," a technique I will explain in a course of lessons after January 26—so that I can fine-tune my clairaudient audition of the Shakti Cluster. Day 14 of the lunar cycle marks the appearance of the full lunar disk, the stage of "reflect and select." Precisely at that moment, when I began constructing the grand mandala of the Shakti Cluster, the key insight required for clear and correct exposition of the Cluster fell into my hands. To my amazement, this clue came from a Dzogchen master—the one Tibetan master with whom I have always felt a vivid and intimate connection, not to say a sense of complicity: Long Chen Pa (Long Chen Rab Jam, 1308 - c. 1364)
I found in Long Chen Pa's commentary titled Klong-'grel a detailed exposition a self-correction process in the TriKaya that can be applied to the emergence of the Shakti Cluster. To those who are not familiar with Buddhist jargon, Trikaya (three-body) is a trinitarian concept similar to those found in many religions, myths, and philosophical systems. It consists of the Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, and Nirmanakaya. For my purposes with Kala Tantra, this trinity may be regarded as a homologue to the threefold system in which human life appears on the earth. The three internesting zones of this system are (1) Nirmana: the human social world, populated by individual persons (2) Sambhoga: the planetary world or biosphere, Gaia's own life-system which is our habitat, and (3) Dharma: the galactic setting or origin system, the Pleroma. Thus I convert the Buddhist Trikaya into the Gaian Trikaya (more below).
I had always favored Long Chen Pa among Dzogchen teachers for his views on how ordinary phenomena arise from the cosmic source. He elucidates how all that we perceive in normal awareness arises from a non-manifest field. He describes the manifestation of natural processes and appearances, including human behavior, from the unmanifest source. In "The Jeweled Ship," for instance, he explains how "the creativity of the universe" arises from the uncreated primordial state. In other words, how the divine awareness or perfect attention that is beyond all mental elaboration orchestrates both mental and phenomenal effects, the play of mind and matter. He presents this process as a grand orchestration: "All that exists is displayed by it, the supreme ordering principle."
Long Chen Pa states: "The dimension of apparitional being is pure and total presence." To my knowledge, he was uniquely gifted in explaininghow the non-originated state of primordial witnessing, the supreme ground awareness, produces what is to be witnessed. Buddhist scholar H. V. Guenther (cited below) praises the "profound hermeneutics" of Long Chen Pa. My presentation of the Shakti Cluster glides in the wake of this exposition.
Long Chen Pa's teachings parallel Hindu Tantra on the way that the universe arises from the self-veiling activity of Parasamvit, the supreme ground awareness. But that which veils itself in order to produce the display of phenomena, behavior and appearances, also reverses its own veiling so that it can be realized concurrently with and through what it reveals. Enlightenment or cosmic consciousness, samadhi, whatever you call it, affords direct, experiential realization of the common source of both veiling and unveiling. Perfect attention sees the play of phenomena, both the phenomena of subjective thought and of the external world, arise out of pure, non-originated awareness. The "emptiness" of phenomena, material and mental, can be sensed directly with the realization of its grounding in the non-originated, blissful, luminous awareness that has neither subject nor object. Such is the testimony of realized sages such as Long Chen Pa.
I have long been familiar with this teaching, and had a number of mystical experiences that confirm it, but then, in the current timing of the "lunar shaktis," I found something in Long Chen Pa that I had never before encountered: an exposition of how the perfect ttention corrects what deviates from it. According to this view, the non-originated ground awareness allows itself to appear to deviate from perfect attention and stray into a cycle of delusional events (samsara), but then corrects this deviance and returns all phenomena to perfect attention. The principle of the self-correction of the ground awareness is, of course, central to Dzogchen, which means "great perfection." That is to say, the dynamic of perfect attention is the perpetual, instantaneous activity of self-correction. It does not become more perfect by self-correction. It shows how perfect it already is, and ever is, by the imminent magic of self-correcting.
To my knowledge, the explicit description of the dynamics of Trikaya self-correction in the Klong-'grel is unique and exceptional. I had never encountered it anywhere else in Tibetan Buddhist teachings, or elsewhere. As I got into Long Chen Pa's hermeneutics, I realized with astonishment how his exposition applies to the Shakti Cluster.
The Trikaya concept is familiar to all students of Buddhism, whatever their level of practice or attainment. Guenther specifies that the Tibetan word sku (Skr. kaya) means "field" or "gestalt," whereas the term lus refers to a static, limited "body." Considered in this perspective, the three aspects of the Trikaya are: Dharmakaya, the field of absolute truth, Sambhogakaya, the field of unitive bliss, Nirmanakaya, the field of transformation or appearance. Guenther (The Royal Song of Saraha) also calls the kayas "existential norms": referring to noetic, communicative, and authentic existence, respectively. There are dozens of ways to translate and paraphrase the Trikaya.
Now, what happens if we frame the traditional Trikaya in a Gaian perspective? By this I mean, define these concepts in terms of the planetary system, considering what the system harbors and where it is harbored. Then we get this:
An important qualification: With its anthropocentric emphasis, Buddhism largely excludes consideration of the enlightened potential of sentient beings other than humans. If I designate the human social order as the Nirmana aspect of the Gaian Trikaya, I do not exclude other animals or even rocks and raindrops. As I said in the recent interview with Jan Irvin, humanity occupies an exceptional position among sentient beings, but not a superior position. This distinction accords with the Gnostic view of the Anthropos in the scenario of the Aeon Sophia, the goddess from the Pleroma who morphed into the earth. What is exceptional about us, really? Of all sentient beings we can deviate the most widely from cosmic order—due, paradoxically, to our faculties for making order, mapping, planning, designing, projecting. This being so, we have a special responsibility to see that our ordering skills coordinate with the pre-given, divinely directed order of the earth and the larger cosmos, the galaxy that harbors the earth. An ideal society or community of enlightened individuals (Nirmana realm) would be blissfully adapted to that larger order.
Due to this unique situation, it is fair and correct, I believe, to assign to humanity a unique role in the correction of deviance from the terrestrial symbiosis and the larger cosmic order.
Human society consists of individual persons far more distinctly than, say, the society of Monarch butterflies consists of individual members. It follows that the Nirmana potential of human society is seated uniquely in such individuals. Change in society comes through the individual, first and foremost; then it spreads osmotically into the general population, it is triggered, taught, and inspired, etc. In this essay I will venture t the notoin that there is a unique event through which such globally effective change comes to be initiated in a solitary human subject.
In Matrix of Mystery, Buddhist scholar Herbert V. Guenther details the dynamics of Trikaya rectification, or Gaian correction, as I prefer to call it, putting the metaphysical concept in concrete terms. He designates three phases of auto-rectification of the primordial, bliss-filled, non-originated awareness. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes in this essay are from Matrix of Mystery (Shambhala, 1984), especially ch. VII, "Fury of Being." (Note: Guenther's baroque jargon will not be to the liking of everyone. I'll keep citations down and paraphrase, when and where necessary.)
To my astonishment, I find that Trikaya correction in Long Chen Pa's Klong-'grel can be applied to the Shakti Cluster, as if it were created for just that purpose.
If my application of Dzogchen teachings to Gaian Tantra is correct, it shows that
That is to say, the Cluster presents the simultaneous and unified correction of all three components: human social order, planetary-biospheric system, and Pleromic matrix of the planetary system grounded in the Diamond Light beyond all galaxies. Guenther claims that the simultaneous correction of these components is automatic or "auto-catalytic," but not passive. It does not happen without direct interactive involvement at all three levels. In other words, members of the human social order (Nirmana field) interact with the planetary system of Gaia's body (Sambhoga field) which in turn interacts with the Pleromic center (Dharma field), each doing so with a conscious sense of orientation to the entire trinity. Self-correction begins at the moment when all three systems begin vividly and empirically to respond to each other.
Guenther calls this event of threefold self-correction "holistic integration." He says that it represents "the triumph of globally operating harmonizing forces over locally entrenched disruptive regimes." This language looks to me suspiciously like an early prefiguration of the "planetary shift" now widely associated with 2012, a moment when the tide of events turns and the dynamic of global harmony begins suddenly to overide disruptive systems. More on this allusion in a moment.
The Lotus of Gaia
Now, let's ask, How would a human individual experience holistic integration of the social-planetary-cosmic trinity? Well, I am certain that the experience might arise in a number of ways, due to a mystical experience or spiritual awakening of some kind. I have in mind one particular kind of mystical experience that may be unique to the encounter with the Shakti Cluster: the signature of dakini engagement, as it were. It also has a precedent in a certain meditational practice in Vajrayana, called deity yoga.
Guenther calls the mysterious cosmic force that compels the interactive correction of the Trikaya, "the ultimate point-instant binding energy (thig-le chen-po)." I call it the sublime generative heart drop (Skr bindu). I propose that each of us, considered as an individual cell in the Nirmana organism of human society, may come to be engaged in Gaian correction when this radiant seed of wisdom-filled bliss seats itself in the heart center. "Heart drop" is a pun, for this drop, or seed-essence, literally falls or drops from the sky. The sensation is unmistakable, as if there is a sudden change in atmospheric pressure and you feel the sky dropping.
This is a palpable sensation and anyone can have it. I had it at the Ronda Moment, monday July 21, 2008, at 2:42 PM. Once you have it, you keep having it, producing the sensation that the inside of your body is floating, for the dropped or heart-seeded bindu has a boundlessly buoyant quality. The center of the float is in the middle of the chest at the location of thymus gland. The floating sensation is not merely figurative, but the effect of a physical process, a budding or nodal eruption. After long and careful consideration of this process, I will venture the following proposition:
I call this chakra the Lotus of Gaia. I first glimpsed its emergence some thirty years ago in Santa Fe and spoke of it among my circle of student friends of that time. Today I can suggest with more confidence that it is a bioenergetic reality, an emergent node of the human vital body consisting of nadis, subtle veins (including the acupuncture meridians) arranged about a vortex of concentrated life-force (prana) radiating in a spectrum of five distinctly colored bands ("rainbow body"). These five colors play through the 18 tendrils of the Lotus of Gaia in a tremulous, fluid, kaliedoscopic display. They may be seen in an altered, non-ordinary state of attention, or sensed in ordinary awareness.
Students of Buddhism will recognize in the above paragraph an alternative way to describe the well-known occult phenomenon of the Rainbow Body said to be demonstrated by those who realize the Nirmanakaya state, or higher. I would argue that we are all potentially Nirmanakayas, and that the Rainbow Body is not a privileged endowment of Buddhist masters, but a planteary mutation in which more and more people will come to participate in the near future.
The dropping of the generative heart point, thig'le-bindu, has been described countless times in Dzogchen instruction for the practice of the so-called completion stage of deity yoga. Here is a typical example from notes taken from oral instruction:
There are many variations of this process, but the bindu-drop is a consistent experience, attested by Tibetan lamas and some Western practitioners of Dzogchen. This sublime experience is mystical but also empirical: it can be prescribed and repeated, one person at a time. My own experience of enlightenment (if you will) at the Ronda Moment convinced me strongly that this enlightenment was not my own, alone. I am convinced that for some people on this planet, the drop of the thig'le-bindu into the heart will happen spontaneously at the release moment of a life-impacting traumatic experience, as it did for me in a Spanish tourist town. I do not wish to appear arrogant or grandiose, as if I were asserting that my experience is paradigmatic for others. I don't think this is so. I am convinced that my experience is archetypal in its own nature, not just because a well-seasoned mystic John Lash had it.
When I read Guenther's commentary on Trikaya correction in the Klong-'gren, I thought immediately of the arcane notion of diorthosis found in Gnostic writings. Scholars translate diorthosis as "correction." In Gaia and Gnosis on this site, I wrote:
With the experience of the heart-point-drop, I can now attest that this "biomystical" orientation is a constant and self-expressive experience. The sense of involvement in Sophia's correction comes in this way, uniquely and unmistakably, I would say. I will emphasize, as Guenther does, that this involvement is intentional, as Long Chen Pa also taught:
What induces the exquisite moment of the point-drop? It is something like ambient pressure that builds in the emotional life of an individual, producing a state of high susceptibility into which the Shakti Cluster can penetrate with a sudden jolt of occult pressure. Reflect on this description, my friends. Do so with your hand on your chest.
Long Chen Pa had some pretty wild ideas about Gnostic diorthosis, self-correction of the Gaian Trikaya, as I transpose it. He says that correction in the Nirmana field or social order consisting of individual persons enmeshed in delusional samsaric behavior, occurs due to the action of "eight genetrixes (ma-mo) who force man to realize his humanity" (Guenther's language, written in 1983). I make these "eight genetrixes" out to be equivalent to the eight Daimond Sky Dakinis of the Shakti Cluster, including the singular Gaian identity, the 18th Dakini who bears the name She will answer to. Guenther, who is prone at times to arcane diction, calls these modalities of the Divine Feminine "endorsement carriers." In a positive sense, these uniquely feminine spiritual influences endorse what is best in humanity, but they also incite heart-awakening by extreme shock, consistent with the psychosocial ambience of the Mahavidyas under Kali, the shock goddess par excellence.
As I investigated further, I was staggered to find in Long Chen Pa's detailed inventory of the eight ma-mo a point-by-point correlation to the eight Daimond Sky Dakinis or dorje namkhai khadromas of the Shakti Cluster! Here, for what they're worth, are the Gaian correlates to the ma-mo or daimonic feminine entities (bold) described in the Klong-'grel:
These eight are the Diamond Sky Dakinis of the Cluster, distinguished from the ten Mahavidyas who encircle them in the grand mandala I am developing. Note how these celestial witches correlate to the senses: 11 vision, 12 smell, 13 touch, 14 taste, 15 the color sense, and 16 hearing. Such correlations are not merely the result of a mix-and-match game for the clever, ever-scheming mind. They arise from direct encounters with the Adamantine Dakinis and reflect an acquired conviction about their impact and influence. The Kalika who experiences this impact might respond with an elated exclamation, MAMO MIA!
So, here is the hermeneutic rush: I find that Long Chen Pa's scheme of the eight divine witches who "operate with a vengeance" to redirect us into the full potential of our humanity points to the Shakti Cluster of Planetary Tantra. His scheme, written around 1350 AD, does not describe the Cluster as such, but presents what I believe was an inspired prefiguration of it, a visionary preview. In historical or diachronic terms, the Cluster did not emerge until around 1775 when Gaia woke up in her dream, some four centuries after Long Chen Pa lived. But his visionary gestalt fits the Cluster to a T, as shown by these correlations.
jll:14 January 2009 Andalucia
Material by John Lash and Lydia Dzumardjin: Copyright 2002 - 2017 by John Lash.