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The name of the Ankh, continued: Kundalini around the world

The name of the Ankh, continued: Kundalini around the world

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The foregoing series of posts has been exploring the evidence which suggests that the concept of "raising the Djed" is absolutely central to the ancient wisdom which was apparently given to humanity from some pre-historic source and which manifests itself in the world's sacred scriptures and traditions, from the earliest "historical" civilizations of Egypt and Sumer and Vedic India, ancient China, and around the globe to the lands of the Norse, the Americas, Africa, Australia, the islands of the Pacific, and the vast lands of Asia.

We have seen evidence that the raising of the Djed-column has a celestial component, in the cycles of the heavenly bodies of the sun, moon, stars and planets -- especially in the annual sun-cycle and the "Cross" that is created by the equinoxes (where the Djed is "cast down") and the solstices (where the Djed is "raised up"). 

And we have seen evidence which suggests that the same raising of the Djed-column has an individual component, in which each and every one of us has the opportunity to recognize (or even remember) the spiritual, celestial, and in fact divine nature inside ourselves and to raise it up within this material incarnation that we find ourselves in during our earthly sojourn. In doing so, we are connecting with the vertical component of the Cross discussed above, and transforming and transcending the horizontal, material, and animal portion of our human experience, according to the ancient wisdom texts and traditions. 

We have seen that this process of "raising the Djed" was also symbolized by the ancient Egyptians using the Scarab and especially the Ankh, and that the name of the Ankh and the linguistic sound of the N-K has found its way into a myriad of words which are associated with the process of raising our consciousness and restoring our cast-down inner divine nature, including the word Yoga (a derivation of yonga) and the English words king and queen.  

Alvin Boyd Kuhn has demonstrated, in texts referred to in that previous post, that the N-K sound at times shows up as the K-N sound, and sometimes as the N-G sound or the G-N sound.

In light of that fact, it may be instructive to examine still further manifestations of this all-important "sound of the Ankh," and see that they are in almost every case illustrative of the concept of the "raising of the Djed" that the ancient wisdom tells us is so central to our human existence.

Pictured above, for example, is a shrine in a temple in southern India, showing the intertwined and ascending serpents associated with the kundalini, the dormant, primordial, and divine life-force-energy in each of us, described as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine (notice from the quotations in the Norse Eddas found in this related previous post that the World-Tree Yggdrasil is always described as having a serpent or serpents at its base) which should and can be elevated through deliberate practice.

Obviously, the word itself begins with the K-N sound, which Alvin Boyd Kuhn would argue to be a connection to the name of the Ankh and to the concept of the hidden divine force inside each incarnate man and woman.  There is no doubt that the concept of kundalini is closely related to the concepts we have been discussing with the Scarab, Ankh, and Djed in previous posts, and it is hard to deny that the name of kundalini is closely related as well.

Here is a link to an interesting web page tracing the concept of the serpent-force of the kundalini through various world cultures.   

What other manifestations of the "name of the Ankh" can we find around the world which may be similarly instructive to our understanding of this absolutely central ancient teaching? Let's have a look!

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The ancient civilizations of South and Central America share a legend of a benevolent civilizing figure who was described using many different names by the Maya, the Inca, the Aztecs, and other cultures of the Americas, but whose characteristics were largely similar across many different legends from many different peoples, as Graham Hancock documented extensively in Fingerprints of the Gods, and as Thor Heyerdahl documented in previous texts including American Indians in the Pacific.  

Among the names of this divine figure are Conn, Kon-Tiki,Kukulcan, and Quetzlcoatl. The first three clearly contain the "Ankh-sound" in its K-N form. While the fourth does not, its meaning of "Feathered Serpent" (the serpent which can fly, or ascend into the heavens) is clearly related to the concept we have been discussing, and to the upwards motion of the kundalini mentioned previously.

The pyramid of Chichen-Itza (also called the Pyramid of Kukulcan) is well-known for its annual serpent-shadow manifestation, which appears each year on the equinoxes. The equinoxes, of course, create the horizontal line in which the Djed-column is cast-down, and so it is appropriate that the serpent in this case is seen coming down to earth on those days. Note that linguistically, the word Chichen in Chichen-Itza contains the K-N sound in its second syllable (chen), the K-sound in this case being "palatized" to the "ch-sound" (palatization is a linguistic term for the softening of the K-sound into a "ch-sound," as happened in English with the word kirk, that became church in southern parts of the British Isles, when the k-sounds of kirk were palatized into the "ch-sounds" of church).

Along the same lines, the sound found in the sacred name of the Ankh is also found among the Native peoples of North America in the holy name of the Great Spirit, which among different nations has been spoken as Wakhan Tankh, Wakan Tanka, and

Omahank-Numakshi. The names of numerous Native American peoples contain this same sacred sound, among them the name of the Kansa or Kanza tribe, the Mohicans, the Mohawk (whose name for their people is the Kaniankenhaka), and many others too numerous to list within the scope of this short essay but which may be found through study by those interested in the subject.

It has already been noted in the previous post about the "name of the Ankh" that the name of the Inca comes from the title given to the kings of that people: he was known as theInka.

The previous point about the "Feathered Serpent" of Kukulcan or Quetzlcoatl being conceptually (as well as linguistically) related to the kundalini serpent should point us to another "winged serpent," and one who is also a "fire serpent" (Alvin Boyd Kuhn has much to say about the "fire serpent" and about the element of fire, to which he devotes an entire chapter in his masterful 1940 text Lost Light). The "Feathered Serpent" or "Fire Serpent" I am thinking of here is the Phoenix, which traditionally starts out life as a worm or serpent found inside the ashes of the previous Phoenix, and which then grows into the fiery bird that flies upwards and away -- an upwards-rising serpent which is clearly related to the upward-rising motion of the kundalini.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

It is certainly possible to argue that the N-K-S sound at the end of the word Phoenix is related to the N-K sound of the Ankh, despite being commonly spelled -nix. Note also that Chinese legend describes a very important "fire bird" named Feng-huang, also called the "vermillion bird" (more discussion of Phoenix-birds around the world can be found here). That name clearly contains the N-G sound twice.

Along these same lines, we can suspect that the -nx sound at the end of the word Sphinx is, like the -nix sound in the name of the Phoenix, associated with the N-K sound of the Ankh.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The Sphinx was also a mythological creature, like the Phoenix, and is found in many myths in addition to being embodied in the famous Giza Sphinx shown above. In some legends, the Sphinx is also depicted as having wings, and in the myth of Oedipus the Sphinx is depicted asking the "Riddle of the Sphinx," which relates to the lifetime of a man, and hence to the incarnation we are discussing in the general topic of the casting down of the Djed-column and the act of raising it up (in the episode of the Riddle of the Sphinx, she gives the answer in terms of the ages of a man, although it could also of course apply to a woman; in any case, it is interesting that like the Phoenix, the Sphinx in mythology is often female, although sometimes male as well -- we might conclude from this that the message was intended to apply equally to all incarnate men and women).

The monument of the Sphinx at Giza faces due east, looking towards the point of the rising sun on the day of the equinox. In Keeper of Genesis: A Quest for the Hidden Legacy of Mankind, originally published in 1996, Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock articulate their now-famous thesis that the monuments of the Giza Plateau reflect and model the celestial landmarks, specifically the belt of the constellation Orion and the outline of the constellation Leo (see especially pages 58 through 82). 

If so, then they are clearly associated with the "raising up" of the Djed-column (the "Backbone of Osiris"). The Sphinx, who looks towards the rising sun across the north-south watercourse of the River Nile, may also be associated with that "raising up" motion -- and there is reason to believe that the Nile itself was esoterically associated with the kundalini-serpent and the human backbone as well (I articulate some of the mythological evidence for this association in pages 137-147 of The Undying Stars).  And certainly the presence of the N-K sound in the Nile-facing Sphinx upon the Giza Plateau would seem to argue for the validity of this connection.

The connection of the Nile River to the rising "serpent force" is further established by the name of the sacred Nile's counterpart in India -- the sacred

River Ganges (Ganga).  

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

The sacred nature of the Ganges to Hindu tradition needs no embellishment here -- it is well attested and continues to play a central role to this day. Clearly, the nameGanga can be argued to contain "the name of the Ankh," and the restorative role that the river plays according to sacred tradition would argue that this alleged linguistic connection is not spurious.

It is notable to examine the evidence that there are very profound parallels between the sacred traditions of India and those of ancient Egypt, including the reverence for the Ganges and the Nile but also between the deities Osiris and Vishnu, both of whom are described as being "cast down" (and dismembered) and then subsequently "raised up" (a connection which I explore in this previous post).

Interestingly enough, there is new evidence that the worship of Vishnu is extremely ancient -- including this very significant discovery of Vishnu sculptures in the region of what is modern-day Vietnam, which Graham Hancock posted as an article on his website

While that article is noteworthy on several important levels, one point that should not be missed that is very pertinent to the present discussion is the linguistic connection that the article itself makes between the name of the Ganga in India and the name of the mighty

Mekong River in Vietnam. The article calls the Mekong Ma Ganga, which is also the name given to the Ganges in India in the river's role as "Mother Ganga." There is certainly room to argue a connection between the names of the two sacred rivers. Here is a link to a beautiful post describing some of the points the author visited along the Mekong, and the ancient traditions which have been preserved to this day by those who hold the Mekong sacred. 

In light of the connections already shown between Vishnu and Osiris, and in light of the newly-discovered ancient Vishnu statuary in Vietnam, it is certainly plausible to argue a possible connection between the N-K or N-G sound of the Ankh and the N-K and N-G sounds of the Ganga and the Mekong. The reverence given to these rivers through the centuries (and the millennia) suggests the clear connection to the human process of "raising the Djed" and "restoring the cast-down" in our individual journeys as well.

Finally, it is perhaps not inappropriate to point out the undeniable linguistic connection to the Sanskrit word for cannabis or hemp, which is of course the word Ganja. It is well-known that Ganja is viewed as a sacred plant among Rastafari, and that it is seen as essential to the process of raising consciousness and seeing through illusions. 

It can be argued that here again there may be an ancient connection to the mighty Ankh, and to the central task of raising the Djed.

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note that the varied history of the human experience provides clear evidence that it is definitely possible to achieve states of ecstasy (transcendance of the "static" or physical vehicle of the body) without the use of external plant-derived substances, and that many shamanic cultures use a variety of techniques including drumming, chanting, rhythmic breathing, dancing, and other methods to induce ecstasy without the aid of plants. However, it would be ridiculous to deny that the use of plants, including ganja, peyote, ayahuasca, and mushrooms, has also played a central role in many shamanic cultures in shamanic rituals and techniques of inducing ecstasy.

In light of this, and the assertion in the previous post (which is traced out much more extensively in The Undying Stars) that all of the world's ancient sacred traditions are or were fundamentally shamanic but that there has been a concerted effort to rob humanity of this shamanic heritage, we must wonder whether the strict prohibitions against the use of these plants is not part of the same ancient campaign.

In any event, there is no doubt that the message of the Ankh and the raising of the Djed is absolutely central to our human experience -- and that tracing out the echoes of the N-K name of this ancient symbol can be greatly instructive.

There are certainly many more places where the name of the Ankh is hidden, waiting for you to discover!

Danny Wilten and the Orion Nebula

Above is an example of the astounding analysis by Danny Wilten, in which he demonstrates incredible correspondences between Michelangelo's famous Creation of Adam fresco and the imagery of the Orion Nebula taken by the Hubble Telescope in 2006 (link to the video).

This particular video shows how the patterns of darkness in the Hubble image have unmistakeable parallels to the patterns of shadows and outlines in Michelangelo's masterpiece.  Here is a link to a file of that 2006 Hubble image of the Orion Nebula on Wikimedia Commons, where it was a candidate for "Picture of the Year" in 2006.  The description of that image at the site explains:
In one of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced, NASA/ESA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an unprecedented look at the Orion Nebula. This extensive study took 105 Hubble orbits to complete. All imaging instruments aboard the telescope were used simultaneously to study Orion. The Advanced Camera mosaic covers approximately the apparent angular size of the full moon.
After watching Danny Wilten's video, it is quite clear that the patterns of light and dark in this amazing nebula correspond to the shadows and outlines of many of the personalities depicted in Michelangelo's fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, which was painted in 1511 or 1512.  For example, the shadows that make up the woman's face below the crook of the left arm are quite distinctive, and in fact can be easily made out in the Hubble image linked above at the Wikimedia Commons site.  Below is a screen shot from the 8:54 mark in the video above, showing a zoomed-in detail of this portion of the Orion Nebula:

The correspondences to the detail in the fresco are unbelievable.  The woman's face in the image above is located directly below the word "in" along the top of the video frame, looking towards the left of the screen.  Watching the video will make the connection quite clear.

Since the Hubble Telescope did not exist when Michelangelo painted his fresco (and in fact, as far as we know, the first telescope would not be invented until 1608 in the Netherlands), what can possibly explain these uncanny parallels between a piece of art completed in the early 1500s and a high-resolution mosaic created by the Hubble Telescope during the course of 105 orbits in early 2006?

Danny Wilten discussed this and other profound questions during a recent interview on Red Ice Radio with host Henrik Palmgren, who is (in my opinion and that of many others) one of the best and most insightful interviewers alive today.   The first hour of that interview is available to all for free (and is embedded below), and the second hour (also very worthwhile) is available to Red Ice subscribers.

At about 31 minutes into that first hour, Henrik explores the possible explanations for this incredible connection between art and nebula:
HENRIK PALMGREN: Again, I want to go back to the idea of how we explain this.  There's a few different possibilities.  As far as I know, as you said, then, Danny, the Orion Nebula is something that you can't see with the naked eye.  Obviously, you can see the stars of the Orion constellation, but -- if you want to try to explain it there are a few different possibilities and I want to get your take on this.  I mean, either we're looking at ancient technology, and there can be very, very old -- this could literally be a telescope, maybe even more advanced than that -- something happened, major catastrophe, we're smacked back into, you know, kind of a prehistoric state, and we have to do it all over again, and then eventually we develop technology, develop telescopes, and it's now at this point again where we can kind of confirm, if you will, the imagery.  That's one take on it.  Another one is that someone has given the knowledge to some of us humans in the past -- or it's completely subconscious: the Muse, if you will, of these artists have given the imagery to them, for some reason, because this, well, there's a drive here, something important with it, and we're simply tapping into the importance of it.  Or, maybe the fourth option would be that, in the past, people actually went on hallucinogenic trips, and they actually visited, if you will, the area, in spirit if nothing else, and managed to see how it looks, pretty much, and thereby being able to pull it out -- what do you think, when you're looking at all this stuff, Danny?
DANNY WILTON:   Well, based on the evidence that I have found, I would probably go with the last two that you just mentioned there.  I would probably go with either that it was a subconscious thing, or maybe they used plants [. . .]
This exchange illustrates the "due diligence" process of considering all the reasonable possible explanations for a set of data, and it is something discussed in many previous blog posts (for example, there are many possible explanations for geological phenomena that we see on the earth today -- it is important to consider all the possible explanations, and consider each one fairly, examining the strengths and weaknesses of each explanation with respect to the evidence in question; see here and here and here for some previous discussions).

Note that all of the above explanations which Henrik offered have some merit.  There is abundant evidence that ancient mankind possessed extremely sophisticated awareness of the earth, the solar system, and the starry heavens -- including evidence which suggests that they were aware of bodies in the solar system (such as Jupiter's moons) not visible without a telescope.  There is plenty of evidence suggesting the possibility of ancient advanced technology.  See for example discussions here and here and here.

Henrik's second suggestion, that mankind was "given" this knowledge by someone else (perhaps suggesting the possibility of ancient alien contact) has some connections with the topics of other previous posts, such as this one and this one.

The possibility that our consciousness is somehow connected to a sort of "universal consciousness," which Danny Wilten indicates is one of the possibilities that he prefers and which in fact he explores at greater length in his e-book on the subject (which I also highly recommend) ties in with the important and ancient issue of the macrocosm-microcosm, discussed in many other previous posts such as this one and this one.

Finally, Henrik's fourth possibility, that mankind in the past was able to tap into advanced knowledge through some form of "hallucinogenic trips" actually has extensive evidence in the important subject of shamanism (see here, here, and here for instance) and in the connection to the Pyramid Texts and the possibility that the pharaohs of ancient Egypt were taking just such "hallucinogenic trips" as discussed by Professor Jeremy Naydler.  There is also the possible mushroom connection between ancient civilizations and higher consciousness.

There are other possibilities, of course, which should be considered before reaching conclusions on the remarkable evidence presented by Danny Wilten.  One that we might consider is the possibility that NASA is tricking us -- that the Hubble image of the Orion Nebula was purposely created to mimic the fresco of the Creation of Adam!  This seems like a pretty far-out suggestion, but it would be a possible explanation.  We would have to try to consider what possible motive NASA could have for such a deception.  It is also pretty difficult to maintain in light of the numerous other incredible connections in other pieces of art that Danny Wilten examines in his book -- connections that are literally breathtaking.  If the Creation of Adam were the only piece of art that matched the Orion Nebula, then we could entertain the possibility that some NASA scientists were having some fun at our expense, but because Mr. Wilten shows conclusive connections to so many other pieces of art (some also quite famous masterpieces), this possibility becomes very difficult to maintain.

Also, in order to argue that NASA tricked us with that image, we would also have to maintain that satellite imagery of the Nile delta has been altered to fit the Orion Nebula as well, as Mr. Wilten also demonstrates amazing correspondences there as well.  Is it possible that both Google and NASA are part of a larger conspiracy to create imagery corresponding to the Orion Nebula?  That seems difficult to believe, and one of the four suggestions put forward by Henrik Palmgren above seem to be more likely.

The second two of his four suggestions (which Mr. Wilten also indicate are his favorites of the four) also seem to be more likely in light of the fact that the Orion Nebula and the many pieces of art that he examines (including Creation of Adam) appear to have strong connections to the cross-section of the human brain, complete with cerebrum, cerebellum, medulla oblongata, and pineal gland!  Here again, the correspondences are quite compelling -- in fact, Mr. Wilten discusses the fact that neurosurgeons and other doctors have already reached the startling conclusion that the Creation of Adam depicts the structures of the human brain!

All of this appears to mesh with the Hermetic dictum of "as above, so below," as Danny Wilten points out in his book and in the interview.  It also resonates quite strongly with the teachings of Santos Bonacci discussed in previous posts.

The correspondences that Danny Wilten has discovered, without a doubt, contain tremendous significance.  We should all be grateful to him for his work and his analysis, and wish him the best in his ongoing endeavors.

More on mushrooms and the Bread of God

Recently, an article appeared in Fierce Biotech Research magazine entitled "Deadly mushroom defeats human pancreatic cancer in mice."

The article explains that a study by a German research team found that the toxin from one of the most dangerous mushrooms known to man -- the Amanita phalloides mushroom, commonly known as the "death cap" in English -- may be extremely effective in halting the growth of pancreatic cancer tumors (so far, only in mice).

The death cap is responsible for most human poisonings worldwide, and probably throughout history as well. Its poison, known as α-amanitin, turns off the protein synthesis in cell tissue. Typically, this toxin causes severe damage to the liver as that organ tries to filter it out of the bloodstream, often to the point that the irreversible damage is done before the victim even notices any serious symptoms.

In the recent study, human pancreatic cancer cells were transplanted into mice. Then, the powerful toxin of the Amanita phalloides was coupled with an antibody in the hopes that the antibody would seek out the specific proteins in the tumors and shut them down, without roaming through the rest of the mouse's tissues and shutting them down as well (especially the liver). Antibodies are extremely important in biotech research, because they typically have a strong affinity for a specific protein category, and can thus be used to target specific cells.

According to the article, a single injection of the powerful α-amanitin toxin (coupled with the antibody) into the subject mice halted tumor growth. After a second dose, 90% of tumors targeted by the poison-antibody combo were "erased," without any measurable damage to other (non-targeted) tissues.

This is an incredible development, although it must now be seen if the results can be achieved in humans. The article does state that, prior to testing it in mice, similarly positive results were achieved in cell cultures of cancer cells in Petri dishes.

This amazing research also calls to mind the research of Paul Stamets, discussed in this previous blog post. In his talks, as well as in his writings available online at his website, Mr. Stamets emphasizes the important health properties that fungi, including mushrooms, can provide, including medicinal properties (many of which we no doubt have yet to discover).

In an article entitled "Novel antimicrobials from mushrooms," Mr. Stamets says:
Fungi and animals are more closely related to one another than either is to plants, diverging from plants more than 460 million years ago. Diseases of plants typically do not afflict humans whereas diseases of fungi do. Since humans (animals) and fungi share common microbial antagonists, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, humans can benefit from the natural defensive strategies of fungi that produce antibiotics to fight infection from microorganisms. Hence, it is not surprising our most significant anti-bacterial antibiotics have been derived from fungi. 2.
Now, in addition to fighting microorganisms, it appears that fungi may become an essential weapon in stopping the out-of-control growth that characterizes cancer. Note that in the second of the two videos embedded in that previous blog post discussing the work of Mr. Stamets, some similar evidence of the possible effectiveness of fungi against a different form of cancer is offered. Whether you believe this is because fungi are more closely related to humans because of Darwinian evolution or not, this is amazing and hopeful.

That previous post about mushrooms also linked to the work of some authors who have argued that psychadelic mushroom species may have played a crucial role in ancient ritual and mystical experience -- even arguing that the miraculous manna described in the Hebrew Scriptures may have been some sort of mushroom that appeared at dawn among the dew.

Some of those authors note the fascinating fact that psychoactive mushrooms appear to have been referred to as "The Bread of God" by widespread cultures in both the Old and New Worlds.

In the New Testament Gospel of John, chapter 6, Christ specifically identifies himself with the manna of the Exodus, saying:
For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then they said unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
And again, later in the same chapter:
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
Special thanks to former paratrooper and world-famous organic farmer Dan V. for alerting me to the report of the Amanita-antibody research.

Altered States: acoustics in the ancient megalithic temples of the Old and New Worlds

Here is a link to an amazing article published this past Monday in the March 2012 edition of Popular Archaeology and entitled "Ancient Builders Created Monumental Structures that Altered Sound and Mind, Say Researchers."

The article focuses on the work of Linda Eneix at the Hypogeum Hal-Saflieni in Malta (on the island of Gozo -- see diagram in this previous post), one of the most incredible and unique ancient monumental structures on earth, where about 2,000 tons of rock were removed to create a labyrinth of curving chambers, stairways, trilithons, and columns. The site may date to as early as 4000 BC according to some estimates, while others place the Malta structures as belonging to a period from 3800 BC to 2400 BC; in any event the megalithic structures on Malta are often alleged to be among the oldest in the world.

According to Linda Eneix and her fellow-researchers, the Hypogeum contains sophisticated acoustics that consistently produce vibrations in the frequency range of about 110 Hz, which apparently causes abrupt and measurable changes in brain activity that scientists at the site have documented in volunteer subjects.

The same article discusses previous work suggesting similar findings at other ancient megalithic sites around the globe, including the ceremonial center at Chavín de Huántar in Peru, as well as at Newgrange in Ireland.

More discussion by Linda Eneix of these acoustics can be found here, part of the Old Temples Study Foundation website.

The level of sophistication in acoustic incorporation into quite challenging architectural design indicates that these extremely ancient structures were not the product of very primitive humans who were just beginning to emerge from the hunter-gatherer phase. Yet this obvious fact is quite damaging to the conventional narrative of mankind's ancient past.

In fact, it is quite apparent from the archaeoacoustic analysis described in the above essays and articles that ancient humans probably understood more about the importance and impact of sound vibrations than we do today! Such a startling assertion resonates with the themes discussed by John Anthony West in his classic 1979 text, Serpent in the Sky, as well as the elaboration on this subject found in previous blog posts such as:


It also brings to mind a quotation in this previous post, in which I wrote: "In a sense, we might say that the measurements of a building or a garden can act on us in much the same way that music can act on us: architecture is 'physical music.'"

Another important implication of this nascent study of the archaeoacoustics of ancient megalithic spaces (besides the fact that these acoustic effects clearly reveal an advanced and sophisticated level of scientific and human-biological awareness) is the evidence that very similar acoustic effects appear to have been incorporated in megalithic sites on continents separated by mighty oceans, implying that the ancient civilizations that built them either had direct contact with one another or that they were descended from a common ancestor civilization (or perhaps from ancestor civilizations that had contact with one another).

This second conclusion should not be very hard to believe: it should not be too farfetched to imagine that a culture demonstrating the levels of scientific sophistication required to create the acoustics of the Hypogeum of Malta might also be able to navigate by the stars and build ships that could cross the bluewater oceans. Extensive evidence of other sorts points to the fact that ancient trans-oceanic contact took place long before conventional historians say that it did.

Further, the temples on Malta contain precise astronomical and solar alignments. The Hypogeum appears to contain some solstice alignments, and we have already seen in previous posts that the Mnajdra temple contains a precise equinoctial orientation. The incorporation of such alignments reinforces the suggestion that the same civilization that constructed these megalithic structures might also have had the ability to cross the oceans.

Below is an excellent video discussing and demonstrating the equinoctial alignments at Mnajdra:

Previously, this blog post discussing these alignments pointed out that the fact that the precise east-west orientation of the central corridor of this very ancient temple has been preserved for more than 5,000 years is a devastating piece of evidence that calls into question the foundations of the tectonic theory of earth's geology.

Thus, the temples on Malta prove to be extremely important in preserving evidence that refutes the most basic assumptions undergirding conventional geology as well as those undergirding the conventional views about the ancient history of the human race.

Finally, the suggestions about the importance of sound and vibration and the possibilities that these vibrations -- even if generated by the human voice -- have powerful and beneficial impacts on us human beings is a line of study which ties right in to the subjects discussed in this previous post, and in this previous post.

The possibility that certain voice-activated vibrational frequencies can alter brain activity is fascinating; it is also fascinating to learn that some archaeologists have found traces of ergot in one of the chambers of the Hypogeum (called "The Cistern" -- see this map). The fact that ergot is a fungus with powerful mind-altering effects (LSD is in fact derived from it) points back to topics discussed in this previous post on mushrooms (also used to produce altered states by cultures on continents separated by the largest oceans).

Clearly, the work being done by Linda Eneix, Miriam Kolar, and others who are researching the acoustic qualities of Hal-Saflieni, Chavín de Huántar, and other sites around the world, is beginning to shed light on a subject of incredible importance to humanity. We should all be grateful to them, and look forward to hearing more about these ancient soundwaves (and the impact they have on the mind) in the near future.


Many readers have no doubt already seen the video above of the presentation by Paul Stamets filmed in March 2008 discussing "Six Ways Mushrooms can Save the World" (many thanks to my good friend Mr. DY for alerting me to this video some years ago).

Now, there is a new video just recently uploaded to the web, also featuring Paul Stamets in a TEDMed talk from October of 2011, which goes into more detail on some of the amazing subjects discussed in the video above, as well as discussing some recent advances he and his colleagues have made since then. It includes a very moving story at the end that you won't want to miss.

As Mr. Stamets himself mentions in both talks and discusses at greater length in his writings both on the internet and in his published books (such as Mycelium Running, Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, The Mushroom Cultivator, and Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World), there is extensive evidence that ancient civilizations were keenly aware of the incredible powers of mushrooms -- perhaps more aware than we are today.

In this selection from Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, Mr. Stamets provides some descriptions of the evidence of ancient mushroom use, including cave art in the Tassili region of Algeria in which "mushrooms with electrified auras are depicted outlining a dancing shaman." The "electrified auras" -- as well as the descriptions and images Mr. Stamets gives in his talks of mycelium as "the Earth's natural internet" -- brings to mind the topics touched on in previous posts such as this one and this one. Mr. Stamets also notes that the man known as "The Ice Man" (whose mummified remains were found in the Ötzal Alps) apparently had three different species of mushroom among his possessions.

There is strong evidence that the ancient Egyptians, Hindus, and Maya all revered mushrooms. This website outlines some of the arguments that have been made concerning the possibility that the manna described in the sacred Hebrew Scriptures was actually a form of mushroom (it was small and round, it was gathered in the morning "in the morning dew," and it would breed larva and melt to mush if kept and not dried).

Books by Dr. Dan Merkur (Mystery of Manna: the Psychadelic Sacrament of the Bible) and Dr. Carl A. P. Ruck (Sacred Mushrooms: Secrets of Eleusis and Mushrooms, Myth, and Mithras: The Drug Cult that Civilized Europe) provide extensive evidence that the ancients incorporated psychoactive mushrooms in some of their most important attempts to interact with the divine and the supernatural. The writings of the first Europeans to encounter the civilizations of Central America indicate the same thing, as do the hundreds of "mushroom stones" which have been found in the Americas.

Mr. Stamets has another article available on the internet which explores some fascinating history of mushrooms in Asia, demonstrating connections to the warrior "Flowering Knights" of Korea and to shamanic practice, as well as pointing out that "Prominent within many Buddhist temples are representations of medicinal mushrooms, particularly Ganoderma lucidum, also known as Ling Chi, the Mushroom of Immortality, and the Tree of Life Mushroom."

Whatever your assessment of these various arguments, it is apparent from the work of Mr. Stamets that modern science is only just beginning to take note of the amazing secrets surrounding mushrooms. It is also quite clear that ancient advanced civilizations perceived the importance of these amazing organisms.

While more examination on the topic is warranted, the prominent place of mushrooms in ancient times in Asia, Central America, and the Mediterranean, as well as the fact that they were apparently referred to as "The Bread of God" by civilizations in both the Old World and the New World, seems to point to the possibility of contact beyond what is countenanced in conventional history.

Much more can be said on this subject, beyond the scope of this short post, but in conclusion it is also important to point out a subject brought up in both of Mr. Stamets' videos above. That is the fact that there are very rare and very beneficial fungi species which can only be found in old growth forests. These species (such as the Agarikon fungi, or fomitopsis officinalis) were apparently known to the ancients, but have disappeared from Europe with the disappearance of the old growth forests, and now can be only rarely encountered in the few remaining patches of old growth forest in the Pacific northwest.

It seems that in the process of stamping out ancient knowledge in much of the world, the agents of anti-knowledge also nearly stamped out a species that the ancients recognized as incredibly beneficial to mankind. No doubt there are many other species that were in fact lost forever, whose potency mankind will now never have the opportunity to rediscover.

Note: the fact that mushroom expert Paul Stamets feels the need to place the warning in bold type and red ink on his website which reads, "WARNING: Never eat a mushroom unless it has been positively identified" should be taken with the utmost of seriousness. There are mushrooms which can destroy the human liver before any ill effects are noticed -- by the time the symptoms show up, it is usually too late. Fungi on one continent that look just like the fungi of another can be edible in one continent but can be a deadly look-alike species on another. Every year there are tragic stories of families from Asia living in California who pick wild fungi for a New Year's dish and all are poisoned by the same meal. Please use extreme caution and respect the power of mushrooms -- they are an organism which is not to be taken lightly.

The shaman's journey, the Egyptian Book of the Dead, and modern military initiation rituals

A previous post from June 23, 2011 entitled "DMT, Egypt, evolution and other subjects" contained links to a series of five video segments from Magical Egypt.

In the fourth of the five video segments, an interview begins at about the 3:50 mark [edit: a new version of the same video has been inserted above, and the portion referred to begins around the 44:00 mark in this one] which is continued in the fifth video, embedded above. In that interview, Lon Milo DuQuette, author of fifteen books on Western mystical traditions, describes what the narrator of the film calls "the constant work performed by the initiate of the temple to harden and perfect his gem of perfection, will, and mental clarity." This work, which emphasized "the ceremonial opening of doors" was clearly related by the ancient Egyptians with the continuation of the consciousness after death: just before Mr. DuQuette begins his remarks, the narrator asks, "Are all these exercises training the subconscious to be continuous and proactive in the afterlife?"

In the interview, Mr. DuQuette suggests that the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead "would indicate there's a goal that you can reach whereby you retain your individuality, or at least your pure individuality, and retain the consciousness of the continuity of your own existence." He describes the process whereby the well-equipped soul moved through a series of challenges in which it was stopped at various doors and had to know the right answers for the various powerful beings it met at each stage. He notes that this sort of initiatory process involving terrifying challenges at doors and prodigious memorization continues today in mystical societies such as Masonry.

In the previous post entitled "Shamans and cosmology, continued," we saw that scholars Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend in their 1969 book-length essay Hamlet's Mill drew a connection between this Egyptian afterlife initiation process and the celestial travels of the shaman found in many cultures around the world, saying:
The shaman travels through the skies in the very same manner as the Pharaoh did, well equipped as he was with his Pyramid Text or his Coffin Text, which represented his indispensable timetable and contained the ordained addresses of every celestial individual whom he was expected to meet. The Pharaoh relied upon his particular text as the less distinguished dead relied upon his copy of chapters from the book of the Dead, and he was prepared (as was the shaman) to change shape into the Sata serpent, a centipede, or the semblance of whatever celestial "station" must be passed, and to recite the fitting formulae to overcome hostile beings. 132.
This is the exact process described by Mr. DuQuette in the video above.

Amazingly, this initiation process is still deeply embedded within elite military units, such as the 82nd Airborne Division, in which a series of harrowing trials at a door -- in this case, a mock-up of the aircraft door which paratroopers exit while in flight -- forms the climax of the hallowed "Prop Blast" ceremony which all officers in the Airborne regiments had to go through in previous decades.

In the Prop Blast, initiates are subjected to a strenuous day comprised of military obstacle courses (with lots of crawling through and wallowing in the mud as well as scaling huge log ladders to perilous heights), eating from cans of dogfood and drinking jars of vinegar, and a visit to the 82nd Airborne Museum to see the historical relics of the heroes of the Second World War, such as the enormous silver trophy-mugs which each airborne regiment uses in their Prop Blast ceremonies, such as the Miley Mug of the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, or the Tucker Tumbler of the 504th.

All the blastees receive mock nicknames which are displayed on their kevlar helmets, which are stripped down to resemble the helmets worn by students at Airborne School (from which all of them have already graduated, some of them many years before), and there is a protracted visit to the "34-foot towers" used in airborne training, in which the blastees jump from the towers the way Airborne School students do, but this time with eggs in their pockets (which they are ordered not to allow to break) and dead fish clenched between their teeth (they are each given a dead fish and told that it is their "jump buddy"). (These are details I remember from my own 1993 Prop Blast -- different units doubtless vary slightly during the day, although the culminating activities at the end of the day are very similar).

The 34-foot towers feature a mock aircraft body elevated to 34-feet above the ground, which can be seen in the video embedded below (these are more modern trainees, as their boots are no longer black leather, but the 34-foot tower procedures are very much the same as they have been since the 1940s or 1950s).

The culmination of the Prop Blast takes place in the evening, after a full day of exhausting activities. At that time, the blastees are lined up outside a building in which another aircraft mock-up has been constructed, complete with another mock-door. This time, the aircraft interior is darkened and lit by dim red bulbs, just like an aircraft in flight for a night tactical airborne operation. The blasted members, who have already been initiated into the officer corps of the regiment, slap their hands vigorously on the outside of the "aircraft" walls to simulate the noise of the engines, and the blastees must make their way to the mock-door in fully-rigged parachutes and perform the C-130 exit, which formerly included the "Stand In the Door!" position in which both the jumper's hands were positioned on the curved outer skin of the airplane (you can see the general shape of the aircraft door in the 34-foot tower video above: the procedure for exiting a C-130 was changed in the early to mid-1990s such that the jumper no longer put his hands on the outside of the aircraft).

The sides of this particular mock-door used in the concluding event, however, are electrified by means of a small hand-cranked field telephone generator, and when the blastee places his hands against it, two initiated members of the regiment are standing by outside wearing rubber gloves to hold his hands against it while the electricity runs up the initiate's hands and forearms (most unpleasant). After a few awful seconds of this, the blastee then "jumps" into the room beyond, which is darkened and features spotlights pointed at his face. After the prescribed exit procedures and landing techniques (sometimes augmented by leafy branches swung in his face for a "tree landing" or buckets of water poured on him for a "water landing") he must struggle to his feet and report to the Prop Blast Board, consisting of three august senior officers of the regiment, who grill him on the history of the regiment (the spotlights still shining in his eyes, making it difficult to see who they are). He must recite his memorized answers, but no matter how well he does, he will usually be ordered "Back into the aircraft" for another round of electrifying door procedures.

Finally, after several rounds of this, the blastee is accepted by the board and welcomed to the regiment, at which time he is instructed to drain the contents of the huge silver chalice of the regiment, which has been signed-out of the museum for this ceremony and filled with a concoction of alcohols representing various lands in which the regiment fought in previous wars. To indicate that he has indeed drained it to the bottom, the blastee then holds the empty mug upside-down over his head (with both handles -- these mugs are about as large as the PGA golf tournament's Wanamaker Trophy), and he can then sign his name in the historic Prop Blast Book of the regiment, which has names going all the way back to World War II.

Note the strong similarities to the initiations described by Mr. DuQuette in the video above, and to the trials of the ancient Egyptian afterlife and the celestial journeys of the shaman. These similarities probably did not arise independently on their own, but were no doubt introduced into the US military by officers in previous generations who were members of secret societies themselves. In Hamlet's Mill, the authors note that the Confederate General Lewis Addison "Lo" Armistead (1817 - 1863), who fell mortally wounded during Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg, kept repeating "I am a Son of the Widow" to those who tried to give him aid before he died, which de Santillana and von Dechend note is a phrase from the ancient Babylonian story of Etana and the Eagle and the more recent Finnish folktale which echoes that ancient Babylonian story, and which they speculate was "obviously the password of a secret military brotherhood that his captors did not understand, nor the historian either" (114, footnote).

It should also be noted that the US Military Academy at West Point is also noted for a long tradition of memorizing "knowledge," precise answers to questions which must be recited by rote upon request by upperclassmen (General Armistead, like many officers on both sides of the Civil War, attended West Point, although he apparently left early after breaking a plate over the head of fellow-cadet Jubal Early).

Some of the hoary definitions still memorized by cadets at West Point include the answers to the questions "How is the cow?" (answer: "Sir, she walks, she talks, she's full of chalk; the lacteal fluid extracted from the female of the bovine species is highly prolific to the nth degree") and "What is the definition of leather?" (answer: "If the fresh skin of an animal, cleaned and divested of all hair, fat and other extraneous matter, be immersed in a dilute solution of tannic acid, a chemical combination ensues; the gelatinous tissue of the skin is converted into a non-putrescible substance, impervious to and insoluble in water: this, sir, is leather").

That these challenges and responses, and the Prop Blast "door ceremony" are related to the activities described in the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead and the celestial travels of the shaman, in which the traveler must be prepared to "recite the fitting formulae to overcome hostile beings" should be quite obvious. The fact that these modern military relics are remnants of a tradition that is many thousands of years old is not as well known.

above is the author's own Prop Blast Card, issued to officers of the regiment who have been blasted; loss of this card requires the officer to be blasted again.

DMT, Egypt, evolution, and other subjects

Here is an amazing episode of Magical Egypt featuring the work of John Anthony West and other researchers -- his pioneering and penetrating work can be found at his website here. The segments of the video can be found by following the links below, and it is well worth consideration as an introduction to a whole new layer of insight into the civilization of ancient Egypt.

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The incisive analysis of Mr. West illustrates a truth that I have stressed before in previous posts: namely, that just because there are clear astronomical and mathematical truths encoded in ancient myths and texts, this does not take away the many other rich layers of meaning which are also present. In other words, seeing celestial codes in literature does not take away from the deep and powerful illumination of other aspects of the human condition in that literature. It only adds; it does not take away (see for example the discussion in this previous post and this previous post).

The documentary segment above neatly illustrates the way numerous other layers may be going on at the same time that celestial truths are being preserved. For example, the videos begin with an extensive and erudite explanation of the text of "The Book of What is in the Duat" found in the tomb of Tuthmoses III (reigned 1479 BC - 1425 BC) by John Anthony West. This is an extremely important text (also known as the Amduat) and it is well worthwhile to listen to Mr. West's explication of it. Its first complete known appearance is in the very tomb of Tuthmoses III shown in the video. Tuthmoses III was the great-great-great grandfather of Tutankhamun, or the grandfather of the grandfather of Tutankhamun's father Akhenaten.

At approximately 8:40 in the second of the above six videos, Mr. West describes "a familiar figure" which confronts the progress of the solar bark through the twelve hours of the Amduat. This figure, we are told, is the "great serpent, which is being chopped up by knives. This is the serpent Apep, or Apophis, which is a form of Set, the opposition." The point of bringing this up is to show that, while Set plays an incredibly important role in the astronomical knowledge hidden in the Egyptian myths (which surface again and again in mythology around the world), a role which is described in Hamlet's Mill and elaborated upon in greater detail in Jane Sellers' Death of Gods in Ancient Egypt and in the Mathisen Corollary, this celestial role does not mean that Set cannot also stand for several other principles which have less to do with astronomy and more to do with life, death, and the human condition. This is an important point to consider.

Along these lines, the transition of the discussion in the above videos to the work of dimethyltriptamine (DMT) researcher Dr. Rick Strassman follows an extremely interesting analysis of the Amduat text which begins at approximately 3:00 minutes into segment three of six above. There, the assertion is made that the geometry and negative spacing of one drawing of two human figures flanking two intertwined serpents topped by a solar disc suggests a human skull, with the sun disc approximating the location of the pineal gland (and the Uraeus headdress).

From there, the videos explore the rather controversial theory of Dr. Strassman, who believes that the powerful hallucinogenic compound DMT may be naturally produced in certain conditions in the human body, perhaps by the pineal gland, and that this substance is tied to the perception of mystical experiences as well as to visions of the afterlife and the well-known reports of near-death experiences by numerous individuals. Small amounts of naturally-occurring DMT have been found in human tissues, and the theory of some researchers is that certain types of meditation or certain levels of stress could trigger increased production of DMT and possibly the onset of powerful visions and otherworldly experiences.

A brand-new documentary discussing Dr. Strassman's theories, and the implications of DMT in general, based upon and named after Dr. Strassman's book The Spirit Molecule, is currently being released.

The implications of this theory, as well as the very interesting ties to ancient Egypt discussed in the remaining segments of the video above, are fascinating to consider, whether one accepts them or not. Another important theme of this blog and my book is the importance of considering alternative theories and examining all the available evidence for and against them, rather than rejecting them out of hand as is too often the case today. Thor Heyerdahl's approving reference to a quotation by Edgar Smith Craighill Handy is worth repeating in this context: "There is such a variety of possibilities open in the matter of relationships and derivations that my own feeling is that there is only one sure way of being in the wrong, and that is by asserting dogmatically what is not true" (cited in American Indians in the Pacific 8).

If a naturally-occurring chemical compound is in fact responsible for mystic visions and concepts of otherworldly beings and an afterlife, does this mean that critics can dismiss the reality of a soul and a spirit world, mystical revelation, and other related concepts as mere figments of a chemically-induced altered state of consciousness?

One strong argument against Darwinian evolution is the extensive evidence for a spiritual aspect to human existence. Spirits or souls cannot really be explained by Darwinian evolution at all, which is why the existence of such concepts is vehemently rejected by most Darwinian apologists. If any supernatural experiences can be attributed to naturally-occurring hallucinogenic compounds, perhaps produced by the pineal gland, then this would appear to be a powerful new argument in the evolutionists' arsenal.

However, there are several counters to this line of argument as well. First and most obvious among them is the possibility that naturally-occurring DMT is not responsible for visions at all (this hypothesis is still speculative and has not been proven). Another counter is the fact that some DMT users (and near-death experience survivors) appear to have experienced things that they would not be expected to know or that their brains could not be expected to have "dreamed up," whether under the influence of a chemical or not. There are also other evidences of spiritual aspects to the human experience which do not seem to rely upon altered states of reality among those who experience them (for instance, some of the physical feats performed by yogis, fakirs, or advanced martial artists). Finally, there is the entire discussion in the final videos of the series above in which doors and passwords for use in the afterlife are discussed, and the insightful comment of the narrator at the beginning of the discussion that such knowledge, in order to be useful, implies the transmission of data and knowledge from someone or something from the "other side."

Again, to discuss these things is not to imply agreement with or acceptance of everything that is discussed. However, it is a fascinating layer of analysis of a very ancient civilization, and an important line of clues into their "technologies" (technologies not only in the sense in which we commonly use the word, but also in the sense that martial arts and other forms of human achievement and science can be thought of as technology). It is important that researchers and analysts such as John Anthony West, Rick Strassman, and the others involved in the video and in ongoing investigations continue to probe in new and unconventional directions, because one never knows what will be discovered and when a new breakthrough might occur.

We should all be stimulated to apply our own gifts and areas of expertise in the same way to areas of research or analysis to which we are drawn, as the mystery of human existence and mankind's ancient past is too big for any one individual to decode in its entirety.