Our subconscious is capable of far more than we give it credit for

Our subconscious is capable of far more than we give it credit for

Last week I had to take a trip to Los Angeles for a day, and that required waking up earlier than usual. Interestingly, as is often the case on days where I have an important reason to be up at a specific time, I awoke on my own a few minutes before the alarm, which I had set the night before to awaken me at the earlier time.

As I wrote in a blog post back in 2015 about "The eight pieces of brocade 八段錦," I purchased a book when I was in my early twenties, entitled The Kung Fu Exercise Book by Michael Minick (1974) which alleges that one of the indications of a healthy sleep pattern is the ability "to awaken at a present time simply by visualizing the hour to get up immediately before going to sleep" (19).

This assertion always surprised me, because it seems so unlikely. How can anyone assert that such an ability, which does not even really seem possible, should be considered a basic indicator of good health, while the inability to wake up at a preset time envisioned before going to bed "indicates a basic health problem that needs attention," as the text goes on to assert?

And yet, as I related in the first blog post linked above, shortly after adding the "Silk Reeling Exercises" contained in that book to my daily routine, I was surprised to wake up exactly two minutes before my alarm went off very early in the morning, before dawn, while out in the field for a protracted period of time as part of a "Robin Sage" detail during my days as a lieutenant in the 82nd Airborne Division.

The ability to wake oneself up at a preset time indicates that the subconscious mind remains active even when our conscious mind goes to sleep (and we become "unconscious"). I believe that our subconscious mind has levels of awareness and ability that we would find incredible: literally unbelievable. The ability to wake oneself up is only a tiny example of the awareness and capability that the subconscious has but which we, caught up primarily in our conscious mind and limiting ourselves to its awareness and ability, do not believe that it can do.

The fact that incorporating disciplines such as the ancient "Silk Reeling Exercises" into one's daily routine can enable us to be able to awaken without an alarm at a specific time indicates that such ancient disciplines are designed to help us become more in tune and in harmony with our subconscious, and to help us unleash its amazing capabilities.

Indeed, I also believe that the very reason these exercises are called "Silk Reeling Exercises" has to do with the "reeling-in" or "winding and tightening" of our body's amazing self-aware fascia network, which we can actually learn to do -- even though, once again, our conscious mind is not generally  even aware of the existence of our fascia network or of our ability to actually control it. Our subconscious mind, however, is most definitely aware of information received by our incredible body systems and is absorbing all that information, even if our conscious mind does not avail itself of this awareness.

Practices such as the "Silk Reeling Exercises" and other ancient disciplines (including meditation, certain internal arts, Yoga, and other arts passed down through the millennia in some cultures) can enable us to become more attuned to and integrated with this aspect of our nature, which too often is sadly neglected.

Above is a video showing one version of the "Eight Pieces of Brocade" exercises, similar to those related in that now out-of-print 1974 book that first introduced me to this type of exercise. There are many other variations which you can find in books and videos. The Kung Fu Exercise Book recommends performing these movements either in the morning before to eating breakfast, or in the afternoon or early evening prior to eating dinner (46 - 47).

Having now studied the ancient myths for several years with regard to the evidence that they are based on the stars and are thus not about someone else who lived thousands of years ago but rather about each and every man and woman, I am convinced that one of the messages they are trying to impart to us has to do with the power of the subconscious, which has a level of awareness which goes far beyond anything that the conventional paradigm of "science" and "physics" would say is possible (see for instance some of the examples discussed in this recent blog post).

Indeed, I would go so far as to say that the ancient myths depict the gods as speaking to us through the subconscious, and thus teaching that this aspect of our mind is in fact connected to the Infinite Realm in some way.

Every single one of us has a subconscious. Of that, at least, there is no doubt; on that point there is no controversy. I would highly recommend exploring some of the ancient practices that are designed (in part) to help us to reconnect with it, such as daily meditation, or daily exercises such as the "Eight Pieces of Brocade."

Happy "Pi Day" 2019

Happy "Pi Day" 2019

table duties 1987647.jpg

Today is March 14, which is of course often abbreviated as 03/14 or 03.14 and thus has come to be colloquially known as "Pi Day" (probably a fairly recent designation, although I haven't looked into the history of this phrase).

Pi relates the diameter of a circle to its circumference, and as an irrational number cannot be completely expressed as a fraction or as a numeral form, and its digits never end and never repeat when expressed in decimal form. Thus, pi evokes the Infinite. 

Above is an image of your author attempting to cut a circular pie into an even number of slices, probably taken during the winter of 1987 - 1988. The photograph is unstaged and completely extemporaneous -- I had no idea someone was taking my picture at that moment and don't even remember who took it. The image gives some idea of the way the complex set of rules and norms of West Point are imprinted upon the mind of those who enter into that particular institutional culture (or were imprinted during that period of history: things may have changed slightly since then).

This image was used in a blog post about "Pi Day" four years ago on 03.14.15 which you can find here.

The upperclassman who is giving me some gentle coaching as I cut the pie is a perfectly reasonable person who was simply acting out the same kind of indoctrination that was the norm at that time and which I would later act out as an upperclassman (as shown in an image in this recent previous post). 

The fact is that we are all indoctrinated into various social norms and behavior patterns in society, beginning even before we can talk and reinforced as we grow up, and these rules and norms are necessary even if there are undoubtedly better or worse ways to pass them on within a society. If you never learn the rules and norms that govern the complex task of driving a car in traffic among other cars and trucks and motorcycles and railroad crossings and freeway entrances, then you cannot really drive safely in a society that includes other drivers, for example. 

However, as discussed in the above-linked post entitled "What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?" there is great value in disciplines which enable us to get in touch with the enormous part of our consciousness which "lies beneath" the mental dialogue of our conscious mind and its endless calculations of what "should" and "could" and "would" and "might" be done in any situation (or "could have" or "should have" or "might have" been done in a past situation). 

This part of ourselves, which is often called the "unconscious" and which actually seems to be in touch (in some way not fully understood at this time, and in a way which is definitely outside of the conventional paradigms with which we are generally indoctrinated in society and academia), actually appears to be in contact with the Infinite, as discussed in this recent post.

Pi Day is a perfect opportunity to contemplate the Infinite, and our own internal and unbreakable connection with the Infinite, to which we have access all the time, although we often fail to realize it.

March comes in like a Lion

March comes in like a Lion

Here's a new video I just posted entitled "March comes in like a Lion," which I made today to encourage everyone to go outside and take in the glorious spectacle of the constellations of March, if at all possible.

The video starts by touring the glorious lineup of constellations visible to us at this time of year. At this particular point in our orbit around the sun, the constellation Orion is still very dominant in the evening sky (along with the beautiful Hyades and Pleiades), while at the same time we can see Leo rising up in the east followed by Virgo, and accompanied by the entire length of the constellation Hydra.

If you know where to look, you can also see the dazzling and mythologically-important Beehive Cluster (also known as Messier 44, or M44). 

The appearance of the Lion near the "center stage" of the heavens reminds me of a topic discussed in this previous post from July of last year, and the concept of the "Lion's Gaze." Special thank-you to researcher and explorer Richard Cassaro for his insightful 2015 article on the subject of the "Lion's Gaze," which undergirds the discussion of this topic in my later blog post and in this newest video.

I hope that you will have the opportunity to get outside to witness the breathtaking lineup of constellations visible this month, if it is at all possible for you to do so. Note that the moon is waning right now, although still a sliver this evening and the following evening. As the month progresses the moon's sliver will become more and more full, on its way to full moon on March 20th (which happens to also be the day on which the earth will hurtle through the point of spring equinox this year).

After the night of the full moon, the moon will of course begin to wane again, and star gazing will once again begin to improve. The moon also rises later in the evening each night, so that after full moon it will be rising later and later and creating better constellation viewing conditions. Therefore, if you miss the window for best viewing during the next nights while the moon is relatively new, there will be another good period for star gazing etc beginning a couple days after the spring equinox this year.

Regardless of whether or not you have the opportunity to go out to see the stars in person, perhaps more important is the practice of fixing the gaze upon the source, as explored in the Lion's Gaze discussion, and the teaching that we should not be chasing after substituteswhen the source of what we are looking for out there is already available to us within. 

Ancient mosaic with esoteric celestial elements discovered during recent Pompeii excavations

Ancient mosaic with esoteric celestial elements discovered during recent Pompeii excavations

image:   @PlanetPompeii   26 January, 2019.

image: @PlanetPompeii 26 January, 2019.

Special thank-you to a specialist in ancient philosophy and history who alerted me to the recent excavation of an amazing floor mosaic which has lain buried under the ash and debris from the eruption of Vesuvius which engulfed the city of Pompeii and all of its remaining inhabitants in AD 79, and which has only recently again seen the light of day during an ongoing archaeological project in the Regio V section of the ruins.

On a late autumn night (long thought to have been August 24, but based on recent discoveries and analysis now believed to have been in either late October or November) in the year we today call AD 79 (or, if you prefer, 79 CE), the volcano known to the Romans as Vesuvius Mons erupted violently, sending a deadly and basically inescapable pyroclastic flow of superheated ash and toxic gas billowing down the mountainside over the seaside town of Pompeii, killing everyone who had not left the city during the preceding earthquakes and tremors which had provided ominous warning that the volcano was preparing to explode. 

The ash flowed around and over buildings, people, and animals, preserving them even as it entombed them for centuries, eventually burying them in hardened volcanic material over 80 feet deep. For conveying the human impact on the men and women and children who were overcome by the eruption on that night, as well as providing an outstanding examination of the city of Pompeii in ancient times and after it began to be excavated in earnest beginning in the 1700s, I recommend Professor Mary Beard's Fires of Vesuvius: Pompeii Lost and Found (2008).

Recently, new archaeological excavations have been underway in the section of the city which is designated "Regio V." The buried city of Pompeii was divided into Regiones ("regions" or "wards") during the 1800s by archaeologist Giuseppe Fiorelli (1823 - 1896), who began to study the ruins of Pompeii in 1848. As Professor Beard explains in her book:

In the absence of ancient addresses, modern gazetteers to the city use a late nineteenth-century system for referring to individual buildings. The same archaeologist who perfected the technique of casting the corpses, Giuseppe Fiorelli (one-time revolutionary politician, and the most influential director of the Pompeian excavations ever), divided Pompeii into nine separate areas or regions; he then numbered each block of houses within these areas, and went on to give every doorway onto the street its own individual number. So, in other words, according to this now standard archaeological shorthand, 'VI. xv. 1' would mean the first doorway of the fifteenth block of region six, which lies at the northwest of the city. 20 - 21.

Below is a map showing the Regiones and Insulae ("islands" or "blocks") of Pompeii, from a book by Eustace Neville-Rolfe (1845 - 1908), entitled Pompeii Popular and Practical: An easy book on a difficult subject (1893):

pompeii neville rolfe 1893 from pages 229_230.jpg

As the reader can see from the above map, in 1893 when Eustace Neville-Rolfe's book was published, much of Regio V was still buried under the layers of ancient ash as well as the earth that had covered over it during the intervening nineteen centuries since the eruption. However, blocks (or Insulae) in the regiones which had been excavated up to that year are numbered according to Fiorelli's system.

Each of these blocks within the regiones contain dozens of individual buildings, as can be perceived by looking closely at the gorgeous 1911 map below:

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As can be seen in that map as well, large portions of the city remained under layers of ash and later soil deposits in 1911, including most of the northern parts of the city in the region designated by Giuseppe Fiorelli as Regio V. However, as you can see in the map, some of the edges of the buildings lining the avenue leading across the town from the Porta di Nola (the "Nola Gate") were excavated prior to 1911. This important cross-town artery has been dubbed the "Via di Nola" in modern times, although as Professor Beard explains in her book linked above, we do not know the original name of the street, or whether the ancients even had "street names" in the way we think of them today (20).

Below is a map of Pompeii showing in different colors the periods in which various areas of Pompeii have been excavated thus far, prior to the new excavations in Regio V: V. xv. 1).

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

As you can see from this map, significant portions of the south-eastern side of the city were excavated in the years following the publication of the 1911 map shown just above it (the areas in orange), as well as some additional forays deeper into the blocks indicated in green than were shown in the 1911 map. Nevertheless, large sections of Regio V, where excavations are ongoing today, are still uncolored in the above map.

Here is a link to an excellent modern map from the Visiting Pompeii website, showing the Regiones and outlines of buildings that have been excavated thus far, and also labeling the streets with their modern names.

The recent push to excavate more deeply into Regio V as part of the Great Pompeii Project (to prevent damage including water damage to unexcavated archaeological treasures) is turning up amazing new discoveries. Here is a short article from March of 2018 with some photographs showing excavated portions of Pompeii next to portions of Regio V which are still covered with undisturbed ash and soil, entitled "New Pompeii District to be Uncovered."

This previous post discusses one such new discovery, an amazing fresco containing an erotic depiction of the scene of the mythical episode of Leda and the Swan, in which the artist has Leda "breaking the fourth wall" by staring provocatively at the viewer no matter where in the room the viewer is located. That post also contains a video I made entitled "The Divine Spark descends to the Mortal Realm," discussing some of the celestial aspects of the myth of Zeus and Leda, and of other myths involving Zeus and his amorous affairs with mortal women, as well as possible esoteric messages conveyed by these erotic myths.

The cubiculum (probably a bedroom) containing the newly-discovered painting of Leda and the Swan was unearthed in Regio V during the 2018 excavations as part of the Great Pompeii Project. It was found in a villa located in a block along the Via del Vesuvio, near the well-known House of the Vettii (the House of the Vettii, in fact, is the house indicated by the example address given by Professor Beard in the quotation above: V. xv. 1). The avenue known today as Via del Vesuvio runs to the gate known as the Vesuvius Gate, along the northern wall of the city: you can find it in the multi-colored map above along the north wall, where two streets descend in an inverted "V" from a point at the gate (the Vesuvius Gate can easily be seen along the north wall because it is the point that has the larger "green-colored" section north of the wall, representing excavation that was performed between 1879 and 1923).

The Via del Vesuvio is the "right-hand" street extending down from the point of this inverted V, traversing all the way across the city from north to south (or northwest to southeast) and exiting at the Porta di Stabia (the "Stabian Gate"). It changes names from the Via del Vesuvio to the Via Stabiana when it crosses the Via di Nola.

In addition to the striking recently-unearthed depiction of Leda and the Swan, an even more-recently uncovered mosaic from a Regio V villa was revealed to the public in January of this year. This is a mosaic found in the so-called "House of Jupiter" or "Casa di Giove" ("House of Jove"), a villa along the Via di Nola which had been partially excavated in the late 19th century but which has rooms further back which are only now being unearthed. Here is an article from the Daily Mail dated August 2018 describing the ongoing excavations in the Casa di Giove (an article published a few months prior to the unearthing of the floor mosaic shown at the top of this post and discussed below).

The Casa di Giove is designated V. ii. 15 and it is linked to the building designated V. ii. 16 under the system of Giuseppe Fiorelli. You can see the actual floor plan of these buildings if you look closely enough on the close-up map contained in this article from the Visiting Pompeii website. I have taken the close-up map from that article and circled (in dark blue) the label indicating "block" or "insula" V. 2, and placed a blue arrow pointing to the buildings designated V. ii. 15 and V. ii. 16 (you can see the tiny "door numbers" indicated along the edge of the block facing the street labeled "Via di Nola," if you look very closely):

location of V ii 15 and 16.jpg

The striking mosaic recently revealed in the Casa di Giove is shown at the top of this post. It depicts a  winged anthropomorphic male figure shown from the waist up, emerging from a large scorpion. Below the scorpion is a massive coiled cobra, rearing up like an Egyptian uraeus.

Above the winged figure is another winged figure, angelic in form (with feathered wings, unlike the somewhat "moth-shaped" wings of the first figure who is rising up out of the scorpion). This angelic figure has an upward-stretching arm pointing skyward (in a hand-gesture or mudra which is seen in other sacred artwork, such as the mudras discussed here, or those depicted in the Last Supper by da Vinci, for example). This same angelic figure also has a downward-reaching hand holding a torch, and this torch is extended downwards towards the head of the first figure (the one rising out of the scorpion). The torch is setting the head of the first figure aflame.

Above this angelic winged figure with a torch, we see a third winged figure holding a crown which appears to be made of laurel branches (a "laurel crown"). This top figure with the laurel crown is extending both arms downwards, offering the laurel crown to one of the two figures below.

The twitter account of the Pompeii-based website Planet Pompeii tweeted about this remarkable mosaic on 26 January of this year (link to tweet).

In that tweet, they called the mosaic "enigmatic" and then offered their interpretation, saying: "it would be the transformation of the gigantic Orion constellation after its fight against the scorpion."

This interpretation is worthwhile, and is at least pointing in the right direction, by perceiving that this ancient mosaic, buried beneath the debris of the eruption for 1, 940 years, is in fact based upon celestial figures found in the heavens above. While I commend their attempt to interpret the scene celestially, I disagree that the ancient mosaic depicts "the gigantic Orion constellation."

Just because the scene contains a large scorpion (which the author or authors of the tweet correctly suggest may be related to the constellation Scorpio) does not mean that the figure rising up from the scorpion is necessarily Orion. In fact, I would argue that the winged figure rising up from the Scorpion is associated with a different constellation, one situated immediately above the constellation Scorpio in the heavens: the constellation Ophiuchus.

The reason we can be quite confident that the winged man emerging from the scorpion and rising towards the heavens (where he is anointed with fire by the downward-facing torch of the angelic figure above, while another angelic figure descends with a laurel crown) is associated with Ophiuchus is the fact that the figures above him can almost certainly be associated with the constellation Hercules, located directly above Ophiuchus in the sky. The presence of a crown in the artwork, connected to the angelic winged figures, is yet another confirmatory clue, because this crown can almost certainly be identified with the constellation Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown, which is located immediately in front of the constellation Hercules and indeed is envisioned as being "grasped" by the figures associated with the constellation Hercules in a great many myths from around the world.

Below is a star-chart showing the relevant constellations in the night sky, juxtaposed with an image of the newly-uncovered artwork from the long-buried mosaic in the Casa di Giove:

mosaic 03.jpg

Working our way upwards in the mosaic, beginning with the giant scorpion, we can be fairly confident that the scorpion corresponds to the figure of Scorpio, in the heavens. I have drawn an arrow from the constellation Scorpio as we see it in the sky to the giant scorpion depicted in the ancient mosaic.

Immediately above the scorpion in the mosaic we see the human figure, rising up with arms upraised, with moth-like wings on either side. This figure, I am convinced, can be identified with the position of the constellation Ophiuchus in the night sky. The constellation Ophiuchus is an extremely important constellation, one which plays a central role in many of the Star Myths of the world. Ophiuchus figures in ancient myth include Dionysus, Odin, Christ, and many others. Note that all of these Ophiuchus figures are mystical figures, associated with ecstasy or transfiguration -- just as we see the figure in this enigmatic ancient mosaic from the floor of the House of Jove in Pompeii undergoing some sort of transfiguration.

The moth-winged figure undergoing some sort of transfiguration apparently has his head set aflame by a downward-reaching winged figure immediately above him. I would suggest that this winged figure with the torch can be clearly identified as being associated with the constellation Hercules. The constellation Hercules is located directly above Ophiuchus in the heavens. What's more, the constellation has a leg which appears to be stepping on one side of the triangular "head" of the constellation Ophiuchus. In the ancient mosaic from the floor of the Casa di Giove in Pompeii, this "forward leg" is instead envisioned as a "downward-pointing torch," but the outline and body position still match the outline of the constellation Hercules.

(The reader may note that the artwork on the mosaic appears to be "mirror-image" to the constellations in the night sky -- this is not unusual for artwork based on celestial scenes; for example, note that the tail of the scorpion in the mosaic points to the right as we face it, but the tail of Scorpio in the heavens points towards the left, or east, as we face the star-chart above: this is why the two angelic figures above the moth-winged transfigured man are also facing to the left with their feet extending to the right, even though Hercules in the heavens faces to the right or west with his feet extending to the left or east).

The reader may wonder about the massive weapon which the constellation Hercules in the heavens appears to be brandishing (this feature in the outline of the constellation shows up as a weapon wielded by mythical figures associated with this constellation in many of the world's ancient Star Myths, such as the club wielded by the hero Heracles in Greek myth, or the mighty mace wielded by the hero Bhima in the Mahabharata of ancient India). There is evidence that this portion of the outline of the constellation, often envisioned as a weapon, was alternately envisioned as forming the "wings" of an angelic-looking figure instead. For example, below is artwork from ancient Greece, showing the famous scene in which Achilles drags the body of Hector after defeating him in battle, as described in the Iliad:

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note that immediately behind the figure of Achilles in the chariot we see a winged figure whose leg position indicates beyond any doubt that this figure (usually interpreted as representative of the spirit of the deceased Patroclus) is associated in this particular piece of artwork with the constellation Hercules in the night sky. I discuss this scene in more depth in my 2016 book Star Myths of the World, and how to interpret them, Volume Two (Myths of Ancient Greece). The other figures in the artwork are shown in that volume to be associated with other nearby constellations, thus confirming that the winged figure is indeed associated with Hercules (for example, Achilles in the chariot can be shown to be associated with the figure of Bootes in the heavens, who is located directly in front of Hercules and thus matches this ancient artwork on the vase quite precisely).

Additional confirmation that winged figures such as those found in the Pompeiian mosaic and the Greek vase above can be identified as being associated with the constellation Hercules can be found in depictions of the Annunciation by the Angel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary down through the centuries. In these artistic depictions, the Angel Gabriel is almost invariably depicted in a posture characterized by a "deep knee-bend" and a "downward reaching arm," corresponding to the outline of the constellation Hercules. The other distinctive aspect of the constellation Hercules, the "upraised club" (or other powerful weapon) is instead envisioned as the over-arching wing or wings of the angel.

Below is an example of an Annunciation scene, painted around the year AD 1270, and showing the Angel with characteristics distinctive to the outline of the constellation Hercules:

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Note that in the above Annunciation scene, the artist has chosen to depict the Virgin Mary standing in front of a tall rectangular tower with a triangular roof: this tower's shape is clearly evocative of the outline of the central body of the constellation Ophiuchus in the heavens (towards which the downward-reaching arm of the constellation Hercules can be seen to be pointing).

These examples should confirm that the angelic image in the mosaic recently unearthed in the Casa di Giove in Pompeii is associated with the constellation Hercules, and this helps to confirm as well that the moth-winged man being transfigured in that mosaic, just below the angelic figure, is associated with the constellation Ophiuchus.

Just above the first "angelic" figure we see another similar angelic-looking figure with feathered wings, this time reaching downward and extending a laurel crown. The arc of this wreath of laurels is almost certainly associated with the dazzling arc of the Northern Crown in the heavens, Corona Borealis (as indicated in the star-chart above, where I have drawn a green arrow pointing from the Northern Crown in the chart to the laurel wreath crown in the artwork).

It is an undeniable fact that figures associated with the constellation Hercules in ancient myth and ancient artwork are frequently described or depicted as grasping an arc-shaped object which is associated with the Northern Crown (Corona Borealis). Indeed, the Northern Crown is located immediately in front of the constellation Hercules in the heavens, and although the constellations are not "usually" or "normally" seen as being connected, we can easily envision a line from the downward-reaching arm of Hercules to the nearby stars of the Northern Crown:

hercules and corona closeup inverted labeled.jpg

There are a great many myths from around the world in which a Hercules figure is envisioned as grasping a figure associated with the Northern Crown. One familiar episode on which I have written extensively in the past is the story of the Judgment of Solomon, from the book of 1 Kings in the Bible. In that story, Solomon directs a figure (whom we can designate as the "Swordsman") to cut a living baby in half and give one half to each of two mothers who each claim the baby to be her own (the swordsman does not actually cut the baby in half, in case you are not familiar with the story -- Solomon commands "Stop!" before the baby is actually divided, by which fact we know that Solomon is talking to someone else with a sword, and is not wielding the sword himself in that story).

In that episode of the Judgment of Solomon, the Swordsman can be convincingly shown to be played by the constellation Hercules in the heavens, while the infant being held by the Swordsman is associated with Corona Borealis, the Northern Crown. Artwork down through the centuries consistently represents the Swordsman in a posture reminiscent of the outline of Hercules, with sword held overhead, and consistently shows the baby in a "hard arch" representative of the arc of the Northern Crown in the heavens:

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

Finally, we can address the coiled cobra snake depicted beneath the scorpion in the mosaic. As shown in the star-chart above, I believe this serpent corresponds to the constellation Hydra in the night sky, which is located just to the west of Scorpio, and which features a "circlet" at the front of the sinuous serpent shape, very suggestive of the hood of a cobra. Indeed, the outline of Hydra could be envisioned as suggesting a cobra with head rearing up. I have drawn an arrow in the star-chart between the constellation Hydra and the coiled serpent in the mosaic. Note that once again the serpent in the artwork is "mirror-image" to the direction of the constellations in the sky -- this mirroring is consistent throughout the mosaic and appears to have been a deliberate choice on the part of the artist. Again, such mirroring is not unusual in sacred artwork depicting figures who are based on heavenly constellations: sometimes the scene is mirror-image to the way we see it from earth looking to the sky.

Thus, we can see that the evidence supporting the assertion that the recently-unearthed mosaic from the Casa di Giove in Regio V of the ruins of Pompeii depicts a scene that is patterned after the celestial figures in the heavens is quite abundant, and quite compelling (I would say conclusive).

The scene does not appear to depict the constellation Orion: rather, I would argue that it depicts a transfigured mortal who is depicted in the position of the constellation Ophiuchus in the heavens, directly above a great scorpion (the constellation Scorpio) and a coiled cobra-snake (the constellation Hydra). Above, we see an angelic being with a torch, setting the head of the rising man aflame: this angelic being can be confidently associated with the constellation Hercules. Above that, we see yet another angelic being, also (according to my analysis) based on Hercules, but this time offering a crown instead of a flaming torch. This crown is almost certainly identified with the Northern Crown in the heavens, which is often envisioned in other myths as being held in the hand of the constellation Hercules.

The parallels to other artwork and other myths in this newly-discoverd mosaic are striking. The fact that I have published analysis of other artwork based on these same constellations from other myth-traditions years before the "mosaic of the transfigured man" from the floor of the Casa di Giove was ever revealed to the world is powerful confirmation that the previous analysis was correct, and that these ancient patterns based on the constellations were used in myths from many cultures (and are even found in artwork that we have not re-discovered at the present date).

It should be fairly self-evident that the image of the "transfigured man" contains many symbols which are today thought to belong to literalist or Biblical Christianity. The mosaic depicts an angel bringing a crown down towards a transfiguring mortal: this iconography is a direct parallel to scriptures describing  the awarding of a crown by a heavenly angelic figure, found in the Biblical passages of Isaiah 62: 3, 1 Corinthians 9: 25, 2 Titus 4: 8, 1 Peter 5: 4, Revelation 2: 10, and Revelation 4: 4.

Similarly, the mosaic depicts an angelic being placing flames upon the head of the transfiguring mortal: this iconography is a direct parallel to scriptures describing flames coming down upon the heads of the assembled faithful at the Pentecost gathering described in Acts 2: 3. The scene can also be seen as having parallels to the scene described in Isaiah 6: 6 - 7 in which a cherubim brings a live coal held with tongs and places it upon Isaiah's lips.

I would argue that these parallels arise because the scenes described in the scriptures and the scene portrayed in the mosaic are based upon the same celestial figures, the important constellations Ophiuchus and Hercules, as well as the Northern Crown.

It is quite moving to think of this piece of ancient artwork, buried by the deadly eruption of the powerful volcano Vesuvius in AD 79, a full 1, 940 years ago this year, resting under its heavy blanket of congealed ash and debris, waiting patiently in darkness and in silence, bearing its powerful message through the centuries, to finally emerge at this date to proclaim it again.

It is a message which declares that the world's ancient myths and scriptures are celestial and esoteric in nature, and that they are united by an ancient system of metaphor which has been forgotten or suppressed for many centuries (although it was obviously known during the years prior to the eruption of Vesuvius Mons).

And it is a message of our connection to the heavenly realm, the realm of the Higher Self, associated with the higher elements of air and fire, with which we are actually connected even during this incarnate life, imprisoned as we are for a time in the realm of the lower elements of earth and water, and surrounded by serpents and scorpions.

We can only wonder what other ancient treasures await re-discovery underneath the yet-unexcavated Regiones of the ancient city of Pompeii.

Contemplating aspects of the terrible crash of February 19, 1979 in Norman Ollestad's "Crazy for the Storm"

Contemplating aspects of the terrible crash of February 19, 1979 in Norman Ollestad's "Crazy for the Storm"

Forty years ago on February 19, 1979, a small plane carrying young Norman Ollestad (11), his father Norman Ollestad, Sr (43), his father's girlfriend Sandra Cressman (30), and pilot Rob Arnold (27) crashed into the side of a rugged 8,600 foot mountain in a blizzard.

The story of young Norman's harrowing journey down from the peak alone after the deadly crash is told by Norman thirty years later in his 2009 memoir Crazy for the Storm, interspersed with his memories of his relationship with his father and the lessons his father taught him growing up which helped the 11-year old survive.

Here is a link to a blog post I wrote in 2015 about this remarkable book and Norman's gripping account of his childhood and adolescence and that terrible day in February of 1979. Entitled "Crazy for the Storm, and the inner connection to the Infinite," the post examines some of the terrain maps of the site of young Norman's ordeal, as well as touching on some of the other aspects of the story which are extremely noteworthy and turned out to have been essential to Norman's survival that day.

In particular (and those who have not read the book itself may want to stop and do so before reading further), there were several "synchronicities" which enabled the 11-year-old to be found prior to nightfall after he made his way down off the rugged mountain during the blizzard.

A young mother named Pat Chapman was awakened on the morning of the crash by what she describes as a loud thud. "Her first thought was that it sounded like a plane crashing," she explained (263). She also heard a strange beeping sound and a coyote who wouldn't stop howling. The text continues:

Later that morning, nagged by a remote yet unshakable feeling that something bad had happened on the mountain, she led her two sons on a miserable hike to the meadow. They called out toward Ontario Peak, above the crown of rock, into the long apron that she called Gooseberry Canyon. Although the canyon was several thousand feet away, their voices echoed off the canyon walls. The wind and heavy fog buffered their voices some that day. When no one answered, she figured that her hunch was wrong. 263.

As it turns out, young Norman was trying to make his way towards this meadow, which he thought he had seen from the steep cliffs near the top of the mountain, and towards which he steered after he made his way down through the terrifying ice-chutes and funnels formed by the rock faces of the mountainside below the crash site.

When he finally did make it to the meadow, it was only because he saw Pat's bootprints in the snow and followed them that he was able to trace his way through the forested areas surrounding the meadow back to a dirt road where he was eventually found by another person who followed a hunch, a teenaged boy named Glenn Farmer.

In addition to these "coincidences," which enabled the injured 11-year old to be found after his hours-long ordeal on the mountainside, Norman later returned to the mountain twenty-seven years later (during the warmer months this time) and was surprised to discover that there was no way to see the meadow at all from the part of the mountain that he had traversed -- it was hidden by another ridgeline the entire way!

And yet, if he had not navigated towards that meadow, and then followed the bootprints left in the snow by Pat Chapman and her two children, young Norman Ollestad might not have found anyone to help him in that remote location. Writing his book nearly thirty years later, he considers this thought, and the perplexing fact that based on the unmistakable physical layout of the terrain, he could not have actually seen the meadow at any point as he made his way down off the side of Ontario Peak:

And even in the face of insurmountable contradictory evidence I still have a vivid memory of heading toward that meadow, compelled to reach it, believing that it would guide me to safety. 

Bears and wolves navigate wilderness by instinct, and migratory birds are guided by an internal compass, so maybe the notion that I had to see the meadow in order for me to perceive it is an artificial concept. 

Maybe I sensed a place where I could rest from the steep ice and broken terrain -- a place where other humans like Pat were compelled to go -- just as a wolf or bear can sense such places. Maybe the footprints of Pat and her boys, those human markings, called to me, and because I was cut off from civilization I was able to access my animal instinct and hang on to life. 267.

This revelation, and Norman's reflections upon it almost thirty years later, are among the most important lessons from an entire book filled with insights of all sorts about life in general (and in modern society in particular), in my opinion.

The fact is that some part of us, which we might call "the subconscious" but which appears to stretch even beyond what is usually allowed by that term, appears to have access to information of tremendous importance, and to which we are usually completely unaware. Sometimes, such as in life-threatening situations like the one 11-year-old Norman Ollestad faced that day on February 19, 1979, that information makes itself known to our conscious mind.

As the book also notes, when Pat Chapman told the sheriff's deputy later that day about thinking that she had heard a plane crash (the thudding sound that woke her up that morning, and which later caused her to hike out to the meadow with her children, on a "hunch"), the sheriff's deputy told her that it was impossible for her to have heard the crash, due to the distance from her house. It must have been the snowplow she had heard, they said (263 -264).

As Norman Ollestad notes in his own reflections on this information, the animals of the natural kingdom appear to have access to this kind of awareness, which goes beyond what can be explained by the five physical senses alone, and which is usually dismissed as "instinct." We ourselves are usually cut off from that awareness which is retained among the animal kingdom -- cut off by the complex entanglements of human society (the complexity of which, and the trauma with which these entanglements are imposed upon us as we grow up in the modern world, are depicted in graphic detail during the other parts of Norman Ollestad's powerful memoir).

In a sense, we are cut off from a very important part of ourselves by this process (necessary as it is in order to function in human society). I am convinced that healing this division, and becoming re-integrated with that part of ourselves from which we have been severed, is a central part of the message of the world's ancient myths, and of ancient practices such as meditation. Previous posts dealing with this question are numerous, and include:


(among many others).

Note that in one of the above-linked blog posts, there is an embedded video entitled "Greatest dad saves EVER!!!" in which some amazing rescues, primarily of infants or very young children, by dads are caught on film. One of these, fairly early in the video beginning at about the 0:06 second-mark in the clip, involves a dad who actually appears to be asleep when his hand suddenly shoots out to catch an infant about to fall head-first off a couch -- an infant the "dad" was not even looking at when his arm extends seemingly on its own to save the baby from potential disaster.

These types of incidents, which are barely explainable by our strictly "materialist" conventional paradigm, even with the vague catch-all phrase "instinct," indicate that some part of ourselves (our subconscious, which is a useful term as long as we realize that our subconscious appears to be tapped into a much wider field of awareness than is usually admitted by conventional science) has a level of awareness or sensitivity that goes beyond anything that can be explained by the five physical senses. In the case of Pat Chapman (who was awakened by the "sound" of a crash that was seemingly much too far away for her to have heard it from her location) and the meadow "seen" by young Norman as he made his way down off the mountain during his life-or-death ordeal, it appears that the subconscious (or whatever term we want to use) can in fact be aware of information at distances greater than what is possible for our physical senses.  

These life-saving aspects of the historical facts surrounding Norman Ollestad's survival on that terrible day of February 19, 1979 are reinforced by many other incidents in which "ordinary" people had experiences or premonitions that are equally difficult or impossible to explain under the conventional paradigm, the accepted paradigm which ignores or dismisses them as "coincidence" or "superstition" or some kind of psychological projection.

I believe these are extremely important subjects to contemplate.

I highly recommend reading Norman Ollestad's remarkable memoir Crazy for the Storm, about the plane crash forty years ago but also about so much more. We should be grateful for his willingness to share such a personal story.

In a way, it can be seen as another one of the "greatest dad saves EVER."

Welcome to new visitors from 13 Questions podcast! (and returning friends)

Welcome to new visitors from 13 Questions podcast! (and returning friends)

Big thank-you to Darren Grimes and Graham Dunlop, the hosts of the successful Grimerica Show podcast, who have assembled a new team to launch a brand-new podcast in addition to the Grimerica Show entitled "13 Questions to be a Better Man," in which they explore questions of "manhood in the digital age."

The podcast is born out of a desire to provide perspectives on difficult questions we face during this particular time in history, and hearing heartfelt answers from a wide variety of guests can be quite eye-opening and very helpful, and something that I think would be of interest to all men and women, even though they are tackling these subjects from a "modern manhood" perspective.

Their plan is to interview a wide variety of guests while asking the same "13 Questions." Above is an interview with Christian Takes Gun Parrish, the artist and Native American dancer Supaman, answering the 13 Questions with Darren and Graham in the second-ever episode of the new show. Below is a video of Supaman with world champion dancer Acosia Red Elk (White Swan Rising from the Water) dancing to Supaman's song "Why."

I hope you will check out the new 13 Questions Podcast. Even if you don't agree with every single point of view offered by every guest on the program (and it would be impossible for everyone to agree with everyone else on these questions), I believe that Darren and Graham and team are providing a really valuable new forum that can really change lives. The podcast lets you hear a wide variety of people pondering difficult questions and offering things they have learned in these different areas from their own varied life experiences. Gaining just one new perspective or one new thing to try from each interview would make listening to that interview worthwhile, even if you disagreed with everything else!

I was humbled to be asked to be on the show as they were launching the podcast. These aren't easy questions to answer! Looking back since the interview, I have thought of many other things I could have said in answer to some of the questions, but hopefully something here or there in my interview will be helpful to someone. More importantly, I think what is most valuable about this podcast is to listen to it as a kind of a tapestry or "quilt" in which all the pieces add up to something bigger than any of the individual strands or squares.

Links to add the show to your regular line-up of podcasts to listen to are below. There is a subscription option that is explained at the beginning of each show, offering extended content, a regular newsletter, valuable online courses, and (most valuable of all) the opportunity to record your own interview asking the 13 Questions to someone you respect, and send the interview in to the 13 Questions team to be shared with the world.

Direct Downloads





What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?

What lies beneath the scurrying of the superficial mind?

image: Wikimedia commons (  link  ).

image: Wikimedia commons (link).

In the summer of 1989, I was beginning my third year at West Point. My summer assignments that year included what was called "Beast 1," followed by a "voluntary summer training" commitment as part of the West Point parachute team, followed by Airborne School in Fort Benning Georgia (even though I was already an experienced skydiver with hundreds of skydives, freefall skydiving is completely different from military-style static-line airborne operations, so I had to report to Fort Benning to go through Airborne School after spending almost two weeks skydiving about six times a day).

"Beast 1" meant acting as part of the "cadre" during the first half of "cadet basic training" at West Point, which since the early 1800s has been unaffectionately known as "beast barracks" and which consists of full-time indoctrination of the "new cadets" arriving for their first summer at the Military Academy. By indoctrination I mean very intensive inculcation (in the new cadets, by the "beast cadre") of a complex set of rules, norms, behaviors, attitudes, drills, and responses which are completely different in many ways from the rules, norms, behaviors and attitudes which are drilled into us as we grow up in "normal" society.

Here's a photograph of me and one of my good friends from that summer (I'm on the left as you face the picture, and Scott is on the right) to give you an idea of the level of hostility that is generally involved in the process of foisting this new super-structure of rules, norms, behaviors, attitudes and responses upon the new cadets during their initial summer at West Point:

beast 89.png

Not very friendly-looking young people, I think it is safe to say, especially if you happened to be a new cadet in the summer of 1989. By the way, at the time this photograph was taken, Scott aka "the Cyborg" could probably bang out over 100 pushups in a row without stopping to rest, and could easily run two miles in around 11:00 minutes and change (and, I believe, he probably can still do that today, almost three decades later).

Anyway, on this particular summer morning at West Point in 1989, we went through our usual routine as part of being the "Beast 1" cadre for the new cadets during the first half of their summer training, waking the new cadets up at a very early hour to conduct physical training (that day I believe it consisted of what were called "guerrilla drills" -- a variety of calisthenics and other exercises in a grassy field, involving a lot of crawling around in the grass until your face and body are covered in grass-stains), followed by personal hygiene, a couple of formations, breakfast at the mess hall, and then marching the new cadets down to Eisenhower Hall where they were receiving some kind of lecture in a large-group setting.

While the new cadets were sitting in Eisenhower Hall receiving their lecture or other training, only a small contingent of cadre members had to stay with the new cadets, and the rest of us had a break and could leave the new cadets in Eisenhower Hall for their lecture and come back to get them again in an hour or so. On this particular morning, I distinctly remember walking back from Eishenhower Hall after dropping off the new cadets for whatever lecture they were getting, and finally having a free moment to myself.

As I was walking back, I suddenly realized for the first time that day that it was my birthday. I was twenty years old.

Here's where I was at the moment, walking back alone and finally having a bit of breathing room to collect my thoughts:

image: Google maps.

image: Google maps.

If you are familiar with West Point, you can just barely make out the enormous red-brick wall of Eisenhower Hall rising up behind the little white "Gingerbread House" near the center of the photograph (this "Gingerbread House" can be seen in the 1955 movie Long Gray Line, the real-life protagonist of which is Master Sergeant Marty Maher, who was an instructor at West Point from 1899 to 1928). 

The "X" on the sidewalk shows how far I had walked, alone with my thoughts, after leaving my charges at Eisenhower Hall and getting a little bit of a break, before I finally remembered for the first time that it was my birthday. I had managed to get up that morning (prior to waking up the new cadets), lead physical training (involving plenty of yelling at new cadets in order to continue their full-court-press indoctrination), get through a couple of formations and breakfast (involving more yelling at new cadets), and then march my squad of new cadets down to Eisenhower Hall to drop them off without my brain ever registering the fact that it was my twentieth birthday. 

The point is that even though my mind "knew" that it was my birthday, the pre-occupation with rules, infractions, yelling at infractions, norms, behaviors, and the rest of the knotted maze of entangling social constructs that are part of life at West Point (and in particular, the even more extreme environment of "beast barracks," in which as a cadre member I was responsible for trying to imprint this same set of entangling constructs onto the brains of other young men and women going through their first weeks at the Military Academy) had kept me from realizing that fact for several hours.

It was only when I was finally alone for a few minutes with my own thoughts, walking back by myself along the somewhat empty stretch of sidewalk pictured above, that the significant (to me, at least) fact that "today is my twentieth birthday" could finally surface. Until that moment, I was not consciously aware of it.

What is the point of this story? 

It's not just a story about a real-life incident that happened to someone else (me) in a very unique environment (beast-1 cadre at West Point during the late 1980s), a situation to which very few people can probably relate unless they happened to go through military training themselves. As such, it might be "interesting" but not particularly "applicable" to the very different life experiences that each of us encounters from day-to-day, most of which don't involve the kinds of things that were part of my life in the summer of 1989. Indeed, that was such a different time and place that it seems foreign even to me today, almost thirty years later.

But in a sense, this little vignette is illustrative of experiences that we all go through as part of the process of interacting with the entanglements of society, no matter what country or culture (or decade) we live in -- and thus, even though those societal entanglements and indoctrinations are probably very different (on a superficial level) from the various norms, rules, behaviors and attitudes encouraged (and enforced) at West Point during cadet basic training, the fact is that none of us are free from the demands of the norms and rules and behaviors and attitudes that are laid upon us over the years as we grow up in a society and learn to interact with other people, and which can be envisioned as being like a complex "superstructure" of intersecting lines of yarn laid down over our brains as part of the decades-long inculcation we went through during our first couple decades of human life, and which continue to be adjusted, reinforced, or added upon as we go through life even after reaching adulthood.

These norms and behaviors and rules and expectations are rather demanding, absorbing a lot of our mental energy as we go through the day. They include questions like who gets to go first at an intersection when we are driving, or what kinds of clothes we can wear to work, or which tasks out of the many demands on our time we decide to address first, and a host of other relationships with other people that we negotiate on a daily basis. Often, we no doubt find ourselves becoming angry at another driver who is not "following the rules" or "going out of turn," or we have to spend energy at work addressing issues that result from others making choices that we don't agree with, and these kinds of issues absorb our thoughts and our attention in very much the same way that the various demands of cadet basic training absorbed my thoughts and attention that morning in 1989, to the point that I did not even consciously realize that it was my birthday until several hours (and several dozen or more interactions with other people) had been navigated.

It was not until I was actually alone with my thoughts for a few moments that a piece of information, and a piece of information of great importance (to me), was able to surface to the point that my conscious mind became aware of it.

Obviously, I had known all along, somewhere beneath the surface of my conscious awareness, that it was my birthday that day. If I had not known it, then the realization would not have popped into my conscious mind once I got away from the entangling demands of acting out my role as a beast cadre-member. I knew it, but I did not become aware of it until I had a moment of time alone. At that point, the realization surfaced and I became conscious of the fact (to my surprise) that it was my birthday.

I only share this (rather personal) story because I believe it illustrates a point which can be helpful to our lives every single day. Our conscious mind operates inside of its own self-imposed (or society-imposed) constructs, navigating an incredibly complex set of rules and decision-trees and hierarchies and relationships as part of the process of functioning within a society that includes other people. 

All of these tasks and judgments and decisions are necessary and important. 

However, they can (and do) so distract our conscious mind that it regularly overlooks and misses an enormous amount of important information that is available to our subconscious, or to the part of our being that operates beneath the "tangle of yarn" imposed like an artificial meshwork maze over the  very tip-top of the iceberg that is our deeper consciousness.

This neglected part of ourselves is aware of an enormous amount of information that we would find to be of tremendous importance, if we were to become conscious of it. However, unless (as in the story above) we somehow get a "moment to ourselves" to relax our focus on the tangle of yarn, so to speak, we can remain in complete ignorance of even the most obvious knowledge.

That's why regularly spending time alone with your subconscious (or whatever term we want to use) is incredibly valuable and necessary, and appears to have been practiced in ancient cultures around the globe. Ancient disciplines such as meditation, or the practice of Yoga, or the practice of drumming or shaking a rattle at a specific rapid beat for a sustained period of time, or the chanting of mantras (including mantras containing the sacred syllable "OM" or "AUM"), were passed down from one generation to the next as vital tools for stilling the chattering of the superficial mind on a daily basis, in order to spend time listening to our deeper subconscious and our wider being. 

Practices such as those mentioned above (and many others) can enable "messages" or insights or realizations to bubble up to our conscious attention, in much the same way that the realization that it was my birthday suddenly bubbled up into my conscious mind as I was walking back along the sidewalk pictured above on that summer day long ago.

Indeed, there is abundant evidence which suggests that our subconscious mind is actually aware of more than we can possibly explain -- that our subconscious is in fact somehow tapped into sources of awareness which could not be available to us through our five physical senses alone. Examples include the experiences, too many to simply dismiss as "coincidence" or "superstition," of those who receive premonitions about loved ones far away, only to have those premonitions confirmed later (these premonitions are not always negative in nature, either -- for example, in the harrowing story of young Norman Ollestad's descent from the side of a steep ice- and snow-covered mountain after a deadly plane crash in 1979, the premonition of more than one person brought them out to a road where they were able to see Norman after he had made his way down off the mountain -- even though nothing in their five physical senses could have detected Norman's presence on that day). 

In a very real sense, our subconscious appears to transcend the boundaries of the physical self and connect to a wider realm which is not bounded by laws we can explain through physics. Indeed, it may be that this part of our wider being is the connection to what the ancient myths of some traditions refer to as our "Higher Self," and which is dramatized in the countless world myths involving twins (one of whom is often divine, while the other is mortal), including Krishna and Arjuna, Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Polydeuces and Castor, Eros and Psyche, Jesus and Doubting Thomas, and many others.

When we realize that quieting our chattering "superficial mind" is a way of spending time with and listening to our subconscious (and perhaps even to our Higher Self), then suddenly meditation (or the other similar disciplines which we can incorporate into our daily lives) no longer seems like a "chore." Instead, it is a way of spending time with someone very close to us, someone who indeed cares about us very deeply, someone we should not neglect -- and someone whose help we can use on a daily basis. Why would we not want to do that? Why would we not want to do that every single day?

Spending time quieting our superficial mind, and setting aside its entangling "maze of yarn," does not mean that those various norms and social structures and rules and customs that we have learned and incorporated into our lives are worthless or unhealthy -- indeed, they are necessary for interacting in a society that contains other people, and for navigating our way through the range of complex situations in which we find ourselves on a daily basis. To say that these learned structures are unimportant would be as foolish as to say that stop signs and lane dividers and all the rules of safe driving are unimportant: as long as we have to negotiate roads on which there are other drivers, the very complex set of laws and customs of the road are necessary.

But if we do not regularly give ourselves a chance to take a break from living within those artificial structures and entanglements, then we are very much in the situation that I was in, in the story related above, in which my focus on all the minute-by-minute minutia of cadet life (and in this case the very artificial, albeit very demanding, constructs of West Point's "beast barracks" indoctrination program) caused me to remain blissfully unaware of something I should have known, for quite some time, until I had a chance to "pause" and my mind became aware (as if out of the blue) of something it hadn't been focusing on at all.

I have had many experiences in more recent years in which my conscious mind would "receive" an answer or a "message" or an insight about something that I had been pondering, often upon waking up in the morning (when my conscious mind was shut down, but my subconscious was obviously still active, and used that "little break" in the scurrying and clattering of the conscious mind to deliver the "answer" to me that I had been looking for).

I am convinced that it is through the pathway down below the conscious mind that we make contact with the inner connection to the Infinite which the ancient myths portray again and again in various episodes and adventures, in sacred traditions from virtually every culture around the globe.

Basing his arguments on the evidence that he found in myths from around the world, Alvin Boyd Kuhn in his 1940 masterpiece Lost Light declares:

The kingdom of heaven and the hope of glory are within. They lurk within the unfathomed depths of consciousness. Divinity lies buried under the heavier motions of the sensual nature and the incessant scurrying of the superficial mind. 46

In the image at top we see a famous statue from ancient Egypt, depicting the 4th dynasty king Khafre, thought to have lived somewhere around the time we call 2500 BC (or BCE, if you prefer). Behind the king's head, and in fact invisible from the front, we see the falcon-god Horus -- perfectly depicting the concept of the Higher Self or connection to the Infinite, to which we all in fact have access, at any time.

This image, in fact, can be helpful to consider while beginning to meditate, or to spend time with your own subconscious or deeper and wider consciousness.

Looking at this ancient statue, we might ask ourselves, "Why would we not want to spend time each day getting in touch with our own subconscious -- or, indeed, our own Higher Self?"

I am thoroughly convinced that doing so has tremendous benefits. We may not hear "mystical voices" (when I realized that it was my birthday, that realization did not come to me in the form of a voice -- and when some insight about some issue or question that I am working on makes itself available to my conscious mind upon waking up in the morning, for example, or while sitting in meditation, it just arrives as a "thought," and not as a "voice" -- at least in my own personal experience, although for others it might be different). But we will undoubtedly be made aware of things which we might otherwise have overlooked.

I also have a suspicion that regularly spending time setting aside the superficial tangle of yarn made up of the norms and value-judgments and societal expectations that we have absorbed can help us to be less "fanatical" about "enforcing them" on others (less likely to fly into a rage, for instance, when someone else doesn't observe the expected strictures, and "cuts" ahead of us in traffic, for example).

And I am convinced that this very important teaching can be found to be at the heart of many ancient myths, given to humanity in most remote antiquity, for our benefit and blessing -- and pertinent to our lives even in this modern day and age, even in our "ordinary" lives, even if we are not in the middle of cadet basic training, and on all three hundred sixty-five (and a quarter) days of the year, and not just on our birthdays!