Star-crossed lovers

I was with friends last night and we were talking about relationships and lovers.  The phrase “star-crossed lovers” percolated up to my consciousness and I asked them what it meant.  Not good news.  On Wikipedia it says “a pair of lovers whose relationship is often thwarted by outside forces”.  It seemed to be the theme of the evening!

But, in my mind, I was digging around for something slightly different.  Ever since I walked part of the Camino de Santiago de la Compostela (the way of St James of the Field of Stars) in northern Spain a few months ago, I have been pursued by images of an eight-pointed star.  On the Camino they are evidenced all over the place by octagonal churches, built to resemble the Dome on the Rock in Jerusalem, not to mention in the pavements and street art of a beautiful town on the Way called “Estella”  (“Star”) and in the extraordinary Cimborrio (dome) in the transept of Burgos Cathedral, with its stunning eight-pointed star and exquisite tracery.  Since returning to England, I keep seeing them everywhere, on my the door-knob of my brother’s Georgian front door, on Albert Bridge in London, on the gates of the Royal Star Alliance offices in my home town of Manchester, to name but a few recent sightings.

I knew, intuitively, that the eight-pointed star, and octagon, represent a coming together of the masculine and feminine and have an association with Venus, the morning and evening star.  This was confirmed on reading John Michell’s book on Sacred Geometry, where he describes exactly how this sacred union comes together in different geometric patterns within the octagon.  Reading through his chapter on “Eight and the Octagon” my attention was caught by a picture I’ve never seen before:  The Sun Star Cross etched out in the Palpa mountains in Peru.  In fact this eight-pointed star contains a whole load of different yet connected geometric shapes, central to which is a twelve-pointed star set within a Southern Cross.  You can check it out for yourself at

Recently I have been working with a friend and colleague Ali Rabjohns on a particular aspect of Andean cosmology which highlights the Sacred Marriage of the masculine and feminine.  Central to this is Venus, which has both a male and a female aspect in Andean mythology, depending on its astronomical relationship in the heavens with the Sun and Moon.  I now believe that the eight pointed star, with all of these male-female associations, came up so strongly for me on the Camino (and ever since) because we had previously set our intention to try to understand the nature of Venus and its role in a Sacred Union.  My experience of shamanism is that when one sets one’s intention to learn something new and one puts this out into the Universe, the Universe always comes back with an answer, though its form may be quite unexpected and it may take a while to interpret the message.

So it seems that the Palpa Sun Star Cross as well as all the other eight-pointed stars I have recently been following all seem to point in the same direction: a sacred marriage or union between masculine and feminine,  including a sacred union between heaven and earth.  A curious thread in all of this is the recurrence of references to the New Jerusalem.  In the Book of Revelations there is talk of a place on Earth (called New Jerusalem) where there will be a uniting of the Christ energy (the lamb) and that of the Bride of Christ (the Holy Spirit):

Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.  (Revelation 21, vs 9-10)

And I John saw the holy city new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  (Revelation 21, vs 2)

Now, this can be interpreted in a million ways, but my hunch is that this sacred union is embodied, encoded even, in the eight pointed star and the octagon.  It is thus etched into the landscape in the Palpa mountains in Peru, designed into the joining of any octagonal base of a church which is then mounted by a spire or a dome (both coming together as a fusion of heaven and earth), not to mention welded into the front door knob of my brother’s house in Macclesfield!

Like Chris Street I tend to believe that what we are now beginning to experience is not so much the emergence of something that has never been here before, but rather an awakening to something that has always been with us (is this not the meaning of the term “revelation”?).

I mention all of this in part because this same notion of sacred union is at the heart of a set of Inka prophecies (the focus of a later blog) which are said to be manifesting right now.  Indeed, these prophecies say that we are in the latter stages of a transformational process which started way back in 1993 and entered a defining phase on the 1st August 2012.  In these prophecies it so happens that the sacred union between masculine and feminine heralds a new, golden era of peace and harmony.

So, today I have a new perspective on the term “Star Crossed Lovers”, one which happens to be much more optimistic than the classic, unfortunate pair for whom the term is often used: Romeo and Juliet.

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Update on the Weather

Yesterday I wrote about shaman in Peru changing the weather.  This evening I was a guest on a drive-time radio show on All FM here in rainy Manchester, talking about the Andean Mystical Tradition I was initiated into a few years back.  We talked about the significance of the rainbow in Inka cosmology, how it links the three shamanic worlds (lower, middle and upper) in the form of the Rainbow Serpent.  As we walked out of the radio station at the end of the show a magnificent rainbow greated us in the heavens above the city.  

Now, you might say “well, in the Rainy City these things happen all the time” and you wouldn’t be wrong.  But what my experience of the shamanic path is that these kind of things happen a little too often to be mere chance.  A few years ago when some friends and I were teaching a Medicine Wheel worshop in Malta, focussed specifically on the rainbow body, a stunning rainbow greeted us the exact moment we went outside to close sacred space.  I could go on….

So what might be happening?  In the Andean Mystical Tradition, which can be considered a particular form of shamanism, the essence of the teaching is learning to “walk in the living Cosmos”, or “kawsay puriy” in Quetchua, the language of the Peruvian Andes.  The practices and initiations associated with the Tradition, as taught by Andean Mystic Juan Nuñez del Prado and his son Ivan (two of my teachers) are aimed at enabling one to enter into a union with living energy.  My sense is that when, on those magical occasions, we are indeed in such a union, the Cosmos responds.  I believe because we were working in Sacred Space and with intention, both tonight in Manchester and a few years back in Malta, we were in dialogue with the mystical forces that create, amongst other things, cosmic light shows of great beauty. 

The photo which heads this blogsite is of a powerful and very high mountain in the Peruvian Cordillera Blanca called Taulliraju.  When we stopped for a break at a place very near where the photo was taken, called Punta Union, I stood on a rocky outcrop and made a classical Andean blessing to the Spirit of Taulliraju (consisting of three coca leaves placed together to form a “kintu”).  Within 15 seconds there was a minor avalanche of snow from the highest peak of the mountain as if to say “I hear you, thank you”. 

At the heart of all of this is something the Andeans call “Ayni”, which means something like “reciprocity” or “that which we give, will be returned (by the Cosmos, with interest!)”.  This is the essence of the Andean way of life.  Because the peoples there do not differentiate between human beings and mountains, or even rainbows (all are manifestations of kawsay), ayni can happen between any two or more aspects of the world of Living Energy, such as you and me, or you and the latest manifestation of the Weather. 

So next time you see a rainbow, take a moment to wonder if someone in your neighbourhood, or maybe you yourself, is having an intimate moment with the Upper World!

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Spirit of the Andes

During my initiation into the fourth level of the Inkan Mystical Tradition in the Peruvian Andes a few years ago I was astonished to watch as the keeper of a sacred mountain changed the weather in front of my eyes!  During the 60 minutes or so it took for him and his helpers to build a “despacho“, it turned from a calm, starlit sky to a full-blown storm.  As we burned the offering in the hotel lobby’s fireplace, the roof blew off and the rain poured in.  That, I and my fellow-intiates thought, was a dramatic demonstration of the shaman’s power.  It left me in no doubt that my training was to be somewhat different from that I undertook years before at university.  Welcome to the world of the shaman…

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