June 21 Eclipse in Gemini will have significant effects on media and communication. It will be occurring in Mrigrashira nakshatra, but very quickly after crossing the Sun, the moon will go into Ardra nakshatra. Both of these nakshatra relate to research in slightly different ways. It’s the part of the story where the inebriating quest for satisfaction is sought in the material world where it meets with disappointment, frustration and sorrow.

Dark moon is always a time of diminished sensitivity, but with Rahu it can pervert the mind, heighten fears and phobias and mask the true intentions. With Sun in this house, truth can become skewed and people may feel a false sense of power. With Mercury, I expect the emotional rhetoric to increase dramatically for the few days around the eclipse. With the warrior Mars aspecting from Pisces the rhetoric will be especially aggressive and there is likely to be much talk of war.

The path of the eclipse is through Congo, Ethiopia, Yemen, Pakistan, North India and across a good partition of China and Taiwan. This could be especially deadly in North India where 20 Indian soldiers were recently killed in what can only be described as a brawl with their Chinese counterparts of the remote border region. And Yemen has been under siege for so long that anything could happen there. And China, including Taiwan, have their own problems which are not so different from what we see going on in Seattle these days with the autonomous zone.

Gemini rules over the arms: not just the arms of the body, but also the armaments of nations and the weapons we possess. This is an interesting point because it suggests how words are weapons, and how media rhetoric and information technology play into the struggles and obstacles we face. We have seen numerous unconventional weapons since Rahu came into Gemini; much of which would be in the form of propaganda, but we have also been hearing about lasers and “super duper” fast missiles. Sun and Mars will be affecting Rahu giving powerful effects to the force of unconventional arms.

Gemini is the sign of groups, teams, gangs, associates, and essentially tribalism. We have seen this great fascination with tribalism over the past couple of years as society drifts away from the notion of the sovereign individual. The current BLM movement has certainly exacerbated the divide between whites and blacks (while ignoring the reality that most of the world falls somewhere in between the two), the fascists and the anti-fascists (while ignoring the fanatical extremism on both sides). There is a tendency for the media to lump people into groups and judge people based on their group identity rather than their individual identity or actions. Again, the Mars aspect here can easily devolve into tribal warfare. (You’ll notice that I even just lumped the media together as a tribe before I made my allegations even though I am arguably taking part in the media myself by writing this.)

Gemini is also the 6th sign from Capricorn suggesting the obstacles we face as leaders as well as the obstacles faced by governments. This is why something as simple as free speech is so important and so contentious: it’s the enemy of the government. And as an interesting twist, Gemini is also the 10th sign from Virgo which suggests some connection with the leader of the enemy. So we end up with these masked rogue leaders in the USA and plenty to suggest that it’s not organic as it seems. I have been saying for months that nothing is as it seems. This is the Rahu effect in Gemini.

The loss of cultural grounding that we get in Cancer is lost in Gemini. Where Cancer brings people together out of a sense of shared values and national identity, Gemini (tribalism) works together with(7th from) Sagittarius (globalism) for the destruction of the natural rhythms, home comforts, culture, and boundaries. The more direct effects of the eclipse are usually only felt for a few days before and after so it’s possible we will get some growing expressions of nationalism by the 23rd or so.

If it was a human chart I was looking at with the Aries ascendant, I would likely diagnose them with hyperthyroidism in the eclipse chart.

Mars in Pisces brings with it a kind of repressed anger that comes out through as aggressive communication. It causes one’s enemies to also be more aggressive, and fights with partners and generally unruly negotiations. It brings a kind of passive aggressiveness that infuriates everyone around. It should be noted that Saturn is also aspecting Mars which will increase the inner sense of frustration. This can also bring some tension at sea that will last for the duration of this aspect.

This Mars Saturn tension is also affecting agreements and negotiations with their aspect on Libra along with Rahu. This Mars influence will likely be the final straw for many agreements and partnerships as each party begins to assert themselves. Rahu has been aspecting this sign for about a year now so many of these negotiations have not been in good faith anyways.

Mars in Pisces can also increase that activity at night, fighting going on behind the scenes and fighting in foreign lands due to a kind of subconscious aggression. Some might say that the ancestral spirits want to express themselves in an aggressive way.

The good news is that Jupiter also has an aspect on Virgo which should allow diplomacy to avert all out war, but the smaller tribal wars like we see in the USA right now are likely to experience heightened intensity for only a few days.

Jupiter and Venus are still giving effects in Taurus which will continue to be good for the bankers. Though inflation is also possible due to these two powerful benefics increasing the value of stored resources while mercury, who is the Money itself is corrupted by Rahu and burnt out by the two fiery planets.

Eclipses are a good time for Tantra and occult sadhana for those who are prepared to face their shadows with compassion. It’s a very good time to distinguish ourselves and others as individuals rather than as members of the group. It’s also a good time to take action to overcome our obstacles, illnesses and enemies. Mantra meditations can be especially potent with Leo’s ruler in Gemini. Gemini shows what we gain from Mantra. The value of fixed assets can grow in this time. Research, secret knowledge and revolution will all feel some appreciation from Venus aspect, but since Mars, the ruler of Scorpio, is in Pisces it might be difficult to actualize, though there can be unexpected gains none-the-less. Active meditation, commonly done through walking or yoga can have special benefits as well.

This eclipse seems to me to signal the end of six months of Kal Sharpa. The illuminator of truth is finally coming out of the grasp of the shadows. Much of the confusion of the first half of this year should begin to become more clear. But we also have to be open to the idea that we may have been wrong about some things over the first part of the year. This is crucial for personal growth. Allow reason to keep your intuition in check while simultaneously allowing your intuition to keep your reason in check. Allow them to meet in the middle without giving primacy to either. 

Good luck

Om namah shivaya      

Narmada Pilgrimage 2020

Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology have been called the three sisters of self knowledge.

Join us February 1 – 23, 2020 for a rustic “old India” pilgrimage thru the sacred Narmada river valley while learning Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology, Yoga, philosophy and much more. This trip is designed for those who have already established a path in yoga or a love for India and what to go deeper into the country and the culture.

We will begin this pilgrimage at the Mahakaleshwar & Kal Bhairava temples in Ujjain, about half way between New Delhi and Mumbai. These are two of the most significant tantric temples in India. From here we will go to Maheshwar to rendezvous with our pilgrimage guides from the ashram and begin the four day walk to the ashram in Omkareshwar.

We will spend a week in a simple ashtam practicing yoga while learning Ayurveda, Jyotisha, Indian cuisine and enjoying the nature, and the ancient pilgrimage traditions that take place on this small river island. This ashram is owned and beautifully maintained by 26 year old Mangala and her mother who took in three orphan girls after Mangala’s own Guruji father passed away. One will find that the women of Narmada are given a somewhat special place in society compared to much of India.

Maheshwar, where we will begin walking to Omkareshwar is famous all over India for Queen Ahilyabhai, who has left a legacy of special services for widows, and community weaving trusts that have strengthened communities thru the empowerment of women. And this area seems to attract many female pilgrims.

From Omkareshwar we will make our way by jeep through numerous significant sights along the river until we get to Amarkantak, the source of Narmada and two other rivers; a village within a forest reserve famous for numerous rare ayurvedic forest herbs and herbalists. We will again spend a week learning about the forest and natural medicine, vedic astrology and yoga.

After a short stop in Jabalpur see Narmada channeled thru marble canyons and visit a special nakshatra garden we will make our way to Varanasi for 3 nights of classical music concert, Drupad Mela; the spectacular Shiva Rathri Festival, and the Kal Bharava temple where we will complete our pilgrimage. The first Bhairava temple in Ujjan is related to Shiva chopping the head off Ganesha and this second one in Varanasi represents the time Shiva chopped off one of Brahma’s heads. These two stories will weave their way thru many parts of our spiritual journey.


The focus of this pilgrimage will be both to offer participants the traditional tools of self discovery: by the end of this three weeks we will develop a great appreciation for traditional Indian culture and the threads which run thru the food, the humans, the forests, the stars and the movement of the planets. The great threads which weave together this tapestry of life.

By the end of the pilgrimage will have a solid base of understanding of Ayurvedic life style and cuisine as well as an introduction to Ayurvedic medicine and the forest medicines of India. We will have acquired a basic understanding of Vedic Astrology, especially as it relates to Ayurveda. We will have also learned an outline of the Shivananda Hatha yoga sequence including meditation, pranayama, sun salutations & 12 basic postures; a sequence which can be easily adapted for all abilities.

This Pilgrimage will not be for everyone, it will be rustic living in old India where they are not accustomed to accommodating western demands for comfort. The ayurvedic classes, the astrology classes will take us deep into a new way of looking at the world and ourselves. Although much of the teaching will be foundational levels, taken together this pilgrimage will open the doors to advanced study as well as a special opportunity for those who have already studied yoga and the traditional Indian sciences to connect with the source of that knowledge thru Shaivism, the purity of Narmada and the meditative intensity of Ganga.


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Mike Holliday will be your guide and contact for this pilgrimage as well as teaching Vedic Astrology & Hatha Yoga. In 2007 Mike traveled to India and dedicated himself to yoga and self realization. His life since then has been pilgrimage and dedication to knowledge and the service of humanity by offering his unique knowledge and experience of India, her culture and her traditions. Mike has traveled extensively off the tourist trails both as solo traveler and as guide. He is travels almost continually throughout India & Canada teaching yoga, philosophy and Vedic astrology.


The cost of this trip including food, lodging, transportation, guidance and guides, trip organization, translation, training and course material is $2890 inclusive of tax.

$1000 deposit will hold your place with the full amount due by January 1, one month before travel.

Not included: flight ticket, travel visa for India, travel to Ujjain and from Varanasi, personal expenses.


This trip begins in Ujjain and ends in Varanasi. We will also visit, Maheshwar, Mandu, Omkareshwar, Jabalpur and Amarkantak in between. Most of the travel will be by Jeep, but we will board one train to take us to Varanasi.

If you have any questions you can contact Mike Holliday by email or WhatsApp.

holliday.michael@gmail.com

+12502666896

http://www.mikessleepingdog.com

Tattwa: A foundation of Indian Philosophy

“Detached from the outer show, he sees the inner essence and recognizes that life is merely the spontaneous acting out of the roll consciousness has assumed in the drama of universal manifestation.” — Aphorisms of Shiva; Dyczkowski

When we look into this philosophical or metaphysical questions of, “who am I?” or “what is knowledge?” and “How do I know what I know?,” or “What is reality?” we often turn towards categories to understand. We break the problem down and we look at ourselves from different perspectives. We see the typical parts of the self that we identify with: I am this body, these emotions, this intellect, this vital force, I am this breath; to say nothing of the host of external identifiers by family, nation, race, religion. Certainly we are all of these things and many more; but we’re much more even than that.

The tattva are a central component of the traditional sciences and philosophies of India. They are mentioned in the Yoga Suttras & the Bhagavad Gita, and one of the core differences between Tantra and Vedanta is the inclusion of 11 extra tattva in the former. It’s also a core concept for ayurvedic or jyotisha understanding of reality.

The tattva are components of reality and show us the course thru which each of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, ether) follows though our lives to unfold reality through each of our senses and inner faculties of the mind. The tattvas represent both subject and object as well as all of the elements that lie between the subject and object. In short, the tattva are the elements of existence.

Different schools of philosophy have different perspectives of how the tattva fit together and relate with each other but ultimately they all agree that there is a subject, and object, and something that connects the two, and that the tattva make up the basic components of that three part reality.

Two of the most popular grouping of tattva suggest that there are either 25 or 36 tattva though quite often they also refer to the five mahabhuta (earth, water, fire, air, ether)primary elements alone as the tattva.

From these five, they also list the organs of knowledge (the abilities of the senses) as well the elements of the senses. Hearing and sound, touch and feeling, seeing and form, tasting and flavour, smelling and odour. Each of these represent a certain aspect of reality. They also list five ways that our body interacts with the world are also considered elements of our existence: speaking, grabbing or holding, moving in space, procreating and excreting waste.

Raising our awareness to more subtle heights we find our sense of individuality and uniqueness (ahamkara), we can witness our mind weighing options as an indeterminate knower. Its from here that our sense typically reach out to the world in order to determine and define knowledge and our individuality. Many modern people call this “excersising our free will.”

It’s at this level of existence where we find out minds fluxuating, vibrating, moving and changing. The manas and the ahamkara are the areas Patanjali brings our awareness to. For meditation, and to still the vibtations of the mind we are advised to follow the inward course of the tattva rather than the normal outward course thru the senses.

As we continue moving our awarness inward we will come to the buddhi the highest faculty of knowledge that just seems to know things. This is the silent knower who doesn’t argue because it doesn’t have to; the buddhi just knows. The buddhi is always endowed with truth; not necessarily the highest truth, but certainly what is true for the individual soul.This is one of the key differences between the buddhi and the manas. The manas is always seeking truth, usually from the outside world, while the buddhi silently knows the truth emanating from the individual soul.

The individual soul is essentially a combination of the purusha and prakriti. The individual soul, purusha, differs from the individual ego, ahamkara, in that it recognizes the connection between our “thisness” (idam) and that’s “thatness” (aham). The individual ego is that which disconnects our thisness from thats thatness. So, as we continue on our inward journey we do not loose ourselves but rather reconnect to that greater self and the universal purpose for our existence.

However, even when we are living from our ego, blind to the inherent interconnectedness, we are none the less also completing our universal soul quest; nothing can ever knock us from this path. The difference being that the ego has to struggle greatly with the vibrations of the mind always seeking knowedge but never gaining satisfaction. The mind is just vibrating from one thing to the next, from subject to object and back again without finding the source from which both of these emanate.

Once we know we are connected, once we realize our true nature, there is no question, no vibration between this and that; there is just the free and natural flow of karma without trying to hold onto this karma or rejecting that karma.

You will find a list of the tattva with explanations below

36 Tattvas of Tantra
Macrocosmic Universe: ParamaShiva: the great ultimate is said to be beyond the tattva. Tantra specifically, and most other branches of Indian thought usually have some little bit left over in their accounting of reality. There is always some residue which cannot be explained; something which is beyond explanation.

36. Shiva tattva: This is the entire universe in the form of illumination. In the process of manifestation of the world, Shiva performs five crutial functions. Since Shiva tattva is the tread that connects all the tattva, we could say that Shiva performs these five functions thru each tattva as well as to the whole system. Shiva is often identified as Prakash, the light of consciousness while Shakti is Vimarsha, cognitive awareness

  1. Nigraha: the act of self limitation or contraction. Concealment of his true nature.
  2. Srsti: Creation. The act of self manifestation as the world.
  3. Sthiti: Preservation of the manifest world.
  4. Samhara: Destruction, absorption or withdrawal of worldly manifestation
  5. Anugraha: Grace; revelation of his true nature

Pure Elements: the next four elements are elements of the Tantric goddess Usma, who is the embodiment of the internal heating and swelling of creativity.

35. Shakti: Shivas power which is not different from Shiva. This is Shivas power to conceal himself from himself. Shiva is the one who emanates and shakti is what is emanated; the being and the becoming. Shakti has 5 primary modes of expression. The first two are said to be his nature while the following three are the powers thru which he makes his nature known or manifest. Shakti has the experience of aham (thatness).

  1. Cit-shakti: conscious force
  2. Ananda-shakti: power as bliss
  3. Iccha-shakti: power as will
  4. Jnana-shakti: power as knowledge
  5. Kriya-shakti: spontaneous action as power

34. Sadashiva: the universe laying submerged and void within the self experience of the experiencer. Experience of aham (thatness)-idam (thisness)

33. Ishvara: self experience as “I” (aham) and an experience of the universe as a separate object with “thisness” (idam) shining unequally distinct within the self experience. Experience of idam-idam

32. Sadavidya: experience of aham-aham/idam-idam


Vidya Tattvas: these are the tattvas which bind us to our bodily existence.

31. Maya:
Three kinds of defilements:

  1. Aanava mala (mula mala: root impurity): The impurity of individuality, occurring at the first moment of manifestation of the universe as Shiva begins to contract. Shiva’s true power becomes “obscured by the notions of existence and non-existence…” (Aphorisms p15) This impurity begins to take hold as soon as he descends to sadashiva tattva. Two kinds of anavamala: a) veils knowledge of divine awareness, but freedom of action remains intact (for those existents which exist below prakriti) b) leaves knowledge of divine awareness, but veils ability to act freely (those staying above maya tattva).
  2. Maayiiya mala: maya and the five kanchukas. Makes oblivious to real nature. Robs all sign of divinity. Veils only those below Prakriti.
  3. Karma mala: Provides us with physical body. Collective residual impressions from past lives. Once karma mala defiles Shiva in his descent, embodies individuals are created, known as sakalas. There are four kinds of karma: a) Sanchita: accumulated over many lifetimes. b) Prarabha: Created in this current life c) Kriyamana: freedom to change our current life situation. d) Agama: free will to set an intention for future action.

Five Kanchukas:

The kanchukas are sometimes called the five sisters of Mayadevi are like five cloaks worn by Shiva in order to mask his true nature from himself. It’s essentially thru the kanchukas that the all powerful is capable of making a stone so large that even he cannot lift it. He does this by masking his true nature from himself. Once conscious force individualizes itself thru anavamala and maya, it takes on five more cloaks in order to transform each of the five divine powers into five limited individual powers belonging to the individual soul. From this perspective we could say that maya is actually the core of our innermost individual micro-soul; from her we seek out our mega-soul for redemption.

30. Kalaa: Contracted kriya shakti. Limits Shiva’s power and creative abilities so that one cannot do everything. Limits omnipotence and the power of agency.

29. Vidya: Contracted jnana shakti. Limits Shiva’s knowledge so that one cannot know everything. Limits omniscience.

28. Raga: Contracted iccha shakti. Limits Shiva’s sense of fullness and gives craving, desire and attachment.

27. Kaala: Contracted ananda shakti. Limits Shiva in time and space making us subject to change, death and decay.

26. Niyati: Contracted cit shakti. Limits Shiva thru cause and effect, the necessity that one thing follows another.

As Shiva makes himself into an individual in order to express his freedom, he scales back, contracts, or limits his universal power thru maya and the five kanchukas (Mayadevi and her five sisters). This leads to two main kinds of impurity (mala).

1. Paurusa ajnana: innate ignorance regarding the self. We dont know who we really are.

2. Bauddha ajnana: Ignorance of buddhi. We don’t even don’t know that this knowledge is actually inside of ourselves.

Asuddha vikalpas are the ideas, thought constructs, irrational psychological responses that make us think we are this body. Replacing ajnana (incorrect knowledge) with jnana (pure knowledge) is one of the main goals of Kashmiri Shaivism & philosophical and spiritual practice generally.


Atma Tattvas: The microcosmic mirror of the subtle macrocosm described above begins here. What follows are the traits of individuals with limited powers who are distinct from other individuals with limited powers.

25. Purusha: This is the individual soul; the individual subject mirroring the universal subject.

24. Prakriti: Prakriti provides Purusha with everything he needs for enjoyment. The physical body, karmendriyas, jnanaindriyas and the rest of the next 23 tattva. The three gunas (sattvic, tamas, rajas) constitute prakriti. Possessing gunas is a property of being the object of experience which depends on an experiencer. Three modes of activity of shakti are mirrored in prakriti in their limited form: will, knowledge & activity (iccha, governed by rajas; jnana, governed by sattva; and kriya, governed by tamas).
Instruments of cognition:

Also called the Antarkarana/Inner Instrument or Chitta/consciousness of the individual

23. Buddhi – Intelligence/Discrimination. Sattvic
Buddhi is the abode of prana-shakti. From here it flows thru the different parts of the body via the nadis. Locus of every experience. It is considered the contracted power of jnana shakti and thus it’s a sattvic element. Righteousness is said to reside here in the form of our conscious

Five kinds of pranavayu: 1. Prana (moves outward as do the sense organs) 2. Aapana (moves downward as with elimination) 3. Udaana (upwards as with speech) 4. Vyaana (expansion in all directions as does the movement of our limbs), 5. Samaana: (Inwards as when we meditation turning our awareness inward to a center point).

22. Ahamkara – Ego/ I-maker. Rajas.

This is where the ego connects with objective activity attributing the source of thoughts and actions to oneself (ones own limited being). This is the principle of individuality cut off from the higher tattva

21. Manas – Mind. Tamas. This is the place where thoughts are created and weighed against each other. Instrument of rationality. Supervises and controls the karmindriya, jnanendriyas, and tanmatras.
Jnana Indriyas 16 – 20: the sense faculties for knowledge. Representing the sattvic functions of the mind (manas).

20. Sense of hearing: function of the ear.

19. Sense of touch: function of the skin.

18. Sense of seeing: function of the eyes.

17. Sense of taste: Function of the tongue.

16. Sense of smell: Function of the nose.
Karma Indriyas 11 – 15: Organs of action. Representing the rajasic functions of the mind (manas).

15. Power of speech: Functions thru the mouth and vocal cords

14. Power to grasp objects: Functions thru the hands, arms and fingers

13. Locomotion: functions thru the legs and feet.

12. Power of procreation: functions thru internal and external sex organs.

11. Excretion: functions thru the excretory organs of the pelvic bowl especially the anus.
Tanmatras 6 – 10: the five subtle elements. Representing the tamasic functions of the mind (manas).

These are the objects of the sense. The sound itself. The feel of what is touched, the form of what is seen, the flavor of what is tasted, and the odour that is smelled. Tantra suggests that sounds evolves from hearing, and form evolves from sight. This is how the world is projected from within.

10. Sound:

9. Touch/Feel

8. Form

7. Taste/Flavour

6. Odour
Mahabhuta 1 – 5: the primary elements

5. Ether: Expansive, space, emptiness, vacuum. This tattva is not itself manifest, but is the supports the other tattva by providing space for their existence. Symbolized the unseeable, unknowable spirit which both transcends reality and is immanent in reality; permeating every aspect of all that is knowable and not. Relates with the vissudhi chakra.

4. Air: Movement and mobility, dry subtle, rising. It can easily penetrate everywhere (filling the void of space). We recognize it most distinctly in our breath and it is the vehicle for prana, vital energy. Relates with the Anahata chakra.

3. Fire: Transformation, hot, sharp, dynamic. Represents the masculine principle of dynamism, extroversion, passion and aggression. Also relates to the digestive fire and the intellectual fire. Relates with the Manipura chakra and thus with prakash, divine illumination.

2. Water: Fluid, liquid, cool. Represents the feminine principle and is passive and can assume any form. Water purifies and dissolves, and it relates with sexuality and birth. Relates to Svadhisthana chakra and thus represents the flow of linear time.

1. Earth: All of the tattva are fully manifest in earth. It is the most dense, the heaviest, the most solid and grounded of the tattva. Related with Mother Earth principle of patience, creativity, sustenance; as well as the lunar principle of progression, rhythm and change. It’s often said that Shiva loves this tattva the most because this is the limit of his contraction. In it’s relationship with muladhara chakra this is the residence of kundalini.


The connection between the primary elements and the tattva looks something like this.

Ether – Sound – Speech – Hearing — Jupiter — Prana — HAM — Crystal Clear disk — Eyebrows to top of head — Cit — Om hraum sadashivaya akashadhipataye shantyateetakalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Air – Touch – Grasping – Touch — Saturn –– Apana YAM — Six sided/six circles smokey grey or grey blue — Heart to Eyebrows — Ananda — Om hraim ishanaya vayuvydhipataye shantikalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Fire – Form – Locomotion – Sight — Mars — Vyana RAM — Red Triangle — Navel to Heart — Iccha — Om hrum rudrya tejodhipataye vidyakalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Water – Taste – Procreation – Taste — Venus — Udana– VAM — White Crescent moon — knees to navel — Jnana — Om hrim vishnave jaladhipataye pratisthakalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Earth – Odour – Excretion – Smell — Mercury — Samana — Anus — Dhananjaaya: remains in the corpse until it’s burned — LAM — Yellow Square — Feet to knees — Kriya — Om hraum brahmane prithvidhipataye nivrittikalatmane, hum fhut swaha

Photo from Tantra Illuminated by Christopher Wallis


The Shaivist conception of these tattva has Shiva constantly evolving and devolving thru the tattva. Shiva is the eternal subject, the first illuminator, the first enjoyer. His movement thru the tattva an expression of his joy. This movement has many names (spanda, wave, force and it shows his movement from Shiva tattva to earth and back to Shiva tattva. The process of creation and destruction going on continually. But even this is not as it seems. Most of us would assume destruction is happening as Shiva makes his way back to himself, but actually earth will be the first to die. Being fully manifest puts us most solidly in the world of death, sorrow and suffering. This is where all this fire and brimstone of kali and Shiva’s burning ghats comes from.

So, when we turn our attention, thus identifying with the body (the earth), we will surely only know suffering, change, confusion and lack of control. When we turn our attention, and thus our personal identification inwards we limit that suffering step by step. Getting past the mind and the emotional being is one of the greatest hurdles. Only matched by the struggle a young yogi will go thru to get past their ego (ahamkara).

The ego is an important topic for discussion in tantra. Shiva is essentially a supreme egoity; the self of all selves. The purusha is ones individual soul; this is certainly a big part of who we are. And then we have the ahamkara which is who we think we are. These are like three levels of ego: The ahamkara is the ego which is cut off from inner truths; it only sees what is on the surface. The purusha is that ego which understands our connection to the universal. People who strongly identify with their individual soul approach life as an instrument of the divine. This is the beginning of saintliness. But only one who has fully realized their divine nature as all of this whole universe will experience Shiva’s true freedom (svatantriya).

This is a little like saying that there is more than one truth, though they might each seem to be incompatible with the other truths. A big part of our job as yogis is to assimilate such contradictory truths and ultimately experience the illumination of this world thru each lens. It’s not that the world of this body and these sensual desires is not true, but it represents a limited truth; a tamasic, impure truth. The truth of our individual soul is quite another level of truth which represents a rajasic truth, which manages to be both pure and impure. Only the highest truth is truly pure and sattvic, but this does not negate the others. Shiva is fully present in each of the tattva. His illumination shines from everywhere. From whichever perspective we take, we can recognize Shiva and realize ourselves as that infinite being of all being.


Short Bibliography

The Advaita Saiva Philosophy of Kashmir, by Debarata Sensharma

The Philosophical and Practical Aspects of Kashmiri Saivism, By Pandit

Tantra Illuminated, by Christopher Wallis

Aphorisms of Shiva, translated by Mark Dyczkowski

Tattwa Shuddhi, by S. Saraswati (Bihar School)

Vedic Remedies in Astrology, Sanjay Rath

Painting of “Sri Yantra” by Tania Satori (used with permission) see tania_vaculty on Instagram.

Current and future Transits discussed

Transits and any other type of chart overlays we do upon our own charts can be done from any significant planet or house in our chart: ascendant moon, atma karaka, dasha lord, Navamsha, karakamsha and some other possibilities like raja yogas or if there are several significant planets in one house.

All these secondary considerations is what makes clear that we are extremely complex in our individuality. As we go thru each significant placement in our chart we can’t help but get a sense of how huge we are. Everything is in there somehow, everything in this world, the depth of astrology – of this being – is beyond the grasp of any level of mind.

With this said, I guess I’ll offer my two cents on the Transits going happening for the next year.

Saturn and Ketu have been together in Sagittarius for several month so . Most astrologers are quaking at the thought of these two planets coming together. Saturn, the cold hard slow and old taskmaster is living with the nebulous, scattered, numb, ambivalent, ancient wandering saint.

It puts me in mind of the Karate kid. An excellent time to learn a deep spiritual disciplined spiritual surrender. It almost a kind of shamanism that suggest of following scattered set of rules.

I have written other articles about the history of this combination in Sagittarius: the clash of empires and the destruction of church rule in society. Refugees and changing social conditions; a precursor time to globalization; legislated land thefts justified thru humanitarian intervention.

If we think of Ketu in Sagittarius we think of doctrine (sag) being scattered (ketu). But this scattering can happen in different ways. The doctrine/ideology might indeed remain intact and spread over the world like a nebulous cloud, or the doctrine might itself become fragmented as it surrenders to cosmic forces that are beyond the reach of even the greatest philosophies.

When we look at conjunction it can be difficult to understand which planet will have the upper hand. Some people say that the lower degree planet has power, other suggest looking at the bala (strength) totals is more important. Certainly when we consider the transit effects on our charts we also have to intimately know their strength and disposition in our own chart.

Saturn is commonly understood to the law, the laws of nature, hard irrefutable science. Ketu doesn’t care. He may not be as actively breaking the rulea like his brother Rahu who is ruled by an insatiable ambition, but Ketu’s ambivalence can be equally problematic thru not even recognizing Saturn’s Law.

With this combination it’s equally likely to get someone who is heavily repressed by the law, so much so that they become kind of numb to it.

When I think of these planets together I think of a cloud of dust, or a frost cloud. Not the think oily smoke of Rahu, but the almost luminous mist catching the light like magic.

The spiritual vibration will be strong; but one might also need to have a strong spiritual perspective to handle it. Saturn will bring out the practical truths of beliefs; he will not let us hide from that reality.

Jupiter came into Sagittarius but quickly turn around again. The fire at the great cathedral happened while he was just in the door to Sagittarius – Mula Nakshatra; a constellation famous for calamity. Jupiter will be coming back to this combination by autumn.

Of course we all think of Jupiter benevolence and broad minded universality perspective and surely he will provide some lessons of higher knowledge, but he will also provide lubrication for the creative acts of these two malefics (Saturn and Ketu). Jupiter influences fat in the system. And ideology of fear. He will try make a doctrine from Saturn and Ketu. Jupiter expands things and multiplied them so father figures, gurus, priests, mentors, philosophers could become almost unbearably many. For those with a strong spiritual direction in life this could again be a very opportune time

There are many ways of looking at the signs and houses of a chart. When we thing if Sagittarius (the ninth sign) we can also consider its placements from the other sign as well as its house place meant in our chart.

Sagittarius is in the sixth house from the 4th house. This can bring disputes over borders and threats to the old ways of settled cultures. Everyone extolled the virtues of the faith, philosophy and higher knowledge offered by Sagittarius, but few consider the destabilizing effect this can have on our home culture, comfort and the predictable/habitual rhythms of life.

The 9th sign can be both a shock to our family values as well as showing us the unexpected consequences of the values that have been past down to us.

By the new year (2020), we will find a party going on in Sagittarius; or what the astrologers call a planetary war. The wining and kissing planted will change as re transit moves so there is no point to try to declare a winner; that will depend on ones own chart and the blessing that god bestows on each of us to carry us thru this life. Sun, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and Ketu will all be there; it will be quite a wild party most certainly. If we can be present as witness, as the fly on the wall, all will be well; but if we think to get our egos involved then most certainly we will find argument with such a broad array or characters.

I have said little about Rahu up till now and he’ll be in Gemini, the sign of communication, media, information, younger brothers, small groups, short travels/commutes, and arm.

Arms are nice, they allow us to reach out to the world, to grasp things and share them. Arms are also what we call our weapons, which also allow us to reach out to the world in a more sinister way; we also use them to send messages. Rahu likes this kind of thing; his ambition knows no bounds. You may not be surprised that we have only seen the tip of the “fake news” iceberg. Rahu will certainly make all of this even more fully apparent over the next year and a half of his transit thru Gemini. This Rahu can be good for foreign correspondence, international journalism; he can also give a dirty mentality to the significations of the house he’s in or the house that he is third from.

It’s likely that Ketu will be watching Rahu with fascination; completely forgetting himself. This is what makes fake news so dangerous, it can take us far from our try beliefs and cause us to do things that we would typically find unconscionable.

As always, it’s a good time for surrender the god aand seek a deeper and more pristine truth inside of ourselves. Anything else is just suffering the loving wrath of Nirriti; goddess of the earth element.

Dibang & Tally Valley Treks

October 15 – 31, 2019

Two incredible treks, four unique cultures and an experience you will never forget.

This trip will rely heavily on local guides and experts to guide us thru the Himalayan jungles in one of the most untouched areas of the world.

This is for nature lovers, adventurers, wildlife photographers and others with a strong body and a stronger will who want a chance to feast their lens on a snow leopard; or perhaps be the feast.

Dibang Tourism, headed by Mrs. Tine Mena, the first woman from North East India to peak Everest, will support us with guides and porters as we follow the traditional hunting trails past the Seven Lakes which the are the namesake of this incredible trek thru Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary.

But don’t worry, before we get started on the treks we will take a few days to relax and explore the upper Brahmaputra river at Dibu-Saikowa National Park by boat with with the guys Guijan Eco-Lodge.

In Ziro we will stay with a local family and explore the 3-4 night Tally Valley trek with Apatami tribesmen. This area features the distinctive face tattoos of the Apatami as well as unique sustainable farming that combines rice fields and fish farms.

We will finish the trip back at Guwahati with a visit to the infamous Kamakhya temple; the place where Kali’s yoni is said to have fallen after she self-immolated at her father’s botched sacrifice.

Cost
The cost of this trip including food, lodging, transportation porters, security & guides within India is $2800 for 16days.

The route

North East India

Surrounding Area


Your guides for this trip:

Leadership is provided by Mike Holliday. Mike grew up on the back country trails of Canada and has been traveling India since 2007. His first trip to North East India the following year blew his mind and he knew he had to share this with people.

After over ten years of traveling around India and he started the Sleeping Dog Off Track Adventure Pilgrimage company to bring awareness to the unique cultures that represent the earliest foundation of human communities; to introduce people of the west to a simpler way of life that recognizes the interconnection between human life, the life of planet earth and the movement of stars and solar systems; and to facilite meaningful cultural exchange.

Mike’s interest in tribal cultures stems from his own aboriginal connection that runs thru his mothers line as well as from his own upbringing that kept him close to nature.

When Mike is not wandering off the map somewhere he teaches Vedic Astrology, philosophy and meditation on-line and around the world. He also provides one-on-one philosophical support for yoga instructors, holistic health practitioners, and seekers of truth and purpose.


Mrs. Tine Mena with former President of India, Smt. Pratibha Patil

DibangTourism.com is an innitiative stated in 2011 by Mrs. Tine Mena to provide access to local aboriginal guides in North East India.
The will provode guides, porters and security for 9-10 days of the Seven Lakes trek thru Dibang Wildlife Reserve.


Hagen Dolo will support us with home stay in Ziro valley as well as guides and porters for the Tally Valley Trail.

Tribal Festivals of North East India Tour

November 23 – December 5, 2019

This tour is open and suitable for everyone. This will be an excellent opportunity for photographers or anyone else interested in tribal culture and customs. We will visit four unique festivals put on by four different tribal groups which will allow us a broad overview of the traditional clothing, music, dance & food of the North East Hill Tribes.

We will begin with a trip to Cherrapunji to experience the beautiful jungle, incredible waterfalls and the living root bridges built by the kashi tribes near the border with Bangladesh.

Your guide, Mike Holliday, with a Living Root Bridge in the background.

Before catching a train to the unique Loktak lake & Keibul Lamjao National Park for nature and wildlife viewing. This is the home of the rare dancing deer called Sangai which is the namesake of the festival that we will visit next in this area.

We will make a quick stop by Dzuko valley for a short day trek on our way to Kohima where we will witness the awe inspiring Hornbill Festival of the Naga tribes.

Naga Elder

The cost of this tour, inclusive of food, transport, lodging and entrance and guiding fees $2800.

Flight to and from India is not included and you are responsible for your own travel Visa for India. Any personal expenses including photography fees, travel insurance, gifts and extras will be your own responsibility.

For more information or to book your place contact Mike Holliday at holliday.michael@gmail.com

Vedic Astrology – Yoga Philosophy – India Pilgrimage

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