All posts by Mike Holliday (Santosh)

Mike Holliday, also known as Santosh, is a sincere, humble and gifted Vedic consultant, teacher, counselor & mentor with broad and deep knowledge of the traditional sciences including Ayurveda, the science of life and good health; Jyotisha, the science of light; Tantra, the science of freedom & Yoga, the science of union & ascension. His life and studies have taken him far off the beaten path and into the villages, jungles, homes and temples along the pilgrimage routes and tribal lands of India and around the world in search of truly authentic teachers who share their knowledge out of love for humanity and love for their topic; which is essentially the same. Mike offers many services 'by donation' and can be contacted about his community outreach work to share traditional & holistic knowledge with anyone who with a sincere devotion towards their own self improvement and the traditional Vedic sciences.

Ideology

4a1f5-dsc_1055-version2-2009-12-20at09-55-19The main project of yoga is to ground us in reality so that we might be aware of the experience of truth. The truth is now; in the present moment. There is not other reality. The past and the future are merely mirages in the distance. We cannot be sure of either, though on some level, everything that takes form in nature or in our minds has some level of truth to it. As yogis our task is to recognize the truth and keep our awareness fixed there.

This is one of the primary differences between what I would call authentic yoga and and inauthentic yoga; between modern branded yoga and traditional lineage yoga. This is the difference between idealism and reality. You cannot get to reality thru idealism; that’s the first thing that needs to be dropped. Ideology is the mask we hide behind; a popular belief we profess in order to avoid the real work of unmasking ourselves so that we might recognize reality. We cannot even begin to see ourselves thru ideology for it only reflects our fears.

Reality is here and now, naked and vulnerable; a lamb before god. Once one understands that we are always and everywhere at the mercy of time and space, then we can rise above the fear and trembling that keeps so many cowering and gasping to their ideals like a tattered security blanket unable to face the natural rhythms of life and death.

Pilgrimage to the Heart of India 2018

19 day pilgrimage to Varanasi, Omkareshwar, Ellora & Ajanta Caves, Maheshwar, Mandu and Indore

20 November – 8 December 2018

Dear Friends,

It’s about time I bring a group of friends to see some of my favorite pilgrimage places in India: Varanasi, Shiva city, the spiritual centre of India famous for tantra and pilgrimage; Omkareshwar and Maheshwar on the Narmada river are major centres of the 3.5 year pilgrimage that sees a steady stream of devotion. Ellora and Ajanta are both ancient monuments of devotion and wonder. We will make a stop by Mandu for a day of cycling, frivolity and wandering thru villages and Mugul ruins scattered across the country side. The final stop will be in Indore to visit a couple important tantric temples and enjoy the comforts of the city before going our separate ways.

The trip will include:

  • Land travel within India, most meals, room, guided tours, yoga & astrology
  • Traditional Hatha Yoga practice including asana, pranayama, mantra, meditation. Bhakti, Raja, Hatha, Jnana, Tantra  and Kundalini yogas will all find expression over the course of this trip.
  • A detailed Vedic Astrology reading and remedy coaching.
  • Six nights in a simple, traditional forest ashram over-looking the  holy Narmada river
  • Five nights in Varanasi over looking the Holy Ganges river
  • A small group of six allows for deep integration of the practices and teachings.
  • Excellent introduction to India for those who wish to continue traveling the country
  • A unique yoga pilgrimage
  • Deep introduction to yogic philosophy and Vedic way of life.
  • Suitable for anyone who is a pilgrim at heart. No prior knowledge or experience is necessary. Sincerity towards the method is the most important attribute.

Basic Itinerary

20 November – 8 December 2018

20 November 2018: Arrival in Varanasi, rest, short evening yoga and meditation next to the river.

While in Varanasi: Morning yoga, site-seeing tours, boat rides, lots of free time, meeting Shiva devotees, astrology charts will be completed for each person.

25 November: Train to Khandwa; jeep to Omkareshwar, take rest and get settled at the Gayatri Forest Ashram, easy evening yoga and meditation.

While in Omkareshwar: Two yoga classes per day. Learning traditional stories, parikrama (walk) around the island,  visiting important pilgrimage sites, pilgrims and sadhus. Spending time in nature, swimming, enjoying.

02 December: Jeep to Ajanta. While in Ellora/Ajanta trip we will take our yoga where we can get it. There is often an opportunity to practice among the caves.

03 December: Jeep to Ellora and then to Maheshwar, take rest, get settled in the guest house.

While in Maheshwar: One to two yoga classes per day, visiting special holy sites, boating, swimming, meeting pilgrims, singing, & enjoying nature.

07 December: Jeep to Mandu, cycling/site-seeing, and then jeep to Indore.

08 December: Visit Mahakala and Bhairava temple before departure. The tour will end on this day and departures will go from Indore.

  • Note: let us know if we can help to arrange transport and lodging before and after the trip.

By the end of this trip participants will have gained deep knowledge of Yogic, Vedic and Tantric practice and lifestyle. One will have gained an appreciation for simple, prayerful living and will have a good foundation to continue a personal sadhana (spiritual practice). You will also gain valuable travel experience and a deep humanistic education as we travel on and off the tourist trail thru the heart of India.

Anyone with a sincere desire for self knowledge thru yoga and traditional knowledge are welcome. Yoga classes are easily modified to be accessible to everyone as well as challenging for every level of fitness and concentration. Much of the philosophical content will be organic (arising from the circumstances and questions) so this too will be both accessible and challenging for most anyone.

India can be a challenging country and we will be living very simply as pilgrims ourselves for parts of trip. This simplicity of nature will hopefully counterbalance the sensory and emotional over-load that Delhi and Varanasi are known for in different ways. Travel can be slow and frustrating (most times) and there will a few arduous days of travel, lots of walking, and a group of eight people traveling and living together for 19 days (18 nights). We hope that lots of free time, optional tours and practices, and flexibility by everyone, will allow everyone to get the flavour they are seeking from life.


This package tour includes:

  1. 19 days/18 nights in various guest houses and ashrams may be shared occupancy (approx. $400)
  2. Many meals, lots of chai and snacks (approx. $200)
  3. One train ride, two or three jeep rides, four or five boat rides, several auto-rickshaw rides, a bicycle ride  and possibly one state bus ride (approx. $300)
  4. Vedic Astrology consultation. (I typically offer 2 hour consultations for $250 and more extensive three part (6 hour) consultations for $500, but over 19 days we will have opportunity to explore the Vedic and Tantric sciences, cultures, philosophies and spiritual remedies quite deeply.)
  5. Classical Hatha Yoga classes at $10/class  (approx. 23 (1.5 hour) classes $230)
  6. Guide fees $400
  7. Additional administrative fees, organization costs, booking fees, travel expenses, baksheesh & diksha donations to temples, pilgrims and ashrams in the name of the group (booking fees $350 – last minute booking fees $550)

Prices are quoted at approx. 50 rupees to the dollar. Currency fluctuations of more than 5 rupees could change the cost.

Total cost: 

  • Early bird, before August 15 – $1976 (special rate for making my job easy). A $600 deposit will hold this space for you.
  • The hesitant bird, between August 15 – October 1 – $2380 (this is regular price if you add all of the above figures)
  • The free bird, after October 1, $2580 (there is an extra fee for making my life difficult)

Stipulations

  • Limited to six people. Must have at least 4 people signed up by October 1 for the trip to proceed. Full refunds will be given if it’s cancelled for this reason. I expect it will sell out fast.
  • One place will have preference for someone with knowledge in Ayurveda and/or Jyotish and would like to do a mentorship in astrology over the 19 days of this pilgrimage.
  • Unless your seat can be sold to someone else we may only be able to refund 50% of the fee in case of cancellation. There will be an administrative fee retained in any case, but we look vary favorably upon those who find someone to fill their place for them.
  • Bring a friend and save $100 each (not available for early bird pricing). Bring two or more friends and save $200 while each of them save $100.

What is not included, and why?

  • Many meals, snacks and chai throughout the day since you will be on your own.
  • Baksheesh, diksha payments, tips to temples monks, sadhus and service people which are best given by your own heart & hand
  • Flight to India, travel insurance, immunizations are all your responsibility.
  • Souvenirs, personal items, personal travel or personal entertainment.
  • No certificates will be available as this pilgrimage is meant to be a personal healing, learning & potentially transformational journey. If you want a certificate, go to Rishikesh.
  • If you are unsure about what may or may not be included, please ask before departure.

Your host and guide:

Mike Holliday has had a deep spiritual and personal connection with Varanasi, Ganga & Narmada since 2007. He has been teaching yoga around the world for almost ten years and offering philosophical/spiritual coaching and counsel for over half that time. He has guided many people thru Varanasi and well as thru Indian culture and a few have even come to experience the magic of the Narmada river with him. He is an engaging teacher and story teller; a very knowledgeable guide thru the unknown; a sincere, grounded friend and adviser & he has a strong passion for sharing traditional knowledge. He is an off the beaten path teacher who mostly follows orthodoxy but does not not believe it is necessary.

For more information:

  • holliday.michael@gmail.com
  • 778-266-1316

Remedial measures, Meditation and the 12th house

One of the most important things we have to keep in mind when we are offering remedies is: Will the client follow the remedy? No matter how good the medicine might work, it’s useless if the client will not follow it. But if we can find remedies that the client understands and has faith in, then they will be much better served, even by an inferior remedy.

I will discuss some of the common remedies and how we can make them suitable for the individual who is in front of us looking for ways to improve their life.

A complete practice of yoga, tantra and kriya with complete devotion in God (otherwise known as ones own infinite nature) is the best remedy for anyone to improve the quality and quantity of their life. However, not everyone is equally inclined and it would be a pretty boring world if we were. With such a wonderful diversity of humans wandering this earth, there is an equally diverse amount of remedial measures; none of which are created equally for everyone.

The secret to the efficacy of any remedy come from the the faith that it will work along with the dedication to following the prescribed activity (resonance). The faith comes from within; from our knowledge and beliefs and how well they match with with the remedy and/or the healer. Faith as understood here is not the blind faith of dogmatism; faith is rather built up thru clear discrimination & personal experience. Faith come only after we have done everything we can for ourselves. We give 100% of ourselves (the combined powers of the body, mind & spirit) and and in return we gain faith. Every spiritual path teaches that if we give everything we have as individuals, then we will be given this whole universe. This teaching does not refer to our material possessions, what we have on the outside, but rather to our internal reality. To receive such blessings we need to focus our will: 100%; focus our knowledge: 100% & focus our activity: 100%. If one is capable of such one-pointed focus then they have already learned that material wealth is actually immaterial.

This principle applies to all healing and all remedies, not just esoteric remedies of yoga and astrology. If you do not have faith and follow thru with your doctors prescription it is not likely to work for you any better than not doing your yoga practices. Research into surgery also suggests that the effectiveness of the procedure has as much to do with the individual on the operating table as it does with the technique the, surgeon or the surgery. Whatever remedy we are given we have to follow it correctly. In order to do this we have to have faith in the remedy, combined with the discrimination that allows us to have faith in the doctor or astrologer who is prescribing the remedy; to say nothing about having faith in our own ability to heal and to change.

Meditation

The Yoga Sutras by Patanjali are really more about what we call meditation and less to do with what most people recognize as yoga these days. Of course meditation should be a central part of the yoga practice all the way thru, but you wouldn’t know that by attending yoga classes in the west that might set aside a few minutes for meditation at the beginning or the end of class.

Meditation is the one thing that scientist and spiritualists can agree on to improve the quality and quantity of ones life. Of course there is not one correct way to meditate. Even within a single spiritual tradition there are numerous methods of meditation. Vijnana Bhairava list 112 different forms of meditation. These are the techniques that are typically accepted in Shaivist Tantra lineages. Buddhism has a whole lists of their own meditations, as does Christianity and Islam and the others.

With so many different forms of meditation going around, as Astrologers (Yoga teachers or Ayurvedic practitioners) we need to be able to offer our clients more direction than merely telling them to meditate. We have to be able to direct them along that path of meditation and suggest ways they might follow for the greatest success in their meditation practice. We might also give them some idea as to what they might expect and experience when they begin meditation practice. Of course, if they have a heavily afflicted 12th house they might want ensure that they have they proper support and atmosphere before beginning their meditation practice as they are sure to face difficulties.

Meditation and Charitable Remedies for the 12th House

The 12th house is the voice of our ancestors, our subconscious mind, our meditation and the kind of sanctuary or enclosure we are most comfortable. 12th house describes our sleep, our bedroom behaviour, how we are behind closed doors & and how we retreat from the world. This is were we de-materialize in order to connect with parallel worlds. We get loss, liberation & moksha in the 12th house.

When I write about meditation in the 12th house I am very specifically referring to that meditation which allows for spiritual liberation. Those who have a strong focus on material gain in life might find it easier to offer charity to these 12th house spirits & rulers. I have included advice on using charitable donations to ease the difficulties of the the 12th house.

Sun

Sun influencing the 12th house will bring ones personal creativity into the back room. Meditation can be very good for these people as the Sun in 12th often relates with lower self esteem in the public realm, but allows their creative intelligence to shine in private sanctuary spaces (in their bedroom; in the ashram). On the other hand, Sun in 12th suggest a diminished ego which can be beneficial for sequestered spiritual life (ashram life). If Sun is well placed here they can attain a central place in the ashram or monastery. They are best left alone for meditation; a super star in their own world. One the other hand, the Sun can cause one to feel some pressure to meditate which can disrupt the meditative experience. Meditation of the universal self or the universal egoity can be effective; trataka or other kinds of one pointed focus (especially on a candle flame or the Sun). One might also want to look into the morning ritual of agni-hotra. Sunrise sun salutations can also be very good. One should also be aware of their contact with the ground and push into it to stand tall or sit tall. Essentially we want our losses to go to the Sun in beneficial ways.

Charity should be offered to leadership events and training, government sponsored programs, charitable events sponsored by ones boss, burn wards of the hospital.

Moon

Moon in 12th house can give occasional meditation, but their practice will be heavily influenced by the movement (waxing & waning) of the moon. Where the moon sits is where we are comfortable so these people are typically comfortable in an ashram setting, foreign place, or in some kind of seclusion. So even if they are not making meditation they will very likely be fairly reflective people and may go away from their family. They will likely have a longing for greater (emotional) connection with their subconscious mind, their ancestral past, and those activities which liberate. This can be quite a spiritual placement if other indications point that way. Meditation on or near water can be very good. One may wish to mediate upon the mother goddesses. Reflection upon ones own emotions can also be a beneficial meditation. It might be difficult to follow a single meditative practice as one will more likely follow their emotions in this area of their lives.

Charity by time or money should go toward orphanages (especially for young girls), parenting programs, cultural events, building wells or other methods of providing safe, clean drinking water as well as programs that focus on the removal or cleaning of wastewater (especially Moon in Scorpio in the 12th) or providing comfort to foreigners.

Mars

Mars is typically the last planet we think about when we think meditation. He’s energy can be difficult to work with in classical sitting meditations. Mars in the 12th house gets moksha thru movement and action and overcoming some challenge; not exactly what you think of when you think about meditation, but Mars can get very nice repose/liberation after conquering some inner battle or competition. Mars likes to feel like he’s risen to the challenge and overcome. Many of the Yogis I work with in Canada have some Mars influence on 12th house combining movement with meditation. His aspect on the 3rd house from here gives courage & on 6th house allows them to take action (especially exercise) to overcome their obstacles. Of course, Mars must be a beneficial planet in their chart.

Modern postural yoga isn’t the only way to meditate with Mars influencing the 12th house. Walking meditation in a scene set by the sign in the 12th house can also be very good. Jupiter’s aspect can help by giving Mars something to believe in, and in some conditions an aspect from the Moon can cool him. Moon and Mars in angles from each other are said to be very powerful spiritual placement. (Especially in women, but men too, Moon in 6th can give foreign husband and foreign lovers.)

Unless Saturn is involved somehow, Mars will not like to follow the same practice all the time which is why a Jupiter aspect can keep Mars from wasting too much time roaming; he likes both direct action (Aries) and in-direct action (Scorpio). He works best within a structured environment (Capricorn) to focus his drive.

Trekking in the areas indicated by rasi can be very beneficial as can retreat centres which offer various activities (determined by rasi, as well as aspecting and tenanting graha). If this Mars tenants the 12th or the 6th house, this person may appreciate the healing benefits of yoga and exercise. Mars in the 9th house aspects the 12th house which can make a spiritual warrior willing to fight for their beliefs. The 9th house will bring some influence of the wisdom culture into their action even in Jupiter is not involved.

Those with Mars in the 12th can connect to their sense of loss and their own subconscious motivations by offering time or money to charities involved with sports, blood banks, engineering projects; one might alos like to give their time cooking for charitable purposes and perhaps one will even come to manage charities. With a well placed Mars in the 12th house one can become very active in charitable events. One may offer their charitable time as a coach or offer donations to support coaches.

Mercury

Mercury is a communicator. If other things point towards meditation Mercury in the 12th house will talk (communicate) about meditation and alternative realities as the voice from the beyond, but the content of Mercury’s communication is based on the influences upon him rather than his own initiative. This Mercury typically has easy access to the subconscious mind which can be beneficial if those spirits from parallel lives are benefic; but if this is not the case and Mercury is experiencing heavy affliction here then one might just as likely go crazy. From a meditation perspective Mercury likes logical analysis, studying, reading, listening when he’s in the 12th house sanctuary space. Mantra meditation might be effective. Concentration, contemplation, or systematically going over the 4, 11, 25 or 36 tattva in ones mind will bring a strong 12th house Mercury great satisfaction, mental peace and moksha. Journaling can also be very freeing for this Mercury

Those with Mercury in the 12th house should offer much support for educational opportunities and to students; summer camps or other types of education which can be fun and games. One should also offer their time and money to literacy programs.

Jupiter

Jupiter’s influence on the 12th house will expand our mind and one will seek and gain wisdom thru meditation. This is an excellent placement for meditation and spiritual life. If this Jupiter is in the 8th house, aspecting the 12th, one may follow tantric techniques of meditation (or as a means to access parallel lives, alternate realities, or other dimensions or lokas). The native may undergo numerous changes in life as many different ancestor guides seek to support deep transformative healing. When Jupiter aspects the 12th house from the 4th house one gets abundant comforts including those of meditative sanctuary. They are likely to have a strong foundation of humanistic or spiritual education. A strong Jupiter in 12th can lead to wisdom priestly roles in the ashram. They will seek moksha thru wisdom, knowledge & expansion. As strong Jupiter here is not likely to need much direction for meditation as their sense of discrimination will be especially strong in this area of their lives.

Those with Jupiter in the 12th house are generally very charitable and have a natural affinity for ashrams, monasteries and those secluded places that emphasis higher spiritual knowledge. These people are often jnana yogis who use knowledge as their means of liberation. They should offer their time and money to support higher education, spiritual events, children, gurus. These people might like to give directly to a church or religious institution or anything that expands the horizons of young impressionable minds.

Venus

Venus in the 12th house will give us a great appreciation for all things foreign and meditative. They will like beautiful ashrams or quite often prefer more of a spa/resort style retreat. They will likely seek moksha thru enjoyment. For meditation it’s advised that one sets a very nicely decorated room set aside for this purpose. Quartz and crystal might also prove beneficial allowing the mind to find release, flowers fine silks and fine art will also bring a soothing influence to the 12th house sub-conscious mind influenced by Venus. Visualization of clear bright light, imaginative vision quests, practices of loving compassion surrounded by beautiful things and feeling oneself to be beautiful; perfumed and all of that. The key to the the 12th house is to give all of this to god and not seek to gain by it in any way. And by gain I mean not only money, but also attention to ourselves by doing these things publicly or talking about our 12th house experiences or sadhana. What happens when we talk the 12th house and seek gain or reputation thru them? We loose energy, vital force. We want to leave our losses behind us, the more we carry them with us the more we are lost to ourselves. But unless the 12th house owner is in the 12th house, we will carry those losses with us somewhere but this is quite another topic.

One with Venus influenceing the 12th house can connect to the depths of the house by offering time or money to organizations for the advancement of women’s rights, artistic ventures (especially music and harmony), family values, genetic research, language programs, negotiations, or any other mission which is to bring people together. Venus rules over the image we project and bringing harmony to the environment she influences. She will like it if we meditate on our senses to give us greater sensitivity and awareness to our experience of them

Saturn

A benefic Saturn influencing the 12th house will allow one to most smoothly burn their meditative karma in a cold, dry place; isolated and alone; sitting for long periods. Saturn’s influence on the 12th house can be very nice for meditation and long periods of silence and stillness. A more troublesome Saturn influencing the 12th house can restrict one from the sort of sanctuary one needs for meditation. They may not have adequate alone time for such practices. For example, Saturn in the 10th house aspecting the 12th house the native may stay up late working and may be the last one to leave the office.

If Saturn is in the 6th house aspecting the 12th house, the worry and tension of life’s obstacles and limitations may keep one up at night and disturb their sleep. Saturn also aspects the 12th house from the 3rd house, which can be nice for group meditation. Saturn’s influence on a person’s 12th house can exert a bit of pressure as that inner voice repeats a narrative of scarcity and restriction. However, this 10th aspect on the 12th house can also make one feel like they have some responsibility for the groups meditative or retreat experience. If Saturn is in the 12th house aspecting the 6th, then one’s own inner voice tends to victimize the native to some degree. On the other hand, this energy can be very successfully to put to use in a ministry of service in foreign lands or isolated ashram or retreat centres for which the rasi, aspecting or tenanting graha will specify.

Saturn promotes renunciation, sacrifice for higher cause, stillness, patience, commitment. He likes his space to be simple and cool with dark blues and purples. He is cautious and slow to change and has an appreciation for structure, repetition like mantra and japa (some Venus influence on such a Saturn can give Hare-Krishna or other kirtan or bhajan paths that are harmonious structured & repetitive), repeat in the same practice over and over again. With positive Mars influence on Saturn you and everything well placed you can get a Ashtanga Yogi with a very structured and challenging practice. These two can become very mechanical; for better of worse.

Saturn generally likes a socially approved practice (Capricorn) or even taking retreat with large groups (Aquarius). If we consider those who have Pisces rising, this puts Aquarius in the 12th house. Pisces lagna may self identify with Pisces/12th house things, so when they go to their 12th house retreats and meditative sanctuaries they may do so in a way that connects them with a large interlocking network and they are likely to occasionally get together for special retreat events including meditation that allows that to harness the group intention and energy. They will seek moksha thru restriction, renunciation & cold harsh structure. Although sitting in meditation may come naturally; access to the subconscious mind will likely take time and technique. There may be many delays, restrictions and setback in ones meditative path; but commitment here will produce results.

Saturn in the 12th will give you a service or manual labour role at the ashram; gardening perhaps. Mars and Saturn together can give a craftsman of some kind, but it has to be a pretty special arrangement between these two to in the 12th house to bring you to an Ashram as they would more likely find less wholesome means of enjoying themselves behind closed doors.

One should offer charitable donations to the elderly, the crippled, labourers, race relations or those organizations whose mission relates with providing structure or administration.

Concluding Remarks

The 12th house can a be a difficult house to remedy because of the inherent loss of connection or control we feel here as our ancestral spirits seek to impose their agenda on us. We appear to be living in a particular time and place, but the deeper truth is that all times, places and dimensions are co-existing simultaneously and we can see the overlap most clearly thru the 12th house. The remedies for this house are therefore to help us feel empowered in those areas where our power (vital force) is being drained.

The Dussthana houses 6, 8 & 12 the areas where we need to be most diligent in releasing our expectations 1. to be appreciated for our activity (6th house), 2. that as individuals we are in control of our destiny (8th house), and 3. that material gain is meaningful (12th house). Every house, planet & sign in astrology is trying to show us the deeper reality of our spiritual nature. These three houses are the more difficult task-masters: loss of autonomy, loss of control, and loss of everything. So, we learn to assert ourselves in some way; we become drawn into looking more deeply into life allowing us to make changes that will allow us greater control over our destiny (9th house spirituality is the wealth of our 8th house research as we have to modify our beliefs to match that new knowledge). The 12th house, our meditative, subconscious mind is the creative expression of the 8th house research into the depths, as well as the place where are beliefs are most comfortable. Whenever we think we have nothing left to give the 12th house shows us where we did indeed still something left to give. In this way we realize the value of what we have gained in this life. Or to put it another way, the true value of all of our hopes and profits and network connections will be seen by how much we have to loose in the 12th house. The more we give of our time and energy and money and service, the more we will most certainly value what we have earned thru the 11th house.

We are our own greatest obstacle to change (the 1st house is 6th from 8th), but we (our 1st house body and personality) is the creative expression of our beliefs (5th from 9th). Our beliefs shine thru our 1st house; they take to the stage, they play. Life is but a play of our beliefs; a speculation of faith. In other words, this life is nothing but the play of Lord Shiva or which ever name or silence you give to God.

Healing from Within

I was about 9 years old when I was walking thru a frozen forest, shouldered my pellet gun, and discovered the great transformative silence of death as a chickadee fell from the branch.  In 2003, my father was killed in a work accident. Later in life I came to live and practice in a holy place between the cremation grounds of Varanasi, India; the chosen abode of Lord Shiva. When my grandfather passed away, we shared our fear of death and brought peace to the whole family. That light and purity of a new born baby also shines in the eyes of those who burn for that final release from the wheels of time. All of our lives we seek the flavour that will quench our thirst, but eventually, we thirst for the most unthinkable mystery; death.

The movement of the breath is controlled by the Great Spirit in the Sky of Consciousness and it comes and goes; starts and stops only by that ultimate grace. The power of Great Spirit is raw and pure when we go thru the great transformations of birth and death. Between these two great moments lie all the smaller cycles of the breath and the days and the seasons and so much more that we can experience fully and deeply as we experience that great birth and death of the body. This is the experience of reality.

Yoga and spirituality suggest we can experience a deeper reality  if we look at life beyond our individual experience and experience life in relation to the universal expression of consciousness; of spirit; of spanda; Shiva’s self expression thru his powers; his Shaktis. We are so much more than these limited bodies and the experiences we have in this lifetime; we are intimately connected to the whole span of time and everything that has and will exist. We are not just a part of this universe, we are this universe. The truth is so mindbogglingly beautiful and wonderful that we can only experience it as that…… astonishing beauty, dazzling amazement and wonder. We’ve all felt this as some time in our lives. This is the experience of reality,

There is little difference between letting go of our egos so that we can transform ourselves in this life, or doing so so that we can prepare for the next life. In either case, we want to turn our awareness towards the truth of who we really are here and now releasing ourselves from the past and the future; releasing ourselves from our own stories. Each time we transform ourselves we seek to reach a higher consciousness; we want that positive growth which which will benefit not only ourselves, but our families and communities and the universe as a whole. It’s that universal connection and experience of non-difference that we seek, but which remains, for most of us, just out of reach. Like a shy damsel, ultimate reality casts only the most fleeting glimpse from the corner of her eye. And this is were we must also seek out that ultimate reality: in those dark corners of our mind and along the edges of our breath and our thoughts and between all things which seem distinct.

Between you and me is some chemistry which brings us into perfect and blissful union because it allows both of us to taste the ripened fruits of our individual karma while contributing, each in our own special way, to the collective karma that ties us all together. We call activity karma when we experience it a force of limitation that separates; but when we experience activity as a force of freedom and play arising and falling away from the same place, bringing everything together, activity is then called Kriya (the spontaneous activity of one who experiences life as universal agency (the actor) and preceiving subjectivity (the witness)).  This is the experience of life; reality; divinity.  ​

We are all on this path of healing together. Together we will grow and evolve; find the courage to face our fears and overcome the false limitations we put on ourselves. To do this we practice being open and honest to the reality of the moment while applying our most sincere efforts to whatever activity is at hand. This sincerity is especially important for healing and spirituality, since it provides us with the impulse and the will to gather the necessary knowledge and put it into a meaningful action. Tapping into this personal sincerity for healing is what we mean by healing from within.

The Most Essential Quality

 What is Prana Vayu?

hanuman, bhima, madhvaPrana is life force or vital essence. Vayu is air and movement. Pranavayu is the movement of vital energy. Western Yogis have been talking about prana for many years already and it’s a relatively common term now. Modern Sanskrit scholars now tell us that we may have misunderstood the meaning of this word (see Wallis or Dyczkowski for confirmation).

Yoga teachers will commonly cue student to “inhale the prana” and “to visualize prana coming down into the body to give it energy. Ayurveda has followed with this classification of prana being a downward movement connected with the inhalation. Prana vayu is actually a bit of an awkward arrangement of terms since anything with prana moves and anything that moves has prana. This means we can refer to all five movements of the prana  vayus as movements of ‘prana;’ we can also drop the use of prana and just call these movements the vayus.

What modern scholars tell us is that the word ‘prana’ actually refers to the upward outward movement of our exhalation rather than the downward inward movement of our inhalations. The implications of this research is just starting get filtered down to us ordinary yogi and even very respected Ayurveda Institutes have still not taken the time to consider their own teachings and understanding of this topic.

I have written elsewhere about the ignorance of the colonial mindset so I won’t talk about it here. Most ordinary yogis in the west are so far removed from the yogic scriptures that such finely tuned understanding of the terms they use is of little importance. The larger institutes and colleges are typically more concerned with reputation and profits they have little incentive to seek after the truth. It almost seem to be a kind of “little mans syndrome” of academia. Only the the great scholars care about such things and nobody listens to them since we can find the (wrong) definition of of prana anywhere on google.

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So, getting back to exhalation which is connected with prana vayu. When we exhale, our vital force goes out thru our breath and the five senses to illuminate the world much like the Sun as it follows it’s daytime course thru the heavens. It’s rises with the beginning of our exhalation and moves thru the sky (of consciousness) until setting in the 12 finger space above the crown of the head to give way to the movement of the moon which rises full when the sun sets. This is where the exhalation has ended. As we inhale to passively and graciously receive the gift of life one nitya (goddess) leaves the Moon and enters into our bodies to nourish us and give life to the soul (the Sun) thru the body until she is herself drained of life, dark and dry as the Sun gains exaltation begins to penetrate the cold darkness of death with heat of life and the illumination of consciousness.

This is also the meaning of pranayama (prana + ayama): the life force which defeats death bringing life to the sense, allowing them to move. Prana brings movement and warmth to whatever is inert, cold and dead. (I have also seen the opposite interpretation (prana + yama) suggesting that we do the breathing practices in order to still the breath, slow all the vital functions, an ultimately ride the breath to the heavens leaving the duality of earthly existence behind. Of course we continue on with our life, but without attachment, free of the limitations of the three gunas and they individual vital breath. One moves instead in perfect harmony with the universal flow of consciousness.

Kal Bhairava takes over for Yama in Varanasi.

When we exhale prana, that life force which was given to us by god, reaches out to the world through our senses to colour and flavour the objects with whatever flavour we might crave; whatever we have inside of ourselves at the moment reaches out to the world to create a counterpart. When we inhale and bring back all of that sensory material we generally forget that we have just created it, so we react. We forget that we always get back whatever we give. As long as we have forgotten this fundamental rule we will suffer from our karma; once we learn it, life becomes a spontaneous play whatever might be your circumstances.

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“The vital breath is essentially a state of consciousness which manifests as the movement of two breaths; prana and apana (exhale and inhale).” This is a major theme of Tantra: that one thing  appears to be two separate things; or, as is the case in waking life, as a multiplicity of distinct objects. As we look at things more and more closely and understand them for their subtleties rather than accepting them at face value, they begin to merge together as though they were never separate. As it says in the Stanzas on Vibration:

“Whatever else may exist apart from you, if subjected to sound reflection, simply disappears like the fables palace of celestial musicians and you alone, changeless remain….” Stanza 10 goes on to say that , “then the soul realizes that his true nature (dharma) is universal agency and perceiving subjectivity, and so he knows and does whatever he desires.” ~Stanzas on Vibration~

In yoga we often talk about the body, mind and soul. We can think of this as three worlds or three layer of our being. The vayus live in the intermediate region of our highest intelligence but they move between the heaven and earth; the soul and the body; the subject and the object. Vayu is Air and Ether, which allows it pervade and move between all 36 tattva.

11TH_Rudra_Shiva_HanumanThe prana vayus are known as the vehicle of Rudra, an ancient name for lord Shiva that means “the Howler.” Rudra is known as the “Lord of Beasts.”  He is often associated with the 11 Mahurts which signifies his rulership of the mind and the 10 indriyas (5 sensory and 5 motor functions).

There are 5 Prana-vayu (movements of essential vital force), the sacred spaces associated with them. I have described them both in Tantric terms as well as in terms of Ayurveda

  1. Prana: Represented by the Sun. Prana is moving when we exhale; this is a movement upward & outward from the body, when the vital force of the senses reach out to their object. This is the expression of our life force to penetrate the world and forever leaving our mark up it (which will come back to us again thru the 5 fold cycle of the vayus). Prana also represent what we give to the world. Many people who belong to traditional cultures will begin a deep breath with an exhalation whereas modern people are much more likely to inhale straight away when told to take a deep breath. In the later Tantras, this movement became associated with the pingala channel of the nadi system.

  2. Apaana: Represented by the Moon.  Apana vayu is the inward & downward movement which first comes to us thru the crown of our head in the form of grace or shaktipat as we receive the gift of life. In Ayurveda it’s the downward movement that aids elimination.  and moved down the body Ayurveda they say move downward and outward. Like for the elimination of bodily waste. In later Tantras this became associated with the Ida channel of the nadis system.

  3. Samaana: According to Ayurveda, it moves inwards, spinning towards a centre point like meditation. In the waking and dream state, prana-apana is active, however in states of deep-sleep samaana (the Equalizing breath) balances the inhalation and exhalation. The call it the equinox

  4. Udaana: The Ascending breath. This is the central channel; the shushumna. This is the upwards rising force. According to Ayurveda, it also moves outwards like speech.

  5. Vyaana: expansion in all directions radiating from the navel outward in all directions. Often considered as the nadis energy system similar to the meridians of Chinese Medicine.

What is the most essential quality?

The first story

The Trio Brahma vishnu mahesh cute picturesOnce upon a time all of the organs and functions of the body got into a debate about who was most essential. Many were praising the the way the skeletal system gave shape and standing to the body, or how the blood carried nutrients to maintain the body, others marveled the how the heart pumped blood and how the lung found it’s own way to pump air, then pranavayu came along and everyone silent, for they knew that without the warmth of prana and the movement of the vayus that all life would stop. The hearth would not beat, the blood would pool and go stagnant, and the breath stops; the body becomes cold and inert.    

The second story

Once upon a time, the Gods entered into a timeless argument over who was most powerful and essential for the functioning of life and this universe. Shiva happened to be moving about rather than sitting peacefully upon the peak of Mount Kailash. Something always seemed to be happening whenever Shiva was moving about. When Shiva came across this childish argument he sought to quell it by simply pointing out that none were as powerful as him and they should all just go home and forget this pettiness. Of course some of the big gods who were standing around took offense to this; namely Brahma, the creator, and Vishnu, the preserver. To their protests, Shiva merely revealed his true form as a mystical shaft (lingam) of light and said, “see if you can find where I end.”

shiva1The two who remained standing there laughed at the challenge and quickly set off in opposite directions to find those loose ends, finish off the argument, and, for once, make Shiva look live the fool; because after all, everything has to come to an end. But after eons searching thru the vastness of Shiva’s light they finally decided to meet back in Kashi where it all began. When they got there, Vishnu immediately fell to his feet to offer his most respectful pranam to Shiva. But Brahma, who, despite his capacity for creation, has no eye for consequences, lied and said that he had found an end. It was just over the horizon not so far and it had only taken so long to return because he had decided to rest there for a while and fell asleep. 

Almost nothing enrages Shiva like arrogance and upon this insult all of his his most fearsome aspects rose to the surface and with an upsurge of impulse he chopped of one of Brahma’s five heads. The greatest crimes in India are those that go against pure knowledge and wisdom; they call this killing a Brahmin. Even the Gods are subject to karma so this fierce form of Shiva, whom they call Bhairava, took up the skull and walked the four corners of India for the next 12 years. This is the version of Shiva most emulated by modern Naga babas and Aghore: naked, fearsome to behold, covered in the ashes of the funeral pyre where he makes his bed. Every part of his external image brings fear and revulsion. But if we take the time to get to know a true aghore we will get to know and over come our own fears. For that’s the social role of the Aghore, to show us that this is the worst it can get; this is our greatest fear; but actually, it’s not so bad. 

Aghore
Aghore

After 12 years of wandering like this, Bharava returned to Kashi, and not far from the train station washed himself in a small pond. All of his impurities (malas) dropped away along with the skull which had been his companion for 12 years. He once again brought balance to the three gunas within himself, overcoming their excess and deficiencies freeing himself from the wheel of time and the cycle of cause and effect. In short, even the most fearsome evil was able to overcome the inner turmoil of self and social recrimination and realize himself as that same light of the universe that is in all things without distinction of good or bad or any of the other opposites.

Head Chopping in Hinduism

Ravan tapasya
Ravana offering his own head to Shiva.

In Kashi, whenever Shiva takes this fierce form and starts chopping off heads they call him Bhairava and have given him a rather bureaucratic job of welcoming and signing in all the pilgrims to give them access to the spiritual vision necessary “to cross the river that is so hard to cross.” You could say that he does this by metaphorically chopping off their heads. This head chopping metaphor is a relatively common one in Hinduism. Shiva chopped Ganesh’s head in Ujjain. They have built their own Bhairava temple there to commemorate the great event. Of course it was a little bloody and gruesome, but due to that Ganesha received blessings from all of the gods and was given guardianship over the directions. Kali is also famous for her necklace (mala) of heads. Ravana, the main antagonist of the Ramayana was given his great powers by Shiva when he cut off his own head in offering to Shiva. My teacher once told me that “only Ravana can cut off his own head and get away with it.” Due to his great power of penance his head grew back every time. Ravana was actually said to have ten heads due to the vastness of his knowledge and wisdom. All of this suggests that a jnana yogi needs to acquire, by penance and blessing, knowledge which faces in all ten directions.

kali maIn Jyotish we also have the story of Rahu and Ketu, the north and south nodes. This all happened in the very beginning when the gods and demons (the bureaucrats and bohemians) figured out that they had to work together to retrieve the elixir of immortality by churning the ocean of milk; pretty much all the divine being had to help in some way. In their greed to get the amrit, they didn’t think much about the side effects which was the creation of the physical universe and it’s cycles. Laxmi and Kamadenu came from this churning as did some great toxins that Shiva was able to swallow to save everyone. When the amrit arose and they were getting ready to pass it around a beautiful dancing girl appeared, seductive and scantily dressed. This was a ploy by the gods who knew the demons could be easily distracted by their senses. From the start, they never intended to share the amrit with the demons from. Swarbhanu was watching and saw all of this happening so he disguised himself as one of the gods and lined up with them for the amrit while the rest of the demons were being pushed to the back of the line. But just as Swarbhanu was taking a drink Sun and the Moon alerted Vishnu who swiftly cut off his head, but it was too late, the amrit had made it down his throat and both halves of him were immortal. The called the head Rahu and the body Ketu and gave them an abode in the starry heavens with the planets. The continue their vendetta against Sun and Moon whom they’ve never forgiven. At the time of the eclipse they get their chance to exact revenge thru various methods of disruption. Rahu brings intense desire while Ketu brings an almost equal intensity to his ambivalence. While Rahu brings our focus to the material world an ensures that the wheel of karma keeps turning; Ketu cuts us from our material ambitions allowing us to surrender to what is. 

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Ayurvedic Astrology: The Body of Kal Parusha

This section focuses on how to understand our health thru an understanding of Vedic Astrology and Ayurveda. I am greatly indebted to the dedicated and pioneering works of Robert Svoboda, Vansant Lad & Dr. KS Charak in this regard. My teachers, Sanjay & David have also been a great help in understanding these basic concepts which are extremely useful in diagnostics. With this said, as far as I can tell, this is the first in-depth research that has been done (in the English language) to combine these two important traditional sciences (Ayurveda and Jyotisha) in this way. Since much of the remedial advice comes from Yoga and all of this follows in accord with Tantra, Indiaologists should find this page of great interest. I plan to continue adding and editing to this page and if you have anything to add or take away from this work I’m very open to sincere, informed & constructive criticism that will advance my own knowledge and help me to better serve my clients; all of those universal brothers and sisters, aunties and uncles who support my work.

Surya – Sun

Pitta, bilious, represents the heart, asthi dhatu, bones, teeth, nails, calcification, hair, right eye, blood circulation, provides the support for the body, protects the vital organs  Matures at 22. Represents mature people around 50 years old.

A strong well placed Sun gives forgiving, hard working & honest nature; strong bones, tall, strong teeth, nails, and hair; great endurance, strength, vitality, stamina. Their body will be rich in salts and minerals like iron, copper, zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium & others.

Afflictions to the Sun primarily effects the bones, the blood circulation & mineral levels of the body, but these functions have far reaching effects on our body.

When the Sun is diminished by too much slow, wet, cold, heavy, dense kapha influence, affliction can cause bone spurs, bone fusions, scoliosis, hunchback lordosis and other spinal misalignment which will affect the way a person walks and moves. High levels of calcium can lead to deposits which affect the glands (Hypothyroidism) and soft tissues (Myofibrositis) contributing to tumors, blood clots, inflammation and high blood pressure. Extra teeth and excessive hair & nail growth are common as is a deep seated anger or fear and sensitivity to the cold.

When Sun is afflicted by excess heat or wind one may have a mineral deficiency causing weak brittle bones; receding hair line; hyper-irritability, poor blood clotting, tooth decay, receding gums; dry brittle nails. High metabolism is likely and severe affliction can lead to hyperthyroidism or hyperactivity of the parathyroid causing the break down of bone in order to release more calcium to the blood. Osteoporosis, osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis are also common especially in latter years. They may have feelings of insecurity, loneliness, nervous for which they may try to compensate through over-activity or erratic activity and physical strain; they may suffer from the heat, dehydration leading to gallstones, kidney stones excess bile from liver heat. Their physical height may be short.

The Sun also relates with fevers, head aches, eye disease, burns, epilepsy, leprosy; injuries from fall, weapons, poisons; fear from quadrupeds, thieves, and serpents.

Chandra – Moon

Kapha, phlegmatic with an element of vata, wind when too close to the Sun. Rules over the rasa dhatu, the fluids of the body, especially the blood, lymphatics, white blood cells, lactation, breasts, the female reproductive system, chest, taste, emotional boundaries & digestion. Moon, along with Mars, controls the menstrual cycles. Matures at 24. Represents old person of 70.

A strong, well placed moon gives clear perception, strength, clarity, trust, stamina, great love, compassion & profound faith along with soft, beautiful, smooth skin; soft wavy hair & good complexion (colour pigment). A strong moon brings music and perfume to life.

Afflictions to the moon primarily affect the nourishment of the blood, fertility, the tides of the body & ones emotional comfort. This is where we look for psychiatric problems, emotional disturbance, tuberculosis, pleurisy, dropsy, dyspepsia, diarrhea, anemia, fevers associated with chills and rigours, fear from water and watery animals.

When moon is afflicted by too much slow, wet, overly nourishing kapha influence there can be congestion of the lymphs, veins, sinus, bronchial passages, water retention (edema), swelling, pallor, excess salivation. Heaviness of the heart, lethargy,  swollen or enlarged breasts.

When the moon is afflicted by too much hot, or cold, dry pitta and vatta influence there can be dehydration, skin problems (acne, hives, rashes) thirst, fatigue, dizziness, fever, shock, palpitations, anemia, blood poisoning, jaundice, slow and scanty menstruation, lack of taste (perverted taste), lack of clarity or perception, grief, sadness, anger, anxiety, hypersensitivity to sound, chronic fatigue syndrome, generalized body aches and pains, lack of faith.

Kuja – Mangal – Mars

Pitta, bilious, kakta dhatu, red blood cells, hemoglobin, bile, ones strength and the power of the body, courage, red bone marrow, inner lining of the uterus, the liver & the spleen. Matures at 28. Represents young children below school age.

A strong, well placed Mars gives a strong life force, healthy complexion, warm delicate skin, rosy cheeks, red lips, lustrous eyes, pink nails, pink hands and feet, and a strong immune system. They will be happy, wise, intelligent, bright, and will love to over come challenges. However, they may be sensitive and intolerant to heat, judgmental, critical, perfectionist.

Mars is a natural malefic that gives affliction as often as he receives it. Whatever Mars’ conjunction or aspect will bring some element of heat to that part of the body or area of life. Mars can cause acute illness and injury related to heat and inflammation, ulcers, fevers (especially eruptive ones), lacerations, cuts, surgery, aggression, fractures, hemorrhoids, diseases of the uterus, miscarriages, abortions, problems in the regulation of body temperature, herpes, chronic fatigue syndrome, diabetes, appendicitis, epilepsy, most skin discolorations, blood clots, varicose veins, many auto-immune illnesses. Anger, hate, envy and most hot, sharp emotions.

Too much hot, wet pitta influence on Mars can cause bleeding tendencies, wounds, skin conditions (rashes, burns, eczema, itching, acne, nose bleeds, dermatitis), inflammations (infections, conjunctivitis, hemorrhoids, canker sores), hypertension, high blood pressure, stomach acid, jaundice, hepatitis, gall stones, dehydration, red warm hands & feet, red eyes, high blood pressure, aversion to meat, aversion to heat, poisoning enlarged liver or spleen. Considerable affliction can lead to auto-immune illness such as Lupus or HIV/AIDS.

Too much dry windy vata influence on Mars may cause dry, rough, cracked skin; pale lips, tongue, nails, bluish colour to skin, a craving for iron, hot spicy foods, sour citrus, meat, children may eat clay, anemia, breathless on exertion, loss of luster, lack of enthusiasm, weakness, cold hands and feet, emptiness of blood vessels.

Budh – Mercury

Tri-doshic, impressionable, majja dhatu, the whole nervous system, our capacity for learning, discrimination and reasoning, rules over the skin, the CNS, the ANS, the cranial nerves governing the senses  and the motor responses, tactile sensations (touch, pain, temperature, etc.) relates with the hypothalamus, the throat, nose, lungs, fore-brain, grey matter, cerebral cortex, communication, as well as eye gunk and some mucous related with elimination. Matures at 32. Represent youth.

When Mercury is strong, well aspected and prominent in the chart, the native is likely to have clear perception, right understanding, right comprehension. They will have attractive eyes, youthfulness, clever speech and will be capable of quick, articulate and effective response.

Mercury’s affliction results in misunderstandings, misconceptions, confusion, delusion, hallucinations, mental aberrations, nervous breakdown, mental instability, abusive language, speech defects, high strung temperament, vertigo, impotence, skin problems, some sensory defects especially those related with coordination or hallucinations, sudden falls, bad dreams.

When Mercury is disturbed by too much dry, windy vata influence perception will be shaky, there can be nervousness, anxiety, stress, insecurity, Attention Deficit Disorder, poor communication and understanding, nightmares, insomnia, tingling, numbness, paralysis, muscle twitching, anemia, cold hands and feet, sexual debility. they may lack muscular and hand eye coordination or have exaggerated reflexes. Under severe affliction, Parkinsons disease, Epilepsy, stroke or Schizophrenia could develop, as well as Osteoporosis, rheumatoid or Osteo-arthritis.

When Mercury is disturbed by too much hot pitta influence may create a feeling of heat in the body, hypertension, nerve conditions like sciatica, herpes, leading to chronic fatigue syndrome, Epstein Barr virus, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, cerebral hemorrhage, stroke. When Mercury is disturbed by too much think, heavy kapha influence the nervous system may be slow, slow reaction times, sluggishness, lack of awareness excess sleep. There can be tumors on the pineal or pituitary glands, or anywhere along the nervous system, fluid may accumulate in the brain.

Guru – Jupiter

Kapha temperament, meda dhatu, the fat of the body, generally offers a protective influence against injuries and disease, but can afflict thru growth and expansion causing congestion (typically) to the lymphatic system, circulatory system, liver, tumors and growths. Jupiter rules over the ears, hearing, gall bladder, spleen, part of the pancreas. Matures at 16. Represents young adults for 30ish.

A strong, well placed Jupiter gives ambition, responsibility, broad mindedness, energy, stamina, confidence, determination expansive love and compassion. They will have a balanced appetite, beautiful eyes, expansive voice  soft shiny hair and skin. They will be well nourished and they will tend to see the best in people and situations.

Afflictions to Jupiter typically relate with over nourishment or under nourishment; too much fat on the body (or in the wrong places of the body), or too little fat. By this point we can begin to see the different personalities that might be related to the various planetary arrangements.

Too much slow, wet, heavy kapha influence on Jupiter can cause obesity, lethargy, joint pain, breathless exertion, slow metabolism, profuse sweating, low libido, excess thirst, sweet taste in the mouth, cold clammy skin, hypertension, gallstones, high blood pressure, diabetes, spasms when passing the last drops of urine, fowl smell from armpits, fatty tumors on the organs or body, heart disease, high cholesterol, thick blood, arterial sclerosis, enlarged spleen, hypothyroidism, endorphins like serotonin are inhibited causing depression; Seasonal Affective Disorder , Steroid toxicity as the function of the liver and the thyroid are reduced, moon face, water retention, slow metabolism. Alcohol (Mars) leads to fatty liver (Jupiter).  Weak liver may also lead to low testosterone.

Too much hot, dry, light vata pitta affliction to Jupiter can cause dry skin, cracking aching joints, especially low back ache, stiff muscles, emaciation, protruding eyes, hair loss, hoarse, dry, foggy voice, insomnia, menstrual irregularities, constipation, craving for meat and cheese, emotional insecurity, fear, anxiety. Osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis), osteoporosis (bone loss), spontaneous fractures, lumbago, hyperthyroidism, low cholesterol, enlarged spleen. hyperthyroidism.

Shukra – Venus

Kapha and vata, cool, sweet & active, Venus rules over shukra dhatu, the reproductive fluids, the sex organs, urinary system, kidney, endocrine system (along with the moon), glands, the senses in general. the sense of aesthetic taste, artistic sensibility, throat, cheeks, sex drive, face, eye sight, tear glands, mid-gut, intestines, appendix, part of the pancreas. Matures at 25. Represents teenagers.

A strong, well placed Venus will give strong clear senses, a healthy appreciation for beauty and a balances sexual appetite.

Venus is typically the planet who brings harmony to a situation. When Venus is afflicted there is a lack of harmony in life and in our connection with the world of the senses where we connect inside with outside. If Venus is over stimulated, our senses will be over stimulated and we could become a slave to trying to satisfy our senses. On the other hand, if Venus is weak and bogged down, then our sensory connection with the world will reflect that and we can loose interest in life and in connecting with the external world. One extreme can be good if you’re a rock star; the other will work better for a sadhu.

When Venus is afflicted by excess they will have an increases sexual appetite and attraction tot he objects of the senses. there can be inflammation of the bladder, kidneys, urinary system, premature ejaculation, urinary cysts.

When Venus is afflicted by deficiency there can be growth of bacteria and infections due to a decreased discharge of urine and menses. They may have a low libido, fear of sex, pain during sex, lack of ovulation, impotence or infertility in men or sterility in women.

Sani – Saturn

Vata temperament with some kapha. Rules over mamsa dhatu, the muscles (skeletal, smooth, and cardiac), nerves, lymphatics, legs, feet, distal part of the colon and rectum, along with the bones it gives support to a person thru the appearance and personality. Matures at 36. Represents very old people over 100.

Someone with a well placed Saturn will have good muscular coordination, ambition, maturity, confidence, determination, responsibility, a meditative mind (love, compassion, total relaxation), no expectation that causes resistance to the reality of the experience; spontaneous action without motive for a particular result.

Saturn is probably most famous for giving affliction by contracting, blocking, holding, restricting, cooling & bringing stiffness and fear to whatever he touches thru aspect or conjunction. Saturn represents incurable or chronic disease, arthritis, rheumatism, emaciation, paralysis, deformities, insanity, glandular disease, elephantiasis, tumors, cancers, exhaustion, fatigue, depression, melancholy, constipation, injuries sustained by falling trees of thrown rocks (injuries from the air), muscle twitches, spasms, contractions, convulsions &  aches. Saturn is always involved in severe illnesses like  Bell’s Palsy, quadriplegia, paraplegia, multiple sclerosis.

Too much wet, slow, heavy kapha affliction on Saturn like poor diet, insufficient exercise, sleeping in the day, tonsillitis, enlarged bulky muscles, loss of proportion, muscle cysts, hernia, fibromaylgia, fibrocystic changes in the breasts, uterine fibroids, enlarged lips, cheeks, tongue.

Too much hot, dry, light influence on Saturn can cause one to work too hard, undertake too much physical activity, lack protein due to insufficient nourishment. This can result in muscle atrophy/wasting/rigidity, loss of muscle power, emaciation, fatigue, dislocation of joints, TMJ disorders, craving for meat, sunken cheeks, sunken eyes, many look like a walking skeleton, expression of grief and sadness, cold and hungry (but cannot adsorb the nutrients in food) profuse accumulation of ear wax, smegm. One may feel like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. Unresolved emotions accumulate to create tension, stress and stiffness fear, anxiety, grief, sadness, anger.

Rahu

Slowness of action, clumsiness, hiccup, insanity, unfounded fears, leprosy, debility, hemorrhoids, chronic boils or ulcers, incurable ailments, poisoning, snake bites, diseases of the feet. Gives phobias thru connection with the moon. Considered the same as Saturn. Matures at 48. Represents very old people over 100.

Ketu

Same as Rahu, but more uncertain cause, epidemics, eruptive forces, viral and infectious disease, parasites of intestines or blood, speech defects, diagnostic confusion, surgical intervention, same as Mars. Matures at 48. Represents very old people over 100.


Lantern festival
Lantern Festival – Chang Mai

The Houses

Aries/1st house

Fevers, headaches, whole body, brain, strokes, cerebral bleeding, injuries to the skull, head, difficulties at time of birth, eyes, back of head to base of skull.

Taurus/2nd house

Neck, throat, thyroid, obesity, face, mouth, jaw, teeth, childhood disease, like cough, cold, flu, mumps, measles, genetic illness, memory, larynx, cerebellum, vocal cords, faculties of speech, taste, tongue, sight, beauty, eating habits, hair, manner of speaking, the face one shows to the world, family values.

Gemini/3rd house

Cough, pulmonary problems, lungs, asthma, shoulders, arms, upper back, nervous disorders, mentality, muscular-skeletal coordination, agitation, movement and expression of the upper body, stress response, behaviours of the hands, mental illnesses related to mentality (argumentative, cranky, perfectionism, tantrums, stubbornness), the way one reaches out to the world.

Cancer/4th house

Chest problems, breast cancer, tumours, chest colds, rib cage, emotional comfort, boundary issues, front part of chest, elbows, watery pump action of heart, lungs, breasts, endocrine system, watery tides of the body, lactation, capacity for foundation education.

Leo/5th house

Vitality, heart, solar plexus, diaphragm, digestive juices, fertility, intelligence/intellect, menstrual problems, mid-back, small intestines, vitality produced by the heart, pitta of the blood.

Virgo/6th house

Digestion, absorption, gas, ulcers, allergies, hypoglycemia, diabetes, appendicitis, immune system weakness, bowel movements related to digestion, colon, large intestine, hands, they way we approach our health challenges.

Libra/7th house

Urinary problems, fertility issues for women, internal sex organs, venereal disease, sexual virility, lowest part of abdomen, lumbar, kidneys, pancreas, one on one relationships.

Scorpio/8th house

Hemorrhoids, bowel movement, blood disorders, impotence for men, external sex organs, urinary, sacrum, perineum, rectum, bladder, prostate, uterus, ovaries, sudden shocking events, deep healing.

Sagittarius/9th house

Arteries, obesity, hips, sacrum, paralysis below the waist, thighs, belief.

Capricorn/10th house

Weakness to bones, arthritis, knees, our standing in life.

Aquarius/11th house

Circulation, skin, nervous system, weakness to lower legs, calves, shins, joints, connective tissue.

Pisces/12th house

Feet, lymphatic disorders, hypoglycemia, diabetes, tumours, fungal infections, loss of vitality.


​What Causes illness or Injury in a chart?

Bread of life
Bread of Life in Varanasi.

Just as there often seems to be no end to the suffering in life, there are are numerous elements in the chart which cause affliction.

  • The Sun burns what he touches.

  • Mars bring heat and Inflammation to whatever he touches

  • Saturn brings coldness, stiffness, blockage and stagnation to whatever he touches.

  • Rahu excites what he touches.

  • Ketu numbs what he touches.

  • The 6th house and its owner brings illness that we must over come.
  • The 8th house and its owner brings illness that changes our life.
  • The 12th house and it’s owner brings a loss of vitality.
  • Poorly placed, weak & debilitated signs, houses & planets

Any part of the body signified sign, house, planet or nakshatra that is touched by any of these malefic signifiers will suffer. The degree of the suffering will depend on the number of malefic influences on that particular part of the body by checking the various signifiers for that part of the body as detailed below.

  • Tamasic combinations and planets will function thru the physical body in a spiritually dark way.

  • Rajasic will function thru the mind, emotions and intellect in a spiritually active way.

  • Sattwic will function thru the soul in a pure loving harmonious way acting as an instrument of the divine.


The Body of Kal-Parusha

IMG_0823
Keeping Warm at Agore Baba’s Dhuni. Varanasi, India.

(House Number also signifies the sign of that number)

1st house is the head

2nd house is his face and neck

3rd house is arms and shoulders

4th house is his chest

5th house his heart

6th house his stomach

 7th house is his groin

8th house is his anus

9th house is his thighs

10th house his knees

11th house his shins

12th house the soles of his feet

By Drekkana

(If the ascendant degree is between 0 – 10 degree, we follow first drekkana; if it’s 10 – 20 degrees, we follow the second drekkana; 20 -30 degrees we follow the third.)

1st house: Head, Neck, Pelvis

2nd house: Right eye, Right Shoulder, Right side of penis/anus

3rd house: Right ear, arm, testical

4th house: Right nostril, side of the body, thigh

5th house: Right temple, heart, knee

6th house: Right cheek, abdomen, calf

7th house: Chin, navel, feet

8th house: Cheek, abdomen, calf

9th house: Left temple, heart, knee

10th house Left Nostril, Side of the body, thigh

11th house: Left ear, arm, testical

12th house: Left eye, shoulder, penis/anus


2010-01-15 at 07-27-51
Narmada Pilgrims – Narmade-har!

The Body of Kal Parusha by Nakshatra

  1. Ashvini: Both knees & upper parts of feet
  2. Bharani: Head & bottom part of feet
  3. Krittika: Waist & top and back part of head
  4. Rohini: Both legs & the forehead
  5. Mrigashira: The two eyes & eyebrows
  6. Ardra: Hair & both eyes
  7. Punarvasu: Fingers & nose
  8. Pushya: Mouth & face (facial expression)
  9. Ashlesha: Nails, joints & ears
  10. Magha: Nose, lips & chin
  11. Poorva Phalguni: Private parts & right hand 
  12. Uttara Phalguni: Private parts, lips & left hand
  13. Hasta: The two hands & fingers
  14. Chitra: Forehead & neck
  15. Swati: Teeth, intestines & chest
  16. Vishakha: Both arms & breasts
  17. Anuradha: Heart, stomach, bowels & womb
  18. Jyeshta: Tongue, neck & right side of the body
  19. Moola: Both feet & the left side of the body
  20. Poorva Ashadha: Both thighs & the back
  21. Uttara Ashadha: Both thighs & the waist
  22. Shravana: Both ears & the sex organs
  23. Dhanista: Back & anus
  24. Shatabhishak: Chin & right thigh
  25. Poorva Bhadrapada: Both sides of the body, ankles & left thigh
  26. Uttara Bhadrapada: Both sides of the body, ankles & lower legs
  27. Revati: Both armpits, abdomen, groin & ankles

 

There are several ways to determine body parts thru the astrology chart. Of course no single method will be 100% accurate. These various methods allow us to check a body part in at four different ways (by sign, by house, by Dekkana & by Nakshatra). If the same part of the body is afflicted thru all four of these indicators, you can be sure that part of the body we suffer in some form. On the other hand, if all four signifiers of the same body part have benefic influence or beneficial yoga, you can be sure

Vedic Astrology: What is it? Who benefits? How to get a reading?

Who can benefit most from Vedic Astrology?

A wide variety of people us Vedic astrology for many reasons, but most of the people who come to me are looking to deepen their spiritual practice; or understand their place in society thru wealth, marriage, career; or perhaps they are concerned about their health, or their state of mind, or their family. 

Astrology shows how everything and everyone is connected so there are always things we can do to strengthen what is good in us and loosen our attachments what is dark and draining.

For remedial measures to work, we have to understand how and why they work, and they have to be something we are likely to follow. 

Like everything astrological, remedial measures have to be suited for this time and place.

What is Vedic Astrology?

Commonly known as Vedic Astrology because of it’s connection with Ayurveda, the science of life, Jyotish is the science of light. This science, as it’s practiced today, has it’s base in the Hora Shastra by Sage Parashara. The original book was written over one thousand years ago and my teacher still tells me to consult it before asking him questions.

Vedic astrology is unique from western astrology in several ways. The most obvious is that Parashara teaches us to use the sidereal chart which locates the true position of the planets in relation to the the time and place of ones birth. This means that compared to Topical chart used for western astrology, all of the planets will shift about 24 degrees (almost a whole 30 degree sign, x 12 gives us 360 degrees)). For example, in western astrology my Sun is in Sagittarius, but in the Vedic sidereal my Sun is in Scorpio. My Moon, however, is well advanced in Gemini in the western topical chart so it remains in Gemini in the sidereal chart, but at very low degrees. 

One of the other major differences is that the position of the sun is generally considered of lesser importance in Jyotisha than that of the Moon or the ascendant (rising sign). The ascendant changes sign every 2 hours, the moon every two days and the sun once per month, so it’s obvious where we will find the most individual and personalized reading. 

Jyotisha also has a system of planetary cycles called dashas that is missing from Western astrology which uses progression of planets to time predictions which is more cumbersome and does not offer the consistency of results offered by the dasha system.  The dashas allow for precise prediction and greater understanding of the cycles of this incarnation. We are connected to the planets as existing within ourselves and we are within them. All of the light which shines to illumine this world before us shines and is directed from within. We are that Shankara who is the source of the power of the wheel of energies. When we praise that Shankara, we praise the highest expression of our own selves by whose contraction and expansion this whole world comes into being and goes out again. 

The most important feature of Vedic astrology is how it works with Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra to offer numerous remedial measures that can be personally tailored for anyone depending on their own will to gain the Supreme knowledge that nourishes, heals all wounds, allows us to form a union with ourselves, freeing us of all limitation.

How does Vedic Astrology differ from Western Astrology?

Vedic Astrology, known as Jyotisha, is the science of light which has been followed since ancient times in and around India where astrologers are still considered teachers, guides and counselors. The Vedic system of Astrology differs from the western system of Astrology by using the sidereal chart that accurately charts the locations of the planets which means that the planets in your charts will be shifted by about 24 degree. Considering each sign takes up 30 degrees, this means that the western topical astrology charts are out by almost an entire sign. This why many people find that their moons, for example, are in different signs in the two systems.

Vedic Astrology uses the rising sign chart, the Moon chart, the Sun chart and the Navamsha chart to uncover the mysteries of an individuals universe. Western astrology uses only the sun chart. From the Vedic perspective the sun is the soul of man, this makes it more difficult for us to understand than our mind, represented by the moon, and our physical existence, represented by our rising sign chart. It’s only a few who are blessed to not only recognize their own, but to be able to articulate it as well. Our mind and our body we can generally have a coherent conversation about, this is why Vedic astrology generally discusses only these more manifest karmas.

Vedic Astrology has a dasha system that allows for accurate prediction of events on a time line. The dashas are the periods of our life that are ruled by the different planets. The Vedic system uses 9 planets: the seven main ones (Sun , Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn), and Rahu and Ketu (the north and south nodes), dark spots in the sky that cause eclipses whenever they come over the sun or moon. These nine plants each rule over a span of years which combines to 120 years. Saturn, for example, rules over 19 years. Within Saturn’s 19 years, each planet again rules a period of time so that the time periods of all nine planets equals 19. So the 19 year dasha period of Saturn has nine sub-periods, each sub-period again has nine sub-periods. The dasha‘s are used to understand more specifically what karmas are arising at different periods of your life.

The predictive capability allowed by the dasha system is how Vedic astrology proves itself. When the dasha periods are combined with the transiting planets, astrological prediction can be amazingly accurate. But making such predictions does not necessarily serve the client or the astrologer. The more specific an astrologer tries to be in their prediction, the more likelihood there is of making an error and leading a client down a wrong path. Also, in most cases, one cannot be sure of an exact birth time or location coordinates which will always have a subtle effect on a chart and a life. But more importantly, not all karmas are so fixed as to be certainties.

Free will plays a huge role in how we are affected by karma. One of the main jobs of an astrologer is to help people use their free will most effectively by pointing out the benefics and malefics in their life and suggesting subtle remedies based on the desires and abilities of the client. The predictive capabilities of Vedic astrology should not be taken to suggest that we are completely ruled over by fate, but rather we could be if we don’t maintain some kind of vigilant awareness of our mind, body and spirit.

Vedic astrology can be an excellent tool for such personal awareness, especially when combined with the complimentary tools such as yoga, Ayurveda, and other spiritual practices.

If you have any questions about Vedic astrology please contact me at holliday.michael@gmail.com

Om Namah Shivaya

How does a reading work? 

There are generally five parts to a reading. First, I take the birth data you give me and caste the chart. Next, I look into your past to find details about your life and family so that we might gain confidence in the data, and the client can be assured that astrology is a working science. The third step goes thru a broad array of past and future and personal characteristics. Vedic astrology loves specific questions that it can answer clearly and directly so we address these in the fourth part of the reading, as well as philosophical questions that this science often provokes from people. The last part is the most important part where we discuss remedial measures. 

What kinds of remedies are available?

The astrology chart is like a doctors pathology report. For the client, much of the karmic script is just meaningless data; what’s important is the medicine. “What can I do?” This is what is most important: what can we do to help ourselves, to help others, and to help this world. Thru the remedies, astrology shows us the ways we can connect to that universal energy in order be more effective in the three worlds.

Vedic astrology is supported by all of the remedial measures of yoga, tantra & ayurveda. Classical remedies include gem stones, metals, colours, weekdays, mantras, offering service, charity or donation, or actively harmonizing with some part of nature, giving worship to specific deities. I can also offer individual advice for meditation and asana practice. Some generalized health, diet and lifestyle advise is also possible.

Reading
Mike Holliday at his desk in Varanasi, India.

Astrological Services

Initial Consultation: 1.5 – 2 hours ($50 – $300) 

  • Full chart assessment of the past, present and future karma

  • Evolution of consciousness

  • Major life themes

  • Remedial measures suited individuals in the modern world

  • Includes one Skype call (or detailed e-mail), one e-mail with basic information before the call and another follow up e-mail to address question afterwards.    

Follow-Up Consultations: 1 hour ($50 – $200) 

  • To answer specific questions 

  • To give an annual report

  • These can be completed by call or e-mail.

Chart Matching to assess suitability for marriage and advise on relationship challenges that the individuals are likely to face, both as individuals and as a couple. Traditionally this is used for partner selection, but it can also be a great relationship tool for couples to understand what brings then together and the lessons they are here to learn thru their relationships. I also give advice on marriage gem stone selection since diamond is not always the most supportive gem stone for marriage. (Average donation $250 for both charts.)

Payments can be made by e-mail interact transfers or PayPal.

For information about astrology readings, courses and information sessions please contact me at holliday.michael@gmail.com