Category Archives: Alternative Health & Yoga

Course in Acupuncture, Medical Astrology & Natural Healing

Course in Acupuncture, Astrology & Natural Healing (4 weeks)

Course Location: San Marcos, Laguna Atitlan, Guatemala (note: this course is offered in person only. This is not an online course)

Course Dates: Feb 20 – March 17, 2023

Instructor: Mike Holliday

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Acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology, Tantric, Shamanic & Elemental Healing

The course is a blend of theoretical teachings, clinical practice, and case study discussions. We will take a deep dive into the elements using our understanding of the polarity and relationships between the elements to guide diagnostics and treatments of disease.

        • 80 hrs classroom theory, workshops & discussion.
        • 80 -160 hrs of supervised clinical experiences,

Experience a unique and sustainable Free Clinical model that makes alternative healing therapies accessible to everyone.

Since I was young every mystic or book on the occult taught me to study the elements: “understand the elements and you’ll understand everything.”

This course is designed to take students on a deep dive into both the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine and five common elements which we will study through Ayurveda, Vedic Astrology and Classical Tantric Philosophy.

Between clinical practice, case studies and practical application of elemental theory the world will come alive and we will learn to see the deeper meaning in everything: colours, flavours, feelings, the planets, the signs, symbolic language, the mystic reality and esoteric vision of the world. This program seeks to balance theory, with skills training while providing student with supervised clinical experience. We will jump straight into the fire! This is sure to be a transformative experience for many students.

The course covers several diagnostic methods with much emphasis placed on common observable factors, pulse diagnostics, palpitation and medical astrology. Understanding health and illness and the world through the elements. We will discuss many of the common mental, physical and spiritual difficulties that naturopathy and acupuncture can address: both diagnostics, treatment, symptom management, palliative care, death and dying,

Acupuncture will be the main focus for treatment. Students will be introduced to the 5-elements model for diagnosis and treatment, tonification and sedation techniques, fu point acupuncture guided by the pulse, dry needling techniques, and a variety of treatments protocols that have been proven effective. We will spend a lot of time mapping out the energy body, meridians, key points though workshops emphasising healing touch. Students will also be encouraged to begin working with clients, taking pulses, and putting needles in people almost immediately. We will be running a free research and training clinic that will give us a ready supply of case studies which we work in groups.

Much of what we are learning in this course is complimentary & holistic medicine. In this spirit we we learn to diagnose and treat illness with a full spectrum of therapeutic remedies to address the full spectrum of energetic realms, bodies, koshas or kleshas.

We will discuss ways to incorporate Yoga Therapy, meditation, pranayama, mantra, ritual, Ishta devi, touch and non-touch therapies, astrological remedies relating to colour, gemstones, charitable donation and targeted service a la Bhagavad Gita. The best advice for advising remedies and therapies is to find the advice they will actually follow. There will be a couple optional evening fire rituals with Shiva Mantra over the course of the month.

We will be learning about the mystic reality; using our understanding of the elements to understand what is going on beneath the surface. Through our lives we seek to tap into that mysterious energy, the Shakti of Tantra, the Qi of TCM, the dance of the shaman. The relationship between the elements, people, things and with our own self will all be discussed. Karma, freedom and spiritual path, all powerful forces on our lives and the lives of our clients will be discussed in detail. The yin & the yang, shiva & shakti, the sun & the moon, left hand & right hand paths.

We will learn to determine a persons basic constitution using TCM, Ayurveda and Astrology and explore some of the ways that modern researchers have updated these traditional methods for modern consumption.

What will you get out of the course?

With over 80 hours of classroom learning, elemental theory, skills training & workshops, and another 80 hours of supervised clinical experience, this can be a powerful and empowering experience for many people. By the end of this course you will have a solid foundation of knowledge about the energy body, the meridian system, and key points in the body that are used for acupuncture or acupressure. You will become comfortable dealing with the human body, develop your ”bedside manner,” healing touch, and get to embody the healer at a busy clinic with open supportive clients. You will get to experience the healing power of acupuncture and the predictive capability of Vedic Astrology. Knowledge is power; this course has the power to transform.

Between workshops and clinical case studies we will have ample opportunity to go over all the basic principles of elemental & naturopathic healing of diagnosis and treatment over and over until the knowledge begins to arise naturally. Student will know how to determine the basic constitution of people using TCM, Ayurveda & Vedic Astrology. By the end of the course you will be able to make a full diagnosis and treatment plan for past present and future.

This course is also very technical and analytical: TCM & the Vedic Sciences each have their own systems, their own rules, their own language; but the basic rules are fairly simple and we will have ample opportunity to put them into practice. So that by the end of the course you have a very solid foundation to pursue self studies and deeper studies. This course opens up a new world.

Structure of the course

The four week course schedule allows for a balance between theoretical study, practical application and free time to enjoy the abundance of nature and activities available in San Marcos and Laguna Atitlan. After the course end students will have an option to continue with supervised clinical practice or even supported guerrilla acupuncture for one month. Mike will be offering some advanced astrology workshops in that second month as well. Astrology readings will be extra and will be conducted evenings and weekends; apart from class and clinic.

Class and clinic will be five days a week with four hours of theory and workshops, broken into two parts, in the morning, and four hours of clinic in the afternoon. You will have free time on evenings and weekends. A white shirt or clinical jacket is most suitable for clinic hours. It’s hoped students will honour these ancient teachings and maintain themselves in a way that unites and elevates the spirit.

Acupuncture, Energy Medicine & Elemental Therapy

There are many types and styles of acupuncture. Dry needling relieves muscular ailments and is practiced by many massage and physio-therapists. this typically uses key points, trigger points, ashi (ouch) points as well as some distal and influence points to relieve tension or inflammation and speed recovery of the muscles.

What we call acupuncture works with TCM 5-elements theory (wood, fire, earth, metal & water) the 8 Qualities and pathogenic factors to understand the relationships and function of the internal organs and offer diagnosis and treatment for more complex dis-ease. We will learn observation, pulse, palpitation and tongue diagnosis. We will learn how to use this diagnosis to make a treatment plan using 5 elements acupuncture as well as other naturopathic techniques. We will learn common treatment protocol for numerous dis-eases of body. mind and spirit.

Ayurveda has its own system of understanding the human body through the common elements (earth, water, fire, air & space) and the doshas (vata, pitta, kapha). Ayurveda can be combined with Vedic Astrology to give a clear picture of a persons natural constitution as well as any diseases, illnesses and ailments he or she may be suffering from, suffered from in the past or face int he future. A practiced astrologer can even see the course of the illness, suggest when and how recovery might come about or when it might get worse. Many spiritual remedies and Ayurvedic remedies can be found through astrology. By focusing on early treatment or lifestyle changes, the severity of illness can be greatly reduced. Spiritual remedies are especially important for chronic or terminal cases, phycological counselling, and basically opening the door for clients to receive higher wisdom and guidance. These remedies work in the most subtle way on the subtle realms, but can have the most power influence, especially if we are looking for magic.

Free Research & Training Clinic to Serve the Community

Student get to experience a holistic and viable method for providing free healing services to the community. The community helps to train new healers and eager new healers get to offer their services to the community. The clinic allows us to examine real world case studies as group in order to offer the best possible service to our clients. Student will encouraged to include any other healing discipline they have previous knowledge of, while keeping in mind that they are also in the clinic to learn new skills.

This program offers a unique system of clinical management can introduce clients too many unique and effective ways of find balance of body, mind and soul. Students will also have the opportunity to receive treatment and share in the wealth of knowledge these clinic attract.

Free Acupuncture and Naturopathic clinical is an excellent opportunity for those who could use a month or two acupuncture treatment and naturopathic advice. This could be an excellent and cost effective healing retreat for many. Acupuncture is a powerful treatment method that can, over time, bring significant changes in even the most stubborn health problems like asthma or diabetes.

Laguna Atitlan also offers an incredible healing atmosphere, yoga, natural medicine, permaculture, and so much more. There are sure to be many great teachers learn from and people to share with.

The clinic will be open and free of charge to the public five afternoons a week. Clients will only be asked to sign a waver to be admitted for treatment. We will accept token donations for supplies or as an expression of support & gratitude, but there will be absolutely no pressure to give. Donations will be used to help establish a permanent clinic for research and training. We are here to perform a public service, everyone is welcome. Language translation will be provided in the clinic if necessary (the class itself will be in English).

Please share this unique healing opportunity with friends, family or the local community of Laguna Atitlan. Also note that astrology readings in the clinic will focus only on what is clinically important. If clients wish to have a more in-depth reading that can be arranged outside of clinical hours.

Included in the course

Each student will receive a starter pack of acupuncture needles, moxa and medical grade rubbing alcohol along with cotton swabs. More needles and supplies will be available for purchase if necessary. An advance (early edition) of the textbook “An Energy Healers Notebook: Acupuncture, Ayurveda, Yoga, Tantra, Astrology and other Shamanic, Holistic and Natural Approaches to Healing” in PDF format will be include.

A little about Mike

Mike has travelled the world studying natural healing, Acupuncture, Yoga, Tantra and astrology. He has been studying and teaching out of Varanasi, India for over 15 years. He has given lectures and workshops in Universities and Ashrams around the world and has stayed at over 300 ashrams around India doing acupuncture and reading astrology charts fo the local communities. He has been doing guerrilla acupuncture for almost ten years. Mike under a teachers in India, blending theoretical studies with practical clinical experience under a similar model as this course, He’s earned two certificates in Acupuncture and a certificate in TCM 5 elements, 800 hours of yoga therapy, 400 hours of Thai Massage. He has been living with his astrology guru in Varanasi India for 15 years and has studied under and gotten to know many of the great masters of tantric scripture. He has walked across India as a Shiva Bahkt, and has spent much time in solo travel and intensive practices in isolated lands, secluded forests, mountain or tribal lands.

He has written extensive research in Vedic Astrology, mysticism, shamanic healing and his work offers much new insight into ancient knowledge as he seeks to bridge the gaps between eastern and western mythology and traditional knowledge. He has been working on a comprehensive Notebook for acupuncturist and natural healers. (An early PDF draft will be available for this course).

This is a rare chance to study from a great source of wisdom. Mike has given his life to spiritual path, understanding metaphysical and mystical philosophy, self-healing and sharing ancient wisdom. His natural light opens the mysteries of the universe the everyone.

For more information, contact me through this link.

Instructor: Mike Holliday

Course cost: $2400 (includes most clinical supplies)

Course Location: San Marcos, Laguna Atitlan, Guatemala

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.

Astrology of the Endocrine System

A cursory look at the available literature in published books and on-line contradicts each other about most glands though there are threads of agreement here running through it all. But the more we trie to match it up with myth, philosophy, ayurveda, the chakras, the elements, medical science, planetary rulerships and even western astrology, the more convoluted it seems to get. There is agreement in some areas, and experience and research shows that some theories are working in practice, but even then one has to ask why?

Take the thyroid gland for example. Most literature and Astrologers seem to agrees that the thyroid is ruled by Mercury and the third house. If these areas are too hot or too wet or too windy it can show a thyroid problem. Moon, Venus and 2nd house are also likely to be involved.

Diabetes is typically seen thru Jupiter and Venus. When we consider that the pancreas metabolizes sugars with insulin and fat with glucagon then is seem reasonable that these two sweet lovers would be involved with diabetes. Venus rules over sugar (especially white sugar) and Jupiter rules over the fat on the body. The second house will tell us about a persons basic diet and flavour preferences.  

Jupiter also rules over the liver which is also affected by poor diet: saturated fats and too much heat and toxin like alcohol, coffee, natural and pharmaceutical drugs and tobacco. Poor sign placement and heavy afflictions to Jupiter in the 5th, 6th, 8th 12th has the potential to harm the liver. Jupiter in the 5th brings an excess to the fifth that can be good for intelligence, creativity and productivity, but not good for children (especially in a woman’s chart), or the liver; even if there is slight affliction. 

Venus rules over male fertility from the testes and Mars rules over female fertility, the ovaries and menstrual cycle. Venus’ popular name in Hindi is Shurkr, which literally means male sperm. It’s common to look to Venus for any erectile dysfunction, inopportune ejaculation, or sperm count issues. Saturn in the 5th and well ad his effect in Venus is to reduce the sperm count. Jupiter aspects to 5th house, Venus and Moon will increase fertility and make children more likely. 

Due to his rulership of blood and bed boiled cells Mars is said to rule over the menstrual cycle. Afflictions to Mars affect the way we bleed. Saturn’s effect on Mars usually brings about some heavy metals or toxins in the blood which may cause delays, dryness, blood clotting. The angle between mars and moon can also be important. Moon rules over the plasma or liquid in the blood, and the hormonal tides and cycles of the body. When the Moon is conjunct Mars the period may may run hot and fast, they whole cycle sped up. If they are also affecting the 5th house there is likely to be difficulty in conception.

The adrenal glands seem to be mostly ruled by Mars: adrenaline and our ‘fight or flight’ response. Mars certainly rules cortisol and relates with the stress hormones in general. But natural opioids, motivation enhancers like dopamine that lead to and enforce addictive behaviour, are fully the domain of Venus. When we mix Mars with Venus we increase the risk of addiction but also typically get more active enjoyment in life, there is a strong tendency to engage with the opposite sex, and take other pleasure risks. The relationship  between the adrenal glands & the reproductive glands (ovaries & testes) can be suggested by the angular relationship betweenVenus & Mars. The adrenal glands also sit on top of the kidneys which are ruled by Venus (Kidneys, bladder, urinary tract).

The thymus, most notable for immunity must be ruled by the Sun. But in some ways, the Sun, along with Moon, rules over the whole immune system as well. The Sun rules over calcification, the minerals of the body and the bones. Glandular problems are quite often caused by a build up of calcification on top of which a tumour growths (growths and tumours are rules by Jupiter) which disrupts the function of the gland and thus the entire endocrine system. 

The thyroid, as I mentioned earlier is ruled by Mercury and the 3rd house. Rahu usually relates with “hyper-“ conditions, while Ketu usually has some relation with “hypo-“ conditions. Mars speeds things up while Saturn slows things down. It should be noted that thyroid problems are just as likely to be causes by problems that start with the pituitary. 

The Parathyroid is the farmer of the endocrine system. It mostly deals with blood clotting using calcium which is stored in the bones. Sun & Saturn rule over the bones of the body. The sun rules over the minerals while Saturn rules over bone density. Osteoporosis is a kicks this gland into hyperdrive causing reduced bone density and inappropriate blood clotting. 

This leaves us with the glands in the head: the pineal, pituitary, hypothalamus. These three are a little more complex since they essentially control the entire endocrine system plus most of the major functions of the body. This is where the Sun and Moon certainly play a stronger role, but we must also begin looking in tat the fictions played by the individual hormones secretes by these glands.

The pineal gland uses serotonin to make melatonin. The primary function is to control our circadian rhythms and sleep cycles. It connects us to the daily and seasonal rhythms of light and dark. This is the gland they also call the seat of the soul giving us much psychedelic experience by connecting us to our ancient reptilian ancestry: Rahu & Ketu, through perhaps most specifically: Ketu. The functions of the pineal are perhaps the most mysterious of all the glands. Sun, Ketu and Mars along with 1st house and Aries must be checked

The pituitary does not get much easier to understand. It can quite logically be divided in between a masculine and feminine expression by the different functions of the anterior and posterior sides of this gland.

The posterior pituitary only stores hormones without producing any of its own. It does secrete anti-diuretic hormone controlling he water balance on the body, and oxytocin which influences uterine contraction and lactation. Moon is obviously influential here. Oxytocin is also the hormone of affection, love and belonging; it’s sometimes called the bonding hormone; all functions of the moon. It’s a natural inflammatory, cooling the system, lowering blood pressure, decreasing blood pressure and cortisol levels in the body; all of which bring about a sense of security and deep relaxation. Moon, moon, moon….

The anterior pituitary is the masculine, productive side of the pituitary. The anterior pituitary produces hormones that regulate the entire endocrine system. Human growth hormone is one of the main hormones coming from here to regulate all areas of growth in the body, including hair, skin, nails, muscles mass, and the size of our body as we grow from foetus to adult. The depletion of this hormone in old age tilts the balance in the opposite direction. Other hormones regulate the thyroid (TSH), growth and health of the hair on the body (FSH), stress (ACTH), fat reserves (lipotropin), hair/eyes/skin pigmentation (melanocyte), the reproductive organs and the libido (luteinzing regulates testosterone, oestrogen, progesterone, ovulation) as well as bone density, memory, loco-motor activity and slow wave sleep (all of which are partly regulated by osteocalcin and cortistatin)).

From this list we get a strong sense of Jupiter energy ruling growth, fat on the body, intelligence as well as contributing to reproduction. Mars certainly plays a role in libido, stress and motor activity. Sun and the Moon seem to both be at work here. Many of these hormones must passes thru a kind of incubation period in the posterior pituitary before moving on to their destination gland.

This leaves on the hypothalamus, known as the adviser of the pituitary; these two glands rule over the entire endocrine system. They also call this gland “the seat of prana” as it controls the breathing and the bodily movements that affect breath. It is also considered the seat of emotions as it gives emotional response to sense stimulus (taste, smell, touch, laughter, smiling, frowning, thoughts). I once heard this gland described as a shiva lingam (Jupiter and Cancer). Jupiter is known as the lord of the vital airs; the five pranas, and moon and cancer relate with our emotions. This might also be why Gaj Keshari yoga (Jupiter in 4th, 7th or 10th from moon (some include Jupiter moon conjunction) might be considered to be so beneficial since it brings some emotional balance into ones life.

We must also take into account the location of the gland in our body. This suggests that the first eight houses (and signs) rule over all of our glands. It also highlights the importance of first house (and Aries) and those most influential glands that reside in the head (in the brain). The thyroid, located at the level of the adams apple resides on the boundary of Taurus and Gemini. The thymus in the heart centre which open up the debate between 4th and 5th house for so many health conditions related to the chest and heart. The pancreas fits reasonably well with 6th house (Virgo) which is known to have a strong influence on the stomach and metabolism, but one is tempted to apply the 6th & 7th house to the pancreas and the adrenals. Which leaves the 7th & 8th houses (Libra and Scorpio) with control over the testes and ovaries.

Chart 1 summaries my findings for house and planetary rulerships of the endocrine system. Chart 2 provides a summary of the available astrological literature on the glands, and Chart 3 assumes a link between the glands and the chakras (though it should be noted that Tantric scholars suggest that any similarity of function between the chakras and the glands in merely incidental; they are actually working on different kloshas of the body offering different truths for different realms of reality.)

Chart 1: Summary of Planetary Rulers of the Glands

Gland

Planet

House

Pineal

Sun, Ketu, Mars

1st house & Aries

Hypothalamus

Moon (Jupiter in Cancer)

(angle between Moon & Jupiter)

1st & 2nd house 

Aries & Taurus

Anterior Pituitary

Jupiter, Mars, Sun & Moon

Posterior Pituitary

Moon

Thyroid

Mercury

2nd & 3rd house

Taurus & Gemini

Thymus

Sun (moon & mars)

(angle between Sun & Mars)

4th & 5th house

Cancer & Leo

Pancreas

Jupiter & Venus

6th house & Virgo

Adrenals

Mars & Venus

6th & 7th house

Virgo & Libra

Ovaries

Mars 

(angle between Moon & Mars)

7th and 8th house

Libra and Scorpio

Testes

Venus

7th and 8th house

Libra and Scorpio

Chart 2: Summary of the available literature. 

Gland

Western Astrology

Dr SS Chatterji

Pineal

Neptune

Moon

Hypothalamus

Moon

Anterior Pituitary

Saturn

Sun

Posterior Pituitary

Jupiter

Moon & Mars

Thyroid

Mercury

Jupiter & Sun

Parathyroid

Venus

Saturn & Mercury

Thymus

Sun & Neptune

Moon

Pancreas

Moon & Venus

Mars

Adrenals

Mars

Mars, Jupiter & Venus

Gonads

Uranus

Venus & Moon

Ovaries

Mars

Testes

Pluto

Venus

Chart 3: Shows some of the conflict we come to when we try to equate chakras and glandular function. 

Gland

Chakra

Bepin Behari & Frawley

Sanjay Rath & T. Subba Rao

Pineal

Sahashtra – Crown

Sun

Sun

Hypothalamus & Pituitary

Ajna – Third Eye

Moon

Jupiter

Thyroid

Visshidhi – Throat

Mercury

Saturn

Thymus

Anahata – Heart

Venus

Moon

Pancreas

Manipura – Navel

Mars

Mars

Adrenals

Swatisthana – Sex

Jupiter

Venus

Sex/Reproductive

Muladhara – Root

Saturn

Mercury

Out of Bounds

Boundary issues are everywhere. How we define our boundaries is one thing; how we defend them is quite another. In this modern age we are seeking to break the boundaries that keep us from living in space. In this world, we find all kind of political turmoil over national boundaries, border disputes, and of course Trump’s Wall. The movement of people displaced by violence has the whole world questioning their cultural boundaries.

Those of us on a spiritual path (a healing path) also have to face this question of boundaries as we work with our students and teachers; and most importantly, with ourselves. Every social interaction faces this question of boundaries.

We typically think of strong boundaries as way to keep people from getting in, but they keep us from getting out. The boundary we put up defines the relationship we have with the other.

As Yogis we are often coached to look in the space between two things. We often call this space “the relationship,” but we could just as easily call it the boundary. I have my boundaries and you have your boundaries; the type and quality of relationship we have depends on how open or closed our boundaries are, as well as on how we approach or cross each other boundaries and the behaviour we exhibit once someone lets us in.

When we speak of boundaries in the healing community we typically use words and phrases like “surrender,” “let go,” “let yourself be vulnerable,” “be open to what the universe has to give;” in other words: “drop all your boundaries!”

From the other side we are told that we are boundless, we should forget everything we think we know and just follow our heart. There is often the assumption that acting like an idiot is acceptable if we are following our hearts (or “living in the moment” as we say). Since it was the divine voice of God commanded, go forth and act like an idiot, we expect to be absolved of personal responsibility.

Modern Tantra is especially vocal about dropping boundaries and the beauty of living spontaneously. It’s also known to be very dangerous since the mix of openness and spontaneity on one persons part is an opportunity for the other to conquer new territory unimpeded and later say that is way given to me them.

This is how the CIA and George Soros “make democracy” and spheres of influence and ultimately destroy countries, cultures and peoples lives. Even when they are preaching peace, love and belonging they are really only looking out for themselves.

It’s not so different from the toxic addictions that seem to alleviate our suffering but really only cast us more deeply into it.

We hear similar stories of toxic healers, Yogis and others who use their position and their skill to drop peoples boundaries so that they can manipulate them for their own benefit.

Manipulation is an ugly word, but it’s not the problem. We stay alive thru this manipulation. Just think of the baby screaming to make momma change the diaper or give some food. That’s emotional manipulation at its finest. The problem is when one acts for their own benefit without consideration or concern for how it will truly affect the other.

Manipulation is just an ugly way of talking about the diplomacy and negotiation that is on going between people and our numerous light bodies; each with their own boundaries and border controls. These boundaries maybe undergoing subtle changes moment to moment; person to person. Mostly we don’t notice this going on, it all happens fairly naturally and most people respect each other’s boundaries. But of course it’s not a perfect world.

Most of us are still fighting battles with this world, blaming others, pointing always at the other as a source of our misery when it’s our personal patterns, habits, mental narratives, and expectations that are the root causes of our suffering. All of these little things build up and define our boundaries.

Boundaries in themselves are not bad. Healthy boundaries actually empower us; it’s the unhealthy, unconscious, unrealistic boundaries that cause problems in our lives that leads us to seek healing.

Almost every human what’s more from life somehow. We want to expand our boundaries to include more land (more material prosperity), as well as our emotional boundaries to feel more vividly this life, and spiritual boundaries to feel more connected to the universe.

The key to such expansion is awareness. First we have to be aware of who we are. This will take us towards our innermost core. It’s a journey that takes us thru the fields of numerous personal identities. As we stare out the train window we see so many selves passing by: I am this, I am that, this I am, I am until we get to that “I” without a second.

After we have merged with the ultimate (or gone as deep as we can) we come back to a personal identity which has been reborn from a spiritual seed. Every breath cycle is an opportunity to realize such merger with the absolute followed by the rebirth of the individual.

Both sides of this coin represent truth, beauty and an expression of the divine. This is why Tantra says that liberation (moksha) is not a separate matter from enjoyment. Our enjoyment should be liberating in itself and liberation itself should be enjoyable. This does not mean decadent. It means that we want all parts of our universal self to enjoy equally. It means that nothing is isolated.

This is where boundaries get tricky. If the truth is that I am one with the universe; completely unbound then any harm at all that I cause to any part of nature will cause direct harm to myself. This is a spiritual truth suggest a greater degree of personal responsibility rather than the sort of careless way we treat objects and that are easily replaceable.

Such a grand sense of spiritual wonder actually suggest that we respect the boundaries between ourselves and the other to an even greater degree, as a way of respecting ourselves.

When we objectify our external experience, we typically see ourselves in this same way. We typically find some version of the conflicted mental narrative that sets man against nature. This boundary is an illusion and sows the seeds of war, pollution and toxicity. This war has been unleashed against the women of society as much as against Mother Nature herself.

Part 2

Truth and reality represent a similar energy applies to different experiences. You could say that both are representative of the absolute. Truth is The expression of transcendental experience and reality is an expression of immanent experience.

To experience transcendence we must realize ourselves as without boundaries. To experience reality we must realize the individual experience that necessarily occurs within the boundaries of time and space; the individual soul, the human body and the body of nature.

We need to know ourselves both ways: we are timeless, but we have also chosen to experience time by thru various limitations.

Being aware of different ways that we perceive time will help us to understand our limitations and who we are in this life and what is our path.

The linear experience of time allows us to logically understand our life: where we came from and where we are going. This allows us to make sense of our experience, and set expectations. When our expectations are too high we find much disappointment; when they are too low, we sabotage our own growth. We should work hard to find the balance in this so that what happens in the future in pretty much what we expect. This sort of time we experience in short duration. Today I have one story about who I am and tomorrow that story has changed, even just a little bit. The experience of time on this level is not absolute truth, but it should be more or less in accord with reality. This works thru our short term. This is one way of knowing the self.

We also experience time thru timeless emotional impressions. This is just the opposite of the mundane stories we are constantly changing and revising and telling ourselves in order to understand reality. These emotional impression have a very strong influence on our linear understanding of ourselves but the impression is often from a different time, maybe a different life-time. Mostly we recognize this thru our subtle gestures we make with our body (the way we hold ourselves) as well as thru the emotional boundaries and defensive (or offensive) strategies that shapes the story of who we are (linear time).

This is where much most deep transformative healing arts work. We seek to tap into that timeless side of ourselves to find the impressions affecting our present life that are holding us back or are simply inappropriate in some way. Typically it’s merely an inappropriate response to some particular subject. Physically we feel it as allergy; emotionally we feel it as trauma. In either case, the reaction is disproportionate with action; the trigger.

This kind of healing is very delicate since to access this memory with awareness and direct intention we need to drop all our guards despite the feeling of impending threat. We need to do this in a safe environment where there is no actual threat. One needs to follow a deep sense of trust and have that trust reinforced.

Just talking or thinking about a traumatic memory will take us into the past, and despite being no actual stimulus being present the nervous system along with the endocrine system will react to trigger some kind of inappropriate stress response (which brings all of our resources to defend against an enemy from another time).

Talking about these traumas and sharing stories, understanding it all as a part of our story is necessary, but as things fade into the past, we also have to be open to changing the story of who we are. It’s not that we lie, but for simple understanding a single traumatic event is lumped into a broader time frame in life thru which we faced learned from the trauma.

When fire burns us it does no good to try to put our every fire. We learn to place certain boundaries between fire and ourselves so that we can still enjoy the warmth and light of fire without getting burnt.

Many people actually find their life paths thru their traumas by turning them into wisdom. This is transformation; turning poison into nectar.

We also experience time thru change. This is where we measure time and our boundaries are measured by resources: life force, energy levels, moods, physical form, the seasons and all these thing we can see changing from day to day; year to year. We might even measure this time by how for we’ve walked or how much we’ve completed. If we are following our life path, we are typically comfortable here as we focus and meditate thru our work. If we love what we won’t actually think of the time here; we will only see time when we look back at the change or are considering some future actions.

A very important concept of time actually combines our awareness of change with a kind of timelessness that we cannot imagine. When we recognize that we are connected to a whole lineage of universal archetypes going back to some unimaginable beginning of time and stretching into some unimaginable future. Here, we find ourselves repeating the the same archetypical patters expressing themselves in a new time and place. Though this sense of time is eternal here, we are capable of making a plan to change the future. This is where we understand ourselves in our connection with the whole. This is our dharma, our truth, our path in life; that path we have be on since the beginning of time; our universal purpose and how we employ that in society.

This is where we need meditation, silence, deep relaxation and contemplation because nobody can tell us who we are or what is our purpose; we can only feel it and know it for ourselves.

This bring me to the final concept it time. Present time; just being here and now. For this we have to be capable of dropping all other concepts of time. We have to have great trust in God in nature. No thought of the past or the future perfectly at peace until some spontaneous activity is provoked. To reach this state we have to know who we are, what our purpose is and have the necessary skills and health to complete our destiny.

We are beings bound by time. By understanding our place in time and how each concept of time binds is in a different way forming different relationships with each other we can then begin a focused course in self realization that will allow us to empower us with healthy boundaries rather than victimizing us they our subconscious patterns.

I am Shiva this world is Shakti

When we say that our true self is Shiva, we are not talking about this self that is body, mind; limiter and ceaselessly changing. This I who is Shiva is the unchanging universal soul which is being expressed not just in this body, but in all bodies as an individual soul. This “I” is the eternal subject. We cannot change what is not subject to change; we cannot purify that which is already pure. There is light, we can see, we are and we exist; this is only subject to acceptance, not change. This topic is hardly even amenable to contemplation. If we can’t even imagine it, it’s best we don’t even consider changing it.

Everything outside of the scope of the Shiva soul is Shakti: our mind and body and all that can be perceived by the senses at any moment. This is the eternal other. Many of us would like to change this. We think we are the body and have control over our body and mind and seek to make changes here, but the truth is that we are all fools. This coming together of soul (Shiva), body and mind (Shakti) is the divine play that we are advised to approach as a witness. This is the field of karma; the interplay between subject and object. We have no freedom here.

But where are we free? Where can we affect change?

In our relationship between the subject and object; in the way we relate not only to the world, but to our own bodies. How do we use what we have to reach out to the world?! This starts with how we relate without own body, our own mind.

We are born from a mother and a father. We had and have no control over this time and place we find ourselves. Even our will is the will of god. If I trace back the origin of this yoga or astrology I practice, or even this writing I am doing now, it all comes back to a will, an innate propensity towards these things. In other words, I didn’t do anything to have any of this; it was freely given to me at birth (all the benefits and all the defects).

This is one of the primary mistakes that most western yogis are making. They think they are the yogi and they pat themselves on the back for the good job they are doing. They do not accept the gift of their body and physical conditioning; they think they are the architect. Small “i” with small minds; they have not even begun to imagine what truth might be. They go around saying how blessed they are without recognizing that every sentient being is equally blessed. They base their blessing on the ever changing material reality; their blessing is not likely to get them thru bad weather as they begin to ask why such a curse. ‘To be’ is to be blessed; to not recognize this is the curse.

When we focus on our relationships with things there is little outward change to be recognized, but inside we will feel it just like we feel anger or sadness or frustration; we will feel peace; we will feel the blessing of existence in every moment thru good times and bad. And this is the sort of change people are really looking for; this is the sort of change that changes everything.