Mike Holliday is the creator, author and editor of the Nakshatra Project. He has been fully focused on Yoga, Tantra and the Vedic Sciences since 2007; spending much of that time in Varanasi, India where he studies with his teachers a local legend and a local Brahmin. He has walked or trekked across significant parts of Canada, India and Nepal and spent much time with the forest traditions and forest tribals.
He grew up in forest life, in village life with a single mother and an older brother, fishing, hunting, trapping. Lots of time alone in the forest with little supervision. he loved building things and figuring things out. He was a self-trained wilderness survivalist by the time he was 14, which is when he went to the city to live with his father. You might say he grew up poor, but that would probably be an exaggeration.
There aren’t many boundaries in the forest; no one to ever correct you when you’re alone. But there’s also not that much trouble to be found. I found some because I was clever; but when I got the city, the whole world was owned by someone. Everywhere you move in the city you are bumping up against other people and their boundaries, so you have to be clever to stay out of trouble. It took him a while to figure that out. Drinking, drugs, crime; just an ass-hole until his early 20’s.
He went into construction at age 17. He grew up building things, fixing things, making things, so it was no leap. It was his early 20’s when he started taking university classes in the winter off seasons. Philosophy, psychology, ancient history; he moved on to languages before quoting six years later with years when the dean of his communications program told him that if had wanted an education he was in the wrong program. He suffered greatly from his own rashness and the speed with which he would sacrifice himself to stand on principle. Not a stand that is conducive to success in the modern world. Eventually he left, both to get away from a life that was not working for him, and to meet with a future and a vision of life that seemed much more promising.
By this point, he had been suffering from chronic back and sciatic pain for years. Sometime he was completely laid up (which was the doctors advice at he time). He had had countless broken bones and injuries. Alcohol problems, not like many people he knew at the time, but it was still a problem that was never getting any better. Chronic personal problems, relationship problems, problems problems problems. However, his biggest expenses where probably books and travel. He liked to get away for solo treks into the Canadian Rockies which were not far from where he lives, or take road trips across the country.
He was bored and reckless. He had worked his way to management in water and sewer construction. From classical Vedic perspective he was living lower than the low, an untouchable. From Canada perspective he was managing some of the biggest civil construction projects in the province. Mr Productivity, always the rising star everywhere he went. And he even went into Indian fine dining for a while. His first real taste of India came when he was working at Khazana Restaurant in Oil City, Alberta. This was a period when he started to get serious about healing his chronic pain. He spent several years practicing martial arts and studying Chinese philosophy, Daoism, Zen, various modern forms of Buddhism before meeting a group of Sri Lankans who introduced him to Theravada Bhuddism.
In 2007 he went to India for he first time to follow the foot steps of Buddha. Over the years, he’s stayed in ashrams, monasteries, gurudwaras, and dharmasalas all over India and the world learning, practicing, emulating the great saints and Yogi’s .
Instead of standing on principle he learned to to sit and just be; there is no need to be anything or anyone. He learned to breath; to move energy. He learned to walk, the art of becoming, the awareness of the unfolding of time. Action in inactivity, and inactivity in action. Most of the spiritual hermitages he’s stayed at over the years were the old school kind that open their doors to spiritual people; not the modern version that sells one month packaged tours to spirituality. perhaps this is how he saw the modern education system: just a paid packaged tour through the halls of academia. He was always very serious about learning, knowledge, philosophy. He has referenced his Saturn in 9th house Ashlesha many times: he never feels like he knows enough. He is certainly a work-horse among philosophers.
In hindsight we can see how he met with destiny though that first trip to India, but when he went home after that first year he cried. That great once-in-a-lifetime-experience was over. He has always been a little dramatic; too much Mars passion. but just as he learned to break horses when he was young, he was also determined learn how to hold the reins of his emotions, his thought, his life. He started to figure out that true freedom was not in following every whim, but in being able to create something really beautiful from nothing. He has since come to learn the full power of mantra.
It was around 2011 when he started to take the idea of teaching more seriously. It’s tough to be a teacher when Saturn is giving you a feeling’s of inadequacy to the 9th house. But eventually, due to experience, teaching becomes a duty. When we meet with our highest purpose, we do not go wilfully, but “with fear & trembling” we follow gods highest calling for us. He was a reluctant baba. It was his teachers and his students that insisted; he was already a popular teacher in Varanasi by then. Over the next several years he gathered a whole pile of certifications from around the world for yoga, massage and acupuncture. Going to the heart of the knowledge as best he could. It was also around this time that he started getting serious with his Jyotish and Kashmiri Shaivism studies in Varanasi. His own Saturn mahadasha period of life started around this time, so it was really time for him to buckle down on his studies and get focused after 16 years of Jupiter period had opened the world to him and humanised his perspective of he world.
He wanted me to tell you: “If you have a Rahu period early in life, don’t worry, hang on, you’ll get through it.”
2020-21 he walked the Narmada Parikrama pilgrimage across the middle of India and back again for three months. He idd a similar walking trip through the badlands of Gujarat back in 2009. He was one of the first outsiders to visit the warrior tribes of northern Nagaland. He has since visited several of the tribal cultures all over North East India, Shoolpanishwar, Amarkantak, and Kutch; as well as those in Northern Thailand, and all though Central America. He is himself metis. He has walked and lived with the monks on numerous occasions mostly moving between Varanasi and the ashrams along Narmada where he can focus on his practice while doing astrology charts, acupuncture and talking philosophy with the locals.
He often credits his work to Varanasi and Narmada, the geographical expressions of his own yin & yang. Please follow and share his work, help support him so that he can help us all rise. Om namah shivaya baba.
Blast from the Past