Chapter 6; Getting to the Divine through the Animal Kingdom
This Chapter is connected to the energy of the Sun and Sun Yogas and is also about a point in life at which a person may need to recruit extra energy to get through a particularly difficult time in life. Sometimes people need anger and rage to push through obstacles. And sometimes a way to process this anger or rage is with Dance or Art or Song. These expressions of Art can often become very animal – like. And for the human to stay on top of their inner animal they need to know the boundaries between the human and the animal. Perhaps the boundary can be seen in the connection between the human and the animal.
Ancient Man in many ways saw and still -sees- animals as somehow divine and as messengers from the gods. Even today we have a remainder of this in certain pieces of sculpture and paintings by the putting of wings on angels. Such wings are also mentioned in sacred texts as in Ezekiel in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible, in his descriptions of the Angels called the Cherubim and Seraphim.
This ancient psychological relationship is important. When humans work and relate to animals like the dog,
the humans learn not only how to tend the animal but also how to tend their own bodies. The horse in particular stands very high in importance historically. Not only was it transportation, it was also weapon and means of carrying communications (mail) as well. It occupied the position of automobile and also telephone! It is also an animal that requires patience to match its own patience. I suspect much was learned about turning babies during childbirth by working with horses and cows since they are large enough to allow for the insertion of human arms. In recent times the horse has been found helpful as an occupation and companion in the reformation of the character of criminals and those with Downs Syndrome.
These four animals remain significant elements in the life of modern man. The ancients however had a much longer list of animals which we will look at here. At one time all of these were, on one way or another, regarded as the “Messengers of the gods”.
In this phase of our Platonic Ladder we move from Moon Energies returning again to Sun Energies-so here the power of the Sun is “Doubled Up”. In other words it is time at this point in your ladder of ascent to add more energy from the sun. What happens if you don’t? well one can simply be a better animal! and our agenda is to become a better human! BUT- to do that – we need to understand the animal within us! This energy is not related to common sense and health as in Chapter 4 but is related to ancient memories. In fact these energies are primordial and somewhat primitive. They are in fact deeply related to Animal Energies. They also relate to the Jupiter Energies – the personality energies- as a primary feature. They are a way to assess a persons primary physical characteristics. Some children are quick like foxes and others slow and graceful like swans on the water.
When we use animal totems to assess a person through looking at them via the “lens” of animal energies-are they a fox? a bear? a bat? an eagle? then we can also see that that particular human being has an affinity and a sort of harmonic congruence with that particular animal. This kind of assessment is a form of ancient psychology based on animal totems and has a long tradition in most ancient cultures.
This kind of assessment is related both to astrology (which uses some animal symbols to represent star energies) and also to medicine-particularly pulse diagnosis (which was sometimes organized according to the beat of the pulse which was characterized as an animals movement i.e. slow and moving like a swan swimming or hard and fast like a gazelle leaping). It is also useful to use this type of assessment when interpreting the dreams of a person. There are often repeating animals in personal dreams. And these animals form part of the individuals persons symbol system.
Through history totemic animals came to be clearly defined and in Europe books called “Beastiaries” were written with the symbolic and spiritual meanings…In other words people defined themselves by discovering their Totem Animals. But to do this it is helpful to consider first how human beings developed a relationship with animals in the past.
Ancient Humans did see animals as somehow divine and as messengers from the gods. Aspects of this idea show in art from all periods. Egypt was rife with animal headed gods.
In Greece the god Mercury has the wings of a bird on his sandals.
We have seen this idea of animals as being connected to messengers of the gods as mentioned in Chapter 2 – in cave paintings and dances and other forms of encultured Shamanism and mediumship. Even in modern art there are reminders of this for example notice the wings on the pictures of angels. A truly transcendental being of course does not need wings. But artists found they touched a viewers heart by depicting angels with wings. Wings are associated with birds and birds are associated with freedom and the blue sky. And by virtue of its freedom a bird is too -often associated with the human soul or spirit. So birds did indeed come to mean something other than something utilitarian like food. Certainly Falconers saw them not as food but as providing food-and Falconry evolved to being considered a Royal past time and even today it is practiced world-wide from Arabia through N. America all the way to the Mongolian Steppes.
Throughout history the poetic side of the human being saw in many of the bird species transcendence, freedom and a capacity to see the big picture. Some birds like the wily crow or raven came to represent forms of canny wisdom or savoir – faire. Others like the Parrot came to be recognized as a colorful humorous jester and mimic.
This ancient psychological relationship is important as this animal interest was reflected back into understanding the human body. Prior to the Industrial Revolution when the majority of humans worked with and related to farm animals and other domesticated animals like the dog, cat, the hawk and horses- people learned not only how to tend the animal but in doing so also how to tend their own bodies. There was and is a mirroring function going on. And now science has discovered mirror neurons this relationship is proving to be more profound than previously realized. When we look at an animal we can actually feel it in our own bodies via the mirror neurons. And this means we know more about the animal through our own body than previously realized.
Rudolph Steiner in his beautiful description of the creation of the earth shows the creation of animals as parts of the human body – cast off to form animals – just as the planets were cast off from the central sun at the dawn of creation. In other words -in his view – the animals were our body and so they still have a reflexive relation. In his view there is still a kind of psychic or consciousness link between the animals and in our very own skin and musculature.
The horse in relation to this mirroring relation stands very high in this regard. The horse was and still is a very significant animal especially in relation to the human. In history not only was the horse transportation (hunting), it was also weapon (security) and means of carrying communications as well. It occupied the position of both car and telephone. The Pony Express of the Wild West was a very relevant mail service in its time and faster than anything else til the telegraph stepped in to take its place.
This relevance or usefulness of the horse to the human also required something from the human being. The human is forced by the utility of the horse to care for it, get to know it, what it needs and tend it when sick. The effects of selective breeding too enters the equation and there is a feedback to the human population from this – into child care, feeding and birth. The horse, the cow and of the other domestic animals require a human being to have patience with them. And interestingly the animals themselves also often demonstrate a remarkable patience of their own- with the human.The horse is a sensitive big animal and therefore also dangerous. One simply cannot be careless around such an animal. One simply has to pay attention around such a large sensitive and fierce animal. Around such a creature it is wise to be smart and take notes. In recent times the role of the horse has evolved as it is being found helpful as an occupation and companion in the reformation of the of character of criminals. Also children with learning disabilities are finding horses to be patient benign teachers.
Besides the horse, the ancients had a much longer list of animals which we will look at here. At one time all of these animals were – in one way or another the “Messengers of the gods.”
In ancient times people communed with the animal kingdom because they had to-they lived with them, rode them, milked them and ate them. Therefore their lives depended on them. When your life depends on something that something becomes important. And the ancient mind seemed to put the feeling of importance into the consideration of what was believed to be Sacred or “Set Apart”. Therefore certain animals became sacred or worthy of reverence and respect.
The following are part of this “Bestiary”. The following are from the Norweigan Tradition (and Viking Runes) are exemplary of the entire Northern Hemisphere of the earth. Regions of the earth will of course vary according to their own animals. Still most of these animals are fairley world-wide. They describe their Sacred Rune (letter), god and sacred animals correspondances as follows;
Rune (letter) God/ess Fylgie (Sacred Animal)
Fe Frey Stag/Boar
Ur Vidar Aurochs
Thor Thor Goat
As Odin Raven,Eagle,Horse,Snake
Rei Hel Cockerel
Kreft Loke Monsters (Dragons,Pests,Insects,Rats,etc)
Hagl Heimdel Ram/Otter
Noed The Norns Spider(Verdande), Carrion Crow (Skulde)
Is Skade Polar Bear, Ptarmigan, Stoat, Varying Hare
Ar Jord Honey Bee
Sol Balder War Horse
Tyr Tyr Hound
Bjoerk Frigg Cuckoo, Hare
Mann Freya Hawk and Sow
Laug Njord Seabirds, Swan and
Yr Ull Bear and Fox
(this information courtesy of Ivar Haskjold, 44th generation inheritor of Stav or The Runes and Rites of the Vikings).
This is the Norweigan tradition. Another way to look at these animals is by obvious characteristic as follows—-
The Great Roamers, of which there are the 1.stag, 2.the horse, 3.the wolf, 4.the lion, 5.the eagle and 6.the bull. 7. the boar 8. the swan 9. the crow 10. the fox. 11. the hound 12. the bee.13. the seabirds.14. the otter.15. the spider.
All of these follow the seasons over the steppes.
Then there are also;
The Great Sleepers of which there are six; 1.the bear, 2. the frog, 3. the turtle, 4. the butterfly 5. the cicada and 6. the snake
These are the masters of the long sleep of hibernation.
Three know a great transformation and some change their bodies radically;
1. The frog from a tadpole,
2. The butterfly from a caterpillar and
3. The cicada from a crawler.
(this includes all the various insects that do similar transformations)
So, these 23 animals represent the great powers a person has within themselves; if they can somehow dance with these creatures in themselves! Interesting that we humans carry 23 chromosones in our DNA sequence…
With man the great transformation is also possible but it does not seem to stay within the physical body. Yet humans do have a pineal gland which carries a similar chemical as found in the pineal gland of the butterfly!
I know of no one who has made a chrysalis and dissolved their body to come out later with new wings! Yet maybe it is possible. Technological science is at the beginning of DNA research. Mathematician C. Muses research indicates the being “man” is a transdimensional being and the chemical in the pineal can be stimulated by light or sound. (See “Destiny and Human Control Systems” and “The Shamanic Lion Path”). In other words the great change takes place-but transcends the body. So the human body either does not change-or its way of change has yet to be established. In Muses view the body does not change. The body is a chrysalis and like a chrysalis it is discarded to release a new form of life. The human “butterfly” is a harmonic body- earlier established through chemical reactions in the pineal gland. Interestingly, this corresponds to Descartes old theory of the soul having it’s location -or at least main point of meeting the body – in the pineal gland.
It seems a particular force-light or sound— is needed to activate the human transformation- in traditional tales, this force is initiated by an Angel (light) or animal (sounds).
The three popular animals of transformation; butterfly, frog and cicada, clearly show the the changing of one’s own physical nature from one distinct thing into another; a literal change of physical body-what some call Alchemy or The Philosopher’s Stone, ie. “Lead is changed into Gold”.
Siberian Shamanism which has been researched thoroughly by Dr. Charles Muses, links nine doors or gates to the visible planets and assigns animals to each gate. This system or “cosmology of thought” continues to exist in cultural pockets in Tuva and other parts of Central Asia and Russia. It continues to provide a way for people to synchronize themselves with the animals, the earth, and the stars; sleep or meditation is regarded as a journey to these places.
This ancient nine-fold system is remarkably comparable to modern models of “reality”, particularly those of renowned Physicist, William Tiller and his eight dimensional model of the universe.
So we know, world wide, the most ancient religions were based entirely on observable phenomenon; animals, stars and earth all used some kind of animal as the “teacher” or “totem” to facilitate a radical sense of transformation via chemical changes in the body through, dancing, staring at the stars or hearing certain sounds, eating certain plants, etc And the prevailing belief was this was to create a transformation in the person which was a good thing and deeply connected to “gods” of some kind, and brought the “dancer” into the presence of these gods. And we now know more intellectually about the chemical reactions in the pineal gland at present and how to manipulate it. This does not change the visceral experience. Nor does it explain why we would have such a life changing experience. Please realize Science can explain things but it cannot give emotional value or meaning. The Shaman and the Dancer were both looking for an experience of meaning- not merely an explanation of the elements which created the experience.
The Totem animals of the Ancients were their brothers and sisters, their family his allies and often the guides for his soul. The ancients saw themselves living among allies and friends who were intensely personal and full of understanding and encouragement.
The Crawling Exercise
The physical component of this chapter is about crawling. Not on your hands and knees like an infant but on your hands and feet like an animal! try it at first with your limbs fairly straight. As you bend your knees and lower your hips and your back become more and more parallel to the floor you will feel and appreciate the amount of physical strength required to crawl. Crawling helps remind the brain of basic problem solving skills through the cross crawl reflex and also elongates the spine and makes the hips more articulate, flexing and extending the low back and heating up the entire backbone and its musculature. In fact crawling is a very healthy warm up for any other kind of athletic activity. Try it doing twelve steps and then lower your hips and bend your knees more every twelve steps til you are crawling very low to the ground. Then get up and walk and catch your breath. Crawling actually combines the two most fundamental strengthening exercises; the bench press for the chest and upper body and the squat for strengthening the lower body and legs. When you crawl you are basically using all the primary muscle groups. Yes your dog will love you and think it is all about him! or her! when you crawl you are entering another world as far as the kind of energy required and your blood pressure-due to gravity-has to work in a completely different way. So the demand of crawling are due to the difference in orientation—-pressure, balance and visual perspective all shift the demands on the nervous system in an amazing way. Its a great way to connect to the animal kingdom and appreciate the animal perspective. In fact the animal world and its perceptions may be closer to instinctive telepathy than the human world. In the animal world, in the animal perspective you can discover more about your body and what it actually likes and needs and this is a kind of necessary de-conditioning we do in Training the Sensorium fully. It is also a kind of recalling of your childhood, infancy and also your Animal Relations. In this way crawling is a way to connect the energy of the Sun to your memory and is a developmental predecessor to the Sun Salutation of Indian Hatha Yoga.