The New Mysteries: Deity Mysticism
In many of the essays I have written over the past several years, I have repeatedly made mention of the fact that a new spiritual complex is coming into being in the West, one that exists beyond the well-patrolled borders of organized religion, one at whose center lies the realization that each of us has the ability to make the direct, transpersonal connection with the sacred realms that defines the mystic... the shaman.
This fact reveals that a new "kind" of religion is quietly taking form within the core of Western Culture—one in which each person can become their own priest or priestess, their own guru or teacher, their own prophet, receiving revelations directly from the highest sources themselves, without the need for any intermediary religious organization or priesthood standing between them and their experience of "The Sacred."
In response, spirituality is being redefined as something quite distinct from our outdated perceptions of "organized religion" per se, and it is through the experience of direct revelation, if you will, that we as individuals may establish an ongoing and intimate contact with our immortal, transpersonal aspect—the god-like being that modern mystics define as our oversoul—a term coined by the American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The New Concept of Deity
As opposed to the archaic and now outdated Judeo-Christian-Islamic view of the monotheistic off-planet father god, we have discussed how the oversoul is in fact our personal "God in Heaven" who listens to our prayers, works in mysterious ways and sends occasional messengers to Earth (us) who usually get treated badly.
We have also explored the understanding that this wise being who loves us unconditionally is always in connection with us—how it is, and forever will be, our guardian angel, our higher self, our "god-self" that increases, grows and becomes more in response to what we, its embodiments, do and become here on the physical plane of action through countless lives on our long journey across eternity. This is about the co-creative relationship between Heaven (our spirit self) and Earth (our physical self).
The great mystics across time are in agreement that the oversoul exists as a composite etheric field that is comprised of all of our former selves who lived former lives in former embodiments. Each of these "selves" exists within our personal oversoul, preserving a record of everything that we did and became during those lives as we worked on our life lessons here on the physical plane of planet Earth across eons of time.
Past Life Regression
This truth, when fully understood and accepted, reveals that the oversoul is our personal "ancestral field" to which we all may have access, whether through our dreaming or through past-life regression therapies utilizing hypnosis, or through goal oriented shamanic journeywork while very much awake.
To create a visual image of it, imagine your oversoul to be much like a stack of DVDs, arranged like a child's "slinky" toy, laid out on its side with the ends of the coiled column joined at the ends. As such, the higher self takes the form of a tightly woven basket of energy that appears to the mystic eye like a brilliant donut or torus made of light, and when seen vertically, the hole in the "donut" runs from top to the bottom creating a dense vertical shaft of light within the comparatively dimmer radiance of the basket itself. Each strand of the slinky, each circular line or coil of light around the periphery of the donut, represents a DVD of the lifetime of a former self.
The central vertical shaft is often what mystics see first in vision, revealing why the Hawaiians and the Incas, for example, used the vertical symbol of the standing stone for the creative god-principle—Kanewahine in Hawaii and Wirakocha in South America. And since standing stones are found all over the world, perhaps this reveals what the symbol actually meant to those who placed these stones upright in antiquity...
A vertical shaft of light within a globe of dimmer radiance–this is what I have been shown in my own journeywork to my immortal self-aspect, and I share this percept with you, the reader, in order to give you a greater sense of it, extending as always a gentle invitation for you to join me in my mystic fieldwork.
As I consider the wonder of this direct revelation, I also know from my work as a scholar that the reincarnational cycle, as well as the nature of our personal immortality, lay right at the heart of the teachings of the Druids, the shaman-priests of the Celtic peoples of Europe and Britain. They knew about this with absolute certainty, based in their own direct mystic revelations.
The Druids also knew that 'God' is not a being, but rather a process that can be found in everything, everywhere, and that is densely concentrated in all living beings and thus within all of Nature. In this sense, God is not a noun; it is a verb. The same could be said for mystic spirituality.
It is known that the Druids were keen observers of Nature and studied how Nature works. Because of this, their knowledge of natural and universal processes was unequaled in the Roman and classical Greek worlds whose complete ignorance of reincarnation is well documented.
The Druids also served their tribal societies as judiciaries, as mediators who had the power to stop conflicts between powerful competing tribes or families or individuals in their respective tribal governments, and who dispensed justice from their vast knowledge of tribal and natural law. Unlike our current supreme court justices in the United States today, they were immune to political or economic influence of any kind or at any level.
The Druids were the wisdom keepers of their peoples, and for them, as for shamans everywhere, the gateway into the transpersonal realms lay in the practice of Nature Mysticism, with the many aspects of Nature itself, including our own bodies, serving as the doorway into the Otherworlds.
Once the transpersonal realms were accessed through Nature, they knew that our consciousness could then be "re-geographied" into and through our superconscious transpersonal aspect, our oversoul, and at this point, connection with many different levels of reality, awareness, and experience then became possible.
As an aside, this is really all we know about the Druids. The two primary sources of information that we have about them are the writings of Julius Caesar about the Gauls and those of a Greek philosopher named Posidonius who traveled into the Celtic tribal regions of Gaul on an extended ethnographic field trip early in the First Century BC. Everything else written about the Druids is fanciful or derived from second hand sources (like Tacitus for example who drew heavily from Posidonius' original writings, only fragments of which remain today.)
Tibetan Deity Yoga
The practice of authentic deity mysticism (often called deity yoga) has been mentioned in other essays. Accordingly, it would be meaningful to say something more about this.
The political travails of Tibet are much in the news these days, so let's begin by observing that the practices of the Tibetan Buddhists are quite different from those of the Hinayana or Mahayana Buddhist traditions of India in that they combine Indian Buddhist thought and practice from the south with the ancient Bon Po shamanistic practices and beliefs of Central Asia to the north.
Buddhism plus shamanism... an interesting combination of contemplation and visionary experience. This merger, often referred to as the Vajrayana Tradition, is thus quite unique.
Among the Tibetans, the most powerful spiritual practices in which they engage are those called Deity Yoga or Deity Mysticism—techniques that clearly reflect and utilize shamanist methodology.
In the practice of deity yoga, the yogi (the practitioner), in deep meditation (contemplation), creates a mental image or thoughtform (visioning) of a powerful deity such as Avalokiteshvara, the Himalayan Bodhisattva of compassion, also known as Kwannon in Japan or Kwan Yin in China.
Through ongoing and committed practice, the practitioner conjures up this deity, day after day, projecting it outward from the Self, and then visualizes themselves stepping intentionally forward and merging with the deity.
In deity yoga, the practitioner thus becomes one with the deity, speaking, thinking, emoting, acting, and even behaving as if they are, in fact, this powerful archetypal force. In the process, they find themselves embodying profound wisdom, boundless compassion, and endless virtue in every thought and feeling, action and reaction as they pass through their daily life. This is because these immortal transpersonal forces (deities) with whom we are and have always been in relationship are willing to constellate within and through us as vehicles, enabling them to manifest effects into our world that can be truly startling as well as life-changing.
The Tibetans say that through the practice of deity mysticism, an individual can become a Buddha (an awakened one) in a single lifetime instead of the three countless eons that this process would ordinarily take. His Holiness the Dalai Lama practices it daily, merging with the deity of compassion, Avalokiteshvara, just mentioned.
This means that should you ever have the honor to meet with H.H. the Dalai Lama face to face, you will be in the presence of the deity known as Avalokiteshvara. It will be this god-like being who speaks to you on his breath and who looks into your soul through his eyes.
But we can also extend this practice toward our own immortal aspect, our oversoul, through practice becoming one with our god-self, and we can do this at any time, any place.
In other words, each of us has not only the ability, but also the responsibility to become a god. This is where were are all headed... but we have to choose it. And this is the subject of the last chapter of my forthcoming book The Bowl of Light about my friendship with the Hawaiian kahuna elder Hale Makua.
And yet to do this effectively, we simply have to clean up our act. How can we become gods if we're still thinking, speaking, and acting like barbarians? This question is worth pondering.
Our life experiences in the school of hard knocks propel us inevitably toward the irreversible vortex of authentic initiation and the result is personal (and permanent) transformation. It is then, precisely then, that we realize who we are, as well as where we are, enabling our destiny to beckon to us in a completely new and expanded way.
Welcome to the club—no committee meetings, no dues, just reverence.