Woman is by nature a shaman…

This is a brief summary of a visual presentation, first shown in 1986, which was given in September 2005 at the Shamanic Studies Conference in San Rafael, California.

A Chukchee proverb declares, “.” (1) Yet the female dimension of this realm of spiritual experience has often been slighted. Mircea Eliade believed that women shamans represented a degeneration of an originally masculine profession, yet was hard put to explain why so many male shamans customarily dressed in women’s clothing and assumed other female-gendered behaviors. Nor does the masculine-default theory account for widespread traditions, from Buryat Mongolia to the Bwiti religion in Gabon, that the first shaman was a woman.
In fact, women have been at the forefront of this field worldwide, and in some cultures, they predominate. This was true in ancient China and Japan, as it still is in modern Korea and Okinawa, as well as among many South African peoples and northern Californians such as the Karok and Yurok. There are countless other examples, including the machi of the Mapuche in southern Chile and the babaylan and catalonan of the Philippines.
Images, oral traditions, and historical descriptions show women as invokers, healers, herbalists, oracles and diviners, ecstatic dancers, shapeshifters, shamanic journeyers, and priestesses of the ancestors. The Chinese Wu were ecstatic priestesses who danced to the music of drums and flutes until they reached trance, receiving shen (spirits) into their bodies, healing and prophesying under their inspiration, speaking in tongues, swallowing swords and spitting fire. The power of the shen gathered around the whirling dancers was said to cause objects to rise into the air, to prevent wounds from forming when the dancers slashed themselves with knives.
Similar descriptions were recorded by Greco-Roman visitors to Anatolia: “At Castabala, in Cappadocia, the priestesses of an Asiatic goddess, whom the Greeks called Artemis Perasia, used to walk barefoot through a furnace of hot charcoal and take no harm.” (2)
Certain female burials from ancient Central Asia have been designated as shamanic priestesses by archaeologists Natalia Polosmak and Jeanine Davis-Kimball. The priestess of Ukok (fifth century BCE) was buried in a three-foot-tall framed headdress adorned with a Tree of Life, with gilded felines and birds on its branches. Similar finds have been excavated at Ussun’ in south Kazakhstan, and from the Ukraine to the Tarim basin, with recurrent themes of the Tree of Life headdress, amulets, incense, medicine bags, and sacramental mirrors. Such mirrors are also seen in the Bactrian region of Afghanistan, held facing out against the body, and they still figure as initiatory devices wielded by female adepts in Tibet. The overwhelmingly female mikogami of Japan also kept the “sacred mirror” of the sun goddess Amaterasu.
My visual presentation Woman Shaman includes a sequence of women shapeshifting into animal form or riding on the backs of shamanic steeds. These themes recur in many shamanic traditions, and are vividly illustrated in modern Arctic carvings. An Aleut ivory (circa 1816) shows a woman shaman wearing an animal mask. Other examples from the mid-20th century include “Woman Riding a Bear” by Cecilia Arnadjuk, Repulse Bay, Canada; “Woman/Polar Bear” by Odin Maratse, Greenland; a walrus-tusked “Woman Shaman” by Nancy Pukingrnak of Baker Lake; a half-woman, half-walrus piece titled “Woman Shaman Transforming Herself”; and “Medicine Woman” by Kaka of Cape Dorset.
The darwisa or maraboutes of North Africa bear Islamic titles, but practice much older North African customs. Among the Tunisian cave-dwellers, the darwisa cures sick people from possession from the jnun. In the ritual, she plays drum rhythms to discover which jinn caused illness; when she hits the right one, the person begins to dance. Then the darwisa talks to the spirit about what caused the illness and what is required to cure it. (3)
Codices produced by Aztec artists shortly after the Spanish conquest show women presiding over the temescal (sweat lodge). One of the invocations sung by such a priestess was recorded: “Mother of the gods and us all, whose creative and lifegiving power shone in the Temezcalli, also named Xochicalli, the place where she sees sacred things, sets to right what has been deranged in human bodies, makes young and tender things growing and strong, and where she aids and cures.” (4)
curanderaInvocatory chants have remained an element of Mexican Indian shamanism. One of the great master was Maria Sabina, “the woman who knows how to swim in the sacred,” whose incantations seem to have acted as a means of entering into deep states of consciousness. Laying on of hands was part of her healing practice. Further north, in California, Bernice Torrez of the Kashaya Pomo, healed by touching and removing spirits of illness from the body of the sick person. She was the daughter of Essie Parrish, the great yomta, a title which means “Song.” This prophet-seeress carried chants for ceremonies, healing, and control of the elements.
Chant and shaking a sacred rattle are important elements in the practice of Katjambia, a Himba medicine woman in Namibia. As she shakes the rattle, she calls out Njoo, Njoo, in a “secret language from Angola.” After absorbing the negative energies into her own body, Katjambia returns to the sacred fire of her ancestors, who release them. A song by the Chilean composer and folklorist Violeta Parra celebrates the powers of the Mapuche machi, describing how she presides over the guillatún ceremonies and how her shamanizing cures the sick and brings a crop-threatening rain to an end.
The healing power of female shamans was occasionally stated to have been so far-reaching that they were described as being able to restore life to the dead. So it was told of Pa Sini Jobu, great Tungutu of the Bosso people in the middle Niger region. Her method of dancing to ecstasy and shifting into the form of a great bird echoes the story told of Isis. Both the goddess and the Tungutu are described as beating their wings over the dead (a ram, in Pa Sini Jobu’s case) and bringing them to life. (The Colchian sorceress Medea is also pictured bringing a ram to life, using a cauldron, herbs, and incantations.) In western Africa, the sorceress Kulutugubaga has the power to heal all and bring the dead to life. She is the last of the legendary Nine Sorceresses of Mande.
Reviving the dead was one of the marvels performed by Yeshe Tsogyel, a foundational figure of Tibetan Buddhism. In Lady of the Lotus Born, she says, “… In Nepal I brought a dead man back to life… My body journeyed like a rainbow in celestial fields…” (5) This 8th-century poem is loaded with shamanistic content, recast in a Buddhist mold. The shamanic Bönpo religion is known to have contributed many elements to Tibetan Buddhism.
A Manchurian epic, Nishan Shaman, turns around the story of a woman who is the most powerful shaman in the country. She is called upon to revive the son of a rich man after countless others had failed. She beats her drum, chants, and sinks as if lifeless herself while journeying to the Otherworld, where she meets up with Omosi-mama, the “divine grandmother” who “causes leaves to unfurl and the roots to spread properly,” who is the giver of souls and protectress of children. It was she who ordained that Nishan would become a great shaman.
Of course, Nishan finds the soul of the dead boy. But she is pursued by her long-dead husband, who demands to be saved as well, but she calls for a great crane to seize him and throw him back into the city of the dead. The shaman is hailed as a heroine when she comes back to the upper world and showered with riches. Later she faces repression from Confucian authorities who accuse her of not being an obedient wife, and they burn her shamanic regalia and drum. (6)
In much the same way, Spanish colonials persecuted women shamans in the Philippines, calling them “devil-ridden old women” and “witches,” and destroying their shrines and sacred objects. (7) Maya oracles and shamans faced the same treatment; the Tzoltzil priestess María Candelaria raised an insurrection in Chiapas in 1712 to resist the repression of the indigenous religion.
Several hundred years ago, the Jesuit Acosta wrote that Peruvian witches were shapeshifters who could journey through the skies and foretell the future “by means of certain stones or other things they highly venerate.” He and other Spanish sources agreed that the witches were mostly old women.(8) The colonials imposed their own preconceptions on Peruvian shamans, notably that of the devil and flying ointments, and persecuted these Quechua and Aymara women shamans as witches.
The Peruvian Inquisition forbade seeking knowledge through dreams or signs in the sky or through vision quests: “the said women other times go out to the country by day and at night, and take certain brews of herbs and roots, called achuma and chamico and coca, with which they deceive themselves and numb their senses, and the illusions and fantastic scenes which they experience there, they think and claim afterwards as revelations, or certain news of what will happen.” (9)

Inquisitors tried the curandera Juana Icha for healing with the power of the old Quechua gods. She had offered corn meal, coca and chicha to the mountain spirit Apo Parato. An Indian informer told the monks that she “worships the earth and the stars and cries to the water.” (10)

Source: http://www.suppressedhistories.net/articles/womanshaman.html

Secrets In Plain Sight – Macrocosmic Harmony

The best temples serve as bridges between human scale and the macrocosm. When Beverly Spicer sent me the following image, something clicked and I understood the human body, the Sphinx and the Pyramids in a new way. I’m not sure which book this black-and-white geometric analysis of Pharaoh Rameses II was scanned from—it appears to be mirrored all over the Internet.


The nemes headcloth has distinctive, straight-edged folds, which imply an intersection point above the head. Nested equilateral triangles locate the pharaoh’s third eye appropriately as an all-seeing-eye in the center of the triangle (like the eye of providence on the dollar bill).

That reminds me of an image I made recently. Here is essentially what I wrote about it on Facebook:

Beauty is experienced in the world, love in the body, and truth in the mind. The eye of horus in the center symbolizes the view of any observer. The transcendentals are ontologically one and thus they are convertible: e.g., where there is truth, there is beauty and love also. The transcendentals are irreducible qualities of awareness. The circle represents the seeming boundary between your interior sensations, thoughts, and perceptions and your exterior body, mind, and world.


Just as the transcendental qualities of awareness (love, beauty, truth) are ontologically one, so too are the trinity of data types you experience. How far from your awareness are your sensations, perceptions or thoughts? Examine your experience and you will see that there is no distance.

Do the thoughts running through your mind take place in a fundamentally different place than the sensations of your body or your perceptions of the world? They are all convertible because all this data is experienced by awareness and yet we have no trouble identifying which channel the information flows through. There is a fundamental and irreducible trinity to awareness.

I now see this ontological trinity as the fountainhead of relationships such as Isis/Horus/Osiris, Mary/Jesus/Holy-Spirit, and even Neutron/Proton/Electron.

Following a hunch I wanted to see if the Sphinx’s nemes followed the same pattern. I discovered that the pattern is similar but is also subtly different. The Sphinx’s nemes doesn’t imply nested triangles but the uraeus symbolizing the pharaoh’s pineal gland is located in the center of the vesica piscis as indicated by the crossed red lines. Incidentally, I described how to draw this image step-by-step in the latest installment of my Photoshop User Magazine column, Beyond Photoshop.


Zooming out, the G2 pyramid also appears to fit the pattern.


It clicked for me when I realized that the geometric template for the Sphinx is the same as the geometric template for the Great Pyramid that I published in my book Quantification. The edge of the inscribed equilateral triangle measures 555.5 feet in the Great Pyramid.


In this way the House of the Temple (it was never a tomb) is a macrocosm of the Body carved on the Sphinx. Zooming out once again, the Engraved Hourglass Nebula is a macrocosm of that House. As above, so below.


The above image wonderfully illustrates Mircea Eliade’s homology, Body—House—Cosmos, from his book “The Sacred and the Profane” (1959).

A big synchronicity for me is that I learned about this three-level holographic homology not from reading Eliade but from reading Beverly Spicer’s excellent book and PhD thesis from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas called, “The Ka’bah: Rhythms of Culture, Faith and Physiology,” which she was kind enough to send me. Remember Beverly was the person who sent me the black-and-white Rameses II image? That whole sequence of events was quite illuminating!

Speaking of illumination, did you know that the human eye is most sensitive to a wavelength of 555 nanometers, which forms the center point of our visual perception? At other frequencies, more radiant intensity is required to achieve the same luminous intensity.

See how the colors are strongest in the middle of the color ramp and fade away as they approach the infrared and ultraviolet ends of the spectrum? 555 nm marks the midpoint.

555 Nanometers

The peak luminous intensity of sunlight also has a wavelength of 555 nanometers. This should be no surprise because our eyes evolved, or perhaps were designed to view the light of our particular Sun. The beauty of repeating 5’s harmonizing our visual perception, 5 symbolizing life, is not lost on me.

After reading a stimulating article Joe Dubs linked on Facebook entitled, “The Pythagorean Relationship Between Pi, e, and Phi” by Peter Felicetti, I realized I already knew the content, but I hadn’t considered the following geometry algebraically before. One can arrange Phi, Pi and e as an almost perfect Pythagorean triangle, but there is a tiny gap that I labeled “The Mystery” at the end of my article on Graham Hancock’s site.

This mystery is drawn to scale

When I saw it algebraically, a few more puzzle pieces fit together and it is no longer a mystery to me but a harmonious work of rational design from a very high level.

Tech note: I realize that some of my detailed graphics might be hard to see. I recommend pressing Command+ on the Mac or Ctrl+ on Windows several times to enlarge the content displayed in your browser. Use Command/Ctrl- to make it smaller later on.

The Quadrivium

The same gap that we hear between twelve just perfect fifths and seven octaves (known as the Cycle of Fifths or the Pythagorean comma), the relationship of transcendental constants arranged in a Pythagorean triangle, and the orbital mechanics of our planet are all related because we are living in a mathematical construct. This was known long ago.

“All is number.” -Pythagoras

The above image expresses the quadrivium: number, geometry, music, and astronomy. In other words, number in itself, number in space, number in time, and number in spacetime.

I knew the Solar Year also factors in the Earth’s equatorial circumference—the following equation was published by John Michell and Robin Heath in The Lost Science of Measuring the Earth. I made this illustration commemorating this important relationship, one that essentially defines the foot.


Speaking of Michell and Heath, they were the authors who deciphered the 5:12:13 triangle and its connection with the lunar cycle. When I was researching extending the Pythagorean theorem into three dimensions, I came across a diagram connecting the 5:12:13 and 3:4:5 triangles. That, and studying Gary Osborn’s work, inspired me to put together this image showing how dynamics related to the Earth, Moon and Sun emerge from something as fundamental to geometry as the first two Pythagorean triples.

Number in space and spacetime

Earth’s orbital circumference has certain clear resonances with our measurement systems.


Bringing together what I wrote about in Cubits, in my book Taking Measure: Explorations in Number, Architecture and Consciousness, and from my recent experience participating in Graham Hancock’s forums when I was author of the month, these pieces now fit together with greater clarity.


Michael Kuser wrote something on my wall that inspired the following image. The first part shows the combined diagonals of the cubes bounding Earth and Moon compared to their average distance from the Sun are proportioned as the foot is to the mile (99.3%).
Lawrence Edlund discovered that the average distance of the Earth to the Sun compared to the distance light travels in one revolution of the Earth around the Sun are proportioned as the inch is to the mile (99.9%).
I put two and two together and graphically show how our units of measure resonate with our local macrocosm.


In “Rotations” you see more proof that our system is a product of base-10 design. The Moon’s orbital period with respect to the fixed stars is 27.3 Earth days. Earth actually rotates 366.3 times per year relative to the stars because the orbital motion of the Earth around the Sun causes roughly one additional rotation of the planet on its own axis. Here is what Knight and Butler had to say about this phenomenon in Before the Pyramids (p240), where they describe how the megalithic system is based on the division of a circle into 366 units:

“In a solar year the Sun rises 365 times but, during the same time, a star will have risen 366 times. It sounds odd but it’s true. Each day according to the rising of a star (a sidereal day), is 23 hours 56 minutes 4 seconds in length, whereas a mean solar day is 24 hours in length. That leaves a discrepancy of 236 seconds, which over the course of a year amounts to another 24 hours. It is part of the clockwork mechanism of our solar system that there are different sorts of years, dependent on what one is observing. Our megalithic and pre-megalithic ancestors in Britain focused on the number of times a star rose in a year, and the result was 366 times [366.3 with one more digit of accuracy].”


Tonight I realized that the product of these rotations, 27.3 x 366.3 = 9999.99. What are the chances? I can’t begin to calculate the astronomical odds against such a numeric symmetry if our planet and its natural satellite were formed by random processes. Note that this product is independent of units and calculated solely on number of Earth rotations relative to our Moon and Sun.

Peter Plichta’s book God’s Secret Formula: Deciphering the Riddle of the Universe and the Prime Number Code taught me that 1/27.3 ≈ 0.03663 and 1/366.3 ≈ 0.00273, which you can easily verify with a calculator.

The ratio of the polar diameter of the Earth to the polar diameter of the Moon is 3.663 and vice-versa, the reciprocal ratio is 0.273 with more than 99.9% accuracy. This means the Earth and Moon system’s rotations and sizes are related in a reciprocal mathematical relationship.

Of course this is another example of what I have called “The Mystery of 273,” in this page out of Quantification.

The Mystery of 273 (update)

Is what we call “conscious thought” incredibly rare in the grand scheme of things, relegated as it is to 2-3mm of neocortex on the surface of our brains?
We and all other organisms on this planet live in a thin biospherical shell 2-3 miles thick. The Earth orbits the Sun in the sweet spot where oceans are kept liquid and the planet retains a transparent atmosphere so perfect for astronomy and our survival. A planetary magnetic field and ozone layer shields us from the charged particles continually pouring out of the Sun, along with many variables conductive to life being fortuitously fine-tuned.

Our system orbits the center of the Milky Way galaxy in another sweet spot, a circular band where products of stellar fusion such as elements heavier than helium are plentiful enough, but star formation isn’t still so active that we are bombarded out of existence. In this light, consciousness appears to be a gossamer membrane, a rare and exquisite miracle in all the cold vastness of space. This membrane/shell structure is another Body—House—Cosmos homology if you think about it.


The following comparison highlights another possibility. The neuronal structures within our brains, roads (which evolved organically around Paris rather than through city planning as in much of North America), and the large-scale structure of the universe (simulated on the Max Planck supercomputer) all exhibit the same specific branching, filamentous pattern. Come to think of it, so too do mushroom mycelial mats, and maps of the entire Internet. What these disparate phenomena have in common is that they are all information processing networks.


If we view Paris from the level of cars, then roads don’t seem to be self-aware. If we view the large-scale structure of the universe from the vantage point of supercomputer simulations computed on Earth, it doesn’t seem self-aware. If we were able to view a neural structure from the point of view of electrons it probably wouldn’t seem self aware to them either, just a kind of electrical network.

However, when we use our own neural structure to introspect, then awareness is self-evident. It’s really a question of which way you are looking. If the universe looked inward, then it presumably would be self-evident that it is self-aware, including all its in-formation including suns, planets, cities, roads, people, neurons, electrons, etc.

The amazing thing is we experience this same self-awareness at our level. We are a microcosm of larger wholes and have microcosms within. Perhaps cells are also self-aware, coordinating the activities at their tiny scale. The organism of which they are a part wouldn’t seem to be self-aware to them at all. Talk about all that would seem like mere philosophy.


This is yet another example of the Body—House—Cosmos homology. The human built environment accessed by roads, our “House,” is a macrocosm of the neurons in our Body, and the large-scale Cosmos is a macrocosm of our House. It is the same form, harmonizing and coordinating information at vastly different scales.

The universe itself looks like it might literally be “the mind of God,” a self-aware matrix in the process of creating complex in-formation. Awareness is not rare, but the ground of being. There has only ever been, is, or ever will be awareness being aware of itself.

That said, our limited form of consciousness might be rare and in a way, precious. We occupy the privileged position of being right in the middle of it all.


However, our awareness doesn’t require human minds anymore than the Sun requires a candle for illumination.


Everything is sacred, everything is precious.

Source: http://www.secretsinplainsight.com/2015/02/12/macrocosmic-harmony/