THE HISTORICAL AND COSMOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF SHAMANIC ASTROLOGY PART 2 – PART 1 IS HERE
I have recently returned from three truly fantastic months in Ireland researching, adventuring and writing. My home base during this time was in a sweet and comfortable house at the extreme western end of the Dingle Peninsula, in County Kerry. During this time I also took two side trips, one to Scotland and the other to the Bavarian Alps. All of these adventures were a continuation of a most remarkable time that began for me soon after the death of my father last February 2010.
The dominant astrological cycle from May 2010 to December 2011, along the timeline of my life, has been the age 61 to 62 Uranus Square to itself. So far, this cycle has played out as a higher octave of what my life experience was around age nineteen. Both at age nineteen and now have been times of high adventure, expansion, new inspirations and extreme novelty. These journeys, including the many experiences in the South Pacific and Hawaii last summer (see previous articles) have illuminated two main themes.
THE FIRST THEME – PERSONAL WORK AND DISCOVERIES
The first theme has been about deep personal work and expanded awareness around the process of the Sacred Marriage, the inner union of Venus (sacred feminine) and Mars (sacred masculine), motivating movement towards inner wholeness. The outer manifestation has included significant progress on the new book I am writing on this very subject. It also includes even deeper appreciation for the power and practical experience of the archetypes of Venus and Mars especially in regard to the current crisis of relating as it shows up between men and women in the world today. Synchronistically, this is being emphasized by Saturn’s current passage through Libra.
As a Venus in Virgo man, I’m grateful for the many opportunities during this Uranus Square to intimately experience the Earth and Sky goddess (sometimes referred to as Gaia, among many other names) in so many of her exquisitely beautiful expressions. My three months in Europe have expanded this reverence to include the sacred landscape of Western Ireland.
When I arrived in March (2011) I was blessed with the warmest weather in Ireland’s recorded history with only twenty percent of the normal rainfall during the months of March and April. As a result, I experienced the magical explosion of brown into emerald green with less wind and rain than I, or anyone else, had expected. I spent weeks hiking the hills and valleys and coastlines of this spectacular land. The house where I was staying was near the coast looking directly across a wide harbor to a range of hills known for millennia as the “three sisters,” next to a hill known as the loom, next to another hill known as the Sybil.
A few miles away was another harbor enclosed by high, rocky cliffs where Saint Brendan, the Irish great navigator, set sail many times in the sixth century in his leather sailing boats. I visited the island of Inisheer, the smallest of the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway. I also visited an area called the Burren, in County Clare, the desert of Ireland, a place of limestone, relatively treeless, rolling hills, strewn with standing stones and dolmens. I later discovered that my mother’s family clan, the O’Lachlans, were from this area.
I also had the chance to go to the Beara Peninsula*, south of the Dingle Peninsula, where I communed with the Cailleach (the Hag of Beara*) an ancient manifestation in the landscape of the Mother Goddess. The presence and aliveness of the Great Mother Goddess and her triple goddess expressions are so powerfully present in the landscape all around Ireland. As a result, I found myself most grateful for “the Lady and Her Land” – an expression a friend of mine shared with me.
Next, was the return to Scotland and Callanish. My immense good fortune continued as I traveled back to the Island of Lewis, to once again experience the great stone circle complex at Callanish. An entire week of warm and sunny weather enveloped the Outer Hebrides island chain. My dear friend, Nita Gage, who now lives in England, joined me on Lewis.
My last five trips to Callanish over the years included me leading and or managing groups so during those trips I didn’t have much time to explore the area beyond what was planned for the group. This time I was able to take Lagoon boat trips, long walks in the rocky hills and swampy moors. I also had a spectacular day trip with my old friend, Margaret Curtis, the world’s foremost expert on Callanish, to the tip of the island of Harris by way of an unbelievably scary drive down the “golden road.” This road earned its name because of the high cost to build it through nearly impassable terrain.
My days were also spent communing with another Cailleach or Old Woman of the Moors near Callanish. This Cailleach, known locally as Sleeping Beauty, is represented in a mountain range that forms the shape of a reclining woman. This is where the 19 year lunar standstill Moon rolls over her body inspiring awe and the building of many of the stone circles designed to capture this remarkable event. This is one of the reasons I remain convinced the Callanish complex is the ultimate and greatest lunar ceremonial site on the entire planet.
Arthur and Merlin
Following the Lewis and Callanish experiences, I went south to Perthshire to see a Dougie Maclean concert accompanied by even more amazing sunny, warm weather. While there, I was fortunate to have many more long walks through the forests along the Lochs. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, I had recently learned, through the work of Adam Ardrey*, that the historical Arthur and Merlin of Camelot (from Perthshire over to Argyll) were from this area of Scotland. The intimations of a Scottish Arthur and Merlin were a discovery previous groups that accompanied me to Scotland had made when we explored the Kilmartin Valley in Argyle. Now new research further confirms this.
*Adam Ardrey, “Finding Merlin” & “Finding Arthur”
The Festival of the Fires In Ireland
I arrived back in Ireland in time for the second annual Festival of the Fires, a Beltane Festival, on the Hill of Uisneach, an ancient royal capitol, in central Ireland. I had become aware of this event during my 2010 trip there. This hill is significant because twenty counties are visible from the top. For thousands of years, on the Hill of Usineach, a huge fire was lit at Beltane followed by similar fires being lit on hilltops in every part of Ireland. This ancient tradition has now been revived and in 2011 five thousand people gathered for music, arts, crafts, pageantry and ceremony. The bonfire was lit at about ten pm at the end of another beautiful sunny day.
The Bavarian Connection
My next adventure was to Bavaria. Several years ago, when I was in Hawaii, I met a woman named Suzanne Fischer-Rizzi who is a member of a group known as the Bavarian Hermetic Society . She and her group share the same views I do regarding Spica’s significance. This includes the view that Spica is THE primary star symbolizing ancient pre-patriarchal women’s mysteries. Suzanne had invited me to visit her town and community in Bavaria.
This community, at the edge of the Bavarian Alps, is deeply involved with the Transition Town Movement. This is the fast growing network of small towns committed to self-sufficiency and deep green ecology. It was her province that recently elected a Green Party minister.
During the week that I visited, Suzanne organized a magical mystery tour for me. The first place we visited was the street I lived on from age five to seven in Stuttgart, Germany. I vividly remember living here and having my first conscious connection with nature. This was the time in my childhood when one of my main activities was dressing up and play acting the knights of the round table in the valleys and forests around my home in Stuttgart.
Next, we visited the cave where the oldest goddess figurine (over forty thousand years old) was found. A great highlight of being at the cave was we had permission to do a ceremony there totally in the dark of cave.
After our cave experience we visited the source of the Danube River at Ulm, where Einstein and Kepler lived. Our last adventure was a hike in the Alps to the Cave of the Sybils (in German the name “Wildfrauleinstein” means cave of the wild women).
This brought me full circle back to the beginning of my three month pilgrimage in County Kerry Ireland, where I spent many days gazing at the Three Sisters with the Sybil and Loom. The synchronicity of connecting to this place known as the Sybils of the Danube Corridor in Bavaria confirmed that I was indeed on a magical pilgrimage. Interestingly, some scholars feel there is a connection between Danube (a river in Bavaria), the Paps of Anu (two Mountains that look like a woman’s breasts in Ireland), and the Tuatha Dé Danann (whose very name means the people of the Goddess…they were the builders of Newgrange, as well as other chambered cairns and stone circles for over 2000 years) all referring to the Great Mother Goddess.