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Dream Gates

Dream Gates

A short history of soul flight

posted by Robert Moss
Marc Chagall flies with Bella over Vitebsk

Marc Chagall flies with Bella over Vitebsk

In many human cultures the most profound insights into the nature of the divine and the fate of the soul after physical death have been attributed to ecstatic journeys beyond the body in waking dream or vision. In most human cultures, the existence of parallel worlds inhabited by gods, daimons, and spirits of the departed has been accepted as simple fact, a fact of extraordinary importance. Visiting these other worlds was a top priority for our ancestors, as it still is wherever there is living spirituality. From the travel reports of the boldest and most successful journeyers between the worlds, mythologies and religions are born. Soul journeying was understood to be the key to orders of reality, hidden from the five physical senses, that are no less “real” than ordinary reality and may be more so.

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For the Jivaro people of South America, everyday life is regarded as “false.” “It is firmly believed the truth about causality is to be found by entering the supernatural world, or what the Jivaro view as the ‘real’ world, for they feel that the events which take place within it are the basis for many of the surface manifestation and mysteries of daily life.”

Among dreaming peoples, the reality of the soul journey and the objective, factual nature of the travelogues brought back are not in doubt. The travel reports will be compared with those of previous explorers.

Shamans ride their drums to the Upper and Lower Worlds to gain access to sources of insight and healing, to commune with the spirits and rescue lost souls. Aboriginal spirit men journey to the Sky World, climbing a magic cord projected from their own energy bodies, at the solar plexus or the tip of the penis.

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Before compass and sextant, before charts, the great open-sea navigators guided their shipmates across the oceans by fine attunement to the patterns of waves and wind and stars and by the ability to scout ahead and consult a spiritual pilot through dream travel. Traditional navigators in the Indian Ocean reputedly had the power to travel ahead of their vessels in the form of seabirds or flying fish to set a safe course. The shipmakers and sea captains of the Bugis of Sulawesi — who once had a fearsome reputation as pirates — still materials to use in the construction of their prahus as well as on their ocean crossings.

The ancient Taoist masters were known as the feathered sages because of their reputed power of flight, which sometimes involved shape-shifting into the form of cranes.

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In ancient Greece, shaman-philosophers were renowned for their ability to travel outside the body, appear in two or more locations at the same time, and commune with their colleagues. The Pythagoreans taught and practiced soul travel and believed that spiritual masters born centuries apart could communicate by this means.

The ability to project consciousness beyond the physical body, to fold space-time, influence events at a distance, and project a double are all recognized siddhis — or special powers — of advanced spiritual practitioners in Eastern traditions. Vedic literature from India is full of vivid accounts of soul-flight by humans and beings-other-than-human. In the Mahabharata, the dream-soul, or suksma atman, is described as journeying outside the body while its owner sleeps. It knows pleasure and pain, just as in waking life. It travels on “fine roads” through zones that correspond to the senses, the wind, the ether, toward the higher realms of spirit.

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Shankaracharya, the ascetic exponent of Advaita Vedanta, practiced soul-flight and the projection of consciousness to another body. Challenged to a debate on sex — a subject of which he was woefully ignorant at the time — he is said to have left his body in a cave under the guard of his followers while he borrowed the body of a dying king, whose courtesans schooled him in all the arts of the Kama Sutra.

Soul travel was well understood in the Sacred Earth traditions of Europe, from the earliest times until the murderous repression associated with the witch craze. One of the most fascinating accounts — less reliant than most on confession extracted under torture — is Carlo Ginzberg’s monograph on the Benandanti, or “good-farers” of the Friuli region, who journeyed to defend the health of the community and the crops.

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Soul journeying is also central to Christian spirituality. In II Corinthians, Paul refers to his own soul journey when he speaks of “a man who was caught up into the third heaven, whether in the body or out of the body I know not.” St. Columba, the founder of the great monastery at Iona, regularly traveled outside his body to scout developments at a distance.

St Anthony of Padua was renowned for his ability to travel outside the body and appear in two places at once. There are reports of him preaching in two churches at the same time.

In Jewish tradition, the story of Elijah’s chariot of fire is the model for visionary ascent to higher realms. Among the Kabbalists, soul-flight to the higher planes was held to be the reward for long years of study and solitary meditation. A key element in Kabbalist meditation (hitboded) was the chanting and correct vibration of sacred texts. Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534–72) recited phrases from the Zohar over and over, as Eastern meditators use their mantras. He entered and altered state in which he received visitations from spiritual teachers — notably Elijah — and could travel freely outside the body, to visit “heavenly academies.”

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Soul-flight is not an art reserved for yogis, mystics, and shamans. The projection of consciousness by “remote viewing” or “ traveling clairvoyance” has been central to the history of warfare. Go back through the old battle sagas and you will find tales of warrior shamans who shape-shifted to spy out enemy positions. The druid MacRoth, in the Irish epic the Tain, performs this service for his royal patron, flying over the enemy ranks in the shape of a black warbird. Native American sorcerers were employed by both the French and the English to carry out similar scouts during the French and Indian War.

One of the most famous soul journeyers in European history was the Swedish scientist Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772), the son of a Lutheran bishop. He was in his fifties when powerful visitations by the spirits transformed his life; he then embarked on repeated journeys into their realms. He encountered angels who escorted him on guided tours of many kinds of heavens and hells..

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It is not surprising that the dream explorer who coined the term lucid dreaming was another soul journeyer. Dr. Frederik can Eeden (1860–1932) was a Dutch writer, physician, and member of the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR). In 1913, he gave a lecture to the SPR in which he reported “lucid dreams” in which the dreamer retains the memory of his waking life, remained conscious, and could carry out “different acts of free volition.” He observed that the phenomenon of multiple consciousness and “double memory” — of both waking and dream events — “leads almost unavoidably to the conception of a dream-body.” He later wrote a novel, The Bride of Dreams, about dream travel outside the body.

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Frequent flier Robert Monroe asserted with reason that “a controlled out-of-body experience is the most efficient means we know to gather Knowns to create a Different Overview” — a new definition of reality.

 

Adapted from Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination and Life Beyond Death by Robert Moss. Published by New DreamgatesWorld Library. All rights reserved.

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Reading and releasing psychic cords

posted by Robert Moss

The essential things to know about life are usually simple – but can be sticky. One thing we need to know, to maintain our health and sanity, and work the true law of attraction, is that there are threads of psychic energy running between us and everyone who has touched our lives.

When we are joined with another in love or community or a common cause, these cords of connection can be very strong, and entirely healthy, allowing supportive energy to run both ways. If the balance is off, however, the cords of connection can drain our batteries, like jumper cables working in reverse. When a relationship has gone sour, or become unbalanced, energy may be moving only one way, draining one of those involved.

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A very common issue is that when we break up with a spouse or partner or close friend, the psychic cords between us remain intact. What now flows along the cords  is no longer healthy emotional energy but bad feelings and rancor that can bring both members of the old relationship down. More seriously, the surviving psychic bridge can become a means by which a jealous or bitter ex comes calling, confusing night dreams and wakeful perception and energy. This can cause all manner of guilt and grief and confusion.

We may be connected psychically to people and things (and fantasies and ideas) we have forgotten or never regarded as important, with mixed results. Such connections offer psychic bridges for unwanted intrusion.

For everyday psychic well-being, we need to recognize these psychic energy cords and develop a simple practice for disconnecting when the effects are unhealthy or unwanted. One of the best guides to this topic that I know is a quirky but essential book by Max Freedom Long titled The Secret Science Behind Miracles, based on his study of the practices of kahunas in Hawaii in the early 20th century.

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“Numberless threads connect every individual with the people and things he has touches,” writes Long. These threads are called aka n the Hawaiian language. Aka means both “cord” and “vine”, something that branches out. The aka cords emanate from the unahipili, which Long calls variously the “subconscious spirit,” the “shadowy body” and the “low self.” According to Long,the kahunas believe that”all things, be they men, animals, flowers, chairs or thoughts, have shadowy bodies, and these remain after the thing in its gross physical form has been destroyed”.

What he calls the “shadowy body” is what I generally call the dense energy body. But its Hawaiian name, unahipili, contains a further practical teaching. At the root of that word is pili, which means “sticky”. So the low self can also be called the “sticky” soul. “It sticks to everything we contact or see…It is like touching fly-paper with a finger and, when the finger is pulled away, a long fine thread of the adhesive substance is drawn out.”

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This certainly puts a spin on the phrase “stuck on you.” These Hawaiian insights invite us to self-scan from time to time to check what we have stuck to us, and where we are stuck to people and things in ways that deplete or confuse us or them. What to do, when you find that your energy body is in a sticky situation? It’s cleanup time. I like to do a physical scouring with sea salt in water, with the intention that the physical bathing will be accompanied by an energetic scrub. I also like fire cleansing rituals.

When I find a really powerful but unhealthy cord of connection, I may want to try to visualize myself cutting that, and letting the severed ends dry up and fall away. A gentler approach, which I have come to prefer, is to see that big-time psychic link as something like an electrical extension cord that can be carefully and firmly unplugged. It’s remarkable how much energy – and clarity – can be found when this sticky theme is addressed in our lives.

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In my book Active Dreaming I offer simple techniques for reading and, where necessary, releasing psychic cords of attachment. In my workshops and trainings, I often have groups experiment with these methods. In one group, we focused on determining gentle but effective ways to “unplug” unwanted or unhealthy cords.

For many in this group experiment, color was a guide to the condition of psychic cords. Toxic attachments appeared black; old, energy-draining attachments appeared grey, sometimes the grey of used chewing gum. Some fresh and improvisational approaches to releasing or cleansing psychic links emerged. One woman pictured herself swimming in healing waters while little fish nibbled away gently at the psychic cords that needed to be released. A man found that an ally (a “Chinese doctor”) entered the scene; he tied “little bows” in the problematic cords, leaving them to wither and drop away gradually. For another member of the group, the ally appeared as a crow that pecked away at the root of a black cord of connection to a deceased friend, until all the stagnant dead energy drained away.

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Some found it possible to cleanse and restore proper flow in the cords of attachment involved in current realtionships. A woman found that the psychic cord between her and her boyfriend was a very lixed picture; it was mottled grey, black and red. She did not like the deadness of the black and the drabness of the greay. She pictured herself drawing the energy of a waterfall to which she had recently hiked to cleanse and refresh the connection. She continued with this powerful and spontaneous mediation until the cord glowed red and gold, the black and grey gone.

 

 

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The Books of Night and Day

posted by Robert Moss

Ptolemais_2.jpgWe have direct access to sacred knowledge, in our dreams. Our dreams are a personal oracle that reveals the future and helps us prepare for it. We must not let anyone tell us what our dreams mean or stand between us and the direct experience of the sacred that is available in dreaming. We want to pay attention to signs from the world around us in the knowledge that everything in the universe is interconnected and constantly interweaving. We need to journal both our dreams and our waking experiences in our Books of Night and Day.

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These insights come from a fifth-century bishop of Ptolemais (in what is now Libya), Synesius of Cyrene. His treatise On Dreams is one of the wisest books ever written on how to work with dreams and synchronicity. He wrote that “Dream divination is available to all, the good genius to everyone” and that is no wonder that dreams show us the future, because dreams are experiences of soul and “the soul holds the forms of things that come into being”.
Synesius used dreams for practical navigation; he describes how dreams alerted him to plots by his enemies, counseled him on his literary style and (as a young man) on the hunt, and helped him win the ear of a Roman emperor with the right oration. He also observed, correctly, that the energy derived from dreams can be more valuable than their content; through dreams God “makes us fruitful with his own courage.”
 “It is written, ‘Others even in their dreams He made fruitful with his courage.’ Do you see? One man learns while awake, another while asleep. But in the waking state man is the teacher, while it is God who makes the dreamer fruitful with His own courage, so that learning and attaining are one and the same. Now to make fruitful is even more than to teach.” 
He despised dream dictionaries, as popular in his time as in ours: “I laugh at all those books and think them of little use.” He strongly counseled that we must not assign the interpretation of dreams to “experts” other than the dreamer: “It would be shameful for those who have lived ten years beyond adolescence to stand in need of any other diviner.”
He wrote of how dreams carry us into higher worlds, and put us in direct contact with the God we can talk to. He hinted that the road of dreams is the road of the soul, on both sides of death, noting that “the soul’s way of life in another world is similar to the imaginings of the dream condition.”
The wisest of humans are those who navigate life by reading the sign language of the world. We should keep a “day book” for our observations of signs and synchronicities as well as a “night book” for dreams.

“All things are signs appearing through all things…they are brothers in a single living creature, the cosmos…they are written in characters of every kind”. 
The deepest scholarship lies in reading the sign language of the world; the true sage is a person “who understands the relationship of the parts of the universe”.
We can learn from Synesius how to practice dreamwork as real church, and track coincidence as “God’s way of remaining anonymous”. He deserves to be much better remembered, as a great dream teacher from the world of the early Church, one who spoke eloquently against those who seek to stand between people and the direct experience of the sacred. He wrote about dreams not on the authority of his excellent education (he studied under Hypatia in Alexandria), nor his contacts with the great, nor any high office that he held. Synesius speaks to us across the centuries with the authority of experience, understanding – as do all true dreamers – that the best guides to dreaming are frequent flyers who do a lot of it.
Ptolemais gate from the Polish Archeological Mission in Ptolemais

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Lucid dreaming and astral travel in the early Church

posted by Robert Moss

St.John of Lycopolis

Early fathers of the Christian church were in favor of active dreaming and astral travel. Tertullian, who famously observed that  “most people derive their knowledge of God from dreams” urged Christians who found themselves in captivity, perhaps on the way to martyrdom, to get out and about in their astral bodies:

Though the body is shut in, though the flesh is confined, all things are open to the spirit. In spirit, then, roam abroad; in spirit walk about, not setting before you shady paths or long colonnades, but the way which leads to God. As often as in spirit your footsteps are there, so often you will not be in bonds. The leg does not feel the chain when the mind is in the heavens. [Tertullian, Ad Maryras, 197 CE]

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Athanasius explained in Contra Gentes that “when the body is still, at rest and sleeping, a man is in inner movement – he contemplates what is outside himself, he traverses foreign lands, he meets friends and often through them [dreams] he divines and learns in advance his daily actions. What else could this be [that travels] but a rational soul [psyche logike]?”

St. Augustine described travels of the “phantom” who can visit another person in dreams.

John of Lycopolis (d. 394), one of the Desert Fathers, became famous for his ability to travel in his dream body. A saint of the Coptic church, John was well-known during his life as a hermit for his  austerities; he lived in a cave and ate only fruit consumed after sundown. He was believed to have great psychic gifts. Emperors and generals consulted him, as a seer, on the outcome of future battles and political conflicts. He was attributed “mighty works” of healing and prophecy.

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He was fully aware of the ways in which psychic energy can work outside – and on – the physical body, and of the reality of dream travel and dream visitations.

John was about ninety when a Roman tribune implored him to see his wife. She was anxious about a possibly dangerous journey by river and wanted the holy man’s blessing. John had not seen a woman in forty years, and refused to see this one. The tribune’s wife was persistent, swearing that she would not embark on her journey without John’s blessing. When the tribune reported this to John, the desert father said, “I shall appear tonight to her in a dream, and then she must not still be determined to see my face in the flesh.” The tribune reported this to his wife.

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That night, John came to her in a dream. He told her modestly, “I am a sinful man and of like passions with you.” He added “Nevertheless I have prayed for you and for your husband’s household,  that you may walk in peace according to your faith.” The tribune’s wife woke up and related the dream to her husband, who confirmed John’s appearance as she had perceived him. She sent her husband to thank him, convinced she had received a real blessing.

Wepwawet

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It is significant that this account of a dream visitation by an early Christian father involves a former cult center of one of the Egyptian deities most closely associated with astral travel. In Greek, Lycopolis means “City of the Wolf”. The “wolf” in question is the jackal- (or dog-) headed god Wepwawet, whose name means “Opener of the Ways”.

Wepwawet is similar to Anubis in both attributes and functions. Both are divine gatekeepers and psychomps – soul-guides – for both the living and the dead. In early times, Wepwawet was a god of Upper (or southern) Egypt while Anubis was worshipped in Lower (or northern) Egypt; later, they became syncretized. Special to Wepwawet is the function of serving as a scout and bodyguard for the pharaoh and his generals. His image appears on the shedshed, the battle standard of Upper Egypt, and he is often depicted in battle gear carrying a mace and a bow. So it is interesting that John of Lycopolis was valued by generals as a battle seer and is said to have provided accurate forecasts of the outcome of the Emperor Theodosius’ struggles with opposing armies and rebels.

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The primary source on John of Lycopolis and his dream visitation is The History of the Monks of Egypt, an anonymous account of a journey by a group of seven brothers from a monastery on the Mount of Olives to the desert fathers in Egypt in the 380s. The author does not expound on the past history of Lycopolis, whose former residents included the great experiential philosopher Plotinus as well as a jackal-headed god. But the world of the Monks of Egypt is a magical landscape where ascetic superheroes work miracles, do battle with evil spirits – and operate on the astral as well as the physical plane. The desert holy men live in a separate reality. “Some of them do not even know that another world exists on earth or that evil is found in cities.” Yet “it is clear to all who dwell there that through them, the world is kept in being.”

 

Previous Posts

A short history of soul flight
In many human cultures the most profound insights into the nature of the divine and the fate of the soul after physical death ...

posted 12:09:30pm Apr. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Reading and releasing psychic cords
The essential things to know about life are usually simple - but can be sticky. One thing we need to know, to maintain our health and sanity, and work the true law of attraction, is that there are threads of psychic energy running between us and ...

posted 12:33:56am Apr. 16, 2015 | read full post »

The Books of Night and Day
We have direct access to sacred knowledge, in our dreams. Our dreams are a personal oracle that reveals the future and helps us prepare for it. We must not let anyone tell us what our dreams mean or stand between us and the direct experience of ...

posted 10:00:45am Apr. 10, 2015 | read full post »

Lucid dreaming and astral travel in the early Church
Early fathers of the Christian church were in favor of active dreaming and astral travel. Tertullian, who famously observed that  “most people ...

posted 5:17:18pm Apr. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Jumping off the high board with Jesus
Kathy wrote to me just before Easter about what happened when she started practicing the exercises for meeting a spiritual guide in my ...

posted 4:08:14pm Apr. 02, 2015 | read full post »

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