Remember when I said that magnetic Life Force Energy takes a drastic turn inward as we move from the South to the South-West? You will now know what I mean in this weeks exercise. I am telling you now to prepare yourself for a major shift in just about every way possible. This is the realm of the Underworld. This is a deep and powerful realm. This is the realm of the unconscious. Many psychologists and psychiatrists argue that the unconscious is the most influential aspect of the human mind. Some would argue that while we believe we are in control of our decisions. It is actually the unconscious mind that makes all our conscious decisions and controls our lives.
It is called the unconscious because we are not consciously aware of what goes on in there. You can see the potential for disaster here. If our unconscious mind is based in self-destructive patterns, we could very well be making decisions with disastrous effects and simultaneously be completely unaware of their true source.
Before we launch into the exercise for this realm, let us look at some traditional mythological teachings concerning the South West direction.
In the Vedic tradition, the SW is the home of the god/demon Rahu. (Whether you see him as a god or a demon doesn't matter. Both views are accurate.) The South-West is one realm where opposites dwell together side by side. According to Vedic myth, when the gods were creating the Universe, they were stirring the Universe using a serpent as a stirring rod. As they stirred and stirred, the ambrosial nectar of immortality rose to the surface. The "demons" were also stirring because they wanted to partake of the ambrosia and become immortal. (These entities weren't demons in the Judeo-Christian sense, they were spiritual forces that were more aligned with instinctual power. This made them sometimes act in a morally ambiguous fashion. This moral ambiguity sometimes caused serious problems for the celestial gods.) When the nectar of immortality was gathered, the gods and demons all gathered round to drink the Soma drink and become eternal.
Now, the gods had a trick up their sleeve. They did not want the demons to become immortal. So, they dressed Vishnu (the god of preservation) in women's clothing and he transformed himself into the visage of a very sexually enticing girl. He then took the ambrosia to the gods first with the hopes that the gods would drink all the Soma before the demons had an opportunity. The demons, who are driven by their physical instincts, were very sexually aroused at Visnhu's illusory appearance. As a result, they were not paying attention to the Soma being passed around to all the gods first.
However, there was one wise serpent demon named Rahu who was smart enough to see what was happening and he quickly disguised himself and sat at the head of the table between the Sun and the Moon. Rahu surmised that since the Sun and Moon were probably the most fundamental of the gods that they would get a large portion of the Soma drink. So, he sat right in between them. However the Sun and Moon both saw that Rahu was a demon in disguise, so they ratted him out to Vishnu. As Vishnu got to Rahu and was giving the Soma to Rahu, the Sun and Moon cried "No, he's a demon in disguise!" Immediately, Vishnu drew his weapon, the Sudarshana Chakra, and beheaded Rahu.
But, it was too late. Rahu had swallowed the Soma. His head was separated from his body but because he had drunk the nectar, both his head and his body were immortal. His head was doomed to live with conscious awareness but without any means to enjoy physical existence like, food and sex. Thus Rahu yearns for physical existence. He muses and dreams of all the things he used to partake of but can no longer physically enjoy. Rahu's body had no higher awareness and was blind, therefore he could not discern what he was physically experiencing. The serpent's body (now called Ketu) is pure emotional drive with no awareness. Religious fundamentalists operate like Ketu. They are driven by powerful emotions but have little self-awareness of why they do what they do or believe what they believe. The normally helpful power of faith is perverted into mindless adherence to arbitrary dogma. This has been the cause of most wars and oppression in this world.
Because of the betrayal of the Sun and the Moon, Rahu cursed them both and continually seeks their demise. At every solar and lunar eclipse, Rahu attempts to swallow the Sun and the Moon, but because he has no body, the Sun and the Moon fall out of his neck. But, for the time that the Sun and Moon are in Rahu's mouth, he is the most powerful being in the solar system. The sky grows dark, the mind (Moon) and the Spirit (Sun) lose their power and fear grips the minds and hearts of men. But, thankfully, because of Vishnu's quick action, Rahu's power is only temporary.
The truth is that this dynamic is all part of the overall plan. You see, Rahu was promised by Brahma the creator that he would become an immortal god. So when Rahu was seated with the gods, he had already been given permission to do so. Vishnu, of course, also knew of this. Rahu himself is possibly the most important aspect of human evolution. Rahu and Ketu remind humans of their lower natures and the pitfalls associated with them. Rahu provides both the test for evolution and the challenge against it. How we choose to interface with Rahu will determine whether or not we ascend in our evolution or descend into more challenging karmic lessons. Rahu, the serpent, like the biblical serpent holds the key to true occult knowledge. If we react to him out of fear, he will trap us in our lower instinctual natures (Ketu.) If we fearlessly face our unconscious, self-destructive patterns, we will ascend to the heights of the gods.
Loki, The Trickster
The South West is also the home of Loki, the Norse trickster god of secret knowledge. Loki is portrayed by the other gods as being deceitful, treacherous and cowardly. However, this is not the whole story. This "trickster" visage is the disguise that Loki chooses to wear which allows him to do the things necessary for the evolution of the Cosmos. Although the other gods do not trust Loki, it is Loki who is solely responsible for the acquisition of all of the gods' divine, magickal weapons and tools without which the gods could not maintain the Cosmos. Thor's hammer, Freyja's flaming gem of enlightenment, Odin's magickal eight legged horse were all acquired by Loki's unconventional skills. Without realizing it, all of the gods owe their power to Loki. Like Rahu, Loki is half Giant and half god. His unique moral outlook allows him to do things the heavenly gods' morality will not allow. The celestial gods are not capable of deceit. They are pure light and as such, they do not know how to deceive. Loki is of mixed blood, so he can change his appearance at will. This confuses the rigid morality of the celestial gods, so they instinctively distrust Loki. Odin, however, as the god of conscious awareness understands Loki and sees what he is actually doing. Because of this shared understanding, Loki and Odin have taken a blood oath of loyalty. Some people believe that Loki is merely the shadow side of Odin.
After helping all of the gods acquire their Magickal tools through unconventional methods, Loki is banished to the underworld after a series of arguments with the gods. At a drunken feast, Loki confronts the gods and reveals to them their flaws and inconsistencies. Loki mercilessly reveals the gods hypocrisy and pride. Incensed by Loki's accurate but merciless accusations, the gods chase after Loki and bind him to a rock in the underworld. They hang a serpent over him that constantly drips venom onto Loki's body. Loki's consort holds a bowl over him to catch the venom, but when the bowl is full and she empties the bowl, a drop of venom touches Loki and burns him. As he writhes in pain, the world trembles in what we humans perceive as earthquakes.
For those with a puritanical bent, this would seem on the surface as justified punishment for a treacherous ne'er do well. However, this was all Loki's plan. Loki is actually a brave, selfless hero who volunteers to help the Earth in it's evolution. What is an earthquake? It is the Earth's crust adjusting for increased pressure along the tectonic plates. Can you imagine what would happen if that pressure was never released? The result would be catastrophic. While earthquakes can be frightening and destructive, they are absolutely necessary. Loki is like this, when we humans resist change, the pressure builds up and can be very dangerous. Loki comes along and challenges our unconscious patterns. He reveals to us our hypocrisy and cowardice. How we choose to respond to that challenge will determine whether or not our evolution will be smooth or painful. Loki may look like an irreverent prankster, but his true nature is that of a dedicated warrior who is only committed to the well-being of all conscious life. As such, he is not afraid to tell us the truth, regardless of whether we want to hear it or not.
Hella the goddess of the underworld
Loki's daughter is named Hella and she is the ruler of the underworld. She, being a citizen of the underworld realm is also a dual being. One half of her is a beautiful, young woman and the other half is a rotting corpse. Once again, how we choose to view her will determine the kind of experience we have when we meet her. Hel is not a realm of eternal damnation or punishment. It can be experienced this way, but that is only because of what one brings with them into the underworld.
I have no doubt that there are many who have descended into the underworld after living a life of cruelty who have brought their unconscious guilt and self-hatred with them and have a "hellish" experience as a result. These frightening underworld experiences are only temporary (although it may feel to them like an eternity.) When such souls become willing to fearlessly face their karma, then mother Hella steps in and begins the healing process. This one thing I have learned about mother Hella: She is very, very patient. There is no time in the underworld as we know it. You can spend as much time indulging in your fears and resistance as you choose. Hella is in no hurry and will wait until you are ready to begin the process of honest self-evaluation. So, Hel can be a scary place. In fact, it can be as frightening as your own imagination will allow. But once you face up to your excesses and flaws, the healing will begin and Hella will transform into a beautiful mother goddess who nurses your wounds and heals your spirit. In fact, I would say that there is no one in the Cosmos more capable of unwavering unconditional love than Mother Hella. Who else in the Cosmos is willing to patiently experience the worst aspects of your unconscious mind? In order to patiently sit through all of the horror inflicted on others by the likes of Hitler or Stalin without any judgement whatsoever is a feat that no other being in the Universe can surpass. If you choose to address Mother Hella in this exercise, it is possible you will know from a personal level what I am talking about.
Hate and Betrayal
Among Loki's other children are his wolf-sons named Hate and Betrayal. According to the Norse tradition, the lunar eclipses are caused by two enormous wolves who chase after the Sun and Moon seeking to devour them. Hate chases after the Moon and Betrayal chases after the Sun. The lesson here is clear: indulging in Hate clouds the mind and prevents the light of the Soul to illumine our thinking. When we knowingly betray our own divine nature or betray the trust of another person, we snuff out the light of our Divine Essence. The fear that the ancients felt when the Sun and Moon disappeared acted as a reminder to avoid indulging in Hatred and Betrayal. Who else but Loki would be willing to suffer the scorn of giving birth to such sons. Yet, it was necessary to help humans stay on their course toward their evolution.
Taoist view of the South West
According to Taoist mysticism, the South West direction is one of the two "ghost doors." The other is in the North East direction. According to Taoist wizards, these two directions were the most vulnerable to attack by demonic forces. Now, we can understand why the realm of the unconscious is vulnerable to demonic attack. All it takes is for any of our inner unconscious demons to rise to the surface of our awareness.
But why is the North East also considered a ghost door? Because the North East is the realm of our religious and moral beliefs. Think about it... What has been the justification for most of the most horrific wars in our history?... Religion and Politics which are both powered by our subjective moral attitudes. These two areas of religion and politics are directly enmeshed with our sense of spiritual "righteousness." When the North East is not adequately fortified, it opens the door to unbalanced, subjective, dogmatic, emotionally driven religious and political beliefs. When one is operating from a sense of self-righteousness, there is the danger for dogmatic persecution of others. This is why Asgard is the "Fort" of the celestial gods. They are seeking to protect it from the abuses of religious dogma and ignorance.
Interestingly enough, in the Norse nine worlds, there are only two realms with the word 'gard' in them, namely Asgard (north-east) and Midgard (Middle Earth.) The Norse wizards understood that the North East needed to be guarded from the excesses of distorted "righteousness." The South West need not be guarded because few people willingly choose to enter there. So, while it is a "ghost door," it does not need anyone to guard it from intruders.
Deities of the Underworld
So, we are going to journey into the underworld in this exercise. But in order to do so safely, we will need to take some precautions. The Underworld does not take kindly to unescorted, uninvited guests. So, we will need protection. Here are a list of some deities that you can approach as protective guides into the underworld.
(*A word of caution: Be aware that the deities with asterisks next to their names can be ruthless. If you feel a connection to these deities, they can be incredibly helpful initiators into deep, deep occult wisdom. But, this wisdom always has a price. If you are not sure how you will fare in the underworld or if you have any doubts, I recommend any of the other deities that do not have an asterisk (*) next to their names.)
Mantras for the Underworld.
If you choose to, mantras can be a powerful protection in the underworld.
Here are some mantra suggestions for the South West:
"Ong Rang Rahuve Nama*" (Rahu mantra, "Rang" here is pronounced like "Rung" (the bell has rung.)
"Ong Kring Kalikayei Nama*" (Kali Mantra, very powerful, use with caution.)
"HUUL" for the Earth goddess Hulda. (a powerful but safe underworld guide)
"Ong" (seed sound for Odin and for supreme consciousness)
"Ong Doong Durgayei Nama" (for Durga)
"Ong Nama Shivaya"
Or you can simply chant the names of Baldur, Odin, Frigga, Loki* or Hella*
You may also chant the Rune sound "Perthro" (if you choose to chant the Rune, please do not chant a mantra.)
(Optional: For those wishing a very powerful and very safe Vedic mantra that is also a traditional Mantra for the South West and issues with Rahu, I recommend the Mahamrityunjaya or the "death defying" mantra of Shiva. You cannot go wrong with this mantra.)
"Ong tryambakam yajāmahe sugandhim pushṭi-vardhanam
urvārukam iva bandhanān mrityormukshīya māmritāt"
"We Meditate on the Three-eyed reality
Which permeates and nourishes all like a fragrance.
May we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality,
Even as the cucumber is severed from bondage to the creeper"
Before we embark on our ritual for this week, I want to urge that you focus on an attitude of humility. The underworld is a realm of absolute Truth. The rulers of this realm are solely committed to revealing the core truths of conscious existence. If you are an incarnated being, you definitely have unresolved unconscious issues. When you enter the underworld, the beings there will know everything about you. You will not be able to hide anything and I do not recommend that you try to do so.
Underworld residents will want to reveal to you those patterns in your unconscious that are causing you the most challenges in your evolution. If you enter that realm with excess pride or if you enter with a cavalier attitude, the underworld residents will take that as a command to reveal your unconscious issues to you in the most direct way. It may be very unpleasant. So the first thing to remember is that you cannot hide. If you do not try to hide, then you will attract less attention to yourself. Choose your guide carefully. If you are not sure who is the best guide for you into the underworld, then take some time and do some research. Perhaps do a ritual to the North East and ask to be led to a guide or deity that will be the best one to protect you in the underworld.
Here is something I learned the hard way: All of the gods are powerless in the underworld. Even Odin must obey Hella. All of the gods must bow to Hella's power. So, choose the deity that can best guide you and protect you while in the underworld. Everyone is different. One size does not fit all here. Some people are better suited for trips to the underworld than others.
Here is the good news. Hella is completely devoted to your ultimate well being. So whatever you do experience regardless of how unpleasant will ultimately help you. If you are honest and ask for help. You will get it. If you are afraid, then when you enter Hel, confess that you are still working through your issues, that you are aware that you are a hypocrite and a coward and that you ask for mercy. Proclaim that you are only visiting temporarily and only wish to offer your thanks and respects to the rulers of the underworld. If you enter the underworld with a self-righteous attitude, you will be cut down where you stand or Loki may decide to bless you with some very enlightening but unpleasant challenges in your daily life. If Frigga, the Queen of the Cosmos had to abide by the commands of mother Hella, there is a good chance that you also will be powerless against her. So, please be as humble and authentic as you can be. You have been warned.
One way to ensure safe passage in the Underworld is to go solely for the purpose of honoring and helping your ancestors. Since this is our first visit to the South West, we will focus on just paying our respects to the ruler of the underworld. But, in later, more advanced levels we will focus on rituals to help the ancestors who are still in the underworld move forward in their spiritual journey. You may, if you choose, spend some time meditating on your ancestors whether they be immediate family or your ancient ethnic forebears. You may even ask for their help in your ritual to the Underworld. Ancestor worship is extremely powerful and healing. In fact, ancestor worship was the first form of human religion.
The best times for the Underworld ritual are:
Midnight on the New Moon
But the underworld ritual can be done at any time. If you are seeking great power, the new moon and eclipses are very potent. But, as I said earlier, be prepared to pay the price for that power. If you are unsure about whether you are ready for that experience, then by all means do it at noon on a bright, sunny day. Humility is rewarded in the underworld.
For this week's vow, pick a time that you feel comfortable with and do this ritual every day for 3-7 days. You are free to choose a longer time frame. But, the SW can be an intense direction and much can be accomplished in a short amount of time. If this is your first time working with the SW, feel free to only do 3 days. If you are comfortable with the SW, you are encouraged to do this vow for longer periods. As challenging as the SW may be, every moment spent here will produce tremendous results in your spiritual progress. In fact, I would say that if someone wanted to make very significant results in their conscious awareness, the SW is possibly the most powerful direction. I myself work with this direction on a regular basis. But, I also have great respect for it and try to gauge myself. I only do what I feel I am capable of doing while still being able to function in the middle realm. A good diuretic can cleanse you, but is it something you want to do every day? Some people may be astrologically well suited for this direction. Some undoubtedly will not be. Each person is different. So, follow your intuition. In any case, I warned you...
This is going to be very simple. (Because that is the way Loki and Hella like it.)
You will only need 2-4 items for this first SW ritual:
a cup of mead or honey water (Do not drink any of this mead!)
any item that represents ancestors to you, (family photo, memento, archeological artifact, etc...)
Statue of your chosen SW deity
(Continue to do the Thor's hammer Qigong every day. It will help
strengthen your aura for the Underworld ritual. But give at least 1-2
hours space either before or after your ritual. Thor's hammer is very powerful
and will intensify your SW ritual experience. You can do the qigong
routine immediately before your ritual if you choose, but only do so if you are
consciously choosing to intensify your underworld experience. Otherwise,
give yourself plenty of space between the two rituals.)
1) Set up your altar in the SW
2) Open your sacred space by performing your physical gesture to all 8 directions.
3) Light the candle and pray or chant to your chosen SW protector deity If you have chosen to chant a mantra, do so 54-108 reps.
4) Repeat this statement of intent: "I humbly call upon (deity) to guide me through the underworld. I humbly ask that the lords of this realm be merciful to me as I am only a temporary visitor. I am here only to pay my humble respects to the ancestors and guardians of unconsciousness. I recognize that one day, I will come back to this realm to revisit any unresolved issues I may have. My only request is that I be given the power to gracefully become aware of any unconscious patterns that are hindering my evolutionary progress. I ask that the awareness of any blockages be revealed to me slowly and harmoniously. Please be aware that I am just an imperfect middle world resident and I need my psychic barriers intact for now."
5) Offer the mead/honey water to the ancestors. Offer any prayers of safe passage for living and deceased family members. Pray for family members' well being and ask for reconciliation if needed. If any family members are having difficult lives or are out of balance, ask for special help for them to become aware and be given power to take appropriate responsibility for their lives. Release any responsibility you may feel for the mistakes of friends or family. Offer forgiveness to any that you hold resentments against. Ask for forgiveness for any harm you may have done to others whether known or unknown to you. Ask that you may live in harmony with all beings knowing that incarnated life can sometimes be challenging for everyone.
6) Look at the candle flame, sit in stillness and meditate for 10-20 minutes.
7) When you feel the ritual is finished, thank your deity, thank the ancestors and ask to be released from the underworld and reiterate that you know you will return at the appropriate time, but for now, you must return to the middle world to finish your karmic destiny.
8) Leave any unnecessary negativity behind with this statement: " I consciously leave any and all negative energy behind in the underworld to be recycled and returned to the energy reserves of the Cosmos. I leave the underworld feeling lighter and refreshed. I am prepared to return to conscious awareness with a renewed sense of purpose to fulfill my destiny in Middle Earth." Ask your guide to escort you safely back to the middle world.
9) Thank your guide and extinguish the candle.
10) Perform the close-down routine
11) Close the sacred space by performing your gesture to the 8 directions.
12) Take the mead from the altar and pour it onto the Earth as an offering to the ancestors. (preferably in the SW if possible. Do not drink it!)
13) Do something FUN! The Underworld can be a heavy place. So, make sure to do something that is life affirming for you. Go to the movies, eat some tasty food, make love to your partner, take a hike in the woods, etc... Whatever it is, make it something that brings you back into your body and reminds you of the joy of living in middle earth.
(optional: You may have some emotional cleansing occur so don't take your emotions too seriously at this time. Don't take it out on others. Perhaps keep a journal and write down what you are experiencing. Feel free to burn the notes after your vow in a ritual to release old stuff.)
Have you already finished your Week Five Vow? Share it with us HERE!