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Astrological Symbols of a Shamanic Journey: Rebirth in the Desert

By Deborah Allison

Sometimes in a lifetime there are certain experiences one can point to that initiated a shift that altered the very fabric of that life. I experienced such a shift in the high desert near Zion National Park in Cave Valley mentored by White Feather, a gifted Native American Elder. Feather is an expert in the sacred sites, lay lines, vortexes, petroglyphs, pictograms and caves in and around Southern Utah. She chose to take me to a circular plateau around 7,000 feet high and to a path leading to a birthing cave used for at least 6,000 years.

As we walked across the circular plateau en-route to the cave, Feather spoke of the symbolism of the formations of rocks and mountains that marked a sacred confluence of lay lines. The formations clearly indicated the cardinal points with intermediate formations outlining a complete circle. A peculiar species of sage brush filled the area with its powerfully purifying scent. The morning was crisp and crystal clear with perfectly calm air.

It was not a long walk to the cave but only an experienced eye could find its well-hidden entrance. As we approached, Feather pointed out the absolutely amazing formation of the rocks. Clearly visible was the thigh, calf, ankle and foot of the Mother and we were to walk into her birth canal itself which was the chamber of the cave. If there were any doubt as to the symbolism, a huge and remarkable rock phallus was erect and close to the opening of the passage.

As our eyes became accustomed to the semi- darkness, Feather pointed out the unique pictograms that were unique to this cave alone. They were triangular in shape and told the story of a transition from the earth plane to that of the divine, facilitated by the flute players. The pictograms clearly portrayed the transition symbolically, showing the five-toed earth plane figures giving way to the three-toed ones representing the spiritual realm. Portals were indicated and symbols of the Milky Way were readily visible. In the section of the pictograms clearly representing the passage through the portal was a striking symbol of the planet Venus.

In the back wall of the cave was a shallow alcove and I was told that this was the place for the initiate to sit. I can't really put into words the feeling of sitting in that spot. My head brushed the top of the alcove and I was completely enveloped in the Mother. Feather performed the ritual that would facilitate my passage into the Elder phase of life in which my work would be supported by this infusion of ultimate and ancient wisdom. We stayed in silence for awhile and then moved out of the birth passage and into the brilliant sunshine of the day.

Chart F1: Exiting the CaveFrom an astrological standpoint, I had deliberately not chosen the specific day or specific time for this particular ritual but afterwards, I became very curious as to what the moment of leaving for the Cave indicated. Upon returning to my computer, I decided to check it out (see chart F1). When I pulled the chart up, I could only sit back and wonder at the perfection and synchronicity of the cosmos.

As you look at the chart, you are compelled to look at Venus right in the ascendant on exactly the same degree of the Rising Sign. Such a position means that in almost every divisional chart, Venus will stay in the lagna. Venus was the only planet singularly highlighted in the cave and is, of course, an ancient signifier of fertility, ovum, sperm, etc. Both Venus and the ascending degree fall in the nakshatra of Bharani. The stars of Bharani form a triangle said to be depicting the vulva or female regenerative organ. No other nakshatra is as closely aligned with the birthing process itself as this one. The cave pictogram figures are widely regarded as unique because of the triangle formations echoing their link to the cosmic pattern of the moment.

The very bright Moon waxing to fullness is in the 5th house, which is the house of children and initiated spiritual practices. It sits in the nakshatra of Magha, which is the asterism of the progenitors and ancestors and also the throne room-the site of ritual and ceremony. We stand on the shoulders of our ancestors and it is through us they continue their influence. Magha stands for the matriarchal and patriarchal lineages and the old traditions they implore us to maintain. The Moon joins the Rahu/Ketu axis with the Ketu side associating with the Moon. In Vedic Astrology, Moon and Ketu is an indicator of the fiercer aspect of the Divine Mother.

Moon and lagna lord Mars simultaneously form a dharma karma adhipati yoga of the 1st and 4th lords and a Chandra Mangala Yoga, implying help from women that can result in prosperity. Since the Moon simultaneously rules the 4th, perhaps the "women" can be the matriarchal line, the Divine feminine or even mother earth as the 4th represents land.

The soul indicator Sun is in the 12th house where it is aspected by the 12th lord Jupiter from the 8th house-- a position that is implies more than just a casual link. Links between the 12th and 8th houses can carry the theme of moksha or liberation and the ability to transform and let go.

Finally, a very powerful Saturn aspects back to its own 10th house, indicating that the transformations of the day may play out in the public arena.

As I moved out into the world in the subsequent days, I wondered how the shift would manifest, how I would step into the new shoes. In the swirl of details that is my life and all of our lives, I found the age old rocks of the cave--their silence and their support--holding my interior space, and I am at home.

(c) copyright 2007 Michael Laughrin

From the April/May 2007 issue of Michael Laughrin's North American Jyotish Newsletter. Click to subscribe to this free Jyotish newsletter.

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