Journey Through a Cosmic Portal: A Hypnogogic Experience
Death and mourning led me to a cosmic portal, and an encounter with a "serpent ladder." Death was the crucial factor. In May, 2005, I was in Tulum, Mexico, for a memorial service to honor the life of Sanna Parker, a cosmic person and a mighty fine friend. Some family and friends gathered in Tulum to celebrate Sanna's life and memory. We participated in the ceremony called Lifting the Shadow.
I arrived at the Buffalo Airport, May 18th, 2005, at around 5:30 AM. Turns out, I didn't know my itinerary: no departure time; flight number; connecting city; not even what airline I was flying on. To make matters worse, I had to enter all this information into a computer terminal before I could even approach somebody for assistance. The pressure of not knowing my departure time, coupled with feeling idiotic, plus the computer's hindrance, all caused emotional upheaval. I was the fool. I was steeped in meditation practice, so, I simply observed all this, and forgave myself quickly. What's the worst that could happen? I'd have to stay home, I could live with that. It was a sticky situation for 15 minutes, until my friends arrived. We got our tickets and were on our way. I'd cut myself some slack, and behaved nicely when upset. I'd passed the first test. We got to Tulum that afternoon, and the next evening we're participating in the ritual called "Lifting the Shadow." This ceremony was exquisitely performed by two of Sanna's close and mystical friends from Tulum. I appreciated every word and gesture they made, it felt like a timeless ritual. Ceremonially, thirteen candles were burning for three days, on a simple cross, bound with flowers, bound with prayers. On the third day we brought the rosey-cross to the sea, and offered prayers on Sanna's behalf, thanking the universe for her 52 year sojourn with us.
The second day, we headed to Playa Paradiso, or Paradise Beach. Myself, and seven of Sanna's family and friends, all women, accept me. I put on a mask, snorkel, and fins, and headed for the water. When up to my crotch in water two things happened simultaneously: four large fish nearly brushed my knees; and, a voice just like thunder, clearly spoke my name: "Franklin LaVoie." In an instant, I dismissed the voice as some sort of auditory hallucination, "maybe a dump truck grinding its motor"; I'd assumed my auditory nerves had dredged up my name from memory somehow. But, the fish, on the other hand, were plainly real, so I went swimming before turning around. Some minutes later I discovered that I was swimming with my fanny pack on, it contained my wallet, my fancy new camera, my money, and ID, plus my papers to return to the States. How do you say "Crap!" in Mayan?
This was deeply disturbing but, without skipping a beat, I lightened up on myself. I didn't piss ‘n moan to make matters worse. However, taking it lightly appeared to be easier for me than the others. No one was laughing but me. Virginia was kind and sympathetic, we laughed. I quipped that I was "just having a little trouble in paradise." I spared myself a lot of grief while my wet items dried. It hadn't escaped my attention that I was at Playo Paradiso, in "Paradise," and the sun was on the zenith conjunct the Seven Sisters, and here I was in ceremony with seven women. Meanwhile, I'd just emerged from the ocean with my I.D. "all washed up". What if I'd turned to discover the thunderous voice? This probably wouldn't have happened. My decision to be kind, forgive myself, and lighten up (despite the resistence I was feeling,) seems paramount to what happened next. Incidently, I'd passed the second test.
On the third day, all the women went to another beach "even nicer," they reported, than Playo Paradiso. But I chose to stay behind at the cabana, to be alone and meditate. I sat quietly on a hammock meditating, as waves softly stroked the beach. Pleasant to the point of sublime! Suddenly! a jaguar stepped into my mind‘s eye! [Understand, I'm wide awake, with my eyes closed, and yet, I'm suddenly dreaming vividly!] A large jaguar from my right flank lays down in front of me, with a cat's air of nonchalance and animal trust. Although something extraordinary was happening, I continued to observe quietly and follow the breath. I became aware of a white pyramid in the distance. It was flanked by two human figures in the foreground. It seemed these two were also very intent upon this jaguar. Maybe this lasted several minutes. When suddenly, a snake rose up right in my face. It looked beautiful and wise, yet dangerous; it was sentient, venerable, immeasurably exquisite. I knew instinctively it was here to swallow me. I was thrilled (I was having an honest to God vision!) I loved everything about this snake as I went into its mouth, throat, neck. I felt no fear, only thrilling love. I was swallowed whole; surrendering to her beauty, her wisdom; everything triggered unconditional love. In the darkness of her belly I thought, dissolving, "love you love you love you". Trusting the process, I dissolved into emptiness. Simultaneously, I was on the beach, wide awake, meditating. Apparently I'd passed the third and final test. Ecstatic on account of this psychic phenomenon, I managed to sit still and meditate.
Minutes later, another vision occurred. I'm under the sea, heading east over the reefs. There are two guides (like dolphins), one on each side, behind me. We're heading out, perpendicular to the shore, out to the continental shelf; from there, straight down to the ocean's abyssal plain, then further down, into utter darkness and oblivion. Meanwhile, on the beach I'm listening to the waves, when it strikes me, that I'm right between North and South America, and this strikes me as the two hemispheres of the brain. Central America is like the corpus callosum; and the Yuccatan is the Thalamus (which helps regulate waking and dreaming.) The reefs I've just crossed resembled sulci in the neocortex; the continental shelf was like one side of the fissure of commisure; the abyssal plain was comparable to the dense corpus callosum that spreads below the fissure of commisure. I realized that my brain's physiology was out-pictured as the "other world", as after this world. The Yuccatan jungle now corresponded with the conscious world of the senses, or "maya"- the Mayan Jungle. While the sea corresponded to the "other world" of the unconscious mind, the magic realm, where archetypal imagination and dreamtime sprout, where great forces in the spirit occassionally emerge from behind veils, darkness, and the uncharted depths of our ignorance. The shoreline was a liminal territory where the creatures of the sea sometimes met the creatures of the land; but also, a primeval boundary line, where the conscious and unconscious mind met, and carried on a liminal relationship with a lost world on the other side. This offers a fresh glimpse into the nature of Atlantis, and other sunken worlds in myths and legends.
Like the mythical diving figure depicted on the Temple of the Descending God at the ancient ruins of Tulum, I found myself descending into a cosmic portal beyond the reefs, far below the waves, in the darkness of oblivion. There's a worm hole, or serpent ladder at the core of the world, as well as our own brain's core. Where the deepest and highest functions of our physiology involve union with the "afterlife," through the "other world." The images that arose in the mind's eye were out-picturing my body's physiology, while orchestrating these esoteric functions of the psyche. The currents of kundalini, ascending and descending currents or charges of psychic chi, are involved with safeguarding the serpent ladders. Personified as the Hero Twins they correspond with Gemini on the planisphere. They are guardians and psychopomps, and whatevers. The jaguar and the serpent seem to be archetypal motifs constellated among the heavenly choirs, and also as players in the "other world," where they are the guardians, minders, and disguisers, of the secret: the worm hole, or serpent ladder, or dragon path, at the core of our consciousness. Our nervous system is like an upside-down coral fan, precipitated out of a sea of watery emotions that go all the way back to the cosmic Creation. Certain specific physiological features in people coincide with geographic features in the "other world," and maybe vice versa. What I was seeing and experiencing proprioceptively: the direction of awareness through the body‘s physiology became the images out-pictured in stages of a journey to Xibalbabe, and the Pleiades, while in sitting meditation in Middle-earth, at Zamas, in Tulum.
Minutes later, the vision resumed: I'm rising to the surface from the dark watery abyss. All is a paradox: My trajectory is still downward, but I'm coming up out of the sea, which is a buoyant ascent, but on the other side it feels like still descending... Even stranger, I can make out the world beyond the waves, illuminated behind the ocean's surface is a landscape with a pyramid, as viewed from the sky!?! : I'm rising out of the ocean and descending from the sky simultaneously. I know the "other world" is full of paradoxical situations and this was certainly one of them.
Now I'm at ground level looking at another style of pyramid. It's made of white stones; it's a step pyramid; I'm observing architectural features that look like geometric shapes, crystals, shells, feathers, and so forth. I'm aware that this temple is an archetypal image, like the Heavenly City; its bio-cosmic imagery, its architectural motifs, relate to cosmic ages and the reproduction called Life; put another way, it's a design template (temple) behind Conscious awareness. I later mused that the ruins of Tulum (and other sacred sites) were an attempt to reproduce this psychic-bio-cosmic image of the Eternal City.
I knew that I'd entered Xi Balba Be: in the all-pervading galactic core, the Hu Nob Ku, City of White Stones, upon whose walls drape beautiful shady groves, incense laden trees, snow white moonstones. A very comfortable realm with unique symmetrical promenades shaped like the jaguar snout motif. I'm aware of people they are aware of me, but I don't see anyone. I'm looking for Sanna, as I wind through wide marble passages, enjoying the peaceful welcoming ambiance and shade trees. I'd entered the House of the Dead and of Shadows, the Underworld, Xibalbabe. Its white walls glow like lotus petals, an imperceptible breeze the fragrance of floral trees. My soul had descended on the current called the ida, drawn down by the full moon‘s energy, through a worm hole (the serpent's mouth) to the microcosmic orbit, the compressed core of an all-pervading singularity, the galactic core, at the root chakra. This is where the soul descends and reunites with loved ones and friends, after life. It's not at all hellish, rather pleasant, like very bright moonlight on white marble terraces under shady bowers of greenery.
During the descent into the abyss, in the emptiness of oblivion, my awareness split in two. One part continued descending, and the other ascended to this.
Simultaneously, (how's that for a paradox?) I'm looking over a beautiful archipelago, at a vast cluster of islands in a heavenly sparkling realm of the sunlit sea. Rising sunbeams splay their fingers through clouds framing the rich archipelago in a glistening haze. I'm gazing on the Central Sun, Alcyon "all-cyon", the Blue Star, rising beyond the Pleiades, Playo Ides- Central Beach of Paradise. In the liminal world, I see Paradise Islands in a shimmering sea, a sublime archipelago; meanwhile, the vision coincides with a proprioceptive glimpse at the ventricles in the brain, made possible by the white flame glowing from my heart now. The Paradise-Always Islands are connected to the crown chakra, and the sky zenith, and the ventricles of the brain. It's an archetypal mirage of Paradise enfolding the pineal gland together inside the brain.
It‘s love, unselfish love, that sears the heart, causing life to rise out of its pain like a phoenix, lifting the spirit all the way to the Paradise Isles, in heaven's crown, above and beyond the noonday sun. Now, her "symphony and song" informed me that "Sanna has the Central Beach of Paradise for her dance ceremonies, which are the best ever." With these words like solar flares the sacred river rose in me and flowed from my eyes "like a mountain stream gushes by both sides of a rock." Neither sobs nor weeping, but steady streams of ecstasy and grace from my heart of stone that now shone white hot like the sun. Simultaneously I was on the beach, breathing by the waves at high tide. I was struck by a conundrum: is "the Central Beach of Paradise" a celestial place? a macrocosmic reality: Up There, in the Pleiades? Or, was it simply a memory of Tulum, thirty-years ago, when Sanna was fully awakened right here, and leading cosmic dance ceremonies, during the psychedelic ‘70's, right where I sat? Paradoxically, it seems both ideas convey aspects of the truth. I could now feel Sanna's spirit as large as Tulum. She became illuminated there, this place pervaded her essence in eternal bliss. I sat meditating, eager for a vision to arise, entrained to the sound of the sea waves as they strummed the shoreline. I pondered the phrase "Playo Ides"; Ides [like the ides of March] implying the middle of the beach, the Central Shore, Alcyon, in the Pleiades, in Taurus, in the Dwaat, where I've come from. [More on that another time.] I saw connections between: the corpus callosum and the mind's eye; between the vast underworld of caves and underground streams that riddle the Yuccatan Penninsula, and the ventricles and sulci and all the subtleties in the human brain. The sun was grazing the zenith. My heart held a mirror to this. I recognized the Hero Twins as Gemini; I understood the twins as personifications of the Ida and Pingala, connected by the root and the crown chakras, associated to Tragedy and Comedy. I understood them to be guardians of the serpent ladders, which connect Xibalba Be, at galactic center, conjunct the moon, below; with the sun and the Pleiades grazing the zenith, each 20th of May, at noon. The cosmic portal was opened outside by the constellations and planets (the sun and moon); it was opened inside, psychically, with the aid of jaguar, the Twins, the serpent, and the dolphins. In hypnogogic encounters with these sentient figures, while in the liminal "other world" my psyche made two cosmic shifts, one up, and one down, and back again. All the players in the vision appear in the constellations, perhaps not by coincidence.
After some minutes, a fourth vision ensued: I'm inside the biocosmic temple, that same pyramid that I've seen from the outside, I'm inside now, and it's composed of glowing spheres, in geometric tiers, arranged in exquisite order. Behind the spheres are deep geometric nests, made of more glowing spheres. I study the patterns hoping I'll recall this later. While I'm concentrating, a chant like a sing song: "Play-at-ease! - Pleiades, play-at-ease..." More like "pull-lay-at-ease", accent on the first syllable, heavenly and blissfully. "Pull Lay at ease. Pleiades!" This rhythmic rhyme buzzes like a bee, I slowly materialize back into my fully waking consciousness, from a meditation as deep as oblivion. My whole genetic field felt at ease, like I was vibrating at a molecular frequency perfectly "attuned", so my DNA was whole and well, in tune with the ocean, in tune with the sky, in tune with electron shells of love in all directions, fully at peace and at ease. My heart of stone now felt like the sun. Relief is corporeal. The ceremony called "Lifting the Shadow" succeeded in lifting my shadow. It's clear that Sanna's soul and spirit have made it to their ideal ends: her soul's back home in heaven; and her spirit's dancing freely in Paradise. She was a real emissary of light, returned to the bio-cosmic temple, a beloved celebrity now. The cosmic portal, formed by The Pleiades, the Sun, Middle-Earth, the Moon, and the Galactic Center, in a straight line (from top to bottom,) at noontime, on May 20, 2005, at Tulum was still open.
The animal totems that appeared in this vision, like the jaguar, and serpent, the guards, and the dolphins, have archetypal roles. The guards were akin to The Hero Twins, they stood for great forces in the spirit called the "Lord of the House of the Dead and of Shadows", and "Conqueror- Son of Burning Heat". Consistent with mythology, the vision helps us understand a function of these "great forces in the spirit". They are archetypal entities at home in psyche's "other world". They are constellated in, and occupy our unconscious mind. They are spiritual forces, and liminal personae, able to cross the threshold between the worlds, and to appear in dreams of portent, in a vision, or even, perhaps, as apparitions. They are mercurial and alchemical; knowing something about them and their symbolic milieu, can open a dialogue, offering some understanding when they appear in meditation, or out there in the world of appearances. The idea that autonomous "great forces in the spirit" dwell on the other side of a veil, and may never appear to the waking mind's-eye, gives pause to ask: what else am I not seeing? What other mythical, legendary, or unknown wonders have simply chosen not to step out from behind that veil of awareness? Perhaps this helps to explain an instinctual trepidation about psychedelics. Fear of the unknown. Entheogens are one way to access the mind's eye, and to part the veil between the worlds. However, a good grasp of archetypal psychology, alchemy, and metaphysics, provides a foundation for knowing these experiences intelligently, for reducing them psychologically when necessary, and for seeing things as transpersonal, and therefore with less personal morbidity.
My journey through the cosmic portal was preceded by emotional challenges, like toll barriers, they pressed me to display some graces. My gentleness kindness and respect toward myself and others, gave courage to these actors from the "other world", so they felt safe to step through the veil into my waking mind's eye, and to serve as psychopomps. The moral of this story is simply to relax and lighten up on yourself, and remember that meeting life's challenges with patience and good humor may make you friends from the other world, should you knowingly, or unknowingly, be stepping through a cosmic portal.