Russian Foundation of Transpersonal Psychology
International Noosphere Institute
SUBTLE REALITY, WORLDS OF WANDERING
We have all been used to our environment, its space and time since the early childhood. The rules of this world have been put into our mind so deep that we take them for granted and treat as the only possible ones. However, it would be an illusion to think that the world we are used to is known to phisics threedimensional space and linear time. In fact hte human keeps in touch with the world of surfaces and angles, crossing roads and paths
That is why in the same three dimentional phisic space absolutely different subjective world may be hidden. For example, a person who has spent all his or her life in the country and then goes to a big city find s him or herself in a totally different space with different geometry, perspective and time rythm.
Before we are born our space is limited by our mother's womb, its form and durability does not have much in common with with the world into which we are coming. At the same time from phisics point of view it is the same three dimentional space. And even more: different people may see absolutely unlike worlds in the same spot of the phisic space (city, house, natural landscape). Let us think of painters' pictures and literature.
If we wish to understand human inner world better it makes sense to speak of subjective spaces, appearing in the depths of human mental life and only partly reflecting external world, at least because our senses are limited. We actually do not see the real three dimensional world we do reconstruct it of plenty of flat images percepted from different points of space defined by trajectory of our movement, turn of our head etc. Besides the human ability to elaborate visual, auditory and other images is rather limited itself. That is why we really percept only a small part of information concerning environment. Which part is that is defined by our habits predispositions or mare chance. For that reason subjective worlds are so variable.
Once when I've been in Paris for the first time I was absolutely astonished by the perception of its space. It was amazing to turn into one of the small streets in pradtically any of of the old parts of the city and to find yourself in a different place comparing to what you had expected. The clue was in its pentagonal structure. In the urban space we are used to streets are as a rule parallel or perpendicular to each other, so if you walk along parallel streets you always keep the chosen direction. When the structure is pentagonal five or more streets have their beginning in one crossing, they seem to be parallel, so you take one of them but this way you are going farther from the first one and end up in an absolutely unexpected place. Hence, the space model we are used to does not work any longer and we need some time to adapt.
Even bigger variety of worlds and sujective spaces can be seen when we face the images from the depths of unconscious. These are dreams, different fairy-tales, myths, pieces of literature. Visioners' experiences, altered states of consciousness, shamanic travels and mystic religious images are even more unusual. These worlds seem to be closer to the human consciousness than our phisical environmemt. When a little child grows up he or she finds it difficult to leave them and tries to come back through fairy-tales, childish riddles etc.
Nevertheless, in spite of incredible variety of subjective worlds one can see rather clear rules, common features and invariants in them. The mentioned childish riddles are surprisingly alike in very different cultures which are often separated not only by huge distances but also by time. Firthermore, we will easily see their similarity with Tibetan Book of Death being a result of deep mystic experience. We start to feel that variable fantastic subjective worlds reflect some other or others realities intrusing into subconsciousness of different people.
3.1. Subtle reality structure
Reality discovered by human during altered state travel significantly differs from the world we are used to. First of all it impresses by unimaginable comparing to our world complexity. It includes endless number of worlds as ours and the much more complicated ones, having higher dimension, other geometry of space and time and other phisic laws. All thes worlds are unified and interact with each other. Naturally, some connections are stronger and the other ones are weaker, so the space of the worlds is not homogenious, it has its thickenings and rarefactions as our physical Universe, where star worlds establish galaxies and constellations, has.
Yet, the principles of unification of subtle worlds are not as homogenious as in our Universe. They depend on the character of the examined connections, so from different points of view both thicknesses and thinnesses will look very different, for geometry of this world is virtual. And so we can unify the worlds on the basis of historic conections, closeness of interaction at the present moment, to segregate them according to principles of good and evil etc. All these classifications will be correct in their own way.
That is why when we deal with subtle reality we should get used to simoultaneous existence of variable often contradicting each other describtions of the same object or phenomena. This remind of quantum-wave dualism in phisics when electron is simoultaneously defined as a wave and as a corpuscle. The same can be said of virtual corpuscles of modern quantum mechanics that at the same time exist an do not exist (29). Ancient esoteric traditions widely use that principle of multiplicity and virtuality of describtions of subtle reality, there are even special psychotechnics which allow to transform human mind and to make it better adapted for perception of such reality.
We will first concentrate on the special features of the worlds interaction and connections established between them. If we do not arrange the worlds according to some criterias but will examine the whole unity of the connections existing between them, multidimensional hyperspace will remind of bunch of grapes, where every separate world or universe is a single berry. Besides it looks as a shere (a 'berry') only from the point of view of the observator, who is in hyperspace, from the inside it is an endless universe (see picture 5). The interesting thing is that visioners' experience of different ancient mystic traditions contain similar images. So Celtic myths describe a shaman who had found himself between the worlds and had seen that our universe is smaller than a charlock seed (30). The most surprising thing is that nowadays such models, which are beyond rational sense, are used in phisics. Still, now the Universe watched from the outside may look as elementary corpuscle (electron or proton)!
However, other than bunch of grapes, universes in hyperspace are connected much more stronger. The net of connections between them reminds of a multidimentional spider web, besides it is virtual, for many conections appear for an instant and then dissappear. At the same time there is a system of relatively stable connections that form a kind of a skeleton of the hyperspace. They form the main routes, attractors around which appear and dissappear virtual paths.
The features of such roads, paths (hyperspacial tunnels and canal locks do not have much in common with the roads of our world. For the first, the durability we are used to does not exist in the hyperspace. Translocation between very distant in our world points through hyperspace might take only a moment. Let us imagine our world as a flat sheet (as geographic map of Earth). Then one has to go many thousands of kilometres to get from Russia to India, moving on the surface of our planet. Yet, if we bend the map so that the two points will stick together the crossing will be instant. Obviously, all this can really happen only in the multi-dimensional hyperspace from whose point of view our world looks as a sheet or rather hypersheet (31).
For the second, the movement through hyperspacial movement is very often only one-way which means that if you have used it to get from one world into another it would be impossible to use it to return. You will have to look for a new way which might be not easy.
For the third, different hyperspacial tunnels may have different scales of transparency, in other words they might let in not all kinds of substances and energies. So majority of them are transparent for subtle energies and do not let through phisic materia and substances. Although substances theoretically can be thrown from one world into another and this sometimes takes place it is an extremely rare phenomena. Besides if the worlds have different phisic laws or their material ingredients cannot co-exist (for example they consist of materia and anty-materia) the movement of the substances is absolutely impossible. That is why relatively low scale of hyperspacial tunnels transparency is, probably, a kind of sequrity mechanism.
The search or creation of a tunnel, leading to the chosen world, and finding its entrance is an important and not simple task. Theoretically any point of our space can possibly be an entrance to any world, however, this might demand unimaginable efforts. It is much easier to try to find the point where the boundary between the worlds is more transparent, for if we wish to enter the next room we do not explode the wall but look for the door. The simplest way of searching for the channel between the worlds uses the principle of simillarity. So the place from which you are going to the chosen world should look as this world. Siberian shamans use low-lands, caves, darkness and evening when they travel to lower worlds, thus for the travel to upper worlds they choose hill tops and preferably sunrise.
In other words we should in a way create a model of the needed world, using natural landscape and making corresponding environment, emotional condition through rituals and ceremonies.
Usually the subtlest boundaries between the worlds are situated in so-called 'places of power' well known to ancient esoteric traditions. These parts of our planet has been used for mystic and religious rituals since the ancient times, cult constructions and temples have been built there. Such constructions often had special character and strnghtened the boundary transparency or maintained the selective contact between the worlds. Old megalithic constructions, stupas, mantra wheels, on which we will concentrate later, can be an example.
The diaphragm (door) or channel through which we can enter or exit the hyperspacial tunnel is its important part (lock). As a rule the tunnel is not open all the time or for everybody who wants to get there. More often the diaphragm reminds of a safe door with the complicated code lock and weaponed sequrity. That is why it is not enough to find the door, one should know how to enter it. This might need the knowledge of complicated ceremonies and rituals.
The diphragm may have the most unusual shape, for hypertunnels connect the worlds whose phisics is not rarely different. It may look as a complicated multi-colored rainbow, misty smoke, it often has selfalike structure and fractalgeometry.
Fortunately, the tunnels that connect us with the nearest coats of subtle reality are relatively simple. The following factors influencing diaphragm transparency can be briefly distinguished:
Tunnels are not the only form of connection between the worlds, although other ones are much more seldom. One of them is a closed capsule (bubble), something as an elevator cabine that moves between the worlds.
The tree of the worlds
As we have already mentioned variable forms of arrangement of connections between the worlds. The classification according to the levels of manifestation is one of the most general. It has been known since the ancient times in the very different traditions but has got its fullest development in Tantra, Kabala and European mystic alchemistry. Now we will try to describe it in the most general way based on works of C. Yung and other modern psychologists.
Ancient traditions has often compared that classification with the tree and called it 'the tree of the worlds'. It is organized according to hierarchy principle and the higher the level of hierarchy is, the fader its manifestation in material world is and the more lower hierarchy levels it includes. In other words the heigth of hierarchy level is defined by variety and number of included sublevels. People, animals, plants, spirits of nature and other incarnated beings are situated at the bottom of this hierarchy. Its top is superconsciousness, higher, undifferentiated Divine principle (Paramashiva, Dharmakaya, Buddha Mahavayrochana). One of the paradoxes of the multi-dimensional picture of the world is that the top of the tree placed in the eternity (superconsciousness) is simoultaneously present in each atom, each being of our reality.
This top is the centre to which all hierarchy levels are coming, they flow into the higher ones as springs and run towards the trunck that goes into eternity (see picture 6b). One more metaphore used for the describtion of thie hierarchy is the river stream with many springs coming to it. If we use modern terminology we can say that the tree of the world presents a gigantic fractal structure which has tree-, self-alike geometry.
The travel to endless spaces of the tree of the world starts with the single subconsciousness. Its depths are open into collective unconscious connecting separate personalities into unity (see picture 6a). The term 'collective unconscious' was created by C.Yung and describes the huge information bank, storing collective, beyond personal experience of the whole humankind (27). A single person can get from there the knowledge that is more than his or her personal experience, that is proved by significant experimental data including ASC travels, observing people in intermediate states of consciousness and in psychiatric clinic etc. (9, 15, 27). Thus his or her personal experience goes to the ocean of collective unconscious and is kept even after the person's death.
However, the library analogy is not quite right, for the knowledge in collective unconscious does not have much in common with books or tapes. This information exists in 'dissolved', unstructured form, as archetype (Yung). Such archetypic form of thinking of information is generally typical for the depths of our unconsciousness and subtle reality connected with them. We will speak of it in a more detailed way later.
Collectiv unconscious of the humankind is not homogenious and has a rather complicated structure. Its elements are variable groups unifying people according to national, professional, religious, patronymic, state and other principles. The single personality can simoultaneously belong to several such subsets joining them through collective unconscious of human kind.
Collective unconscious of human kind, in its turn, joins collective unconscious of mammals, then animals, all living organisms of our planet, planetary biosphere (noosphere), Solar system, our galaxy etc. (see picture 6b). Naturally, the archetype principle can be applied to gradation of separate hierarchy levels. This means that boundaries between them are dissolved and rather relative. Furthermore, the described hierarchy has a virtual character and the boundaries between the levels can be put in a different way. And the question which describtion is more correct does not make sense if the general principles of archetypic organization of the tree of the world are obeyed.
The tree of the world has a multi-dimensional structure and for that reason it cannot be fully presented by the graphic means available to us. That is why it might be more comfortable to use its separate sections made for the concrete task or problem. One of such sections is presented on the picture 7. It describes connections between subconsciousness of a single person and deeper (higher) coats of collective unconscious. For greater convinience the usual hierarchy of the tree of the world is turned up side down, so we seem to move to the coordinate system of a single personality. The scheme presents every archetypic space as a circle and hyperspacial channels between them are arrows (do not forget that every such circle presents three-(n)dimensional endless space (see picture 5). The third dimension, from which the section is made, contains subconscious spaces of other personalities and alternative archetypic spaces that belong to the same kind as the ones presented on the scheme. For example, this can be other national or religious egregors.
This scheme may illustrate one of the ancient ways of establishment of subtle contact with another being (human, spirit, animal). Through the depths of your own subconsciousness you dip into archetypic spaces of the higher and higher hierarchy level until you reach the sphere common with your receiver. Then you start to move back to thicker worlds where it lives. The picture shows with interrupted line trajectory of such travel to the deer's spirit made by a shaman before hunting. As you can see it goes down to the archetypic space of mammals and then goes up through spaces of animals to the subconsciousness of the chosen deer.
One of the most important dimensions of the tree of the world is time, every archetypic space exists not only in present but also in past and future. We can travel between different archetypic worlds of present and in the same way we can wander between different time sections of the same world. Still, such travels are much more complicated and demand rather good skills. This aspect of subtle travels will be discussed in the more detailed way in the chapter concerning virtual time and fractal oracle (see Appendix 4).
The tree of the world seems to be the most general classification of subtle worlds. However, many other classifications somehow connected wirh the 'treealike' one are known.Traditional shamanic cartography of upper, middle and lower worlds, dividing subtle universe in divine and demonic worlds, paradise and hell (more general and detailed version of this scheme is six Samsara realms in Induism and Buddhism) belong to them. All these versions of subtle reality describtion will be presented in the chapter devoted to cartography (Chapter 6).
And finally one more very important aspect of the tree of the world is creation and destruction of the universe. Practically all ancient traditions compare different levels of the tree of the world with different stages of creation destruction of macro- and microcosmos. They are based on the cyclic model of time where the stages of creation destruction follow each other. From this point of view the linear model of time, the idea of progress is a particular case of the more general scheme as a stretch of a line is a part of a circle. In all such schemes superconsciousness is a source and primary reason of creation and material world is its final stage. That is why the movement in the upper direction of the tree of the world hierarchy is at the same time going back to the sources of time, universe and to primary chaos.
This deep connection between tree of the world and the process of creation is wonderfully illustrated by on of the oldest Tantric mandalas Sri Yantra. Its connection with the tree of the world becomes more clear when it is presented in the three-dimensional version (see picture 8). The point in the centre correspondes to the top of the tree, the sphere of superconsciousness and the outer square corresponds to the material world and roots. Similar symbols can be seen in Tibetan mandala of Kalachacra and other mandalas, icons and yantras, in many religious and magic constructions and temples (see Chapters 4, 6).
3.2. Space and time (metaphisics of subtle universe)
First we will concentrate on invariants of inner space, in other words on those its features that are percepted in practically the same way by different people independantly on their cultural and national belonging.
Such invariants may appear in fairy-tales, literature, religious and cultural traditions, dreams and hallucinatory images. They are connected not only with space-time relations but also with the plot structure of a novel and value orientation of a person.
C.Yung is one of the initiators of scientific studying of such psychologic invariants or archetypes. His works, illustrated by the analysis of structure of ancient myths, later pieces of art and dreams, prove the existance of archetypic invariants and classify them. S. Grof is worth attention if to speak of modern researchers working in this direction, his conceptions are devoted to the analysis of archetypic invariants connected with subjective time and space during altered states of consciousness. At the present moment it is still difficult to answer which real processes condition exsistance of such invariants. They might be a manifestation of rules of work of brain neurophisiologic mechanisms, its genetically defined informational structure.
Let us now try to distinguish basic invariants of inner space that condition its specific features, differences with phisic space directly interacting with human (Newton's space).
For the first, it should be mentioned that the same object lacks stable size and even shape. It can become huge or extremely small in a moment. Such effects were often observed in dreams, hallusinations, fantasies and have found their reflection in numeral myths, legends and folklore. B. Tan describes in his work changes of conscious states of Chucotian shaman: 'It is difficult to understand if spirits are large or little. You look at the spirit and it is smaller than a moth. You look at it again and it is human size. And look: it already sits on a crag and its feet are below on the sand. Look at it closer: it seems to be no bigger than a finger. Look at it from a distance and it rises up as a mountain ' Objects that dominate or endanger the given person are seen as huge and the small ones are subordinated to him or her. The change of subordination-domination relations may lead to sudden change of the object's size.
The deformation of relative sizes is also typical for images of inner space. Some part can grow bigger and become huge while another one gets smaller. Such deformations of relative sizes often appear in childish dreams, they can be seen in many ritual drawings and sculptures reflecting perception in altered states of human consciousness. M. Murphy's monography gives an example of such deformation of relative sizes that was experiences by a golf player in important moment of competition: 'The hole, which the player had to hit, had suddenly become bigger, according to him it had reached the size of a bath. I had tried to keep this feeling the sportsman had said without explaining its nature '
This way in Newton's space object's size and shape are invariants (unless they are deformed by external forces) but in inner space only the most general topologic characteristics are stable while size and shape may transform in the very wide scale.
For the second, if usual phisic space is homogeneous and isothropic, the inner one is full of nonhomogenities and topologic patches that enable instant crossing from one space geometry into another. Here one can rather speak of plenty of spaces with different geometry unified by tunnels and creating a complicated net. Such complicated spacial structures are used in phisics for describtion of effects ofquantum theory of gravitation.
The crossing from one such space into another is usually described through the analogy of a narrow hole, crack, well, tunnel. This pattern is present in myths and fairy-tales. The image of a narrow tunnel appears also in the describtions of the states experienced in the moment of clinic death. Not ocasionally the ritual of going through the narrow passage, hatchway etc. is present in practically all ancient rites of initiation. Here the analogy of passage of a new-born baby through generative ways.
The dream described by C.Yung (32) can be given as an example of such crossing from one sphere of space into another:
" At about the same time I could not say with absolute certainty whether it preceded thhis experience or not I had the earliest dream I an remember, a dream which h was to preoccupy me all my life. I was then between tharee and four years old.
The vicarage stood quite alone near laufen castale, and there was a big meadow stretching back from the sexton's farm. In the dream I was in this meadow. Suddenly I discoveared a dar, rectangular, stone-lined hole in the ground. I had never seen it before. I ran forward curiously and peered down into it. Then I saw a stone stairway leading down. Hesitantly and fearfully I descended. At the bottom was a doorway with a round arch, closed off by a green curtain. It was a big heavy curtain of worked stuff like broacade, and it looked very sumptuous. Curious to see what might be hidden behind, I pushed it aside. I saw before me in the dimn light a rectangular chanmber about thirty feet long. The ceiling was arched and of hewn stone. The floor was laid with flagstones, and in the center a red carpet ran from the entrance to a low p latform. On this platform stood a wonderfully rich golden throne. I am not certian, but perhaps a red cushion lay on the seat. It was a magnificent throne, a red king's throne in a fairy tale. It was a magnificnet throne, a red king's throne in a fairy tale. Something was standing on it which I thought at first was a tree trunk twelve to fifteen feet high and about one and a half to two feet thick. It Was a huge thing, reaching almost to the ceiling. But it was of a curious composition: it was made of skin and naked flesh, and on top there was something like a rounded head with no face and no hair. On the very tope of the head was a single eye, gaizing motionlessly upward.
It was fairly light in the room, although there were no windows and no apparent source of light. Above the head, however, was an aura of brightness. The thing did not move, yet I had the feeling that it might at any moment crawl off the throne like a worm and creep toward me. I was paralyzed with terror. At the moment I heard from outside and abov e me amy mother's voice. She called out, "Yes, just look at him. That is the man-eater" That intensified my terror still more, and I awoke sweating and scared to death. For many nights afterward I Was afraid to go to sleepp, because I feared I might have another dream like this "
One more special feature connected with the going through the tunnel or singular point, if we use phisics terminology, is inversion of many qualities of the object that goes through such transformation. And so left can become right, external can turn into internal and female into male. That is a source of many ancient mythologic images according to which the same object (for example androgene) may at the same time have contradictory qualities, exist in several shapes, to be a part of something bigger and simoultaneously contain this something in itself. All this seems to be connected with the fact that the same object or image can be projected in different parts of inner space which modifies variable aspects of reality, that in their turn have different structure, geometry and even dimensionality. inner space presents a net of relatively independant parts connected through singular points.
Yakutian legend can be one of the examples of two parallel spheres of inner space with the inversion of qualities of the same object (33):
" Mouses, for example, live on our land but there should be a special mouse sphere somewhere. And there these mouses live in some other form of being. They have their homes, arsenals of weapons, utensils, they make their rituals and appropriate sacrifices. The earthy shaman gets to this sphere. An old woman has a sor throat. In our land it is a mouse entrapped into straw snare made by our earthy children. She can be cured in two ways. This can be done there, in that particular sphere in a shamanic way until the snare here is broken. Then the old woman will be cured. The snare can be simply broken here. The mouse will escape and the old woman will be again cured there. The shaman cures there and succeeds. The staw snare on the earth gets broken and the mouse escapes. The shaman is rewarded with meat, roll of leather band, seals' skins. Yet, on our earth these gifts turn into dry branches and faded leaves."
The necessity of such multimodal describtion manifested in the existance of several metaphoric languages (fields of inner space) and used for reflecting of the same phenomena can be understood from the point of view of modern mathematics and cybernetics. Really, every such describtion, being a reflection of certain features of the percepted ocject, presents its model. At the same time it is impossible to create an absolutely complete and noncontradictory model. The only alternative is to establish a family of models reflecting separate aspects of the phenomena and, put together, giving fuller describtion. Nevertheless, each of our models only partly covers with the object of describtion that is why such models may even be imcompatibile in some aspects. A classic example of such 'contradictory' describtion is quantum-wave dualism being the basis of quantum mechanics. According to it the same object simoultaneously has features of a wave and corpuscle whileone seems to exclude another.
Comparative characteristics of subtle inner space and the space of Newton's mechanics are presented in Tables 1 and 2.
Table 1. Comparative characteristics of the matter and subtle worlds.
Table 2. Comparative characteristics of subjective and physical Newton’s space.
They prove that invariants of inner space have more general and universal character, i. e. its separate fields can imitate also laws of Newton's mechanics that takes place during daily routine interaction of human with the environment. However, in more complicated psychic processes, especially in extreme situations, creativity, deep emotional and spiritual experiences more powerful informational modifying mechanisms start to act, this is a source of the whole spectrum of characteristics described in the right part of Table 2. The situation somehow reminds of correspondence of relative and quantum phisics with classic phisics which is their concrete case working for low speeds and small energies.
The concept of time and destiny, karma strongly connected with it has a huge role in ancient cosmogony. The passage of time and its streams define bright and dark patches in human life, lucky and fatal occasions. For that reason the concept of nature of time is a basis of vast majority of practical methods ofhuman destiny correction.
Yet, the image of time in ancient cultures significantly varies from our nowadays conceptions. Besides the comparision would be not too good for us, for we use extremely primitive concept of time that does not suit even our life experience.
Really, we see time as an arrow that moves from past into future. The scale of such time is the same for all alive and not alive beings. At the same time it is well known to everyone that the same period of time can either suppress and go by unnoticed or prolong and and seem eternity. This difference is especially well seen in the moments of strong emotional tension connected with life endagering, extreme effort in the case of sportsmen etc. Many evidences prove that in such states seconds may be experienced as hours and time seems to stop (21).
That is why ancient traditions describe time by speaking of many time streams and in each of them time flows in its own way, getting thicker or thinner and changing its speed. The speed of water movement in a mountain spring changes in more or less the same way. Such conception of plenty of time streams was known not only in the East but was also quite popular in Medival and Renaissanse Europe.
It is enough to say that it was develpoped by the most famous scientist of ancient times, initiator of European medicine Paracelsus, his pupil Van Helmont and others. The conception of nonhomogenity of time passing in different organs of a human and their disbalance during illness allowed Paracelsus to create very effective new methods of curing bad illnesses.
Many modern scientists have come to similar concepts of time nature. For example Russian phisisist N.Kozyriev had theoretically and experimentally proved existence of time streams thickness and thinness (34). Another important special feature of ancient imaginations of time is turning the arrow of time that was especially deeply elaborated in Tantra. As it was already mentioned we imagine time flowing from past into future. Hence, we have the idea of strict casuality when events of past univocally define future. As a result we get the idea of irreversible fatum, previously defined destiny where there is no space left for the freedom of will.
The idea of casuality looks totally different in Indian and Tibetan tantra, Chinese Book of changes. Here the arrow of time is turned from future into past and the stream of time is divided in many springs. Hence, the destiny consists of past acts (reasons) and stream of tim coming up from the future. You can form different variants of your future destiny, having the same past and just changing time streams (for more details see Appendix 4).
One more specific feature of esoteric concept of time is connected with cycle and fractality. In other words time stream is treated as plenty of changing each other cycles, besides every cycle contains many smaller ones according to the principle of Russian wooden doll matrioshka (self-likeness or fractality). So Indian tradition share all time of universe existence in four consequent stages Yugas characterised by gradual growth of degradation and chaos. The last one Kali Yuga or iron century finally leads to destruction and death of the universe. However, each of the four Yugas contains the same sequence of smaller Yugas etc. So four Yugas can be distinguished in the life of our planet, separate civilisation, state and even family or individual. We observe them every year in the change of four seasons, starting with spring and finishing with winter (local Kali Yuga). Even shorter cycle can be seen in the 24 hours rythm: morning, day, evening and night.
the smaller the size is, the shorter the rythm durability is from insects, microorganisms and viruses, moleculas, atoms, and primary corpuscles etc. Yet, these four stages can be distinguished everywhere. In other words we deal with archetypic image of time that manifests everywhere and in everything. Naturally, as any archetype it is not exhausted by the only describtion. Four stages, four Yugas is the simplest form of time cycle presentation. There are also more detailed systems. For example Indian tantric tradition knows 10 stages of time connected with 10 kinds of female energy (10 Mahavidias). China has a cycle of 8 trigrams and more complicated one of 64 hexagrams.
There is also a shorter cycle popular in European alchemistry, corresponding to three transformation worlds (nigredo, albedo and rubedo). Still, primarily it also consisted of four stages (28). Nevertheless, basic elements of the cycle, including birth, full bloom, fading and death stay unchanged everywhere. They can be also found in modern phisics, biology, psychology, sociology and history. For example the conception of passionate impulse in ethnos development by N.Gumiliov.
The concept of inbuilt time cycles appears to be a very convinient way of describtion of reality that allows successfully overcome difficulties, crisises and direct development of variable processes in a needed way. This concerns both, usual phisic reality and strictly connected with it subtle one. The rythm of events taking place in subtle world will sooner or later manifest in out world (synchronism).
The art of getting the information concerning past and future in ASC and influence the present with its help has been known since ancient times (for more detailes see Appendix 4).
The influence on present is especially effective in the case of synchronisation and desynchronisation of inbuilt time rythms, this can be achieved due to special mantras, signs, mandalas, altered state travels connected with our reality. However, this work demands high proffesionalism and may succeed only if the moment of correction is well chosen (special time point of bifurcation when synchronisation of inbuilt rythms can be influenced, naturally, we take into account rythms of our reality and subtle realities connected with it).
During tavels in ASC very unusual perception of time often occurs. We have already spoken of changes in time passing speed, one more typical image is perception of time as one of the space dimensions. In other words you start to see past and future as unity whose three-dimensional section is present (three dimensions without time). Space-time is percepted as a huge snake without its beginning or end stretched along time axle. In India such image is called Linga Sharira it reflects qualitatively different perception of time other than causal-consecutive connections we are used to (35).
Time loops in ASC
Another unusual image of time in ASC is time loops, i. e. after you have gone through some interval of time, you again find yourself in its beginning and this happens again and again. Besides you are the only one to remember previous cycles for everybody else time starts from the beginning. Finding yourself in such time loop is quite dangerous, for it is difficult to get out of there and you might need to go the higher space-time dimensions. The American film Ground Hog's Day pretty well describes the impression of time loop. Time loops relatively often appear as a result of use of hallucinatory psylocibine mushrooms (36, 37).
In fact time loop occurs when hyperspacial tunnel closes two points on the axle of time and practically instantly throws you from present into past in the point of time axle where its exit is situated. Then you move along time axle, living the time period up to the tunnel entrance, you get into it again and find yourself in the past once more. In order to break this loop you have to try to change the time stream or close the entrance into hyperspacial tunnel with the help of appropriately chosen mantras and magic signs.
3.3. Dwellers: archetypic beings, spirits
One more important condition of successful and safe journey into parallel worlds is knowledge of symbols and images, understanding of nature of objects and beings percepted in altered states of consciousness.
As it has already been mentioned, the character of perception during altered states of consciousness usually radically changes. All objects lose their stability and take the most unexpected looks transforming usual shape and size. This is beautifully described in variable myths, legends and fairy-tales.
However, universal laws and features exist also here they allow to orient in these worlds. Those are already mentioned before so-called archetypes or archetypic symbols. Yet, one should not think that these symbols look as the ones in a dream-book. Every archetypic symbol has an endless number of meanings and may be interpreted only in this particular context.
Let us examine some examples. One of the goddesses of Tantric panteon Chinnamasta is presented beheaded with her own head in her hand. The stream of blood sprinkling out of her throat goes into her mouth. The first thought you have is that you see a terrible monster, vampire. In fact she symbolises the denial of flesh and bestial element in the name of the spiritual one. The blood going out of her throat symbolises sublimation of bestial energy by higher mental functions.
It is well known that Hinduist Tantric panteon may present the same god in the wonderful and creative image and and as a horrible monster. So the ancient Indian epos Bhagavadgita first shows God-creator as a creative image:
Crowned with fire, wrapped
If a thousand suns were to rise
Then he shows his face of destructive time:
Are rushing headlong into
As the rivers ihn many torrents
As moths rush into a flame
Such difference is quite typical for visions of parallel spaces and appears in variable religious traditions. So C.Yung describes the vision of Trinity of Swiss mystic brother Nicholas of Flue (27): " he himself has said that he had seen penetrating light that had looked as a human face. The vision was so frightening that he had been afraid his heart would break in the smallest pieces " One can also refer to apocaliptic image of Christ whose appaling unusualness hardly corresponds with Jesus from the Mountain Gospel.
One can give plenty of such examples. Generally it can be said that the further we go into parallel worlds, the less usual and concrete archetypic beings and their images become but at the same time their emotional and mind transforming influence grows unmeasurably stronger.
The deepest mystic experience cannot be described by words at all because it is so very different from all images we are used to. Still, at the same time the only such experience leaves irreversible trace for the whole life and may radically change the nature of a human being who has experienced it.
Probably, one of the basic features of the archetypic object is the fact that it absolutely cannot be described in the logically ordered and structured way we are accustomed to. Every archetype is chracterised by the endless variability of the images connected with it and at the same time contains something elusive that allows to feel in all this one source which cannot be expressed by means of words and definitions. Archetype cannot be defined by simple enumeration of images connected with it as we normally do in the usual world. In other words no matter how carefully we describe an archetype there always would be something important beyond this describtion.
Let us say that a person can be characterised in a pretty detailed way by pictures of him or her taken from different perspectives, by describtion of his or her habits and special features of his or her behavior. This attitude will not work out if we would like to present the image of God, love, evil etc. Maybe for that reason many religions forbid to present the face of God to prevent believers from bringing his endless variability to the only image.
Another important archetype's feature is impossibility to draw precise line between different archetypic images that penetrate and smoothly turn into each other.
If we look at all these features attentively we will see that an archetype surprisingly reminds of a multidimensional object that we see as its separate projections. That is a source of a great many of describtions, images, shapes and impossibility to limit the archetype to their simple enumerating and dissolved boundaries between variable archetypic images.
A very important archetype's feature is its manifestation in our world in the most different conceptual, sense, semantic and symbolic sections. In other words, it can appear as a describtion-text, conception, principle, picture, hermetic, sound or number symbol etc. Besides due to archetype's multidimensional nature each section or projection may correspond with plenty totally different from the external point of view images.
For example Eastern tradition subscribes sign (mantra) OM to the highest Divine plan, sound AMEN is one of its analogies in Christianity. On geometric level sound OM corresponds with more than hundred signs. Some of them are presented on the picture 9. One can give plenty of such examples.
The presence of such geometric, color, sound and other invariants is not only one of its unusual features but also serves as a basis of variable methods and practices connected with elaboration of some archetypes. So, for example, appropriate magic signs (geometric invariants) and mantras (acustic invariants) are used for activisation of the archetype connected with them.
Variable symbolic manifestations of the archetype are a basis of ancient Indian poetic and theatrical tradition Dhvani-rassa helping to create the needed mood. The most interesting thing is that the same symbols, being connected with deep archetypic meaning, still influence a modern human who lives in the absolutely different culture. Firthermore the same archetype can manifest itself through different forms.
Semantic model of archetype
A convinient form of archetypic information describtion is semantic models. They allow to reflect only some part of archetypic features but still give some minimal knowledge concerning its features and interaction with other archetypic images. You can complete this information with experiencing the archetype in ASC and then you will be able to significantly enrich and increase your imaginations about it.
Semantic models have their basis in conceptions of meanings, qualities of an archetypic object ordered in the semantic space (12). Each such meaning and quality, in its turn, is an archetype. In other words, every archetypic image can be described as a combination of other archetypes features. Many archetypes present a kind of alphabet, a dictionary for their own describtion.
As we have already said, all archetypes are actually projections, 'shadows' of some endlessly complicated object (archetype of God), however, in real practice of work in ASC three important classes of archetypes can be distinguished:
In the wider sense all three mentioned above classes are meanings, nevertheless, in practice such classification appears to be very useful.
Naturally, it is impossible to work with all archetypes at the same time that is why separate classes of archetypic features and qualities are distinguished, their language describes corresponding archetype's features. If we use a geometric analogy we can say that each class forms a multidimensional surface on which appropriate archetype's feature is projected. Certainly, different archetypes classes have different sets of such projective surfaces describing the most significant qualities.
So world's archetype (space-time) following important quality classes can be distinguished:
Any of such classes (projective surfaces) will get divided in subclasses etc. in the process of more detailed examination.
In the same way the archetype of subtle world beings have following significant qualities:
Such knowledge concerning beings and spirits forms the laggage of an experiences shaman and magician. Although the whole spectrum of the mentioned above qualities is not always known. It is especially difficult to find out the real name of a spirit because that gives you power over him.
In order to illustrate everything that has been said above we will examine the archetype of god Mercury very popular in ancient mythology and Medival alchemistry. Mercury (his Greek name is Hermes) is a very complicated god presenting contradictory elements, his main archetype is connected with change and transformation. Correspondingly he presents the primary chaos where all kinds of materia and forces are mixed and huge vital energy, creativepower is present. This primary substance is called aqua vitae 'water of life'. If this powerful energy escapes the control over it is lost it turns into terrifying destructive force, a gin that has gone out of a bottle. This demonic face of Mercury is often symbolized by a storm petrel (a messenger of trouble), a dragon, a furious lion. It is called the violent Mercury, Eranos (38). If it gets power over human imagination it pushestowards unlimited destruction, rapture of a battle, blood-thirsty frenzy (as for example in the case of berserks or during revolutions and rebells).
C.Yung spoke of it in his famous lecture The spirit of Mercury in 1942 during the Second World War when teh passion of blood and destruction got its power over millions of people. He discussed the dual nature of imagination, that is able to wake creative abilities, love and awareness of beauty. Yet, onthe other hand, it can manifest through hatred, cruelty, desire to kill.
Mercury's duality is in his cunning and trickiness. He is connected with transformation, cahnge, crossing, he patrinizes those who are on the road and himself is a mediator between phisic world and subtle reality. Among other things he carries the souls of dead into another world.
When he is tamed an under control he turns into creative power, a spirit sealed in the bottle, poison that cures used in small amounts. That is a source of Hermes's rod atributes (two crossed snakes) and the cup with snakes a symbol of modern medicine.
Another symbol of Mercury is a rabbit that seems not to have much in common with his archetype. However, it can be met in different unconnected with each other traditions, even in Siberean shamanism (see Chapter 6). All this speaks of his archetypic not occasional character. Really, in its aspect connected with aqua vitae it symbolises libido, sexual power, energy and fertility. Many cultures treat the rabbit as a symbol of sexual unweariness and fertility. This common feature seems to make it one of the symbols of Mercury.
Picture 10 shows how such associative connections are described in semantic space. Every archetypic image (Mercury, rabbit, etc.) is projected on many archetypic features. Every 'projection is defined by distributional functions describing how strongly of this or that quality is presented in the corresponding archetype. Basically these functions are defined for all multidimensional semantic space but in fact only those parts where their meaning is significant are taken into account. Correspondingly, in the place where distributional functions of different archetypes cross, especially if their meanings are significant, associative connections of 'an archetype its symbol' kind appear.
The interesting thing is that such archetypic symbolics appear also in pieces of art. For example Alice in Wonderland by Luwis Carrol speaks of a white rabbit who has been Alice's guide and companion. Let us remember that one of Mercury's aspects is mediator, guide between material world and subtle reality.
The image of Mercury symbolizes one more characteristic quality of an archetype which is the simoultaneous presence of dark and light elements. Aspect in which the archetype will be manifested depends on a situation, concrete context. That is why the same archetype can have totally different qualities in different cultures. For example modern Europe treats a snake (dragon) as a symbol of evil, demonic powers. Eastern countries see the same archetype in a dual way: not only negative but also strong positive aspect is connected with it. In India it is Kundalini the most powerful creative energy that sleeps in every human. In China and Japan tha dragon is a symbol of protection, creative force and energy stream penetrating space-time (dragon lines). In Tibetan culture, especially pre-Buddhist one (Bon), snakes are a very important symbol that has mainly positive meaning (nagies).
The picture looks more or less the same in the case of number and numerologic symbols. In Christian tradition numbers 13 and 666 (number of the Beast) have negative conotation while in the East they are not connected with anything negative. At the same time to a Japanese number 4 symbolizes death, 9 suffer while numbers 3, 5, 7 are believed to be lucky. Yet, such conotation of number 4 might have something in common with European symbolics. It is a numerologic equivalent of the cross, cricifix the symbol of the painful death, the sum of figures in 13 also gives 4.
It can be said that cultural context, concrete situation work as a kind of filter that cuts out some parts of archetype's distributional function. Picture 11 illustrates this with the archetype of dragon and its two 'filtered' projections: into European culture (the symbol of evil and forces of chaos) and into Chinese tradition (where it also symbolizes creative energy when it is controlled).
The knowledge of the whole variability of the archetype's meanings allows to transform its negative aspect into positive. So a person of European culture may dream of a snake and then fix on it as on negative and sinister symbol. Suppressed fear will strenghten concentration of attention on the negative aspect of the archetype and can manifest it in reality. A person accustomed to the Eastern tradition or European esoteric and mysticism will concentrate his or her attention on the positive aspect of the archetype and can realize it (in this case the snake can be treated as a symbol of hidden wisdom, huge energy of unconscious that needs control). The same is just for archetypic images met during subtle journeys.
Geometric symbolism of archetypes
One of the important aspects of the archetype and its projections is geometric symbols. As it was already mentioned, the archetype presents the unity, the multidimensional object and only because our perception is limited we separate its geometric symbolism from sound, semantic and other ones. Geometric symbol presents a very convinient and clear way of archetype's describtion. Geometric structure becomes a kind of skeleton on which separate ingridients of the complicated archetypic image are put and connections between them establish.
The way it happens is well seen on the example of the geometric archetype of the pentagram. Five primary elements are situated on its tops (from the very top in the direction of clock's hands: fire, earth, metal, water, wood), see picture 12a. Arrows that go around the pentagram define creative (birth) connections ('mother son' law) according to which the previous element strenghtens the following one. Inner arrows define destructive conections ('husband wife' law): 'wife' primary element suppresses the 'husband' to which the arrow is pointed. Besides every primary element corresponds to one of the kinds of vital energy, food and healing substances, human inner organs, illnesses and the ways of their curing, variable color, geometric and social symbols. Later we will come back to the law of five primary elements not once in the process of cescribtion of practical methods of work in ASC (see Chapter 5 and Appendix 5).
All this makes the sphere of applying five primary elements archetype extremely wide, from healing, medicine, martial arts and home design to practical magic. Besides this archetypic image is very common in the most different cultures of East and West and it is easier to say where it is not used than to enumerate where it can be met. Two kinds of pentagram are known one has its top turned up and the other down, they symbolize male (yan) and female (yin) energy, light and dark elements.
The fractal version of the pentagram is especially interesting it was known in India, China, Japan and also Europe (40). Here yan pentagram contains yin pentagram, yin pentagram, in its turn, contains the yan one etc. This allows significantly increase associations connected with geometric archetype. Picture 12b shows the version of such pentagram from European Gothic tradition (XIII century). Picture 12c next to it presents the mathematical fractal Pentagram (n=3) obtained in the process of modification of the selfalike sets by the computer. This proves that the idea of selfalike fractal sets has been known in esoteric tradition long before it was discovered by Mathematicians.
Another good example of connection between semantic and geometric archetypes is Sri yantra mandala (see pictures 8, 26). One of its semantic sections is connected with cosmology of establishment, development and destruction of the universe (see Chapter 6). All forces that take part in this process, their conections and sequence of development in time are attached to the elements of Sri Yantra geometric structure. Another section describes hierarchy of human subtle body chacras and its connection with universe, stages of space evolution, this section is also attached to the coats of Sri Yantra star (see Chapter 6). In the terms of the modern language this mandala is a kind of associative data base but is much more convinient and clear than modern computer ones. Possibly, in the future such principles of geometrical structuralization of the information will be used in computer data bases.
Boundaries between different geometric archetypes are rather dissolved as on the semantic level. At the same time several externally different geometric images related to the same archetype can exist simoultaneously. In other words, several different geometric images can correspond to one archetype and the same geometric form can symbolize absolutely different objects (worlds, beings etc.). For example, the archetype of the male element (yan) can be symbolized by the triangle or pentagram with its top turned up, right svastic, vertical line etc. Besides at the same time pentagram symbolizes five primary elements, archetype of protection, Sun. The same pentagram turned up side down becomes a symbol of Moon, archetype of destruction, spoil, keeping at the same time its archetypic symbolism of five primary elements.
Picture 13 illustrates these principles on the example of some common archetypic forms. The upper part of the picture (13a) shows the square symbolizing the primary element of earth and the principle of stability. At the same time many traditions connect its parts with all primary elements. Fire, metal, water and wood are situated on its sides while earth is in the centre. If we move that central point beyond the square we will get pentagram.
In order to make another topologic transformation we will suppress square's sides towards centre and each other. We will get the cross. If we prolong its parts on the sides in the direction of clock hands or the opposite one we will get rifht (yan) and left (yin) svastics. When we put them together we will come to sousvastic balancing two polar energies. If we increase the square out of its centre we will obtain protective square Bhupuru that establishes protective space around any mandala.
Analogic transformations can be conducted in the third dimension. One of the examples is presented on the picture 13b. If we increase the edges from the points on the tops we will transform dodecaedr into icosaedr (one of the three-dimensional archetypes of Sri Yantra) and the other way round. This way five-angle edge turns into triangle one and the other way round. We get impossible on the surface transformation of triangle into pentagon. Form this point of view it is easy to see the connection between five-angle and six-angle (two crossed triangles balance of yin and yan) stars.
Even more unbeliable transformations are possible if we switch to four or more space dimensions. This way the transformation of geometric archetypes allows to establish connections between the worlds, objects and beings of subtle world and even to realize their transmutation into each other (for example alchemic transformations).
The fractal model of the archetype
A good metaphore for understanding the archetype's nature is given by the concepts of strange attractor and fractal that are widely used in synergetics in the process of examination of unbalanced systems (11). The strange thing about attractor is that it creats endless amount of absolutely unlike trajectories. At the same time all these trajectories are inside of the rather compact geometric set limited by the appropriate for the given attractor surface. The form of this surface shapes typical for this attractor geometric invariant. In more or less the same way endless amount of meanings and images of an archetype create inner unity and define its wholeness.
A strange attractor usually has such feature as fractality which we have already mentioned. In other words any of its parts is not less complicated than the unity and the same is true for any part of thos part and so on. The same feature is present in the archetype, whose each element is as complicated as the unity. The fractal surface of one of such strange attractors calculated by the computer is shown on the picture 14. The difference between the strange attractor and simpler selfalike structure is in endless variability of trajectories it consists of (in a simpler selfalike structure we see the endless repetition of the same element). This allows to create more flexible and variable archetype's model.
And finally, geometric form of fractal sets surprisingly reminds of ancient yantras, mandalas, magic signs and symbols that were treated as the highest manifestations of eternal archetypes by all mystic teachings.
The hypothesis stating that spin vacuum polarization and observed in its process memory effect create that phisical substrat where the archetypic information is recorded seems to be quite attractive.Here all unusual archetypes' features find their explanation. That is why the form obtains its surprising qualities as an intermidiate element, mediator between our world and archetype's reality, archetypic knowledge coded in spin polarisation of phisical vacuum.
This way one can say not only of the topologic but of more general archetypic invariantness. Naturally, deep understanding of the effect of form influence, realization of the huge experience of ancient civilizations concerning applied use of form effects is impossible without taking in consideration archetypic invariantness.
Hence, fractal sets and strange attractors may serve as the basis of the symbolic language describing archetypic images. This allows, on the one hand, to create data bases oriented towards specific archetypic information and, on the other hand, to more adequately distinguish and interpret informationobtained by a person in the ASC.
Projections of Divine archetypes in daily magic
One more interesting feature of the archetype is its simoultaneous manifestation on the different levels of existence. For example the same god or spirit can symbolize the global cosmic principle, to be the basis of a sophisticated spiritual religious practice and at the same time be used for primitive daily magic. Yet, the ignorance concerning basic yantra's archetype and God may lead to serious side-effects consequences, for the daily use of the yantra is usually based on one of its side semantic associations. At the same time the ritual turns on the basic archetype which can influence the psyche in the totally different direction.
So for example some Indian books on daily magic advise to use Sri Yantra to get strength, power and financial success (40). However, the essense of this yantra is connected with energy of time that finally ruins everything illusive. Thus strength, power and financial success have always been treated by esoteric traditions as illusive attractions leading to suffer and spiritual degradation. It is clear that worldly welfare got this way will quickly and tracelessly dissappear (that, nevertheless, may later become an impuls for spiritual development). Such strange idea of applied use of Sri Yantra seems to appear due to the superficial analogy: 'this yantra is connected with the highest cosmic energies and if they are directed in the needed practical way this can enable significant enrichment. One small detail was not taken into account here these energies are so strong that they themselves will direct you in their own way. Probably, advises to use mantra and sign of the highest primary sound OM for solution of daily problems and healing is based on the same logic.
Yantra of goddess Kali can be another example. Traditionally it is connected with the destructive enrgy of time, death. Practices based on the work with it allow to overcome ignorance (illusion of one's own existence during one life only, form birth to death) and the fear of death and material attachments having their source in this ignorance. All this gives an access to huge energies of Kundalini hidden in us and as a result to the awakening of superabilities (sidhi). However, all this becomes possible after deep inner transformation. Its way is usually long and painful, for the overcoming of the fear of death is a very complicated process.
Still, some simplified guides promis all this to you straight away and effortlessly. And at first you will achieve wealth and comfortable life, these material attachments based on ignorance that is struggled by Kali. Yet, other promises are basically real but only after overcoming the fear of death and obtaining inner peace. This, naturally, is hardly possible after few rituals or in the case when you carry the yantra with you but are not preoccupied with the serious spiritual practice. This includes the use of Kali Yantra for protection from demonic influences, long life for those who has it close to the body, curing chronic illnesses such as high pressure, paralysis, nervous ilnesses (the ones provoked by suppressed fears).
However, there are some Divine archetypes whose use for spiritual practice and daily life is not too different and is avalable for uninitiated. In Indian tradition this is first of all goddess Tara (also popular inTibet) who helps to overcome emotional chaos and panic and not to lose one's way. Another popular archetpye is god Ganesha (one of Shiva's sons) who also helps to solve daily life problems. Yet, such examples are ratherexceptions which once more underline the importance of the deep understanding of the used archetype (God, yantra, mandala, mantra).
From the traditional point of view any form is a manifestation, projection of some archetype an endlessly complicated object, laying beyond the boundaries of our reality. Form this point of view the closer to the archetype the given form, composition or pattern of simpler elements is, the better the manifestation of the archetype is and the stronger is its influence. Furthermore, the decisive meaning has the tuning of the created form on the given archetype, i. e. its consecration, initiation, 'revival'. In ancient times these were long-lasting and very complicated rituals.
So every archetype is characterized by the endless variability of the images connected with it and at the same time contains something elusive, enabling to feel in all this the only source that cannot be expressed by words and definitions. This way in order to learn to work with archetypes one has first to obtain their inner experience in the altered states of consciousness and then to seize the widest possible spectrum of symbols connected with basic archetypes.
It is important to stress that the same symbol is ambiguous and has many meanings. That is why the simplified schem of the 'symbol meaning' kind cannot be used. Unfortunately, that attitude is accepted by many primitive guides on extrasensoric activity and psychoanalysis and is often applied by badly qualified specialists for the interpretation of dreams and visions.
This way only deep knowledge of mythology and religion can give the real undrestanding of subtle world symbols and penetration their deepest essense.
The knowledge of archetypic symbolism is a necessary condition of safe journeys in subtle spaces. It allows to quickly orient oneself during the meeteing with an unknown object or being and to understand what to expect from it and in which circumstances it is dangerous or useful. If you know archetypic symbolism well you will soon understand what this meeting means to you and how to quickly get reed of or minimize possible negative consequences, how to find common language in this situation and to get the maximum use out of it.
The difficulty of the archetypic symbolism is in the fact that the first, the most obvious interpretation usually appears to be absolutely wrong.
© International Noosphere Institute. Alexey Ivanov, editing. Dmitry Ryazanov, web-design. 2005.