h Phoenix Qi: March 2007

Monday, March 26, 2007

Flood Myths From Around the World

Above and beyond any particular cultural or geographic bias, floods are representative of fertility. The pounding of waves in the world's oceans has, often enough, been a metaphor for the seed of man, the sperm that fertilizes the eggs of women. When the waters inundate the shores, they leave in their wake green and growing things, vegetation to nourish all animal life – yup, that includes we humans, too.

Another metaphor a flood represents is cleansing, both universal and spiritual. The reason a child is baptized is to perform a spiritual cleansing having been born from that mundane union of male and female. For an adult, a baptism represents rebirth into a new religion…a washing-away of the old beliefs.

Finally, floods are a type of transportation from the mundane world to the spiritual world, and a rebirth into that world of spirit. Crossing the water and crossing the sky were the same thing to the ancient Egyptians who crossed the Nile to bury the bodies of the kings/ pharaohs. This journey across the Nile was symbolic of the journey the spirit took across the Milky Way (which was considered to be a celestial river) to arrive in the land of the dead ruled by Osiris. Another water-as-spiritual-travel tradition is found in the I Ching. The Book of Changes often mentions "crossing the great river" or "crossing the great water" when it speaks of a spiritual journey.

One of the surprising threads that connects many of the world's flood myths is the number of diverse cultures whose ancestors, as well as a variety of plant and animal life, were saved by fashioning a boat of some sort. It's quite remarkable, really, from Asia to South America, people saved themselves by building boats. Apparently, Noah isn't the only one who got a message to learn ship-building in short order.

There are hundreds of flood myths from around the world. A great many of them are caused by a god's decision to punish sinful humans. In a few cases, the flood is a god's attempt to save the earth due to overpopulation. Overwhelmingly, no matter the reason for the flood, the outcome is that the world is fresh and new again, and people have the chance to start over.

Perhaps people today have been "missing the boat!" People put the emphasis on the wrong part of the story; instead of talking about wickedness and punishment, we should concentrate on being refreshed, being reborn, and starting over!

Here are flood myths from around the globe. Check out the last one from South Brazil…it gives a whole new spin on Darwin and his Theory of Evolution!


Greek: Zeus sent a flood to destroy the men of the Bronze Age. Prometheus advised his son Deucalion to build a chest. All other men perished except for a few who escaped to high mountains. Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha (daughter of Epimetheus and Pandora), after floating in the chest for nine days and nights, landed on Parnassus. When the rains ceased, he sacrificed to Zeus, the God of Escape. At the bidding of Zeus, he threw stones over his head; they became men, and the stones which Pyrrha threw became women. That is why people are called laoi, from laas, "a stone." (The Roman story is very similar.)

Celtic: Heaven and Earth were great giants, and Heaven lay upon the Earth so that their children were crowded between them, and the children and their mother were unhappy in the darkness. The boldest of the sons led his brothers in cutting up Heaven into many pieces. From his skull they made the firmament. His spilling blood caused a great flood which killed all humans except a single pair, who were saved in a ship made by a beneficent Titan.

Welsh: The lake of Llion burst, flooding all lands. Dwyfan and Dwyfach escaped in a mastless ship with pairs of every sort of living creature. They landed in Prydain (Britain) and repopulated the world.

Lithuanian: From his heavenly window, the supreme god Pramzimas saw nothing but war and injustice among mankind. He sent two giants, Wandu and Wejas (water and wind), to destroy earth. After twenty days and nights, little was left. Pramzimas looked to see the progress. He happened to be eating nuts at the time, and he threw down the shells. One happened to land on the peak of the tallest mountain, where some people and animals had sought refuge. Everybody climbed in and survived the flood floating in the nutshell. God's wrath abated, he ordered the wind and water to abate. The people dispersed, except for one elderly couple who stayed where they landed. To comfort them, God sent the rainbow and advised them to jump over the bones of the earth nine times. They did so, and up sprang nine other couples, from which the nine Lithuanian tribes descended.

Transylvanian Gypsy: One day, and old man came to the country and asked for a night's lodging, which a couple gave him in their cottage. When he departed the next day, he said he would return in nine days. He gave his host a small fish in a vessel and said he would reward the host if he did not eat the fish but returned it then. The wife thought the fish must be exceptionally good to eat, but the husband said he had promised the old man to keep it and made the woman swear not to eat it. After two days of thinking about it, though, the wife yielded to temptation and threw the fish on the hot coals. Immediately, she was struck dead by lightning, and it began to rain. The rivers started overflowing the country. On the ninth day, the old man returned and told his host that all living things would be drowned, but since he had kept his oath, he would be saved. The old man told the host to take a wife, gather his kinfolk, and build a boat on which to save them, animals, and seeds of trees and herbs. The man did all this. It rained a year, and the waters covered everything. After a year, the waters sank, and the people and animals disembarked.

Near East

Sumerian: The gods had decided to destroy mankind. The god Enlil warned the priest-king Ziusudra ("Long of Life") of the coming flood by speaking to a wall while Ziusudra listened at the side. He was instructed to build a great ship and carry beasts and birds upon it. Violent winds came, and a flood of rain covered the earth for seven days and nights. Then Ziusudra opened a window in the large boat, allowing sunlight to enter, and he prostrated himself before the sun-god Utu. After landing, he sacrificed a sheep and an ox and bowed before Anu and Enlil. For protecting the animals and the seed of mankind, he was granted eternal life and taken to the country of Dilmun, where the sun rises.

Babylonian: Three times (every 1200 years), the gods were distressed by the disturbance from human overpopulation. The gods dealt with the problem first by plague, then by famine. Both times, the god Enki advised men to bribe the god causing the problem. The third time, Enlil advised the gods to destroy all humans with a flood, but Enki had Atrahasis build an ark and so escape. Also on the boat were cattle, wild animals and birds, and Atrahasis' family. (The Assyrian version is very similar.)

Chaldean: The god Chronos in a vision warned Xisuthrus, the tenth king of Babylon, of a flood coming on the fifteenth day of the month of Daesius. The god ordered him to write a history and bury it in Sippara, and told him to build and provision a vessel (5 stadia by 2 stadia) for himself, his friends and relations, and all kinds of animals. Xisuthrus asked where he should sail, and Chronos answered, "to the gods, but first pray for all good things to men." Xisuthrus built a ship five furlongs by two furlongs and loaded it as ordered. After the flood had come and abated somewhat, he sent out some birds, which returned. Later, he tried again, and the birds returned with mud on their feet. On the third trial, the birds didn't return. He saw that land had appeared above the waters, so he parted some seams of his ship, saw the shore, and drove his ship aground in the Corcyraean mountains in Armenia. He disembarked with his wife, daughter, and pilot, and offered sacrifices to the gods. Those four were translated to live with the gods.

Hebrew: God, upset at mankind's wickedness, resolved to destroy it, but Noah was righteous and found favor with Him. God told Noah to build an ark. Noah did so, and took aboard his family and pairs of all kinds of animals. For 40 days and nights, floodwaters came from the heavens and from the deeps, until the highest mountains were covered. The waters flooded the earth for 150 days; then God sent a wind and the waters receded, and the ark came to rest in Ararat. After 40 days, Noah sent out a raven, which kept flying until the waters had dried up. He next sent out a dove, which returned without finding a perch. A week later he set out the dove again, and it returned with an olive leaf. The next week, the dove didn't return. After a year and 10 days from the start of the flood, everyone and everything emerged from the ark. Noah sacrificed some clean animals and birds to God, and God, pleased with this, promised never again to destroy all living creatures with a flood, giving the rainbow as a sign of this covenant. Animals became wild and became suitable food, and Noah and his family were told to repopulate the earth.


Pygmy: Chameleon heard a strange noise, like water running, in a tree, but at that time there was no water in the world. He cut open the trunk, and water came out in a great flood that spread all over the earth. The first human couple emerged with the water.

Bakongo (west Zaire): An old lady, weary and covered with sores, arrived in a town called Sonanzenzi and sought hospitality, which was denied her at all homes but the last she came to. When she was well and ready to depart, she told her friends to pack up and leave with her, as the place was accursed and would be destroyed by Nzambi. The night after they had left, heavy rains came and turned the valley into a lake, drowning all the inhabitants of the town. The sticks of the houses can still be seen deep in the lake.

Yoruba (southwest Nigeria): A god, Ifa, tired of living on earth and went to dwell in the firmament with Obatala. Without his assistance, mankind couldn't interpret the desires of the gods, and one god, Olokun, in a fit of rage, destroyed nearly everybody in a great flood.

Mandingo (Ivory Coast): A charitable man gave away everything he had to the animals. His family deserted him, but when he gave his last meal to the (unrecognized) god Ouende, Ouende rewarded him with three handfuls of flour which renewed itself and produced even greater riches. Then Ouende advised him to leave the area, and sent six months of rain to destroy his selfish neighbors. The descendants of the rich man became the present human race.


Yenisey-Ostyak (north central Siberia): Flood waters rose for seven days. Some people and animals were saved by climbing on floating logs and rafters. A strong north wind blew for seven days and scattered the people, which is why there are now different peoples speaking different languages.

Tuvinian (Soyot) (north of Mongolia): The giant frog (or turtle) which supported the earth moved, which caused the cosmic ocean to begin flooding the earth. An old man who had guessed something like this would happen built an iron-reinforced raft, boarded it with his family, and was saved. When the waters receded, the raft was left on a high wooded mountain, where, it is said, it remains today. After the flood, Kezer-Tshingis-Kaira-Khan created everything around us.

Hindu: Manu, the first human, found a small fish in his washwater. The fish begged protection from the larger fishes, in return for which it would save Manu. Manu kept the fish safe, transferring it to larger and larger reservoirs as it grew, eventually taking it to the ocean. The fish warned Manu of a coming deluge and told him to build a ship. When the flood rose, the fish came, and Manu tied the craft to its horn. The fish led him to a northern mountain and told Manu to tie the ship's rope to a tree to prevent it from drifting. Manu, alone of all creatures, survived. He made offerings of clarified butter, sour milk, whey, and curds. From these, a woman arose, calling herself Manu's daughter. Whatever blessings he invoked through her were granted him. Through her, he generated this race.

Tibet: Tibet was almost totally inundated, until the god Gya took compassion on the survivors, drew off the waters through Bengal, and sent teachers to civilize the people, who until then had been little better than monkeys. Those people repopulated the land.

Lolo (southwestern China): In primeval times, men were wicked. The patriarch Tse-gu-dzih sent a messenger down to earth, asking for some flesh and blood from a mortal. Only one man, Du-mu, complied. In wrath, Tse-gu-dzih locked the rain-gates, and the waters mounted to the sky. Du-mu was saved in a log hollowed out of a Pieris tree, together with his four sons and otters, wild ducks, and lampreys. The civilized peoples who can write are descended from the sons; the ignorant races are descendants of wooden figures whom Du-mu constructed after the deluge.

Miao (Hmong) (southern China, north Thailand, Laos): After people had lived on the earth for 9,000 years, two brothers noticed that someone was coming at night and undoing everything they had done in the field in the day. They laid in wait and saw an old man filling their furrows. The elder brother wanted to kill him, but the younger brother said they should first question him for his reason. The old man said their work was futile because a flood would soon come. The brothers realized the man was the Lord of the Sky and asked him what they should do. He told the elder, violent-tempered brother to build an iron boat and the younger brother to build a wooden boat and to take his sister, males and females of each animal species, and two seeds of each species of plant. In the seventh month rain fell for four days and nights. The iron boat sank, but the wooden boat floated up to the sky. Seeing the earth flooded, the Lord of the Sky sent a dragon in the shape of a rainbow to dry it. The brother wanted to marry his sister, but she resisted. But after various tests proved it was the will of the Lord of the Sky, they married. Their child had no head or limbs. Thinking it was an egg, they cut it open. It contained no child, but the pieces became people when they fell to earth. By cutting it into the smallest possible pieces, they created innumerable children and repopulated the earth.


Narrinyeri (South Australia): A man's two wives ran away from him. He pursued them to Encounter Bay, saw them at a distance, and angrily cried out for the waters to rise and drown them. A terrible flood washed over the hills and killed the two women. The waters rose so high that a man named Nepelle, who lived at Rauwoke, had to drag his canoe to the top of the hill now called Point Macleay. The dense part of the Milky Way shows his canoe floating in the sky.

Victoria: Bunjil, the creator, was angry with people because of the evil they did, so he caused the ocean to flood by urinating into it. All people were destroyed except those whom Bunjil loved and fixed as stars in the sky, and a man and a woman who climbed a tall tree on a mountain, and from whom the present human race is descended.

North, Central, and South America

Norton Sound Eskimo: In the first days, the water from the sea came up and flooded all the earth except for a very high mountain in the middle. A few animals escaped to this mountain, and a few people survived in a boat, subsisting on fish. The people landed on the mountain as the water subsided and followed the retreating water to the coast. The animals also descended.

Kaska (northern inland British Columbia): A great flood came; people survived it on rafts and canoes. Darkness and high winds came, which scattered the vessels. When the flood subsided, people landed at the nearest land and lived where they had landed. Thus they were scattered all over the world, and when they met again long afterwards, they were different tribes and spoke different languages.

Shasta (northern California interior): Coyote encountered an evil water spirit who said, "There is no wood" and caused water to rise until it covered Coyote. After the water receded, Coyote shot the water spirit with a bow and ran away, but the water followed him. He ran to the top of Mount Shasta; the water followed but didn't quite reach the top. Coyote made a fire, and all the other animal people swam to it and found refuge there. After the water receded, they came down, made new homes, and became the ancestors of all the animal people today.

Michoacan (Mexico): When the flood waters began to rise, a man named Tezpi entered into a great vessel, taking with him his wife and children and diverse seeds and animals. When the waters abated, the man sent out a vulture, but the bird found plenty of corpses to eat and didn't return. Other birds also flew away and didn't return. Finally, he sent out a hummingbird, which returned with a green bough in its beak.

Macusi (British Guyana): The good spirit Makunaima ("He who works in the night") created the heaven and earth. When he had created plants and trees, he came down from his heavenly mansion, climbed a tree, and chipped off bark with a large stone axe. The chips turned into animals of all kinds when they fell into the river at the base of the tree. Next, Makunaima created man, and after the man had fallen asleep, he awoke to find a woman beside him. Later the evil spirit got more power on earth, so Makunaima sent a great flood. Only one man survived in a canoe. He sent a rat to see whether the flood had abated, and the rat returned with a cob of maize. When the flood had subsided, the man threw stones behind him, which became other people.

Coroado (south Brazil): A flood once covered the whole earth except for the top of the coastal range Serra do Mar. Members of the three tribes Coroados, Cayurucres, and Cames, swam for the mountains holding lighted torches between their teeth. The Cayurucres and Cames wearied and drowned, and their souls went to dwell in the heart of the mountain. The Coroados made it and stayed there, some on the ground and some in the branches of trees. Several days passed without food and without the water lowering. Then some saracuras, a species of waterfowl, flew to them with baskets of earth. The birds began throwing the earth into the water, and the water sank. The people urged the birds to hurry, so the birds called the ducks to help them. When the flood subsided, the Coroados descended, except for the ones which had climbed into trees, who became monkeys.

If you would like to read more and different flood myths from around the world, visit Flood Stories from Around the World compiled by Mark Isaak. There are literally hundreds of stories on his website.

Monday, March 19, 2007

How long does a Phoenix live?

There are various numbers tossed around as the lifetime of a phoenix: 300 years, 500 years, 1,000 years, 1461 years. The first three numbers sound poetically rounded; the number 1461 has the ring of truth. No one is going to make up a number like 1461. It's not a pretty number to say, it isn't easy to write, or to add or subtract with, so what gives?

Oftentimes, the number that looks like the odd-ball is the real deal, but the reasons for it have been forgotten. Not so with the phoenix's lifetime of 1461 years! The reason the phoenix is reborn every 1461 years has to do with astronomy, the cycle of a star and the sun, and the ancient Egyptian growing season.

A little knowledge of the Egyptian calendar is in order. The Egyptians had a calendar of 365 days; three seasons of 120 days each, and a 5-day period of feasting. The season that interests us is Akhet, the summer growing season. The first day of Akhet which, in 3000 BCE, was at the time of the Summer Solstice, heralded the yearly flooding of the Nile and meant the first day of the agricultural year, the growing season

There is another astronomical event which takes places at that time; the heliacal rising of Sirius, the star we call the Dog Star, one of the most important astronomical bodies to the ancient Egyptians. (A heliacal rising is the appearance of a star above the horizon just before the sun rises.)

While we, today, call Sirius the Dog star because it is the brightest star in the constellation of Canis Major, the Ancient Egyptians called it Sothis or Sopdet/Sepdet. Sopdet, sometimes identified with Isis, was a fertility goddess associated with the star Sirius and the agricultural year. When Sirius/Sothis/Sopdet became visible in the morning sky just before the sunrise, the sighting was celebrated with a festival called "The Coming of Sopdet" because it was the time of year for the waters of the Nile to rise; she brought with her the waters that would bring fertility to the land.

At the same time, Sothis herself was returning to life, too, because she had been missing for 70 days. Sirius can be seen in the morning sky for all but 70 days of the year, and those 70 days that Sirius is invisible (or "dead") are the 70 days immediately preceding the first day of Akhet. Here is the parallel with the Phoenix being burned: Sirius/Sopdet is considered to be dead for those days because she was "burned" into invisibility by the sunrise.

Interestingly enough, an embalming took 70 days, after which the deceased began the journey to the Otherworld ruled by Osiris (husband of Isis), so 70 days became associated with reincarnation of another sort, re-vitalization of the spirit and the spirit's ability to travel.

The association of the bird-Phoenix comes with the Bennu Bird. Bennu is related to the words "to rise" and "to shine." The Bennu bird was further associated with the Ba, the roaming spirit often depicted as a human-headed bird, of Ra/Re the Egyptian Sun god. Therefore, the Bennu bird became the symbol of the solar spirit. After the 70 days of embalming, the star Sirius represented the "rise" and "shine" of the Bennu bird which also meant the re-vitalization of the spirit.

The Greeks called the star Sirius, "scorching" or "burning," and probably made that association due to the rising of the star with the sun at the time of the Summer Solstice, and the hottest season of the year.

Phoenix is from the Greek and Latin and means purple-red color (possibly the color of the sky just before sunrise), or a Phoenician, a member of a well-known sea-faring folk from Phoenicia, the ancient kingdom in the area of Syria, Lebanon, and Israel. I believe the location of Phoenicia accounts for the idea that the Phoenix comes from the Arabian wilderness. Phoenicia as well as the heliacal rising of the Phoenix/Sirius/Sothis star with the Summer Solstice sun, is in the east for anyone living in Egypt, Greece or Rome.

The 1461 year lifetime of the Phoenix is due to the 365.25 day year and the lack of a Leap Year in the ancient Egyptian calendar.

As already stated, Sirius "died" for 70 days, consumed by the fire of the sun, and was "reborn" on the first day of the planting season known as Akhet, the day of the Summer Solstice, when the star was again visible on the eastern horizon just before sunrise.

So, for several generations of Egyptian astronomical observers, the floods were marked by the rise of Sirius, the rebirth of the Phoenix, in the pre-dawn morning on the first day of Akhet.

However, they accounted for only 365 days in each year, so that every four years, the day that Sirius was "reborn" came one day earlier! Instead of on the Summer Solstice, it would be one day earlier, and then four years later and another day earlier, and then another, and another. The rise of the fertility star and the day of the Summer Solstice became seriously out of alignment.

In order for the Phoenix/Bennu/Sirius star to be "reborn" on the first day of Akhet, 1,461 years would have to pass!

In fact, what did happen was that every 1460 years, the Ancient Egyptians would add an entire Leap Year of 365 days. .25 of a year X 1460 years = 365 days, or a full Leap Year. Add the Leap Year to the 1460 years equals the 1461 years known as a Sothic Cycle for the goddess Sothis and the star Sothis/ Serius/ Bennu/ Phoenix.

The Sothic Cycle of 1461 years is the lifetime of the Phoenix: the star Sirius again rises in conjunction with the Summer Solstice….after 70 days of death, the Phoenix Rises, reborn on the Summer Solstice.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Reincarnation - some thoughts

Thousand-petaled Lotus: symbol of reincarnation and immortality

You would think that, being a phoenix and all, I'd not only be on board with reincarnation, I'd be driving the wagon.

That has not been the case. I have been on the fence over this topic, leaning first one way and then the other, changing my mind pendulum-like from yes to no to maybe mostly because I could not reconcile my beliefs about the nature of the spirit with the beliefs familiarly held by most major spiritual teachings.

I have finally come to the conclusion that yes, I do believe in reincarnation – thought the details are subject to change without notice – but with a twist.

What settled the question for me was, not surprisingly, the yin/yang nature and behavior of spirit and energy.

Energy continuously cycles from the material to the immaterial to the material, et cetera and so on. That's the nature of spirit and energy. That's what it does…it cycles. If it didn't, breakfast wouldn't be the most important meal of the day, and a Three Musketeers bar wouldn't be a pick-me-up at 3:00 PM. If energy didn't cycle, you wouldn’t burn calories by running or swimming. You wouldn't ever be happy or sad, you would be emotionally numb.

If energy didn't cycle, you would never change at all…which would be a blessing for some people and a curse for others!

"The ancients' belief in reincarnation produced many cyclic images of existence..." – from "The Wheel" by Barbara J. Walter from The Women's Dictionary of Symbols and Sacred Objects

It was once believed that the Sun died every night as it was submerged into the ocean to be reborn the next day. Another image of cyclic existence is the moon that disappears roughly every 27 days to be reborn after three dark nights. Then there is the annual cycle of the leaves that fall from the trees in autumn and decompose to feed the roots, nourishing the next years' growth in spring, long considered the "season of rebirth."

You can't name one material thing that doesn't cycle back into immaterial energy because everything does, even if, like plastic trash bags, it takes tens of thousands of years, everything eventually cycles from the material to the immaterial, and then feeds, indeed nourishes the creation of the material.

The thing that we know now that we perhaps did not know before is that matter IS energy. Through our knowledge of the behavior of waves and particles, we can say that matter is just energy gone solid. Light and heat and other forms remain as energy in a not-solid state.

Your body is obviously energy gone solid. However, in every cell of your body, there is a spark of non-solid electrical, spirited energy. Your cells vibrate to a particular frequency, your brain operates on electrical impulses, your heart beats to the rhythm of an electrical discharge. When these electrical charges cease to operate, your body ceases to operate. The material portions of your body will decompose and become energy for some other form of matter.

However, the energy that mobilized your body, that formed your thoughts and held your memory, your spiritual energy, has not disappeared, just as the electricity that fuels your light bulbs doesn't disappear when you turn off the light. That energy still exists, it just no longer exists in the same place.

So, where does it go? Look around….it's everywhere…spiritual energy is everywhere. You continually breathe in spirit every minute of every day! (Latin inspire and expire derive from spirare which gives us the words for both breathe and spirit).

Some Daoists believe the body is born with ten souls or spirits, three from the heavens called hun that are nourished by breath energy, and seven called po that come from the earth and are nourished by food energy.

Human Lotus: symbol of one way to practice to achieve immortality.

It is your job in this lifetime to work with these souls on the energetic level (through tai chi, qigong, meditation, etc.) until you bring them into perfect balance and harmony at which time they merge into a single soul and you become an Immortal. Some beliefs about Immortals continue on to include physical immortality. In others, it is believed the physical body dies, but they are often regarded as "light" beings, consciousness of Self is retained; You would still be You with the same thoughts, ideas, and memories.

If your ten souls do not merge into a single soul during this lifetime, the ten souls return to their origins, the hun to the heavens and the po to the earth. They mix with other hun and po souls, and eventually inhabit a new body when the time is right. However, since they have scattered since their last incarnation, they do not return as a group. It is possible that some people who recall a past life are recalling the past experience of one (or several) of the past experiences of a hun or po soul.

Personally, I think it goes beyond even that. If thoughts are things, how much more then is your life energy?

With all the millions of cells in your body, all the millions of little life-giving charges released into the atmosphere when your body is finished with them, it is very likely that there are millions of bits of you floating around, each with some thought, idea, or memory that you held as an incarnate being. I don't believe that each bit of spiritual energy is a personality as such. However, each of those thoughts, ideas, and memories is something that was unique to you, a treasure that is no longer available to the material plane. They can no longer be used in a meaningful way because they need a physical plane on which to manifest.

However, here is an interesting thing: all those energetic spirits released at the demise of the body have known each other for a while, and have become quite familiar with each other. I believe it is very possible, likely even, that their energetic familiarity works just like a magnet; it attracts them to rejoin in their next physical body. In sufficient critical-mass numbers, enough to "remember" their chosen ideal, they may even do so for the purpose of continuing to complete some theory or idea they had begun to formulate in a previous existence.

The Egyptians believed that the three souls of a person stayed together only if the body had been preserved. The body acted as a magnet to attract the souls. The Ba roamed around as a human-headed bird, the Ka was tomb-bound and required food, drink, etc, the Akh journeyed to otherworld sometimes as a bird. However, if the body were allowed to decay, the souls would dissipate.

I think those little sparks of life energy don't hang around the old body all that long, they move on to combine in other ways with universal energy. Remember, this is what spirit and energy does; it's the nature of spirit and energy to cycle from immaterial to material. It doesn't want to hang around; it's ready to move on.

This is not to say that former human energy always returns to a human just as a plant does not always decompose to feed the next generation of flower, fruit, or vegetable. Some of your energy probably ends up somewhere else, and some of the spirit you enjoy in your body right now may have come from other planes, or even other galaxies.

I know that may sound a little far out, but consider: you look up into the night sky and see stars. That star light, that light energy, has traveled millions, perhaps billions of miles, but as soon as it touches your eye, you touch it, too, and you accept it into yourself and absorb it just as you take in air, sunlight, moonlight, and last night's salmon dinner, and that's a good thing!

You know how confined and depressed you feel if you are stuck in a rut in day-to-day living. Imagine how you would feel if you were stuck in a rut from lifetime to lifetime with the same thoughts, same ideas, same spirit for eternity! You need that cyclic, energetic exchange; you need, from lifetime to lifetime, to have an infusion of new energy to create new bonds with universal energies, to think up new ideas, to imagine new beginnings.

This is how we, as a species, are able to progress. This is what we do, we un-form and re-form energetically, spiritually, to share information and inspiration, and ultimately to enhance our bond with each other and the universe.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Daoism on Spring Equinox

In honor of the Spring or Vernal Equinox, the quote below is “Spring” from 365 Tao: Daily Meditations by Deng Ming-Dao, Harper San Francisco, 1992, ISBN: 0062502239.


Sun and moon divide the sky,

Fragrance blooms on pear wood bones;

Earth awakens with a sigh.

Wanderer revels on the path alone.

It is the time of equinox, when day and night are briefly equal. This day signals the beginning of spring, the increasing of light, and the return of life to the frozen earth.

Of course, this day only represents a moment in time. Spring has long been returning, and we know that summer will soon follow. The cycle of the seasons will continue in succession. There is no such thing as a true stopping in time, for all is a continuum. Nature makes its own concordances as a mere outgrowth to its movement, it is we who see structure and give names to pattern.

But who can begrudge temporary pleasures to a solitary traveler? Let us go out and enjoy the day, revel in the coming of spring, rejoice in the warming of the earth. For though the ground may be covered with frost, movement and growth are taking place all around us. Beauty bared fills our eyes and makes us drunk. As we wander the endless mountains and streams, filling our lungs with the breath of the forests, let us take comfort in being part of nature. For life has enough misery and misfortune. Philosophy reminds us enough of the transience of life. Give us the charm of the ephemeral, and let it silence all who would object.


I wonder if "Wanderer revels on the path alone" refers to a human wanderer or a heavenly one – the sun! Consider: 'Planet: late O.E., from O.Fr. planete (Fr. planËte), from L.L. planeta, from Gk. (asteres) planetai "wandering (stars)," from planasthai "to wander," of unknown origin. So called because they have apparent motion, unlike the "fixed" stars. Originally including also the moon and sun; modern scientific sense of "world that orbits a star" is from 1640. Source: Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/planet

March 20th is the Spring Equinox for the northern hemisphere, the time of year when the sun is at zero degrees longitude and latitude on the ecliptic, and the hours of daylight and dark-of-night are of equal length.

On the equinoxes, the sun and moon pass each other in the sky at the intersection of the ecliptic with the celestial equator as they rise and set. (The ecliptic is the path followed by the planets against the backdrop of the constellations. The celestial equator is the projection of the Earth's equator onto the sky, an invisible line enabling us to determine whether a heavenly body hovers over our northern hemisphere or our southern hemisphere. These two invisible lines intersect at the equinoxes.)

Eclipses often occur about the time of the equinoxes; solar eclipses right on the equinox day, and lunar eclipses about two weeks before or after the equinox day. Indeed, there will be a partial solar eclipse on the 19th of March this year that, providing my solar eclipse mapping program is correct, will be visible from Southern India going northward, across Eastern Asia, over the North Pole and down to Western Canada and Alaska. The time of the eclipse will extend from 0:38 to 04:24 UT with the greatest coverage of the sun by the moon occurring at 02:31 UT.

For the next six months, the sun will continue to rise and set north of the celestial equator while the Full moon appears rising in our southern sky. On the Summer Solstice, the sun will rise at its northernmost point on the horizon and the Full moon will rise at its southernmost point. From then on, the points on the horizon they each rise will move back toward the center until they meet again on the Autumnal Equinox.

It's almost like a Square Dance when the caller sings out for the shining couple to leave their corner, do-se-do in the middle, and go back to the opposite corner. The heavenly bodies do indeed dance around the sky! :-)

(Here is my attempt at graphing this dance, and I have to say, the taiji or yin/yang circle has to be one of the most useful diagrams on the planet; it is such a perfect symbol to show so many natural cycles! I'm sure you noticed that the curved lines form an infinity sign, a sideways 8! That's a topic for another post, though.)

In the taiji diagram above, the curving line separating the black and white sections tracks the rise and set positions on the horizon of the sun from one Spring Equinox to the next. Each day from the Spring Equinox, the sun rises at a more northerly position on the horizon until, on the Summer Solstice, it rises at its most northerly position. From that point until the Fall equinox, the sunrise on the horizon is in the northern half of the sky, but moves slowly back to the Celestial Equator.

After the Fall Equinox, the sun's rising place on the horizon moves in a more southerly direction until it reaches its most southerly point on the day of the Winter Solstice. Following the day of the Winter Solstice, the sunrise point on the horizon rises again and comes closer each day to the Celestial Equator as the calendar approaches the date of the Spring Equinox.

Imagine an opposite line, a mirror image line (I attempted in blue), tracking the rise and set positions on the horizon of the Full moon for the same annual period. You see that the movement of the moon is the opposite of, and reflects the movement of the sun.

But, to get back to the Spring Equinox…

We know the sun is symbolic of yang, and the moon is symbolic of yin. At the equinox, yang grows not only as warmer weather and longer hours of daylight, but also as the sun climbs in our northern half of the sky above the Celestial Equator. Yin, the moon, diminishes by virtue of its rising and setting away from us in the southern hemisphere of the sky below the central Celestial Equator.

To follow the Dao and the example of Nature at this time of year, we begin to increase our yang activities and decrease our yin activities.

Spending more time out side is something most of us do, enjoying the fresh air and warm weather, and soaking up the sunshine to replenish our Vitamin D supply which no doubt is quite diminished after the winter! Meditation can move from the quiet, seated contemplations to more active styles such as Standing Like a Tree, or labyrinth walking. Definitely more physical activities like hiking and swimming are called for, though I find it impossible to put away the books completely! There is a lot to be said for spending a lazy afternoon outside, reading a book under a tree.

Since spring is the season of growth represented by the energy phase of wood, do some gardening! Even if it's a small pot of herbs for making fresh herbal teas or for wonderful gourmet dinners, you will be aligning yourself with the energies of the season. (I recommend growing mint. It's very easy to grow, it's an especially refreshing drink on warm days, and it aids digestion.)

You can grow all sorts of things, too, not just plants. Grow a hobby, or a business. Encourage your mind to grow by taking fun or challenging classes which might let your circle of friends grow, too!

Monday, March 5, 2007

The Marriage of Feng Shui and the Law of Attraction

Literally translated, the words Feng Shui mean
Wind Water.

The connotation this carries is that Qi is carried on the Wind and captured by Water. Any other words used to translate "feng shui" are superfluous and used only to sound lofty and impress the uneducated.

If a practice is to be called "feng shui," of necessity qi, wind and water must be involved or it isn't feng shui. You can call broccoli "ice cream" but you're not going to fool anyone. Unfortunately not as many people are educated about feng shui as are educated about ice cream. (Make mine a Jamoca Almond Fudge, please!)

Almost the first thing a person says about feng shui these days is "clear the clutter!" Clearing and clutter have absolutely nothing to do with feng shui (and by the way, neither does the toilet seat cover).

Clutter and feng shui came together in the Black Sect Tantric Buddhism school. "Black Sect Tantric Buddhism, which was incorporated as a U.S. church in 1986, teaches and promotes a popular system it styles as "Feng Shui" and markets as "a synthesis of Tibetan and Chinese Buddhist, Taoist, and folk wisdom as well as modern psychology and design principles." Feng Shui Ultimate Resource

Basically, what this gives us is:
The Marriage of Feng Shui to the Law Of Attraction

Or something that looks like this:

Heluo Articles has this to say: "Professor Lin Yun himself does not discard any other [feng shui] system. However, rather than by Heaven Luck [electromagnetism] and Earth Luck [geomagnetism], his approach is from the perspective of Human Luck [psychology]. His is a purely intuitive approach of Time and Space, taking Human Qi as its starting point.

"Some practitioners of the Lin Yun system even disregard the Chinese Compass altogether, claiming it is not relevant.

"Anyway, however bent, there is no way this system should carry the name Feng Shui, because it may be a lot, but it is not anywhere Feng Shui. It halts Time and Space, it halts the earth rotation, and it proclaims its treatments valid without limitation as to time periods."

So, even though Black Sect Tantric Buddhism doesn't follow the principles of using a compass to determine your favorable and unfavorable electromagnetic and geomagnetic energies as feng shui does, it sure does follow the principle of the Law of Attraction, "like attracts like," and uses psychology and mind power to make it so, just as the Law of Attraction does.

Want more things in your life? Get rid of the old clutter: you really do clear your mind as you clear your space. When you no longer have to worry about all the old stuff, you are free to concentrate on future acquisitions.

Want love in your life? Love yourself and do nice things for yourself, (but if you are placing a vase of roses to attract love, please be darn careful that you place it in a truly energetically-favorable sector of your living space as determined by a real feng shui reading!)

Want more money? Visualize your bank account growing, announce to the universe you are expecting a windfall, (and go ahead and put a nice table fountain in your real wealth sector!)

The system of Black Sect Tantric Buddhism placement need not be incompatible with Feng Shui, in fact they can be very compatible, but they each should be recognized for what they really are: Feng Shui deals with the movement of qi in the form of electromagnetic and geomagnetic energies from different directions, and Black Sect Tantric Buddhism deals with the psychology of the Law of Attraction.

Please do not mistake one for the other, or you might get a cone of broccoli when you order Jamoca Almond Fudge!

If you would like a detailed, professional Eight House Bright Mirror reading done for you, please contact me at phoenix_qi@yahoo.com I do excellent work and my rates are very reasonable!

Law of Attraction: The Science of Attracting of More of What You Want and Less of What You Don't Want

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Feng Shui Eight House Bright Mirror School Part 3 – The House

If you didn't do this in Part 2 of the Feng Shui Eight House Bright Mirror School series of posts, you need to use a compass and find the direction your house faces. There are some exceptions, but generally speaking the wall that contains your front door is the "face" of your house and is called the "facing" or "faces" direction; the back or opposite side of your house is called the "sitting" or "sits" direction.

Set aside your jewelry while you do this. Stand with your back to the front door but away from the door frame or beams so the metal or nails don't affect the compass reading of the direction you are facing. (If your front door were your home's eyes, you and your house should be looking in the same direction, facing the same way.) Write down the degree number on the compass; i.e. if your home faces due south, the compass should read close to 180 degrees. You may also take a couple more readings from different places along the front of your home, but facing in the same direction, just to make sure there is nothing affecting the compass reading. You will use the number and direction from the reading to determine the areas and energies of your home.

This seems as though it should be pretty cut-and-dried: the direction a house faces and sits determines its number just as your year of birth determined your personal ming gua or life sign. However, there's a hitch.

Two sources for this material state that the number that represents your home is based on the house's Facing Direction and the facing is always the Wealth direction. Several other sources say the number of your home is based on the Sitting Direction and the sitting is always the Harmony direction. Obviously, it is going to make quite a difference which is which.

In my experience, the number for the house should be based on the sitting position which is the Harmony direction, and should be on the opposite side from the facing position. Consult the list below to determine your home's direction and number:

If the compass reading is between 22.5 and 67.5 your house faces NE and sits SW
If the compass reading is between 67.5 and 112.5 your house faces E and sits W
If the compass reading is between 112.5 and 157.5 your house faces SE and sits NW
If the compass reading is between 157.5 and 202.5 your house faces S and sits N
If the compass reading is between 202.5 and 247.5 your house faces SW and sits NE
If the compass reading is between 247.5 and 292.5 your house faces W and sits E
If the compass reading is between 292.5 and 337.5 your house faces NW and sits SE
If the compass reading is between 337.5 and 22.5 your house faces N and sits S

Sitting direction and number >


Influences V

N 1



E 3



SE 4



S 9



SW 2



NW 6



W 7



NE 8











































































On the eight-sectioned circle you printed out from Part 2 where you wrote the influences each direction is to you, write the influences of the house into each section. If you didn't see part two, print the circle below, and follow the link to Part 2 at the end of this post.

You should easily be able now to compare the influences of the home to your personal number and directions. If it looks unfavorable, and it will if you happen to be an East Group person in a West Group house where all the favorable directions of the house are all your unfavorable directions, don't worry.

My favorite feng shui author Eva Wong places most of the emphasis on the number and influences of the person instead of on the dwelling. The most important things to do are to exit the home in one of your favorable directions, and have your bedroom in one of your favorable directions.

You see, your house is passive energy while you are active energy. If you are an East Group person and your favorable energies are water, wood, or fire, you can find it taxing to spend time in areas of the home that are earth and metal, energy phases that are unfavorable for you. Likewise, if you are a West Group person and the energetic influence of earth and metal are good for you, but you live in a home were water, wood, and fire rule, that could weaken your energies after a while. Over a long period of time, the unfavorable directions in a house could have harmful effects on your relationships, health, or finances, but it's more likely that the effects of your personal directions and active energies will offset potentially damaging influences.

My personal experience bears this out. My husband and I moved into a home in 1999 that sits NW and faces SE. My husband is a ming gua 7, and I am a ming gua 4. Since my husband and the house are both West Group, and I am East Group, this should have made the surroundings more favorable for him and less favorable for me. That is not what happened.

Our home and the exits we most often depart from, the front door or the garage, face SE. SE for me is the Harmony direction, and for my husband it is the Loss direction. Less than three years later, my husband was "downsized," he lost his job. Within the same three year period, I worked at a wonderful job that was not too busy or strenuous, and the pay, while not enough to make a person wealthy, was enough to comfortably cover expenses – exactly what I would expect when going to work in my Harmony direction.

The sitting direction (the Harmony direction) of the house is NW, and that is where the kitchen is located. NW is my Accidents direction, and I tend to be a klutz around sharp objects, so there is great potential for Accidents in the kitchen with cutters, knifes and other sharp objects. Since moving in to this house, I have certainly had my normal share of cuts and burns while cooking. Apparently the Harmony of the house has not overcome my tendency toward Accidents in this direction. Not only that, I almost set the house on fire one night while making stir-fry…good thing my husband was working on the kitchen computer and was there to help me douse it! In over 30 years of cooking meals for my family, this was the first time I have ever had an almost-fire in the kitchen! So, I don't believe this direction in the house has a lot of Harmonious and balancing influence on my propensity for kitchen Accidents.

For my adult son who is also a West Group person but whose SE direction represents Obstacles, I observed that he often found something "in his way" when applying for a job or obtaining things he wanted. My conclusion after these experiences is that Eva Wong is right on when she says the directions for the person are more important than the directions of the building.

If you missed the first two posts on Eight House Bright Mirror Feng Shui, you can catch them here: Part 1 – Ming Gua and Part 2 – The Directions.

The next step in feng shui is the Flying Star style which evaluates the energies of your home over periods of time. Unfortunately, that topic is more complicated than I can properly cover in this space. If you would like to learn more about it, I very highly recommend Eva Wong's book Feng-Shui: The Ancient Wisdom of Harmonious Living for Modern Times