HOW TO CONNECT WITH YOUR PERSONAL GUIDING STAR

Christmas scene with the three wise menThe expression ‘follow your star’ feels right, and resonates well. But what does it really mean? While it sounds like a New Age mantra, the idea of a star representing higher guidance runs deep in the psyche, and goes way back into prehistory.   

This is because stars are one of our oldest and most powerful symbols. At a deep level, light stands for information and darkness for ignorance. The stars twinkling out their little points of light from the immense darkness of the night sky are like signs of hope that there are answers to the great mysteries of life. Stars are therefore an important archetypal symbol that runs deep within our psyche, representing higher guidance.

PRACTICAL GUIDANCE

From the most ancient times, people knew that the stars were good guides. Hunter-gatherers used them to find their way around at night. Sailors steered their ships by the constellations in the sky. The stars have always helped camel caravans to find their way across the desert.

As the medieval Persian poet Rumi said,

“There are no signposts in the deserts,

Caravans are guided by the stars.

In the darkness of despair, hope is the only light”.

Constellations in sky

ASTROLOGY

From Babylonian times, centuries of study developed the astrological systems that we know today. Astrology was also important to the ancient Chinese, Indian, Arab, Mayan and Aztec cultures.

“Heaven sends down its good or evil symbols, and wise men act accordingly,” said Confucius.

In Europe as recently as the Middle Ages there was no division between astronomy and astrology. Being scientifically observable didn’t make the stars any less meaningful. Only 500 years ago, a European law decreed that before doing any major surgery, physicians must calculate the position of the moon.

Astrology had to be reliable, because its first use all over the world was to predict the weather for farming. That expanded into foreseeing natural disasters and war. Later on, kings, emperors, and even popes used to consult astrologers about their current dangers and future prospects.

These days, anyone can get their own star chart. If you’re looking for astrological clues about your life purpose, the South Node represents what you’re meant to leave behind this time around, and the North Node what you’re now moving towards.

star-2THE TAROT STAR

In the Tarot cards, the Star is one of the most hopeful and positive of all the major arcana. It represents freedom, safety, abundance and healing. When it appears in readings, it’s to give reassurance that you really are following your star.  

With the help of our guides, we decide on our life purpose before reincarnating. Once back here, we seem to forget about it. This is because it’s not always a good thing to know too much too soon about our purpose here. It could feel overwhelming, which may throw us off-course. Or the mind might jump to incorrect conclusions that send us on a wild goose chase, which just sets us back.

However, even if we never consciously know what our mission is, it remains at deep levels of our inner knowing, like a guiding star which leads us ever onward.   

TYPES OF PURPOSE

ancient greek scholarsIt is possible to figure out at least the general outline of your personal quest. You can look at your life and see what has driven you, made you happy, and excited you the most. These signs are like milestones, saying you’re on the right road.

At least one of these life purposes will probably ring a bell for you:

  • Personal growth. This takes as many different forms as there are individuals. It’s likely to be an important part of anyone’s intention for their life.
  • Completing unfinished business from a former life.
  • Healing an old wound.
  • Recovering self-worth.
  • Developing an area of study or expertise.
  • Helping others in some way.
  • Undertaking reforms or initiatives to create a better world.

Most people will have at least one of those as their life mission. Our personal projects then weave their colours through those themes, making up the rich tapestry of our lives.

HOW TO FIND OUT IF YOU ARE FOLLOWING YOUR STAR

Here are four ways to find out if you’re pursuing your purpose, and to get back on track if you feel that you’re not.

  1. THE TOUCHSTONES

These are the main signs that all is well:

  • When you set off on a path, begin a project, or discover something that is key for you, it feels exciting. It’s what Joseph Campbell meant when he said, magic door3“Follow your bliss, and the universe will open doors for you.”
  • Allowing for life’s ups and downs, your default attitude is generally positive.
  • You feel at ease with the many different paths that others may take.
  • Your see your way of life as basically good.
  1. WISH UPON A STAR

To find out if you’re truly following your life purpose, put out that question to the universe. Perhaps wish upon a star, asking for a sign. Signs and synchronicities will then come in all kinds of ways that have special meaning for you.

  1. ASK FOR A DREAM

Ask for a special dream to show where you are on your life path. Dream messages come in symbolic details. Does your dream show you on a clear path or road, and moving ahead eaThe illustration shows the girl who admires the star skysily? Is the way difficult or confusing? Are you unsure about where to go?

If your dream says that you’re lost or on the wrong road, you can ask for more dreams to help you find the right path. Working at this deep level is hugely effective. We make some of the biggest decisions about our lives in dreamtime.  

  1. VISUALISE THE JOURNEY

This short visualisation will give you more specific information about your path. You can repeat it as often as you wish, learning more every time.  

  • Ask your greater consciousness to show you where you are on your life path.
  • Close your eyes and relax.
  • Imagine that you are on a long journey – whatever kind comes easily to mind. path in woodsFor example, you may be on foot, in a boat, on an animal or in a vehicle.
  • Allow yourself to drift into semi-drowsiness.
  • Wait and see how the images unfold. What is the way ahead like? Are you making progress or staying still? Are there any signs to show which way to go? What are the surroundings and the weather like? These details are like dream symbols, and will give you all kinds of important clues.
  • If a person or animal appears, this is often the form in which a spirit guide may choose to visit you. You can ask questions if you wish. Your guide might answer in words, images, actions, coloured light, or by transmitting feelings of peace and love.
  • Trust whatever has come up as a real answer from your own inner spirit to the question that you asked.

For many people, the biggest stumbling block is trusting messages from within themselves. Our culture has taught us to turn away from our inner selves. This is sad, because it means losing your greatest ally. Learning to trust it is one of the biggest favours you can do for yourself.

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors learned that they could rely on the stars to show them the way. We are now learning to trust the guiding star within us. I believe this is all part of a huge process in which humanity is moving away from lives based on fear and competition. Together, we can build a new world on a foundation of co-operation and love – which is surely the highest purpose of all.                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This article was first published in Kindred Spirit Magazine, in Spring 2018.

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SECRETS OF THE DARK AGES REVEALED

mayan visionNew archaeological technology is now uncovering some exciting things about the past: for example, the Mayan world was as major as Ancient Egypt; there are large underwater cities all over the world; and an advanced ancient civilisation once flourished in Galloway, Ireland.

I recently heard about another new discovery – how the Dark Ages in Britain were not so dark after all. This demolishing of conventional history took place on a BBC programme on Arthurian Britain. In the documentary, researcher Alice Roberts set out to find out if King Arthur ever really existed. She focused on the findings made through new archaeological techniques.

The results were surprising. Perhaps disappointing in some ways, as those treasured old tales about Arthur were revealed as nothing more than that – just stories. In other ways, however, it was exciting to see the curtain finally lifted on the world of so-called ‘Dark Age’ Britain.   

arthur swordWe’ve always been told that after the Romans left, Britain entered a time of chaos. The people reverted to a primitive way of life. Then, to make it worse, invading hordes of Anglo-Saxons poured in to take over the land. At this point the tale of Arthur the great defender pops up, apparently killing 470 enemies on one day with his magical sword.  

Except none of that ever happened. There were no invading hordes. Forensic examination of thousands of skeletons reveals that most people from that time died of natural causes. There are no signs of great battlefields from that era, with lots of hacked corpses left lying around.

However, there is a lot of proven physical evidence that different peoples – the Angles, Saxons, Britons and so on – did mix in peaceful ways. They shared and traded things like their pottery and jewellery designs. They also inter-married.

iron-age-game-characterThis was because people in those days didn’t think of themselves as nations. There were no borders or passports. They likely thought of themselves much more locally than that. So it was easy for people to range freely as far as they wished. If they found a place they liked, they simply settled there. No warfare was necessary. In those days, the population was small, and the land was big enough to absorb all kinds of different settlements.

The original story of King Arthur came from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of Britain. I think the date that was written is very significant – around 1136. At that time, the country was still suffering under the yoke of the truly unpleasant Norman invasion of 1066.  It looks like the legend of Arthur as protector and saviour arose to give people hope during that traumatic time.

Grail KnightOver the years, Arthurian legends were further embellished with the values of later times, such as chivalry, honour and spiritual quests. Although it’s all mythology, I don’t have a problem with that. The Arthurian ethos was a highly civilising influence, and has created a rich background for our culture.

However, I think the new view we now have of the Dark Ages is also significant.  Surprisingly, it was a time of peace, when people traded and mingled far more than making war with each other.  

The archaeological discoveries about Tintagel were especially exciting. It turned out to be a huge, wealthy, almost palatial centre of international trade. Ships would come from all over Europe and the Mediterranean, to trade luxury commodities in exchange for Cornwall’s greatest asset – tin. Maybe that’s how the name Tintagel evolved. 

Tin was essential for making bronze, which created the Bronze Age. Cornwall’s tin mines were its backbone and strength for centuries before the Romans came and long after they’d left. So it was natural to say that the legendary King Arthur was conceived at an important place like Tintagel.

knichtedThe Arthurian legends are beautiful. They have civilised and enriched our culture with poetry, art and spirituality. I’m happy for what has been called ‘The Matter of Britain’ to keep its much-loved place in our world.

But I’m even happier to discover that the so-called Dark Ages were actually quite civilised. Maybe even more civilised than the world has become since the development of nation states? It’s food for thought.

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FESTIVALS OF DARKNESS

At this time of year, as the days get darker and the nights get longer, it’s easy to be cat and candlemore aware of the mysterious side of life. Fear of the unknown is an important part of Halloween, Samhain and even Guy Fawkes Night. The ancient purpose of these rituals has always been to keep us safe from the dangers of the coming darkness.     

The word Halloween comes from the Christian festival of All Hallows Eve. However, this seasonal ritual began centuries before Christianity. Originally called Samhain (pronounced Sow’en), it marked the turning point between the end of summer and the start of winter.

Even with a good harvest stored away, people feared the deadly powers of winter on the way. So this was a time to make offerings of thanks to the sun god Baal – both for the bounty of the past summer, and for continued protection through the winter.

cauldron candlesPeople said this turning point of the year caused the veil between the worlds to become thin, bringing a time of danger, excitement and wonder. Charms and spells would be especially powerful at Samhain. Evil spirits could also come through, seeking humans to possess or destroy. Druid priests performed special rituals at this time to appease the spirits of the dead.

For additional protection, on the eve of Samhain the private home fires were put out. This made the houses look empty, so that malignant forces would pass them by. Instead, the people built a huge communal fire outside. They then feasted and danced around it, wearing fearsome masks and animal disguises of skins, horns and antlers to drive away the horrors of the dark.

The custom of trick or treat also has prehistoric roots. It began with people putting fall witchy lanefood in front of their houses to placate the demons then roaming the land looking for sustenance –preferably in human form. People later began to act out that drama themselves. They masqueraded as demons, going from house to house demanding offerings, with threats of retribution if unsatisfied – a bit like an early protection racket. The masked children who knock on doors at Halloween are performing the same ritual, still fresh from the wild side of the human psyche.

Much like our modern electoral system, in ancient times the tribe chose a leader to reign for just one year. During this year, their temporary king had every luxury available. Then they sacrificed him and chose a replacement.  

samhain-ritualThe sacrifice of the old year’s king was a central purpose of the Samhain fire. It was called the bone fire because when it was over, the shaman read the dead king’s bones in the ashes for good or bad omens. With one letter dropped, it’s now our merry bonfire. The annual burning of a man’s effigy on Guy Fawkes Night is a direct echo of this arcane ritual.     

Our early winter festivals are like a gnarled old tree. While their roots still go down to these ancient terrors, the festivals these days are more about fun than fear. It feels good to thrill to the mysteries of life when we feel perfectly safe. Or are we? Maybe the veils between the worlds really are thinner at this time of year. Wishing everyone a joyfully spooky Halloween, Samhain, and bonfire night!

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LEVITATION

DreamerPeople really can fly. Not just in the form of astral travel or on aircraft, but in their physical bodies. This doesn’t mean we can all suddenly start swooping around like Superman. So far, only rare and special folk have demonstrated this, and even they just rise in the air for a while.

However, at the height of his powers, 19th century Daniel Dunglas Home nearly did fly like Superman. His adventures in the air began one day when he found himself physically floating up to the ceiling. Understandably, this took him rather by surprise. But he soon got the hang of it, and became able to levitate at will. His most famous demonstration was to glide out of one upper storey window and float back in through another. He also learned how to suspend heavy pieces of furniture in the air. Many people saw him do these feats numerous times. Skeptics constantly tested him for signs of hoaxing, but never found any. 

9_18_Saint-Joseph-of-Cupertino_best_Another famous flier was Joseph of Cupertino. He had ecstatic visions from childhood, was intensely religious, and became a Catholic priest in 1628. His levitations began when Pope Urban VIII granted him an audience. This event thrilled him so much, he found himself rising in the air. The other priests quickly dragged him down, but that was just the beginning. In moments of religious fervour, he often floated. Over the years, countless churchgoers and priests observed this at least a hundred times.

However, senior clergymen felt uneasy about it. It was too sensational. Maybe it was the work of devil. And they disliked the personal following Joseph was attracting. For the rest of his life, they tried to hide him away by moving him from one monastery to the other. A century later, the same church made Joseph the patron saint of air travelers.

Saint Teresa of Avila was a medieval Spanish nun who also began to float when she felt spiritually uplifted. Over two hundred priests saw this happen. However, she wasn’t happy about it. She prayed for it to stop, and it did.

Several other levitators have popped up in recorded history. There are probably levitationyogimany more that we’ve never heard about. When they belonged to the church, they were usually canonised. If not – such as Simon Magus in the first century – their floatings were denounced as demonic.

Travellers have brought back many eyewitness accounts of levitation by Tibetan monks, Indian Brahmins and Japanese Ninja. The British explorer Alexandra David-Neel once saw a Buddhist monk fly several meters high. He said he did it by focusing on a star that only he could see in daylight.

From a few experiments I’ve seen and experienced, it seems that one big key is to find a way to draw the spirit body upward, above the body. That enables the physical body to then follow it.

pyramid levitationPerhaps the ancient people knew about levitation. They have left their enigmatic signatures all over the world in the form of pyramids, temples and stone circles. Experts are still trying to figure out how they transported stones sometimes so gigantic that neither super-crane nor helicopter could lift them. When we re-discover the science of levitation, we may not only learn how to fly – we may also solve the mysteries of those great monuments.

This article was first published in my ‘Tales From the Other Side’ Column in Glastonbury’s Oracle magazine.

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ANIMAL SPIRIT GUARDIANS

animal familiarsFolklore and fairy tales are full of stories about mysterious animals. Shamans all over the world have always called on power animals to guide them through the other realms. Witches and cunning folk were said to have helpful familiars such as cats or toads. Many traditions speak of both humans and deities who shape-shift into animals.

So it’s not entirely surprising to hear about people’s strange animal encounters. Although sometimes startling, these experiences are generally positive. They may happen for all kinds of different reasons. The following three accounts show how animals have acted as unexpected guardians.   

MEG: A load of timber I had delivered brought two rats into the house. They were huge, and they scared me. I lay awake for four nights listening to them bashing about in the kitchen. In the end, I reluctantly set a trap. Next morning, one of them was dead in it. I cried, and couldn’t do the same for the other one. Instead, I prayed, pleading for it to leave.

Suddenly, a cat from my childhood appeared at the window, which was quite high off the ground. Ignoring me, it quietly walked past me into the kitchen. After a scuffle in there, the cat walked back past me and out the window. I never saw the cat or the rat again.

LIBBY: I once rescued an Alsatian dog, and called him King. He’s gone to spirit now – Spirit-Animal-guidebut whenever things are against me, he comes back and sleeps on my bed. I know it’s him because he always slept on my bed, and would turn round three times before flopping down. 

When my boss at work was trying to sack me, King stayed with me every night. Eventually that boss left because he didn’t like the new company that took over. So I kept my job. It was a difficult time, and I’m sure my dog came back to see me through it.                          

JOE: I once worked with a band in Beirut. Near the end of that contract, we still had no idea where our agent had booked us next. I asked spirit for a sign. Then every time I meditated, all I got was a huge dog, looking up at me and wagging its tail. Next thing we heard that we’d been booked into Tehran. 

The first evening, I went on to the balcony of our first floor flat, and looked down into the street. There, smiling up at me was a huge dog. It was identical to the one in my meditations. I went down to pet it. It put its feet on my shoulders and welcomed me with big licks.

Next morning, the dog brought the rest of the desert pack with it – about a dozen dogs, all huge, and spirit animalsjust as welcoming. At the time the Shah still ruled. The people hated westerners and sometimes attacked them, so the streets were dangerous for us. The club where we worked was ten minutes’ walk away. But every evening, this pack of wild dogs escorted us there. People were afraid of them, and crossed the road to avoid us. I think that dog came in answer to my uncertainty about what was coming next.                  

Many people have felt a psychic connection to animals. You’re most welcome to share your own experiences in the comments section, or more privately via my website contact page: www.pastlivesglastonbury.co.uk

This article was first published in my ‘Tales From the Other Side’ Column in Glastonbury’s Oracle magazine.

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FAMOUS DREAMS

Some dreams are so important they have changed the world. Surprisingly, dreams dc11have inspired several scientific discoveries and inventions.   About a century ago, the Danish physicist Neils Bohr was trying to figure out the structure of the atom. One night he dreamed that atoms were like solar systems. The nucleus was the sun, with electrons spinning round it. After some thorough testing, he found that the dream was right. This discovery won him the Nobel Prize, and he is now known as the father of quantum mechanics.

Sewing machines have transformed everything about clothing in our world. Yet without a dream, they may never have existed. American inventor Elias Howe was puzzling over the first problem – where to place the eye of the needle. Then one night he dreamed that he was in a savage country. The king commanded him to invent a sewing machine in 24 hours. If he didn’t, he would be executed.

hqdefaultIn the dream, he failed to do this, and his time ran out. Soldiers came to take him to his place of execution. Walking between them, he suddenly noticed that their spears had little holes near the pointed end. That was his eureka moment. He immediately woke up at 4.00 am, and set to work. By 9.00 am the first sewing machine was born.

African-American Madame CJ Walker became a millionaire because of a dream. It began when she got a scalp infection that made her hair fall out. In desperation, she prayed for a solution. An angelic looking man came to her in a dream. He showed her the specific ingredients to use for the problem. When she tried out the mixture, it worked. She started selling it as a product, and became the first female self-made millionaire in America.

einsteins-dreamsThere are many more examples like this. Einstein’s revolutionary theories, the discovery of insulin for diabetes, and even the invention of Google all came from dreams. There are probably many more that people haven’t made public.     

Dreams have also inspired the arts. Robert Louis Stevenson wrote to support his family. One day he was desperately trying to think of a new story to keep the wolf from the door. That night he had a dream about Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde. The publication of that tale finally established him as a successful writer.

The story of Frankenstein also came from a dream. Mary Shelley was the wife of the famous poet. While the couple were on holiday with Lord Byron in Geneva, they had a light hearted competition to see who could come up with the best horror story. That night Mary had a dream about the creation of Frankenstein. The story not only won her the little competition – it went on to become an all-time classic.  

The tune of the Beatles’ mega-hit ‘Yesterday’ came to Paul McCartney in a dream. beatlesHe first made completely sure that he hadn’t somehow picked up someone else’s work. Then he and John Lennon struggled to find words for it. In the meantime, they called it ‘scrambled eggs’. One day Paul woke up knowing ‘yesterday’ was the answer. The idea was perfect for the poignant tune, which became one of their most popular songs.   

Have you ever had an inspiring dream? You’re most welcome to share it in the comments, or more privately through my website contact page: www.pastlivesglastonbury.co.uk

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THE LAST WITCH

cat and candleThe last British person ever imprisoned for witchcraft wasn’t even a witch. She was Helen Duncan, a spiritualist medium. Her mission was to pass on messages from departed loved ones to their families. This was a great comfort to people, especially during the Second World War, when her psychic stage presentations were hugely popular.

At one of these events in 1941, Helen received a message from a sailor. He said he’d died on the HMS Barham when a German U boat sunk it. He just wanted his family to know that he was alive and well in the spirit world.

However, the sinking of the Barham was meant to be top secret. The government wanted to hide that information from the enemy, and not create despondency at home. They were also secretly planning the D Day landings in Normandy. If one word about that got out, it could have been disastrous. Fearing what other secrets Helen Duncan might let out, they arrested her for spying.

When that charge didn’t stick, they dusted off the Witchcraft Act of 1735. This made it illegal to claim magical powers, or to accuse anyone of being a witch. At the time, it was an enlightened step forward from the old days of witch hunting.

Under this law, they sentenced Helen Duncan to nine months in Holloway Prison. Helen Duncan 1This outraged many, including some top legal people. Chief among her allies was Winston Churchill, who called her imprisonment ‘obsolete tomfoolery’.

Churchill was no stranger to the mystical side of life. He was a lifetime member of churchill ecapingthe Grand Order of Druids. As a British soldier in the Boer War he was captured, but subsequently escaped. While on the run, he said ‘some form of mental planchette’ guided him to the only house that would help him.

In the Second World War, he conferred with the Glastonbury mystic Wellesley Tudor Pole to come up with the idea of the Silent Minute. For the rest of the war, for one minute at 9.00 pm every night, the country went silent and focused on peace. One German general called this Britain’s secret weapon.

In prison, Helen’s cell door was never locked. She gave free readings for a constant stream of inmates and warders alike. Sources close to her said Churchill himself visited her, with a promise to make amends for this injustice.

As Home Secretary in 1951, Churchill’s only major legislation was to abolish the 1735 Witchcraft Act. It became the softer Fraudulent Mediums Act, which ruled that making money from magic was illegal except as entertainment.

greenmanThis opened the door to significant developments that have shaped the world we now live in. In 1954, the Spiritualist Church was recognised as a religion. In the same year, Gerald Gardner published his best-selling book ‘Witchcraft Today’, refuting the stereotype of witches as evil old hags on broomsticks. He said Wicca was primarily a peaceful way of honouring nature through seasonal rituals. Many people liked the sound of this, and Gardnerian witchcraft spread rapidly.

In 2000, Paganism was recognised as an official religion. Paganism honours the spirituality of nature, and is a broad umbrella that includes many sub-groups such as Wicca, Shamanism and Druidry. A 2011 census revealed that Paganism is now the fastest growing religion in Britain. Many other therapies, philosophies and practices that we now take for granted could also never have emerged under the old witchcraft law.

Controversy still hangs around Helen Duncan, like the old-fashioned ectoplasm she was said to produce. Whether that was real or not, her message about the sinking of the Barham was factual enough to rattle the establishment. Perhaps her most powerful magic was the higher purpose of the drama she went through. Without that, we might have been living in a very different world today.

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