Kundalini Awakening: The Mythology of 2012

In the dream I drew an oscillation process beneath the window – actually two oscillations, one beneath the other. By turning to the right from the curves, I try to see the time on the clock. But the clock is too high, so that doesn’t work. Then the dream continues. The ‘dark unknown woman’ appears. She is crying because she wants to write a book but cannot find a publisher for it. In this book there is apparently a great deal of material on time symbolism – e.g., how a period of time is constituted when certain symbols appear in it. And at the end of one page of the book, there are the following words, read aloud by the ‘voice’: ‘The definite hours have to be paid for with the definite life, the indefinite hours have to be paid for with the indefinite life.’

On January 23, 1938 the father of modern science, Wolfgang Pauli, had the above dream. I located it in the appendix of a book, Atom and Psyche, as I was preparing an art exhibition entitled Icons of the 21st Century.

The dream describes where we stand today as we enter the chaos preceding the resurrection of the psyche signified by the December 21, 2012 Winter Solstice alignment of the sun with the Galactic Center. The double oscillation is the symbol for Aquarius and the unseen clock represents the timing of the manifestation in the collective view represented by the window.

Like Pauli in his dream, we can no longer see time because time is no longer moving in a linear fashion. The voice alludes to the difficult passage to Jean Gebser’s “ever present origin,” the abyss at the center of the Milky Way, envisioned by the Mayans as the World Tree, a symbol for the creation and ordering of the universe. The axis of Earth/Sky at the Galactic Center is where the cosmos was divided into four quarters, each oriented to one of the cardinal points representing the “beginning of time.” This geometry marks the time and place where definite and indefinite time will converge.

Like the woman in Pauli’s dream, I was struggling to determine a “period of time constituted when certain symbols appear” through 20 years of compulsive writing from the collective unconscious. The journey that began with a kundalini awakening propelled me into a career as an art critic intent on finding symbols for “the beginning of time” in millennial art. It was a personal quest with a universal aim: to determine what was this myth I was destined to live by the circumstances of my birth and relate it to a new vision of art in the 21st century.

Kundalni Awakening

My father, Neo-Reichian clinical psychologist, was at the forefront of the Human Potential Movement in the 1960’s. After a decade of experimentation, he exhausted the western approaches to consciousness and gave up his worldly possessions to become a disciple of Swami Muktananda. By the end of the 1970’s, he left the Oakland ashram to research the kundalini. Co-founding the Kundalini Clinic in San Francisco, he healed individuals whose psyches were torn asunder by eruptions of the force known as the “serpent power.” He was about to bring this knowledge into the collective consciousness when he had a fated encounter with a group of women on a mountaintop in India who transmitted enlightenment through trance. These were devotees of Raja yoga, the highest form of this discipline that attempts to bring the body and psyche into spiritual union.

When my father died of a heart attack in 1983, I was working as a financial reporter in Mexico City. It seemed that his hand had reached out through his coffin because it was at his funeral that my kundalini was awakened by one of his spiritual sisters who had such elevated energy she seemed to walk on air. Cupping her hands over the crown of my head, she opened my crown chakra. I have always been an open channel but my body was unprepared for this influx of spiritual energy.

For years afterwards the only constant in my life was instability. I bounced between the opposites of love and hate, an imbalance arising from the paradox of the archetypal “wounded healer” who learns to heal by attending to one’s own psyche. The only person who could have helped my condition was dead. I traveled between various cities and the fourth dimension with frequent out of body visions. I appealed to astrologers and psychics only to be told: “You are living out a collective myth.” None of them could tell me what it was. There didn’t seem to be any precedent for a father whose earthly departure ignited his daughter’s occult powers.

Finally, I landed in Los Angeles where even during the height of the New Age movement I was looked at with alarm when I uttered the dreaded word: kundalini. As my path unfolded, however, I came to understand my father’s role in bringing this unseen energy into consciousness. I met Anodea George, the author of a seminal book on the charkas (The Wheels of Life) and discovered an acknowledgement to my father for his “pioneering kundalini research.” I befriended a beautiful Sikh woman, a publicist for gurus, who introduced me to Yogi Bijan, who brought the technology of kundalini yoga to America. And so I learned to control the desire that Christianity had associated with the feminine and taught to repress through the myth of St. Michel slaying the dragon. Ironically, the myth I needed for my healing was imbedded on the walls of temples in my adopted home of Mexico. Under the Great Eclipse of 1999, I discovered the serpent wall in the ancient Toltec city of Tula as the journey of Venus from Morning to Evening Star through my Mexican guide’s interpretation. This ancient myth resurrects the Sacred Marriage for a new age, thereby delivering the full expression of the divine feminine, her light and dark phases, into consciousness.

The Myth of Quetzalcoatl

“Riding the Serpent,” Templo de Quetzalcóatl, Teotihuacán (Lost Bride Series, 2006) by Lisa Streitfeld

Last summer, the celebrity obsessed media offered multiple images of the “dark unknown woman” archetype reoccurring in Pauli’s dreams. The so-called “wild women” — Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan and Paris Hilton – let loose their kundalini energy in public while thumbing their noses at the corporate controlled mainstream media that continues to demean the female spirit. Their antics gave a face to the dark matter in space now being acknowledged by scientists. The genie is out of the bottle and my discoveries in the Aztec ruins of Mexico provided the wisdom of how to get it back in.

The kundalini power is key to the mystery surrounding 2012. We need only look at a star map to see the 13th constellation straddling the Galactic Center personified as a human figure riding a serpent. Linked to Quetzalcoatl, this figure reflects the human mastery of the dark feminine that has been repressed by western religion for several millennia. A conscious surrender to this power means resurrecting the anima mundi that Pauli expected to uncover beneath the collapsing quantum wave.

The raising of the kundalini was key to the mystery traditions that held the divine feminine in high esteem as Sophia, goddess of wisdom. The feminine power is unseen but can be made conscious through behavior. As Venus disappeared from the horizon last summer, the antics of the tabloid queens in our celebrity-obsessed culture competed for attention. After rising in Leo, the sign ruling celebrity, and continuing in her active Morning Star phase, the mystifying death of Heath Ledger captured the headlines. Allegedly named after the dark brooding Heathcliff, Ledger was propelled into fame after creating a character propelled by a kundalini attraction that, in the history of cinema, had never been so boldly presented on screen. The serpent power propelled this actor into a contemporary myth off-screen as well: the real life sacred marriage partner to his on-screen wife. Yet the difficulty in holding the public face of this emerging archetype flung this talented artist down the spiral into the dark face of Venus. His marriage broke up and he became the drug- addicted consort to the wild woman archetype.

We get daily doses of the myth of descent with Britney Spears psychotic breakdown, a drastic fall from power that gives a contemporary identity to the legions of unknown women imprisoned, hospitalized or condemned witches after this energy erupted in their bodies. The spiritual feminine arises most visible with her dark face so we acknowledge the potential of this energy pulsating through the body to wake us up and make us whole.

The Geometry of Wholeness

What does wholeness look like?

The flier for the May 23, 2010 opening of Woman in the 21st Century” was a response to Margaret Fuller asking what a whole woman looks like in her seminal text, “Woman in the Nineteenth a Century.”

In a lengthy correspondence with Carl Jung (www.psychovision.com), Pauli expressed his belief that the hexagram is the configuration for the icon of the 21st century.

On January 23, 1997 a hexagram appeared in the heavens under a spectacular Jupiter/Uranus/Neptune alignment in Aquarius. Astrologers and metaphysicians declared this configuration as the gateway to the Age of Aquarius (gaiamind.com). Predating the Jewish religion, the hexagram, known as the Star of David or Seal of Solomon, symbolizes the unity of masculine and feminine into the sacred marriage of opposites.

I was alerted to this configuration because it took place during my solar return. Three weeks later, I attended a historic San Francisco conference that brought astrologers and scientists together for the first time. The event was planned for the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction by the organizer, Richard Tarnas (author of Passion of the Western Mind and Cosmos & Psyche), who declared the Hieros Gamos as the icon of the 21st century. In September of 2000, I attended another historic conference organized by the New York Open Center on Hermeticism in the Italian Renaissance. There I learned of the practice of Marsilio Ficino whose hermetic practice of bringing heaven down to earth inspired numerous Renaissance works of art.

Bringing the Hieros Gamos into Form

I was so inspired by Ficino’s model and the manner that he ignited the west with a new humanistic vision with his small group of like=minded individuals attuned to the motions of the planets, that I decided to do the same in the art world.

With the ambition of bringing the Hieros Gamos archetype into form in accordance with celestial timing and the “sacred space” of the art gallery, I embarked on a series of actions reciproques timed for the January 23 anniversary.

The place I selected was the Lab Gallery of the Roger Smith Hotel on Lexington Avenue. A few blocks from Warhol’s original factory, this was the ideal “middle realm” situated on the clearly defined geometrical grid of Manhattan to bring heaven down to earth through hermetic acts aimed at bringing the emerging archetype into form. The premiere year, 2005, was a dinner/spoken word performance with the legendary avant-garde critic/artist Richard Kostelanetz as guest of honor. Through spontaneous performance, three outstanding New York poets — Valery Oisteanu, Max Blagg and Edwin Torres — narrated the trajectory of 20th century Spoken Word to create a new language for the Hieros Gamos, reflecting the integration of right/left brain.

In 2006, I launched an exhibition investigating the iconography of the Hieros Gamos in contemporary art. Icons of the 21st Century opened on January 20 with 23 works and a window performance by Laurel Jay Carpenter, Red Woman, which created a spiral through a train of 100 red dresses that snaked into the gallery.

As postulated by Pauli, this signature piece demonstrated the resurrection of Eros as fundamental to the emerging archetype. On January 23, I hosted a dinner with the gallery director Matt Semler in which I constituted Pauli’s dream in the window by marking the symbols. The rectangle was the dinner table whose participants listened to my gallery talk triggered by the unseen cosmological time clock – the astrology chart. Thus the public marking of symbol constituted the passage of the dream images into consciousness.

I continued to identify with the “dark unseen woman” in Pauli’s dream who cried because she couldn’t get published. For my next January 23 project, I decided to launch a vehicle for immediate global publication. I invented a new form, the blogel, (www.thealchemyoflove.blogspot.com) enabling me to publish as I write. This goal was to be achieved by the public transformation of the kundalini in the body evidenced by an integrated style of writing. The intent was to create a visual language reflecting the passage of the serpent through the chakras that approximated the seven stages of alchemy. For practical purposes, I followed the system I created in my experimental fiction and reduced the stages to five elements evoked in five chapters collectively entitled The Alchemy of Love. The performance in the storefront gallery was to be a public manifestation of Pauli’s dream in which he “drew a double oscillation beneath a window”. The double wave of the Aquarian symbol is reflected in the integration of conscious/unconscious in a holistic style of writing utilizing both sides of the brain.

“The Alchemy of Love: Fire/CALCINATIO” was initiated on the January 20, 2007 Venus Helical Rising

The alchemical experiment was initiated with a ritual ceremony in the gallery. Under the Moon/Venus conjunction in Aquarius at 12:18 PM, January 20, a priestess established a sacred space to birth the Aquarian Age icon. The second day of the writing performance was January 23.

The entry Flame: Page Six presented the emerging icon of the Hieros Gamos in the context of the celebrity obsessed media dominated culture as the starting point for the alchemical journey. I spent the night on the bed in the center of the gallery and published the entry at the moment of my solar return shortly after dawn on January 24 when there was a line-up of Aquarian planets (Sun, Mercury, Venus and Neptune) on the horizon. In hermetic fashion, I was realizing my astrological imprint for the year that required delivering the face of the feminine to the collective consciousness.

The performance was to demonstrate how synchronicities regulate consciousness into time and space. I embarked on the first stage of the performance with a narrative arising from Pluto’s recent demotion from planet to asteroid. The intent was to remake the myth of Persephone’s “disappearance” as empowerment rather than victim. This reflected my disappearance into the collective unconscious (currently summed up in the media by Britney Spears’ descent into psychosis) resulting from my kundalini awakening during my father’s funeral.

The Alchemy of Love in Five Elements (screenshot)

During the year of performances, I plunged into the life/death cycle required by the successive stages of alchemy. While launched into AIR on September 24 I had forgotten all about Persephone when a gentleman from Liberia appeared at the window marveling that I had created an African shrine with my 19 unpublished manuscripts arranged in the form of a pentacle. “I see us dancing together,” he said and declared that he wanted to take me to Liberia as his wife. Persephone had imposed herself into the experiment through the arrival of a suitor from a country named for the liberation of the ex-slaves who founded it. Liber is the stem of Libra, the sign of Venus which rules the opposites that Persephone straddled in her dual role as underworld bride of Pluto and daughter of Ceres surfacing in spring to celebrate new life.

This synchronicity infused me with the consciousness identity that subsequently released me from the control of the Persephone myth and freed me to experience the Aquarian icon of equal partnership. The new myth began to enter the collective conscious under a Pluto/Jupiter line up on the Galactic Center on Dec 11, 2007 prior to the birth of the Sun at the Winter Solstice. During a meditation on that date, I met Jonathan Phillips, who subsequently invited me to help organize Evolver: Wake Up and Dream.

The final segment of the Lab experiment took place on January 23, 2008. The centerpiece of the exhibition was Eclipse, a chalkboard in the form of a black sphere under Tatyana Stepanova’s Waterfall sculpture representing the Aquarian cycle of eclipses bringing the third and final wave ushering the planet into the Age of Aquarius. Heaven was brought down to earth through an initial performance drawing the astrology chart for sunset on January 23.

This final stage of the birth of the Hieros Gamos was commemorated through a collaborative performance in which the Full Moon in Leo made a direct opposition to the Neptune/Mercury conjunction in Aquarius. I began by drawing the astrology chart of the performance on Eclipse and writing Pauli’s dream on the empty wall beside the projected narrative of the revival of the Lost Bride uniting with the Resurrected Groom through a video interweaving recent series by allegorical painters Tatyana Stepanova (Russia) and Michael Manning (U.S.). Stepanova painted the upcoming solar eclipse in Aquarius/Leo while I entered the light projected by the paintings to integrate Pauli’s dream symbols with the astrological symbolism of 2012 while Lutz Rath (Germany) synchronized my movements to his playing the violincello. My last act, which closed the performance, was painting the double oscillation image from Pauli’s dream in the window as the sign of Aquarius. In keeping with the final stage of alchemy, the experience was blissful.

The New Paradigm Leap

Wolfgang Pauli’s January 23, 1938 dream took place five days after the opening of the International Surrealist Exhibition in Paris. Saturn, the timer, was at Zero degrees Aries, the exact degree rising at noon on the Winter Solstice 2012. This exhibition introduced the public to the collective unconscious, which Pauli was exploring with Carl Jung through an intense collaboration regarding the emergence of the Aquarian Age archetype uniting personal and universal through the dream.

In keeping with the goal of the five-chapter installation/performance, my personal emergence into the Aquarian Age archetype took place in a January 25 performance through the submergence into the light projections refracted by Waterfall. The performance, Infinity, was projected onto a mannequin wearing a Selma Karaca Kundalini Couture creation entitled Waterfall which transformed the innovated the corset into a Mobius Strip. This ingenious work represented not only fashion and art coming together, but the ultimate liberation of women to express holistically. The hallway projection of my Waterfall performance at the Lab onto the Waterfall garment worn by the mannequin during Evolver: Wake Up and Dream provided the visual synchronicity by which the Hieros Gamos archetype passed into the collective unconscious.

A tarot reader declared afterwards that the cards she kept turning up during the event indicated a heart opening. This was my experience during a 1:00 AM chakra balancing session as well. Just as Waterfall was at the center of Eclipse in the Lab, the heart was at the center of the Mobius Strip of the Waterfall. Both of these works were made by Aquarian artists and the synchronicity of the matching titles of their seminal works were magical manifestations of the Aquarian symbol of the Waterbearer surfacing under the shadow of an eclipse cycle integrating mind (Aquarius) with heart (Leo). This delivery of image back to its source as magic (www.brooklynrail.org/2006/07/film/magic-and-images), as postulated by art critic David Levi Strauss, brought 20 years of alchemical experiments to a crescendo realized by my synchronous performance with the avant-garde magician of sound, Lutz Rath.

The immediate publication of symbols uniting Pauli’s dream (indefinite time) with live performance (definite time) on the anniversary of his January 23 dream reflect a new era in which mythical content of the collective unconscious is instantaneously made conscious through the World Wide Web. This inquiry into consciousness in time and space moved me from the role of critic/observer to performer/participant. Immediately prior to the performance, my sister contacted me with a dream.

In this dream, the timekeeper was no longer the old man with an hourglass imaged in western time but a crone. This could indicate a return to lunar time as postulated by Daniel Pinchbeck in his book, 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. My sister, a Capricorn, was on one side of the timekeeper while I, an Aquarius, was on the other. The dream represented the timely integration of the two planets ruling Aquarius that bring heaven (Uranus) down to earth (Saturn). In this personal exchange with my sister, the filmmaker of Female Perversions, I was given a message regarding the resolution to the dilemma of the unpublished woman in Pauli’s dream who has written “a great deal of material on time symbolism – e.g. how a period of time is constituted when certain symbols appear in it.” Having this essay published on Reality Sandwich is a realization of the dreams that tie the father of modern science to the present dilemma of the long repressed divine feminine in giving voice to the experience of its emergence.

This bold new direction that art takes in the 21st century returns us to our ancient roots in shamanism revived by Ficino, the influential humanist philosopher of the Italian Renaissance. Hermetic practice revisions creative acts in time and space as mediations between heaven and earth. My real time creative manifestation of Pauli’s dream established a literal middle path on the gallery floor between definite time (the astrological chart of the performance) and indefinite time (the dream). By forging the path of the “in between” through the tension of the opposites, the artist guides a new cosmology into the culture as was done in ancient times when the priests determined the timing of sacred ceremonies through their knowledge of planetary relationships. Thus we have a return to the model of the Italian Renaissance, when Marsellio Ficino inspired artists to revision humanism with his hermetic infusion of astrology into everyday life through practices such as the revival of orphic hymns paying homage to the planetary gods.

To bring the knowledge of 2012 into the body through everyday rituals establishes a process of an evolutionary consciousness in our bodies. Daily acts of consciousness in time and space is how we can travel the middle bath that brings the icon of the Hieros Gamos in our psyches. And here we have a tradeoff for surrendering our obsession with consumption that is driving our planet into ecological ruin – to fill ourselves with the spirit of holism contained in this new archetype. It may seem like a minor accomplishment in the face of such grave challenges, yet multiply one raised consciousness by the potential of millions hooked into the Internet and you have a collective leap into a New Paradigm of an interconnected universe.

C. 2012

Lisa Paul Streitfeld

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