Power Within the Land: Dragon Lines & Dancing the Heart of Shamanism
The fire before us flickers. We hold out our hands to warm them in the cool night air. Across the circle we glimpse the faces of our companions shifting in the shadows of the campfires. Somewhere to our right the notes of the music begin: a flute, a guitar, the beat of a drum. Our bodies sway in the light of the flames. Something primordial stirs within us as we sink into an attunement with the rhythms of the night. Crickets and cicadas, the sounds of the forest and the running river enfolds us. We close our eyes. The drum is an echo of an even deeper heartbeat – that of the very Earth we sit upon.
From before remembered time, thus we have met. Humans of every race, culture and creed, sensing our divine connection with the world of nature — the world of plants, animals and the spirits around us. In circle with others, alone on top of mountains, in the heart of jungles, in the womb of caves, this connection with nature has caused us to pull back the veils of physical reality, and step into an inner knowing that cannot always be felt with the five physical senses. Even for those raised in concrete cities, this primordial wisdom surfaces in the stillness of these moments. And for a long as men and women have listened, they have created ritual to hold the sacred space between this world and the invisible realms. This then as Shamanism.
The power of this spirit world has been known to many tribes by different names. To the Iroquois it was called the Orenda. To the Algonquin it was the Manitou. The Celts called it the Fairy realm or the Underworld. For the Tibetans they are the bardo planes. To the Egyptians they were the Halls of Amenti, and for the Inca they were the worlds of the Hanakpacha. Each of these is built of four essential elements: earth, air, fire and water, the very substances through we know our own material reality today.
“A Shaman then is one who understands and learns to choreograph the energies of the universe in order to heal the self and others in a sacred way,” writes Lynn Andrews author of Teachings Around the Sacred Wheel. Her path she says, has been to help rebalance the masculine consciousness which has so long dominated our planet, with a reawakening of the feminine one. This has long been symbolized by the Great Turtle, “the slow one, the necessary one, the one who carries us on her shoulders, the earth spirit who teaches us patience, who teaches us to take one step at a time on our journey here.”
To most Native Americans Turtle Island is the Americas, this continent and Central and South America. And for many tribes Turtle is held sacred as a symbol of the Earth herself.
“The primary duty of the priests, whether male or female,” writes Dhyani Ywahoo in her book, Voices of Our Ancestors, “is to maintain the thought form of balance and harmony for all things, even for the rocks and trees, everything that shares this dream with us.” In the Tsalagi world view, a tribe known to most of us as the Cherokee, “life and death, manifestation and formlessness are all within the circle which spirals out through all dimensions.”
Shamanism is a way of life, a religion based on everything being in relationship with one another. Sacred ceremony and rituals are simply a way of maintaining this honoring to the Earth and Sun, and preserving a harmonious balance of the energy currents in the entire universe.
Understanding that everything around us is alive is the first step we must take into the heart of Shamanism. Even in the ancient European world the spirits of earth, air, fire and water were known to many groups.
“The Egyptians called them Afrites. To the Jews they were the Shedim. The Africans named them Ywahoos, and the Persians called them Devs. The classifications we have retained in our western mythologies are Greek, using words like Gnomes for Earth spirits (which means knowing ones), Sylphs for air spirits (those with gauzy wings), Undines for water spirits (creatures of the waves), and Salamanders for fire spirits (the Greek word for fireplace).”
Sacred Stones-Sacred Earth
In fact for the peoples of the Andes the forces of nature have always been revered as sacred, particularly those forces that inhabit the mountains, rocks and stones. Wakas are shrines or altars and can refer to any sacred object or location, from a mountain cave to a simple pebble. To the Quechua Indians the wak’arumi are ancient sacred rock tombs. “The forces in those stones have the potential to be dangerous and are therefore respected,” writes explorer Carol Cumes in her book Pachamama’s Children. “If a man wants to build a house and needs to move a wak’arumi, he must first make an offering to receive permission from the ancestral spirits inhabiting the rocks. If he does not, the stones may become angry and cause the people in the house to get sick.”
In Peru all of the famous ruins like Machu Picchu are built on and around unusual rock formations and initiation takes place in the glaciers of the highest Andean mountain peaks where the energy of the Earth is most concentrated. Initiates go alone to see, hear and receive wisdom and power from the Andean heights. These mountains spirits are called Apus, Angels or Spirits of Power who can bless you or curse you.
Stones have long been a repository for Earth’s ancient vibrational wisdom and have been used to mark sacred pathways, altars, and megalithic stone circles in many parts of the world. Beginning with the first recorded history of Egypt, obelisks, statues, and power stones have held these energies. Enormous efforts have been expended in the past to remove the original stones from their Egyptian sites to modern centers of power and influence; when Christianity was adopted as the official religion of Rome, the Popes set great store by possessing many of them. Others have traveled far from the land of their creation to London, Paris and New York. Many more sacred stones are imitated on the summits of hills in the guises of memorials, especially in England. It is almost as if the influence of Ancient Egypt still hovers about the world, the relics of its formidable magical culture spreading out to encompass a society that works on very different principles.
The Dragons Are Sleeping
Beneath the ground lies the invisible network of pathways called ley lines, over which most of the sacred temples and cathedrals of the world have been built. In Peru, anthropologists and archaeologists have found that these energy meridians radiate out from a temple known as Kkorikancha located in the city of Cuzco. They move in four distinct directions and as many as forty-one of these invisible energy lines have been tracked. The energy from these vortices can be measured with scientific instruments and in some of the circular structures of the temples, Geiger counters have registered unusually high radioactive output given off by the stones themselves. Infrared photographic equipment has also shown rays of light beaming up from the stones during special times of the year like the solstices and equinoxes.
To the Celts these ancient lines of power were called Dragon or Serpent lines. They have been charted throughout Europe and the British Isles to run the length and breadth of the land as part of the magnetic interplay of the planet’s life force. In the same way that medical doctors have charted the energy meridians of our human bodies, so too does this chi, or life force move like a web of intelligence beneath our feet.
“The dragon was originally a concrete expression of the divine powers of life-giving, but with the development of a higher conception of religious ideals it became relegated to a baser role, and eventually became the symbol of the power of evil,” says Sir George Elliot Smith in The Evolution of the Dragon.
Dragons have been recorded in cultures around the world. Chinese dragons were famous for their benevolent natures, and inhabited the mountains and power areas of the east. Dragons are found throughout all European cultures and the mythos of St. George and the Dragon has long been the stuff of popular folklore. But were the dragons real, or were these merely the metaphor for some power within the Earth that is intimately connected to the health of the land?
Dhyani Ywahoo, the Cherokee fire keeper writes, “The dragons, the Ukdena, were energy moving in the wave patterns of Earth’s energy. They used to follow the will of the great medicine people who, with certain crystals, would call them to turn aside dangerous activity and thus protect the people. The medicine people became too few to give them proper guidance and the dragons became weaker and weaker; many were tied into the mountains and the intelligent ones vibrated themselves into another dimension. The last dragon was seen in the Smoky Mountains in the 1700s.”
The Ywahoo teachings, she explains can be traced back 2,860 years ago and have been passed down through twenty-seven successive generations of medicine people. The Tsalagi people, she says have been keepers of the land for over a hundred thousand years. Along with the Maya and Aztec, they had the oldest calendar in the world and one of the most accurate. They had a written language and understood the significance of zero in mathematics 1000 years before the Arabs and 2000 years before the Europeans. Today the fire keepers of her tribe, speak of the imbalance that is occurring in the Earth with the removal of precious metals like gold, silver and platinum. These ores are keyed directly into the meridian ley lines of the Earth, and as we remove them so carelessly for greed and material profit, we are in fact destroying the very balance of electromagnetic currents which make life possible on our planet. We are committing suicide for all species on Earth, not just the humans.
The life force of the earth is bound up with the life force of the sun, and even the most cynical scientists must concede that without it all life on Earth would die. The medicine people of all tribes knew that there is a close connection between Inti, the Sun, the lay network of the earth and the health and life force of all the natural realms that inhabit Pachamama, the divine mother Earth. Like their native brothers the Tsalagi, the Peruvian Andeans also saw that the earth and solar system were part of a far greater cosmic system in which these sensitive energy relationships were crucial to the existence of our lives. Because of their reverence for the inter-connection between the solar power and the Earth, they created temples of worship to the Sun which they called Intiwatana, meaning hitching posts to the sun.
The Worship of the Sun
The Sun has long been considered the source of life by many Shamanic traditions, and thus became a symbol for the regeneration of all worlds at the center of our own. In ancient Egypt this presence was called Ra, and it was seen as the golden unifying principal of the Father essence. The Greeks personified it as Helios, the golden haired one in his chariot of fire who crossed the sky every day, only to vanish as night descended. (Aurora, incidentally was the name of his sister who brought in the dawn).
The Celts celebrated the return of the Sun God at Beltane (May 1st) every year with great festivities and the lighting of fires throughout the land. These solar alignments created a cosmic orientation which at dawn would coincide with the line of sacred sites and temples. “A person looking towards the great line of fires that glowed on hills and mounds would suddenly see the greatest fire in the solar system rise directly behind them in a momentous act of celestial union. In continuance of this wondrous cosmology, as the Sun wheeled its way to its midsummer extreme and then retraced its route across the heavens, observers at the sacred places could again look east to behold the corresponding summer solar display when the Sun again aligned, this time to mark Llughnasad, the time of bountiful fruits.”
Ironically, a world away in the Americas, we find this same reverence in the Sundance of the Native peoples of North and South America. To the Inca the golden discs at the center of their Temples representing the Sun were reminders of their own godlike origins. Their teachings tell us that we have all come from the stars and that millions of years before the first Andeans, highly evolved spiritual beings conveyed electromagnetic energy from the universe to feed earth’s civilizations with spiritual energy. Earth, it was said, was a space station where ships from the cosmos could land, and highly evolved souls guarded the wisdom of the vortices of energy. As we have settled into our lives here on Earth, the Incas say we have forgotten our own connection to the star beings. Sadly, only a handful of these incredible Temples of the Sun remain at Titicaca, Korikancha in Cuzco, and Machu Picchu after the massive destruction by the Spanish conquistadors.
In the beliefs of the Tsalagi tribes “the Sun Children were the true Earth people, in that they first experienced individuated mind while on Earth, as the dream children of the star beings. The first to come forth from the Pleiades were the Adawees, great angelic beings; in contemplating form in dreaming, they precipitated the Earth and its peopling in concordance with the great principle of creation. It is taught that all human life originated in the Americas, whereas the Sacred Seven originated as seeds of pure mind in another star system.” (the Pleiades)
The Sun Dance
In the United States the Sun Dance, called the wiwanyag wachipi by the Sioux, is the most sacred of dances. It is traditionally held in June or July after the summer buffalo hunts as a thanksgiving to Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit. For four days and four nights those who dance within the circle take no food or no water, asking Great Spirit to sustain them in their prayers of gratitude.
This very hidden, sacred ceremony is “the gathered tribe, the band, the gathered Tiyospaye, acknowledging the spiritual and physical relationship to all that is the cante, the heart of the Sun Dance.”
At the center of the Dance is the one tree, usually a cottonwood, which represents the Tree of Life. Six cloth banners flutter above, representing the four directions of north, south, east and west, the Divine Mother and the Divine Father. Ropes, like umbilical cords connect the dancers to the spiral of the center tree as they move in and touch the center four times before entering the visions of their own Sun dancing. Like indigenous people the world over, they honor the Sun as an expression of the life energy of the Great Spirit expressed in the most powerful of forms.
Dr. AC Ross, a Lakota Sioux also known as Ehanamani says that it is his belief that the Sun is responsive to the thoughts we humans project outward. “Our minds are like miniature transmitters and our thoughts can be measured in hertz. The positive and negative brain waves that we emit effects the heavenly bodies as well as our own planet. Our negative energy goes out to the sun and produces solar flares, which returns to our Earth as an increase in the magnetic disturbances of our planet. We see this as earthquakes, floods, volcanic activity and diseases. All things have a spirit and what we send out does effect the Universe.”
The Music of the Spheres
In the last few decades the wisdom of indigenous Mayan teachings have begun to re-emerge. The Mayans believe that everything lives in harmonic resonance with everything else, including our planet, our sun and our solar system. Like the Yaqui medicine people of Carlos Castaneda’s books, the deepest teachings of the Mayan tell us that our Sun itself is attuned to the galactic center. They call this center Hunab Ku.
We as humans are intimately linked to the planet we live upon, which in turn is linked to its relationship with the Sun, which is in turn linked by an umbilical cord called Kuxan Suum to the center of our galaxy. Kuxan Suum is literally translated as “the Road to the Sky leading to the Umbilical Cord of the Universe.” And like the warriors who courageously dance the Sundance, tied with their own umbilical cords to the Tree of Life, each of us must come to honor the connection we have with Divine Center. “In this age it is incumbent upon each of us to hold the form. What is it to hold the form of planetary unity? It is to sing a song of resolution, acknowledging the common human goals …” of us all.
Cosmic harmony is the responsibility of every living being on this planet, especially those who are the caretakers and the guardians. Who are the Shamans in the end? They are those who remind us of the necessity for inner and outer harmony. They are those who help us to remember. They are each of us.
ORIGINALLY PRINTED IN “AURORA MAGAZINE.” About the Author:
Tricia McCannon is an American mystic and teacher living in Atlanta, Georgia. She travels and speaks internationally on earth healing, UFO’s, and multidimensional realities. Her first book “Dialogues With the Angels” is due out in Oct 1996. For more information on her readings, schedule or to order books or tapes she can be contacted at: 404-355-2211.