I have recently returned from an incredible round-the-world trip visiting sacred sites and meeting wonderful people from many traditions. Of all the many experiences cramped into the past eight weeks, one stands out and it was pretty much the last act of the play. I have had the great pleasure to work closely with Frank Ansell, a Central Arrente elder from around Alice Springs in the Northern Territory and ngankari (shaman, medicine person), and we have developed a beautiful friendship across cultures through our shared spiritual bonds.
Central Arrente country is "caterpillar dreaming" territory with the long ridges of craggy rock having been formed by the caterpillar ancestor beings as they wound themselves across the landscape. There are myriad caves and sacred places through this territory and, on our way back to town, Frank took us for a spin in our 4WD vehicles up a dry river bed to visit an ancient grandmother tree and then on to some caves.
Popular Western culture until fairly recently has maligned Aboriginal culture as primitive. Yet in these caves and throughout the continent were high spiritual adepts just as accomplished as Christian saints, mystics, yogis and yoginis in Himalayan caves. The difference is that most indigenous cultures have followed a spiritual path into the heart of Mother Earth, while the major religions of the world talk of ascending beyond the Earth planes and into the heavens. Indigenous and more ancient cultures generally seek their enlightenment by going into the Earth energies and literally ascending by becoming one with the planet's spiritual vibration.
One of the men in the group noticed a whole chain of caves set back a short distance and Frank, taking his cue from the inner and the outer worlds, marched on, saying he would take us there.
On the march through long, possibly snake infested, grass, Frank explained how, as a young man out hunting rabbits, before his ngankari training, he had chased some rabbits up near the caves when a strong and angry spirit force had scared him away. Shaken by the incident, Frank set out to find out the history of the place.
His old people, many of whom can remember the stories of all the trees and all the rocks back to the dawn of time, told him that in this place a long time ago (thousands or even tens of thousands of years ago) 22 spiritual adepts had taken shelter from the rain in the big cave.
Suddenly, the cave roof collapsed and they were all instantly killed without time to physically escape or protect themselves spiritually. This was a shock and they remained earthbound around the cave.
Over the years, they grew grumpy with their predicament and became very attached to the place. They became wrathful protector spirits keeping all people away. As we approached the cave, most of us felt an unfriendly energy. Even those walking a fair way back who had not heard this account from Frank noted the denseness and lifelessness of the place as we approached and clambered up the rock face to the shallow caves that remained of the once large cave.
In my heart I knew I had been brought here to lead a soul release ceremony (one helping disincarnate beings move on to another realm, the realm intended for them at the time of their physical death and for disincarnate spirits that have lodged themselves in places the Great Spirit did not intend for them).
This is not something you do lightly. It's not something to go looking for, but if you have the calling and the training, from time to time you will be called on to assist in this way. As we approached the caves, Frank bent down to pick some wild herbs in preparation for a smoking and cleansing ritual to disperse and clear bad energy.
As he did so I knew in my heart that for some reason this time it needed to done in a different way. So I gently whispered in Frank's ear telling him of the process I had used in several places around the world, to good effect, to assist spirits in leaving this plane. I felt Frank take into his heart what I had said and he walked forward, calling out to the spirits to let them know we had arrived. He bent down to make a small fire from twigs and kindling to burn the herbs he had picked, but try as he might, the fire would not light. Two or three of us helped bring more dry kindling but, although there was no wind, the fire would not light at all - the spirits were resisting.
Frank and I have developed an almost telepathic connection and we could both feel on this occasion we needed to try something else. After several attempts to light the fire, Frank looked at me and nodded for me to use internal means. This demonstrates his humility, wisdom and connectedness - used to performing near miracle healings on a daily basis, he knew on this occasion a combination of techniques was required.
I explained the process to the group present and we formed a circle and, using our imagination, created specific geometric and colour templates within the psychic sphere. Once these were in place, I called on Archangel Sandalphon, Archangel Uriel and, of course, Archangel Michael to be present and perform the process.
We in the circle were merely energetic anchors and template holders. We could feel the spirits begin to lift up under the loving force of the archangels but, just as they had resisted the fire, they wouldn't rise completely, something I hadn't experienced before. I asked Frank to speak to them in their own tongue and sing his ancient healing songs to make them feel safe and encourage them on their way.
After many thousands of years, they were reluctant to move. It was obvious these spirits were very spiritually powerful yet tired at their long sentence among the rocks. With the encouragement and safety of the beautiful harmonic rhythms Frank sang, they lifted up and, one by one, exited into the higher realms with Archangel Michael as the doorman.
The denseness of the energy of the place palpably dropped and, when we opened our eyes, it felt like the first day of spring with the colours appearing more vivid and the land more enlivened. I expected flowers to bloom and rabbits to dance among us at any moment. When I opened my eyes, I saw Frank nodding with his knowing that the job had been done. "We were meant to come here today," is what he said. "That was meant to happen."
Several of the men said they had experienced their bodies shuddering and felt a powerful energy lift up and through the vortex created above us. I explained to the men present that, for many thousands of years, the aim of the spiritual path had been to descend (or rather ascend into the planet). This was the practice of the Druids and is still that of many of the indigenous people of the world.
Then, several thousand years ago and made famous by Jesus, the approach changed towards us overcoming the gross energy of the planet and ascending into the heavens. This is an equally valid process, yet our society has made the other (into the planet) wrong and this has led us to move away from our connection to the Earth. In the process, it has created an emotional coldness that allows us to harm the Earth, her animals, her people, her waterways and most of carbon life.
Yet the experience of ascension to the heavens is valid and important. In fact, the time has come for us to embrace the two together, to unite the polarities. The cultures that have focused on ascension, consciously or otherwise, must reconnect with the spirit of the Earth.
And the old cultures who have remained deeply and solely connected to the Earth (for whom Earth spirits are natural and welcome and to whom angels and archangels are the scary ones) will embrace the light of ascension, as much as the darkness and inner light of the mother's womb.
Frank and I walked down the hill together; we hugged and shook hands knowing a job had been well done through the union of the wisdom of two cultures. I marvelled at how calm and empowered Frank was with the powerful Earth energies and he joked at how unfamiliar it was for him to, in his words, "command" (in my words "call forth") the archangels. While his people were aware of these beings, missionaries had made them fear them.
This is the new Earth, not Earth or Sky, but EarthSky united in every way beyond polarity. Spirituality not connected to the spirit of the Earth is unsustainable.
The way forward is for spirituality to be connected to, and centred around, the being of the Earth.
(Ed: Jeremy urges caution in undertaking these practices as, if handled incorrectly, the outcome can be negative.)