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HUMAN = related to Latin homo (gen. hominis) “man,” and to humus “earth,” (cf. Heb. adam “man,” lit. “(the one formed from the) ground” from adamah “ground”).

SPIRIT = mid-13c., “animating or vital principle in man and animals,” from O.Fr. espirit, from L. spiritus “soul, breath,” related to spirare “to breathe,” from PIE *(s)peis- “to blow”

Human means “earth” and Spirit means “wind, breath”

ANIMAL = “having spirit/breath/soul” L. animus “rational soul, mind, life, mental powers; courage, desire,” related to anima “living being, soul, mind, disposition, passion, courage, anger, spirit, feeling,” from PIE root *ane- “to blow, to breathe” (cf. Gk. anemos “wind,” Skt. aniti “breathes,” O.Ir. anal, Welsh anadl “breath,” O.Ir. animm “soul,” Goth. uzanan “to exhale,” O.N. anda “to breathe,” O.E. eðian “to breathe,” O.C.S. vonja “smell, breath,” Arm. anjn “soul”).

When people speak of the “animal nature” of humans, they are actually referring to the “spiritual nature” of humans.

PERCEIVE = c.1300, via Anglo-Fr. parceif, O.N.Fr. *perceivre, O.Fr. perçoivre, from L. percipere “obtain, gather,” also, metaphorically, “to grasp with the mind,” lit. “to take entirely,” from per “thoroughly” (see per) + capere “to grasp, take”

SENSE = c.1400, “faculty of perception,” also “meaning or interpretation” (especially of Holy Scripture), from O.Fr. sens, from L. sensus “perception, feeling, undertaking, meaning,” from sentire “perceive, feel, know,” probably a figurative use of a lit. meaning “to find one’s way,” from PIE root *sent- “to go”. Cognate with Lithuanian sinteti(“to think”), Old High German sinnan (“to go; desire”), Old Irish set(“path, way”).

SENSUALITY = mid-14c., “the part of man that is concerned with the senses,” from O.Fr. sensualité, from L.L. sensualitatem (nom. sensualitas) “capacity for sensation,” from L. sensualis “endowed with feeling, sensitive,” from sensus “feeling” (see sense). Chiefly “animal instincts and appetites,” hence “the lower nature regarded as a source of evil, lusts of the flesh” (1620s).

This last sentence is contradictory, since by definition, animals are spiritual beings.

Human comes from L. humus “earth, soil,” probably from humi “on the ground,” from PIE *dhghem- (cf. L. humilis “low;”

HUMBLE = from O.Fr. humble, earlier humele, from L. humilis “lowly, humble,” lit. “on the ground,” from humus “earth”

*Etymology from

Blaze of Reality

In the book Primitive Man as Philosopher, author Paul Radin coined a term, “blaze of reality”, that refers to the perceptual experience of primal humans.

“It can, therefore, be said that primitive man feels that reality is given to him in a threefold fashion. He is born into it; it is proved by external effects; and it is proved by internal effects. He is thus literally living in a blaze of reality. This is more particularly true of the man of action. An aura envelops every object in the external world due to the projection of this inward thrill upon it. It is difficult for one brought up in the scientific externalism of the natural sciences of the nineteenth century to visualize or appreciate this heightened atmosphere in which primitive man works.”(Radin, Paul Primitive Man As Philosopher, Dover Publications Inc.1957 p. 246)(italics added)

Primitive man in no sense merges himself with the object. He distinguishes subject and object quite definitely. In fact the man of action spends a good part of his time in attempting to coerce the object. What he says is simply this: not all the reality of an object resides in our external perception of it. There is an internal side and there are also effects, constraints, from sub-happens must happen and in happening proves itself to subject to object and from object to subject. Whatever be a reality; not the only reality necessarily, but the only one with which the man of action has any immediate concern. (Radin 1957:246)

From the man of action’s viewpoint, a fact has no symbolic or static value. He predicates no unity beyond that of the certainty of continuous change and transformation. For him a double distortion is involved in investing the transitory and ceaselessly changing object with a symbolic, idealistic or static significance; first, because we then remove it farther from reality; and second, because in thus separating the perceiving self from the object, we really render both of them meaningless. (Radin 1957:247)

Life is ever-changing, never static, ideas and concepts and mental maps are static duplicates of reality, not reality itself.

Once we acquire knowledge of something, our knowledge remains fixed and independent of the thing it represents until we choose to amend it. In other words, it exists as a duplicate. The energy of the world is in process, moving forever onwards; the duplicate is a static scheme. (Shepherd, Philip New Self New World North Atlantic Books 2010 p. 23)

MIND = Latin mente (mens) from Proto-Indo-European mentis “thought” Root 1 *men-“to think” Root 2 *men- “to stay, stand still”

“Now it goes without saying that in order to think systematically facts must have some degree of symbolic meaning; they must be static and there must be a clear-cut distinction between the ego and the external object. Every thinker must, in other words, study the subject and the object as though they were isolated units.” (Radin 1957:247)

“The class division between the universal and particular, between the institutionalized intellectuals and the economic men reflects a condition that develops with ancient civilization as opposed to primitive [culture]… Radin has brilliantly shown in his analysis of the thinker and man of action. The point is that among primitives such distinctions complement each other, the concrete and abstract interpenetrate, “thinker” and “man of action” are tied together; sometimes, as Radin points out, they meet in the same individual, and in any case, such differences are not politicized.” (Rothberg, Jerome & Diane Symposium of the Whole: A Range of Discourse Toward an Ethnopoetics University of California Press 1983 p. 83)

Radin is coming from a obsolete definition of thinking. He is coming from the common Western mis-perception that thinking only happens inside the head. As the work of Merleau-Ponty has shown; action is thinking, whole body thinking, as apposed to head thinking.

The head thinker … “is not interested merely in the fact that the world exists and that it has a definite effect upon him; he is impelled…. to try to discover the reason why there is an effect, what is the nature of the relation between the ego and the world, and what part the perceiving self plays therein. (Radin 1957:248)

Radin is saying that the (head)thinker views herself as an isolated perceiving self that asks why?

As we have seen in previous posts; there is no isolated perceiving self, the “self” is an effect or product of bodily interactions with the world. The connection between the environment and the body creates the “self”. (See Buddhism, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, etc…)

There is no why. “Reasons why” limit the limitless reality. If there was a “reason” or “meaning” for life, no one would be free, we would be bound to fulfilling that reason or purpose.

“We construct and return to our duplicates because they are meaningful to us – and in their static abstraction they preserve that meaning, the way a photograph freezes a moment. In other words, knowledge not only stands apart from any phenomena it represents, it designates the meaning of it; so our knowledge of a phenomenon substitutes for a meaningful experience of it, and saves us the trouble of experiencing it repeatedly. But we should be aware that to designate the significance of the world’s phenomena is to flatten them into signs – and although the origins of those three words is uncertain, the great linguist and etymologist Ernest Klein suggests that they, and their ally assign, are all related to the Latin word secare, “to cut.” And indeed, when we assign meaning, we create a kind of sign for ourselves that is independent, cut away from the flux of the present.” (Shepherd 2010:24)

Radin writes that, for the thinker… “the world must first be static and objects must first take on a permanent, or ast least, a stable form before one can deal with them systematically. Both these tasks he therefore sets out to achieve. The attempts of these primitive thinkers are embodied in numerous creation myths.”(Radin 1957:248)

This is a Westernized view of indigenous creation myths. Granted all indigenous cultures cannot be lumped into a single cosmological box, but generally the most primal cultures such as the Australian Aborigines have creation cosmologies that are always occurring. For them, creation was not some event in the past but a continuous becoming, and people play a part of this becoming by their actions.

“Dreamtime is not a creation story in the sense of the Western mind. Dreamtime did not only happen in the past… “rather, it is an ongoing process- the perpetual emerging of the world from an incipient, indeterminate state into full, waking reality, from invisibility to visibility, from the secret depths of silence into articulate song and speech. That Native Australians chose the English term ‘Dreaming’ to translate this cosmological notion indicated their sense that the ordinary act of dreaming participates directly in the time of the clan Ancestors, and hence that that time is not entirely elsewhere, not entirely sealed off from the perceivable present. Rather, the Dreaming lies in the same relation to the open presence of the earth around us as our own dream life lies in relation to our conscious or waking experience. It is a kind of depth, ambiguous and metamorphic.” (Abram, David The Spell of the Sensuous 1996 Vintage Books p. 169)

Zen: Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension

Dhyana is a Sanskrit word referring to either meditation or meditative states. Equivalent terms are Chan in modern Chinese and Zen in Japanese. Dhyana can be approximately translated as “absorption”. (Kasulis, Thomas P. (2003), Ch’an Spirituality. In: Buddhist Spirituality. Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern World; edited by Takeuchi Yoshinori, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass p.24)

In the early texts, it is taught as a state of collected, full-body awareness in which mind becomes very powerful and still but not frozen, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience. (Shankman, Richard The Experience of Samadhi – an in depth Exploration of Buddhist Meditation, Shambala publications 2008)

Traditionally the origin of Chán in China is credited to the Indian monk Bodhidharma. Bodhidharma is recorded as having come to China during the time of Southern and Northern Dynasties to teach a “special transmission outside scriptures” which “did not stand upon words”.(Dumoulin, Heinrich (2005-A), Zen Buddhism: A History. Volume 1: India and China, World Wisdom Books pp. 85-94)

The actual origins of Chán may lie in ascetic practitioners of Buddhism, who found refuge in forests and mountains (Lai, Whalen “Ma-Tsu Tao-I And The Unfolding Of Southern Zen” Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 12/2-3)(

Chan is the result of communion with nature, much like Tao.

“Those who turn from delusion back to reality, who meditate on walls, the absence of self and other, the oneness of mortal and sage, and who remain unmoved even by scriptures are in complete and unspoken agreement with reason”. (Red Pine, ed. (1989), The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma: A Bilingual Edition, New York: North Point Press)(Italics added)

Enlightenment (bodhi) is a state of being in which greed, hatred and delusion (Pali: moha) have been overcome, abandoned and are absent from the mind. Mindfulness, which, among other things, is an attentive awareness of the reality of things (especially of the present moment) is an antidote to delusion and is considered as such a ‘power’ (Pali: bala). This faculty becomes a power in particular when it is coupled with clear comprehension (sampajañña)of whatever is taking place.

“We might say that meditation is really a way of being appropriate to the circumstances one finds oneself in, in any and every moment. If we are caught up in the preoccupations of our own mind, in that moment we cannot be present in an appropriate way or perhaps at all. We will bring an agenda of some kind to whatever we say or do or think, even if we don’t know it. ” (Kabat-Zinn, Jon Coming to Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and the World Through Mindfulness Hyperion New York 2005 p. 59)

The Buddha advocated that one should establish mindfulness (Sitapatthana) in one’s day-to-day life maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one’s body functions, sensations (feelings), objects of consciousness (thoughts and perceptions), and consciousness itself.

“Herein (in this teaching) a monk lives contemplating the body in the body, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; he lives contemplating feelings in feelings, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; he lives contemplating consciousness in consciousness, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief; he lives contemplating mental objects in mental objects, ardent, clearly comprehending and mindful, having overcome, in this world, covetousness and grief.” – Satipatthana Sutta

Thick Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet, and peace activist. In his book Transformation and Healing : the Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness, he writes of “clear comprehension” (sampajañña):

“This exercise is the observation and awareness of the actions of the body. This is the fundamental practice of the monk. When I was first ordained as a novice forty-eight years ago, the first book my master gave me to learn by heart was a book of gathas to be practiced while washing your hands, brushing your teeth, washing your face, putting on your clothes, sweeping the courtyard, relieving yourself, having a bath, and so on… 

…  If a novice applies himself to the practice of [this] … exercise, he will see that his everyday actions become harmonious, graceful, and measured. Mindfulness becomes visible in his actions and speech. When any action is placed in the light of mindfulness, the body and mind become relaxed, peaceful, and joyful. [This] … exercise is one to be used day and night throughout one’s entire life. ” (Nhat Hanh, Thich (trans. Annabel Laity) (1990). Transformation and Healing : the Sutra on the Four Establishments of Mindfulness . Berkeley, CA: Parallax Press. pp.50-51)

Perhaps Nhat Hanh’s most famous gatha is:

Breathing in, I calm my body,

Breathing out, I smile.

Dwelling in the present moment,

I know this is a wonderful moment. (Nhat Hanh, 1990, p. 46.)

Clear comprehension is non-delusion (nothing lasts forever, nothing’s perfect, non-self) combined with integrity and dignified, careful action. This is wisdom, remaining focused while knowing that thoughts, feelings, and situations will pass.

Clear comprehension (sampajañña) develops out of mindfulness of breathing (anapanasati).

Anapanasati produces a lessening of emotionally reactive and automatic responding behavior. (Lutz, Antoine; et al “Attention Regulation and Monitoring in Meditation” Trends Cogn. Sci. 2008 April;12(4): 163-169)(

When we practice ‘clear comphrehension’ we cease responding to situations in automatic, emotionally driven, habitual ways.

Clear comprehension introduces the dimension of time to mindfulness.

First, we have sati (reflective awareness, mindfulness). When a sense object makes contact, sati is there and brings panna (wisdom) to the experience. Once it arrives, panna transforms into sampajanna, wisdom-in-action, ready comprehension, clear comprehension: the specific application of wisdom as required in a given situation.

Mindfulness isn’t only about seeing what’s happening now. It’s also about seeing cause and effect. Like seeing how something we did in the past created the situation we’re in now. We see the results of our mistakes, and make a resolve to start doing things differently. We also see our successes, and think of how we might build on them. It’s about seeing in a clear-headed way the results of our choices. And also seeing that we HAVE choices, and starting to take responsibility for ourselves. (

Zen is not so much a philosophy as it is the practice of a psychology.

Whatever insight dhyana might bring, its verification was always interpersonal. In effect, enlightenment came to be understood not so much as an insight, but as a way of acting in the world with other people. (Kasulis, Thomas P. (2003), Ch’an Spirituality. In: Buddhist Spirituality. Later China, Korea, Japan and the Modern World; edited by Takeuchi Yoshinori, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass p.30)

Seeing one’s true nature means seeing that there is no essential, unchanging  ‘I’ or ‘self’, that our true nature is empty, open and free.

Expression in daily life means that this is not only a contemplative insight, but that our lives are expressions of this selfless existence.

The Disenchantment of the World: Morris Berman

In Morris Berman’s book, Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History Of the West, from which this post is excerpted, he reexamines western history from the perspective of the human body. By treating history as an abstract study of ideas and events, he says, we have missed the whole truth of human existence: the human drama is somatic: how individuals and societies have dealt with the ontological dilemma of bodily existence has led to the war, religious conflict and genocide we read about in history books. Ideas take their breath from the body, not the other way around.

At the core of Berman’s thesis is the idea of “the basic fault.” At some point in the development of a human being he or she experiences a fundamental rupture in primal harmony. Different schools of thought emphasize different traumas – birth, discontinuity with the mother, emergence of ego consciousness, etc. – but all of them agree that an abyss” or gap” opens up in the soul between self and other. Author John Fowles calls this emptiness the nemo,” which he describes as an anti-ego, a state of being nobody. Fowles says, All our acts are partly devised to fill or to mark the emptiness we feel at the core. ” As Berman says, on some level we all know about this longing for primary satisfaction; “it is the common soma heritage we all share.”

The Gesture of Balance – Western history from the human body’s perspective by Morris Berman (;col1)

The linchpin of the Western reality system is the split between heaven” and earth,” a split that is nothing more than a projection of the basic fault, and that can only be bridged by an ascent structure, an ecstatic journey capable of traversing transitional space. The religion or philosophy or social system that then gets organized around that vertical journey (or journey) then acts as a Transitional Object that holds the culture together for the next few hundred years. There is another alternative to recycling the ascent structure one more time, and that is to finally abandon it once and for all. This means. at least initially on the individual level, learning to live with the Abyss; recognizing the gap for what it is. Far more important than finding a new paradigm (TO) is coming face to face with the immense yearning that underlies the need for paradigm itself. This means exploring what we fear most, viz., the empty space or silence that exists between concepts and paradigms, never in them. We are indeed in a system-break, and the temptation to stuff the gap is very strong; but the “road less traveled,” which is that of looking at the nature of paradigm itself., is the truly exciting and liberatory path here. There can be no healing of our culture and ourselves without taking this option, and it will not go away, whether we miss it on this “round” or not. Nothing less is at stake than the chance to be finally, fully human, and since that is our destiny, the latest heresy or paradigm-shift is simply not going to cut it…

What does the end of the ascent dynamic really involve? At first glance. it would seem to imply that everything that is meaningful to us would be lost; and indeed, a very good case contrary to what I am advocating can be made. Thus the Jungian analyst H. G. Baynes said that the argument against ascent experience is analogous to the attempt to put out the sun because it gives some people distorted vision, Ecstatic energy, he said, is our “real gold”; we need to learn how to navigate the territory, not to declare that it shouldn’t exist.

For Jacob Needleman, the real Christianity that got lost and buried somewhere in the first century A.D. was not that of Gnostic ascent, but this same type of reflexive ability – what he calls, following Gurdjieff, “self-remembering.” It is, he says, the experience of yourself, not the experience of God. Needleman may be correct, historically speaking (I personally tend to doubt it), but he does quote Meister Eckhart in his defense to good effect: Aware of it or not, people have wanted to have the “great” experiences … and this is nothing but self-will…. There are thousands who have died and gone to heaven who never gave up their own wills.

“One longs … for God, or for Meaning writes Needleman, “and does not see that the longing itself is the beginning of the answer one is seeking.” Ecstasy can bind communities together, he points out but to what end? We have pursued mystical love, he says, whereas what we need is “ontological love.”

This is the crucial point – that true enlightenment is to really know, really feel, your ontological dilemma, your somatic nature. The mystic seeks to go up; the ultimate heresy, to my mind, is to go across, or even down. I recall how, a few years ago, I did a two-week meditation retreat with a former Theravada Buddhist monk, and asked him, in the course of it, where ecstatic experience, or Great Mother consciousness, fit into the whole thing. Oh,” he said with a wave of his hand, “in Buddhism, that is regarded as a very low form of consciousness.” He went on to say that ascent was regarded in his tradition as mara – an obstruction to enlightenment. In the same way, Needleman characterizes ecstasy as a form of bondage. The real goal of a spiritual tradition should not be ascent, but openness, vulnerability, and this does not require great experiences but, on the contrary, very ordinary ones. Charisma is easy, presence, self-remembering, is terribly difficult, and where the real work lies. “The highest art,” goes an old Tibetan saying, “is the art of living an ordinary life in an extraordinary manner.” That this could become the modality of an entire society is an inspiring possibility.

Of course, ascent experience, and what it carries with it, won’t go away by fiat, so in this sense Baynes is right – we shall have to learn to navigate the territory. For at least since the binary worldview of Neolithic civilization, we are wired up in a Self/Other dynamic that pulls us toward transcendence, with afl its brilliant and destructive possibilities. Yet a much deeper life lies beyond that of the ascent structure, which is finally about salvation, or redemption; for the ultimate heresy is not about redemption but, as I said earlier, about the redemption from redemption itself. It is to be able to live in life as it presents itself, not to search for a world beyond. (Politically, of course, this is very often not possible: but it could be argued that our political forms, and messes, are themselves the results of binary thinking and the ascent mentality.)

The shift away from ascent, and toward bodily presence in the world, implies certain things that go with the territory, as it were. The first of these is an end to the binary contrast mode of consciousness and personality structure. This seems inherent, but it is not; it is a Neolithic artifact, a translation of Tame vs. Wild into Self vs. Other and earth vs. heaven. Beneath the dualistic layer of the human psyche is a kaleidoscopic one that I suspect hunter-gatherer cultures possessed and that is very much about finding ecstacy in details. The American anthropologist, Stanley Diamond notes that “primitive” life is characterized by direct engagement with nature and bodily functions. The “sense of reality,” he writes, “is heightened to the point where it sometimes seems to ‘blaze.” ‘ There is no ascent in this “ecstacy”; all of life is sacred, not just “heaven.” The structure is horizontal rather than vertical, and it has a much greater ” feminine” element in it than does our present consciousness. Vertical structures ll have a Grail quest behind them; they are all a form of male heroics. So most of our history has been a kind of unnecessary artifact. Self/Other opposition, binary structure, Transitional Objects, heresy vs. orthodoxy, ecstatic experience vs. “ordinary” life – all of this may be adventitious, in the last analysis, and certainly not part of “human nature.” That meaning for us occurs only by means of conflict, or dialectics, may only reflect a very shallow notion of meaning. This “meaning” is dependent on a mind/body split; without that dichotomous game, most of our history would simply vanish into thin air, since so much of it is about the hero’s journey to heal that gap. But journeys are for the most part undertaken out of restlessness; some sort of lack, or need, is typically present. Things are “not right” here, there is something better to be found somewhere else. Visionquests and ecstatic journeys were perhaps absent from hunter-gatherer societies, or, if present, probably received much less emphasis until the advent of the Neolithic age. Instead, life was its own purpose. Ecstasy is necessary only in a bifurcated world; the hero makes sense only in a religious (binarymythic) context.

This is why New Age “paradigm-shift” finally won’t work; no matter how radically different the content might be (and I am very skeptical on this point anyway), the form, is really identical. Paradigm-shift is still part of the salvation mentality, a patriarchal mind-set that tells the hero to persevere, find a new form of consciousness that will give him redemption. The awareness that this whole structure is an illusion is the heresy Needleman and Eco are talking about, the real heresy we need to embrace.

Horizontal consciousness, as well as reflexivity, also implies a society of tools rather than worldviews, The minute anything – science, feminism, Buddhism, holism, whatever – starts to take on the character of a cosmology, it should be discarded. How things are held in the mind is infinitely more important than what is in the mind, including this statement itself. For there is a big difference between ideas and ideology. An idea is something you have; an ideology, is something that has you. All of these beliefs, techniques, and ideologies are useful; but they are not “true.” What is true is our need to stuff the gap, our longing, our drive to create worldviews out of tools so we can be “safe.” At least, that is true right now. My guess is that there is a deeper truth, one that could be part of a new culture. This deeper truth is that we really don’t need to stuff the gap, etc., so that we can be “safe.” In this new culture we would observe this need for safety,” but would refuse to give in to it. Safety would come from the body, not from this or that system.

I do not mean to imply by all this that future consciousness would consist in permanent suspended animation, or hanging out in transitional space. Given enough somatic (ontological) security, this might be possible; but a complete via negativa is not an answer, and it certainly isn’t very complex. The whole notion of “empty space” has its limits, and some form of coding is always necessary for social and psychological life. The argument for the “paradigm of no paradigm” can only be pushed so far; in recent times, Krishnamurti was the great exponent of this, and he became, in fact, the anti-guru guru. In his book Lying Down, Marco Vassi pegs the prob- lem of this argument very astutely. It is all, says Vassi, negative intelligence. In denouncing all methods and worldviews, Krishnamurti faded to come up with any positive alternative, Year after year, says Vassi, Krishnamurti would chide his aging fans for having made no breakthrough in terms of their attachments, but he categorically refused to discuss how such a breakthrough might be made. In actual fact, Krishnamurti, as a guru, was the last version of the male heroic structure. As Vassi says, “his mission, ironically, may turn out to have been something like that of a Moses for the horizontal paradigm.”

Part of our goal, undoubtedly, is to learn what it means to live without paradigm, but I also sense a much more complex possibility, viz., developing a radical new code that is itself about coding, and is not merely a shift in coding. This is where reflexivity – the awareness of coding as coding, or Gurdjieff’s “self-remembering” on a cultural scale – becomes so important. Christianity, Catharism (and romantic love), science, and even cybernetic holism (nature seen as information exchange) are all heuristically valuable, but they are not “true.” Only our need for truth is true, and the problem arises when any one of these tools, or codes, is mapped onto our entire ontology. Reflexivity is about the breaking away from this vertical, binary pathology, for it does not (necessarily) say, “Have no codes,” but only requires a deliberate awareness of constructing and using a code, and the having of that awareness as part of your code.

Writers such as Gregory Bateson and Henri Atlan are in the vanguard of this, but my favorite remains the late great teller of tales, Jorge Luis Borges. In one short story, Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” he describes a country that chooses a different reality every day (no repeats allowed). One day they are mystics, another, mechanists, another, something else. No one in this country is allowed to publish a book unless they also include in it its counterbook, which is the argument based on opposing premises. Such a life would undoubtedly be a bit too hectic for most of us, but I believe it is a valuable model to contemplate…

Reflexivity, then, or perhaps what amounts to Jacob Needleman’s notion of “ontological love,” opens the door to composition, or what Dorothy Dinnerstein, in her brilliant essay, “The Mermaid and the Minotaur,” refers to as “enterprise.” I think this is similar to what I referred to, early on, as the “cosmological urge,”which should be understood as not having any edge of desperation attached to it. In terms of how we have lived on the planet, at least ninety-five percent of our experience has not been about gap-stuffing and the search for Transitional Objects, and this raises the question of what future alternatives might consist of. The idea here is not to return to some primitive,” hunter-gatherer state, but rather to explore the possibilities of a life grounded in somatic integrity. In his book Life Against Death, Norman Brown raised just this question; but, as Dorothy Dinnerstein notes, Brown fell into the error of regarding all enterprise – the attempt to comprehend the world, or even involve oneself in it – as the attempt of the infant to console itself for the loss of the Primary Unity, or kinesthetic wholeness. All of culture is thus seen as a form of substitute satisfaction. What Dinnerstein argues is that we have to distinguish between enterprise and driven behavior. Enterprise, says Dinnerstein, is actually a healthy thing, a primary satisfaction rather than a secondary one. The problem, she says, lies not in enterprise per se but in the situation in which the kinesthetic is renounced to the point that the visual is needed to fulfill compensatory functions. Brown, Roheim, Balint, Merleau-Ponty, Wallon, and Lacan were guilty of what might be called “universalization” – they zeroed in so completely on this one tendency that they mistakenly turned it into the whole of the human condition, and thereby skewed the meaning of human effort. All of these writers, Dinnerstein essentially says, were correct insofar as they recognized that we ruin enterprise by trying to get it to replace a Primary Unity we originally lost, but incorrect insofar as they argued that this is embedded in the structure of the human psyche (or body) itself and that one cannot relate to the world, and to our loss, in a different way. There is a way of going about enterprise, particularly as it applies to creativity, in which the activity is preceded by wholeness, rather than being a frantic attempt to achieve it. This frantic approach to life, says Dinnerstein, is not inevitable; we really don’t have to spend our lives chasing ecstasy in an effort to shut down the nemo. It is in fact possible to embrace enterprise, the cosmological urge, Attali’s composition,” and the like in terms of a living out of the ebb and flow of union and separation.

How shall we characterize this? A similar approach to the notion of enterprise is present in certain schools of Buddhism. The Pali word jivitindriya, which is sometimes translated as vitality” or “life principle,” is used to stand for the energy that remains in the human being after enlightenment occurs, i.e., after fear, hatred, and delusion are eliminated from the human soul. It is said to arise at the moment of conception and depart at the moment of death, It is a positive force, according to the Pali texts. In a similar vein. American Indians often spoke of a “gesture of balance.” To clutch at Transitional Objects, regardless of what form they may take, is to lose balance, whereas real liberation is about resiliency, not about “truth.” The gesture of balance should be a given; my own experience is that unless one works at it, it only emerges at the oddest moments: a joke someone cracks in a railway compartment, at which everyone smiles simultaneously; a simple look of understanding between yourself and a stranger who stops you and asks for the time; the moment you catch yourself as it were, staring absentmindedly out of the window on a gray Sunday morning, having momentarily forgotten about your coffee and the crossword puzzle you were working on. At such moments, life is neither this nor that; it just is. This is body time, not ego time; the interaction of your Being with reality. What will you remember at the moment of your death? Will it be the moment on the train, or when you interacted with a stranger, or when you looked out of the window on that dull, gray Sunday long ago? What does it mean to be alive right – now?

There is only one hope for our situation, and that is that the gesture of balance once again become a way of life; that Self and Other be seen as interrelat- ed aspects of something larger, rather than as opponents. It is a long shot, because this is a still small voice that seems romantic,” or even weak, whereas what is paraded as strength is really a wall of tension, built on a Self/Other opposition….

A unique opportunity is thus available to us now, perhaps for the first time in our history, and that is to intervene in our own evolution in a creative, and reflexive, way. To come back to John Fowles he may have put this possibility most clearly when he wrote:

The nemo is an evolutionary force, as necessary as the ego. The ego is certainty, what I am; the nemo is potentiality, what I am not. But instead of utilizing the nemo as we would utilize any other force, we allow ourselves to be terrified by it, as primitive man was terrified by lightning. We run screaming from this mysterious shape in the middle of our town, even though the real terror is not in itself, but in our terror at it.

The ability to utilize the basic fault creatively is as much an evolutionary option as our history of using it destructively. We are not condemned to the nemo and a whole array of substitute satisfactions. No matter how likely a scenario this is, it is simply not inevitable. It is not so much a matter of mastering the terror Fowles speaks of as being able, for starters, to observe it in a neutral fashion. This one tiny non)heroic act then opens the door to the world of enterprise, jifvitindtiya, the going out to the world in a spirit of aliveness and curiosity rather than one of need and desperation. And this act is heroic, not in the ascent or vision-quest sense of the word, but in the sense of something at once necessary and private and extremely difficult, because it requires doing the one thing that we seek to avoid at all costs: we are asked finally to put our entire bodies into a situation; to refuse numbness and protection in favor of risk and immediacy. That is the ultimate meaning of human life on this planet, the hidden history which, down through the ages, the human race has struggled with, and the destiny and choice which now, after all these millenia, stares us uncompromisingly in the face.

COPYRIGHT 1989 Point Foundation COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

The Flesh of the World: Maurice Merleau-Ponty

Philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty emphasized the body as the primary site of knowing the world, a corrective to the long philosophical tradition of placing consciousness as the source of knowledge, and that the body and that which it perceived could not be disentangled from each other. The articulation of the primacy of embodiment led him away from phenomenology towards what he was to call “indirect ontology” or the ontology of “the flesh of the world” [la chair du monde], seen in his last incomplete work, The Visible and Invisible, and his last published essay, “Eye and Mind.”

To Merleau-Ponty, perception was not a channel that simply filters in information from a separate environment, but rather it is a kind of interconnected interaction of body/environ. ‘Consciousness’ is the result of this interaction.

“(Merleau-Ponty)… takes out all the existential stuff… anxiety, risk, that doesn’t interest him. What interests him is coping, how you are able to be an expert and respond to the particular situation. The Phenomenology of Perception is a brilliant book that goes against the whole philosophical tradition. You don’t need concepts, you don’t need rules, they don’t guide action, they don’t organize your perceptual experience. It’s the way your body has of emmediatley grasping the gestalt of what’s going on, or failing to, and then doing it better next time.” -Hubert Dreyfus

“The basic idea in Merleau-Ponty, is that we are always moving to get an optimal grip…even in perception, just in perceiving… He says if you get to close, there are to many details, if you get to far away, you lose the details. He talks about how in a museum your body is just led by a picture to move to the optimal distance, where you see the maximum richness, as he put’s it, of the detail, and the maximum clarity of the form. When you perceive ordinary objects you move around them and so forth, and you are led by the object, calling on your body, it’s just outside of what your mind does or could do. The object just calls you to get in the best relation to see it.” – Hubert Dreyfus on Phenomenology of Perception by Merleau-Ponty

“When you are skillfully coping, in flow, without thinking, without rules, your body in its skills is drawing you to get this optimal grip on the situation.” – (ibid)

Merleau-Ponty coined the term “primacy of perception.” We are first perceiving the world, then we do philosophy. What is characteristic of his account of perception is the centrality that the body plays. We perceive the world through our bodies; we are embodied subjects, involved in existence. Further the ability to reflect comes from a pre-reflective ground that serves as the foundation for reflecting on actions. His account of the body helps him undermine what had been a long standing conception of consciousness which hinges on the distinction between the for-itself (subject) and in-itself (object) which plays a central role in Sartre’s philosophy.

Sensations for Merleau-Ponty are the ‘unit of experience’. He wants to explore the ‘pre-objective realm’ of our lived experience. We cannot understand the ‘objective world’ without lived experience of the world. The senses in perceiving the objects in the world are not separate, but overlap and ‘transgress’ each other’s boundaries.(Moran, Introduction to Phenomenology, (Routledge, 2000) p. 422)

When I perceive a motorcycle drive past me, I see it, but I am also hearing the engine, smelling the fumes and feeling its vibrations. All of these sensory imputs(sensations) come together as an experience of a “motorcycle”.

“All the senses are fundamentally, one sense. They are various forms of touch.” -Alan Watts (‘The World as Self’ Lecture,

There are no pure sensations for Merleau-Ponty. The closest thing we get to a pure sensation is imagining the world around us, imagining the things in our world being around us. As Merleau-Ponty puts it: “the greyness which, when I close my eyes, surrounds me, leaving no distance between me and it”.(Merleau-Ponty, PP, p. 9)

Basically, you can’t perceive something, unless there is something to relate it to, otherwise there is oneness/nothingness.

The lived body has an essential structure of its own which cannot be captured by the language and concepts used to explain inanimate objects in the world, that is, the lived body is directed toward an experiencing world. The world of everyday experience is described as the “lived-through-world”.(Merleau-Ponty, The Primacy of Perception, Northern University Press, 1964) p. 71)

This contrasts from Descartes idea of the body. Our lived and objective body allows us to perceive the world as one entity; Merleau-Ponty claims that the unity of experienced objects is not accomplished through the application of mental rules and categories, but through pre-conscious power of bodily synthesis. One does not separate the senses individually, such as auditory and visual experiences, the synthesis of the senses of the body allow us to perceive a unified world. This extends beyond the sense organs in that we move spatially in the world, extending sensation into perception. One can perceive objects in the world relative to their purpose and significance to the lived body’s needs and capacities. The objects in the world display themselves, in other words to look at an object is to inhabit it.(Merleau-Ponty 1964: 68)

The world is not a spectacle with the body as an observer; rather the world is given as a system of possibilities, not as an “I think” but as an “I can.”

Merleau-Ponty tells us that the most important lesson of the phenomenological reduction is that a complete reduction is impossible. Why? Because that “subject” to whom we are returned is not a transcendental subject, but a subject that emerges from nature.

David Abram explains Merleau-Ponty’s concept of “flesh” (chair) as “the mysterious tissue or matrix that underlies and gives rise to both the perceiver and the perceived as interdependent aspects of its spontaneous activity,” and he identifies this elemental matrix with the interdependent web of earthly life. (Abram, D. (1996). The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than Human World. Pantheon Books, New York. pp. 66.)

This concept unites subject and object dialectically as determinations within a more primordial reality, which Merleau-Ponty calls “the flesh,” and which Abram refers to variously as “the animate earth,” “the breathing biosphere,” or “the more-than-human natural world.” Yet this is not nature or the biosphere conceived as a complex set of objects and objective processes, but rather “the biosphere as it is experienced and lived from within by the intelligent body — by the attentive human animal who is entirely a part of the world that he, or she, experiences. Merleau-Ponty’s ecophenemonology with its emphasis on holistic dialog within the larger than-human world also has implications for the ontogenesis and phylogenesis of language, indeed he states that “language is the very voice of the trees, the waves and the forest.” (Abram 1996: 65. )

Merleau-Ponty himself refers to “that primordial being which is not yet the subject-being nor the object-being and which in every respect baffles reflection. From this primordial being to us, there is no derivation, nor any break…” (The Concept of Nature, I, Themes from the Lectures at the Collège de France 1952-1960. Northwestern University Press. 1970. pp. 65–66.)

Among the many working notes found on his desk at the time of his death, and published with the half-complete manuscript of The Visible and the Invisible, several make evident that Merleau-Ponty himself recognized a deep affinity between his notion of a primordial “flesh” and a radically transformed understanding of “nature.” Hence in November 1960 he writes: “Do a psychoanalysis of Nature: it is the flesh, the mother. (The Visible and the Invisible. Northwestern University Press. 1968. pp. 267.)

“Phenomenological philosophy had, since its inception, aimed at a rigorous description of things as they appear to an experiencing consciousness. Yet the body had remained curiously external to this “transcendental” consciousness. Merleau-Ponty was the first phenomenologist to identify the body, itself, as the conscious subject of experience. Transcendence, no longer a special property of the abstract intellect, becomes in his Phenomenology a capacity of the physiological body itself—its power of responding to other bodies, of touching, hearing, and seeing things, resonating with things. Perception is this ongoing transcendence, the ecstatic nature of the living body.

Our civilized distrust of the senses and of the body engenders a metaphysical detachment from the sensible world — it fosters the illusion that we ourselves are not a part of the world that we study, that we can objectively stand apart from that world, as spectators, and can thus determine its workings from outside. A renewed attentiveness to bodily experience

The sensible world that surrounds us must, it would seem, be recognized as a sensitive physiology in its own right.” (Abram, D. “Merleau-Ponty and the voice of the Earth”) (

For Merleau-Ponty, the world and the sense of self are emergent phenomena in an ongoing “becoming.” This is a Taoist and Zen motif, heavily discussed in Alan Watt’s book The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.

Consciousness in not located in your brain or heart or anywhere in the body. It is also not located outside of the body. Consciousness is not a thing. Consciousness is the interplay, the action, the verb, of bodies/environment. Essentially, even the term environment is unnecessary; it’s just interactions of bodies, plant and animal bodies with planetary bodies, planetary bodies with stellar bodies, stellar bodies with galactic bodies, etc.

The Earth and myself are of one mind– Chief Joseph (Nez Perce)

I salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. For when you are at the center within yourself and I within mine, we shall be as one– Crazy Horse (Lakota)

Yerba Santa

Yerba Santa (genus Eriodictyon), of the Waterleaf family, was highly valued by many indigenous Californians. The Spanish were so impressed with the plant that hey gave it the name Yerba Santa, meaning holy herb or literally “saint herb”. Yerba Santa was introduced to the Spanish Padres at Mission San Antonio de Padua by the Salinian tribe and it became one of three major medicinal herbs at the Mission. (Heinsen, V Mission Sant Antonio de Padua Herbs: Medicinal herbs of early days. Third edition. Lockwood, California. 1972 p. 142)

The plants can be harvested at any stage, but are best in the fall when the leaves are sticky and aromatic (Hedges, K. & C. Beresford Santa Ysabel ethnobotany, San Diego Museum of Man Ethnic Technology Notes No. @0. San Diego, California.1986 p. 58).

The Kashaya Pomo recommend gathering the leaves just before the plant begins to produce flowers (Goodrich, J., C. Lawson & V.P. Lawson Kashaya Pomo Plants. Heyday Books, Berkeley, California. 1980 p.171)

The leaves, stems and flowers are used (Heizer, R.F. & A.B. Elsasser The natural world of the California Indians. University of California Press, Berkeley & Los Angeles, California. 1980 p. 271). They are either eaten or made into tea, decoration, or poultice. The flowers and the bitter, aromatic leaves may be used fresh or dried. Infusions of Yerba Santa leaves and flowers were used to treat fevers, coughs, colds, stomachaches, asthma, rheumatism pleurisy, and to purify the blood.

Leaves were smoked or chewed to relieve asthma, coughs, colds, headaches, and stomachaches. Heated leaves were placed on the forehead to relieve headaches (Bocek, B.R. Ethnobotany of Costanoan Indians, California, based on collections by John P. Harrington. Economic Botany, Vol. 38, No.2 1984 pp. 240-255) and other aches and sores (Barrett, S.A. & E.W. Gifford Miwok material culture: Indian life of the Yosemite region. Bulletin of Milwaukee Public Museum Vol. 2, No. 4. Yosemite Association, Yosemite National Park, California. 1933 p. 388). The sticky leaves stay in place upon the skin. Mashed leaves were applied externally to sores, cuts, wounds, and aching muscles. Mashed leaves were also used to reduce the swelling and relieve pain caused by bone fractures (Barrett & Gifford 1933). Yerba Santa, used alone or combined with other herbs, was applied to infected sores on humans and animals. The branches and leaves were burned in steam baths to treat rheumatism.

Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon crassifolium) was called wishap’ by the Barbareno, Ineseno, and Ventureno Chumash. Eriodichtyon means “wooly net”, and crassifolium means “thick-leaved”.

Chumash descendants and others have continued to take yerba santa for respiratory ailments, to expel mucus, and as a general tonic, As a remedy the tea must be drunk at frequent intervals. (Timbrook, Jan Chumash Ethnobotany Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History 2007 p.83)

Traditionally, yerba santa seems to have conferred some degree of supernatural power. A Chumash healer’s medical kit contained two stones that were believed to be “alive” because they had been treated with oil from an eel mixed with yerba santa. (Timbrook 2007:83)

Seedlings and young plants are relatively nutritious and palatable but the bitter compounds in mature Yerba Santa shrubs discourage most large herbivores.


General- Waterleaf family (Hydrophyllaceae). Yerba Santa is a perennial evergreen shrub native to California and Oregon. The stems are black with shredding outer bark. The lance shaped leaves (4 to 15cm long)are thick and leathery with a glutinous, shiny, upper surface. The leaves are dark green above with lighter green beneath and can have either smooth or saw-toothed edges. The white to purple trumpet-shaped flowers (8 to 17mm) grow in branched panicles at the stem ends. The flowers bloom from May to June or July. The small capsulate fruits (2-3mm) rpien in September and contain from 2 to 20 small black seeds.


Yerba Santa grows below 1600m(487ft) elevation on dry rocky hillsides and ridges. It can be found in patches on chaparral slopes, forests, canyons, and along river banks. It is abundant in some annual grasslands and oak woodlands. Yerba Santa is often found in disturbed areas and early to mid successional communities. Yerba Santa is a “fire-following” species. Seeds stored in the soil for decades germinate readily during the first spring after a fire. Older plants can sprout from their underground stems, called rhizomes, following disturbances such as fire.

With its tough, resinous leaves, it holds and conserves its water from the inside to meet the intense fire of its environment. This quality helps us to understand the medicinal use of Yerba Santa as a regulator of the water element. Yerba Santa coats the mucous membranes and holds the aqueous component in contact with the cells, reestablishing mucopolysaccharides. (

Yerba Santa can be used for rehabilitation and stabilizing disturbed areas (Howard, J.L. 1992. Eriodictyon californicum. In: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory 2001, May. Fire Effects Information System, 20 December 2001). The seeds germinate readily in disturbed soils. The shallow, spreading root system can help to stabilize areas subject to erosion caused by runoff.


Gather seeds in September and October as the fruit capsules ripen. Yerba Santa seeds can be planted in the fall of early spring. The seeds will store indefinitely if kept in a dry, cool location. Prior to sowing, mix the seeds with several parts of moist sand. This helps to ensure even distribution. Seeds can be sown directly into a prepared bed or into flats filled with a mixture of equal amounts of soil, sand, and leafmold. Adding Charate (burned and ground plant stems) to the soil may also increase germination success. When seedlings are large enough to handle they should be transplanted into larger pots. The plants can be placed into the ground the following spring.

Yerba Santa is sunloving and does not tolerate shade. Plants may be grown in any texture of soil but prefer it to be slightly acidic and moderately fertile. The shallow roots allow them to establish in thin as well as deep soils. The plants are tolerant of serpentine soils.

When selecting a site keep in mind that after two years Yerba Santa can reproduce vegetablely through rhizomes. These underground stems can spread as much as 2.5m in one year under excellent conditions and may overrun other plants. This vegetative spread results in cloned patches with plants spaced from 20 to 25 cm apart. The plant should only be pruned in the spring or early summer.

Crystals Part 3: Structured Water

Pliny the Elder wrote, ‘I find it stated by medical men that the very best cautery for the human body is a ball of crystal acted upon by the rays of the sun. This substance, too, has been made the object of a mania; for, not many years ago, a mistress of a family, who was by no means very rich, gave one hundred and fifty thousand sesterces for a single basin made of crystal.’ (Pliny the Elder, The Natural History (eds. John Bostock, M.D., F.R.S., H.T. Riley, Esq., B.A.)

This health conscious Roman matron must have been serving her family water which had been stored in this very expensive crystal basin. Such water was believed to have restorative properties.

The ancient Chinese saved water in jade vases, Incas and Aztecs in obsidian jars and African witchdoctors used quartz. (

It is a curious fact that when a crystal is placed under pressure it produces electricity. Experiments by Marcel Vogel, a research chemist for IBM over 27 years, suggest that water (as long as it’s not too pure) can act as an electrolyte and pick up charge from a crystal with which it comes into contact. Measurements by spectrophotometer, an instrument for comparing light radiation, show changes in the ‘atomic footprint’ of water before and after exposure in this way.

Some years ago, a brilliant scientist, the late Marcel Vogel, decided to quit his job at IBM and devote himself full-time to the study of quartz crystals. Fascinated by the apparent healing abilities of crystals, he convinced IBM to give him several costly machines to set up his own lab to prove or disprove the many beliefs about them. What he proved about crystals is as miraculous as it is simple. Quartz crystals are composed of (among many other things, of course) many free-floating electrons. Not being bonded to anything, these electrons will arrange themselves into a set pattern when the crystal is at rest, laying somewhere by itself. As soon as it is moved, however, these free-floating electrons are stimulated and start charging around. Now, the crystal doesn’t like this. It likes electrons kept in the previously ordered manner, so it immediately sets about rearranging them again. Because of the electrical energy expended during this process, anything that is touching the crystal at the same time also receives the crystal’s attempt to order. If what is touching the crystal (you, for instance) is putting out its own electrical energy, this in turn stimulates the electrons again, and a loop is set up that gives the wearer a constant flow of quartz crystal re-patterned energy. Marcel Vogel saw that the crystalline structure of a water molecule when it freezes into ice is almost exactly the same as a Quartz crystal structure. This led him to experiment with the healing properties of quartz crystals.

“Water is multi-dimensional, it is at least three dimensional. Now, when water molecule starts to form in space, we form then a unit cell of water, and when that unit cell becomes rigid, that becomes a crystal…. There have been thousands of pictures taken of ice crystals Now, we go to the next level and look at water. Here is what bulk water looks like, a series of unit cells of tetrahedron shaped molecular form. This is called bulk water. The one, two positive charges on the outer periphery of this sphere, and then internally two negative charges from the oxygen to balance the two positive charges. That means you have an exceedingly sensitive electronic molecule, the minutest of charge, positive or negative will cause this molecule to twist, to lock, to form in space. What we have found in our laboratory is that the energy of mind projected through a crystal will structure water just like it was frozen into ice. The remarkable and unique differentiation is that, that water, when it is structured with mind and with thought, remains fluid but structured, that type of category is called a liquid crystal, a mesophase, a mesomorphic transition.” – Marcel Vogel (

The Australian Baiami is the “Creator” of Kamilaroi lore,

Baiami also preside over the making of ‘clever men’ and is said to have brought forth from his mouth sacred water, kali, liquified quartz crystal possessing great magical power.(Berndt, Ronald M. Australian Aboriginal Religion 1974 Leiden, Netherlands. p. 28-29)

The energy of mind projected through a crystal will structure water just like it was frozen into ice.

The fundamental geometrical pattern of quartz and water is the tetrahedron. The geometric structure of quartz produces frequency patterns, harmonics, that can transfer into water. The crystalline structure of a water molecule when it freezes into ice is almost exactly the same as a Quartz crystal structure.

Structured water is an “information storage device.” -Vogel

“Water, in the process of crystallization into ice, will exhibit all of the patterns of the crystallographic world around us. It is the personification, in a single bit of matter, of all that is.” -Vogel

A Chinese term for quartz is shui ching “water essence”

Quartz appears to be light or water made solid; a natural transparency we can hold in our hands.

When quartz is mixed with water, the hydrogen bonds with the oxygen and silica dioxide(quartz), and forms a structure.

Water molecules attract each other and tend to clump together in a network, constantly assembling and disassembling bonds between neighboring molecules. Vogel hypothesized that these molecular “clumps” (actually cells of liquid crystal) are capable of storing information in a manner similar to how computers store data on a disk.

Since early in this century it has been known that quartz is a resonator and amplifier of energy. It is a vital component in many electronic devices. What was not known is that quartz crystal is also capable of amplifying “subtle forces” including thought energy. The reason this had remained difficult to demonstrate is that, regardless of how fine the quality of the crystal tested, the conditions under which it was formed were highly individualistic. Simply stated, no two crystals are identical, and in science, a theory cannot be based on a single case. The amplification of thought energy includes so much “static” (other vibrations) that it becomes lost in the noise. Marcel discovered the answer to this problem.

He found that when quartz is cut along the c-axis (the line of symmetry within the crystal perpendicular to all other axes) in the shape of the Kabalistic Tree of Life, it resonates to ONE frequency. It so happens the frequency (which turned out to be 454) is the same vibratory rate he also measured for water. Therefore, Vogel-cut crystals are powerful instruments capable of taking thought impressions and literally injecting them into the matrix of water. From this work he developed three tools: the double terminated healing crystal, single terminated meditation crystal and the Star of David crystal medallion.

“You see, the contact of the soul with the body is expressed by a vibration, a note, a tone. We speak of the tone of a body. Every body that has form emits a tone, which is an outward expression of the symmetry, balance, and totality of that being.” -Vogel (Bodian, Stephen “The Healing Power of Quartz Crystals: An Interview with Award-winning IBM researcher Marcel Vogel, who now champions the miraculous benefits of quartz” Yoga Journal 1985:35)

“In all of our radio transmitting stations, a crystal is used as the primary means of communicating. A slab of quartz, silicon dioxide, is cut to a particular dimension and ground down until it emits the desired broadcasting frequency. For example, if you want 650 kilocycles, you grind that slab of crystal down until you get 650 kilocycles. We do the same thing with our crystals. I cut them to the primary vibrating frequency of the water molecule.” -Vogel (ibid)

We are essentially bound water. Over 70% of our body is composed of water, fluid bound into the tissue by a charge applied from a field outside the body – the aura again. A charge exists both inside and outside the body, and we create that charge with the breath. As we release the breath, we produce a charge; as we draw a breath, we draw a charge within. This energy is what the Indians call prana, the unit life force energy… In pranayama we hold that life force within us and thereby raise the level of vibration. When I charge the body with breath, I’m putting a pranic energy into the body…. When I hold a crystal in my hand, I charge it with breath, draw the breath and hold (inhales), and then let out through the nostrils suddenly (sniffs out forcibly). This puts a vibration into the crystal exactly analogous to the primary note of my being, and it will continue to oscillate according to my note. -Vogel (Bodian, Stephen “The Healing Power of Quartz Crystals: An Interview with Award-winning IBM researcher Marcel Vogel, who now champions the miraculous benefits of quartz” Yoga Journal 1985:35)

A quartz crystal left in water changes the pH balance of the water (another Vogel discovery).

The hydrogen find a bond with the oxygen and silica dioxide, and form a structure.

The field notes of linguist-ethnographer John P. Harrington show that toshaawt stones were found among Kitanemuk people living in the Tejon region south of Bakersfield, CA. The stones were used in conjunction with water for healing purposes:

tishait, a stone from the coast. You keep it in your house to guard the house from weather – from winds or rains. And when your children are sick at stomach you put the stone in a jar of water and give it to them to drink. MO [Magdalina] has cured [her children] Angela and Marcelino thus many times. (Timbrook, Jan “Search for the Source of the Sorcerer’s Stones” Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History 1999)

Crystals were ground into powder and taken with other herbs in East Indian Ayurvedic medicine. The great alchemist Albertus Magnus (1193-1280) devoted an entire book to the healing properties of stones. Quartz was mixed with powdered amethyst, malachite, and various herbs in Taoist elixir alchemy. In a sixth-century Taoist encyclopedia, we read a formula that is supposed to grant physical immortality. After a fast of 160 days, the Taoist takes five pieces of clear quartz, rounds and polishes them on a whetstone, and then cooks them in a mixture of shallot, honey, and herbs. After the crystals have cooled, he ingests them while invoking the Lords of the Five Directions. Each crystal will enter one of the five major viscerea – spleen, heart, kidneys, lungs, liver – and preserve it from decay.(Cohen, Kenneth “Bones of Our Ancestors” Yoga Journal Jan 1985:33 & 56)

Many of the cellular membranes within the human body are liquid crystals.

Crystals Part 2: Electrical Properties

Crystals act as transducers, transforming and transmuting energy from one form to another. Quartz crystals in particular behave as capacitors, storing energy in a form which can later be discharged. Some also function as multi-wave oscillators, capable of dealing with a wide range of frequencies.

The Romans of Pliny’s age ‘ the age of Nero — valued quartz crystals immensely, for their beauty and for their healing properties, which Roman physicians found to be enhanced when the crystals were exposed to sunlight.

Lets take a look at the Sun:

Are stars powered from within, or does the power come from elsewhere? This was the question asked by Sir Arthur Eddington in the 1920s. He settled for the former, and this laid the foundation for current mainstream models. Ralph Juergens asked the question again in the 1970s, and opted for the latter. According to Juergens, stars shine because they are connected to electric circuitry within galaxies. An electric star’s brightness thus depends on the power of the electric current feeding it, not on the amount of nuclear fuel available to burn.

Stars thus behave as anodes in a galactic glow discharge. The many surface phenomena that can be seen on the Sun — hot corona, sunspots, prominences, flares, et al — can all be explained by an electric Sun, but are more difficult to understand from a nuclear point of view. Nuclear reactions take place on the surface, not in the core, perhaps explaining why neutrino numbers vary with sunspot cycles, and these reactions are almost certainly produced in the same way that we produce them in the lab — by accelerating particles in an electric field. (

The known universe is made of 99% plasma and plasma is an ionised (electrically charged) gas.

Stars, galaxies, nebulae, and planets are all affected by electric currents in the plasma through which they move.

Plasma cosmology says that the sun is not a nuclear furnace, but rather, an electromagnetic plasma ball. “The modern astrophysical concept that ascribes the sun’s energy to thermonuclear reactions deep in the solar interior is contradicted by nearly every observable aspect of the sun.”-Ralph E. Juergens (1980).

In Juergens’ Electric Sun model – our Sun functions electrically – that it is a huge electrically charged, relatively quiescent, sphere of ionized gas that supports an electric plasma arc discharge on its surface and is powered by subtle currents that move throughout the now well known tenuous plasma that fills our galaxy.

The Electric Universe model only developed recently because astro-physicists and electrical engineers didn’t stray into each others realms. This has changed. Welcome to the 21st century.

Plasma cosmology is recognized by the prestigious IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), is based on the work of several Nobel Prize winners over the last century, and has many successful predictions.

A more detailed description of the Electric Universe and Plasma cosmologies as well as the deficiencies of the standard solar fusion model are presented in the plasma work of Nobel Laureate Hans Alfven, the books The Electric Sky by Donald E. Scott in 2006, and The Electric Universe by Wallace Thornhill.

“In a neon tube for instance, you see a glow extending along the tube, but near the electrodes [at the ends of the tube] there are dark spaces. The glow is the kind of glow a star produces, and there are many red giant stars which produce light just like a neon light. The dark spaces in the neon tube are [equivalent to] what we have in interstellar and intergalactic space. In other words, current is still flowing there, but it’s invisible [when in “dark mode”]. Stars are like a focus, sitting in a discharge, and they light up in that discharge…

…The polarization of the radio waves allows you to map the magnetic field directions in space. Once you’ve done that, it’s a given in plasma physics that electric currents will flow along the direction of the ambient magnetic field lines. So in other words, you can begin to trace the circuits in deep space.

And we find the galaxies themselves arranged like Catherine Wheels – that’s the great spiral galaxies – along intergalactic power lines, what are called Birkeland currents. They’re like giant twisted pairs of electric currents which flow through space. In various places, if the density of matter – the gases and dust in space – are sufficient, these pinch down. It’s called a magnetic pinch [or z-pinch]. And in pinching down, they scavenge the matter from the surrounding space and squeeze it, heat it, rotate it, and form the stars that we see. But they do that in a particular pattern which we can reproduce in the laboratory. And that pattern is the spiral galaxy.

It’s an organic picture of the universe, and it’s a connected picture. We’re not isolated islands in space, stars are not isolated, they’re connected electrically and gravitationally. So it’s a completely new way of looking at our place in the universe.” -Wal Thornhill (

Alfvén’s lifelong experimental plasma work laid the foundations for a new approach to galaxy formation.

Galaxies are often dwarfed by the full extent of electromagnetic radiation in their surroundings, and the source of these energies must be taken into account. In the plasma universe, electric currents will intersect at critical points to drive an electric vortex, giving birth to spiral galaxies.

This envisioned behavior of electricity in space is based on the laboratory observation of electric currents and electric discharge in plasma, together with supercomputer simulations of the way charged particles interact under the influence of electric currents.

The solar wind is a highly electrically charged plasma wind that flows out towards the planets. Most connections are plasma filaments and “winds” that seem to act as variations of Birkeland currents.

Atoms are electric; and plasma(charged gas), which makes up 99% of the material in the known universes, is also electric.

Juergens suggested that the Sun is the focus of a galaxy-powered “glow discharge.”(Juergens, Ralph “Reconciling Celestial Mechanics and Velikovskian Catastrophism,” Pensée, Fall, 1972.)

Crystals are electrically charged by the Sun, which in turn, is charged from the plasma sea of the galaxy!

Are crystals made from electric currents?

The recent discovery of Giant Crystals Cave in the Naica Mine of Chihuahua, Mexico has stunned scientists. The cave is filled with mineral deposits of enormous size, as well as with delicate flowers and wisps of crystal so fine that a breath will shatter them.

The crystalline shapes are formed out of semiconductor materials: selenite, calcium carbonate, silicon dioxide and lead sulfides. The crystal matrix shown above is an example of the “spray” that might have been created when a powerful electric current exploded out of the rock face into a void beneath the surface.

The nuclei of charged particles could have been carried along with the current flow and either ionized by the passage of electricity, or forced out of solution within the solid medium. The filaments of energy flew out of a central point and then crossed empty air seeking the path of least resistance, whereupon they continued into the stone, impacting at multiple locations. Wherever the electric arcs passed they left behind consolidated crystals condensed along their interior trackways.

One significant aspect to Giant Crystals Cave is that it is bone dry, with little evidence to imply that it was melted out of the rock by flowing water. Coupled with the lack of moisture, we find nothing in traditional scientific theory that explains how water causes the precipitation of 12-meter crystals along all orthogonal axes. (

The Chumash thought quartz crystals had supernatural power and believed that lightning bolts produced them.

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Crystal Series: Part 1

My post on crystals will be divided into sections. Part one will deal with the history of ritualistic crystal use. Part two will discuss the electrical properties and abilities of crystals. Part three will explore the relationship of crystal with water. Part four will delve into the seemingly magical realm of rain-making with ‘Thunder Stones’. Part five will give an overview of modern ‘Crystal Healing’ techniques.

Crystals Part 1: History of Ritual Crystal Use (California emphasis)

Stones are the ‘elders’ of nature on Earth; they bear the markings of time, the lines and patterns etched by wind, water, earth and fire.

Only a dozen minerals (crystalline compounds) are known to have existed among the ingredients that formed the solar system 4.6 billion years ago, but today Earth has more than 4,400 mineral species. Earth’s diverse mineralogy developed over the eons, as new mineral-generating processes came into play. Remarkably, more than half of the mineral species on Earth owe their existence to life, which began transforming the planet’s geology more than two billion years ago. (Hazen, Robert M. “Evolution of Minerals” Scientific American 303 #3. March 1, 2010: 58 – 65)

Humans have interacted with crystals since our beginnings. In the 1920s scientists uncovered the remains of Peking Man, a distant ancestor of modern humanity also known as “homo erectus”, near Beijing, China. Peking Man appeared some 250,000-400,000 years ago, and Peking Man collected quartz crystals.

According to Chinese anthropologist W.C. Pei, “Almost all varieties of quartz occur in this [time] horizon. Of quartz crystals about twenty pieces of different size were found together with one perfect crystal (Cat. No. Q2:25) 6 cm. length. This crystal is smoky in color and all the crystalline faces are complete.”(W.C. Pei, “Notice of the Discovery of Quartz and Other Stone artifacts in the Lower Pleistocene Hominid-Bearing Sediments of the Choukoutien Cave Deposit,” Bulletin of the Geological Society of China, 11:2:1931:109-146, p)

The Acheulians (as well as the Zhokoudian I hominids) collected quartz crystals and probably fossils, neither of them for utilitarian purposes (the crystals were often much too small for tool use),” explains anthropologist Robert G. Bednarik. “Among their manuports are also various colourful or oddly shaped pebbles, in some cases modified. Many hundreds of haematite or ochre manuports occur in the Acheulian sites of Africa, Europe, and Asia, and those from South Africa are thought to be up to 800,000-900,000 years old. These hominids distinguished between ordinary and unusual or exotic object types: they had begun to classify the object world, and they were undeniably using red pigment. We have no reason to assume that their level of encephalization was significantly less than that of more recent archaic H. sapiens; in fact it had begun to approach that of anatomically modern humans.(Robert G. Bednarik, “Concept-mediated Marking in the Lower Palaeolithic,” Current Anthropology, 36:4(1995), pp. 605-634, p. 6110

About 80,000 years ago, just as modern people were emerging in the Middle East, our ancestors buried rock-quartz crystals with their dead. At the same time, shamans also used crystal amulets in primitive religious rituals.” (; Review of Crystal Power by Lawrence E. Jerome, 24 June, 1989.)

For at least 50,000 years there has been “widespread ritual use of quartz crystals in Australia.” (Hesp, Patrick A ; Murray-Wallace, Colin V; Dortch, CE “Aboriginal Occupation on Rottnest Island, Western Australia, Provisionally Dated by Aspartic Acid Racemisation Assay of Land Snails to Greater than 50 Ka” Australian Archeology Issue 49 December 1999)

Neanderthals used crystals as well:

As for an aesthetic sense, whether Neanderthals were capable of art has become a hotly debated issue (Davidson 1992; d’Errico et al. 2003). Bednarik (1992) compiled a list of published evidence for pre-Upper Paleolithic symbolic behavior, including the use of ochre or hematite, crystal prisms and fossils, perforated portable objects, engraved or notched bone fragments, and rock art. (Chippindale, Christopher R. Alexander Bentley, Alexander. Maschner, Herbert D. G. Handbook of Archaeological Theories 2008 Altamira Press p. 286)

Paleolithic Burial sites:

Le Moustier, Les Merveilles and Spy; rock crystals in implements.

Arcy-sur-Cure, Chatelperronian, 35-34,000 BP; pyrite clusters, fossil crinoid (Leroi-Gourhan 1967,39)

Moldavites are the rarest of gems, perhaps more rare than diamonds, rubies or emeralds. Moldavites have been prized for over 25,000 years, since archaeologists have discovered moldavite shards and pieces in cave dwellings of that era.

In his book Moldavites: The Czech Tektites, Professor Vladimir Bouska states that “The first human being that was interested in Moldavites was a Cro-Magnon man from the aurignacian age, i.e., the Upper Paleolithic. Several potsherds [fragments] of green Moldavite glass were found together with the famous statue of Venus of Willendorf, which is about 29,000 years old, at Willendorf in Lower Austria.”(Mineralogical Research Company, “Basic Information about Moldavites”

Newgrange was built around 3000 BC, and predates Stonehenge by about 1000 years. Newgrange “consists of a vast man-made stone and turf mound retained within a circle of 97 large kerbstones topped by a high inward-leaning wall of white quartz and granite,” according to the Wikipedia. “Most of the stones were sourced locally (within a radius of 20km or so) but the quartz and granite stones of the facade must have been sourced further afield, most probably in Wicklow and Dundalk bay respectively.”

A millenia later, in California, quartz crystals were buried with the dead:

About 3500 years ago, a remarkable ceremony took place at a village cemetery at Rincon, a prominent point located between the modern cities of Santa Barbara and Ventura. Here, two young men, probably warriors killed in battle judging by their wounds, were buried with a wealth of goods. According to William Harrison(1964), who excavated portions of this cemetery at CA-SBA-119, the flexed bodies of the men were liberally dusted with red ochre, and surrounded with baskets, stone bowls, atlatls, flaked tools, abalone pendants, deer legs, and utilized beach stones… The second man also had four bone awls, A dart point, a palette, a quartz crystal, two cakes of ed ochre, four eagle claws…(Erlandson, Jon M. The Evolution of the “Barbareno” Chumash, Proceeding of the Society for California Archeology 12 1999:106 )(Italics added)

Crystals were again found at the 3,000 to 4,000 year old Canada Verde (CA SRI-41A) cemetery excavated by Orr (1968):149-171) on Santa Rosa Island:

Of the 117 formal stone artifacts found among the burials, Orr listed 16 types, including contracting stem points and other chipped stobne tools; steatite pipes, beads, and pendants; bowls, pestles, charmstones, “donut” stones, and anvils; as well as a number of quartz crystals… It is also interesting that the occurrence of certain objects (aheadband decorated with shell beads, eagle or bear claws, charmstones, pipes, bone tubes, whistles, quartz crystals, etc.) with some burials at CA-SBA-119 and CA-SRI-41 match ethnographic desriptions of burial accompaniments the Chumash often interred with their chiefs, members of the religious ‘Antap cult, or high status individuals (Hollimon 1990:128-130).(Erlandson 1999:107)(Italics added)

Santa Rosa Island is where in 1959, Orr excavated 13,000 years old human remains found in Arlington Canyon, some of the oldest in North America.

Crystals were also used in Australian Aboriginal funerary ceremonies:

Following a death, the malignant aspect of the warangun became a djir. The djirguti rite took place on a cleared ground, and women beat drum pads. Dancing men would posture with two cut-bark figures of djir: quartz crystals were said to be magically projected from the djir effigies into the dancing men, and later removed by clever men.(Berndt 1974:29)(Italics added)

The anthropologist Mircea Eliade observes that in some shamanic initiation rituals “. . .[The initiator] throws the candidate into the sky, “killing him”. Once they are in the sky, the master inserts small rainbow serpents. . .and quartz crystals (which have the same name as the mythical Rainbow Serpent) (“Shamanism”, by Mircea Eliade, p. 132). . . The candidate must silently submit to an operation performed by two old medicine men. They rub his body with rock crystal to the point of abrading the skin, press rock crystals into his scalp, pierce a hole under a fingernail of his right hand, and make an incision into his tongue. (Ibid, p. 47)

Joseph Campbell, describes the shamanic initiation rites of various cultures in his book Primitive Mythology. Campbell describes how in Australia would-be shamans enter a sacred cave, and go to sleep. While they sleep, a spirit comes, and pierces the candidate with an invisible lance, which passes through the back of the neck, piercing the tongue, and leaving a hole big enough to pass the little finger through. A second spirit lance pierces the candidate”s head from ear to ear. The candidate falls dead and is carried into the depths of the cave, where spirits live. The spirits remove his intestines and replace them with a new set of intestines, composed of quartz crystals.

Living Crystals: Wii’ipay

In his paper “Wii’ipay: The Living Rocks – Ethnographic Notes on Crystal Magic among Some California Yumans” published in The Journal of California Anthropology, Jerome Meyer Levi discusses the shamanic use of crystals:

The use of rock crystals as charmstones is an integral feature of shamanistic practices and beliefs throughout western North America, especially in the general culture area of the Southwest. The practice is widespread and ancient. Unfortunately, detailed descriptions of crystal magic are scant in the ethnographic literature. The archeological evidence indicates the antiquity of crystal usage. In California, they are commonly found in sites dating back eight thousand years (Clement Meighan, personal communication). (Levi, Jerome Meyer “Wii’ipay: The Living Rocks – Ethnographic Notes on Crystal Magic among Some California Yumans” 1978 The Journal of California Anthropology 5(1) UC Merced Library, UC Merced p. 42)

The set of terms for crystal charmstones in various languages is quite homogeneous. The crystal is called wii’ipay in Papai, wii’iipatt in Kumeyaay and Ko’al, and xwa’kwipay in Kiliwa. Without exception, the name given to the crystals by each group translates as ‘alive’. When speaking in Spanish the Indians call such a stone piedra viva ‘live rock’. Meigs (1939:64) list the Kiliwa word for a crystal charmstone as j-wa’kumesap ‘small white stone’. Mr. Ochurte, my Kiliwa consultant, felt that xwa’kumesap (or j-wa’kumesap in Meigs’ orthography) could be any ‘small white stone’ and not specifically a crystal charmstone. He specified that the correct designation of the crystal is xwa’kwipay (xwa’ ‘rock’, kwipay ‘live’).(Levi 1978:43)

Levi introduces us to Wii’ipay, magnificent living crystals:

A wii’ipay is one of the most powerful objects in the supernatural universe. Its unique vitality, its efficacy for individual gain, and its potency in malevolent magic all make it a paranormal force that is regarded with the utmost fear. Clearly, it is one of the most potent and distinctive objects in the witches’ paraphernalia. Only in the hands of the properly trained can the otherwise unpredictable power of wii’ipay be manipulated for specific goals and then only if the necessary precautions have been taken. To the average and untrained individual the wii’ipay remains an object of danger and malice. Its mere appearance, whether in physical actuality of referred to in speech, is a symbol for evil, or at least powerful, conjuring. I was constantly reminded that wii’ipay are not “children’s toys”; they are the powerful things of the hechiceros. (Levi 1978:44)

The power from a wii’ipay is neither intrinsically “good” nor “evil.” Rather, it remains the prerogative of the shaman to channel this power towards either beneficial or malevolent ends. Power is always dangerous – to both its possesor and others – but it can be manipulated. It seems that the power from a wii’ipay… is more accurately expressed in terms of “controlled” and “uncontrolled” states. For example, a shaman can posses a wii’ipay with reasonable safety because he is able to “control” its power. In the hands of a lay person, however, the power of a wii’ipay is “unconntrolled” and therefore a mortal danger to the stone’s possessor and his family. Only after a wii’iipay has been thrown into a body of water – thus nullifying its power- is the lay person rendered safe.(Levi 1978:44-45)

Wii’ipay are also alive. More precisely, they are like people. Although wii’ipay are like people, it should be understood that they are unlike ordinary people because the stones can tap, if not generate, cosmic power. Thus a wii’ipay is more like a powerful Yuman shaman than it is like an average lay person. A wii’ipay can be male or female, indifferent or jealous; it can move freely and is characterized by individual emotional disposition and independent wills; it can speak; it must be “fed” and given constant attention. (Levi 1978:46)

Not all crystals, however, are live crystals. Live crystals are designated as only those which have people inside them. Otherwise the crystal is ordinary. (Levi 1978:46)

Nor are all crystals that are present in a geological matrix wii’ipay. As mentioned above, only those crystals that occur in the center of the geological formation are classed as wii’ipay. The crystal that is the longest and occurs in the very center of the matrix is termed the “chief” and is considered more potent than the smaller wii’ipay that surround it. True wii’ipay may be identified in other ways. When live crystals are held in the hand, one can “feel” that they are alive. Moreover, the sensation makes the holder sweat. (Levi 1978:46)

Live crystals are further categorized by sex and color. Both male and female crystals are recognized based upon the color of the wii’ipay. It was mentioned that one need not be a shaman in order to discriminate between male and female wii’ipay; all one has to do is peer inside the rock and make the confirmation. If the crystal is black and a small man appears, then the wii’ipay is classed as male. Correspondingly, if there are reddish veins throughout the rock, it is female because a miniature woman appears inside the crystal… Male and female wii’ipay are each characterized by a different set of attributes based on their gender. For example, black (male) wii’ipay are considered extremely powerful and are certainly the most dangerous of all varieties. Usually, such crystals are employed exclusively in malevolent magic. (Levi1978:47)

All live crystals can move by themselves. Mrs. Robertson explained that their movement was not unlike that of a slithering snake. She extended her index finger and moved it back and forth to better illustrate the manner in which these crystals move. Often one can notice the snake-like tracks of a wii’ipay left in the soft sand of the desert. If a crystal is ill treated or otherwise improperly cared for, it will leave its owner and return to its “home”. (Levi 1978:47)

The first step in acquiring a wii’ipay is to have a series of dreams in which the spirit of a wii’ipay reveals itself to a selected individual. In this dream, the person is told that he is to become a shaman, is shown the exact location of his future wii’ipay… Such dreams are believed to be windows into another world. They require attention and commitment. (Levi 1978:47)

Once he finds the wii’ipay, the novice then experiences a second series of dreams – all this occurs during one four-day long retreat in the mountains. He fasts (abstaining especially from salt and meat), ritually purifies himself by fumigating with the smoke from white sage (Salvia apiana), bathes, and prostates himself “spread-eagle”on the ground at each sunrise. All this is done in an effort to encourage and augment the dreaming of wii’ipay. (Levi 1978: 48)

Because the master shaman is already familiar with the powers at hand, having himself once passed through this perilous maze, he is able to guide others. Yet he can only guide… But ultimately it is the wii’ipay that actually conveys “power” to the novice and teaches him how to control it through the medium of his spirit-induced dreams… Upon acquiring a wii’ipay, a man enters into a personal relationship with his crystal. Obviously, no one can ever really “own” or “possess” a wii’ipay in the sense the tone can own an ordinary object because crystals always have a will of their own. All one can ever do is enter into a partnership with them. It is a pact, a reciprocal partnership whereby each party operates to insure the social and spiritual survival of the other. (Levi 1978:48-49)(Italics added)

Levi tells of Mrs. Robertson, who found her uncle’s lost wii’ipay and “hid the stone in a hole in a tree near the house.” When her uncle returned, he said that his crystal had been calling him in his dreams to come to it’s rescue. Mrs. Robertson’s uncle new exactly where to find the wii’ipay, because it had already directed him to its location.

As illustrated in this account, each works with, and takes care of, the other. It is a kind of supernatural symbiosis where the mutual obligations are explicit and lasting. A wii’ipay requires food” in order to survive. It is “fed” so that it may thrive and maintain its potency. Also, like a person, it demands affection and attention. In return for this, it gives its owner “power”. The shaman and his wii’ipay are associates who are bound to each other through a personalized alliance. (Levi 1978:50)

This is straight up “new animism”: respectful interaction with non-human persons.

Once adopting a new mental attitude and adapting their lifestyle to the wii’ipay, the shaman is ready to begin working crystal magic, carrying the wii’ipay in a small deerskin pouch or carries the stone loose in their pocket.

Mr. Cecenez stated: “In your dreams you do everything. When you carry that in your pocket, in your dreams it tells you everything, that wii’ipay. It tells you what you are going to do, what you ask it. And it gives you everything. You need to carry it in your pocket. Yes, if you want to be a kusiyee [Paipai for shaman] then you must do this.”(Levi 1978:50)

Wii’ipay can bestow the power to both heal and harm, to divine the future, to read minds, to transform others into animals, travel great distances instantaneously, and consistently be fortunate in love. An exceptionally powerful wii’ipay can enable its carrier to become invisible and will warn him of upcoming dangers. (Levi 1978:50)

Ritual Quartz Artifacts:

Ethnographic literature as early as 1822 refers to the toshaawt, a spiritually powerful stone used in sorcery, rain-making, curing, and other rituals by several of southern California’s indigenous peoples. The field notes of linguist-ethnographer John P. Harrington show that toshaawt stones were also found among Kitanemuk people living in the Tejon region south of bakersfield. His 1916-1917 interviews with Magdalena and Jose Juan Olivas describe the use of these stones:

tishait, a stone from the coast. You keep it in your house to guard the house from weather – from winds or rains. And when your children are sick at stomach you put the stone in a jar of water and give it to them to drink. MO [Magdalina] has cured [her children] Angela and Marcelino thus many time. Each New Years you take the stone and unwrap it and burn the food wrapped with it from last year in the fire – keep adding it little by little to the fire. They lay the stone out and say to it: Here is your food. Guard the house because you are powerful; car for the house when the wind makes it shake. You give the stone feather down, chia, money, tobacco – wrap it up in these things and keep it till next year. The stone understands. It is takat – person. A man who knew how would talk to his tishait and thus prearrange with it. (Timbrook, Jan “Search for the Source of the Sorcerer’s Stones” Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History 1999:634-635)

The use of toshaawt stones was recorded among the Chumash, the native people of the Santa Barbara Channel. Early anthropologist Henry Henshaw interviewed Chumash individuals for information about the native use of particular stone artifacts:

twelve stones was the number required by the medicine-men, exclusive of a centre stone of a different character. The centre stone shown to me, called Tu-caut, is a flattish, round, beach worn pebble of quartzite, unworked and stained black with iron. The use of medicine stones among the San Buenaventura Indians was as follows: the twelve sorcery stones (ma-nuc-nu) were arranged in a circle close together. In the centre was placed the Tu-caut; chia (the generic name of seed meal) [sic], together with down from the breast of the white goose, was then sprinkled over the stones. Red ochre (ma-no-smo) was then sprinkled over the whole. A dance was held around the pile, while three old men sang, keeping time with rattles. This or similar ceremonies was observed for curing the sick, bringing rain, putting out firs in the mountains, calling fish up the streams, when war was to be made, etc, etc. (Timbrook: 634)

Sandstone is metamorphosed to quartzite, the individual quartz grains re-crystallize along with the former cementing material to form an interlocking mosaic of quartz crystals.

The types of stones that were designated Toshaawt varied. (Timbrook 1999:635-635)

Crystals are “vomited up” by Kwakiutl shamans. (Benedict, Ruth. Patterns of Culture. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1934:214)

“Large quartz crystals” were among the items placed in a huge basket set before Luiseno girls undergoing a puberty initiation (DuBois 1908:93-94; see also Oxendine 1980:44). (Koerper, et al. p.63)

Crystals were sacred objects of the Chumash people of California:

We have grouped stone effigies, smooth pebbles, charmstones, quartz crystals, pipes, turtle shell rattles, flutes, whistles, and painted rocks together as religious paraphernalia. This classification is based on ethnographic evidence that the use of these objects was confined to religious activities whose goal was to mobilize and control supernatural powers or natural forces. The defining characteristic if these religious objects is that they were not multipurpose artifacts with secular uses. In this respect, they contrast with items such as shell beads, which, although they were used as offerings in religious ceremonies, also had important secular functions. (Gamble, Lynn H. Walker, Phillip L. Russell, Glenn S. “An Integrative Approach to Mortuary Analysis: Social Symbolic Dimensions of Chumash Burial Practices” American Antiquity, 66(2),2001, pp. 185-212](192)

The ‘antap were the Chumash spiritual leaders, astronomers:

The Chumash thought quartz crystals had supernatural power and believed that lightning bolts produced them….The Chumash used quartz crystals in a number of ways, including as talismans to bring rain and good luck (Applegate 1978:54; Hudson and Blackburn 1986:154). It has been stated that quartz crystals were used as power objects by the ‘antap (Hudson and Underhay 1978:49) and as parts of medical kits of medical practitioners (Walker and Hudson 1993:53). (Gamble, et al. 2001, pp.193-4)

The Chumash ‘antap valued the power in quartz crystal to disperse light and associated the spectra produced by it with the celestial rainbow that bridges the sky.(Krupp, Edwin C. Echoes of the Ancient Skies: The Astronomy of Lost Civilizations 1994 Oxford University Press, USA)

The astronomers of the ‘antap cult… had within their province the duty to seek out the necessary knowledge from the celestial beings, to foresee the future, and to take the proper steps to alter the upcoming course of events for the well-being of their fellow Chumash. (Fisher, Gordon “Marriage and Divorce of Astronomy and Astrology History of Astral Prediction from Antiquity to Newton and Beyond”)

Dreams, ingestion of datura and the shaman’s kit including quartz crystals, amulets and charms all play parts in Chumash ritual. (Werness Hope B. Encyclopedia of Native Art: The Continuum Encyclopedia of Native Art: Worldview, Symbolism, and Culture 2000 The Continuum Publishing Group Inc. P. 60)

Among the Luiseno, tourmaline crystals were sacred objects used to cure a sick man… It was rubbed on his body (DuBois 1908a:98). Among the Luiseno and Diegueno, quartz crystals were believed to have been born of the Earth, not man-made but an original creation, more powerful than the hardest material. They were sometimes mounted on a stick but also carried unmounted (Alliot 1915). (Hardy, Ellen T. “Religious Aspects of the Material Remains from San Clements Island” PCAS Quarterly, 36(1), Winter 2000:83)

The Chumash made quartz crystal tipped “wands”(Huson, Travis. Underhay, Ernest Crystals in the Sky: An Intellectual Odyssey Involving Chumash Astronomy, Cosmology, and Rock Art. Malki-Ballena Press 1978)

Another artifact class known for its powerful properties has been termed “sun sticks” (Hoover 1975) or “shaman’s wands”(DuBois 1908a). The objects were used by the Luiseno and Diegueno (Hoover 1975:107; Thomas 1976) and they were described by DuBois (1908a:98) as the sacred stick, Sivut paviut of the Luiseno, or Kotat by the Diegueno. The stick were painted red, Black, and white, and often had a quartz crystal attached to the tip.(Hardy 2000:84)

Harrington’s notes provide evidence that the sun sticks were used in Chumash solstice ceremonies. The crystal tips of the wands symbolized the “crystal house” in which the Sun lives. (Hardy 2000:85)

On Santa Cruz Island three unusual bone wands were found; the ends were covered with asphaltum into which a quartz crystal was set. “It is clear that such wands were widely distributed throughout the Chumash area, at least in the mainland and Island centers” (Hoover 1975:105-106). (Hardy 200:85)

A typical shaman’s equipment or fetish bundle is described by Olson (1930, p.19) from one found near Santa Barbara. “Of the contents of such bundles one example will suffice: painted fabric or basketry containing 2 perforated stones, 5 awl or spatula-like batons with quartz crystals set into the open ends, three loose quartz crystals, 2 steatite pipes, a small incised steatite dish, and a number of beads, pendants, curios shells, etc.” (The Rock Paintings of the Chumash University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California 1965:66)

Colonial Spaniards quickly recognized Native valuation of quartz crystals (e.g., Simpson 1938:52-53, 1961:60; Vizcaino 1959:14), owing in part, one must imagine, to the multitude of sacred venues in which they appeared. For instance, in Alta and Baja California, clear quartz talismans were causally linked to weather control and might be associated with thunder, lightning, or rainbows (e.g., Driver 1937:104; Voegelin 1938:64; Gayton 1948; Hudson and Underhay 1978:49; Levi 1978; Hudon and Blackburn 1985:262, 1986:154, 1987:33; see also Fenenga and Riddell 1978). Others carried the imprimatur of good fortune for such pursuits as love and game play (e.g., Sapir 1908; Gifford and Klimek 1936:85; Sapir and Spier 1943:282; Carth 1953:193; Levi 1978:50; Hudson and Blackburn 1985:261-262). (Koerper, Henry C. Desautels, Nancy A. Couch, Jeffrey S. “Quartz Crystals and other Sparkling Minerals from the Bolsa Chica Archeological Project” PCAS Quarterly, 38(4): 61-62)

There were varied applications of quartz crystals to healing and harming (e.g., DuBois 1908:97; Hohenthal 1950:10; Walker and Hudson 1993:53) as well as to divination, clairvoyance, miraculous feats of travel, protection, and change from human into animal form (e.g., Alliot 1916:129-130; Levi 1978: 44-45, 50). (Ibid: 62)

Archeological literature attests to a regional practice of contributing crystals to graves – in coastal Shoshonean territory, in Chumash territory, and in coastal Yuman territory. (Koerper, et al. p.63)

Sally’s Rock Shelter lies in a boulder field within the U.S. Army’s Fort Irwin National Training Center in the Mojave Desert of California. David Whitley’s research at Sally’s Rock Shelter may reveal shamanic practices. A small depression at the top of the boulder yielded a small scatter of shattered quartz fragments,

Whitley recovered a series of undisturbed quartz cobbles, which had been wedged into cracks in the boulder pile in such a way that only a human being could have put them there. Both the depression and the rock shelter contained quartz cobbles, hammer stones used to create rock engravings, all of them carried to the site from afar… Vision questers often left offerings at their chosen site to the spirit the supplicant wished to receive. The same sites were also places to which the shamans retired to pray for cures and for other activities when they often left offerings…Often such offerings were placed in cracks in the rock. Modern observers have seen many instances of such offerings still adhering to rocks and protruding from cracks in them. Thus the quartz wedged into Sally’s Rock shelter’s boulders may have been shamanistic offerings. (Fagan, Brian M. Before California: An Archeologist Looks at Our Earliest Inhabitants AltaMira Press 2003:205-207)

From the abstract of Whitley’s paper “Sally’s Rockshelter and the Archeology of the Vision Quest”, we read:

Quartz, the most common mineral on earth, is almost universally associated with shamans… This association is archeologically evident at Sally’s Rockshelter, a small rock engraving-vision quest site in the Mojave Desert, where quartz rocks were placed as offerings in cracks around the rock art panel. (Whitley, David S. et al. “Sally’s Rockshelter and the Archeology of the Vision Quest” Cambridge Archeological Journal 9:2 (1999), 221-47)

Large boulders were places where the supernatural world lay close to the surface, so cracks within them were portals into the otherworld. Spirits resided inside the rocks, moving in and out of the supernatural realm through the same cracks that were said to open up for shamans when they entered trance and entered the spiritual universe. Since spirits resided inside the boulders at Sally’s Rock shelter, placing quartz cobbles in the cracks was a way of placing a gift at the door to the spirit’s home. (Fagan 2003:207)

Quartz was also thought to have great supernatural potency. Spirits inhabited quartz crystals, so they possessed supernatural powers that could be used for many purposes. (Fagan 2003:207)

Quartz crystals were important talismans believed to create pathways in wood and stone and were also associated with rain, thunder, and lightning (Hudson and Blackburn 1986:154-156). Toshaawt stones, often found in shaman kits, were believed to have powerful healing, sorcery, and rain making properties. These dense, lenticular-shaped stones were used in the Gabrielino Girl’s Puberty Ceremony and other rituals conducted by the Chumash, Kitanemuk, and Luiseno (Merriam 1955:86; Timbrook 2000). (Cannon, Amanda C. “Giving voice to Juana Maria’s people: The Organization of Shell and Exotic Stone Artifact Production and Trade at a late Holocene Village on San Nicolas Island, California” Master’s thesis Environment and Community Interdisciplinary Program, Humbolt State University. August, 2006:68)

The Rainbow Serpent is both a creative and destructive force of nature whose presence appears in many forms and creation stories of the Australian Aboriginal people.

In the physical world the Rainbow Serpent represents the element of water and may appear as a rainbow, lightning or the luster of quartz crystal:

The Rainbow Serpent as it appears in Australian belief may with some justification be described as occupying the position of a deity, and perhaps the most important nature-deity, In some tribes it is the object of a definite cult either as part of the totemic cult or as part of the cult of the initiation ceremonies. In a considerable number of tribes it is the chief source or one of the chief sources of the magical powers possessed by the medicine-men. There is a very widespread association of quartz-crystals with the rainbow-serpent, and throughout Australia quartz-crystals are amongst the most important of the magical substances used by the medicine-men. (Radcliffe-Brown, A.R. “The Rainbow-Serpent Myth in South-East Australia” Oceania Vol. 1, No. 3 Oct.-Dec., 1930:342)

In the Forest River District the rainbow water-serpent is the ultimate source of the medicine man’s powers… [The rainbow serpent] inserts into the young man some little rainbow-snakes (brimurer) and some quartz crystals (ungud, the other term applied to the rainbow serpent). (Roheim, Geza “The Eternal Ones of the Dream: A Psycho Analytic Interpretation of Australian Myth and Ritual”)

Quartz seems, in fact, to have sun and sky associations among shamans from Australia to the Amazon, and rock crystal sometimes is called “solidified light”. (Krupp, Edwin C. Echoes of the Ancient Skies: The Astronomy of Lost Civilizations Oxford University Press 1994:134)

The Navajo incorporate crystals into the main body of their mythology. (Reichard, Gladys A. Navajo Religion: A Study of Symbolism. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1950:212)

For the Navajo, the First Man and First Woman emerged from the underworld into a dark and cold new world. They created the Sun from a slab of quartz crystal, decorated it with feathers, and attached the disk to the sky with darts of lightning. (Penrose, Bryan E. The Power of Stars: How Celestial Observations Have Shaped Civilization Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011:6)

In belief systems of the Southwest, rock crystals frequently symbolize fire, light, and as a consequence, truth. (Barnett, Franklin Dictionary of Prehistoric Artifacts of the American Southwest. Flagstaff: Northland Press. 1973:46)

Sacred caves:

The Maya ritually used crystals from sacred caves:

Modified and unmodified fragments of rock crystal have been recovered from a number of caves in the southern Maya Lowlands, suggesting that theses tones were used in ancient ritual’ … ‘Ethnographic literature reports the utilisation of crystals to be restricted to ritual specialists for use in caring and divining’ … ‘The power of crystals was apparently believed to be derived from the power of the earth so that crystals found in caves, which are also connected to the earth, might be considered especially powerful … Evidence suggests that caves may have been an important source of these “power” objects’. (Brady, James E. “Caves and Crystalmancy”. Journal of Anthropological Research, Vol.55 No. 1, Spring 1999.)

‘The power of crystals was apparently believed to be derived from the power of the earth so that crystals found in caves, which are also connected to the earth, might be considered especially powerful.

The aspiring shaman or Taoist priest is commonly initiated in a cave of quartz. One thinks immediately of Merlin’s Crystal Cave. The Chinese associate crystal caves with sacred mountains. The mountains funnel stellar energy into the caves, where the energy is stored in the quartz. Taoist cosmology speaks of “heavenly caverns” lit by precious gems and quartz crystal. The entrances to these caverns can be seen only by the Taoist master. Once inside the master leads the disciple to a “dragon bed,” that is, a natural bed formed of stone. When the disciple sleeps there, he is given a dream by the guardian spirit of the cave. (Cohen, Kenneth “Bones of Our Ancestors” Yoga Journal Jan 1985 p. 56)

The mountains funnel stellar energy into the caves, where the energy is stored in the quartz.

The Earth, as well as the Stars, supply energy to the crystals.

We have seen associations with dreams, caves, crystals and spiritual beings in the lore of the California Indians, Australian Aborigines, etc. Of interest is the idea of powerful energy funneled into quartz, this view is compatible with Plasma Cosmology in physics.

The energies transmitted by crystals have always been attributed to “subtle” or “etheric” energies; but now with the birth of Plasma Cosmology and the Electric Universe, those mysterious energies are no longer needed to explain crystal power. It’s all electricity. Plasma Cosmology and the Electric Universe model are the subject of Part 2: Electrical Properties of Crystals.

Quartz Crystals act as transducers, transforming and transmuting energy from one form to another. Quartz crystals in particular behave as capacitors, storing electric cosmic energies (Solar rays, Gamma rays, etc.) in a form which can later be discharged.

NASA has discovered that the Sun and the Earth connect every 8 minutes with monstrous space tornados, twisting Birkeland currents of plasma acting as a wire with the current moving at over 1 million mph. These space tornados are one part of the connection between the Sun and the Earth.

Space quakes and plasma bombs cause and trigger the Earths auroras. Space quakes themselves are mainly caused by a fast plasma jet on the night side of the earth. The plasma in our magneto-tail is accelerated against the flow of the solar plasma wind. A process causes our magnetic field lines to vibrate and energy is also exchanged at the polar regions and combined these create the auroras where the Space Tornadoes touch down on Earth.

The Irish name for quartz is grian cloch, which means ‘stone of the sun’.

The word crystal comes from the Greek word krystallos, meaning ‘frozen light’.

Large Natural quartz crystals in Limestone collect gamma waves(cosmic energy)(which goes through everything but lead), 24-7.. 365 days a year.

Part 2 will explore the electrical properties of the universe and it’s crystals.

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The Chumash are a rather unique people who occupied the central coast of California. The Chumash people thrived at a very early period in California prehistory, with some settlements dating to at least 10,000 years before present.(Hogan, C.Michael. 2008. Morrow Creek. Ed. A. Burnham.)

There were at least eight different related language groups, or dialects, spoken by the Chumash. The differences between the dialects spoken at the northern and the southern ends of the Chumash region were as great as the differences between Spanish and the English languages. A Chumash person could always tell where another Chumash person came from by how he or she spoke.(Williams, Jack S. The Chumash of California 2002. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. p. 25)

Chumash people first encountered Europeans in the autumn of 1542, when two sailing vessels under Juan Cabrillo arrived on the coast from Mexico.

As with most Native American tribes, the Chumash history was passed down from generation to generation through stories and legends. Many of these stories were lost when the Chumash Indian population was all but decimated in the 1700s and 1800s by the Spanish mission system.The Chumash population was eventually decimated, due largely to the introduction of European diseases. By 1831, the number of mission-registered Chumash numbered only 2,788, down from pre-Spanish population estimates of 22,000. (

The lot of the Chumash continued to deteriorate with the arrival of the Anglo-Americans in 1847. In 1855 a small piece of land near the Santa Ines mission was set aside for 109 Chumash, now known as the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.(Brian Fagan has an extensive discussion of the Chumash on pp. 75-92 in his book Time Detectives. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Available online at

The modern day towns of Santa Barbara, Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria were carved out of the old Chumash territory. The town of Santa Barbara began with Spanish soldiers who were granted small parcels of land by their commanders upon retiring from military service. After mission secularization in 1834, lands formerly under mission control were given to Spanish families loyal to the Mexican government. Meanwhile, other large tracts were sold or given to prominent individuals as land grants. Mexican authorities failed to live up to their promises of distributing the remaining land among the surviving Chumash, causing further decline in the Chumash population. By 1870, the region’s now dominant Anglo culture had begun to prosper economically. The Santa Barbara area established itself as a mecca for health seekers, and by the turn of the century it became a haven for wealthy tourists and movie stars. (

According to white historians, the name Chumash is thought to come from the word “Michumash”, which was the Native name for Santa Cruz Island, and which means “place of the islanders”. J.W. Powell first used this term in naming these coastal Natives in 1891, and the name has lingered on.

Many elders today say that Chumash means “bead maker” or “seashell people.” (  Although elder Julie Tumamait claims the peoples’s original name is unknown.

Primarily a hunter-gatherer culture, they were also very successful fisher-folk. They are one of the relatively few New World peoples who regularly navigated the ocean (another was the Tongva, a neighboring tribe located to the south).

Ceremonies marked the significant seasons that their lives were contingent upon with emphasis given to the fall harvest and the storage of food for the winter months. Chumash people lived in large, dome-shaped homes that were made of willow branches. Whalebone was used for reinforcing and the roofs were composed of tulle mats. The interior rooms were partitioned for privacy by hanging reed mats from the ceiling.

Their boats and fishing gear were like no other coastal group, until we study the Northwest peoples. They had well developed woodworking skills, pulling the fallen Northern California redwood trunks and pieces of driftwood from the Santa Barbara Bay, evident in their planked seagoing canoe, called a tomol, whose length could be up to 30′.

Within villages, a Brotherhood of the plank canoe came together to construct the vessels. To belong to the group was a great honor. The well-being of the people depended on building seaworthy canoes that would withstand the rigors of sea travel. Older craftsmen passed the secrets of how to build the craft down to the younger men. The work proceeded slowly, sometimes taking months to complete.

Plank canoes, Ti’at and the Tomol, were anywhere from eight to 30 feet long (more evidence may reveal that some plank canoes could have been 100 feet long) and were made using driftwood and or redwood when they could find it. Traveling at speeds from 11 to 14 knots. The heavy one-piece floor had three or four rows of planks added to build up the sides. Each row of planks was glued in place with asphaltum (tar) or yop, a melted mixture of pine pitch that hardened. After this glue dried, each plank was fastened to the one below by drilling holes on each side of the seam and tying the boards together with plant fiber string made from Indian hemp. The holes and seams were filled with more hot yop. Sanding was done using sandstone and finished with shark skin. Last, the canoe was painted and decorated.(

Their primary food sources were acorns and pine nuts; shell fish; sharks, sea bass, halibut and other fish caught in nets or harpooned; a whale stranded on the beach was an occasion for feasting. Fishermen used nets, harpoons, and fishing hooks. Good bow and arrow hunters, the Indians tracked deer and other wild game. One Spanish missionary wrote, “It may be said for them, the entire day is one continuous meal” (Brian Fagan.Time Detectives. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. 75-92.)

Pinesap was used as a kind of glue. Giant wild rye and similar large grasses produced stems that became arrows and containers for tobacco. Wild hemp, milkweed, nettles, and yucca plants were turned into strong strings, chords, and ropes, which were used to make nets, bags, belts, and many other woven objects.(Williams, Jack S. The Chumash of California 2002. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. p. 23)

Chumash men were fishermen and hunters, and sometimes they went to war to protect their families. Chumash women ground acorn meal, gathered nuts, fruits and herbs, wove baskets and did most of the cooking and child care. Both genders took part in storytelling, music and artwork, and traditional medicine.

Village chiefs were chosen from important and esteemed Chumash families by village elders, and could be either men or women.

Chumash families were combine into larger groups called clans. Clan members believed that their founder was an animal, such as a bear, an eagle, or a coyote. (Williams, Jack S. The Chumash of California 2002. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. p. 26)

The Chumash villages were endowed with a shaman/astrologer. These gifted astronomers charted the heavens and then allowed the astrologers to interpret and help guide the people. The Chumash believed that the world was in a constant state of change, so decisions in the villages were made only after consulting the charts. (

Originally, Chumash people didn’t wear much clothing– women wore only knee-length grass or deerskin skirts, and men usually went naked except for a ceremonial belt. Shirts were not necessary in Chumash culture, but the Chumashes sometimes wore deerskin capes or feather robes when the weather became cooler. Unlike most Native American tribes, the Chumashes never wore moccasins.

The Chumashes painted their faces for special occasions. They used different colors and patterns for war paint, religious ceremonies, and festive decoration.

The Rainbow Bridge:

The first Chumash were created on Santa Cruz Island by the Earth Goddess Hutash who fashioned them from the seeds of a magic plant. Hutash was married to the Sky Snake (the Milky Way), who could make lightning bolts with his tongue. One day, the Sky Snake decided to present the gift of fire to the Chumash.

After Sky Snake gave the Chumash fire, they lived more comfortably than before. More children were born each year, the Chumash villages grew, and the island became crowded. The noise of all these people talking, playing and working began to annoy Hutash and kept her awake at night. So, she decided that some of the Chumash had to leave the island and move to the mainland, which in those days was uninhabited.

But how was Hutash going to move the Chumash across the sea channel to the mainland? Finally, she got the idea of making a bridge out of a long, high rainbow, which she stretched from the tallest peak on the island to a tall peak in the mountains of the mainland.

Hutash then sent the Chumash across the Rainbow Bridge to fill the whole world with people. A few stayed behind, but most started across the bridge on the long journey to the mainland. Many made it across safely, but some made the mistake of looking down to the water far, far below. Because the bridge was high and there was a thick fog swirling about, those who looked down became very dizzy and fell off the bridge into the churning waves of ocean below. Hutash felt very bad about this, and she didn’t want the Chumash in the water to drown, so she turned them into dolphins. This is why the Chumash have always said that the dolphins are their brothers and sisters.

Presently, the Santa Barbara Channel is up to 1500ft deep. The channel was much more shallow during the Ice Age.

The Channel Islands are the highest portions of the now mostly submerged superisland Santa Rosae. Before the end of the last Ice Age, the northern four Channel Islands of California were linked in a single contiguous island only 4.7 miles offshore. Geography took its present shape after the continental ice sheets melted and sea levels rose 400 feet. There is also evidence to suggest that a submerged island, Calafia, lay between Santa Rosae and the mainland.

Ancient Bones May Rewrite History
by John R. Johnson, Ph.D.
Curator of Anthropology, Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History:

One of the outstanding discoveries made by Phil C. Orr during more than three decades of work as Curator of Anthropology and Paleontology at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History was his 1959 find of three ancient human bones found buried 30 feet deep in the side wall of Arlington Canyon on Santa Rosa Island. Orr immediately recognized the importance of his find and convened a committee of renowned archaeologists to verify the stratigraphic context of the bones. Charcoal from the same stratum that contained the bones was dated to 10,000 years before present, making the skeletal remains the oldest found in North American until that time. Orr called his discovery “Arlington Springs Man.”

In the years since Orr’s discovery, doubt was cast on the validity of the old dates because the bones were found in an eroded stream channel and the possibility remained that they were younger than the charcoal. With foresight toward the future when improved radiocarbon-dating techniques would become available, Orr removed a block of earth that contained the bones, wrapped it in plaster, and placed it in Museum storage.

In 1989, Dr. John Johnson, Curator of Anthropology, and Don Morris, Channel Islands National Park archaeologist, initiated a project to re-evaluate the age of the Arlington Springs remains. Johnson and Chumash research assistant Gilbert Unzueta excavated a portion of femur from the block of earth and sent samples to several specialists in bone chemistry analysis and radiocarbon dating.

The result of this research demonstrated that the bones appear to be older than Orr expected, dating to approximately 13,000 years ago. Measurements taken, however, indicate that Orr had mislabeled the individual. Arlington Springs “Man” was in fact a lady!

During the end of the Pleistocene, when Arlington Springs Woman lived, the sea level was at least 150 feet lower than it is today and the Northern Channel Islands were joined as one island. This woman’s presence on an island at this early date is significant, because it demonstrates that the earliest Paleo-Indians had watercraft necessary to cross the Santa Barbara Channel.

The discovery challenges the popular belief that the first colonists to North America arrived at the end of the last ice age about 11,500 years ago by crossing a Bering land bridge that connected Siberia to Alaska and northwestern Canada. The earlier date and the location of the woman’s remains on the island adds weight to an alternative theory that some early settlers may have constructed boats and migrated from Asia by sailing down the Pacific coast.

These are the oldest human remains yet discovered in North America!

There seems to be a lot of extremely ancient remains on the Channel Islands:

The abundance of prehistoric Chumash artifacts found in the Santa Barbara Channel have helped archeologists piece together Chumash trade networks, fishing practices and submerged village sites. Archeologists suggest that portions of the northern Channel Islands were likely sites of Chumash villages, and are now submerged by changes in sea level. Thousands of years ago the sea level was at least 150 feet lower than it is today and the northern Channel Islands were joined as one island… Recently discovered paleontological remains have also contributed to the rich record of the coastal area. In 1994, for example, a reletively complete pygmy mammoth was discovered on a coastal bluff on the north shore of Santa Rosa Island. This discovery represents the most complete pygmy mammoth discovered in the world to date. The discovery suggests a high probability of the existence of submerged paleontological remains. (“Tribal Maritime Protected Areas: Protecting Maritime Ways and Cultural Practices” By Michael Vuncent Mcginnis, Ph.D with a section from Roberta Reyes Cordero, JD & assistance from Matt Stadler, M.E.S. Bioregional Planning Associates, 3865 Sterrett Avenue, Santa Barbara, California 93110)

Ya know, there are stories of a lost continent in the Pacific called Lemuria or Mu…   

How did the Chumash learn to make plank boats (the only ones ever seen on this continent)? They used a double bladed paddle for their boats and a distinctive style of harpoon, both of which are only found with the Eskimo people. They used spear throwers – a highly unusual weapon not commonly seen on this continent. They used fish hooks carved of bone and stone in a design only found in the Polynesian Islands and Japan. Their tap sticks are used in the islands of the South Pacific, Africa, Mexico, and other locations in Pacific Rim countries. Bull roarers are musical instruments of Australia, the South American tribes – and where else? Pan pipes are instruments of the South American tribes – and where else?

I’m just sayin, there are stories…