The Laws of Dharma: 5. Sanctity (shauch)

My shamanic training first began on a Greek island in 1995, when I was initiated into huna kane: Polynesian shamanism. It continued at my guru’s south Indian ashram, three years later, with shamans from Mexico who had been trained by the same nagual that had taught “Carlos Castenada”. Finally, back home, I followed an intensive two-year course in Dorset, England, in which I was trained to become a teacher of shamanism.

And so I can’t exactly pinpoint at which stage of that years-long process my perception of Nature changed, but change it did, irrevocably. I could see Spirit, or the God principle, everywhere. It happened naturally and unexpectedly. In all those years, no-one had told me that the way I perceived the natural world would change so much.

I first began to notice it with hills, tors and mountains… when they, as I saw it, started to reveal to me their sanctity. They would appear like great pyramids … for instance, the Indian Mount Kailash, or Arunachala hill, the home and inspiration for the god-realised sadhu, Sri Ramana Maharshi, seen below:

These natural pyramids are all over the Earth, too many to list here. But some of them are like stepped pyramids, like those in the Grand Canyon of Colorado.

There are mountains in the Dolomites that at first glance seem to be Indian mandirs; there are massive, black basalt cliffs in Iceland that look like they were the inspiration for the walls of the Notre Dame cathedral. Even Mount Rushmore was once part of a pilgrimage route of the Lacota Sioux who called it the Six Grandfathers.

Grand Canyon by Luca Galluzi
Drei Zinnen, Tre Cime di Lavaredo, Dolomites, Italy

As the vision grew in me, I came to feel that these great giants of the Earth were opening up to me, to show me the sanctity that they offered humanity, if only we could open the doors of our perception to see their true nature, and I felt enormous love and gratitude beaming from my heart towards them in response.

So this is what comes to my mind when I think about this Law of Dharma, the importance of sanctity; the sanctity of certain places on the Earth that were recognised by our more shamanically-eyed ancestors and whose presence fed into their Dreamtimes to inspire them to build pyramids, temples and cathedrals to denote, to generation upon generation to come, the places on the land where the genius loci was the most potent. And in losing even the possibility of that perception, I believe that humanity is becoming mentally ill.

Carl Jung knew about the sickness that stems from this loss of vision of sanctity, and he wrote about it in his Letters (Volume 2).

“The great problem of our time is that we don’t understand what is happening to the world. We are confronted with the darkness of our soul, the unconscious. It sends up its dark and unrecognizable urges. Our values are shifting, everything loses its certainty, even sanctissima causalitas has descended from the throne of the axioms and has become a mere field of probability. Who is the awe-inspiring guest who knocks at our door portentously?”

I believe that being conscious of the sanctity of real, natural holy places allows – even invites – the awe-inspiring guest into our Dreamtimes, to restore certainty of purpose and of our destiny on this Earth…in other words, our sanity.