From pre-history forward the shaman has been connecting people to the universe through their totem to the stars to illustrate their connection to all things in nature. He provided the stabilizing structure to people’s lives. He first embodied self-love and accountability. The shaman saw himself above the clouds as if dancing with dragons. The key was always exploring and experiencing our intentions and how they connected us to nature and the stars, i.e., the universe. Today we would equate this with metaphysics at the quantum level, knowing that attentions to our thoughts form our convictions, our actions, and ultimately our experiences. There would be no better way to show the essence of this eternal wisdom than when following the stars, the I Ching and what was one day to become known as the Tao.
The crux of the matter came with how to manifest this dominion over our own thoughts and make this happen for ourselves. How do we connect our divine thoughts to our origin or divinity and align with this universal law, and finally recognize our lives do not happen through happenstance? It has always been that this begins by stabilizing our ego. With this we can begin to know who we are and that we are worthy, can honor the divinity of others, and maintain our relationships that help to show us the way. This was also the central teaching of the shaman, Lao Tzu and what was to become known as Taoism, and the ultimate focus of Confucianism that pinned everything to virtue and our relationships with others. But the connecting focus has always been our knowledge of how we connect to the cosmos and the stars. In China, over a period lasting thousands of years, this idea of man’s connection of nature and the pull of the sun, moon, and stars has been the guiding force, thereby becoming the stabilizing structure of culture and society.
This understanding promoted the idea that we become mature through our beliefs. That with the introduction of what was to become Chan Buddhism in China, the mix of all three (Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism) aided by the I Ching, the idea of not competing – but that they should complement each other and define the way people saw themselves. That by means of the individual, we could surrender to divine order – to all that there is and move into the greater mind, develop humbleness, openness and wu wei, of which I have spoken earlier. It was as if one could take Chuang Tzu’s butterfly and move beyond dreaming and not know if he was himself or the butterfly. To in effect know that the butterfly was only the next step of the caterpillar and to know we must let go of who we think we are and simply become something else. To recognize that as things happen to me, I become me. That it is then as things are manifested through me, I become who I ultimately will be. Through thousands of years of observation and teaching, this universal truth and metamorphosis has never changed. To act as if we are present, living the dream and ultimately become the dream ourselves as we look to the stars and the unknown. While knowing in the end, all will be as it should be.
Ancient Chinese astronomers wondered and pondered over solar eclipses and sunspots to divine future events for the Emperor. Observatories were the launching pads for exploring the mystical ties between the mundane and the cosmic. One of these locations was about eight miles from Dengfeng, in Henan Province, China. Gaocheng Observatory is the oldest facility of its kind in China. It was designed originally for use in predicting the time of the solstice each year. Astronomers at the site were able to calculate the actual length of the year to 365.2425 days some 300 years before Europeans managed to develop the Gregorian calendar.
Established in 1279 AD by the famous astronomer Guo Shoujing. It is the oldest of 27 ancient observatories in China. Built with bricks and stone, the building has two parts, the platform and the stone Chinese sundial. On the 28-foot-high platform, there are two small cottages on each side. To the north of the platform is an entry and exit, which are symmetrically arranged. Linking the entry and exit to the platform are stairs and pathways. Between the two pathways is the 93-foot-long stone Chinese sundial, which was paved by 36 slates. According to historical records, a total of 27 observatories were built in the Yuan Dynasty, but only the one in Dengfeng is known to have survived. This site has a long tradition of astronomical observations, from the time of the Western Chou (about 700 BC), up to the early Yuan Dynasty. There is also a gnomon, an early astronomical instrument consisting of a vertical column for determining the altitude of the sun or the latitude of a position by measuring the length of its shadow cast at noon.
What this did was confirm what the shaman had always taught. That our actions our guided by universal truths and man’s connection to the cosmos and stars was in fact the real thing. That people are connected to the universe through the date of their birth and connecting to their internal energy and vibrations and what we call astrology.
We learn that things don’t just happen to us. That we are guided by our internal rhythms and vibrations that will ultimately define us. That we are not fate less victims and learn that the first step is forgiveness of ourselves and others. With this we look inside and begin to become who we really are, then manifest this as we live. We gain a consciousness that thoughts held in mind create their own kind, a feeling that becomes energy, that then becomes vibrations. We begin to see beyond ourselves and acknowledge that we are a substance of the universe. That our fate truly lies with the stars… This vibrational energy is called transcendence. We express this through our words, as we in turn manifest our good. It is through our visualization and writing we create an awareness of what we are creating. With this as our focus, we move into who we are and what it is what we want to do. We shift and move in the direction of knowing the next step and what we want to happen. Once known, we can live without regret, and do what we are each here to find and do.
Below is the first entry of my own interpretation of the I Ching I wrote in February 1994. The complete book, Am American Journey through the I Ching and Beyond, that was published in China ten years later in 2004, can be found on my website, thekongdanfoundation.com in the tab Voices of the Shaman.
From the clouds dragons appear to those who have prepared. To the I Ching, heaven is to found residing with dwellings of dragons who roam the sky resting in the clouds. Do not look for me where you have found me before. You will not see me where you have seen me before. Dancing in the clouds with the immortals is where I am to be found.
To be seen with dragons. Cavorting above it all. Beyond earthly endeavors. A strong personality who with compassion and caring succeeds by seeing his destiny in the clouds.
Finding the Tao, finding oneness and finding myself floating across the ski with chi. Cloud Dancing across the sky is easy living with dragons is not. A group of dragons are seen riding the clouds disappearing through the sky. As we disappear, I look back and see dragons resting on clouds dwelling in the sky.
An original composition and interpretation of the Chinese Classic the I Ching (1 HEAVEN / Heaven over Heaven). 2/3/94