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Chapter 1: The Earth As a Designer Planet

The Emerald Modem: A User's Guide to Earth's Interactive Energy Body: Dial up the cosmos from your local sacred site
Richard Leviton

Let's Find a New Relationship with the Earth, Our Home Planet

Western culture encourages us to assume the Earth is a freak of nature, a global accident that somehow defeated the forces of blind chaos and evolved on its own, with no master plan, no orchestration, no divine intervention, and probably no purpose. It's just here; it's matter, we're stuck with it, it has its advantages, so let's get on with our lives and not worry about it.

Our prevailing scientific model is materialistic, mechanistic, three-dimensional, nonspiritual. The spiritual worlds have no place in science or objective modeling of the physical world. From the viewpoint of science, these subtler worlds do not exist.

Therefore, we tend to forget about the Earth; we pollute it, exploit it, neglect it, and sometimes fear it. We worry about natural disasters and then resume being oblivious to it, our environment, treating it like an inanimate source of wealth.

By and large, the Earth for most of us has not much more than an abstract reality, if we even think about it. In fact, our cultural appreciation for the Earth as our home in the galaxy is so low that it is now officially correct in book editing to always put the name Earth in the lower case, as earth. We do not even respect the planet enough to capitalize its name, even though products, slogans, religions, philosophies, deities, other planets are capitalized. This may seem a trivial point, but it represents the nadir of our awareness of the Earth as a being.

What if the opposite of the prevailing scientific view is the truth about our Earth? What if our home planet turns out to be a designed planet, the result of divine intervention and nurturance facilitated for our highest future potential?

For most ancient cultures, the world possessed a vertical dimension, reaching up from the material aspects into the higher worlds. Through this vertical dimension, metaphysical energies and truths poured into the waking human world like water, "saturating it with meaning."

For the ancients, the illuminating presence of the gods was acknowledged in both the upper and lower worlds, giving both meaning and purpose. In fact, "ancient consciousness felt itself to be surrounded by an inner world." The landscape in which they lived and built their temples had a "non-subjective, inner dimension" to it and continuously transmitted transcendent values to the mundane realm. Important aspects of the cosmos existed "entirely inwardly" and were the source of the physical, manifest world.

For the ancients, the internal world existed around them and invited their participation. "It is an imaginative vision that sees through the physical landscape into its interiority." In other words, the spiritual world existed around them in the subtle aspects of their own physical world, in the landscape. Perhaps this is what the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas meant when it declared: "The Kingdom of God the Father is spread upon the Earth and men do not see it."

Since the 1970s we have seen a steadily expanding effort to redefine the human being along spiritual and energy terms to replace the conventional view of the human as a machine that emits consciousness. Today some circles in Western culture are prepared to say consciousness precedes and survives the body and therefore is its creator or parent. Many have taken up spiritual practices that operate on this assumption of the primacy of consciousness. The leading edge of this trend has mapped out some energy aspects of this consciousness field that parents the physical body, and we increasingly hear discussions of meridians, the aura, and chakras. But for the most part, these practices do not put the planet in the equation. We may meditate on the ground, on the Earth, but not with it.

Such a complex, multiaspected human organism with biological and spiritual components and a vast range of potential consciousness cannot be an accident. A consensus is forming that the human being must be a designed organism. This of course implies a designer and a purpose.
What if we could make the same case for the planet and demonstrate that the Earth has meridians, an aura, chakras, and many other features indicative of a spiritual constitution? What if we could build a persuasive case for the possibility that the Earth is a designed planet? Would we then be prepared to expand our limited concept of the planet? Would we then meditate with the Earth?

Why the Earth Is Relevant to Human Spiritual Evolution
Most indigenous peoples have tended to regard their landscape and tribal territories, and by extension, the Earth, as sacred and worthy of veneration. European cultures retain a residual appreciation for their ancestors' greater understanding of the Earth's sacredness by preserving a few ancient megalithic structures, as well as old churches and cathedrals.

More recently, the advent and increasing popularity of what is called sacred-sites tourism and ecotourism have acquainted many Westerners with this different perception of the landscape and planet. At least one traveler has made it a lifetime career, noting in 2002 that in the past 18 years he had visited and photographed 1,000 "holy and magical places" in 80 countries.

People in diverse fields of interest all share the same concern: What makes a specific place holy? How can I relate meaningfully to the planet on which I live? How can I form and experience an emotional bond with Earth?

People are searching for ways to relate to the Earth, with Christ, without Christ, as feminists, as pagans, as scholars, as geographers, with ecological awareness or new-age awareness, as geometers or mystics, as healers or magicians, as tourists or priests--everyone is searching for a bridge into the Earth's visionary terrain.

Some sites have become virtual household names, such as Stonehenge, the Pyramids of Giza, Silbury Hill, Easter Island, Machu Picchu; others have accrued a kind of new-age cult status as places of high and desirable strangeness, such as Sedona, Glastonbury, Mount Shasta; still others draw tourists by the millions as they have done for centuries, such as Rome, Mecca, Lourdes, Santiago de Compostela; new sites are emerging, as if for a new era and spiritual agenda, such as Medjugorje in Bosnia and Conyers, Georgia, both for their claims of Virgin Mary apparitions; and some locales, long forgotten or hidden from the world, are coming back into public awareness, such as Lhasa, Tiahuanaco (in Bolivia), or Great Zimbabwe.

Still others, like Eleusis, a dozen miles from Athens, had their day (reputedly two thousand years of continuous operation) as preeminent Mystery initiation centers, then lapsed into a seemingly permanent inactivity. The annual celebration of the Eleusinian Mysteries, which dealt with the enigmas and beatitudes of an experiential knowledge of the after-death state, were inseparably bound up with the nature of Greek existence and were thought to hold all of Greece together. When Eleusis closed, classical Greece ended.

We've learned that certain sites are inherently holy and numinous and have been recognized as such for millennia by the peoples living there. Sanctuaries, shrines, pyramids, stone circles, chapels, pagodas, cathedrals, even ancient cities have been built at these sites and over time have become the focus of pilgrimages and ritualized activities from the worshipping of specific gods to seeking their guidance through oracles. Every country has its own sacred sites; in many instances, certain sites seemed to have held empires together; and the tally of the planet?s total number of holy sites keeps growing.

In India's vast epic poem, the Mahabharata, a chapter called "The Tour of the Sacred Fords" describes the preferred pilgrimage route for spiritual aspirants. Dozens of holy sites, or "sacred fords," are described, as well as the types of experiences and benefits one is likely to garner there and the various deities and celestial beings one is likely to encounter. To the ancient Hindu mind, a sacred ford (called a tirtha) is a place where one can cross the "river" between the physical and spiritual worlds and ascend into the glories of spirit.

Here are some of the typical benefits one may expect to accrue from visiting a sacred ford, according to the Mahabharata: become steeped in all fields of knowledge; enter auspicious worlds; rescue and purify one's family lineage for seven generations; lose half one's evil; be freed from all one's sins; go to the heavenly world; attain the world of the seers; find much (spiritual) gold; partake of beauty; gain the incomparable benefit of innumerable sacrifices, austerities, and 12-year vows; attain to inexhaustible worlds; shine like a moon; attain the world of Brahma (the Creator god) "on a lotus-colored wagon."

The abundance of sacred sites and the extent of the megalithic ruins still scattered across the global landscape has led some theorists, notably British Earth Mysteries expert John Michell, to speculate as to their overall original purpose. Only now, with the advent of global communications, can we begin to appreciate "the vast ruin" within which we live, he says. Based on the extant megalithic structures, we can start to imagine what the landscape must have looked like--how it must have functioned--millennia ago when all the sacred sites and their stone structures were intact and in operation, he says.

"A great scientific instrument lies sprawled over the entire surface of the globe." For Michell, the "vast scale of prehistoric engineering" is not yet generally recognized, even though the ruins of "the old system of spiritual engineering" are still visible. He suggests that all of the Earth's megalithic structures--the stone circles, earthworks, buildings of giant stones, standing stones, pyramids, barrows--once constituted a "celestial pattern" upon the ancient landscape, a series of interconnected, closely linked centers "engaged in the same scientific programme." What program? Michell proposes it had to do with monitoring and managing the flow of terrestrial magnetism across the landscape for the purpose of ensuring crop fertility and the well-being of people and all of nature.

Through Michell's analysis, first offered in 1969 then updated in 1983, we gain the sense that what we think of today as the world's grab bag of sacred sites might originally have been part of a single vast pattern, engaged in fulfilling a large purpose, and perhaps accomplishing this through means we barely understand and perhaps do not yet even suspect.

Mention terms like "pattern" and "purpose," and you introduce the idea of design and intention. It's sufficiently widely recognized today that sacred sites have a varying degree of spiritual charge or numinosity. But the next threshold in thinking is whether the totality of sacred sites comprises a global pattern. Michell suggested they did.

Another pioneering British expert in Earth Mysteries, Nigel Pennick, pointed out in 1979 that geomancy is the science of "putting human habitats and activities into harmony with the visible and invisible world around us," an approach that was once appreciated throughout all cultures.

Those cultures understood the land to be "an awesome living complex" of power points and archetypal patterns; they understood the "concurrence of outward form and inner purpose" and knew where to find "special places where the mind can expand into new levels of consciousness," Pennick says. Further, the world was seen as a continuum, in which "all acts, natural and supernatural, conscious and unconscious, were linked in a subtle manner, one with the next." It entailed a "multi-level hierarchy of cross-reinforcing rituals" with the purpose of maintaining the cosmic order on Earth and keeping the planet in harmony.

Mention terms like "invisible world," "inner purpose," "supernatural," and "unconscious," and you get the sense of the possible cognitive scale of the setup. Clearly, the Earth's array of sacred sites implies connections with the greater world, the macrocosm, and this highlights the necessary and important human responsibility in maintaining this relationship.

As a Tibetan spiritual teacher wrote in the mid-1800s about his pilgrimage through eastern Tibet, "These sites are considered the principal sacred places because each features a primordial, naturally appearing celestial palace in which resides an assembly of emanated deities." In his view, pilgrimage undertaken after proper meditative preparation was a key to successful Tantric practice and enlightenment because the outer world of sacred sites mirrored the inner world of the human Tantric or energy body, with corresponding channels and sites.

In my previous book, The Galaxy on Earth: A Traveler's Guide to the Planet's Visionary Geography (Hampton Roads, 2002), I proposed that the numerous holy sites around the planet could be classified into different types, or geomantic structures, according to their function. That function is two-way: It regulates the connection of the site to the galaxy, and it regulates the site's relationship with humans who interface with it. The context is the entire planet, appreciated as a single organism; all the sites are necessary, interconnected parts in a unified operating system.

Finding out which type of structure a given site represents calls for clairvoyant vision, because the outer physical aspect is not always indicative of the inner energy one. A stone circle may not outwardly look like a Sun temple, or Mithraeum, even though "inside" its energy configuration does. By "inside" I mean the subtle spiritual temple accessed through the physical site. You might think of this relationship as a jewel (the spiritual energy configuration) and its setting (the geomantic structure, or physical aspects of the site). In this analogy, the wearer of the rings is the Earth, and She has a lot of rings.

Here is another way to approach the matter. Acupuncture says the body is threaded with at least 14 lines of energy called meridians, a bit like a subway system. The subway "stops" are treatment points into which acupuncturists insert needles. You can't see these acupoints, at least not with ordinary seeing, yet when the needles are inserted, you get healing results. Energy moves; stagnation dissipates; your bodily and mental condition improves.

These acupuncture treatment points are the body's version of the planet?s sacred sites. Insert some focused human consciousness at a geomantic site, and energy starts to move in the global body. Just as traditional Chinese medicine (and Taoism, its philosophical roots) gives evocative names to this array of body points (such as Shining Sea, Gate of Abundance, Front Valley), so can we apply equally descriptive terms to distinguish one type of Earth point from another, such as Mithraeum, Avalon, and Underworld Entrance, discussed below.

At this point we could say the pattern of Earth's sacred sites is that there are many different types of structures, found in generous multiples across the global landscape, whose purpose is to form the Earth's energy body, auric field, or visionary geography. The Earth's sites have aspects visible and invisible (except to clairvoyance); energy passes through them, wells up in them, and can be distributed from them to the land, and the whole organism of the Earth as an energy entity can be healed, refreshed, supported, and nourished through this system.

Another example from Chinese medicine may help us understand the pattern and purpose of the Earth's sacred sites. One of the oldest concepts in Chinese medicine, the ten Celestial Stems and 12 Terrestrial Branches, holds that the body's energy meridians have correspondences, both seasonal and astrological, with large-scale energy cycles of the Earth and the planets of the solar system. The Wu stem, for example, corresponds to the element of earth (as in solidity, not the planet), a male-tending type of expression (yang), and the planet Saturn.

The point here is that the human's rhythms of mind and body are wired into larger planetary and extraplanetary influences and cycles. These models, says acupuncture theory, are "abstract definitions of how man interacts with Heaven and Earth." The ten Stems chart the interactions of yin and yang energies and how their cycles influence the seasons and the growth of living things.

The energies of Heaven, Man, and Earth "interact to form the true Chi," our fundamental starting reservoir of life force vitality, derived prenatally from our parents, from the "breathing of Heaven," and from the life force (chi) of food and water on Earth, "mixing together."

A Taoist expert puts it this way: "Without leaving the earth, people can ascend into heaven" because "man's body is a universe and the universe is not beyond this body." The Taoists divide the human form into three sections: The head is Heaven, the abdomen is Earth, and the rest of the torso is the universe. Each section has ten heavenly stem energies and 12 earthly branch energies "for their communication with the energies of heaven and earth."

This model of Stems and Branches links the human with the Earth and the cosmos, thereby extending the application of the geomantic pattern to this larger scale. You could say the Galaxy on Earth template is an application of the Stems and Branches theory to the planet to suggest ways in which humans and Earth are part of a broader pattern of rhythms and cycles and operating under the impetus of a grander goal than you'd conventionally suspect. ...

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