A Glimpse of the Greater Mystery
When we began our quest, that chilly spring morning standing in front of the Cross in the midst of Hendaye’s market day, we had no idea of the strange pathways down which it would lead us. We started with a series of mysteries – the mystery of Fulcanelli, the mystery of the cathedrals, the mystery of alchemy and its connection with chiliasm and eschatology, the mystery of the Hendaye Cross and its message of an approaching catastrophe – and the closer we came to solving these mysteries, the greater the overall mystery became.
The cornerstone of the greater mystery is the cross at Hendaye, a true monument to the end of time. From this simple, inelegant, yet obscure monument, Fulcanelli derives his warning that our hemisphere will be tried by fire as well as his message of hope that there is a place of refuge. Our detailed decoding revealed that the monument does indeed suggest the mechanism of the double catastrophe, and demonstrates that the ancient illuminated science of astro-alchemy creates an astronomically correct Cube of Space within the projected Tree of Life. This illuminated astronomy makes use of sophisticated alignments between the galactic core and the solar system’s angular momentum to its radial energy flow. It also supplies us with a pattern that can be used to locate precisely our solar system in intergalactic space. Contemplating the source of this advanced cosmological knowledge gives us a glimpse of the greater mystery.
The cross at Hendaye uses this ancient illuminated astronomy to predict the timing of the double catastrophe. Its symbolism reveals a season of destruction from summer solstice to winter solstice over a twenty-year period, by pointing to its midpoint, the fall equinox of 2002, when the planetary and solar alignments form a right-angled cross between our system’s angular momentum and the galactic center. As we have seen, the equinox midpoint is bracketed by celestial events on the solstice, the most prominent of which is the heliacal rising of the sun and the galactic center on the winter solstice of 2012. As this is the end date of the Mayan calendar and a significant date in the Tibetan Kalachakra, its importance takes on added significance. Yet it is the cross as a symbol and a metaphor, which has universally held man’s attention.
The INRI, above the starburst on the eastern face of the cross, demonstrates how closely Christianity is related to the mystery of the Last Judgment. Maybe however, given the reading of INRI of “Isis Naturae Regina Ineffabilis,” or “Isis, the Ineffable Queen of Nature,” then we ought to adjust our understanding of Christianity to reflect a more Egyptian perspective.
Perhaps the stories of the birth of a saviour are symbolic references to a transformative time. Horus is born to avenge his father Osiris’ death at the hands of his uncle Seth. This strange familial motif is carried through in literature and legends such as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the Greek Oedipus tragedies, the myths of Jason, and dozens more. What if these myths reflect the conditions in the sky thousands of years ago, at the time of the last catastrophe? And what if these myths are about to reappear in the skies of our time?
We can see this most clearly when we contemplate chiliasm’s source, the New Jerusalem of Revelation. In chapter 21, verse 10, John tells us that the angel “showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.” This suggests that the Holy City is a pattern in the heavens first, before it becomes a reality on earth. Since the Holy City, as the angel reveals in 21:16, is a vast cube, we can easily see this as the Cube of Space. The millennial moment, the climax and end of time, is the moment when the Cube of Space becomes the Holy City of the New Jerusalem.
This happens of course when the celestial markers—sun, moon, planets, edge, and center of the galaxy—assume their appropriate mythological positions, which occurs once every 13,000 years. At that moment, the Cube of Space becomes animated and the heavenly city descends. The Cross at Hendaye tells us that we are in the moment now. Only at this point in time, a twenty-year season marked by the midpoint that occurred at the fall equinox of 2002, do the alignments of the Cube of Space and the Tree of Life match the reality in the sky.
John Michel, in his seminal work City of Revelation, demonstrates that the sacred geometry of the New Jerusalem provides a link between various sacred structures, such as Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid, and the basic ratio of the moon’s orbit around the earth. Taking this as a clue, we can imagine that the cube of the New Jerusalem forms within the sphere defined by the moon’s orbit. It would of course be aligned to the larger Cube of Space defined by the celestial events. This cube-within-a-cube image is a three-dimensional representation of a hypercube, the four-dimensional structure formed from the Cube of Space by projecting the Tree of Life onto its surface.
The phases of the mythological drama, the death of Osiris, the birth of Horus, and his triumph, like the phases of the alchemical transformation, represent the manifestations of the different celestial events forming the New Jerusalem cube and their spiritual consequences for the human psyche. If we assume that the Holy City is complete between 1992 and 2012, then it does indeed look like Revelation is specifically describing the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Perhaps all the horrors of our times are the result of a cosmological alchemy in which the transfiguration of time triggers other transformations. It is possible that we are being pushed by cosmological events toward extinction or enlightenment as a species.
Paul LaViolette’s work suggests that the mechanism of the double cataclysm could be the arrival of a galactic core superwave, which would push dust into the sun, causing a massive coronal discharge. This double catastrophe is loosely tied to the precessional cycles, which the ancient illuminated astronomy measured by galactic-core alignments. Perhaps the alignments, such as depicted on Hendaye, occur before the arrival of the superwave and its destructive effects, as a kind of warning, the signs and portents Revelation promises in the sky. It could also be a window of opportunity for profound change, perhaps even the moment of ascension or the mass attainment of the Diamond Body, an immortal light body described in Tibetan Buddhism.
However we interpret the cosmic mythology, it is the oddly divided Latin inscription on the Hendaye cross that provides us with important clues; it confirms the timing of the catastrophe and then, most significantly, points to the location of a possible place of refuge. If we pass Fulcanelli’s test and learn to search for the missing refuge within the “space” of the misplaced S, we find a precise location, Cusco, Peru, the Inca’s analog to the center of the galaxy, their “navel of the world.” Following this clear message, we stumbled upon the original location of Atlantis, our lost pre-catastrophe global civilization, and, from the inherited wisdom of its descendents, including the Inca, we discovered the importance of the celestial cross in the southern sky.
Andean traditions tell of a culture hero, Viracoca, who emerged from the center of the world and gathered the remnants of civilization together at Tiahuanaco, one of the ruined cities of Atlantis. Perhaps this is a memory of the survivors of the last catastrophe and their determination to rebuild their culture. The mysterious Raimondi Stela found in the Peruvian highlands and dating to at least 1000 B.C.E., depicts a Viracoca-type shaman. In this image (see figure 13.1), the Viracoca shaman is shown with his internal centers aligned with their planetary equivalents while engaged in surveying stellar alignments with a pair of serpent entwined staffs.
When we stand back and look at this vast panorama of connections and correspondences, the conclusions, strange as they may seem, are obvious. A high civilization existed in the Andes around 15,000 B.C.E. It was perhaps even far beyond our current level. A catastrophe destroyed that culture, except for isolated pockets of survivors. It is possible that some of these “survivors” were actually immortal beings who had attained a “light body” before the wave of destruction arrived. Whatever their exact nature, these beings worked for thousands of years to restart civilization from the ground up, perhaps literally.
The Viracoca shaman and his surveying staffs suggest that part of the revival had to do with re-establishing a kind of geomantic structure, aligned to the stars, the planets, and other galactic locations, that encouraged life and consciousness. Given that the geometry of both Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid are related to the New Jerusalem cube that is now forming in the sky, we might expect that the idea of an earth grid, Plato’s spherical icosa-dodecahedron of triangles, would provide more confirmation of this structure. And indeed it does. A mirror image of the structure of Notre-Dame-de-Paris’ choir forms a perfect icosadodeca-grid pattern, indicating a more connection between the cathedral’s building and the earth grid. Even more intriguing, the long ley line through central England, which passes through Stonehenge and Avebury—two ancient sky temples complete, in Avebury’s case, with serpents—also passes through Tiahuanaco. Most curious of all, however, is the occurrence of an essentially interactive phenomenon along this ley line across England—the crop circles.
For thousands of years, “spirits” had been making simple circles in the grain of southern England. Children played in the fairy circles, and the farmers left them alone, figuring the little folk had claimed their share of the crop. All that changed in the 1970s when the phenomenon was discovered by “anomaly hunters” and the media. As more people became interested, and began tramping over the fields and camping out waiting for a glimpse of the circle makers, the designs grew more complex and involved. By the early 1990s, it was obvious that something very unusual was going on.
The 1999 vintage of crop circles included images that were startlingly close to the core of the astro-alchemical secret. One was a perfect four-circle overlapping geometric structure of the Tree of Life. The Tree itself had appeared in 1996, but 1999 also saw several complex designs based on the Cube of Space. Most startling of all was the design that depicted an approaching object engulfing the sun, causing an eruption. Perhaps the Viracoca cult programmed these interactive localities to teach us our cosmic geometry and warn us of the danger. Perhaps the Viracoca cult survived in other forms as well. If they were truly immortal, even if only in the form of the circle makers, then they might still be out there, trying to help us make the transition and survive the catastrophe.
However, suggestive as the crop circles, their makers and their message might be of the greater mystery, they have yet to provide us with more than tantalizing possibilities, and, as usual with the paranormal, more questions than answers. They do at least present us with a new spin on “Green Language,” a geometric language written in the “green” of the grain fields. But without a broader perspective, this “Langue Vert” remains incomprehensible and elusive. The circle makers have provided a text, but what is missing is the suitable mythological host, a framework of myth and experience, some of it psychic, that “explains” the interaction between reality and the numinous.
At the primal level, there are two realities, earth and sky, and they form the foundation of our understanding of space and, as a result of that spatial understanding, time. As soon as a culture or a civilization attains a certain level of awareness, it recapitulates for itself a cosmogony, a description of the origins of the cosmos. One of the earliest of which we have any record, and in many ways one of most complex, is the ancient creation myth of Heliopolis, the Egyptian city of On.
In the virtual cosmic ocean of Nu, the Atum, whose name means “not to be” as well as “complete (unto itself),” slumbered in a lotus-bud. By an act of will, Atum emerged from the virtual “not to be” into the completeness of manifestation, becoming in the process “Re” or the portal of existence, symbolized by the Sun. The hieroglyph for “re” is a visicia piscis, the vibrating string of a standing wave function out of which, by the process of transformation, all things are created. This image became the “Sun” in the sense of the primal source of light and energy.
Atum-Re, the complete portal of existence, generated the first two polar qualities or attributes, heat, Tefnut and moisture, Shu. They in turn created Geb, the earth, and Nut, the sky. Atum-Re learned that the sky and the earth had been indulging in a sexual dalliance and dispatched Shu to separate them. Nut was thrust upward, arching overhead as the starry sky, her arms and legs becoming the four pillars of the heavens. Geb, in longing for her, thrusts upward mountains in an effort to reach her. To prevent any more such shenanigans, Atum-Re decreed that Nut, the sky goddess, could not conceive during any month of the solar year.
However, the god of time, Tehuti or Thoth, had a different idea. While Atum-Re represents a solar view of space ordering time, Thoth represents a more lunar or biological view of time inhabiting space. Realizing that a primeval universe of quintessential ordering was also static and unchanging, Thoth played a strange game of proto-chess or checkers – Thoth was said to have invented the use of 8 x 8, the magic square of Mercury, game boards – with the Moon, an aspect of himself, and won a 72nd part of its light. From this “artificial light,” Thoth created five days that did not belong to any of the months in the 360 days of Atum-Re’s solar year. On these days, Geb and Nut had their romantic encounters, producing a new quintessence, that of the metaphorical “neters,” or forces, Osiris, Isis, Horus (the elder), Set and Nephthys.
In this tale we can also see another pair of opposites, the static solar time and the dynamic precessional time, measured by the Egyptians in terms of four lunar eclipse cycles of roughly 72 years. These are the games of chess Thoth played with the Moon and “won” perhaps by landing on, and thereby predicting, the eclipses. From this very early cosmogony, we can determine that time and timekeeping went beyond merely tracking the local solar and lunar changes, but were derived from the larger celestial motion of precession. These changes in the larger mystery of the mythic sky had practical and ritual significance for the ancient societies who incorporated them into their mythic structures.
This is the somewhat sweeping claim made by the most comprehensive look at the subject of stellar myths since Hewitt’s History and Chronology. In 1969, Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Drechend published Hamlet’s Mill: Myth and the Frame of Time in which they argued that the geography of myth is actually that of the heavens, and that the world of the mythic imagination is the whole of the cosmos. In this view, precession is the cause of a series of successive catastrophes, as each group of constellations marking an Age falls away from its solstice or equinox marker point, and these catastrophes are assimilated within a framework of mythic events that give them meaning within the culture.
Santillana and Drechend identified the mythic geography, its roads, oceans and rivers, and most significant, its trees and poles as components of the sky, the Milky Way and the celestial axis. We saw how the Christianised Inca of Misminay still use the metaphors of roads and rivers to mirror the alignments in the sky, and in chapter eight we examined the concept of the World Tree at some length. Hamlet’s Mill adds another component, the recurring cosmological motif of a mysterious place where earth and sky connect and the lights of the sky, the stars, are born. In most myths, this connection is created by means of the World Tree, the unmoving axis around which creation revolves. Associated with this axis are two “gates” or alignments whose intersection forms the Great Cross. Most often, this mythic point of contact falls on the intersection, or crossing point, of the galactic and ecliptic plane.
A river or a road has almost universally been the symbol of the Milky Way, the largest and most spectacular object in the night sky. Sometimes, as at Misminay, an actual river mirrors the river in the sky. In ancient Egypt, it was the Nile that became the terrestrial counterpart of the celestial river; in India the Ganges fulfilled the same function. As a road, it was thought to be the path of souls, entering and leaving this plane of existence through the “gates” at the galactic/ecliptic crossing points. This belief survived in Europe in the traditional association of the pilgrim route with the Milky Way, from various places in France, the arms and edges of the galaxy, through the center of the galaxy, symbolised by the mountain passes east of Hendaye, and on to the opposite arm of the galaxy at St. James de Compostella in western Spain.
The World Tree stands at the center, where the roads meet, connecting the cross in the sky, the zenith alignment of the galactic/ecliptic crossing, with the cross on the ground, in the form of a cross roads, a chapel, a temple or a cathedral. As the self-fertilizing Atum point, it is both a womb and a phallus, and to the Greeks it was known as Omphallos, literally “mother’s penis” or “navel.” The stone in the center of Cusco, another “omphallus” point, served the same function by demarcating the quarters of heaven and earth and the major alignments of celestial events. This locator stone is very similar in concept to Hewitt’s carved linga stone, the Cross at Hendaye, and to the intellectual idealization of the Philosopher’s Stone and the Stone, the “lapsit exillis,” of the Grail. It also suggests the cubic Cybele stone, whose removal from the ancient highlands of Anatolia made Rome the center of the world.
To the Finno-Ugaric tribes that once stretched from Finland and Lapland to western Siberia, this talismanic tree-stone-star was called the sampo, a mysterious model of the universe created by Ilmarenin, the Finnish version of Vulcan or Wayland the Smith. The root of this word, sm, is very similar to the Egyptian word, Sma, for the concept of the two powers or forces that balance the axis pole of creation. In Sanskrit, the word for pole or pillar is skhamba. These linguistic similarities among widely differing cultures suggest that there is a connection between them, at least at the level of their symbolic function as metaphors for the unmoving axis of creation.
To embody these metaphors was, as we saw among the Inca, to become the Sapa Inca, the divine god-man, Horus the Pharaoh, the Sun-King or the Christ-like redeemer Viracoca. These metaphors point to a successful completion of the quest by the hero/warrior/saint. These are beings that have become the Adam Kadmon, the universal man in tune with the sentience of all Mind in the universe, and the road or path to that attainment is the hero’s journey, an inner and outer quest for the Holy Grail.
Albert Villoldo, in his studies with the Quechua shamans of Peru, came to the conclusion that the current “Pachacuti,” the time when everything is turned upside down and reality is restructured, is also the point where a new humanity, a Homo luminous, begins to emerge.[ 9] Villoldo’s Homo luminous sounds much like the Tibetan concept of the Diamond Imperishable Body, as we mentioned earlier. Could this also be an expression of the Sapa Inca, Atum-Re or Universal Man? Indeed, when we look at India and Tibet’s foremost example of the attainment of the Diamond Body, Padmasambhava, we find not only linguistic echoes of our primal myths – padma is “lotus” in Sanskrit, echoing the lotus-bud of Atum, and sambhava is “self-created one,” from the same root as skhamba, which is the pole or pillar of the unmoving axis – but also a mythic framework that is still psychically active and contains all the motifs presented to us by Fulcanelli and the Hendaye Cross, from a place of refuge at the time of the catastrophe, to alchemy and immortality.
And so, having found Atlantis and the last catastrophe in the Andes, we must now turn to the east, toward Shambalah and the coming apocalypse.
Looking East: A Refuge in the Himalayas
Paul Mevryl, in his “Epilogue in Stone,” directs us to Jean-Julien Champagne’s frontispiece to Le Mystere where “the alchemist stands elevated and protected between the front paws of the Sphinx,” looking east to the rising sun.[ 10] (See figure 13.2) As we saw in chapter 11, this is the place to stand to decode the astronomical riddle of the Great Cross at Hendaye. Mevryl is quite aware of this solution; he suggests that man and Sphinx “wait together for the return of Horus-in-the-horizon,” which is a direct reference to the rising of Leo on the fall equinox of 2002, a return, after 13,000 years, of the equinox Horus-in-the-horizon. But could this image also point to another place of refuge, as Mevryl implies?
“He (the alchemist) and Hu (the Sphinx), his protector, stare silently at the eastern horizon towards the ancient Petra. In their narrow cone of vision is little Judea to the north and Ha’il to the south. Between them, very far away, is the Ande of Asia – the mighty Himalaya. Man and Hu-man wait together for the return of Horus-in-the-horizon. For now, in this age, he will appear before them rather than behind their backs… But Man and Human alike regard the future, not the past. Hu’s protection is two-fold. Firstly, he symbolizes the protection of the illuminated state. Secondly, His gaze directs our attention towards one of the great refuges that man undoubtedly used during the Atlantean catastrophe. A refuge which, with others, may serve again? With these thoughts in mind, we note the similarity between the sound forms of Cat Man Hu and Katmandhu, and the persistent legends of concealed entrances into the bowels of the mountains that are associated with that place.”
To Mevryl, the place of refuge is clearly in the Himalayas, even though the inscription on the Hendaye Cross points, by means of the anagram we examined in chapter 11, to Peru. Mevryl, in his somewhat tortured anagram of the inscription, draws attention to Ha’il in Saudi Arabia, but, with the exception of the odd use of Ande in reference to the Himalayas, Mevryl ignores any connection to South America. At first, we were inclined to see this as an example of Mevryl’s finely honed sense of misdirection, but after following our Peru Interpretation and finding Atlantis in the Andes, we returned to Mevryl with new appreciation.
His insistence that we should look east from the Sphinx, along the 30 degree latitude line does in fact bring us to the “Ande of Asia –the mighty Himalaya (note the singular)” in the form of Mt. Kalias, which sits just north of the 30 degree east line. This stand alone, A-shaped mountain, sacred to both Hindus and Buddhists, rises like a great planetary omphallos from the highest plateau on earth to almost 26,000 feet. It is also the origin point for the four great rivers of Asia, the Indus, the Sutlej, the Brammaputra and the Ganges, which spin out from its base in the rough form of a sun wheel or swastika. Beyond that, just below the line, is the Tibetan capital of Lhasa at 90 degrees east longitude, exactly 60 degrees east of the Sphinx at Giza.
And, without struggling for any Green Language combination of Cat, Man and Hu, Katmandhu is simply the ancient Nepalese word for “place of refuge.” Mevryl then is forcing us to look in the direction of Nepal and Tibet. When we do, we find a semi-historical illuminated master, Padmasambhava, who hid teachings, texts and treasures in statues, cliff faces and sacred lakes, and arranged secret places of refuge, from one end of the Himalayas to the other. Behind these legends looms a lost civilization that rivals Atlantis for antiquity. Unlike Atlantis, this civilization supposedly still exists in, to quote Fulcanelli, a place “where death cannot reach man at the time of the double catastrophe.”
Once, a long time ago, according to the ancient Newarri chronicles of Nepal, the valley was a vast lake called the Nag Hrad, or “Tank of Serpents.” The nagas were dragon-serpents who guarded a treasure deep in the lake. A Buddha from a past age tossed a lotus seed into its placid waters, and from this grew an amazing thousand-petalled lotus that shone with the blue light of transcendental wisdom.
Aeons went by. And then, one day, the Bodhisattva Manjusri, a central Asian version of Apollo, who, having heard tales of the lotus and its light, arrived at the lotus lake to contemplate its splendour. He stopped at the edge, and being thwarted by the nagas, found that he could not approach the lotus. However, after consulting with Vajra Yogini, a manifestation of Dolma/Tara the mother goddess, he decided on a radical plan. He would drain the lake, bind the nagas and thereby share the lotus light with everyone.
Seizing the great Sword of Discriminating Wisdom, Manjusri sliced the mountainous rim of the valley in a single stroke, creating a gorge through which the waters of the lake, and its nagas, poured. As the water rushed out, the nagas were caught in a bottomless pit, where, along with their treasure, they remain to this day. The lotus settled to a small mound in the center of the emerging valley, eventually to become the stupa of Swayambunath.
Now, the curious point here is that geology agrees with and supports the myth. Roughly 15,000 years ago, an earthquake did in fact drain the vast lake that was Nepal valley, slicing open the rim as neatly as if it had been done with a sword. The lake formed as much as a million years earlier when the Himalayas lurched upward. Therefore for many thousands of years, there was indeed a large, deep lake of placid blue water surrounded by high, white-topped mountains just as the traditions say. All we are missing is the giant lotus, radiating blue light.
The Newarri chronicles continue in a similar vein, telling tales of gods in human form and of kings with the power of gods and their interaction. In this magical era, a single king could rule for a thousand years and temples were endowed with images of the gods who sweated, bled and spoke as they communicated their desires. This sense of a magical reality within a mythological landscape remains strong even today in Nepal.
Buddhism arrived in the valley very early, so early in fact that it became woven into the fabric of its mythological past. During the reign of the semi-legendary Kiratis — whose founder Yalambar fought and died in the epic struggle depicted in the Mahabharata — the Buddha and his disciple Ananda visited the valley. They founded a school in Patan, where the Buddha elevated a family of blacksmiths to goldsmith status and gave them his own clan name, Sakya.
A few centuries later, the great Indian Emperor Ashoka, a convert to Buddhism, made a pilgrimage to the Buddha’s birthplace at Lumbini, in the terai or plain to the south, and then continued on to Katmandu valley. He built and enlarged stupas at Patan and Swayambunath, and his daughter married the local prince, Devapala. This link to the original Indian traditions ensured that Buddhism would survive in Nepal long after it had died out in India.
At the turn of the 4th century CE, the last Kirati king, Gastee, was overwhelmed by an invasion of Rajaput princes from the areas of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in India. The Licchavi princes spread a veneer of Hinduism over the local Buddhism, creating a unique mixture of practical shamanism and sophisticated philosophy. This Nepalese Buddhism owed as much to Rajaput tantra as it did to the teachings of Siddhartha.
Later branches of the Licchavis, the Thakuris, were instrumental in bringing Buddhism to Tibet. Princess Bhrikuti brought some of the Buddha’s relics with her when she married the king of Tibet, Tsrong-tsong Gompo, and eventually converted him. For her devotion, she was identified with Tara, the Tibetan mother goddess.
After this high point, the Thakuri dynasties settled into a kind of semi-mythological Dark Age. An example is the story of King Gunakamadeva. It seems that the god Indra, whose interest in the valley went back to the primordial blue lotus era, assumed human form to observe the Indrajatra festival in his honor. A group of tantric magicians spotted him and bound him with spells until he granted them a boon. Indra’s boon was the wood from a celestial tree, used by the king to construct a large seven-tiered pagoda called the Kasthamandap, or the “Wooden House of Refuge.” From this came Katmandu as time chipped away at the extra syllables.
In these legends, we can see echoes of our primal theme. The Blue Light Lotus is the ancient primal center, dislodged by a catastrophe caused by the Tibetan Sun-God Manjusri. This center is then represented, in the same spot, by a stupa, an arrangement of the elemental shapes into an “omphallos” like locator stone/tree. This same stupa/pagoda design, seen in the architecture of the original Kasthamandap, can be found throughout Buddhist Asia, from China to Burma. In the original hidden valley of Nepal, the place of refuge was clearly a magically constructed model of the World Tree.
However, long before the Kasthamandap was built, Nepal was a place of sacred pilgrimage. The caves in the south rim of the valley had an ancient history of use by travelling saints and yogis as meditation sites, going back according to legend to the time before the lake was drained. Indra himself was thought to have spent a few aeons contemplating the blue light from a cave high on the south wall of the valley. At some point after the lotus disappeared, a demon, one of the Asuras, occupied the cave. He was still in residence, according to the local tradition, until the arrival of Guru Padmasambhava, who converted him to Buddhism and then occupied his cave for the attainment of his Diamond Imperishable Body.
Exactly when this occurred is obscure. The dating in the Newarri chronicles suggest that Padmasambhava’s retreat occurred during the reign of the last Kirati King, Gastee, in the late third century C. E., but Tibetan sources, such as Yeshe Tsogyal’s biography of Padmasambhava, point to an even earlier date, apparently in the era immediately before Ashoka in the second century B. C. E. Indications in some of Padmasambhava’s teachings, given to Yeshe and others in Tibet, suggest that he was influenced by Rajaput Tantrism, and therefore Buddhist scholars have surmised that he learned his Tantric Buddhism in Nepal between the fifth and seventh centuries C.E. This is much closer in time to his historical appearance in the eighth century in Tibet, and therefore relieves the scholars of the burden of an individual almost a thousand years old when he first appears in the historical record.
Whatever the date when Padmasambhava settled in the Asura Cave, there can be little doubt that something spectacular occurred there as a result of his practices. On the floor of the cave can still be seen the melted rock handprint that was left as a symbol of the attainment of the Diamond Body. The entire hillside – from the riverside Temple to Kali and Durga in the tiny village of Pharping, up the ancient steps past the Vajra-Yogini shrine, and further up the mountain, past the Ganesh shrine where a miraculous image of Tara, the Tibetan mother goddess, is slowly growing outward from the rock, and on past the cross roads village and the Tibetan monastery – is imbued with a sense of light and transformation that is as palpable as the smell of incense and yak-butter lamps.
In front of the cave is a large flat space where one can sit and meditate on the entire range of the White Himalayas, with the peak of Chomolungma, the Mother of the Gods, Mt. Everest, directly opposite to the north. Just to the east of Chomolungma is the White Mountain, Macherma Ri, and just beyond it can be seen the peak of Kangtega. Somewhere in between these two mountains is a real place of refuge on Mevryl’s sight line from the sphinx – the hidden valley of Khembalung.
Padmasambhava and the Temple of the Cosmos
Sometime after 760 C. E., the King of Tibet, Tsrong-tsong Gompo’s son Tri-Tsrong De-tsen, summoned the most famous Buddhist tantrist of the era, Guru Padmasambhava, to Tibet to help overcome the magical resistance of the older shamanistic Bon-pos. Buddhism had been brought to Tibet by his mother, Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal, and the King was determined to make it stick. However, the power of the Bon-pos had proved so far irresistible and the new faith made little headway. Santaraksita, the King’s Buddhist advisor, suggested bringing in the help of a real magician, the legendary Lotus-Born One, and so the call went out.
The King’s envoy’s found Guru Padmasambhava in retreat near the great cities of the Ganges plain, and intrigued by the King’s entreaties, he agreed to come to Tibet. “In the earth-male-tiger year, on the fifteenth day of the winter midmoon, under the sign of the Pleiades, he set out on his way,” Yeshe Tsogyal’s biography informs us. The Guru lingered for three months in Nepal, visiting old meditation retreats and hiding termas for future use in caves and temples, until on the first day of the first summer moon, he had a dream in which all the trees of India and Nepal pointed their crest toward Tibet, and all the flowers opened their blossoms. In that moment, we are told, all the wise men of Asia had a vision: the union of the sun and the moon rising over Tibet, the new Dharma refuge in the darkness of the Kali Yuga.
Guru Padmasambhava and his retinue of students and disciples set out over the high mountain passes for Tibet. Just inside Tibet, at Tengboche Monastery in the shadow of Chomolungma, Mt. Everest, he was met by the head of the Bon-pos and challenged to a magical contest. The first one to reach the summit of Chomolungma would be acclaimed as the greatest of all. Padmasambhava accepted, and then retired to his tent for a good night’s sleep. The Bon-po lama, however, had a magic flying drum with which he planned to fly to the summit during the hours of darkness and so reach the top early in the morning, before Padmasambhava had hardly begun.
His students spotted the Bon-po lama flying on his drum in the moonlight and went to awaken the Guru. He responded that there was no cause for alarm, even though the Bon-po was already half way up the mountain, and that they should sleep while they could. Just before dawn, the Guru arose, positioned himself for meditation on the rising sun and waited, deep in trance. As the Bon-po lama, exhausted by his all night drumming flight, slowly circled toward the peak, the first ray of the rising sun pierced the gloom. Guru Padmasambhava mounted the sunray and flew instantly to the top most peaks seating himself on the Throne of Gold and Garnet. Abashed, the Bon-po lama fled, his magic drum tumbling down the mountain.
While seated on the Throne, Guru Padmasambhava looked out to the northeast toward the snowfields of Khumbu. Looking closer he saw a perfect hidden valley, tucked away deep within the surrounding peaks and snowfields. Having the gift of seeing into time, Padmasambhava called upon the gods of the five directions, the Dhyani Buddhas, to hide the valley from the world, and to provide for it all the needs of life. He declared that the hidden valley, Khembalung, would be a refuge for a time in the future when the barbarians of “Hor” would invade the central Asian plateau. He also predicted the names, in Tibetan, of its discoverers and the times in which its existence would be revealed, and hid as a terma a guidebook to its location.
In the fifteenth century, a lama, Padma Lingba, found such a terma guide to the hidden valley, and produced another prophecy of its use as a place of refuge. In 1976, Edwin Bernbaum, an American climber and Tibetan scholar, followed the directions in Padma Lingba guide and with the help of several local Lamas and his Sherpa guides, actually found and entered the outer valley of Khembalung.
“The next morning, when we went exploring, we found an invisible palace in the beautiful forest of pine and rhododendren that filled the valley,” Bernbaum explains, waxing poetic. “We heard the clear voices of birds singing to one another and saw the golden mist rising like smoke off the treetops. In the woods around us, drops of bluish water gleamed like diamonds on necklaces of hanging moss. Passing through corridors of trees, we came to sunlit clearings hung with tapestries of rich brown shadows and emerald leaves, And as we went deeper into the forest, through gaps in the foliage, we glimpsed and felt the presence of a majestic snow peak that seemed to rule over the valley, like the King of Khembalung.”
Guru Padmasambhava came down from Chomolungma after sealing the place of refuge and proceeded toward central Tibet. Along the way, he was met by a delegation from the King, which he awed by first throwing their offered gold to the four winds, and then scooping up a handful of dirt as his prima materia, Guru Padmasambhava transmutated it into gold. These triumphs made even the Bon-po into converts, and Padmasambhava continued on to Samye, where a mandala shaped monastery was under construction. Using his command of the spirit world, Pamasambhava caused Samye chokor, the Dharmachakra, to be built in the grand pattern of the Indian vihara, or plan of the cosmos.
From the spiny ridge to the east of Samye, where a Bon-po temple once stood and Padmasambhava sat in meditation while Samye was built, the complex of temples and chapels surrounded by a flattened ellipse can be seen in all its grandeur, despite over 1,200 years of use and misuse. At night, as in the Andean highlands of Peru, the river of the galaxy dominates the night sky, stretching at its summer zenith from northwest to southeast, with its bulging center high overhead. As at Misminay, the pattern of Samye chokor matches the path of the galaxy in the sky with its satellite chapels or lings, while the main structures including the central Utse Rigsum, form the cardinal cross of the directions. The Utse Rigsum acts as the central omphallos and world tree, and on the outside walls can still be seen vast cosmological murals and depictions of Samye in its glory.
Along that northwest line, the celestial road of the galaxy from Samye, is the holy city of Lhasa. If we think of this axis as the galactic axis, then Samye lies on the edge of the galaxy, with Lhasa at its center. The palace of the King was there, atop the jagged ridge of Marpo Ri, and the most ancient center of Tibetan civilization the Jokang Temple stood nearby. Eventually, the Marpo Ri would become the Potala Palace, and Lhasa itself would become the absolute center of Tibetan life, political and spiritual.
Standing on the roof of the Jokang temple and looking west, back toward Mt Kalias and beyond to Mevryl’s Sphinx 60 degrees of latitude away in Egypt, we note immediately the alignment of two large hills, Chakpo Ri and Bompo Ri, on the due west line. Even the modern work of the Communist Chinese when they rebuilt this avenue follows the ancient path of the alignment straight to the Jokang. In the Serpent’s Cave, on the northeastern side of Chakpo Ri, is a model of Samye, complete with supposedly self-generated stone statutes of the five Buddhas. This repeating pattern of how the cosmos aligns to create time and the meaning of time forms the center of the center, the point from which the Dharma radiates throughout the land.
When his work was finished, Padmasambhava departed Tibet for the Copper Mountains of the southwest. Before he left, he gave a series of predictions and prophecies to his main followers. These included instructions on how to find the termas he left behind, as well as predictions and pointers to the time of the coming destruction: “When the iron bird flies, and houses run on wheels, the Dharma will come to the land of the Red Man. Know, by these signs, that the age of darkness is ending.”[ 23] He also left instructions for the opening of the hidden valleys, such as Khembalung, and predicted that they would be needed at a time when the demons had been released by the barbarians, and Tibet had fallen to unbelievers in the Dharma.
Such a moment has perhaps arrived. The Dharma is fading in Tibet, even as it is taking root in strange ways in the west. Many Tibetan refugees have indeed fled to protected valleys, such as Nepal, in the fringes of the Himalayas. But Padsambhava left us no further clues on the opening of the hidden valleys, no exact timing on which to hang a date or a time period. While Padmasambhava clearly saw the need for a place of refuge, a science of timing and transformation didn’t arrive in Tibet for another two hundred and fifty years. The Kalachakra, or Wheel of Time, Tantra, introduced in 1027 C.E., brought it with a message from the hidden kingdom of Shambalah.
Shambalah and the Wheel of Time
The legends of a hidden civilization somewhere in central Asia have a long history, and, as recently as the last century, this history could still influence world politics. The invasion of Tibet by British troops in 1904 was caused by a mistaken opinion on the part of some Tibetans that the Tsar of Russia was the King of Shambalah. In the 1930s, the idea of a lost valley in the Himalayas exploded on the mass consciousness with James Hilton’s bestseller, The Lost Horizon, based in part on the experiences of a real Christian monk who converted to Buddhism in the seventeenth century. Shangri-la, the name of the hidden monastery in Hilton’s book, became a kind of synonym for all hidden valleys and places of refuge. FDR, when asked where the planes came from that bombed Tokyo in the spring of 1942, replied simply “Shangri-la.” Roosevelt had his own “Shangri-la,” a hide-away in the Maryland Hills now called Camp David. 
While most westerners think of Tibet itself as the hidden kingdom, the Tibetans look to another even more hidden land as the source of wisdom and inspiration. There, a line of enlightened Dharma Kings guard the most secret teachings of the Buddha, the Kalachakra Tantra. At the end of time, when the Dharma is in danger of being totally destroyed by the barbarians of the age of darkness, the Kali Yuga, the King of Shambalah will emerge from the hidden land, defeat the forces of evil, and usher in a millennium of peace and prosperity.
The legends and ancient texts also say that it is possible, though very difficult and dangerous, to travel to the hidden kingdom and there learn the Kalachakra first hand. Curiously, all versions of the route to the hidden kingdom begin with the planetary omphallos on Mevryl’s Sphinx line, Mt. Kalias.
Our earliest glimpse of a hidden paradise to the north populated by sages comes from the Mahabharata, the vast epic of Vedic India. The main character, Arjuna, a cousin of the King of Nepal, Yalambar, who founded the Kirati dynasty, travels to border of the mysterious land of Uttarakuru, but fails to enter. His route takes him to Mt. Kalias, and then northwest, along the galactic axis, to the hidden paradise. To the Bon-po, Uttarakuru was known as Olmolungring, and it also lay to the northwest of Mt. Kalias. One of the many Tibetan guides to Shambalah also suggests that the route is northwest from Mt. Kalias to the region of Kashmir, and then further north.
It is possible that this hidden kingdom was once a real country, somewhere in the region of the Tarim basin, north of Kashmir. Certainly, many ancient kingdoms, some of them Buddhist, flourished and died along the ancient Silk Route from China to the west, and the legend of Shambalah may have such a kingdom as its inner kernel of truth. But the idea of the hidden kingdom of enlightened sages goes deeper than just an ancient city-state, no matter how well organized and progressive it may have been. Like Atlantis, the myth of Shambalah points to an ancient cosmic unity of earth and sky.
This becomes apparent when we examine the principle symbolic feature of Shambalah, its eight-petal lotus-shape design. The lotus as a symbol of completeness and attainment goes all the back to Atum and the cosmic ocean. Shambalah is a version of the vihara, or cosmic pattern, the Dharmachakra displayed at Samya chokor, and the union of the St. Andrews solstice cross and the St. George equinox cross, which represents the complete alignment of the Cube of Space, as does the Hendaye Cross as we saw in chapter 11. The eight-petal lotus, according to some Tibetan teachers, symbolizes the eight nerve channels that radiate out from the heart center.
In physical terms, Shambalah is depicted as a ring of 108 snow-capped mountains. Within it are 96 principalities or local regions divided into eight countries of twelve principalities each. The center region consists of a central five-tiered mountain or stupa, surrounded by four smaller hills marking the intercardinal directions. Each of these locations are said to have 72 devas, or god-like sages, within them. At the very center is the throne of the King of Shambalah. All of these numbers are related to precession: 96 x 270 = 108 x 240 = (5 x 72) x 72 = 25,920. As we saw with Atlantis, this mandala design echoes both internal and external systems, and unites them with a sense of cosmology that is little short of remarkable for any era.
Also, as with Atlantis, Shambalah is connected with the last catastrophe. The older non-Buddhist versions of the legend point to the founding of Shambalah around 13,000 years ago. The Bon-po claim that Olmolungring was founded after the last catastrophe and that once every 13,000 years, another Bon-po exemplar enters the world to renew and revitalize the ancient teachings. The remaining Bon-po sects eagerly await such an exemplar. The Mahabharata also places the founding of Uttarakuru at the turn of the last golden age, roughly 13,000 years ago as we saw in chapter ten.
To the Buddhists, the history of Shambalah began when King Sucandra learned the Kalachakra from the last great teaching of the Buddha in the late sixth century B. C. E. He took this ultimate wisdom back to Shambalah, where it flourished and grew until the middle of the tenth century. A young Indian yogi Tsilupa travelled, like Arjuna, to the edges of the northern paradise, where he met Manjusri, who taught him the Kalachakra and sent him back to India.
Whether or not Tsilupa actually met Manjusri on the road to Shambalah, scholars have determined that it was practiced and taught in Kashmir by 960 C. E. This brings us to an interesting point. Both Kashmir, and points further north on the Silk Road, had prominent Jewish communities in the ninth and tenth centuries. Could the legend of Shambalah have been grafted on to an early form of the kabalistic Bahir? And so produced the unusual complexity and astronomical involvement found in the outer teachings of the Kalachakra? Could the Kalachakra be a Buddhist version of the ancient Hebrew illuminated astronomy?
In the 1020s, another Indian yogi, Somanatha, brought the Kalachakra to Tibet, and created the official chronology of Tibetan history. The astronomical calendar of the Kalachakra would spread across China, becoming eventually the elemental animals of Chinese restaurant menus. In Tibet, it would have many applications, including the prophecy that 960 (10 for each principality in Shambalah) years after the introduction of the Kalachakra, the keys to Shambalah, or the clues to its re-appearance, would be found. A teaching of the first Sharmapa, one of the founders of the Karma Kagyu school, relates that after the 960 years have past, comes a period of twenty-five years, five times through the five elements, in which the cycle of time comes to an end, and the wisdom king of Shambalah will return to this world in the form of the female water dragon. By this measure, 960 + 1027 = 1987 + 25 = 2012, we are in the period of turmoil at the moment. Note also how closely this matches Fulcanelli’s season of destruction.
Even the orthodox Tibetan sects, such as the Gelugpa, whose leader is the Dalai Lama, consider that 2,500 years after the Dharma reached Shambalah, around the sixth century B.C.E, the 25th King, Rudra Kalkin, would emerge and defeat the barbarians, ushering in the new golden age. Even with some looseness, it is very close to 2,500 years since the time of the Buddha. Even though this is not openly expressed, it may be considered the driving force behind the Dalai Lama’s campaign to initiate as many people as possible, in the time remaining, into the Kalachakra Tantra. The 2,500 years is counting 100 years for each of the 25 Kings of Shambalah. See Kalachakra Tantra, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, 1985 Tibetan Works and Archive for the Dalai Lama’s position on the Kalachakra. 
1 City of Revelation, John Michel, 1972, Ballantine Books, New York
2 Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries, Evans-Wentz
3 See the crop circle connector website at http://www.cropcircleconnector.com/index2.html for a complete archive of all known crop circles from 1978 – 2003.
4 Egyptian Myths, George Hart, 1990, University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas
5 Hamlet’s Mill, de Santillana and Drechend, 1983, Godine, USA
7 The Flowering of the Middle Ages, Joan Evans (editor) 1985, Thames & Hudson, London. See also The Camino, Shirley McClaine
8 The Secret Language of the Stars and Planets, G. Cornelius and P. Devereaux, 1996, Chronicle Books, California
9 From the video Healing the Luminous Body: The Way of the Shaman with Dr. Alberto Villoldo Copyright 2002 Sacred Mysteries Productions
10 The Fulcanelli Phenomenon, K. R. Johnson, 1980, Neville-Spearman, London, “Epilogue in Stone,” by Paul Mevryl, all quotes from pages 277 – 295
11 Ibid, page 296
12 Kathmandu, Jim Goodman and Dominic Sansoni, 1988, Hunter Publishing, New Jersey
13 Le Mystere des Cathedrales, Fulcanelli, 1926, J. Schmeit, Paris, 1st edition – 1957, Jean-Jacques Pauvert, Paris, 2nd edition, 1971, Neville-Spearman, London, English translation of 2nd edition ,1986, Brotherhood of Life, New Mexico, 1st American edition, page 167
14 Nepal: The Mountain Kingdom, Kerry Moran, 1995, Passport Books, Illinois
15 Kathmandu, Jim Goodman and Dominic Sansoni, 1988, Hunter Publishing, New Jersey
16 The Sanskrit Buddhist Literature of Nepal, Rajendralala Mitra, 1882, 1971, Sanskrit Pustak Bhandar, Calcutta, see in particular the preface discussion on Buddhism in Nepal, pages xix – xlx.
17 Crystal Mirror, volume four, 1975, Dharma Publishing, California, “The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava,” Yeshe Tsogyal, translated by Tarthang Tulku, page 14.
18 The Magic Bird of Chomolungma, Sybille Noel, 1931, Doubleday, Doran & Company, New York, pages 1 –3.
19 A terma is a hidden treasure, either physical, such as a statue, ritual implement or texts, or non-physical, such as a teaching, an empowerment or a prophecy. See Hidden Teachings of Tibet, Tulku Thondop Rinpoche, 1986, Wisdom Publications, London, for a complete examination of termas. See also The Way to Shambalah, Edwin Bernbaum, 1980, Jeremy Tarcher, New York for an overview of Shambalah and the terma guides.
20 The Way to Shambalah, Edwin Bernbaum, 1980, Jeremy Tarcher, New York, page 60.
21 The Power Places of Central Tibet, Keith Dowman, 1988, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London
23 The Life and Liberation of Padmasambhava, translated by Tarthang Tulku, 1992, Dharma Publishing, California
24 Ibid, see also The Way to Shambalah, Edwin Bernbaum, 1980, Jeremy Tarcher, New York
25 Bayonets to Lhasa,
26 The Way to Shambalah, Edwin Bernbaum, 1980, Jeremy Tarcher, New York
32 The 2,500 years is counting 100 years for each of the 25 Kings of Shambalah. See Kalachakra Tantra, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, 1985 Tibetan Works and Archive for the Dalai Lama’s position on the Kalachakra.