Human evolution was never meant to be left to chance. The means to work with one’s own biochemistry in order to alter negative health and emotional patterns, by altering your own DNA, is central to the tantric alchemical tradition and the missing link to evolution through yoga.
Notwithstanding all the New Age unscientific speculation, we are obviously at a point of fast-forward evolution where choices matter.As we move into The Age of Aquarius, with its oceanic symbology suggestive of unity, as opposed to the separating Piscean symbol of two fish swimming in opposite directions, there is an implied need and yearning for Yoga to rediscover the alchemical tradition and take us deeper into a unifying potential.
It might not be going too far to say that yoga as practiced in the west is not yoga but simply exercise, and rather stuck in the comfort zone, or even in denial, with the expectation that a few hours a week on the mat somehow induces spiritual development.
Personally, I feel fortunate to have met a teacher, who the Tibetans named Tubten Gawa, the ‘giver away of secrets’, a.k.a. John Burke, a tantric alchemist based in the remote Australian bush of north coast of New South Wales. In John Burke’s gypsy tradition, the deepest possible connection and potential to evolve ourselves begins at a cellular level in our elemental essence, the biochemical intention for which asanas like trikonasana were specifically created, and yet is missing within the modern practice of yoga. One of the reasons for this is that the British Raj purged yoga of its so-called secret teachings, much in the same way as the power-centric clergy of the great religions hid from view the secrets of evolution through the physical body and the power of the individual to alter their own DNA and take control their lives.
This missing link between the asana and spiritual evolution is often stated as being the means of stilling the mind, thus enabling the practitioner to sit comfortably in meditation, which is fine, unless, like me, you have not quite been able to take the cosmic leap between the physical and the spiritual. Likewise, the great sage Patanjali’s eight-fold path, while venerable, seems to be a bit of a tease, like a skilled lover holding back, and yet somehow urging us to unlock the secrets of the oral tradition(s) ourselves. The same applies to all of the diluted religious belief systems.
Rather than simply being a stretching and health-giving exercise routine, Salute to the Sun is calibrated to work with our biochemistry, the purpose being pro-active and scientific self-evolution. The movements within the sequence are designed to work with our essential essences, adjusting to the seasons, working on the organs in relation to the elements: part of an interlocking system that is not linear and, as an oral multi-layered tradition, hardly lends itself to a written explanation.
As we go into winter, the stretch in Surya Namaskar changes to work the kidney meridian, the water element. But there is more, an even deeper level of our selves, which offers a means of working on our genetic evolution. In the tantric alchemical tradition, all levels are operative, from the macro to the micro, to the point of reprogramming our DNA. The tantric alchemists de-mystify mysticism with biochemistry, and John Burke’s role has been that of synthesizing and harmonizing the (chemical) traditions which pre-date religious dilution. The Pope himself carries a crosier inset with a pine cone, but does he know that this is representative of the pineal gland where consciousness has the potential to expand with the yogic transference of an activated hormone, or is this simply a powerful symbol of a forgotten science?
The ancient tantrics discovered that if you were to distil a human being, when all else had dissolved, what is left are three basic essences—alcohols, oils and salts. These are the biochemical tools of the alchemical tradition, of yoga itself, where evolution is changed from random to pro-active. While we make our own conditioned associations with these words, they contain a much broader spectrum of refinement than can be conveyed this brief overview.
There are twelve cell salts which relate directly to the twelve original planets: salt is the physical vehicle for the body and holds the paradigm of our ancestral heritage as well as the mores of the tribe. Within the chakras, in the crystalline matrix, are the siddhis, latent powers regarded as impossible by rationalist, and yet, for example, by understanding the power of pheromone, and the nature of Song or Lay Lines, the acupuncture lines of the earth are no less miraculous than the mobile phone—and offer the potential for positive change by resetting paradigms of the electromagnetic consciousness grid, i.e. the group consciousness view of the future.
Shakti is metaphorically a mysterious snake-like energy, but in fact an organic alcohol which, when activated, gives rise to a tingling and cloud-like ‘drunken bliss,’ providing the means to wash out disease and dissolve unwanted paradigms, preparing the way for our expansion. Oils are lubricants for the joints, and when refined by the grey matter of the autonomic system, evolve into hormones—Kundaliniin movement which translates, at one level, into health and longevity: however, as always, there is yet another layer.
The gonads provide the most powerfully refined hormones which, when enhanced through Yoga, have the authority to evolve through the sexual practices, whereby spermatozoa are transferred into the seminal vessels at the point of orgasm through the isolation and contraction of the perineum. Through internal Yoga, the growth hormone is given the incentive to rise to the pituitary gland, the literal third eye, and a door to the expansion of consciousness, laterally into the pineal gland. It is this sexual practice that has been seized upon and much altered by the neo-tantrics both east and west. Tantra, to be tantra, must have the yin and yang of wholeism — separation or segmentation leaves us aloof from the quest and exposed to egoic exploitation.
This quest begins very simply when the body (autonomically) removes the oils salts and alcohols from our food—refining and recalibrating—before distributing them around the body. How does it know how to do this? For those of us who live in our heads, this is a good question to ask, especially in reference to the overblown ego referred to above.
For the tantric alchemist, everything has an explanation at chemical level, even consciousness itself. Hormones, organic oils, stored in the thymus, make their way up to the pituitary gland. As they evaporate and are stripped by hydrogen ions, the resulting electrical impulses ignite within the polarity of the gland, like some sort of cosmic spark plug ignite, coming together within grey matter. This is consciousness! Here is the thing though: if there is enough growth hormone left over, it will open up areas of the brain, and through the holographic door of the pineal gland can eventually make the leap to super-consciousness, when you become one with the consciousness of the planet, and this is really the essential point of evolutionary experience for which Yoga and particularly asanas were created.
Nirvana itself is comprehensible through chemistry, just like emotions and our subconscious traits, contained and held for generations in crystalline structures. Does that sound cold and scientific? Maybe, but it is also a relief to those of us who might have felt stuck in an ancestral paradigm that no amount of psychotherapy was able to shift. Ancestral memory—whether negative or positive—as it turns out, is held within the oil of our kidney fat. And in alchemical Yoga, inherited negative traits are can be dissolved through the tantric heating practice of T’sumo, under compassionate guidance of course.
The implications of this in relation to Yoga were, to me at least, a revelation. We have come a long way in Yoga practices in the west: there have been remarkable transformations in health and core consciousness; however, the journey to wholeism requires a willingness to go further into the microcosm, a maturity of inquiry.
What do you think the bandhas do, besides tone and creating a platform for balance between internal and external strength? The pelvic ceiling and solar plexus control and expel microorganisms or blockages in the system. The Peyer’s patches are the seats of fevers in the body. Isolating them through internal exercise increases control of the body heat, giving us the means to work with and transport our essences. The locks used in concert with specific practices are enacted in an ascending order from the perineum upwards, transporting growth hormones: one lock for alcohols to clean, two locks for oils to transform, three locks for salts to set the new paradigm. (Bear in mind that they do perform other functions in addition to those mentioned in this overview).
The pelvic ceiling, so weakened in our chair-sitting society, is the foundation of tantric yoga’s internal health—it gives us the power to evolve and know who we really are, and yet is oddly ignored by many schools of Yoga. The weakened state of the pelvic ceiling accounts for a large amount of modern ailments and its strengthening must be basis of any Yoga practice.
The gap between the nerves and the glands, which is amenable to our conscious input, the Chakra, is very much a centralizing system of regulation, not only of health, but of emotional well being, sitting as they do over specific organs and translating their (biological) contents into pictorial devices, which form archetypes in all pre-religious cultures. This is where we can move out of the random into the active evolution, in the process demystifying esoteric by becoming alchemists and artists with the body as our canvas: translating pictorially what may have seemed esoteric, when described in isolation from the biology.
The pelvic chakra, Swadhisthana, sits over the Peyer’s patches, the seat of the fires where control of internal temperatures and pressure takes place. Control is gained over hormonal reflexes which are set and reset. Pheromones sent from here have the power to transform our life experience by giving the potential of controlling our unconscious aspects.
The alchemical tantric yogis moved in specific ways through the asanas, in tune with the season and lunar calendar, to work with their essential essences, major organs and the elements themselves: to tonify, to clean, lubricate as well as to reset paradigms and transport growth hormones. By first dissolving negative ancestral patterns, and then working with the master gene at root of the spleen, they are able to alter their DNA, which is at the core of the alchemical tradition as it is the key to evolution.
In the movie Contact, Jodie Foster asks, “How did advanced beings from other planets get through this awkward phase of external technological proliferation?” The answer, as anyone who had practiced Yoga of any school will know, is to work on yourself (at all levels), and to make this work central to your life. “Our main job is to change the drive of evolution, from warrior to artist and from victim to one who does service,” says John Burke.
The danger in trying to give a taste of Tantra in linear form is that the alchemical story is more like the wedge-shaped pieces of a cake fitting together and made apparent within us by the three brains acting together—solar plexus, heart and head. Practice and time reveal our lost internal world, guided by a teacher (defined as someone connected to a lineage) in concert with the earth mother and thus unifying the group ‘pheromonically’.
When people say, ‘it is in my genes,’ they are unaware of what the ancients knew: your genes can be changed in order to rid yourself of inherited negative patterns. Is our society healthier since Jung and Freud led us into the world of experts and seemingly endless word therapies, not to mention drugs for depression, etc., and pharmaceutical companies and their dubious link to the medical world? The body and earth mother yearns for us to come home and re-unite with its beauty and complexity through touch, smell, conscious movement, igniting our dormant grey matter, and by experiencing the flow our chemical origins which will, in turn, open up a universal experience, as one is inseparable from the other.
The feather touch of a tantric healer brings forward the alcohols; a deeper rhythmic pressure brings forward the oils, a means of lubricating us. The act of making love emulates this healing process, and to the tantric alchemist, the creation of the universe was an act of love—this is reflected in the chemical microscopic hydrogen shapes of the very first building blocks of life, which resemble a penis and a vagina interacting as only they know how.
Imagine enhancing our most personal essences into a stone, a philosopher’s stone no less, this is the alchemist’s quest for healing and expansion made manifest in tangible form—the stuff of legends, but real enough in the ancient cultures of the Himalayas.
Imagine if this evolutionary process was incorporated into the school curriculum, so that not only did students understand how their body worked, and to work their biochemistry, but they could also achieve high levels of physical health and high levels of mental clarity, understanding their role on the planet, their own personal heritage—both negative and positive—as well as the elements and our relationship to nature and to food, and their role in self-evolution whereby intuition was the new ‘mobile phone’. Imagine if history lessons referenced pre-religious belief systems which united with the rhythms of the planet in rituals and feasts, rather than the war and peace game as played out during the political/religious epoch.
Dare we dream of paradise for all? John Burke dreams of nothing else in his work to synthesize and evolve the gypsy alchemical tradition, which actually saved his life by removing the rogue cancer gene from his heritage. In his quarterly week-long workshops, the alchemical yoga and lymphatic walking are usually followed by partner stretching, theory and circles where the chakras are opened, referencing the seasons, aboriginal deities, and the means of moving old patterns through alchemical practices.
The technology to change the world is not out there; it is within us, nowhere else. The tantric alchemical spectrum encompasses past lives, astral and etheric travel—all of these layers of existence are chemically referenced, tuned into via the body’s micro fluids. Alchemical tantra incorporates nature spirits from different traditions, particularly the indigenous aboriginal and Celtic archetypes, through the process of reconnection with pre-religious innate earthbound intelligence. John says, “The only Guru you will ever need is the earth.” For all the above, there is a scientific biochemical explanation, which is great from the sceptics’ point of view, at last an explanation for what has also been labelled New Age, or mystical mumbo jumbo. The endomorphic field, or as the ancients knew it as the aura, has been rediscovered it seems, it is just the labels that are different.
Random chance evolution feels just like that: a long and rather isolating experience. Being in touch with your interior world, understanding the biochemical phenomenal message carriers, and historical cellular containers, the kidney fat of ancestral memory, and future paradigm creators, the luoms, makes life much more alive and vivid than the isolationist tendencies of the previous age with its separated religious disciplines, which segmented our lives and bodies for the sake of control.
Simon Hollington is a long-term student of the tantric alchemical yogic tradition, as taught by John Burke, in the Australian bush. This year, 2012, following a powerful meditation experience, Simon felt prompted to write about this subject. “Yoga in the ‘west’ needs to take the next step in the evolution of the practice,” Simon, who for many years was a freelance journalist contributing to The Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, Sydney Morning Herald, comments, “What I have found is that most yoga magazines are in denial of the real aspects of yoga, and hide in the continuing highly detailed physical minutiae as opposed to broadening the experience of consciousness.”