India is indescribable, although we will try…
Every morning in Goa, when the local mosque audio-casted their prayers over the loud speakers, we awoke and simply listened to India- and her morning song. As the man chanted prayers, the birds kept wild rhythm with their chirps, calls, and sounds unheard before; The clear sounds of the rhythmic cymbal, crashing waves of the Canacoma beach still crisp and refreshing; The dogs seemed to guard from looming dangers... or maybe just everything; and the roosters cry to the morning sunlight. Roosters who knew what to do- even here- all the way on the other side of the globe. This tempo and time is sacred. Nothing here has a sterile feel like back home. India allows even the dirty to become beautiful. The all-too-familiar feelings of protection or feeling alone don’t happen much in India at first. But this is simply the draw of India and exploration past the comfort zone. Mosquito nets drape over the bed at night, rudimentary wooden planks secure and barricade the front and back door, and that seems to be all the protection necessary. The Goan people have higher purpose and lead their lives without ideas of perfection, malice, jealousy, or get-rich-quick fixes. Life is simple, (beautifully dirty), and symphonic here.
The astrological journey began with the first lecture. Rick Levine, a man rich in not only astrological wisdom but nearly every subject, began our workshop. We sat on bolsters in a small covered auditorium with all open sides. The walls were replaced with beautiful colored draperies that billowed and fanned us as the tropical air blew thru. The talks were intellectual and philosophical. Rick jumped and wove from name to teaching back to historical date and from interesting tangent after the next psychedelic theory turned astrological. We believed that he was even entranced himself, as we all listened to his bite-sized insights, impeccably poignant quotes, and often timely humor. The lectures would easily and often leave some behind, but Rick warmly welcomed any questions or requests for clarity. Providing such a high level of congruency within so many subjects seemed impossible before the trip. We delved into the planets, their glyphic symbolism, their phonetic origins, and their connections with history. Retro-causality, crystallization thru super saturation, the geometry of meaning, the Golden Mean (Holy $&*% Batman), cycles, Phi, Epigenetics, Quintiles, Septiles … seriously the list goes on. In our chats, the world was expanded and contracted, shown thru macrocosms and microcosms. We felt liberated by learning and terrified of losing this current understanding. And if anything- one of the biggest lessons is that if we want to change anything in our lives, it all begins with awareness.
Our last stop was Hampi. There we saw Lakshmi, the elephant, and her famous morning bath in the river. Her keepers ride her down marble steps from her home at the temple to her bath at the Tunga-Bhadra river. No words can put the riverscape into perspective. The scene dates back to ancient times- and is still somehow preserved. The boats are made with bamboo, fabric, and coated with a tar-like material for waterproofing. The river is calm with smooth, scattered boulders only half emerging from the surface. Local people calmly bath and wash their clothes from the giant rock platforms. Across the river is an ancient staircase that spans a kilometer across the riverbank and climbs nearly the same height. Off to the right there are the ruins.
We sat waiting Lakshmi and soaked it all in. Then, Lakshmi made her princess-like walk down the ancient marble stairs. We met her half way and as she walked we could feel her massive, majestic presence. We walked closer up to her trunk- within a hands reach. She brought her trunk to her forehead and gave a blessing by resting her trunk on our heads! At last. Saved by an elephant 🐘.
We followed Lakshmi back up the staircase to her home- Virupaksha Shiva temple, an incredible display of architecture. The tower entrance reaches towards the heavens- and nearly touches it. How much more mesmerizing it would have been to witness it back in those ancient times. We walked thru the entrance, leaving our shoes at the shoe-check with a sign that read "leaf shoes hear." Undeniably insightful...
Although aside from the choppy English, these Temples knew far more. Their close ties with higher power, the respect shown to elders, and the sovereignty of all life is unmatched. We walked through the temple and in different wings we came upon puja ceremonies. Aarti was the ritual we witnessed many times when we would line up to place our hands over a flame of oil lamps. We would always use the right hand and wave it over the flame and place it over our head, eyes, or heart. We would then hold out our right hand again to get a blessing from the Pujaris, Hindu priests, of Holy Basil water or sugar. We would finish our prayers and exit the temple- excited for the next site.
Throughout the journey, we learned lessons of humility, family, true beauty, and how to hold the sacred. Thank you India for all the love and lessons. Until we meet again.