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Ancient Wisdom on a New Path

So how do yoga and shamanism come together? In 2006, Kripalu presenter Ray Crist was recovering from a debilitating illness. A yoga teacher, martial artist, and Reiki practitioner, Ray had spent four years traveling the world seeking those who could heal him. His quest took him from the Buddhist monasteries on the borders of Cambodia to the clinics of the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. But when he ventured into the jungles of Peru to study with Incan shamans, the experience opened new doors of perception—and healing—within himself.

Guided by Don Manuel Portugal, a shaman in Cuzco, Peru, Ray discovered the culture, mythology, and practices of Incan shamanism. “Shamans are the medicine people of their tribe,” Ray says. “Their methods of healing center on the ‘energy body’ and plant medicine.” The deeper he delved into Incan shamanism, the more he began to notice profound similarities with yoga. “Yogis and shamans view the world as a physical world,” he explains. “Traumatic experiences are embedded in the body—near a joint, muscle, meridian, internal organ, or chakra. Yoga and shamanism help us delve into the root of our traumas to find healing on physical and emotional levels.” Ray began incorporating shamanistic principles into his yoga practice, imbuing it with a new richness. “Shamanism brought to my practice a direct awareness of energy moving through my body, a visceral understanding of what each asana offers,” he says.

After two months, Ray returned to the United States not just in good physical health, but with a renewed sense of purpose. He established the Jaguar Path, a training that fuses the wisdom of yoga and Incan shamanism to create a system for empowerment using healing tools from both methodologies.

According to Ray, the serpent represents the body. Just as the serpent sheds its skin, so we let go of that which no longer serves us. “The serpent is linked to the asana practice,” Ray explains. “Through our physical yoga practice, we release toxins and let go of unnecessary layers.” The jaguar represents the mind and the heart of the path. “The human mind is driven by fear,” says Ray. “Jaguar practices create a strong, fearless mind, for in the jungle the jaguar is the ruler of its domain and knows no fear.” The condor represents the spirit, able to see the greater picture as it rises above. “The condor is meditation, shamanic journeying, flying wing to wing with the great spirit. What yoga and shamanism do that is so powerful is to use archetypes—the symbols of strength, wisdom, and courage that live within each of us. Archetypes, such as the serpent, condor, and jaguar, help us establish a better foundation of who we are.”

When the serpent, jaguar, condor (body, mind, spirit) merge, energetic shifts occur. This merger is union, which is the essence of yoga and shamanism. “The shamanic tools of the Jaguar Path give us new ways of perceiving ourselves, personal empowerment, and direction in life,” says Ray. “We journey from a place of lack (I want) to a place of abundance (what I can offer). Embarking on the Jaguar Path means tapping into the healer within, opening the mind and freeing the body to release deeply held samskaras, or energy blocks, that lie buried within the subconscious.”

Ray teaches that the word “shaman” means “the knower” in the Tungusic language. “In other words, knowing the self, being cognizant of what’s happening around you and within you,” he says. “We are all innately shamans, but we’re not trained to recognize it.” Ray hopes the Jaguar Path awakens the inner seer, the inner warrior and healer, that potential within all of us to carve our own path with clarity and strength.

Like ley lines running across time and space until they intersect, creating vortices of complimentary powers where the whole is measured to be greater than the sum of its parts, the ancient traditions of yoga and shamanism have naturally met in shamanic yoga.

Giving birth to an energetic and holistic psycho-spiritual technology that necessarily accounts for all parts of being, it’s as if the Amazon river has met with Mother Ganges, creating a powerful source that we have only just begun to dip our feet into.

Shamanic yoga philosophy holds that we create the reality around us, based on our experiences and insights—the problem is that these insights can be flawed, sometimes fatally.

These misconceptions are difficult to see and thus difficult to eradicate; this reality is known to yogis as Maya (illusion, delusion).

Shamanic yoga describes this as the multi-dimensional hologram of reality, constructed by the brain through perception, which is heavily modified by our expectations and past experiences—our stories—but this hardly gives a total (or accurate) experience of reality.

My reality is mine alone; at most I can only have a superficial connection to the world, as it is perceived by other beings. Biological and learned patterns determine what will be perceived by me—and how my brain (and its patterns of thought) decides how perception is interpreted.

Based on this interpretation, I make decisions about what I will think, say, do. Based on the mind’s assessment of the results of this interpretation, it will, like self-correcting (or self-reinforcing) software, rewrite the model from my perception, all the way up to cognition.

But the assessment of the results is based on the original model. The decision of how to rewrite is not necessarily based on any better information than was originally there, which is how we can keep making the same actions based on the same perceptions, even when they clearly do not serve us.

In active alcoholism, this is one definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.

The information coming in to the brain is encoded in neurochemical signals—but so much is dropped along the way; organizational processes, such as pattern recognition, deletion, compression and conditioning, filter and simplify the information.

With the simplified and usually ego-reinforcing information being selected, we begin building our hologram. We make our dream hologram come alive and keep it breathing through the stories we tell ourselves about the world.

In cognitive psychology, these stories are known as schemata, stereotyping or archetypes. Groupings are not just intellectual—they can be perceptual, experiential and fully emotional. They give rise to our verbal cognitive selves.

The sum total, in combination with your moment-to-moment sensory inflow, is your experience of consciousness.

Schemata are used to decide what to perceive or not, decide how something is to be perceived, assess value and quality (assigning a positive or negative value charge), evaluate background meaning or interpretation, decide what to remember or not, silently add new information, objects and events that were never there and take away that which was there, help us know how to do things–all elements that can easily be flawed.

We often tell ourselves stories to just believe what we are most comfortable believing and any information that conflicts with this is simply deleted or ignored.

This isn’t good enough, especially for the the enlightened way of thinking the planet requires now—yoga is the technology of understanding the human organism.

Shamans (including ancient yogis) have sought to penetrate, transform and understand their consciousness, probably since long before recorded history. One of the main tools for the transformation of consciousness is shifting perception; this is how shamans learn the details of the organic machine they inhabit.

Moving into their subconscious to know their schemata from the ground up, so they can harness the power to gain greater understanding; they are the original “scientists of consciousness.”

The true shamans/yogis/gnostics/mystics/sufis stretch the limits of their outward perception in every possible way as part of their (ritualized or not) external process. Their internal process constitutes learning everything about their instrument.

Shamans recognize that other beings (and even things) have different consciousness; therefore they study how to communicate as deeply as possible with other parts of creation by dissolving their sense of identity into other people, plants, animals, rocks, starscapes, etc.

Yoga equals samadhi; shamanism equals fusion—all of it means ego dissolution.

Our job in shamanic yoga is to become aware of the hologram we are in and reprogram our consciousness to expand it.

To concretize this abstraction, we can consider the loop of consciousness in shamanic yoga and how our arising perception/experience of the present moment and the consciousness which encompasses that moment are formed from the personality matrix of past learning.

We can then teach ourselves to understand why this matrix is composed of conditioned responses or what the Buddha called, sankharas.

Qualitative conclusions are then drawn from this unique (limited) perception of the world around us; this is where we label people, places and things as good or bad, positive or negative.

Once we have labelled something according to our own limited world view, we react to these labels, either internally or externally—and these reactions are also based on our identity and the experiences that forms it. We then engage in relearning, reconditioning and subconsciously reinforcing our sankharas from our conclusions and our responses to them.

This reforms and rebuilds our identity and perception itself, making the cycle even stronger for the next repetition.

If the core tenet of karma yoga is that action stems from the depths of the subconscious, we must somehow learn to really penetrate, communicate with and practice in these deep subconscious regions.

The stated goal of shamanic yoga is to understand and then break into this loop of consciousness, to intentionally “rewire” it; this is vital if we are at all interested in breaking free of illusion and delusion and eventually entering into a reality beyond mind and matter, i.e. samadhi.



This goal is shared by virtually every psycho-spiritual technology, including Vipassana meditation.

In Vipassana, which is a Pali word meaning “to see things as they really are,” we attempt to gain this freedom through the consistent practice of observing sensation without attaching a positive or negative value charge to it.

Simple dispassionate observation of the physical sensation, which is much easier said than done, when your legs are on fire from sitting all day or there is a fly crawling along your nostril ring, affords an experiential witnessing of the truth that all mental and physical events are ephemeral and so craving or clinging to pleasant sensations (and by extension, pleasant experiences) or hatred/aversion to unpleasant sensations (and by extension unpleasant experiences) is useless and serves only to more deeply engrain those patterns of the mind that give rise to unhappiness or suffering.

This awareness of sensation and the need for equanimity in the face of whatever arises, trains the realm of preverbal actions that constitute consciousness in its entirety, from moment-to-moment.

By accessing this realm, we are accessing the root level of our conditioning, and thus the roots of our suffering.

Only action will bring one to an experiential awareness of the value of that action and “you can’t keep what you have unless you freely give it away,” a layman’s expression for the complex non-dual idea of samadhi, which boils down to “when I help my brothers and sisters, I am helping myself and all of us”.

In this way, what both the Buddha and the Bhagavad Gita call right action is far more important than ‘the philosophy of karma yoga.’

Shamanic yoga places a strong focus on samadhi; that is, it is again within the realm of the attainable.

In understanding how this comes to be, I am loosely guided here by Shunryu Suzuki’s statement

“Do not necessarily think that you will be aware of your own enlightenment.”

I think samadhi, as state as well as concept, has been obfuscated by literature, doctrine and a plethora of definitions.

I recently took a master class with Bryan Kest and he spoke of putting hot sauce on the fingernails of someone who bites her nails. Every time she goes to bite her nails, she becomes aware of what she is doing in the present moment. “There you go!” Kest said, ‘That’s enlightenment–Hot Sauce Enlightenment!”

This simple example of being here now serves in a playful way to personalize experience and “union on the transpersonal level” seems more accessible as a result.

Samadhi, as the ‘goal’ of yoga, never really made much sense to me—it is one of the eight limbs, after all, which in my mind denotes something to be entered through practice.

That shamanic yoga places the focus of yoga back on the samadhi experience is encouraging to me, as I suspect it would be to any sadhaka. There is an element of demystification at work here, by using the technology of yoga, including all various methodologies in the shamanic wheel of consciousness, as means to attain a formerly elusive state of consciousness and understand through experience the entire continuum of identity states that are possible to the human organism.

There are many and in the shamanic yoga definition, samadhi becomes one point on a continuum of consciousness. This means, in essence, that there are no mundane moments. All is sacred, even the profane—especially what is referred to as ‘the sacred normal’. An experiential understanding of this truth is profoundly liberating.

I think it was Sri Sri Ravishankar who said that modern psychology simply hasn’t gone deep enough to understand what causes human suffering and all the psycho-social complexes we must work through.

Because I have experienced how Vipassana works its way down to the root perceptual levels of identity and then, from that place of awareness of annica with regards to bodily sensations, removes sankaras of craving and aversion, I can appreciate that the larger system of shamanic yoga, of which Vipassana is one element, can access the same thing.

Using sensation as a gateway to samadhi makes sense to me if samadhi is Jnana, i.e. experiential knowledge/wisdom from the insights that regular practice gifts to the practitioner.

The shamanic practices of “listening” and deriving knowledge directly from experiencing sensation seem to me a non-dual strategy where we are not constantly seeking to ride the wave of bliss. This awareness of sensations (and the equanimity to wear them without reacting) carries best results only when it becomes a consistent practice, not simply when one is seated on a meditation cushion or stretching on a yoga mat.

What interests me most in shamanic yoga is the modification of consciousness as it relates to traditional plant medicines. Due to my alcoholic background and my use of hallucinogens such as LSD and magic mushrooms, I have long held some fear about the wisdom or Jnana that the medicines of San Pedro and Ayahuasca can teach me.

It has been drilled into me through my recovery journey that any substance which alters perception is a drug that has no place in my brain; while I can appreciate that the view taken by my own tradition is ignorant of much wisdom and experience and can be quite limiting, this knowledge doesn’t do much to remove the aversion I have to putting any psycho-reactive substances in my bloodstream.

It took me less than a week of study in Peru to decide, definitively, that this aversion had to be overcome to allow these sacred plant medicines the opportunity to teach me what I need to learn to be able to offer something more tangible to others who suffer as I have.

I know that these medicines are traditionally used for addiction and while my recovery has kept me clean and sober for over eleven years, I have not yet managed to find freedom from addictive patterns of thought and behaviour.

As much as I fear and have aversion to these medicines, I also know intuitively that there is something there for me to help me become more adept at shifting my point of view enough to enable me to “hear and feel the lessons which are all around us.” (R. Hazard).

In a way, the use of these traditional medicines is my counterpractice, at this point in time.

So, I need to stand at what Joseph Campbell refers to as the mythical “jumping off place” and delve deep into the belly of the whale, the unknown, in order to gain new insight and growth and be of better service to others.

By JJ Ford

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Spirituality

How Hell Works: A Brief Guide to the Afterlife

Sooner or later, time is up for everyone. It would be ridiculous to think that after such a life we ​​will be able to somehow penetrate through the heavenly gates or deceive the archangel guarding them. It is worth accepting the inevitable: not booths and houris are waiting for us, but the gloomy landscape of hell. And in order not to get confused at the grave board, you should prepare for this in advance. Moreover, you can find a whole bunch of authoritative evidence on how to navigate in hellish terrain. The main thing is not to panic.

Where is it, the underworld? Some ancient peoples burned the deceased: this is a sure sign that the soul must ascend to its new abode in heaven. If he was buried in the ground, then she will go to the underworld.

If sent on the last journey by boat, it sails to the country across the sea, at the very edge of the Earth. The Slavs had a variety of opinions on this, but they all agreed on one thing: the souls of those people who are not kept near their former dwellings enter the afterlife, and they lead about the same existence there – they harvest, hunt …

Those who, due to a curse, or an unfulfilled promise, or something else, cannot leave their bodies, remain in our world – either settling into their former shells, then taking the form of animals, natural phenomena, or simply ghosts of failure. We can say that the afterlife of such souls is our own world, so this is not the worst option for a posthumous existence.

Egyptian hell

Everything will turn out much worse if you find yourself in the afterlife of the ancient Egyptians, where Osiris reigns. During his earthly incarnation, he was killed and dismembered by his own brother Set. This could not but affect the character of the lord of the dead.

Osiris looks repulsive: he looks like a mummy, clutching the signs of pharaoh’s power. Sitting on the throne, he presides over the court, which weighed the actions of the newly arrived souls. The god of life Horus brings them here. Hold on tightly to his hand: the hawk-headed Chorus is the son of the underground king, so it may well put in a good word for you.

Egypt

The courtroom is huge – this is the entire firmament. According to the directions of the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a number of rules should be observed in it. List in detail the sins that you did not have time to commit during your lifetime. After that, you will be offered to leave a memory of yourself and help your relatives by depicting a court scene on a papyrus scroll.

If your artistic talent is at its best, you will spend the rest of eternity here, participating in the affairs of Osiris and his numerous divine relatives. The rest await a cruel execution: they are thrown to be devoured by Ammatu, a monster with the body of a hippo, paws and mane of a lion and a crocodile mouth.

However, the lucky ones may find themselves in his jaws: from time to time there are “cleansings”, in which the affairs of the wards souls are again reviewed. And if relatives have not provided the appropriate amulets, you will most likely be eaten by a ruthless monster.

Greek hell

It is even easier to get into the afterlife kingdom of the Greeks: you will be carried away by the god of death Thanatos himself, who brings here all the “fresh” souls. During big battles and battles, where he, apparently, cannot cope alone, Thanatos is helped by winged Kerrs, who carry the fallen to the kingdom of the eternally gloomy Hades.

In the far west, at the edge of the world, stretches a lifeless plain, in some places overgrown with willows and poplars with black bark. Behind it, at the bottom of the abyss, the muddy quagmire of Acheron opens. It merges with the black waters of the Styx, which encircles the world of the dead nine times and separates it from the world of the living. Even the gods are wary of breaking the oaths given by the name of Styx: these waters are sacred and ruthless. They flow into Cocytus, the river of weeping that gives rise to Lethe, the river of oblivion.

Greece

You can cross the river Styx in old man Charon’s boat. For his labor, he takes a small copper coin from each. If you have no money, you just have to wait for the end of time at the entrance. Charon’s boat crosses all nine streams and drops passengers into the abode of the dead.

Here you will be greeted by a huge three-headed dog Cerberus, safe for those entering, but ferocious and merciless to those who are trying to return to the sunny world. On a vast plain, under a chilling wind, wait quietly among other shadows for your turn. The uneven road leads to the palace of Hades himself, surrounded by the fiery stream of Phlegeton. The bridge over it rests against the gate, standing on diamond columns.

Behind the gates is a huge hall made of bronze, where Hades himself and his assistants, judges Minos, Eak and Radamant, are seated. By the way, all three were once people of flesh and blood, like you and me. They were just kings and ruled their nations so well that after their death Zeus made them judges over all the dead.

With a high probability, just judges will cast you even lower, into Tartarus – the kingdom of pain and groans, located deep under the palace. Here you will have to meet three old sisters, goddesses of vengeance, Erinnias, whom Hades put to watch over sinners.

Their appearance is terrible: blue lips from which poisonous saliva drips; black cloaks like the wings of bats. With balls of snakes in their hands, they rush through the dungeon, lighting their path with torches, and make sure that everyone fully drinks the cup of their punishment. Among the other “indigenous inhabitants” of Tartarus are Lamia, the stealing child, the three-headed Hecate, the demon of nightmares, the corpse-eater Eurynom.

Here you will also meet many mythical figures. Tyrant Ixion is forever chained to a wheel of fire. The chained giant Titius, who offended the tender Leto, is pecked by two vultures. The blasphemer Tantalus is immersed up to his throat in the freshest clear water, but as soon as he, tormented by thirst, bends down, it retreats from him. The Danaids who killed their husbands are forced to endlessly fill the leaky vessel. The quirky Sisyphus, who once deceived the spirit of death Thanatos, and the intractable Hades, and Zeus himself, rolls a stone up the mountain, which breaks down every time he approaches the top.

Christian hell

The images of Christian hell are largely inspired by the ancient Greeks. It is among Christians that the geography of hell has been studied in most detail. Getting there is a little more difficult. Already in the apocryphal books – those that were not included in the Holy Scriptures or were excluded from it later – different opinions were expressed about the location of hell.

Thus, the “Book of Enoch” places the devil himself in the eastern lifeless desert, where Raphael “makes a hole” into which he lowers him, bound hand and foot, and rolls him over with a stone. However, according to the same apocrypha, the soul will go in the opposite direction, to the west, where it will “groan” in the depressions of the high mountain range.

At the end of the 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great, distinguishing between two hells – upper and lower – placed one on the ground, the second under it.

In his 1714 book on the nature of hell, the English occultist Tobias Swinden placed hell in the sun. He motivated his assumption by the then existing ideas about our light as a ball of fire and a quote from the Apocalypse (“The fourth Angel poured out his bowl on the Sun: and it was given to him to burn people with fire”).

And his contemporary and follower, William Whiston, declared all celestial comets to be hell: when they get into the hot regions of the sun, they fry souls, and when they move away, they freeze them. However, you should hardly hope to get on a comet. The most widely accepted idea is that hell is located in the center of the Earth and has at least one exit to the surface.

Most likely, this exit is located in the north, although there are other opinions. So, an old poem about the wanderings of the Irish saint Brendan tells about his journey to the far west, where he finds not only heavenly places, but also places of torment for sinners.

The sun

And in heaven, and under the earth, and on the earth itself, hell is placed in the apocryphal “Walk of the Mother of God through torment.” This book is replete with detailed descriptions of punishments. Asking God to disperse the complete darkness that envelops the suffering in the West, Mary sees a red-hot tar pour out on the unbelievers. Here, in a cloud of fire, those who “sleep like the dead at dawn on Sunday” are tormented, and those who have not stood in church during their lifetime are sitting on red-hot benches.

In the south, other sinners are immersed in the river of fire: those cursed by their parents – up to the waist, fornicators – up to the chest, and up to the throat – “those who ate human flesh,” that is, traitors who abandoned children to be devoured by beasts or betrayed their brothers before the king. But deepest of all, to the crown, are the perjurers.

The Mother of God sees here other punishments due to lovers of profit (hanging by the legs), sowers of enmity and Klchristian adepts (hanging by the ears). In the “left side of paradise”, in the raging waves of boiling tar, the Jews who crucified Christ are suffering.

John Milton, author of the poem “Paradise Lost”, is in the realm of the eternal chaos. According to his concept, Satan was overthrown even before the creation of the earth and heaven, which means that hell is outside these areas. The devil himself sits in Pandemonium, the “brilliant capital”, where he receives the most prominent demons and demons.

Pandemonium is a huge castle with halls and porticoes, built by the same architect as the palace of the Heavenly King. The angel architect, who joined the army of Satan, was expelled from heaven with him. Myriads of spirits rush along the corridors of the palace, swarming in the earth and air. There are so many of them that only satanic sorcery allows them to be accommodated.

Even more confusing is the medieval Christian theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. He distinguished three different hells, corresponding to the three levels of heaven. And since God has dominion over everything, all three hells are ruled by him through specially delegated angels.

In his opinion, Satan does not exist at all as the ruler of the kingdom of evil. The devil in Swedenborg’s understanding is a collective name for the most dangerous “evil geniuses”; Beelzebub unites spirits striving for dominion even in heaven; Satan means “not so evil” spirits. All these spirits are terrible to look at and, like corpses, are deprived of life.

The faces of some are black, in others they are fiery, and in others they are “ugly with pimples, abscesses and ulcers; many of them don’t see their faces, others have only teeth sticking out. ” Swedenborg formulated the idea that as heaven reflects one person, and hell in aggregate is only a reflection of one devil and can be represented in this form. The devil’s mouth, leading to the fetid underworld – this is the path awaiting sinners.

Heaven

Do not overly trust the opinion of some authors who argue that the entrance to hell can be locked. Christ in the “Apocalypse” says: “I have the keys of hell and death.” But Milton claims that the keys to Gehenna (apparently on behalf of Jesus) are kept by a terrible half-woman, half-snake. On the surface of the earth, the gate may look quite harmless, like a pit or a cave, or like a mouth of a volcano. According to Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy, written at the beginning of the 14th century, souls can go to hell by passing through a dense and gloomy forest.

This poem is the most authoritative source about the hellish device. The structure of the underworld is described in all its complexity. The hell of the Divine Comedy is the torso of Lucifer, inside it has a funnel-shaped structure. Starting a journey through hell, Dante and his guide Virgil descend deeper and deeper, without turning anywhere, and in the end find themselves in the same place from which they entered it.

The strangeness of this hellish geometry was noticed by the famous Russian mathematician, philosopher and theologian Pavel Florensky. He proved very reasonably that Dante’s hell is based on non-Euclidean geometry. Like the entire Universe in the concepts of modern physics, hell in the poem has a finite volume, but has no boundaries, which was proved (theoretically) by the Swiss Weil.

Muslim hell

It looks like a Christian hell and an underworld that awaits Muslims. Among the stories of The Thousand and One Nights, seven circles are told. The first is for the faithful who have died an unjust death, the second is for apostates, the third is for the pagans. Jinn and the descendants of Iblis himself inhabit the fourth and fifth circles, Christians and Jews – the sixth. The innermost, seventh circle is waiting for the hypocrites.

Before getting here, souls await the great Doomsday, which will come at the end of time. However, the wait does not seem long to them.

Like most other sinners, visitors to the Islamic Hell are eternally roasted on fire, and every time their skin is burned, it grows again. The Zakkum tree grows here, the fruits of which, like the heads of the devil, are the food of the punished. Do not try the local cuisine: these fruits boil in the stomach like molten copper.

Those who eat them are tormented by intolerable thirst, but the only way to quench it is to drink boiling water so foul-smelling that it “melts the insides and skin.” In short, this is a very, very hot place. In addition, Allah even enlarges the bodies of the kafirs, increasing their torment.

Honestly, none of the described hells arouses good feelings in us, especially in comparison with our small, but generally comfortable world. So where exactly to go is up to you. Of course, it is not possible to give a complete information about the structure of hell on the pages of the magazine.

However, we hope that our quick overview will help everyone who finds themselves there to quickly navigate and greet their new eternity with the words of John Milton:

“Hello, sinister world! Hello, Beyond Gehenna! “

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Spirituality

Chalk portrait of Virgin Mary appeared 13 years later, Mexican people call for miracles

A recent miraculous phenomenon on an asphalt road in Guadalupe, Mexico, the image of the Virgin Mary painted in chalk 13 years ago suddenly appeared. Local residents believe this "miraculous manifestation". (Video screenshot)

A mysterious phenomenon recently appeared on an asphalt road in Guadalupe, Mexico. A portrait of the Virgin Mary painted with chalk 13 years ago suddenly appeared. The local residents were quite surprised and believe in this “miraculous manifestation”.

This chalk-painted portrait of the Virgin is located on the asphalt pavement of an open-air parking lot next to the Guadalupe municipal government. It was an unknown person who held the “Bella Vía” (Bella Vía) in Guadalupe in 2007 Painted during the festival.

Recently, a man splashed water on the asphalt road there, and this portrait of the Virgin unexpectedly appeared again.

The staff of the city government said that the parking lot has undergone many changes and the city has also experienced extreme weather. This image should have disappeared a few years ago, but it has suddenly appeared miraculously recently.

After the incident spread in the local area, it immediately attracted a large number of people to watch, and city hall officials were also surprised. Many people believe that this is the miracle of the Virgin, and many believers come to worship and light candles and place flowers on the spot.

Félix Palomo, director of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Guadalupe Municipal Government, also shared a photo of this mysterious chalk drawing on Twitter and wrote:

“Believe it or not, the problem is that this portrait was created 13 years ago. How could it reappear afterwards?”

At present, the portrait of the Virgin Mary has been surrounded by traffic triangles, and the ground is often splashed with water to make the portrait of the Virgin Mary appear more clearly. As for why this chalk-drawn portrait of the Virgin Maru can be kept for 13 years, no experts have yet provided any explanation.

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Spirituality

The legend that connects the Holy Grail with a Polish village – The Knights Templar and the secret tunnels

Like all great travelers, the Knights Templar of medieval times needed some places to settle, and so they built some of the most impressive castles and cathedrals.

Famous examples of these 13th-century buildings are found throughout the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Less well known are the impressive chapels and fortifications they built in western Poland, where the Knights Templar and other crusaders colonized the area and began to weave their own mythology into the idyllic rural landscape.

A trip to the region of Western Pomerania and the villages of Chwarszczany, Myślibórz and Rurka – near the border with Germany – is an adventure in a neglected destination, where historical secrets are still revealed.

And, according to at least one local legend, there could still be hidden the Holy Grail, the cup from which Jesus Christ drank at the Last Supper and later had his blood.

The road to Chwarszczany, a village lost among fields and forests, is not very well known, and has few permanent residents. The village itself is a collection of faded houses with less than 100 inhabitants who have chickens and grow tomatoes in the summer.

The farms and houses built in the traditional German style, testify to the geopolitical unrest that has affected the area over the centuries.

The special, timeless chapels built by the Knights Templar

It is here that the Knights Templar established a place of worship. Made of red bricks on a granite base, the church of Agios Stanislaos was built in 1232 on an isolated spot.

The chapel is designed according to the Temple of the Temples, an intricate code that the knights obeyed for fear of exile from the fraternity. The appearance of the building is defensive, its high walls are built to withstand attacks as well as the ravages of time.

It is still used as a place of worship, although Sunday mornings in Chwarszczany are quiet, we usually see about 30 parishioners gathered inside the chapel. There are two renovated frescoes on the walls.

The chapel in Chwarszczany

Discoveries are still being made here that shed new light on the lives and deaths of the knights and their followers. Among the finds below the sanctuary of the chapel are the bodies of some of the knights themselves and a possible secret passage.

Przemysław Kołosowski, an archaeologist working to preserve Chwarszczany’s medieval heritage, says that during excavations in 2019, researchers discovered more fortifications and a cemetery using ground-penetrating radar.

“Our GPR has identified gothic crypts with the remains of the Knights Templar beneath the chapel,” Kołosowski told CNN Travel. “According to legends and medieval documents, there was a well near the chapel. According to rumors, the well served as the entrance to a secret tunnel. “This requires further thorough archaeological research.”

The stories of the Knights Templar are a source of inspiration for movies

The Knights Templar have fascinated historians and archaeologists for years, in part because of the shady aspects of some of their practices.

Their Order was founded in Jerusalem in the 12th century to protect the pilgrims of the Holy Land. They became a powerful force throughout Europe, enjoying papal privileges, tax breaks and rich donations, while at the same time gaining legendary status.

The Knights Templar protected the Holy Grail

They are said to have become the patrons of the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant, a sacred ark in which were kept the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments that God had given to Moses for the second time, and other sacred objects of the Israelis. These stories have inspired films such as Indiana Jones and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

“The Knights Templar are always involved in everything,” Italian writer Uberto Eco wrote in his book “Foucault’s Pendulum.” 

This certainly seems to be the case in 12th and 13th century Europe. In western Poland, landowners decided to prevent this entanglement by inviting knights to settle in what was then known as the Pojezierze Myśliborskie region.

Struggles for political power

About 40 miles (25 miles) north of Chwarszczany, another Romanesque building owes its existence to the medieval order. The Chapel of the Knights at Rurka is a rugged stone building dating back to 1250, built in the architectural style of the German region of Saxony.

In a secluded forest spot, the Rurka Chapel was sold to private hands in 1999 and is closed for renovation.

Going further northeast, after a 25-minute drive, travelers will reach Myślibórz, a narrow community of narrow roads surrounded by forests and four lakes.

The Knights Templar arrived in Mysliborz, Poland in the 13th century. It is an idyllic place, but the show here is stolen by the extremely preserved fortifications of the city, which today look almost as they look during the Crusades.

Myślibórz’s defense architecture provides a glimpse of what life was like in the Temple Age, when communities lived in fear of wars and struggles for political power.

Historical documents place the Knights Templar at Myślibórz from about 1238, when the land around their city was ceded to the local aristocrat, Duke Władysław Odonic.

The secrets of the swamp

The fortifications around Myślibórz were built in the 13th and 14th centuries. The city has retained its medieval town planning, with a square in the middle. Around this market there is the 18th century town hall, and houses.

Even today, the main entrances to the city are through two medieval gates, the Pyrzycka Gate and the Nowogródzka Gate, which were built in the early 13th and 14th centuries. Modern roads allow cars to enter the city through the gates. Inside the fortifications there is a cylindrical stone tower with loopholes.

The Holy Grail has inspired many books and movies

Visitors should ask about a secret underground tunnel that runs down the city, from the large church on Market Square to the Dominican convent, which, according to Karolczak, was originally the site of the Temple of the Knights Templars.

After the expulsion of the Knights Templar from Myślibórz in the late 13th century, their legendary treasure disappeared. Karolczak says that according to local tradition, the treasure was sunk by the Knights themselves, in a nearby lake.

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