In the late sixties and early seventies
the winds of change blew across America, deeply affecting
my generation. The
womens movement with its focus upon equality,
the anti-war movement with its focus on peace and harmony,
and the psychedelic movement with its mind expanding concepts
and openness to Eastern philosophy all had their impact upon
my spirit. As a young modern dancer, choreographer and spiritual
seeker I was drawn to the ancient disciple of Hatha Yoga
as expressed through the teachings of B.K.S. Iyengar. For
not only was this form a wonderful system of training for
the physical body, but included powerful techniques for working
with the mind as well.
My spirit enlivened by this work, I began to look deeper
into the mystic teachings of the Hindu and Tibetan traditions.
As a young woman who was deeply affected by the goals of
the feminist movement and the desire for understanding of
my true feminine nature, I was particularly fascinated by
the Tantric tradition in which women and their enlightened
role models the Goddesses were respected and revered.
|In pursuit of this knowledge,
under the auspices of a number of professional fellowships
I had the privilege of traveling to India to live with
my guruji, Sitara Devi, an extraordinary North Indian
Kathak dancer and Tantric adept. It was at this time
that I was directly introduced to the fundamental teachings
of the feminine-based Yoga of Light as they had been
handed down through her ancient lineage. During this
fertile period, I also began my studies with Tibetan
master Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche. I was thrilled to discover
that essential yogic teachings on this ancient path of
illumination and integration formed the foundation of
the Tibetan Tantric and Dzogchen traditions as well.
Based upon my knowledge and experience of these Eastern
traditions, in the ensuing years I have consistently
sought out other remnants of these powerful teachings
on the way of light that exist within the mystic traditions
of ancient Egypt, Kabbalah and Gnosticism.
What you may ask is the Yoga of Light? The Yoga of Light
is an ancient science and spiritual practice of physical
and spiritual purification and transformation. It teaches
us how to perceive and regulate the radiant light and energy
of divinity through our physical and luminous energy bodies.
Its ultimate goal is the reunion with our divine essence
and the transmutation of the very substance of our being
back into its true nature as light. The alchemists of ancient
Egypt and Medieval Europe and the yogis and yoginis of India
and Tibet spent their lives in pursuit of this sacred endeavor.
The Egyptians even believed that through this practice, it
was possible for a human being to realize their immortal
body of light and become a star in the heavens. The Zohar,
a primary text of the Hebrew Kabbalistic tradition speaks
of this very same transformative process. " The enlightened
shall shine like the radiance (zohar) of the sky, and those
who lead multitudes to righteousness, like the stars forever".
Evidence of the attainment of this light body can also be
found in the Dzogchen and Tantric traditions of Tibet. Throughout
Tibetan lore, we find stories of the manifestation of what
is referred to as the luminous rainbow body by highly developed
adepts and practitioners. Through the vehicle of their devotion
and practice, they are able to totally purify and exhaust
their karma, enter into the essence of the five elements,
which is light, transform their body into radiant energy,
and vanish like a rainbow in the sky.
According to Tibetan master Namkai Norbu Rinpoche, once
this transformation has taken place, the cycle of reincarnation
is complete and one can choose to reappear in a luminous
form in order to help and teach sentient beings. The great
Tibetan master Padmasambhava, his female consorts Princesses
Mandarava and Yeshe Tsogyel along with numerous Tibetan yogis
and yoginis are believed to have realized this enlightened
state. In fact, there have been eyewitness accounts of the
miraculous achievement of the rainbow body as recently as
ten years ago by a simple, unassuming Rinpoche named Acho
Rinpoche in Tibet.
Throughout European lore there are legends from the alchemical
tradition that tell us of men and women who have also achieved
this extraordinary transformation that was once the ultimate
goal for all human beings. In the Christian tradition, the
magical transmutation of Christ into a shining body of glory
may very well be a manifestation of this very same process.
Further evidence of this extraordinary achievement can be
seen in the religious art of cultures the world over. Flying
on golden wings of light, their heads encircled by glistening
halos, sitting amidst shining spheres or standing in a glowing
cocoon of light, the images of Gods, Goddesses, Saints, Boddhisattvas,
Kachinas and Star people offer us symbolic visions of the
fully illuminated being.
At the secret heart of the Tantric
tradition, encoded in the arts of temple dance, music and
ritual, hidden within
the alchemical and mystic teachings of Kabbalah, one can
discover the essence of this great tradition of light body
yoga. Essential to the understanding of this yogic form is
awareness of the Divine Feminine as the primordial creative
light and energy of divinity. As Shakti of the Tantric tradition
she is described as "the animating and nourishing force
of life itself," the "voice, light and energy of
divinity that exists in every thing and every being." And
as Shekhinah of the Hebrew Kabbalistic tradition, she is
described as "the principle light and essence of this
world", "the woman of light in whose mystery are
rooted all females of the earth".
In the Tantric tradition this sacred spiritual current of
the Divine Feminine is also known as the Kundalini Shakti,
and is symbolized by a serpent that sits at the base of the
human spine. Through meditation, visualization, mudra, mantra
and other yogic exercises this mystic Kundalini energy of
the Goddess is aroused and directed upwards through the body,
permeating and opening our seven subtle chakras, the energy
centers that lie along our spinal cords. Through this powerful
process, the practitioner is aligned with her/his divine
essence, the inner fire is ignited, the mystic eye is opened
and she or he begins to see the flowing currents of light
and energy that create, envelop and connect all living things.
Since possessing a clear perception of the luminous energy
field is a fundamental starting point for this yogic form,
let us take a look at the physics of the female and male
The female energy field can be pictured as a river of luminous
light flowing up from mother earth, from the heart of Mother
Nature herself, through the central channel and chakras of
her body. When it reaches the top of her head or crown chakra
depicted in Tantric iconography as a thousand-petaled lotus,
it rises up and cascades downwards, showering around her
body with streams of liquid light to begin its upward ascent.
In men this vital and radiant energy flows in the opposite
direction. The light flows down from the heavenly realms
through the top of his head, suffusing his spinal column
and chakras, exiting from the base of his spine to rise and
expand upward and encircle the body until it reaches the
top of his head and begins its descent again.
This flow of luminous energy creates a donut or egg-shaped
pattern around the body known to physicists as the hyper
dimensional torus. This toroidal pattern can clearly be seen
in many paintings of Christ and the Virgin Mary, as well
as those of the Hindu and Tibetan deities.
Since the natural flow of the womans
subtle energy is upward towards spirit, in this ancient
of light, many rituals existed in which women were spiritual
guides assuming the role of teacher and initiatrix into sexual
and spiritual mysteries.
After years of rigorous physical, artistic, intellectual
and spiritual training in this powerful yogic form, designed
to align women with the enlightened qualities and energies
of the Goddess, they would perform this vital initiatory
role. Opening themselves to their divine feminine essence,
they would transform into the Goddess and assist male devotees
in awakening to higher consciousness. Through the vehicle
of their sacred union, which mirrored the union of Shiva
and Shakti, men would gain a direct visceral experience of
the upward flow of their Kundalini Shakti.
There exists in the literature numerous legends and stories
of the lives of renowned male sages and yogis who were sent
specifically to the temples or sacred caves to receive the
powerful inner and secret initiations from female gurus.
These legends speak of the testing period, which the male
had to go through in order to prove his sincerity and devotion.
In many instances he was requested to perform and accomplish
tasks, which would convince her of his enthusiasm, determination
and suitability to receive her teachings. He was told that
.his mind must never sway from the burning desire to achieve
liberation and he must one-pointedly purify his body and
mind to prepare himself for and then request initiation into
the secret experientially based knowledge. Only then, after
an initial period of testing would he be accepted into her
inner sanctum and receive the sublime teachings unique to
the path of the Kundalini Shakti.
In the mystic teachings of the Kabbalistic
tradition we can see this same principle at work. In this
is the wife as the living representative of the Shekhinah
who carries the power to shape the spiritual foundation of
the home from a place of profound vision. Therefore, it is
said that she is the one who enlightens the eyes of her husband.
Every Friday night, as she lights the Shabbat candles, the
woman calls on the spirit of the Shekhina or divine feminine
principle to come and dwell within their home. During the
course of this magical night, the woman and man are required
to perform the sacred act of sexual union, thus replicating
in human form the ultimate goal of their spiritual practice the
mystic union of the Blessed Holy One and his Shekhinah.
So many of us caught up in the stresses
and strains of our contemporary society long for a path
in which we can more
fully experience the beauty and richness of life a
path of love, harmony, balance and union. Pouring forth from
the sacred heart of mystic traditions the world over, the
teachings and techniques of the Yoga of Light offer us a
powerful experientially based method to achieve these heartfelt
Sharron Rose, MA. Ed. is an internationally acclaimed
teacher, writer, choreographer and performer in the fields
of World Mythology, Religion and the Traditional Arts of
Dance, Theatre and Music. She is the creator of the DVD, Yoga
of Light; Meditations, Mudras and Expressions of the Divine Feminine
and the author of The Path of the Priestess; A Guidebook
for Awakening the Divine Feminine, winner of the COVR "Visionary
Award" for best Biographical /Self-Help book of 2003.
Together with her husband, filmmaker Jay Weidner, she has
produced documentary films featuring visionary artist Alex
Grey, shaman /healer Dr. Alberto Villoldo,
sound healer Jonathan Goldman, and more for their DVD company,
Sacred Mysteries Productions. Her knowledge of the mystic
teachings of ancient traditions comes from her years of
first-hand experience in the arts of Tantra, Dzogchen,
Indian and Egyptian temple dance and healing, as well as
her research into the feminine principle in Gnosticism