Breathwork is a New Age term for various breathing practices in which the conscious control of breathing is said to influence a person's mental, emotional or physical state, with a claimed therapeutic effect. There is limited evidence that breathwork may be helpful for relaxation and stress, though no other health benefits have been proven. Breathwork can cause distress.
Description and sub-types
Breathwork is a method of breath control that is meant to give rise to altered states of consciousness, and to have an effect on physical and mental well-being. Derived from various spiritual and pre-scientific traditions from around the world, it was pioneered in the West by Wilhelm Reich.
- ARIES (March 21-April 19): Playwright August Strindberg (1849–1912) was a maverick innovator who loved to experiment with plot and language. One of his stories takes place in a dream and the hero is the Christ-like daughter of a Vedic god. He once said that he felt 'an immense need to become a savage and create a new world.'
- I analyze the chart(s) of past life recollection. Is a video of a young boy with past life recollect.
If malefic planets are present in the ninth house, this signifies that there is heavy accumulation of deeds that will be manifested into your life, and that is the purpose of your reincarnation. The benefic presence in the Ninth house will lead you towards a successful life and also give you the fruit of your good deeds.
There are several sub-types of breathwork:
- Rebirthing-Breathwork – was created by Leonard Orr in the 1970s. It claims to release suppressed traumatic childhood memories.
- Vivation – was created by Jim Leonard and Phil Laut. It claims to improve wellbeing through the use of circular breathing.
- Holotropic Breathwork is a practice that uses breathing and other elements to putatively allow access to non-ordinary states of consciousness. It was developed by Stanislav Grof as a successor to his LSD-based psychedelic therapy, following the suppression of legal LSD use in the late 1960s. Following a 1993 report commissioned by the Scottish Charities Office, concerns about the risk that the hyperventilation technique could cause seizure or lead to psychosis in vulnerable people caused the Findhorn Foundation to suspend its breathwork programme.
- Other types – There are many other types of Breathwork which have emerged over the last few decades, including Integrative Breathwork, Transformational Breathwork, Shamanic Breathwork, Conscious Connected Breathing, Radiance Breathwork, Zen Yoga Breathwork and many others.
- Other definition – Breathwork (Breath Work, conscious breathing): Multiform 'healing modality' characterized by stylized breathing. Its purported design is to effect physical, emotional, and spiritual change. Breathwork allegedly: (a) can dissolve 'limiting programs' that are 'stored' in the mind and body; and (b) increases one's ability to handle 'more energy'.
- Pranayama, the use of the breath in yoga
- ^ abcYoung JS, Cashwell CS, Giordano AL (2010). 'Breathwork as a therapeutic modality: an overview for counselors'. Counseling and Values. 55 (1): 113. doi:10.1002/j.2161-007X.2010.tb00025.x.
- ^Ades TB, ed. (2009). 'Breathwork'. American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Complementary and Alternative Cancer Therapies (2nd ed.). American Cancer Society. pp. 72–74. ISBN9780944235713.
- ^Radford B (2000). 'New Age 'Rebirthing' Treatment Kills Girl'. Skeptical Inquirer. 24 (5): 6.
- ^'Breathe Easy Holistic program airs out stress-filled habitat'. Denver Post. 7 February 1996. p. G-01.
- ^Mantle F, Tiran D (2009). Vivation. A-Z of Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A guide for health professionals. Elsevier. p. 108. ISBN978-0-7020-4999-6.
- ^Cortright, Brant (1997). Psychotherapy and Spirit: Theory and Practice in Transpersonal Psychotherapy. SUNY Press. p. 100. ISBN978-0791434666.
- ^Stephen Castro, Hypocrisy and Dissent within the Findhorn Foundation: Towards a Sociology of a New Age Community (New Media Books, 1996)
- ^ Jack Raso M.S., R.D.: Quackwatch March 25, 2007
- ^'How to take the perfect breath: why learning to breathe properly could change your life'. the Guardian. 2020-08-26. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
Free Vedic Astrology
Today I have part four in a series in which I'm looking at the beliefs on ancient astrologers. This talk addresses the concepts of reincarnation and karma.
Hi everyone, this is Acyuta-bhava from Nightlight Astrology and today I'm doing the fourth part of my series on the beliefs of ancient astrologers. In today's episode, we're going to take a look at the topic of reincarnation and karma. So remember that I'm doing this series because I get questions year round from people asking me, is astrology a religion? Do you have to have some kind of faith to believe it? Or their faith practices that go with it? Could you explain or define what the beliefs of an astrologer are? I've had curious family members ask, I've had friends from high school ask me. My own students aren't always sure. A couple of years ago as I was becoming more serious about bhakti yoga, I decided that I knew too little about what the beliefs of the earliest astrologers were whoever came up with this system or whatever generations of astrologers came up with this system of divination? What did they believe about reality, the soul God, why we're here what astrology is meant to do. And so I started research originally because I was giving a talk at a conference and astrology conference on this on the subject. The research was also helping me figure out whether or not my blossoming practice of bhakti yoga was more or less compatible with what ancient astrologers especially in the West believed because here I come to bhakti yoga, but I've been practising Western astrology, quote, unquote, Western, it's not really it's not like European it comes from the Hellenistic world, which includes a wide variety of races and you know, ethnicities and even religious groups that ended up using and practising astrology, different languages that are spoken over a broad area of the world, when we say Eastern in the horoscopic astrology context, we usually just mean India. But the ancient astrology from Babylonia, Mesopotamia, the axial age, Greco Roman era, Egypt, like, what did they believe, right? And how compatible is this with the Bhakti faith practice that is becoming much more central to my life focus right now. And also, frankly, I was wondering, should I start studying Indian astrology? You know, I ended up realising through conversations with my mentors and so forth that there's a way of of marrying Western astrology to my practice in bhakti, without needing to necessarily make the shift to Vedic astrology, which came as a relief to me because obviously, I'd already built a whole career over, by that point seven or eight years or something like that.
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But doing this research, what I found out was that most of the beliefs that ancient astrologers most likely had, the most fundamental beliefs were really shared between Vedic astrologers and Western astrologers. Of course there are meaningful differences, too. But this series is meant to boil it down to those things that astrologers could all probably come together on, again, there's going to be variation on some of these. And the point of the series is not to make you believe all of these things. It's just to give you a sense of what the earliest astrologers probably believe, you can see whether it fits into your own worldview or not.
So we're going into today, Part Four, where we are going to talk about the prevalence of the belief in reincarnation and karma, or you could say, the transmigration of the soul, sometimes you're going to find that there is a distinction between the idea of reincarnation and the transmigration of the soul. Reincarnation would maybe be you, I've heard people say, like, you know, if I was Sean Connery, you know, you know, in a previous lifetime than the exact same person and personality is going to reincarnate in a different body. And sometimes you'll hear reincarnation sort of defined like that. And, broadly speaking, the evidence that I found is more suggestive of the belief in the transmigration of the soul, which means that the soul will take on different bodies, different personalities, different species of life even, and that you're not necessarily like, you know, I'm not necessarily going to this personality in that these particular traits are not necessarily going to carry over but the soul goes on to new forms, anyhow, and there's other sort of fine distinctions between different schools in the ancient world when it comes to transmigration of the soul, reincarnation, things like that. So, again, we're speaking pretty broadly here there are people who do PhDs in differentiating all of these things.
So, alright, well reincarnation and karma, so accompanying the need for higher knowledge or knowledge of the Divine Self and its relation to the Supreme Self as it is also situated in the material a world that's what we went over in part three of this series, it helps to watch them in order by the way, so accompanying the need for the soul to recollect its divine nature from within some kind of potential material entanglement. There was the belief in both the east and the west of the soul was transmigrating from one form to the next experiencing the fruits of its previous actions or choices and desires and aversions as well from one body to the next. So you have common to both Indian and Greek philosophy, there are three concepts that are not identical, but they're very similar. You have the process of reincarnation, which you're going to hear words like samsara, and or metempsychosis in the east of the west to talk about that, moral and psychological laws that govern the process referred to sometimes as karma or catharsis. And the goal of escape from this process by recollection of divine nature, which is moksha, or lusis. Lusis is actually being a word that means something like to be illuminated.
Vedic Astrology Reincarnation
Plato, who, in the time, he talks about astrology at length and gives us perhaps some of the earliest underlying metaphysical premises of astrology. He suggested that the process of catharsis or purification of the soul through successive reincarnations, changes the soul that is becoming better, into a better incarnation and the soul that is becoming worse into a worse incarnation. And that doesn't necessarily mean punitive. It just means that they were observing the laws of cause and effect and suggesting that there was a carryover in the behaviours and attitudes and desires and actions of the soul beyond this lifetime, and that if you associated with bad people, or if you were greedy, or, you know, if your moral character was challenged in some way that you would continue having to deal with that, in circumstances that continued to match that behaviour, or maybe were educational for the purification of that behaviour. So that's what they believed and it wasn't truly as far as I can tell. It was not this idea of being punished for something it was it was almost more like a very natural law sense of cause and effect.
There's a lot of problems that people have with the idea of a really punitive reincarnation, I'm always reminded of the fact that in the Bhagavad Gita in chapter four, Krishna says very clearly that not even the wisest people understand the complexities of karma. And so I think that you do good things, you get good things, you do bad things to get bad things is not, not at all the full story. We also have the belief in personal guides, daimons, psychopomps, spiritual guides, and many traditions all over the world that suggests Not only is the soul transmigrating, but that there's a very meaningful and intelligent sense of where we go and why with ongoing opportunities for the soul to learn and grow. And I think that for as bleak as some of the reincarnation rhetoric in the ancient texts sound, it's also important remember the context of the world that they're living in, and how bleak in some ways it was. Lifespans being in some ways shorter, living conditions being harsher environments not being dominated as much by a technology for better or worse. So the likelihood of us in the West right now seeing a dead body in our lifetimes is like exponentially lower than it was in the ancient world. So just imagine if you saw dead bodies on a regular basis, what that would do to your view of life and death, and also the continuation of the soul. And so you have to almost take the idea of death and transmigration much more lightly, it wouldn't have been, you know, as terrifying as it might be for us or as bleak sounding as it is for us.
And I don't think it's I don't think it's also as punitive as it sounds to us in the modern world, then that's my impression from reading a whole lot of literature about what ancient people believed about transmigration of the soul. I'm not saying it was all perfect. We need to adapt some of these ideas, you know, just for time, place and circumstance, but at any rate, Plato suggests that, depending on what you do, that dictates or shifts the course of how you trans migrate into a new form. The Chandogya Upanishad, which I've just been rereading recently through a really great course online if you ever want to check out a great place. There's a place I've been taking some courses from online for fun called Embodied philosophy. And one of my favourite teachers Edwin Bryant, who is teachers at Rutgers and he's also a bhakta. And he teaches Hindu Vedic literature. And he's teaching a course in that programme right now on the Upanishads and the Vedanta sutra. Fantastic course I've been really enjoying it anyway have been reading this one, the Chandogya Upanishad similarly says and that's By the way, that's eight to sixth century BCE, so that predates the invention or reception of horoscopic astrology. But anyway, the Chandogya Upanishad Upanishad similarly says those who can whose conduct here has been good will quickly attain a good birth. In the Phaedo. Plato says those who have cultivated gluttony or selfishness or drunkenness, are likely to assume the form of donkeys or other perverse animals, while those who prefer to life of lawlessness and violence become wolves or hawks. Chandogya Upanishad also says those who have lived wickedly, may be reborn as dogs or hogs. Now, it may again, it may sound in some ways like ancient people are blasting animals, some people get upset by that, understandable. Again, my impression in the ancient world is that from the Buddhists to the Yogi's, to Western esotericists, that the belief was that the human life has unique faculties of mind and spirit, it's not that animals don't have souls, all living creatures in these very same traditions were mostly were vegetarians where you don't eat animals, because they could very well be your friends or, you know, there could very well be a sense in which you're looking at every single life form as a soul, no different from the soul inhabiting your own body. And that kind of egalitarian view of life in different forms, was a part of pacifist traditions as well.
So the reason that sometimes you'll get this kind of like you're reincarnating into an animal form, and that might be because of the result of a kind of degraded quality is because we are supposed to live above the tooth and nail of nature, which means just being purely dominated by instincts to hunt, mate, sleep, defend, stuff like that. So their thought is that animals are not punished for killing each other, eating each other. That's just their nature. But human beings are in some ways worse than animals, because we have the potential to rise above, just hunt, mate kill, you know, we have the potential to, we're not bound as tightly as animals are by that instinctual nature that we have, because we have a choice where sort of this position is said to be held to a higher standard. And it's a very special condition of life, where you can take advantage of the human form to evolve spiritually. The Dalai Lama, for example, has said that, you know, incarnating, in a human life, and you'll see this in the Vedic tradition, too, coming down to the Upanishads, and commentators on it and so forth, say that coming into the human form of life is sort of like coming up in the middle of an ocean for a breath of air out of nowhere, and finding that you came up right through the centre of a life preserver, that the laws of material nature that govern a lot of forms are so deep, that it's harder to break out of them. Right. Like, it's harder, like I have more, I kind of acquainted with this sometimes, like, I have more of a choice in some ways, you know, not to, lick my own butt, you know, compared to my dog, which I don't I don't look down on her for that or anything, right? It's just she's just a dog. That's what she does. But so that's the idea in the ancient world is prevalent. I wanted to unpack that a minute because, you know, when I first read that the question I had was, what did they have this like degraded view of animals? Well, no, they were many of these schools were pacifists who didn't believe in eating animals. November 19 horoscope. But they did believe that the human form of life was unique in that we weren't as dominated by animal instinct. And if you acted or behaved like you were dominated by animal instinct, and that was the kind of lower form of human life then you would just keep recycling through different animal forms of life and squander the opportunity that this particular body offers. And yet there's infinite opportunities to keep travelling through different forms of life and none of it is in a sense condemned. It's not like hell awaits or anything, it's just that some forms of life are more conducive to waking up and others. It's complicated, because you'll also see, for example, in many of these ancient traditions that animals can be looked at as gurus that some of the ways There's whole chapters, for example, in the Srimad Bhagavatam, that talk about how the behaviour of animals teaches us, like spirit guides, like animals can be almost like spirit guides that teach us something about higher intelligence too. So it's very complex view and I wanted to do it some justice because I've done this talk before and you know, you get some hands raised being like what did they hate animals or something and so at any rate, the Chandogya Upanishad though said, Those who have lived wickedly, may be reborn as dogs or hogs.
For the Orphics, another group that is has been associated with the earliest schools of astrology, rebirth was was sort of dreaded an escape from the sorrowful, weary wheel was the goal of spiritual life that I dia implies that we keep regenerating and new forms Cicero, who comes in at the very end of the turn of the millennium into the Common Era. He said that once said the doctrine of reincarnation or transmigration of the soul was introduced into Greece by Ferécides de Siros, who Porphyry also said had the ability to remember past incarnations. So there's people walking around the the not just in, you know, in India and in the east, where we often associate transmigration with Buddhism or Hinduism. But also in the West, you have people talking about reincarnation, and transmigration. And so of course, in Egypt, there's a rich tradition around this in some ways, as well. So anyway, according to Apollodoris, Ferécides have lived around 550 BCE, the states for US cities, the time when the Greek and Indians were fluidly connected by means of the Persian occupation of Babylon. So the Persians occupied Babylon around the middle of the first millennium BCE, there's this great confluence of, of mysticism and thinking in the Persian occupation of Babylon. So it's interesting that at that time, you might start to see a commingling of Eastern ideas about trans migration coming over to the west. And that is just around the time where, you know, it's possible that some of the early the earliest developments of horoscopic astrology were starting to happen. The historian just Josephus, who comes just in the early first century of the Common Era mentioned that Ferécides learned from the Egyptians and called DNS. So there's some connection to other traditions that and remember the Egyptians have trade with India going on as well. So who knows exactly where it comes from - all of it very well could have come from the east too.
Similarly Porphyry said of Pythagoras through the pythagoreans that when he strained with all of his mind, he could see everything there is in 10, yes, even 20 human lifetimes. So that Pythagoras this great mystic who believed that there was this music of the spheres that you know, math number astronomy were godlike, maybe an early influence on horoscopic astrology, and that he could see previous lives. Pythagoras also wrote the following became universally known first. Pythagoras maintains that the soul is immortal next, that it changes into other kinds of living things also that events recur in certain cycles and that nothing is ever absolutely new. And finally, that all living things should be regarded as akin. Pythagoras seems to have been the first to bring these beliefs into Greece. So maybe Pythagoras brings the popularises some of these things pythagoreans and the orphics were closely related to the topic of reincarnation and both seem to be linked to the later dated hermetic texts as well. And all traditions discussed reincarnation. So in other words, you have hermeticism, which is clearly connected to astrology, as some of the earliest texts point to Hermes trismegistus, as the founder. So hermetic philosophy is a big part of the history of astrology, and you have hermetic texts linked traditionally to the pythagoreans and the orphic, both of whom believed in transmigration of the soul, as Plato said, of the Orphics, the orphics say that the body, soma is the tomb, sama of the soul, as if it were dead in its present existence or buried alive within the body, the followers of Orpheus hold that the soul is undergoing a kind of purification for some reason or other and has this husk around it like a kind of like a kind of prison that it's working through. Now that again, that might be a little bit more punitive than I prefer personally. But it's interesting to know what they were thinking about. They looked at human ignorance as a kind of cage that the soul was stuck in. And they believe that the soul was a higher being that could elevate and on that path, the body and this form of life is to serve that spiritual evolution rather than the soul becoming a slave to the body's lower urges
Heraclitus also says immortals are mortals, mortals immortal each lives the death of the other and dies the others life. Isn't that beautiful? Wow listen to that again, immortals are mortal, mortals immortal each lives the death of the other and dies the others life. He's talking in a sense about the strange combination of the way that the gods live in and through us. This is something that Carl Jung said as well. That the gods rule, your liver, your kidney, your spleen, your lungs, the demigods are all sort of inhabiting and they're like the administrators of the fluctuations of energies through the material world. So they're living in and through mortal bodies all the time, while immortal beings like spirit souls are also occupying and sharing space with those gods in a body. And so immortals are mortals, mortals immortal each lives the death of the other and dies the others life. That's a beautiful way of talking about the way that the souls and the gods co mingle in bodies. Just the beautiful quote from Heraclitus, he has often been compared to the great taoists Lao Tzu who they were they're somewhat like, almost like contemporaries across the across distance, and has also been credited along with Socrates is the major influences of Xeno, who is said to be the founder of stoicism. So if you look at Heraclitus and Lao Tzu and their works like if you read Heraclitus' fragments, they're really beautiful. They're like, you could pick anyone could read them enough to be like some great scholar to just pick a pair of cleitus fragments, read them, your mind will be blown. It's such a beautiful text, and then compare his text to the Tao de Ching, Lao Tzu's philosophical treatise, you'll, you'll find that you could, it feels at times like you're reading the same thing.
Both of whom, or at least in the West, Heraclitus has been connected to stoicism. Stoicism in many ways is a lot like Taoism. It's like a sort of like a, I was kind of think of it as like a Western version of Taoism. Anyway. There's a lot there that you could unpack. I'm not some great scholar of stoicism. It's just you know what I've learned so far. Now well, so stoicism is undefined when it comes to a personal afterlife or personal reincarnation. The soul is said to be part of the eternal substance of God and in this sense, the path of logos or reason. Remember, reason is beautiful, true, good. It's not just some detached rationality. But the path of logos or reason is meant to free us from a life trapped by the delusions of matter and reincarnation. So even though reincarnation is not personal, there's not like a personal soul in stoicism. As far as I've learned. Though, I've come across some debates about that, but it's not as personal it certainly doesn't feel as personal. reincarnation is like a perpetual fact, in the same way that Taoism, in some ways, looks at reincarnation in a very similar way. Anyway, stoicism is similar in this regard to Taoism, which makes sense given the connection to Hare cleitus, who's frequently compared to Lao Tzu. So you have stoics practising astrology they had they don't have necessarily doesn't appear that they have this belief in a personal reincarnating soul. But there is the belief in the constant recycling and movement of of energy and all of these forms are like aspects of God and the the goal of an enlightened life is still to be free from cycles of perpetual ignorance. So it's very similar, and we know that there were stoics who practised astrology, Heraclitus, and Lao Tzu were also possibly contemporaries. Like I said, Heraclitus was like 535 BCE to 475, whereas Lao Tzu is six to fourth century BCE, somewhere in there. So it's possible they were, you know, something of contemporaries. I find that really interesting, especially if they didn't know each other, and especially if they had no tangible connection to each other. I think it was Joseph Campbell, or I don't remember where I read this originally that was suggesting that you know, almost like the planets in the sky, these archetypal forces that are moving around, release certain flowers in the garden of human thought from time to time and you'll see co blossoming of similar ideas in different places and how can we explain that better than in a sense the cycles of the planet, generating these archetypes in human culture and in human in the human mind?
Anyway, reincarnation is obviously a part of Buddhism, which begins sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE, as far as my research led me to find someone you know, knows the timing of the the origin of Buddhism, better than I do, could correct me and of course, Buddhists are not horoscopic astrologers they can they can use astrology have astrological methods that they use, but they're not connected in the same way that Indian and Hindu people will practice horoscopic astrology but still you'll see Buddhist practising forms of astral omen divination, there's forms of divination and Planetary tracking that go into figuring out where the next reincarnation of the Dalai Lama might be born. So, anyways, Parmenides, who is said to have been a Pythagorean, remember we have Pythagoras clearly recalling past lives permittees may have believed in reincarnation simplus once wrote of Parmenides, Goddess of Necessity, Ananke who steers all things in the realm of experience that she quote, sends souls at one time from the visible to the unseen, and at another time back again, interesting, for Parmenides darkness, by the way, meant Earth, whereas light meant heaven. So the idea of being entangled in the earth is almost that you're in a in a like a denser place. And you need this kind of heavenly recollection to come out of darkness. You see, these ideas are common.
So what is the spiritual takeaway for me after all of this, I don't want to just keep dumping information on you. When I found all of this, I was struck by the idea that we have a pretty basic, probable faith statement that was present for ancient astrologers, which is that they likely believed in the transmigration of the soul, the reality of what might generally be called karma, which is the law of cause and effect extended in very mystical and sometimes unseen and in complex ways, into shaping the trajectory of the souls pathway. So, they likely believed in reincarnation, generally what might be called karma, the laws of cause and effect that govern not only you know, like, like physics, but that govern the moral and spiritual trajectory of a soul from lifetime to lifetime, in different forms and species of life. And that incarnations are shaped by the nature of the soul, its desires, its fears, and its past actions. And again, we have ample evidence that this is something that was common in both the east and the west. And even in the east and the west, you have people who sometimes can remember past lives. So this is personally become a faith statement. For me, obviously, it's a part of my path as a yogi, but it is definitely a part of my path as an astrologer too, when I look at a chart, I'm thinking of a spirit soul and immortal, unborn undying spirit soul, who is sojourning, through different forms of life, whose body and situation in this lifetime is co-created between themselves their guides divinity, and is a reflection of both past actions, past learning, the the kinds of new things that a soul might be learning in this lifetime. And I mean, for me, it gets a lot more specific beyond that, because of my practice of bhakti as to how a soul evolves, or how a soul grows or learns what kinds of lessons every soul is learning, you know, Bhakti has very specific answers about that. But I think regardless of what your path might be, because I know I have people who watch this channel who are of all different religious or spiritual backgrounds, or people who are undecided, or not really called to commit to one, or at least not yet, or people who are agnostic or even atheist. So take from this what you will. But for me, if I look across 2000 years of astrological history, maybe with the exception of Christians who embrace astrology, I think that the belief in an immortal soul, and likely at the roots, you have the belief in transmigration of the soul, and the idea of karma.
So what comes next in the series? First of all, I'd love to hear how you're enjoying the series, what kind of thoughts it's generating for you. And the next part will be talking about liberation and enlightenment. So what did all of these different people, different groups, different thinkers that could have influenced astrology or maybe even been at the roots of the creation of this horoscopic astrology that we love? What did they say about how to get free from the wheel of karma? What did they say about enlightenment? How you get there, why it's desirable. So that's what we're going to talk about next in this series. Hope you guys have been enjoying this and hope you're having a great week. I look forward to more soon. Take it easy, everyone. Bye.