Despite the title this post is not about religious beliefs although it will draw on religious ideas to demonstrate that an understanding of the significance of three centres of consciousness may have existed long before current ideas.
The ideas presented are my own opinions and beliefs and are based on my own observations and study. We currently don’t subscribe to any one particular religion, this is not a judgement on other who might, as we believe that many religions hold truths.
My introduction to the trinity was as a young boy being brought up in the Roman Catholic tradition. We were taught that God existed as a trinity, the father, the son and holy ghost and that each part of the trinity was no lesser or greater than the next.
I always had a strong interest in spirituality and growing up I was trying to make sense of this idea of a trinity in the context of we are made in the image and likeness of God. So I began to subscribe labels to the aspects of the trinity, such as body (Christ) and mind (the father, the creator) and spirit (holy ghost ). This helped me as a young child better understand and relate to these ideas to my already growing curiosity about spirituality and the nature of my own consciousness. I knew I had a body, a mind and believed I had a spirit, albeit I couldn’t prove it so this made sense.
I carried these ideas with me until I was in my 20’s and began exploring Paganism as a religion. It was during this time, I learned that in Paganism, they also have a sacred trinity that is thought to pre-date the Christian teachings.
Most Pagans, believe in the trinity as being the virgin, mother and crone (old woman). These aspects represent the three stages of life, albeit for the female gender or feminine energy.
I remember also as a child having a strong fixation of symbols that had three aspects to them. Triangles, like the all seeing eye, the triskele that features on the key stones of many stone age monuments including Newgrange, County Meath (See image below).
In 2006, I was offered a place on an Enneagram course, with a wonderful lady (Catherine Brennan), who happened to be a Roman Catholic nun, she I believe studied the Enneagram in Belfast in the 1960’s when she herself was young nun at a time when Vatican II had emerged with a new mandate to better serve the people. Many clergy valued the old ways which as it happened placed the clergy in a position of authority above the people it was suppose to serve, with Vatican II, the clergy would come out from behind the closed doors and gates of their orders and live and work amongst the people as equals, disregarding old protocols and dress values.
The Enneagram is a technique to better help the student understand their personality and it’s origin and with conscious awareness, practice of meditation and tasks, heal aspects of the personality called the shadow and integrate it back into the conscious self to heal oneself.
Some of the clergy feared the teaching of the Enneagram, as it was considered a tool for empowerment, and they believed this might draw the people away from the church. Others embraced it and saw it as a means to help alleviate the suffering within humanity. Some of the traditionalist clergy and opposers of the Enneagram, some I have spoken to, believe that the Enneagram puts people into a box. I can understand how this might appear, but if the man/woman has a strong desire to improve their lives, they will use the tools and techniques given as part of the Enneagram to enhance their self awareness and change negative behavioural patterns.
On a personal note, the Enneagram has helped me better understand others, helping me to work with people I might otherwise have had difficulties with. It has improved the way I communicate with others. It has also enhanced my own self awareness and understanding of my own and others consciousness. I couldn’t recommend it enough and for my highest reason it helped me overcome severe depression, negative thinking and social awkwardness. The difference between want and need and to understand the origins of my personality and what caused it and how to overcome the ego.
The Enneagram draws it sources from many schools of religious and spiritual teachings all around the world. Aspects of the Enneagram can be found in Sufism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism and many more I’m sure. It’s not clear if the knowledge came to settle in these religious and spiritual schools from an earlier source or at a later point. I believe it’s from an earlier source.
The Enneagram as it’s taught, centres on the belief that we are created of pure essence (love) and that events in our lives particularly before the age of 5 and including our time in the womb manifest a fracturing of our pure essence and we begin to seek love from outside ourselves.
The notion of pure essence is that of without judgement, without fear, without condition. A sense of I have everything I need and I want for nothing. Events happen in our early childhood and we don’t always have the understanding to reason what has happened, these events sometimes perceptive and others real, cause fear to be manifested and we fracture our pure essence.
Consciousness within the Enneagram school of teaching, is divided into three centres of expression, the head, the heart and the gut. Yet another trinity. When we express from one centre of consciousness to the detriment of another, we express the ego.
The Enneagram seeks to enable the learner, how to re-connect with the aspects of their consciousness they have shut themselves off from or are unaware of. Expressing from all three centres of consciousness in unity, is living from essence.
Pagans although perhaps lost in understanding and teachings through the centuries, practice unity of consciousness in the practice of magic, however I haven’t seen it being taught as a technique for day to day living or as a tool of personal freedom/self awareness, this is only my own observation and I have had limited contact with the various branches that are, I have only have experience of one branch, but have read the teachings from a few others.
Pagans cast a ritual circle to contain the energy they will manifest in ritual, they place symbolic objects, colours and scents in the ritual area, and perform sequenced rituals/spells, to occupy the left brain, then through music of different frequencies, such as drumming for the gut and air or stringed instruments to activate the heart. The right brain is then free to express unhampered by the left brain and so the expression of all three centres of consciousness is used to create the desired change in the universe.
What I understand about ritualistic magic is the mind must be liberated from pre-programming, and negative thinking, this is achieved by occupying the left brain, the heart must desire the change and music is used a trigger to open the heart, actions are performed or effigies used and the ritual can sometimes freefall into an intuitive ritual, this engages the gut.
Depression and/or anxiety arisens when we express ego, we judge ourselves and others, and have a skewed vision of the world. It is much more common than many people realise. Many people suffer with it and its severity varies from individual to individual. It manifests itself in different ways depending on your personality.
It can start with negative thinking, suppressed emotions or your sense of power been taken from you. What all these have in common is fear, back in our earliest memories, events happen and depending on our perception can be misunderstood or perceived as being threatening and we develop a response or coping mechanism that we continue to use throughout most of our lives until we become aware of it. We call this coping mechanism our personality/ego. Our personality may work to obscure our vision and it denies us the ability to change and adapt to life and we continually play out the same response to situations time and time again. When we suffer from depression or anxiety, we elevate one centre of consciousness to the detriment of the other two and use it to cope and perceive the world.
When all three centres of consciousness are expressed we feel empowered, energised, positive, loving, adaptive and intuitive.
Many schools of spirituality and religion share these beliefs in the form of the triple god/triple goddess or trinity. In Paganism, the trinity was formed by the virgin, the mother and the crone. The virgin represented physical vitality, which is the Gut, the mother represented the heart, and the crone, the old one, represented the head or wisdom.
The traits are their principal qualities and are not mutually exclusive much like we don’t solely express one aspect of consciousness to the exclusion of the other and so it was with the druids, there were three main distinctions/levels on the path to druidary. The bard (lowest), the ovate (middle) and druid (highest). The bard was a master of the spoken and written word, he also knew medicine, folklore, the basic tenets of law and was primarily concerned with physical control over the world, the ovate was expected to master as a bard, before undertaking his study as a ovate, he was a master of sound, music and the use of sound to create influence/change through the heart of listener, the druid mastered the mind and intellect, using thought to create and influence change in the world.
Interestingly the Christian trinity can also be viewed in much the same way. Jesus was made man, therefore he represents the physical (gut), the Holy Spirit/Ghost represents the heart and God the Father, the head.
One of the earliest writers on the subject, if not the earliest was a Druid known as Amirgen, he came to Ireland from Galicea (Northern Spain) at the end of the Bronze Age, beginning of the Iron Age. He was a spiritual seeker. He described his journey through poetry (or poesy an old word for poetry). In one of his poems later titled by scholars “The Cauldron of Poesy” which was first written down in the 7th Century speaks of this division of consciousness, but reflects beliefs from many centuries before.
Interestingly the author of this work describes the division of consciousness into three cauldrons in the tradition of the druids. The druids used the analogy of the cauldron to describe a vortex or container of energy, which represents the three centres of consciousness.
The full translation can be found here:
Original sources can be found here:
(Thanks to Clare C. for introducing me to it.)
The Buddhist and Hindus share similar ideas on consciousness.
Three is a significant number in nature and also in law, but much of law has its origins in spiritual and religious ideas. A trust is considered a single entity, made up of three distinct parties. Each party has a particular role to fulfil, in order for the trust to function or fulfil its mandate or deed of trust. Without each other, the three parties to a trust are without purpose.
Just as in our creation, we manifest three distinct centres of consciousness, the head for thinking, the heart for feeling and the gut for intuition and action. Amirgen describes the gut as the cauldron of incubation, and perhaps aptly named, as it’s here that most of the energy we need for sustaining our physical body is derived and a centre of consciousness that has the highest concentration of microbiota anywhere in the body, which in themselves are conscious beings.
The heart he referred to as the cauldron of motion. If we look at the etymology of original meaning of the word emotion, it gives us clues. 1570s, “a (social) moving, stirring, agitation,” from Middle French émotion (16c.), from Old French emouvoir “stir up” (12c.), from Latin emovere “move out, remove, agitate.
Words that seem to fit are social moving, as motion is movement, and the Latin emovere to move out. The heart just like the other centres of consciousness give out a powerful electromagnetic energy, that in the case of the heart is much more powerful than the head or gut. Scientists today can detect this energy field up to 14 kilometres away and that is only limited by the sensitivity of the equipment. The heart is considered by many to play the most important role in the creation of our reality.
If we feel love, that is what we attract and manifest in our lives. If we feel fear, that is what will manifest for us. I believe all emotions can be categorised either as being love or fear. For example envy is a fear of inadequacy, anger is the fear of being vulnerable etc.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
I remember the advice from a man I have great respect for, a pioneer in self-sufficiency Pete D. (Meath), who told me at the time, as soon as was practicable move away from fighting as it will consume you and your life.
The head, Amirgen describes as the cauldron of wisdom, and we associate the head with thinking, knowledge, experience etc.
Biologists discovered that the gut has a high concentration of nerve cells as does the heart, just like the brain. The nerve cells covering the surface of the heart are called a neural net and in the case of recipient obtaining a donor heart, they receive more than just an organ. In some cases, the recipient, gains abilities, traits that were not previously within them. One famous example was an illiterate man receiving the heart of a writer and poet and he developed a strong desire to express himself through writing. Another man who led a sedentary life, received the heart of an extreme sports enthusiast and just as with the poet, not knowing the origin of the heart, began taking more risks in life and wanted to do a parachute jump. These are only a few examples, but there are many.
Interestingly each centre of consciousness gives out an electromagnetic field, each receptive to each other. As within almost every living cell, human and other organisms exists cryptochromes, small organelles sensitive to electromagnetic fields. Many species of animal exploit this sensitivity to enable them to migrate and find their way.
Our gut bacteria sense this electromagnetic field and when we are in the presence of others people and animals we can sense their field. Have you ever noticed when you are in the company of people who express fear or anger towards you, you can sense it, you might experience it as I do in the gut, you might feel butterflies or heavy sinking feeling? Alternatively you might feel content, settled and energised in the company of people who are happy and uplifted.
As I said earlier, the heart gives out the most powerful electromagnetic field, it of all the centres of consciousness has the most powerful role to play in creation or destruction. Hence why I believe many wise people have said “life is a journey to the heart”.
The pagans and others are definitely on the right line when they unite all centres to create in reality, using the heart as the vehicle for change.
To understand how we destroy as opposed to create, depression or thinking negatively, it is a put or push down, a lowering of value of our thinking or feelings or our actions, when we become conscious of this we should trace the origins of the event that kickstarted this pattern of behaviour and release ourselves from this the burden.
We both were also inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of the Four Agreements. A book written and based on the Toltec system of spirituality which likens social and personal relationships to legal contracts in that when we form a negative relationship, it is because we break one or more of the four agreements/contracts.
1. Be impeccable with your word.
2. Don’t take anything personally.
3. Don’t make assumptions.
4. Always do your best.
He writes that when we break negative cycles of behaviour and begin to apply the four agreements with ourselves and others, all the energy that had gone into the creation of a negative contract, is restored to us.
Thanks to Gary R, for the introduction to “The Four Agreements”
The separation of the three centres of consciousness and an emphasis on one to the exclusion of the other two leads to expression of ego, or fear based reality, whereas operating from all three centres of consciousness leads to a place of love and happiness.
Depression can also be viewed as having a biological and chemical origin. A overgrowth of non-beneficial microbiota in the gut, can lead to mood swings, lethargy and sense of being unwell. Chemically depression can be contributed to by a deficiency of nutrients in our food. One prime example is iodine. Today because of changes in agriculture, grassland is regularly re-seeded and livestock graze on only a small sample of plants and grasses, as farming practice only recommends a handful of seed varieties to reseed pasture. Prior to this practice, livestock may have grazed on hundreds of varieties of plants. We are what we eat and animals are no different. If an animal is deficient in nutrients, all food products derived from that animal will carry that deficiency, and so it is with iodine and magnesium. This is can also be seen in fruit and vegetable growing, when crops are not rotated and farmers rely of artificial nutrients to enrich the soil or use manure from animals grazing on deficient pasture, this leads to nutrient deficiency in the plants. Today because of modern farming practices we are seeing significant levels of less iodine and magnesium, minerals that play a major role in the health of our bodies and in particular our nervous and endocrine (hormonal) systems.
In various schools of spirituality, there is a belief that perpetuates, that sickness or illness, moves from the spiritual to the mental, to the emotional and then to the physical. I’m not sure if this is entirely true, but there is some substance to it.
To that end, depression should not be pigeon holed into one category it should be examined from many aspects, emotional, psychological, physiological, diet, exercise, drug use etc.
I believe that all living things are part of the divine consciousness from the humblest bacteria to ourselves and other animals. To consciously wish harm or cause harm to another is to harm oneself.
The path to enlightenment can be achieved through love or it’s opposite fear. I personally chose the path of love. To seek perfection in oneself is to have it reflected to you in others. We are neither above nor below, we are everything. If we experience fear or angry we are afraid of being vulnerable. Living from love, is a place of abundance. Resisting something causes it to persist, whatever it is in your life you run from, face it and accept it, then begin to take conscious control of it, you have the capacity to shape the universe to mirror your highest expression, love.
Forgiveness is key, whoever has wronged you, forgive them and send them love. For they are you and you are them. Most of the time it was only your ego that was wounded, reflect on this as I hope you will see as I do. We carry fear and anger, long after a negative event has happened, or even after the perpetrator has passed on. Who then continues to punish us? Ourselves. We are all children from birth to death, constantly learning the wonder that is life. Jesus of Nazareth once said “Forgive those who trespass against us and forgive us our trespasses”. See the best in others, and keeping the second agreement, not to make assumptions about what others said or felt is a good help.
There is a story about two Buddhist monks, an elderly monk and a young novice. They meet a prostitute on the rivers edge, all three seeking to cross. The young monks offers to carry the woman across the river, and the three cross together. The young monk leaves the woman on the other side and the two monks continue onward on their journey. The old monk turns to the younger and asks why did you do that for that woman, she is a prostitute. The young monk, turns and replies and said I left her by the rivers edge, you carry her with you.
The ego (n), from 1714, as a term in metaphysics, “the self; that which feels, acts, or thinks,” from Latin ego “I” (cognate with Old English ic; see I) Feels, acts or thinks, head, heart and gut again :-).
So the origin of I is ego. The ego is the personality or personae, a mask that we wear to have our needs met externally. Essence is the core of who we are, in completion, not needing anything externally. Hence why it is said “a man wants for nothing”. I often wondered why I is the only pronoun that is capitalised. We seldom question this. Are we more important than others? Are we not equal. If we look at the “i” uncapitalised, what does it look like, perhaps …….a man? The dot above the main stem of the letter represents the head. This would fit with the term capitalise, cap from the latin head. Hence de-capitate! So when capitalise we lose our heads and our ability to self-govern, create. Therefore we should lose the ego. In Roman Civil Law, the capitalisation of the name, represented your status as a citizen. There were three classes.
Capitis deminutio or capitis diminutio (lit. “decrease of head”) is a term used in Roman law, referring to the extinguishing, either in whole or in part, of a person’s former legal capacity. As the Romans only used majuscule letters (capital) and had no minuscule letters, this does not refer to capital letters in a name.
There were three changes of state or condition attended with different consequences: maxima, media, and minima. The greatest, capitis deminutio maxima, involved the loss of liberty, citizenship, and family (e.g. being made a slave or prisoner of war). The next change of state, capitis deminutio media, consisted of a loss of citizenship and family without any forfeiture of personal liberty. The least change of state, capitis deminutio minima, consisted of a person ceasing to belong to a particular family, without loss of liberty or citizenship.
Blacks Law Dictionary provides the following definition:
Capitis Diminutio (meaning the diminishing of status) I
capitis deminutio maxima e.g. JOE BLOGGS
capitis deminutio media e.g. Joe BLOGGS
capitis deminutio minima e.g. Joe Bloggs
As we adopted Roman Civil Law this application of status has continued within our current legal systems. Our ego is our Achilles heel, it allows other egos/persons to attach liabilities to us. We accept liability for the ego/person when we have caused no harm, injury or loss. Anywhere where our names are printed as above are classes of persons and represent the ego.
Many people call this path to enlightenment by the term Sovereignty, a realisation that we are the creators of our reality, our conscious will/wish is our most divine law. Men and women create the ego/person. We as men and women have divine right and will to create, and written as a self evident truth or maxim of law, the creation shall not challenge the creator.
What we see in others is a reflection of ourselves, as I believe what we see in the world and in others is what’s within us. If we believe something, then it is true. For us it is truth, others may view it differently.
It has been said by great philosophers and more lately quantum physicists the only thing we can we certain of, is that we observe, everything else is subjective. So we should never impose our world view on others, accept others as they are.
To change our reality we must first begin by changing our own consciousness. As above so below, as within so without. As Gandhi once said “be the change you want to see in the world”.
There is a belief that is expressed by many truth seekers and activists, that we must fight and challenge wrong in the world, I understand this viewpoint and for many it is their path as was mine and still is at times. However in more recent times, I have chosen to live a life of love, happiness, abundance and self sufficiency and I respect those who chose to live otherwise.
I believe that resistance is persistence, if we want to change our world begin with oneself, avoid a fight as fighting is an expression of anger and fear and aggression fuels aggression, simply create an alternative, cut the energy supply off to the negative and it will diminish and wither.
We might believe we need to unite under a common umbrella, we are already united and division is only a construct of the mind. As a collective consciousness what one does affects the other, without seemingly direct or apparent connection. In isolation we are still changing each other. Even those who chose to fight have a purpose and a valid role but ultimately we are all heading in the same direction.
Animals that discover new food sources or solutions, seem to communicate this to other members of the same species, spontaneously and instantly although separate. A monkey learned to wash sand soiled mangos in the river, she taught her young and other members of her troop, this behaviour began to manifest in other remote groups of the same species. Scientist call this “The Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon” or perhaps the collective unconsciousness? Patent offices report the same phenomenon, that when a new idea arises, similar patents are all received in around the same time all around the world.
We don’t need to live in isolation, after all we are social beings and we should surround ourselves with others of like mind. Sharing energy, abundance and love is life’s ultimate goal.
I have been invited to give a workshop on the Enneagram in the coming weeks in Wexford, Ireland and am delighted to be able to do to share this knowledge. I am open to invitation to do the same for other groups where ever they may be.