Earth Energy Vortexes: A Doctor’s Journey of Healing_Featured_, Consciousness, Spirituality Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Bethe Hagens, Ph.D. | Mission Ignition
I would like to ask you as a reader to embark with me on a personal journey that has led me to my scientific questions and theories about vortexes. Significant transformations in my work of over thirty years on this subject took shape as I journeyed back to health from a debilitating encounter with Lyme’s disease. At the center of this journey is a mechanism known as the “bullroarer”, a flat slat of wood, bone or stone, swung overhead from the end of a string, to create an intense vortex of sound and vibration around the person swinging it. This sound, but more the contemplation of 40,000 years of worldwide bullroarer-making, healed my body and left me in awe at the enduring aspects of our common humanity.
I spent more than a year researching, shaping, carving, sanding, painting, and generally obsessing over bullroarers, and created upwards of 200 reproductions of both ancient and relatively modern instruments. Somewhere in the process, I realized that although I had put away in shame the “UVG grid”, with a deep sense that I had duped myself into actually believing what I had written years before, I had now embraced earth energy vortexes. Before, I had always steered away from this idea, much preferring geometrics, stress models, and Plato’s theory in Timaeus.
In many ways, my insights will be obvious. Vortexes are creativity – the energy that motivates every aspect of life. They are as magical and as frightening as water going down the drain in the bathtub is to a child. Collectively, we are discovering vortexes in an expanding context of situations and metaphors, many of which do not align with each other and are blatantly contradictory. Yet blessed as humans are with “a certain consciousness,” vortexes fascinate and perplex and carry away our spiritual energy into ecstatic oneness with the Possible – “good and bad.” Inspiration, thinking, awakening, discovery, contemplation, intention, action, loss of control, surrender: a human creative vortex, so powerful that we hopefully, and sometimes tragically, form communities to mutually protect each other from our own power.
The bullroarer and magic wheel spinner were well-known and well-loved by early anthropologists who were untroubled by theories of Atlantis and cultural appropriation and who brought home artifacts in amazement at the exotic rituals in which they were used. Well into the 20th century, both instruments were seen as symbols of the innocence of “the primitive” and were quickly adopted as Western toys. They were anthropological “hallmark artifacts” that symbolized the cultural relativist commitment to independent invention even as evidence about them (the undeniable similarities of size, shape, meaning, uses, symbols, rituals) stretching tens of thousands of years across human history pointed to diffusion across the globe. In virtually every part of the world, even today, these artifacts continue to be “invented” and re-symbolized in many of the ancient ways.
I still remember the light in my professor’s eyes when he spoke of them. They were not to be seen by women, so of course I had to see one. I could find only a small, grainy illustration in a textbook. Many years later, the director of the National Museum in Papua New Guinea refused my request to photograph their incredible collection of bullroarers because I was female, but came up with a workaround. He waved his hand, smiled, and said, “You’re a ceremonial man!”
I was awestruck by the Indiana-Jones-like storeroom that held thousands of bullroarers, spinners, and skull racks. I know now that there is a connection between bullroarers, Orion, the earth’s axial pole, and lightning; but at the time, I only suspected this. The museum’s collection includes bullroarers made of human breastbones. What we in the northern hemisphere see as the sword (or penis) of Orion (the Orion Nebula), those in the southern hemisphere can also visualize as a breastbone – shield of the heart. The gender of the bullroarer itself, as with the young boys exposed to them in traditional initiation rituals, apparently spins through a polarity vortex of masculine and feminine, elevating the spirits of the boys into their community and then beyond in timeless oneness with ancestors who preceded the ritual present.
Often identified as both the earliest human toy and the first musical instrument, the bullroarer has a verified existence in what is now France (40,000 BC), Çatalhöyük (ca. 7000 BC), and Tutankhamun’s tomb (ca. 1000 BC). It has likely remained in continuous use across human cultures, though evidence is fugitive, and most bullroarers simply disintegrate. They immediately capture children’s attention and are great teaching toys to “call” Creative for solutions to practical, personal, social and environmental problems. They are believed to alleviate pain, boredom, drought, love-sickness and shortage of game or crops. Their sound accompanies the human spirit at transitions such as birth, marriage, death, initiation, or injustice. Bullroarers are swung in rituals to invite “phase change.” Their sound and vortexes of spin are the Creative and signal that a fundamental inter-dimensional threshold has been crossed.
Very similar, if not identical phase change requests have been made across time within megalithic structures and other sacred energy vortex sites that continue to be identified by human experience. The human mind is a vortex, and perhaps resonance is the mechanism by which these other vortexes are detected. I wish I knew. I have never been able to detect them, but have realized that this may be because I am literally caught in them all the time: everywhere I am feels like a vortex, though sometimes the feeling becomes more intense when coupled with the exhilaration of play. Csikszentmihalyi believes that play is critical to developing an experienced sense of creative flow, and bullroarers and magic wheels reinforce that experience by generating continuous spiraling vortex timbres (rhythmic, monotonous spin pulsings) that establish sonopoetic spaces (architectures composed of sound that are individually experienced and culturally defined and codified).