Click on image to see larger view of Bayon temple tower.
A refuge, an escape, a meaningful choice based on understanding, all of which I suppose are considerations in the back of my mind before I return to Angkor Wat for the second time. However, the predominant thought is to return to a place where the intention to pay respect to the cosmos was foremost in the Khmer King's minds when constructing their temples between the 8th and 12th centuries.
On January 29th of 2003 Angkor Wat, one of the greatest architectural achievements in human history, became the subject of political turmoil when crowds of angry Cambodians rioted in Phnom Penh destroying the Royal Thai Embassy, Thai Hotels, and Thai businesses. Rumor has it the Thai movie actress Suvanan Kongying made the comment that Cambodians stole Angkor Wat from Thailand. National pride was insulted, and again this poor country of peasants and political opportunists erupted once again. Many think it was all a ploy by the current Prime Minister, Hun Sen, to gain political advantage in the upcoming July elections. The truth may never be known, but it is a fact that Thailand sacked Angkor Wat in 1431AD.
All of these events take place several weeks before my planned second visit to Angkor Wat. Borders were closed to both Thais and Cambodians, but international tourism was still possible albeit once again a sense of danger filled the Cambodian air.
For the last seven months since July 28, 2002, when I first saw Angkor Wat, I have continued to be enchanted by the mysterious spell which came over me when I ascended the central tower at Angkor Wat. So moved by this first experience I went about learning as much as possible about the history of the people who created Angkor Wat as well as how Cambodia came into existence. Many texts were obtained and studied. Here is a list of books I read in this time period:
So now my planned visit to Angkor Wat, which at first was solely inspired by knowing it was a sacred temple built to honor the alignment with the starry heavens, becomes a temple situated in a country where countless wars were waged by the Khmer Kings to stabilize their kingdom. Angkor Wat serenely placed at the northern end of the Tonle Sap in Siem Reap has been for the latter part of the 20th century a place of genocide and severe suffering. It is no wonder now as the Cambodian people re-assert their identity in the modern world can become out raged at the slightest provocation against their historical heritage...rumor or no rumor. As of February 23rd over 26 political assassinations had taken place as new elections were scheduled for July, and the border was closed to people from both countries. On March 21st, when the Spring Equinox sun rises over the central tower at Angkor Wat the borders were opened once again, and a new mood of cooperation between Thailand and Cambodia is being developed. The equinox sun truly worked its magic as my story will reveal.
But, what is the historical heritage of Angkor Wat? What do we as 21st century visitors know of the Khmer Civilization that constructed the finest sacred architecture in the world? As I approached this question I found many different levels of answers. There were the archaeological answers based on inscriptions from temple stones and stele. There was a preserved first hand report from a Chinese emissary in the 13th century. There were extensive architectural measurements and cosmological interpretations based on ancient vedic scriptures. Most recently there are ancient civilization interpretations put forth by Graham Hancock relating Angkor Wat to Egyptian cosmologies. However, for me, the most intriguing aspects of the Khmer Civilization was their understanding of their place in the cosmos, and how the placement of the temples mirrored so many of the celestial movements and perhaps unknown secrets of the universe.
After having studied Hamlets Mill by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha Von Dechand, and the Mayan temples by John Major Jenkins I began to see that there was a very ancient knowledge about the significance of the precession of the equinoxes factored into the temple structures. Jenkins's analysis of the Mayan Long Count and the Mayan sacred calendar, the Tzolkin, broke new ground for me in my understanding Mayan cosmology when he uncovered the meaning of the end date of December 21st, 2012. Jenkins was able to understand the concept of our solar system aligning itself with galactic center.
After over 50 years of solid research by many people around the world evidence mounted that the ancient civilizations were all knowledgeable about this galactic alignment date of December 21st, 2012. The research took me back to the first time, the Zep Tepi of the Egyptians of 10,500BCE, and all the way to 2012AD. This was a period of 12,500 years, or one half of a full precessional cycle of 26,000 years. Slowly I was beginning to grasp the significance of why these ancient temples were constructed the way they were. At Angkor Wat, the Churning of the Milky Ocean is the most obvious clue that in the middle of the Mekong Delta, Khmer Kings, with the help of their Brahmin priests, built a temple acknowledging this galactic alignment, and in my mind played out one of the most elaborate ceremonies to honor this cosmological drama of the precession of the equinoxes.
Why was it so important to go to all the trouble to build these temples in the Cambodian jungles? What could of possibly motivated thousands upon thousands of people to cut enormous stones, carry them for untold miles through the forests, and then erect them to create the most majestic temple in the world? At Angkor Wat's peak, Europe was plunged into a blood bath with the persecution of the Merovingians, Knight Templars, and a host of other secret societies. And even in the Central Highlands of Guatemala the Mayan civilization was exhausting their last ceremonial rites before that great civilization would vanish in the late 10th century. But in Cambodia, well into the 14th century, the golden central tower of Angkor Wat could be seen for miles around, and elephants in guilded dress were parading before the royal court of Kings accompanied by thousands of beautifully adorned female dancers. What was going on at Angkor Wat?
Now, having acquired more foreknowledge about Cambodia than I ever thought possible, concerning the Khmer Civilization, I am about to venture back once again to survey the temple, which has cast a spell over me. I have learned that the Khmers were very inventive in applying their own understanding of the meaning of architecture, ritual, and astronomy. The central tower of Angkor Wat is symbolic of Earth's northern polar axis, and the Churning of the Milky Ocean was a way to join with the kingdom of the Gods and Mt. Meru. The day was soon approaching when on March 21st the sun would rise directly over the central tower, the mid-point in the sun's journey between the winter solstice and summer solstice. Brahma and Vishnu were soon to be awakened, and my spell that took place in the central tower on July 28th, 2002, was about to be given a new sense of the divine wonder concerning the abode of the gods on Mt. Meru. I feel as though I am being introduced to the vedic mysteries, and a new level of my own spiritual path is being opened so that I can share these insights with others trying to see out from a desensitized materialistic world mind set. The gods do live, and maybe we can talk to them.
With only a few weeks remaining before the Spring equinox the study of Eleanor Mannikker's work on Angkor Wat was nearly finished. The book had arrived on January 10th at Borders in Union Square in San Francisco from the University of Hawaii Press. I was worried the book would not arrive before I left for Thailand on January 13th. I had neither knowledge of the breadth nor scope of this book concerning Angkor Wat before I ordered it. But, now after nearly completing my study of it I can now appreciate the devotion the architects and priests had towards the celestial movements, and how they integrated those movements into every last stone at Angkor Wat. Just prior to departing for SE Asia another book by Graham Hancock titled, "Heaven's Mirror" was also obtained and completed. I was armed with two of the most revealing explanations of Angkor Wat, and felt as if unknown forces to accomplish a special spiritual mission had guided me. It was by no accident either, that in late August of 2002, after returning from my first visit to Angkor Wat, that a meeting took place that enabled me to get a copy of "Heaven's Mirror" in the first place. I walked into Fields BookStore on Polk Street in San Francisco, established in 1934. Fields is one of the most renowned spiritual and esoteric bookstores in the United States. As I was standing in the aisle looking at the new arrival "Galactic Alignment" by John Jenkins from Inner Traditions someone in the bookstore called out my name. To my astonishment it was Ron Shuster, a fellow researcher from Charlotte, NC, who by chance was in San Francisco on business and was also at Fields looking for new titles. I told him about my recent experience at Angkor Wat the previous month and 5 minutes later he placed "Heaven's Mirror" in my hands and asked me if I had seen the book before. I was completely amazed because here was the book in which Graham Hancock outlines his thesis of how Angkor Wat was constructed to be in alignment with the constellation Draco. The book was out of print, and I had not seen it before.
It is no surprise to me now after seven months of study that Draco symbolizes the ancient myth of the Khmers with the marriage of a Brahmin named Kaundinya to Soma, a Khmer nagini snake princess. Eleanor Mannikker states:
In that legend defining the origins of Kingship Kaundinya arrived on the coast one long-ago day in pre-history and married Soma, daughter of the King of he Naga's. Kaundinya and Soma were the revered founders of the Somavamsa line of Kings (Soma = moon, Vamsa = lineage).
Now the cosmic play unfolds, and I know that the positioning of the stars hold the secret to Angkor Wat's place in the Cambodian jungle. Deciphering the stars to reveal those secrets will hopefully become more understood as I continue my journey. This journey, as it turns out, was initially inspired by learning how the sun in our solar system aligns itself with galactic center in 2012AD, and that the awareness of this knowledge was known by ancient civilizations. Certainly, knowledge of this alignment is apparent in the beginning of the 21st century, but there is little clamor or visible excitement over the fact that it is occurring what so ever. There are exceptions, of course, with a few researchers showing how galactic alignment was incorporated into sacred ritual with ancient civilizations, but on the whole it seems this knowledge has no appeal or interest for the vast majority of humans now living on this planet.
What historical circumstances took place, which removed homage to the celestial Gods from our world, as we know it today? How did a materialistic mindset based on international banking replace the attention to celestial activity as it relates to a purposeful cosmology for human evolution? These are questions that when answered could loosen the grip that the 21st century has inherited from centuries of persecutions, denials and wars that has left people defending their singular gods at all human cost, but gods none the less who occupy the same celestial abode.
Sensing that there has been an eradication of the orientation to spiritual consciousness I offer this journey to Angkor Wat as a way to rekindle the spiritual imagination, and the quest for understanding on how our consciousness is effected by the cycles of time. The cycle of time we are collectively now living through is the grandest cycle of all. It is the galactic alignment cycle when the path on the 26,000 year precessional cycle begins again augmenting another New World Age. It is also the end of a Kali Yuga cycle of 434,000 years, the end of the 13-Baktun cycle in the Mayan Long Count Calendar, and hopefully the end of an age where materialistic pursuits will be replaced with a divine awe for the majestic significance our galaxy has upon our lives.The great transformation humankind is undergoing is being augmented by extraordinary forces, which can be accelerated by aligning ourselves with the center of our own galaxy. The central tower of Angkor Wat symbolizes the most spectacular architectural achievement, which pays homage to the relationship of man and the universe. My pilgrimage to Angkor Wat came about as a result of inductive reasoning, and my intuitive sensibility of the importance of going to this ancient temple where the abode of the Gods, and the design of the universe were honored.Knowing how the world of advertising was suppressing my own quest for a natural and cosmic relationship to existence I sought out the indigenous cultures of SE Asia. From the Orange Asli in the jungles of E. Malaysia, to the Hill Tribes of N. Thailand and W. China, and to the people of Cambodia who are direct descendants of the ancient Khmer civilization I made purposeful expeditions. At Wat Suan Mokkh in Chiya, S. Thailand I studied the writings of Buddhadasa Bikkhu who many claim to have taught more closely what the Buddha taught than any other monk in Thailand. Buddhadasa Bikkhu was very interested in the historical roots with India, and my curiosity with the ancient vedic texts was always on the back of my mind. When I discovered that Angkor Wat had a celestial component in its design, and was influenced by Brahmins from India I knew it was a temple I had to visit.
At the same time as my Buddha studies were going on the concept of galactic alignment became a working mind set after studying "MayaCosmogenesis2012" by John Major Jenkins. A few years later after completing the book "Galactic Alignment", also by John Major Jenkins, my understanding of how the ancients understood this celestial precessional cycle caught my interest in a very big way. But probably, no other book started my change in consciousness than the book "Hamlets Mill" where the relationship of myth and astronomy were unveiled.
How we can awaken to a higher state of consciousness has to be the most exciting development in our personal growth on this planet. The pace is different for everyone, but the seeds are planted from the day of our birth as we were all born under the stars. So much has been written on higher consciousness, but it takes an inner knowing that there is a beckoning call inside our beings that is always calling out to be recognized. The path to higher consciousness is the path of life itself, and recognizing the signs along the way plays a big part in our personal development. For me it has been a mixture of many key events in life that constantly brought me to a newer level in my own quest for understanding of my place on this planet. Now the path is leading to Angkor Wat, and as I mentioned early on; Angkor Wat is a great star temple.
The Constellation of Draco and its alignment to Angkor Wat - A pictoral representation.
The great pyramid at Giza is a star temple, Chichén Itzá is a star temple, and the orientation of all those temples to the stars is the most fascinating clue to who we are as humans on this planet and where we are going.
However, breaking clear of the highly processed cultures is in my mind the first necessary step in exploring our relationship with the stars. North America has the legacy of completely waging a campaign to eliminate the Native American Indians. It had to be a genocide of the greatest removal of a people who lived by nature and the "Great Spirit". This natural lifestyle was replaced by the Christian church and commerce leaving only a few reservations for the remainder of the Native American Tribes. Modern cultures throughout the world are doing the same thing. Thailand is very similar through its forced relocation of the Hill Tribes, and Malaysia will not even recognize the Orang Asli as the original people of that peninsular. The story is the same the world over. The highly industrialized cultures replace the indigenous cultures. This indigenous eradication has to be the greatest oversight on human nature by the developed nations entering the 21st century.
Indigenous people live predominately by the forces of nature and survive by living off the land. In their own regional areas throughout the world there is a complete self-sufficiency that recognizes natures cycles. If the global population removes the indigenous life style from this earth there will be no more people to learn from on how nature was integrated into life and how the cosmos was integrated into ritual. Humanity will have severed its relationship to a higher ordering principle, which governs our attainment of higher states of consciousness. Angkor Wat has revealed itself to be the most magnificent expression by the Khmer Kings in combining the realm of the Gods with our world here on earth. The Churning of the Milky Ocean to extract the elixir of immortality is a very ancient theme based on an intimate knowledge of the stars. If we know how to align ourselves with the stars we can begin our ascent to the realm of the Gods and beyond.
Other stories related to the Khmer Empire.
Part I- Stones in the Sky - Before the Journey to Angkor Wat
Part II - Stones in the Sky - Journey to Angkor Wat - July 2002.
Part IV - Stones in the Sky - Journey to Preah Vihear - May 2004.
Part V - Stones in the Sky - Journey to Beng Mealea - October 2004.
Apsaras and Devatas - Photo documentation of female divinities at Angkor Wat.