by Hipflask McSporran
(alias Patrick Mac Manaway)
For the corporate capitalist, sleeping is an irksome bother. It is neither cost-effective nor high in productivity, and provides minimal opportunity for social or political advantage. Generally it is experienced as a race to reach unconsciousness with an adequate share of quilt and blankets before one's mate begins to snore. Consciousness is gratefully reclaimed throught he intervention of an alarm clock, and affirmed by the ingestion of coffee and/or other available stimulants…
The dreamers amongst us, on the other hand, would draw us into the magic and mystery of sleep as time to hang oust and party on the astral, to dance with other selves, and to drink deeply from the (oft murky) fountain of perennial wisdom and engrayenment.
One well- known Greensboro, Vermont-based Geomancer assures us of the need to get "grubby" and sleep outdoors. Why should this be? Is it an expression of pathological personal perversion? Or a nostalgic echo back to past-lives warmly recalled from the Paleolithic?
Let us take a furtive peep behind the veil of the mystery of science and see if, as Odin clutching the Runes, we can bring back something of actual value to enhance our daily practice of the Art of Sleeping. Cycles Of Time
Geomancers understand the cyclical nature of time. So do physiologists. Our body - exquisite temple of consciousness and unconsciousness - has innumerable overlapping and interwoven cycles: of breathing; of heart-beating; of eating and digesting; of cellular growth, replacement and repair; of fertility and child-bearing; of wakefulness and sleeping. These are all co-ordinated and synchronized as the music and choreography of ballet.
Living as we do in intimate and inevitable relationship with our environment (and not in fact in an exclusively self-referential vacuum as reductionist medicine would have us believe), our body has developed a wickedly cunning, dazzlingly sophisticated, and beautifully elegant (yes, this applies to you) method of keeping our internal bodily cycles appropriately in time with the dance of the daily, monthly,and yearly cycles that occur around us. (To ensure, for example, that we don't hunt woolly mammoths out of season...) The Pineal Gland & Hearing the Earth's Heartbeat
The key to keeping us in step with the cosmic dance is the pineal gland (associated with the third eye). By varying the relative quantities of the opposing hormones serotonin and melatonin, it switches biological cycles on and off, slows them down and speeds them up, and keeps us happy jivers bobbing and weaving to the rhythm of earth-momma's heart beat. The cunning part is that placed in a vacuum and shielded from all outside influences, the pineal would run us on a twenty-four and a half hour day. That means that it has to check in with mom every single day and reset itself, ensuring a constant synchrony with our environment.
Now the pineal has two ways of hearing the earth's heartbeat, both of which our Western society has brilliantly found ways of evading, leaving us dependent on stimulants such as coffee and depressants such as alcohol to drive our biological sleep/wakefulness cycle rather than leaving it in the capable hands of the pineal.
The first way that the earthbeat is heard is by responding to natural Sunlight. In some species the pineal is placed so as to directly see the light. In humans, it does this by receiving fibers from the optic nerve which carries information from our eyes to our brain. It is particularly the blue-green frequencies of light that the pineal responds to, which are present in natural Sunlight but absent in most artificial light (unless you have "fullspectrum lighting" installed). So those who are unable to spend significant periods of time outdoors, for example during the Winter, and work under artificial lights live in a state of perpetual darkness as far as their pineal is concerned. (This gives rise to the so-called Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD).
The Earth's Geomagnetic Field
The second way that the earthbeat is heard is through the pineal's sensitivity to daily fluctuations in the earth's magnetic field, called the geomagnetic field. This is a field whose magnetic flux lines run from the magnetic North to the magnetic South pole, extending around us and reaching out into space where it encounters the solar wind, - a constant stream of charged particles that emanate from the Sun - leading to a compression of the geomagnetic field on the side of the earth exposed to the Sun and an expansion on the dark side of the earth. This compression/ expansion cycle gives rise to very subtle daily fluctuations in the geomagnetic field, which the pineal can "hear". Unless of course you choose to live in an electrified environment where the ever-present subtle hum of 50 or 60 Hz from your house wiring circuits blocks out any chance of hearing the earthbeat. Also significant is that the body depends on periods of deep sleep to implement crucial phases of cellular growth, division and repair, and protein synthesis. During these periods we are particularly dependent on a predictable and quiet electromagnetic environment for the messages between cells and between the brain and the body to be clearly heard. This communication can be distressed and distorted by the electromagnetic fields given off by domestic power circuits, as well as by the distortions in the geomagnetic field caused by water veins, geological faults and some mineral and crystal deposits.
Let us jump back, hastily and horrified, through the veil between science and common sense, and see what this might mean. Altered states of consciousness are available through exposure to electromagnetic fields, either from power frequency under electrical power lines, or earth-generated at sacred sites..But for sleep this is only smart if done consciously and occasionally for specific effect (dream incubation, vision quests, etc.).
For optimal, health-generating sleep we would do well to seek out places of minimal electromagnetic disruption. This means away from water veins, geological faults and other strong geomantic energies such as energy leys. It also means sleeping in a non-electrified place, either outdoors or ina part of the house that is not wired or that has had its power circuitswitched off (demand switches are available to do this). It means salutingeither the Sun or your full-spectrum light after rising.
Dowsing out the best available place to sleep is undoubtedly one of themore important aspects of the Art of Sleeping. Most important of all howeveris to ensure an adequate amount of the quilt and blankets and to reach unconsciousness before one's mate begins to snore.
(Patrick MacManaway is the Scottish anchor of this Mid-Atlantic Geomancy website.)