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This is an explanation of the seven levels of consciousness, known in shamanism, as taught by Hungarian shaman Joska Soos, in his own words. The original text is in Dutch. I translated it from the book Joska Soos, Ik Genees Niet, Ik Herstel de Harmonie into English(© copyright for the translation by Dirk Gillabel, 2014). I have also added illustrations in the right column.
This article is also available in pdf format.
The Seven Levels of Consciousness
The seven levels of consciousness are part of shamanic practice and cosmology necessary to understand man in his totality, and to know who he is and what he is capable of. In general, we use only very little of what we are capable of and use very little, or not at all, of the perception of the seven spheres.
The first sphere of consciousness in which we live is the personal consciousness, which goes back to the moment of conception for each individual. This is the moment at which the egg is fertilized, and the genetic heritage of father and mother come together. From that moment, one becomes a person who experiences everything: physical, psychological, and on the psychic level. The experiences inside the uterus, and the emotions and thought of the mother are also important. At that time, the influence of the father is minimal.
Shamanism divides this prenatal period into three parts. During the first six months, before the heart starts to beat, the fetus is completely dependent on the mother. However, it is still connected with the cosmic and immortal energies for about two-thirds. When the heart starts to beat, it looses another third of this connection, because the heart beat is an individual movement and is not completely dependent anymore on the mother. At birth, it looses the entire connection with the cosmic and immortal energies. Then the individual tries to regain this connection for the rest of his life.
Therefore, the experience of this prenatal condition is very important, both at birth itself as the period before this. In this personal sphere of consciousness, one experiences the prenatal condition in the amniotic fluid, and at the same time one's condition as a water being. In this matter, one can experience the undulating movements of the cosmos, which are not water but vibration, the primal rhythm from which everything arises: the cosmic ocean.
The process of becoming a human being inside the mother's belly is a very important period, which continues for the rest of one's life. This is the personal sphere of consciousness of experiences which everyone has had.
The second sphere of consciousness is wider and comprises the entire genetic experience going back to the beginning of the human race, to the moment when humans began to distinguish themselves from the animals. This is a very long period, about 20 to 30 million years.
The third sphere of consciousness is even more remote in space and time; it is related to the condition of the amphibians. In this crucial period of development, some living beings left the water, and began to live on the land. Others stayed in the water, and another part went back to the water for reasons unknown. An example is the whale, who is a mammal because he has lungs, and it is thought that it lived on land for a long time before returning to sea. The amphibians live between water and land, and represent a sphere of consciousness which we still have inside of us. It is situated in the small brain, the motor center from which the most important functions of life (breathing, digestion and function of the heart) are regulated. In their practice shamans use particular means to work and influence these functions.
The fourth sphere of consciousness, our consciousness as a water being, goes even further back into space and time. This is the life of fishes, larvae, plankton, and single-cell organisms. It took a long time of development for these life forms. As we go further back in time, we see that the sensory organs of living beings are less developed, or not at all, and that their perception is more 'spherical', that is, perception happens by the entire body. Spiritual man can and must learn to penetrate into this level of consciousness again.
The first spheres of consciousness are bound to organic life forms; behind this there is no perception by cells. Then inorganic spheres of consciousness are present.
The fifth sphere of consciousness is crystal consciousness. Crystal consciousness is the androgyny state in which one perceives things as they truly are, and not as they appear to be. When you are still attached to perception with your cells, with the five senses, with emotions and thoughts, then all this influences your perception. However, when you transcend the organic perception, then you arrive in the androgyny state in which you perceive things as they truly are.
Crystal consciousness is much wider than all the preceding states of consciousness, because everything is crystal clear.
The sixth level is light consciousness. When the crystal starts moving, it accelerates into radiation, into light. Photons move throughout the universe and gather information in the process. Photons, or light, are more refined substance than that of crystals. In this way, there are photons that have traveled for billions of years. Light came into existence since the time of the big explosion.
I think that there is light that comes from other dimensions, like the white dream I had in the graveyard. That can happen to everyone. Sometimes that happens by an accident, when one gets a concussion. Then one experiences the initial impact as a white lightning flash.
A spiritual man can draw up that light and enter into this consciousness. That is the sixth sphere of consciousness, the light consciousness.
The seventh sphere is sound consciousness, because in the beginning was the word, or an atheist would say the big explosion, the Big Bang. When one is sensitive, one can experience the light as sound. All vibrations are rhythm and sound. The essence of light is sound vibration, similar to Kirlian photography where one only sees the radiation which is the essence of the object.
Long time ago, man discovered that by using sound, he was able to enter into a higher state of consciousness. To this end, he used particular rituals to experience sound.
The seven spheres of consciousness have all kinds of connections with the seven chakras. The first chakra is connected with personal consciousness. The second chakra, the hara, with collective, genetic consciousness. The third with amphibious consciousness. The fourth, the heart, with the water beings. The fifth, the throat, communication, with crystal consciousness. The sixth, the third eye, with light consciousness. The seventh, the crown, is the transition from light to sound, sound consciousness.
These chakras can be viewed individually, but not separately, because they cannot be separated. The form a living unity. Shamanism, as well as other forms of mysticism, knows other aspects of consciousness, which can be experienced on a very high level, and which can also be life threatening. Nevertheless, it can happen that during a light or sound experience, one can experience briefly an eighth and even a ninth level of consciousness.
Shamanism knows four gradations of experience. Square experience is literal experience having its foundation in the body. Triangular or pyramidal experience has its roots in the soul, the emotional body. The circular experience is intellectual or creative experience, having a 'round' insight. Spherical experience makes creative man taste the sphere. This is the nature of experience of spiritual man, and this can only be experienced by the spirit.
The symbols for these four gradations of experience is square containing a circle with triangle inside, and a dot in the center. These are the four dimensions of becoming conscious. The square means "I perceive physically". The triangle means "I perceive psychological". The circle means "I perceive intellectually". The point means "I perceive spiritually". That sounds simple, but one has to experience this.
There are different exercises to develop these seven spheres of consciousness, but I do not know them all. I can only tell you what I have learned myself, and what I have read from books, and from my own experience. Tamas Bacsi [his shaman teacher in his childhood] did not give teachings. He only said: "Look, listen and imitate." That was a natural way of learning. He also said "You have to go your own way."
A method or exercise should not be regarded as fixed. It has to be adapted to the individual who himself is continuously changing. One will learn how to drive a car by a particular method, but eventually he will develop his own driving style. One learns how to write in a certain manner, but eventually develops his own writing style. There are different methods and rituals, but one has to bring them into practice by his own needs.
1. Personal Consciousness
One always begins with personal consciousness. Tamas Bacsi always said: "You have to think alternately of two specific events in your life: what was the most pleasant, and what was the most painful. Do not let yourself be overcome by either of them." One has to learn to observe from the third person.
"You have let the images come up into your mind, and choose these two events, no matter what kind of events they were." When you want to experience the past of the personal consciousness, then you can make use of a piece of hollow glass, or another hollow form, and look at it. or you can look at the tip of your noise. Then you come to a turning movement of consciousness, and when you feel that physically, then images begin to arise.
In this manner you stimulate and exercise lucid dreams. Close to the village [where Joska grew up] there was a meadow where cattle were running around in the evening. Tamas Bacsi said: "Look at a nice cow or bull or calf, and take that image inside of you, and close you eyes, or look away, and look at the images that arise in yourself, and tell me about them."
Sometimes real strange images came up in me. A calf was walking peacefully next to its mother, and I saw that it was the calf of our neighbor. "Oh?", he said, "What else do you see?" "Nothing" I said. "Close your eyes again," he said, "or look at something else; concentrate on the calf, and tell me what else you are seeing."
Then I saw a gypsy encampment. Tamas Bacsi was delighted and asked what else I could see. He himself would often go to the old gypsies to smoke pipe. I described to him what I was seeing. I saw the camp, and a gypsy woman who was undressing. In reality, I had never witnessed this before.
He asked me if I recognized her. I answered I did but I did not know her name.
There was also another boy who was doing the same exercise and concentrated on a bull. He saw two fighting cocks. Tamas Bacsi turned his attention to him, then told me to continue. All kinds of common things arose which had nothing to do with gypsies.
Now I think that this exercise was intended to exhaust the reservoir of images. "Let them come and do not judge with your intellect." It is the same method used in Japanese martial arts, where they use the power of the opponent to conquer him. When you let the images arise, sooner or later this stream will stop.
These images can change you positively, or even heal. When they have healed you, then you can heal another person similarly. With the arising images, you experience different emotions, such as happiness and power, but also the opposite, sadness and weakness. You have to experience all that from the point of an observer. As long as you identify with them, you are vulnerable. When you look at them from this point of view, then the negativity can not reach you, but the positivity can help you change. When we get caught up in the images and emotions, then the negativity will drag us down, and the positivity is not able to change us. You have to put yourself outside the magical circle of happenings, regardless if these are positive or negative. That is the origin of the drawing of the magical circle in magic, or in cabala. "What is outside the circle can not affect me", but you can make use of it.
Sometimes, aside from images, sounds, smells, tastes or thoughts come up. Think about an apple, for example. Tamas Bacsi once said: "Hold this nice apple in your hand, then let all kinds of apple varieties you know of come into your mind." All kinds of apple varieties came into my mind, even varieties that didn't exist. That is the creative imagination, or fantasy. You have to be able to distinguish between memory, creative imagination and perceptions. This is the method to exhaust the amount of images in such a way that one becomes empty. Thus, you can see ten or fifteen apple varieties, and non-existing ones, and then suddenly no more apples but completely different things. At that moment you have to persevere and say "I want to see more apples". You have to force that.
Then suddenly, and I talk by experience, an apple arises, as an enormous green surface with dots, as if you are looking through a microscope. The apple has been enlarged to such an extent that you see the pores. In these circumstances, and after such an exercise, you can perceive microscopic and macroscopic. However, you have to continue, even when you are tired. The tiredness and other obstacles also have to be experienced. When you are finally empty, other aspects of the object come up. With a red apple, for example, the color green arises. In any case something that has to do with the object itself.
In your experiences you have to go all the way back, as far as you can, and try to experience the prenatal condition. In this period you are very active. The cells are forming and you are balanced, healthy and strong. This is the most vital period. To experience this period allows to influence this moment positively, and to experience again the mother. This can help you to become a more balanced and social human being.
Tamas Bacsi once said:" Come, let us rest in the shadow of this tree." He never presented an exercise as a lesson, but of course he had his own underlying motives. That usually happened in the evening or on Sundays when it was quiet. We then laid down on our backs and relaxed. Then he said:" Let yourself dissolve as smoke." We then got the feeling of floating, or slowly descending into the earth or water. When someone got the feeling that he was floating high up into the air and looking at everything from above, then Tamas said: "Now, in your thought, dive deep into the water, and imagine that the pond is in connection with the sea, and that you can descend endlessly. Try to experience that, and tell me what you are seeing."
Once I saw a sea monster coming at me, and I yelled from fear. "What's the matter", he said. "There is a monster coming at me", I said. "Don't be afraid," Tamas said, "Be gentle, and let the monster go by. The monsters are only dangerous when you are afraid, or when your intentions are bad."
First you have to into the depths. If you are able to do that, then you can also go up. But this is not always true when reversed. Tamas Bacsi said: "You have to experience the incoming waves of the sea." Now I know that this was figurative speech. In this manner you can come into contact with the acupuncture meridians of the body. First there is physical relaxation by which muscles and nerves relax, and then the meridians relax. You feel that as an approaching wave, and sometimes as a small movement of different body parts which react. When you experience this first sphere of consciousness, then this will bring you into contact with other spheres of consciousness and even the cosmic. It is not that important to know, but to experience, because only experience brings change.
2. Collective Consciousness
There are different methods for contacting the genetic sphere of consciousness. For example, you can think about your father or grandparent, or your relationships with your ancestors. Then images will arise. Tamas Bacsi advised us to visit old cemeteries, because they have a special atmosphere. That is done in almost all religions, in order to keep the connection with the ancestors.
When you made contact with the meridians of the fluidic system, then the ordinary three-dimensionality dissolves. Then you experience the dimension of timelessness, in which time flows by and is not bound up by past, present or future. With these moments, you can think about certain persons or civilizations, the Egyptians, the Atlanteans, the Druids, or somebody you like or dislike.
You can also trace the history of a village or city, your country or people, or the whole of mankind. The details are not important, but the essence, the center line, the structure of history, and to experience this with your senses. With it comes the karmic past. The genetic past is that what has been passed on by the ancestors, by blood relations, while the karmic history is a spiritual connection. You can feel a very good connection with a Chinese person, but be in turmoil with your neighbor.
The karmic connection is much richer and wider than the genetic one. It is experienced physically, psychologically and psychically. For example, you might not feel physically connected with a Papua person, but really good on the psychological and psychic level.
You can also feel a karmic bond with animals, objects or happenings. There are people who feel a connection with the French Revolution, or with Atlantis.
One time I told Tamas Bacsi that I didn't know anything about my great-grandfather. He advised me to think about him, and to feel how he was doing. "Ask yourself where the spirit of you great-grandfather is now."
His idea was that the spirit of somebody was always present and everywhere, and it can be felt, especially when there is a genetic link. When I didn't feel anything, he said: "He can only be on seven locations: in front of you, behind you, left of you, right of you, above you, underneath you, or inside of you. There is no other place to find something."
Sometimes it comes up spontaneously, and you feel somebody is present around you or inside of you. This also happens with people at the moment they have a serious accident, as if a guardian angel was there to rescue them at the last moment. Everybody has a guardian angel like that. It is your primal father, or better, the personification of your life potential, that wants to keep life. Then one says: "it was as if somebody turned the wheel to the right, much faster than I ever could have done it. " Or, "I felt a power outside myself that was helping me."
When it is a really great spirit, then you feel it inside yourself, like providence by which one can face all dangers. It is as if you are surrounded by an invisible protection. However, such a thing is rare, and you shouldn't count on it. But you can make contact with person from the past.
The Hungarian psychologist and psychoanalyticus Szondi, who moved to Switzerland, and wrote his books in German, developed a method in which he used pictures of different types of people. He showed them to his patients to instigate reactions, and to divide them in categories of sympathetic, not sympathetic and indifferent. Actually, this was an old shamanic way of approach, and similar to the Rorschach-test (seeing images in ink blots).
In Hungary, it was an old folklore that after asking essential questions, women would pour molten lead in water, and then interpreted the coagulated forms of the lead to get an answer. That is the same as the Rorschach-test, but this has more structure. Szondi speaks of psychological relationships instead of genetic or karmic connections. Sometimes we have to give the old thought structures a new form to bring them into the present again.
3. Amphibious Consciousness
The third sphere of consciousness, which is amphibious conscious, has the frog as its totem animal. The cult of the brotherhood of the frog was present in all of North and South America. Archeological finds show us that this brotherhood already existed 1200 BC. The frog had a symbolic relationship with Tlaloc, the god of rain, but also with the much older Orayona, the gods who brought mankind civilization.
The first method to experience this sphere of consciousness is the hitting of the back of the head in order to stimulate the small brain (cerebellum), what we mentioned earlier.
With the second method, one takes the posture of a frog, and then bring forward the sounds of a frog from every level. We have ten levels from which sound can be produced: the belly, the stomach, the chest the throat, the mouth, the tongue, the palate, the teeth, the lips and the nose. You have to produce the undulating sounds of a frog from all these ten places, and by this experience the frog physically, psychologically and psychically. Therefore it is important to assume the squatting posture of the frog and rock back and forth in a gentle way, while you make swimming movements with your arms. Every time your hands come together you make a clapping sound with your hands. You have to move from the loins by which the energy of the first chakra, the libido is being liberated. This you have to continue until you feel a warmth rising, a dry warmth which rises up in your body. It is a fine vibration that goes towards the tops of your fingers, the nose and the lips. When you feel this, you try to bring this warmth to the internal organs. you increase this warmth to such an extent that it becomes radiant, and it stings. Then you feel this warmth going towards the brain, where libidinal forces are being liberated.
This is a powerful force, like the high tension of electricity. This force is omnipresent, in the entire universe, in all matter, in all living beings, and is has a connection with the entire creation, and its forces and energies. We know that this force comes the cells, and the energy from matter, but one can experience both inside oneself.
By the undulating singing, the undulating movement, and the clapping of the hands, you can experience this force. Then you reverse this movement. Instead of moving your hands from your body forwards, sideways, back and clapping your hands (the swimming motion), you reverse this, and you move your hands towards you and then outwards, and forwards, and bringing your hands together back inwards. The swimming movement is the moving out of the water. It makes the connection with what is outside, with the bog world. The reverse movement is like going inside, the experience of the microcosms.
By these movements and the singing, one experiences the second chakra, the hara, the belly, which is the personal energy center. There is the physical electricity, and from there harmony with yourself arises.
The small brain (cerebellum) is our primal brain, which contains the paranormal experience which is very old. Even the one-cellular organism have this. They use this to connect with other cells, and even with the cosmic, and make a connection with oneself. This connection means that one becomes conscious of one's existence, and one's relations with other beings of the same kind, and of other beings, with the planetary, the cosmic and the divine.
In both the Indian, and the Native Indian mythology, the turtle is carrying the world. The turtle is an animal that lives both on land and in the sea. The amphibians actually are the primal inhabitants of the land. They are our real ancestors, which still have their own way of life and habits, and with which one used to feel connected to.
In Lipinskyvir, Yugoslavia, near the Iron Gate south of the Donau, an important archeological was made some thirty years ago. With the construction of a road, they discovered a very old fishing village, which was about six to eight thousand years old. Nearby big flat sculpted pebbles were found, up to three meters long, in the shape of fish people with long mustache beards, like bass fishes have. The strange thing is that on gravestones of the Bogomiles in Southern Bosnia, who were the heretics of the Middle Ages, the same type of people were depicted.
With the Szeklers in Romania and the Serbs and Mongols, it is still custom to have a long, hanging mustache, as is also the case in China. In China they also had a special frog temple were they were holding ceremonies.
I wear a frog emblem that came from an old Peruvian grave, and which has been made from a shell, symbolic of the sound (shells were often used to produce sound). The person who wore this emblem was a member of the fraternity of the frog. Wearing this emblem gives me the feeling of connection with the frog or amphibious consciousness.
4. Water Beings Consciousness
The fourth sphere of consciousness is that from the water beings. This consciousness can be enhanced by the same ritual as described with the amphibious consciousness, but producing the sound of a fish. When you make the sound of a fish, wow, wow, wow, wow, as if you make air bubbles, and you keep this going for about five to ten minutes, then you can feel a change in your brain. You feel that you have fins with which you can swim, and that you are connected with the fishes and other water animals telepathically.
When you make the undulating sound more and more 'round', then you can see the sound emerge as a little sphere of oxygen. Then the sound becomes a living, independent unity.
Don't only feel the fish-being, but also perceive the plankton and the one-cell organisms spherically. These organisms do not have eyes, but they perceive everything around them. In this manner you can make the entire surface of your body sensitive, in a prickly way.
You can also connect with cells, which consists of a nucleus surrounded by a mass. You have to feel the center, and you can penetrate that. It is about going into the infinitely small, and then from there outwards again. In this way you can perceive your own cells, and influence them positively. When you are able to do that for yourself, then you can do that for someone else.
5. Crystal Consciousness
When you arrive at the center, then you arrive at the androgynous state. This is crystal consciousness, the fifth sphere of consciousness. When the seven senses have been opened fully, then the eight form of perception arises. This one is not subject anymore to the influences of the senses. Then you perceive things as they truly are. You are not carried away, but instead you are looking at them from above, like a bird looking at the people below. This is the spiritual state of wise people. That is why large stone and metal statues are made of them, that look like they are supernatural, as if they are in the world, but they are not influenced by the world.
There are crystal skulls from pre-Columbian cultures. One is in the Museum of Mankind in London. These are very rare and extremely expensive. These crystal skulls represent crystal consciousness, and they were used initiate the Mayan and Inca aristocracy. They were an example to be without emotions and thoughts, to be transparent, and to experience each situation neutrally. When you look at a crystal skull, or a picture of it, you can feel this inside yourself.
Shamans used quartz crystals for the same purpose, and to remind oneself of this level of consciousness. These crystals were often worn around the neck, just like I am wearing the frog emblem. It does not have to be an artful object; you can just look at a crystal, or keep it in your hand.
You can also sing the sound of crystals. This sound is very high, like the sound of 'iii', which one can sing high and nasal. The Sufi people do that, and the women in Africa. In this manner they influence the consciousness or create a special atmosphere. The boys' choir of the Sistine Chapel were creating the same thing, although without knowing it.
The crystal actually is the condensation of the light of the sun. This belief is present all over the world. Now we know that when you heat a diamond it will turn into light, brilliant white light.
Tamas Basci did not have crystals, at least I never have seen them, because he did not always show everything he had. He always wore a small pouch around his neck. What was in it I have never seen.
However, I do remember something that happened in the month of March. Although it is usually cold in Hungary at that time, the snow started to melt, and there were large icicles at the reed roofs of the farm houses. One day he took us to a wine cellar to get five liters of wine. When we were walking along on of the houses, he broke off one of the icicles and said: "Put this icicle in your neck and then slowly count to nine. What are you feeling?"
"Cold", I said.
He said: "This cold you have to feel inside your consciousness." Now I see that as a reference to crystal consciousness, and the number nine is probably a reference to the nine spheres of consciousness. Aside from the seven spheres of consciousness I am talking about, there are two more. He didn't explain that to us directly. He just let us experience it, and then he stopped talking. Afterwards, we just drank some wine, and he said: "One glass of wine for the boys, that is enough."
6. Light Consciousness
The sixth sphere of consciousness is light consciousness, the photonic consciousness. When you experience the crystal, it begins as a triangle because the crystal is triangular. But when you arrive at the point, the crystal will dissolve and become vibration.
The light came into existence a fraction of a second after the Big Bang, fifteen billion years ago. They still do not know what form the universe is. Imagine that is round or oval, and that it will shrink again, then you can imagine how much information the light has gathered. Information about nature, about chemistry, about all physical, psychological and psychical manifestations. The light absorbs this all, just like you can see what matter a star is made of from its spectral lines.
To experience this, Tamas Basci said: "Close your eyes, but not all the way, and look through your eyelashes." The light then appears in all colors, but at a certain moment it becomes white, only the white remains. First you see the light as gold, then the colors of the rainbow come up, and then there is only brilliant white light. That happens when you concentrate on the colors, or rather, when you open yourself to them, as an admirer. It is not so much concentration as absorption, letting it happen. You have to experience the light from a place of wonderment, and then you can travel in this white light without moving.
Religions were using the light of a candle. Although a simple method, it is the same. You have to first perceive the yellow golden light, then the seven colors of the rainbow, then finally the white color. In a moment you feel a strong change inside you brain, like a fluctuating movement. From this a sound can come up, like the sound of a baroque organ or the high tone singing in the music of Palestrina. These sounds resonate as if they were inside a crystal hall, or as if they were echoed by high glaciers. By experiencing this, profound changes can happen.
7. Sound Consciousness
When you have experienced this, you have arrived at sound consciousness. When you experience light spherically, you start to perceive the subatomic parts of light, and then you notice that they produce sound. This is a very high sound that cannot be produced by us. "Listen to the spin weaving its web", Tamas Basci said.
All objects can be perceived as light. But light is also sound, and this is sound consciousness. Sound consciousness is characterized by a double movement: from outside to the inside, and from inside to the outside, like the mudras the Hindus and the Tibetans make.
You can observe things in a normal way. A chair is a chair. When you look a little longer you begin to see that it also has an aura, a radiation. When you look even longer you will see that it also has a sound. That is the world of sound for that chair. That I cannot decipher, because the knowledge I have is limited. Sound is a code that means something. it has a physical, chemical or other meaning. If I were able to decipher that I would be able to make a chair by just thinking of it. Only the Demiurges can do, the relatives of God, who know the code and thus are able to create.
I do not know the code, I only observe, without knowing what it means, but it is great to hear it.
That is sound, and to experience it I use the Tibetan singing bowls, the drum and the singing. Therefore, I tell everybody: "You have to use the instruments and the singing until all things start to make music. The essence of all things is sound." Therefore, you also have to sing spontaneous mantras. Of course, there are traditional mantras which have specific purposes. However, our problems vary a lot from day to day. Therefore, you have to adjust the mantras personally. It is also good to listen to the very high sounds which stream primarily in and out through your skin, or to concentrate on your breathing. Do not change your breath. Just experience how you are breathing, and try to experience the sound of breathing. Thus, you can affect the seventh sphere of consciousness, and not only the sound of your instruments or your breathing, but all sounds, especially those of nature like those of the birds, the leaves, the wind, the water. In this way you can experience everything as sound.