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SHAMBHALA: THE SPIRITUAL AXIS OF THE WORLD

by

Victoria LePage

Copyright 2008


Buddhists call it the only Pure Land on earth. Andrew Tomas called it an “Oasis of Peace” – a beacon shining in the darkness of the planet.i

In most Western countries Shambhala is known as a mythical or esoteric curiosity, but hardly at all as a real place. The idea of a paradise hidden somewhere among the valleys of High Asia, an idyllic region of peace and plenty inhabited by long-lived spiritual initiates of great wisdom, is rarely taken seriously. Yet there are those who believe not only that Shambhala exists but that it is one of the most important ideas of our time, with revolutionary implications for both the sciences and the world religions.

In 1933 the British author James Hilton wrote his best-selling novel, Lost Horizon, in which he immortalized a mystical Utopia in Middle Asia called Shangri-la, meaning Shangri Pass, a place that has now become one of the popular icons of our time. Shangri-la was situated in a hidden valley beyond the Himalayas, among the icy peaks of the Kun Lun mountain range, and sheltered a mysterious community of sages who possessed the secrets of longevity and strange psychic powers.

Hilton is believed to have modelled his fictional Trans-Tibetan Utopia on a similar legendary place in Asia called Chang Shambhala, northern Shambhala (so-called to distinguish it from another town called Shambhala to the south, in India). Chang Shambhala was a place of bliss Hilton had read about in the memoirs of Abbé Huc, a Catholic missionary who had travelled through Tibet in the nineteenth century. The Abbé learned about the kingdom of Shambhala from the Buddhist followers of the Panchen Lama in Shigatse. These Buddhists were members of an arcane brotherhood who claimed that the mystical kingdom lay somewhere between the Tien Shan and Altai mountains, evidently in the Dzungaria Basin, and that the Panchen Lama would one day re-incarnate as the King of Shambhala.ii

Huc was not the only source of Hilton’s information about the secret kingdom. From the end of the Middle Ages on, Catholic missionaries sent out to convert the Tibetans and the Chinese to Christianity had been bringing back reports about this wondrous place somewhere in Middle Asia, a natural paradise in which, so they were told, all the inhabitants were full of wisdom, justice reigned and suffering and old age were unknown. Although the way to it was difficult and dangerous and only the pure were granted admission, some lamas claimed to have visited the sacred land in dreams and visions, and occasionally even literally on foot, and had compiled a number of guide books showing the way. So vivid were their accounts that when the missionaries returned to Europe with their strange stories, the realm was included in a seventeenth-century map of Asia published by the Catholic authorities in Antwerp.

Although in the West the Shambhalic legend is still little credited, or at best assumed mistakenly to belong exclusively to the Tibetan Buddhist belief-system, nearly all races have enshrined in their folklore a sacred paradisaical place, hidden and incorruptible, closely corresponding to Shambhala – a gateway to higher worlds that only those gifted with mystical vision can fully enter. For there, so it is said, “the physical world joins the invisible realm of gods, and those who are privileged to be its dwellers are continually living in two worlds – the objective world of matter and the finer plane of spirit.”iii

This meeting-place of heaven and earth has drawn shamans and spiritual initiates into its orbit for countless millennia. As far back as the seventh century BCE the Greeks were mesmerised by rumours of a source of great wisdom in the arctic land of the Hyperboreans, “at-the-back-of-the-north-wind,” which was said to be, like Shambhala, a place of paradisaical bliss and enlightenment where men and women of high degree could live for thousand of years in perpetual harmony with each other, absorbing the wisdom of the celestial planes. And centuries later, the Greek sage Apollonius of Tyana journeyed beyond the Trans-Himalayas in quest of what was then known as the Abode of the Gods, which could only have been Tibet.

But it is especially in the East, among the peoples of Central Asia, of India, China, Mongolia and southern Siberia, that the legend of Shambhala flourishes most strongly. There the kingdom, ruled by the “King of the World”, is widely believed to be the holiest place on earth and the headquarters of a brotherhood of high Initiates who have kept secret their identity and their power source in High Asia for untold millennia. The kingdom is thought to be the magnetic focal point of consciousness even for those Masters scattered in every other quarter of the globe, unifying them at certain times into one powerful body of supramental energy centralized in High Asia.

Although there is still much debate about the reality of these spiritual Masters first popularized in the West by Mme Blavatsky, as they come more into the public eye their mysterious occult hierarchy is being revealed as far less remote and otherworldly than esoteric tradition has always painted it. In fact, among serious researchers today a picture is emerging of a hidden enclave operating in a dual capacity as a source of wisdom both spiritual and earthly, and consequently far more deeply involved in world affairs than many might like to believe. The Masters are undoubtedly gaining greater credence as book after book appears disclosing their central place not only in most of the influential New Age cults but even more so in their shadowy involvement in a web of covert geopolitical intrigues and conspiracies across the globe.iv

Shambhala too is enjoying an increasing publicity hitherto denied it as the mystical voice of High Asia is heard more and more insistently in the deliberations of international assemblies - especially in those of the Eurasian political bloc made up of Russia, China, India and the Central Asian states. Again and again in the latter mysterious figures emerge from the Eurasian background claiming superior authority and delivering oracular pronouncements of considerable political force in the midst of the cut and thrust of international affairs.v These are the anonymous envoys of Shambhala.

According to esoteric tradition, the hidden kingdom shifts its location on the planet from time to time in response to changes in landmass and geological conditions, but presently its communities are said to lie in the highlands of Asia in a network of ashrams, training centres and monasteries often hundreds of miles apart and closed to the outside world. These centres represent every major religion and are hidden in the sheltered and fertile valleys that can be found in large numbers among the towering mountain ranges of that vast area. Tibetans say that many of the valleys, surprisingly enough, are warm, even tropical places still quite inaccessible to the outside world, and that self-sufficient communities of spiritual adepts could have gathered there for thousands of years without detection.

Andrew Tomas, a popular Russian writer on esoteric topics, says Shambhala lies between 45 and 50 degrees north latitude, possibly somewhere in the Karakorum range northwest of Mt. Kailas in the Trans-Himalayas.vi He may have received his information in Shangai from his contemporary and close acquaintance Nicholas Roerich (1886 – 1947), the famous Russian artist and mystic who in 1924 to 1928 explored the vast Central Asian terrain searching for the hidden kingdom. In Shambhala: Oasis of Light Tomas says that Roerich told him he had indeed found the Holy Place northwest of Mt. Kailas, although his discovery is not unambiguously corroborated in Roerich’s own writings.

Tomas believes Shambhala is the world headquarters of the Greater Mysteries, and that its inhabitants are adept in the highest philosophies and the most advanced scientific knowledge known to man. A vast network of caverns and tunnels exist under the mountains, and according to the Greek Armenian magus George Gurdjieff, these subterranean caverns have sheltered secret schools of magic from the earliest times. The highest Shambhalic initiations are believed to take place in such underground refuges to the present day, unsuspected by the world at large. An aura of mystery and deep taboo clings to the whole region, and many supernatural legends have sprung up around it which have helped to keep superstitious travellers and surrounding indigenous populations away. Indeed the whole thrust of historical information on Shambhala seems to have been until recently dedicated to preserving the kingdom’s inviolate secrecy, anonymity and mythic status as a means of guarding it from unwanted enquiry.

As I have said, this traditional taboo seems to be lessening. My first introduction to Shambhala was in the early sixties through a well-regarded Theosophical writer, an Englishman at that time living in Melbourne. His wife Mary claimed to have visited an ashram in Shambhala in a number of astral journeys, describing a community in which she had seen many technological marvels far in advance of anything existing in the rest of the world. She also told me she had seen two of her friends among the visitors to Shambhala and they had mutually verified the experience on returning to normal reality.

By far my most important introduction to Shambhala was, however, through the copious archives of the late Dr. Kenneth Raynor Johnson, who was at that time attached to the Melbourne University as one of its most eminent staff members. Dr. Johnson was the author of numerous esoteric books, the best known of which was The Imprisoned Splendour. For purposes of research for the latter he had amassed hundreds of anonymous accounts of spiritual experiences from all over the world. Among these, which Dr. Johnson had kindly made available to me, I found the memoirs of a woman of unusual psychic abilities who called herself simply LCW. It was LCW’s extraordinary and illuminating experiences of Shambhala over several decades that I was able to include in my subsequent book Shambhala: The Fascinating Truth Behind the Myth of Shangri-la.

In 1940 Australia was still a colonial, white Anglo-Saxon culture of very narrow interests and outlook. World War II had just begun, and the Theosophical Society was establishing its first centres in Australian cities. The exploits of intrepid explorers of Central Asia such as Ferdinand Ossendowsky, Alexandria David-Neel and Nicholas and Irena Roerich, all of them searching for the hidden headquarters of the Masters, were beginning to become more widely known. It is relevant that at that time it was said among the theosophical cognoscenti that in 1922, for the first time in history, an order of World Servers drawn from among the ranks of ordinary humanity had been established under the governance of the Hierarchy of Masters in Shambhala.

LCW, then a girl of 20 living in Melbourne, was ignorant of all such matters esoteric or spiritually offbeat. Nevertheless, she says that one day she had an illuminating spiritual experience in which a golden radiance and silence filled her world and a stream of visionary knowledge poured into her awareness. Soon after, LCW began her night-time astral journeying across the world to a place she called Night School, which she described as built like an ordinary western community hall, with a dais at one end where her teachers sat.

There, in the company of hundreds of other souls similarly flying in to Night School from all over the world, she was trained in sacred dances very like those she recognized later in life as the ancient Sufi temple dances aiming at self-transformation that were performed by Gurdjieff’s European pupils. Later, LCW would be given wisdom teachings on a one-to-one basis. Her inner schooling lasted for twelve years. After a break of some years, it was resumed in 1962 and LCW was then told that the name of the Night School was Shambhala and she was shown its location in High Asia north of Kashmir. However, she says it took her many years to draw all the threads together into a meaningful narrative capable of throwing light on her strange adventures.vii

Edwin Bernbaum, in his excellent book The Way to Shambhala, cites a similar experience told to him by a Tibetan Buddhist monk called Garje Khamtul Rinpoche, who is presently living with the Dalai Lama’s community in Dharamsala in India.viii

In his inner body Khamtul, while a young monk in Tibet attending a retreat, flew one night to a strange place far north of his home country, and there he entered a Buddhist temple like those he knew in Tibet and met an old lama who told him he had come to Shambhala. The lama was preternaturally wise, with knowledge of the future. He gave Khamtul many initiations and advanced Buddhist teachings as well as advice about events that would occur later in his life; and then he told him that soon Buddhism would be at an end in Tibet, and that within ten years Khamtul must prepare to leave his country. This was the message he must take back to his fellow-monks, so that when the time came they too would be prepared to leave.

As Bernbaum reminds us, Khamtul could have imagined it all because he had been learning about Shambhala ever since his youth. However, at much the same time LCW, the young woman who had never heard of Shambhala, was making similar astral flights across the globe. So diverse accounts like those just cited from both East and West encourage the speculation that Shambhala is not an imaginary construct, nor restricted to any one religion or culture, but is a real place of wide planetary significance. Its unplumbed antiquity must be born in mind.

According to widely held beliefs, central Asia is the crucible of civilization out of which sprang the human peregrinations of the current cycle of history. Tibetan culture is believed to be one of the most ancient in the world, and shamanistic cultures to the north of Tibet, in Siberia, central Asia and Tuva preserve traditions that are at least 10,000 years old.ix

Inspired by Theosophical teachings, a number of eminent explorers have researched the lore of Central Asia and have found that all its surrounding races, however different their religions, do indeed cherish the same legend of Shambhala, always as a real though highly mysterious and inaccessible place – one that has concealed a settlement of spiritual adepts for as far back in human history as we can go. According to the same legend, the head of this spiritual hierarchy acts as the regent for even greater extraterrestrial Intelligences operating from beyond the solar system and guides planetary affairs on their behalf.

Consequently, we must consider the different religious persuasions gathered in Shambhala in various monasteries, ashrams and training schools as enclaves that, far from warring with each other ideologically as they do in the outside world, are peacefully confederated under a single spiritual head, as both Sufis and Buddhist lamas have always insisted. Shambhala can thus be thought of as the blueprint for a future, more enlightened society in which, at the highest hierarchical levels, the different world religions will merge into one body, one supra-religion. Each one will retain its own essential character dictated by its particular locale, yet form one component of a single organization working cooperatively in the service of the divine world.

The late British mathematician and esotericist J.G. Bennett called this mysterious confederacy in Central Asia the Hidden Directorate, because he believed it is responsible for secretly seeding new truths and implanting new energies in society, thus directing the course of history from behind the scenes.x In this view, Shambhala is the guardian of racial evolution, channelling the energies of the planet and directing humanity towards ever renewed opportunities for self-development. LCW believed that at the present time a new and more enlightened civilization is already being prepared, and that is why souls are now being especially drawn to Shambhala in great numbers, in order to receive spiritual reprogramming and preparation for the future.

A Forgotten Race, a Lost Science

Today we know as much as we do about Shambhala and its inhabitants partly because of the Chinese takeover of Tibet in 1959, causing a great influx into the West of the Tibetan Buddhist culture. Its rich wisdom, lore and iconography revealed for the first time something of the miraculous range and depth of the supernatural powers attributed to the Lords of Shambhala, as well as their advanced scientific knowledge. According to many of the lamas, the sacred centre is the seedbed of all mankind’s civilizations, and we are still only at the beginning of understanding its transcendental nature.

In the latter half of the twentieth century archaeological expertise in the study of prehistoric artefacts of great age and provenance enormously increased. As a consequence of this big surge of competence in prehistoric studies, a galaxy of innovative scholars has more and more insistently put forward the notion that we are the heirs of a high civilization, possibly worldwide, that must have existed prior to our own in the dim depths of prehistory; and that furthermore, this unknown race must have utilized technological principles based on energies of which we are ignorant. This is also the view of esoteric tradition.

The British occultist John Michell speaks of megalithic remains scattered all over the planet as mute witness to a vast network of monuments once built by just such an ancient civilized people. He postulates a web of Wisdom centres across the earth, converging on a world capital and using magnetic and even higher energies to achieve amazing gravity- and mass-defying works in stone incomprehensible to a modern engineer.xi In this way the power-base of an ancient civilization may have been created of which we have lost all trace and memory. We know neither how its monuments could have been constructed nor the kind of science that could have achieved the uncanny metrical and surveying precision displayed in them.

In my book on Shambhala I suggest the hidden kingdom in Central Asia was once the world capital of such an energy network, which was perhaps established to kickstart civilization once more after the series of catastrophic floods at the end of the last Ice Age. And I suggest that the centre in High Asia is still active, its adepts still retaining the knowledge of the ancient science of universal energy.

There are many indications in Central Asia of some such scenario, including a Tibetan mandala of Shambhala. Among other things, the mandala is a very clever topographical and demographical chart which has the mythical Mount Meru at its centre, symbolizing the World Axis surrounded by eight separate religio-ethnic regions. And in fact all the ethnic religions of Central Asia are ranged roughly around the Takla Makan desert north of Tibet, and correspond very closely to the layout of the mandala.

The Bonpo, the pre-Buddhist followers of the Bon religion in Tibet, produced a similar mandala of a sacred kingdom which they called Olmolungring or Dejong, again placing the World Axis at its centre and locating it northwest of Mt. Kailas, the highest peak in the Trans-Himalayas. They claimed Olmolungring was founded by King Shenrab about 18000 years ago. Shenrab was the first to give out the primordial spiritual teachings which throughout history are carried forth into the world again and again, whenever civilization is in decline and the truth is in danger of dying. But still other Tibetan commentators say Shambhala may have existed for hundreds of thousands of years, crossing all racial, temporal and religious boundaries.

The strange thing is that each race involved in these legends cites a different mountain, or range of mountains, as Shambhala’s location. Thus for Siberian shamans the hidden kingdom is to be found somewhere in the Altai range, but for Russian Orthodox Christians it lies in the Tien Shan mountains, for the Sufis of Afghanistan it is in the Pamirs, for Chinese Taoists in the eastern end of the Kun Luns, for the Kirghiz people in the western end of the same range, and so on. We shall see that probably all are right and that the mandala is telling us that Shambhala is laid out over a vast area of High Asia in a quite specific configuration, one delineated by a circle of power centres or gates situated on special mountains, each one sacred to its own people but united by the World Axis at their centre.

According to occult tradition, there are a number of such natural gates scattered across the earth (Colin Wilson, a renowned occult researcher, tells us one has been found at Rennes-le-Chateau., another on the Danish island of Bornholm in the Baltic Sea)xii, but Shambhala has a unique function in that it serves as the earth’s main gateway into the higher planes. In esoteric cosmology the spiritual world must always at some point touch the physical world, since the two are cosmic polarities indissolubly interconnected. At that main point of connection there is a doorway, a bridge or gate between the two worlds that is always marked by some kind of occult key that unlocks it, some kind of threshold device customarily called a seal or signature, that gives entrance into and out of the higher realms. It may be a Qabalistic talisman, a geomantic or mandalic figure, or perhaps an architectural one embodying some principle of sacred geometry, such as a pyramid.

These occult gates are, as one writer has put it, repositories or storage cells of power, batteries holding a latent charge of energy which, in combination with the appropriate rituals, can be activated in a practical manner. In antiquity it was known that as well as sounds and magical rituals, certain sacred patterns laid out on the earth by means of buildings, earthworks, megaliths, a ring of mountains or other natural features, were able to draw down energies from the higher planes.

Thus John Michell says that Glastonbury in Britain was laid out in some long-past megalithic age as a great outdoor temple or Mystery centre according to the principles of sacred geometry. So also the Giza pyramids in Egypt, like Rennes-le-Chateau, were cosmic doorways. These foci of powerful occult energies are now defunct, or at least quiescent. But I suggest that Shambhala is another such centre, a far greater and more ancient one that was laid out long ago in a ring of consecrated mountains as a conduit for the reception of cosmic power – and that it may still operate as such, as a gateway between the physical world and the spiritual.

For thousands of years men have searched for the elusive force that must have been utilized in the amazing works of remote antiquity and have called it by many names – vril, chi, orgone, animal magnetism, od, anima mundi, azoth – but without successfully identifying it.

In The Lost World of Agharti a British author, Alec Maclellan, concludes that the energy in question has always been secretly known to Shambhala’s initiates and that it could only be kundalini shakti, the organizing life force which Indian metaphysics asserts is inherent in all individual bodies, whether of worlds or earthly organisms. Since the Hindu-Buddhist mystical system called the Kalachakra or Wheel of Time, which is based on kundalini yoga, is said to be taught in Shambhala and to have originated there, Maclellan’s is a compelling hypothesis.

At present the West is aware of kundalini only as an incredibly powerful psychospiritual force which, when awakened, closely interacts with the human nervous system. We know that this primal force generally lies in a dormant condition at the base of the spinal system in human beings, but when it rises up the seven psychic dynamos in the spine known as chakras, these act as doorways opening to the inner senses. The unique shape and constitution of each chakra is the key that opens it to its proper psychospiritual level, and under the action of kundalini all seven chakras take their place in a graduated hierarchy of doorways that ascend the spinal column from the primordial chthonic level to the transcendental.

Awakened kundalini acts in such a way as to speed up the person’s physical, emotional and intellectual evolution, often with revolutionary effects, which incidentally casts a great deal of light on the mysterious powers imputed to Shambhala’s initiates. Clairvoyance, supramental hearing, weightlessness, knowledge of the future, mastery over the elements, telekinesis, the ability to perceive things at a microscopic level or conversely in a cosmic enlargement of vision – all these effects are the consequence of kundalini’s activity in the inner bodies and their sensory instruments. Increasing numbers of people are now claiming sensitivity to kundalini’s occult effects.

However, the concept of kundalini as a universal energy active throughout the cosmos is far less well known to the West. In Indian Tantra Yoga this cosmic power is called Mahakundali, Mother of Space and Time and builder of the universe, a generic term of which kundalini is the diminutive, denoting its presence in particular bodies Kundalini shakti is said to be a proto-intelligent, proto-organizing and proto-conscious energy which is found in both free and concentrated form throughout the universe: it creates all things and informs all things; it is at the root of all that exists.

Consequently, according to Indian metaphysics the earth no less than the human body is the theatre of kundalini’s transcendental activity. In other words, subsuming as it does all other lower energies, we should think of this primal force as also being present in the planet as terrestrial kundalini, as the psychophysical power underlying the earth’s entire energy system and as the dynamo that generates all its spatial and temporal effects. This possibility may be the real secret of Shambhala – one that makes the so-called hidden kingdom immensely relevant to modern science as well as to religion.

Sir John Woodroffe, a virtuoso exponent of the Indian Tantras in the nineteenth century, reminds us in The Serpent Power that the human being is a microcosm; what exists in the human being exists also in the planet, in the universe. Thus the spinal cord is the axis of the body in precisely the same sense as Mount Meru symbolizes the hidden axis or spinal cord of the earth which ancient seers called the World Axis. The human spine, Woodroffe says, is called in India Merudanda, the Meru or axis staff, meaning that it shares with mythic Mount Meru the same axial function – including therefore the same system of chakras and flow of kundalini. xiii

This can only mean that Shambhala may be a unique place on the earth for one excellent reason: lying as it does at the foot of the World Axis, it serves to mark the site of a great current of terrestrial energy which passes through the spine of the planet symbolized by Mount Meru, the axis mundi, its function that of the creative regulator of all earthly life.

Terrestrial kundalini is a new and almost undocumented concept whose implications open up a field of speculation far beyond the scope of this article. But even the brief mention of it here serves to show why Shambhala may not be the fantasy it is generally assumed to be. In reality it may shelter a hidden spiritual community that has clustered for untold ages around a vital geophysical feature of the planet not yet discovered by science, its members studying, preserving and utilizing the dangerous secrets of ultimate energy in the interests of human evolution.

What then is this psychospiritual World Axis which is not to be equated with either the polar or the magnetic axes of the earth? Leading ethnologists and students of comparative religion say that, according to the testimony of modern shamans in the Altaic region, between thirty thousand and one hundred thousand years ago the shaman magicians of southern Siberia were even then taking astral flight around this Cosmic Tree at the centre of the world. Born and raised on its branches – that is, in the upper worlds of hyperspace – these great masters of trance and ecstasy acquired on the Tree their healing and prophetic powers, their control over subtle energies, their clairvoyance. The Tree was their divine mother, for all spiritual knowledge and powers came from her. She was indeed the Axis of the World, the ever-giving Tree of Life.xiv

In Finnish mythology this Tree is called the Sampo, a name derived from the Sanskrit word skamba, pillar. Like the Nordic World Tree called Yggdrasil, the Sampo is regarded as magical, a kind of magical mill whose turning is capable of producing anything one wishes. Finnish scholars identify the turning mill of the Sampo as centred on the Pole Star in the far north. John Major Jenkins, a leading researcher in esoteric astronomy, says that the cosmological framework of the Sampo, which Finnish lore declares has been “relocated,” presumably from the polar north,

is typical of Finno-Ugaric and Siberian shamanism. It contains a central pillar and three, five, seven or nine levels. There is a close parallel with the Hindu chakric system.xv

Like LCW, Jenkins identifies the shamanic Cosmic Tree with a third terrestrial axis that points towards the Galactic Centre in one direction, passing through the earth and out towards the Pleides in the other. He calls it the evolutionary axis. Like LCW, he relates it to terrestrial kundalini and speaks of “galactic chakras” along its length. At the base of Yggdrasil, Jenkins notes, are the Norns, three goddesses of time symbolizing past, present and future. Equivalent to the Norns is the Finnish Louhi, the goddess who turns the milling stone of the Sampo and is its keeper. “These,” Jenkins claims, “are all equivalent to the goddess Kundalini at the base of the seven-layered spinal tree.”xvi He is in effect claiming that the earth is an organic, living entity on the same conceptual level as the human body, and that, like the human body it has an etheric spinal system of subtle energy centres.

On the basis of her astral visions, LCW makes the same point. As she flew across the world on her way to Night School, she saw that there was an immense current of energy soaring out of Central Asia somewhere north of Kashmir. The column of light (as it appeared) soared up into interstellar space like a great shaft of shimmering luminescence, reminding her of the Siberian shaman’s Cosmic Tree, the mythic axle uniting earth, heaven and the underworld. This ghostly tree growing out of the mountainous region of High Asia was regularly intersected by transverse branches which formed a ladder of planes or worlds mounting to the heavens. At each intersection there was a gateway into another world, each gateway marked by a geometrical symbol, and all these higher worlds, formed of progressively finer matter, enveloped our earth like the concentric layers of an onion – or like the ascending chakric system in the human spine.

On finally nearing this luminous shaft of energy that pierced all the worlds at their centre, LCW entered it from a point far above the earth. She found that the luminescent current had extremely strange and unearthly properties, for in it there were no space or time coordinates. Prior to both space and time, it was a seed dimension, a strange plenum of potentialities from which it was possible to journey into past or future, or to any place in the universe. Here, she believed, was to be found the true secret of time and space travel and the real secret of Shambhala.

This remarkable vision has been given corroboration by the experiences of a Russo-Siberian psychiatrist called Olga Kharitidi, who has published an autobiographical account of Siberian shamanism as she has personally encountered it. Called Entering the Circle, this 1995 book details Siberian beliefs about a mystical centre in the Altai mountains that corresponds to Shambhala, the same place that the author calls by its Russian name, Belovodye.xvii The shamanic beliefs about Shambhala that Olga Kharitidi enumerates support in every respect LCW’s account of the place and her vision of the World Axis, even to the peculiar anomalies of space and time that are characteristic of it.

While LCW was taken forward in time to witness world events yet to come, Olga Kharitidi was taken back into the remote past to interact with a primitive human tribe at a time of crisis in its life. Rare though these kinds of mystical reports are, they do seem to indicate that the planet may have a much more complex spatiotemporal structure and possibilities of evolutionary function than geophysicists have hitherto supposed, and that the key to such geological secrets may well lie in High Asia, in the area traditionally known as Shambhala.

It is worth bearing in mind that folklore often reflects profound secrets in a garbled or metaphorical form. Travellers in the highlands of Asia have repeatedly reported the awe in which Shambhala is held, the unaccountable fascination and fear it evokes throughout the region, the strange political overtones lent to it by various nations interested in power. Ferdinand Ossendowski, the most prosaic and sceptical of Russian intellectuals at the beginning of his journey in Central Asia, in the end called Shambhala “the Mystery of Mysteries [that] keeps its own deep silence.”xviii That silence may soon be ending.


i Andrew Tomas. Shambhala: Oasis of Light, Sphere Press, London, 1974

ii Victoria LePage. Shambhala, Quest Books, Illinois, 1996.

iii Tomas, op. cit., 32.

iv K. Paul Johnson. The Masters Revealed, State University of New York Press,

Albany, 1994.

v Lynn Picknett & Clive Prince, The Stargate Conspiracy, Berkley Books, New York, 1999.

vi Tomas, op. cit., 36.

vii LePage, op. cit., 106 – 7.

viii Edwin Bernbaum, The Way to Shambhala, Jeremy Tarcher Inc., 1980.

ix John Major Jenkins, Galactic Alignment, Bear & Co., Vermont, 2002, 123.

x John G. Bennett, The Masters of Wisdom, Turnstone Books, 1974.

xi John Michell. The View Over Atlantis, Sphere Books, London, 1977.

xii Colin Wilson, Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals, Bear & Co., 2006, 224 – 30.

xiii Sir John Woodroffe, The Serpent Power, Dover, New York, 1974.

xiv Mircea Eliade, The Myth of the Eternal Return, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J., 1954.

xv Jenkins, op. cit., 170 – 71.

xvi Ibid., 172.

xvii Olga Kharitidi, Entering the Circle, HarperCollins, New York, 1996.

xviii Ferdinand Ossendowski, Beasts, Men and Gods, Edward Arnold, London.

 

Copyright Victoria LePage 2008