In The Amazon Pattern: A Message from Ancient Women Diviners of Trees and Time, I wrote of holographic memories in the layers of time and how we can access those energies in time in an interactive way.
One way is by learning to create and recover “termas.”
“Terma” is a Tibetan word for text or a sacred object hidden for safekeeping. A terma can be an object — a rock, a crystal, a text, channeled information, and even a memory.
According to this ancient Tantric teaching, termas are waiting for the right time to be discovered for the benefit of all sentient beings. Tantra is an esoteric form of Hinduism and Buddhism.
A “terton” is someone who finds a terma.
Termas are often hidden in eras of persecution to be discovered later when the “time” is right. The main place these are hidden is within the consciousness of the terton — sometimes, but not always, a reincarnated soul.
When I first heard about the terma tradition in Vicki Noble’s book, The Double Goddess, I was fascinated. Leaving memories or information from one lifetime in a special place for safekeeping to be found in a subsequent lifetime?
That is radical.
It implies a few things: first of all that one believes in reincarnation and secondly that the soul is continuous enough to actually be able to use something from the previous life.
If termas are often hidden “in times of persecution,” that means the people who hide them understand that the information or wisdom they hold will be obliterated and deliberately stow it away for later.
This negates the belief that spiritual practitioners who suffered this kind of persecution were passive victims. They saw what was coming and knew what kind of action to take. How did they see what was coming? Through divination, oracle, prophecy and active interaction with the otherworld. That is the nature of their work.
The terma tradition confirms that humans are able to leave “notes” to themselves to uncover in future incarnations. This means we may have done the same thing for ourselves.
We may have left what we knew we would forget; that which we knew we would want to remember when we arrived at this time.
Perhaps the Muiraquitãs of the Icamiabas of the Rio Amazon in Brazil and the offerings left by the Priestesses of Diana at Lake Nemi south of Rome, are a form of terma. Read more about both of these in these previous blog posts:
Holographic memories in the river of time
In Membranes of Hope, I expand on that, explaining how in divinations I interact with memories that are holographic in nature. What do I mean by this? I mean that packets of information show up as two dimensional forms that I can see, either in a shape or outline I am familiar with—a dog or tree— or an actual geometric light form like a hexagon. Once I begin to question of or focus my intellect on the packet with concentrated intention, they begin to “open,” one layer at a time.
I call them “holographic” because they seem to be projected there intentionally in time and one or all parts contain the whole. In The Amazon Pattern part 1, I wrote:
“The term “hologram” comes from the Greek holos (whole) and gramma (message). Hologram refers to the encoded material in the two-dimensional plane as well as the resulting three-dimensional image. One other interesting fact about holograms is that the whole contains the knowledge of each part, and each part contains the knowledge of the whole. So, even if you only have part of the hologram, a whole can be constructed from it. Though the information gets less clear with the reduction of each part, it is still there in its entirety.. . . Memories could also be interpreted as holograms created by our brains and consciousness”(70-71).
In a divination, as I continue to pursue these holographic packets of information, one question leads to another. As each question is answered, the individual layers of information unfold and reveal themselves with clear, concise sentences, images or feelings. These are then unpacked one at a time.
Often, the act of opening one of these information packets is the healing. It has been a knot or blockage in the client’s field, psyche or ancestral past. Opening it releases the held information or memories and allows flow. Others are full of useful information for the client to interact with as they see fit.
The more complex the packet, the more information it contains.
Learning about termas helps us understand that some of these holographic packets of information were stored in Time deliberately by humans who knew how to do this with intention. I discover many inherited spiritual lineages in divination that are being kept safe in this way. One or more predecessor of the client deliberately hid it away in Time.
Others get stamped into the layers of Time unconsciously by traumatic experiences or persistent beliefs.
The cosmos is a river of Time that is always moving forward and yet it has nodes, knots and packets moving within it that contain stored information.
Is this the function of the Oracle? To read the information left imprinted in the layers of Time?
If you are going to design a universe that stores memory in such a way, you have to create a form of intelligent life that can access and read those memories. The oracle is that particular human.
Read my previous post about memory and time: Externalizing Memory: The Moon, Counting and Time
Nested cycles of time
As noted earlier in our discussion about the moon and counting, time is a series of cycles that repeat and hold within them other, variant, cycles of time. Keeping with the example of the moon, we can notate one completed lunar cycle as a series of 29.5 days held within that one lunar cycle. 13 cycles of 29.5 days is a completed cycle of one solar year, roughly 365 days.
Therefore, within one solar year are 13 lunar cycles which contain 29.5, 24 hours days. Each day contains 24, 60 minute hours. Each 60 minute hour contains 60 one minute cycles. Each one minute cycle contains 60 seconds and so on like this.
One year holds an infinite number of completed cycles within it. Time gains complexity as it flows— creating decades, centuries and millennia. Each layer of cyclic time creates further complexity.
We can call these nested cycles.
Matter is also a series of nested lifeforms from the micro to the macro. Particles like protons which are made up of smaller particles called quarks, make up atoms and atoms make up molecules which in turn make up cells. Cells came together to make multicellular beings and the rest, you can say, is history.
These nested realities create opportunity for two things: coherence and resonance. Resonance is when two or more of the organisms, cycles or times sense similarity and so communicate that. Coherence is when the systems line up in such a way that a instantaneous wholeness is achieved making the organism ripe for sudden transition, transformation or growth. All-knowingness or the epiphanic experience of unity, is a product of coherence. Synchronicity is a product of resonance.
Memories may be built up in this nested way as well. Nested bits of information collected over time, gain complexity which we can unpack in layers or one bit at a time. We do this every day when we deliberately try to remember something or are spontaneously seized by a memory.
Memories are also receptive to coherence and resonance. A present, lived experience can resonate with a memory, bringing both to the forefront of our consciousness, availing us of greater understanding. Coherence of memory can be the feeling of seemingly unrelated incidents suddenly lining up into a timed sequence of events that imply meaning within a context of unified wholeness.
Virginia Woolf and the river of time
In her autobiographical memoir, “A Sketch of the Past,” Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) writes of what she calls moments of being, moments in our lives that separate themselves out from all the other moments of “non-being.” These moments of being are poignant, powerful and transcendent. Moments of being can be so strong and meaningful that they remain with us all our lives in the form of memory. Over time they are called up again and again into our consciousness, building complexity and strong association with other moments of being, further ripening with potential for transcendence as we age.
Moments of being possess a euphoric quality that make us stop and feel or see the unseen part of life, which according to Woolf is actually the main component of life. For Woolf, reality is the hidden substrata or interconnected web below the surface of ordinary daily life. That layer is timeless or time free, holding all past and future at once while simultaneously giving rise to the surface layer or present, which is often locked into linear time. Yet the potent present possesses the potentiality for moments of being which reveal the infinite and remind us of the interconnectedness of all.
In the same essay, Woolf ponders whether these moments of being and the memory associated with them have a life of their own and continue on in the universe once they have occurred. She wonders if one day we will have a way to deliberately access them.
“Is it not possible—I often wonder—that things we have felt with great intensity have an existence independent of our minds; are in fact still in existence? And if so, will it not be possible, in time, that some device will be invented by which we can tap them? I see it — the past — as an avenue lying behind; a long ribbon of scenes, emotions. . . . Instead of remembering here a scene and there a sound, I shall fit a plug into the wall; and listen into the past. I shall turn up August 1890. I feel that strong emotion must leave its trace; and it is only a question of discovering how we can get ourselves again attached to it, so that we shall be able to live our lives through from the start”(MOB 67).
In her novel Mrs Dalloway (1925) moments of being as well as the interconnectedness of everything through the river of Time is explored and displayed in a fascinating way. The way we are local— contained in space and time—and at the same time, nonlocal— spread out as consciousness over the river of Time all at once— is illustrated through each character’s stream of consciousness narrative.
Woolf perceives the river of Time as a “unity which lies beneath the appearance of change, separation and disorder”(MOB 18) Moments of being remind us of this essential reality. When we experience them, we feel a oneness with all and become excruciatingly aware of the interconnectedness of all, the beauty and perfection held there and the fragility of life in the physical dimension. Moments of being are achieved spontaneously often through a small or seemingly inconsequential event that suddenly stands out and holds all meaning within it.
If memory is a function of how the universe stores information for itself to create its own database and humans have learned how to intentionally participate and collaborate with this design through time with the persona and role of the oracle, diviner, and shaman, perhaps it is time to bring even more conscious awareness to these roles and abilities to create a more pertinent context for them in the modern era.
© Theresa C. Dintino 2023
Featured image: Consulting the Oracle (1884) by John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
Dintino, Theresa C. The Amazon Pattern: A Message from Ancient Women Diviners of Trees and Time. Wise Strega Books, 2015.
Woolf, Virginia, Jeanne Shulkind, ed. Moments of Being. Harcourt Brace and Co. 1985.