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Closing Time

Mystical Swan, my blog, will likely shut down very soon. Too many problems with my web host.

I may transfer my stories to another website… or I may not.

Whatever happens, never forget you are dearly loved.

In this Christmas blog post, I’d like to briefly discuss my thoughts on religion, and share my enjoyable dream encounter with Jesus.

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Sarasvati Vīṇa

I don’t talk about this much, because it’s a rather sad depressing story.
Nonetheless, it is an important paranormal experience I’d like to relate.

18 years ago, my uncle was brutally murdered. Senselessly killed by despicable thugs in a robbery gone bad. He was gunned down right in front of my aunt, his beloved wife. My elderly aunt was badly beaten too, and she was very fortunate to survive such a savage assault.

Well not long after, I met my aunt in that dark place one night, and we stood in the very same spot on the street where my uncle died.

I looked at my aunt, and I remember thinking how small she looked, there in the shadows, like a lost and frightened little girl. She didn’t speak, and it was pretty dark on that street, difficult to see, but she and I made eye contact, and I will never forget the imploring look in her eyes.

Suddenly I felt a powerful force gripping my body. A force unmistakably coming directly from my aunt, and reaching straight out to me.

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Here’s something interesting about swans, or hamsas, as mentioned in the Nada Bindu Upanishad, taken from The Voice of Silence by H.P. Blavatsky

Kala Hamsa, the “Bird” or Swan… “A is considered to be its (the bird Hamsa’s) right wing, U, its left, M, its tail, and the Ardha-matra (half metre) is said to be its head.”

Some Sanskrit mystics locate seven planes of being, the seven spiritual lokas or worlds within the body of Kala Hamsa, the Swan out of Time and Space, convertible into the Swan in Time, when it becomes Brahma instead of Brahma (neuter).

Aum, Om, ॐ

And from the Hamsa Upanishad :

…one should contemplate upon Hamsa as the Āṭmā in his heart. Agni and Soma are its wings (right and left sides); Omkāra is its head; Ukāra and binḍu are the three eyesand face respectively; Ruḍra and Ruḍrāṇī (or Ruḍra’s wife) are the feet kanthaṭa (or the realisation of the oneness of jīvāṭmā or Hamsa, the lower self with Paramāṭmā or Paramahamsa, the Higher Self) is done in two ways, (samprajñāṭaand asamprajñāṭa).

More mention of swans in the Rig Veda:

Book 5, Hymn LXXVIII. Aśvins.

1. YE Aśvins, hither come to us: Nāsatyas, be not disinclined.
Fly hither like two swans unto the juice we shed.
2. O Aśvins, like a pair of deer, like two wild cattle to the mead:
Fly hither like two swans unto the juice we shed.
3. O Aśvins rich in gifts, accept our sacrifice to prosper it:
Fly hither like two swans unto the juice we shed.

HYMN XXXV. Asvins.  8: Ye fly like swans, like those who travel on their way; like buffaloes ye seek the Soma we have shed.
Accordant, of one mind with Surya and with Dawn, come thrice, O Asvins, to our home.

HYMN XLV. Asvins: 4: The swans ye have are friendly, rich in store of mcath, gold-pinioned, strong to draw, awake at
early morn, Swimming the flood, exultant, fain for draughts that cheer: ye come like flies to our libations of-the

HYMN CLXIII. The Horse: 5: With brightly-flarning kine whose udders swell with milk, idth glittering lances on your
unobstructed paths, Put forth their strength, like swans in lengthened order, when they, the Steeds, have reached the

heavenly causeway. 

HYMN CLXIII. The Horse: 10: Symmetrical in flank, with rounded haunches, mettled like heroes, the Celestial Coursers
Put forth their strength, like swans in lengthened order, when they, the Steeds, have reached the heavenly causeway.

HYMN LIX. Maruts. 7: Decking the beauty of their forms in secret the Swans with purple backs have flown down hither.
Around me all the Company hath settled, like joyous Heroes glad in our libation.

HYMN XCVII. Soma Pavamana: 8: The Swans, the Vrsaganas from anear us have brought their restless spirit to our dwelling.
Friends come to Pavamana meet for praises, and sound in concert their resistless music. Ye singers, with the Gods, sages who look on men, ye Kutikas drink up the Soma’s savoury meath.

HYMN LIII. Indra, Parvata, Etc.: 10: Like swans, prepare a song of praise with pressing-stones, glad in your hymns with juice poured
forth in sacrifice.

The Rig Veda: Ralph T.H. Griffith English translation

Pdf format

My continuing search to uncover the hidden meaning behind the swans in my dream/divine visitation recently led me to the Soundarya Lahari. There is some debate with regard to its authors, and widely varying interpretations of the words and their meaning, so I can only provide what limited information I’ve found.

From wikipedia:

The Soundarya Lahari (Sanskrit: सौन्दर्यलहरी) meaning “Waves Of Beauty” is a famous literary work in Sanskrit believed to be written by sage Pushpadanta and Adi Shankara. Its hundred and three shlokas (verses) eulogize the beauty, grace and munificence of Goddess Parvati / Dakshayani, consort of Shiva.

The Soundarya Lahari is not only a poem. It is a tantra textbook, giving instructions on Puja and offerings, many yantras, almost one to each shloka; describes tantric ways of performing devotion connected to each specific shloka; and details the results ensuing therefrom.

The Soundarya Lahari is often viewed as being composed of two parts.

Verses 1 – 41 describe the mystical experience of the union of Shiva and Shakti and related phenomena. In fact, it opens with the assertion that Only when Shiva is united with Shakti does he have the power to create.

First 41 verses cover the detailed account of internal worship of the Mother. It consists of systematic exposition of the concept of kundalini, Sri Chakra, mantras (verses 32, 33). This depicts the Supreme Reality as non-dual but with a distinction between Shiva and Shakti, the power holder and Power, Being and Will. The Power, that is, the Mother or Maha Tripura Sundari, becomes the dominant factor and the power holder or Shiva becomes a substratum.


Although translations vary,  swans are definitely mentioned twice in the Soundarya Lahari (v. 38 & 91). Verse 38 is of particular interest, because it speaks of a swan pair.

Samunmeelath samvithkamala makarandhaika rasikam
Bhaje hamsadwandham kimapi mahatham maanasacharam
Yadhalapaa dhashtadasa gunitha vidhyaparinathi
Yadadhathe doshad gunamakhila madhbhaya paya eva

I pray before the swan couple,
Who only enjoy the honey ,
From the fully open,
Lotus flowers of knowledge,
And who swim in the lake ,
Which is the mind of great ones,
And also who can never be described.
From them come the eighteen arts,
And they differentiate the good from the bad,
Like the milk from water.


Here’s another translation of this verse:

O Devi, I meditate before the two Swans who drink and enjoy the honey from the lotus of knowledge. The swans swim in the lake which is nothing but the mind of great personalities. The 18 arts are created from the sweet utterings of these swans. They separate the good from the bad like water from milk. (Here the two swans are referring to Lord Shiva and Shakti).

The eighteen arts mentioned in Shlokam No. 38 are; 4 Vedas, Siksha, Kalpam, Vyakaranam, Niruktam, Sandas, Jyotisham, Meemamsam, Nyayam, Puranam, Dharma Shastram, Ayurvedam, Dhanurvedam, Gandarva Vedam and Needi Shastram.  -Source

So, God appeared unto me in a dream as a pair of swans, or hamsas. Could the swans represent Shiva and Shakti?

“In the Tantric cosmology, the whole universe is perceived as being created, penetrated and sustained by two fundamental forces, which are permanently in a perfect, indestructible union. These forces or universal aspects are called Shiva and Shakti.”  -Source

……………………………………………..Shiva and Shakti are one and the same……………………………………

There is no place that He is not.
There is no place that She is not.
They are one and the same.

She is in every thing.
She is in every word.
She is all there is.

See Her in all things.
Hear Her in all sounds.
Know Her in all thoughts.
Feel Her in all feelings.
She is all there is.

She is the one in the three worlds.

Shiva and Shakti are one and the same.

That is the secret.


I’m also driven to understand the rest of my dream, which I have not yet described. The short version is that I passed through two large rooms or courtyards, which opened to the sky. The walls were covered with complex geometrical inscriptions, carved in precious stones and metals, and they were humming and vibrating with warm energy, a life force which spoke to my soul, comforting me and inviting me inside.  I then entered a third dark limitless area in which the swans appeared. These details are also very significant, and I’ll attempt to address that in future posts.

Related info:

A Digest of Discourses on Soundaryalahari (pdf)
Soundarya Lahari sung by Mambalam Sisters on YT

Great Swan by Lex Hixon

Great Swan: Meetings with Ramakrishna by Lex Hixon

Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings are indeed intriguing, inspirational and enlightening.

Ramakrishna, the great swan, the paramahansa.

Info about author Lex Hixon

Ever since God appeared to me in a dream as a pair of swans, I’ve wondered about the significance of those swans.

Why swans? Why not doves, pheasants, or elephants? Prior to that blessed experience, I had no particular attraction to swans, other than I thought they were a pretty and graceful animal. Occasionally I’d photograph them swimming on a nearby lake, but that was the extent of my interest in the creature, and I didn’t associate swans with anything spiritual.

When this happened, way back in 1999, I was working very long hours, often 7 days a week, and I had no computer or internet access. Very little  time and energy for book stores or libraries either. Soon years had passed, and only recently was I finally able to afford a computer and begin researching swans and how they relate to God and the divine. Unfortunately I’m disappointed to have found very little information which might shed more light on my particular experience.

I do however distinctly recall reading somewhere… possibly in the Upanishads or similar literature, it being said that “In times of great distress God may choose to visit us in our dreams in the form of a swan.” I could kick myself for not bookmarking or remembering the source, and I’m still trying to dig it back up. But at the time I read those words, I was so enchanted and overjoyed by my encounter with God, it didn’t really seem to matter. I didn’t need any outside confirmation that what I’d experienced was a legitimate divine visitation, not merely a dream. Still, it was quite lovely to read the words and discover I’m not the only person on the planet who knows God visits us this way. I fell to my knees, thanking and praising God with tears in my eyes.

Now before I continue, I’d like to explain why I still haven’t published a detailed account of my experience. It’s mostly because I currently don’t have access to my original notes. Not long after this occurred, while the memory was still fresh in my mind, I took pen to paper to accurately describe the experience. Over a decade has passed, and my memories have faded.  So I’d really like to get my hands on those notes before attempting to relate my experience to others. Sadly the notes are buried somewhere deep in storage hundreds of miles away, so I’m forced to hold off on that. And I also want to accompany my story with detailed illustrations, which I’m presently unable to produce because I lack the proper tools. In the meantime, all I can do is keep this website running, in the hope of finding others who’ve had a similar or identical experience, and try to gain more insight into the meaning behind those mystical, magical, miraculous swans.

Clearly the swan, or Hamsa, has great spiritual significance in Hindu belief, and in yoga. The swan is the vehicle or Vāhana of Lord Brahma and Goddess Saraswathi. Primarily it symbolizes discrimination. It is told the Hamsa is bestowed with the ability to separate milk from water, or truth from illusion, the eternal from the impermanent, etc.

When I was a teen, first learning about yoga and seeking God, I recall filling a scrap book with magazine clippings. Photo reminders of everything I identified as being Māyā (माया) or illusion. Things like physical beauty, sex appeal, drugs, money, jewelry, fancy clothes and so on. Fleeting worldly delights so many seek, covet and hoard. I did this in the hope it would keep me from falling under their wicked spell and lose my faith. Lose sight of God and eternal truth.

So for me the significance of God manifesting as swans was to say; Don’t lose your ability to discriminate between truth and illusion. Don’t give in to earthly desires, or fear or hatred. Don’t forget who and what you truly are. You are the swan, the Hamsa, and this is your home. I am your home.

It makes good sense, considering how I’d strayed far from God’s light and was drifting deeply into a hellish black abyss of depression, anger, fear, and ignorance.
But why two swans, instead of one, or three or seven? And why did they move together, side by side, and arch their strong wings in perfect sync? Surely there is also importance to this. Surely God knows what he’s doing.

The synchronized pair of swans represented unity and harmony, but perhaps also symbolized duality, as taught in Advaita philosophy.

Advaita (a+dvaita = non-duality) simply means that the Source, by whatever name known – Primal Energy, Consciousness, Awareness, Plenitude, God – is Unicity, Oneness, Non-duality. The manifestation that arises or emerges from the Source is based on duality, the inevitable existence of interconnected opposites: male and female, beauty and ugliness, good and evil. At any moment there are bound to be interconnected opposites. The sage accepts the duality that is the basis of life and is anchored in peace and tranquility while facing the pleasures and pains of life exactly like the ordinary person. The ordinary person does not accept the duality, the existence of interconnected opposites at any moment of life, chooses between them and is unhappy. The sage accepts the ‘duality’ of life; the ordinary person chooses between the interconnected opposites, and lives in the unhappiness of ‘dualism’.


So maybe God was reminding me there is no real separation between anything. Not this and that, or up and down, good and evil, earth and heaven, or you and I, or us and God. They’re two halves of the same coin. To attain inner peace we must realize and accept this truth. And never forget everything in this world will at some point turn to dust.. slip through our hands like the sands of time. Only God is eternal everlasting truth.

I suppose I could pick away at the mystery and meaning forever, but it really doesn’t need to be so complicated. The brilliant white light that streamed from the swan’s wings was the true message. The light that came the night I surrendered my soul to God. And that message was… You are dearly loved. I have not forgotten you, little cygnet. You’ve forgotten your true self, that’s all. You’ve forgotten who and what you really are. So now that you’ve finally surrendered yourself to me, here I am and this is where you forever belong.

Thank you Lord, for that wonderful gift. I only wish I could share your message with the world, with something better than crude words. I wish that you would visit every man woman and child this way, as swans of love and light. But I suppose each of us must find you in our own time and way. Maybe the only way we can see those splendid swans is through total unconditional surrender.

It’s never too late to surrender your life and soul directly to God, and if you do I hope the swans will come to you. No need for intermediaries, because he can hear your thoughts wherever you are. But before you do… be sure you’re sincere about it, or you might be ignored. God knows the difference between true surrender and empty promises.

We’d all like to believe everyone and everything in the spirit realm is wonderful and caring. Unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case. Not every spirit is kind and loving, and wants to be our friend. I say this because of a dreadful encounter I once had while practicing astral projection.

I’d managed to put my body fully to sleep and keep my mind awake, and my soul had just begun to emerge when to my horror something grabbed me by both wrists and shook me violently, then growled loudly in my face. It was a most frightening and hideous animal-like growl which scared the daylights out of me. I can’t deny I almost peed my pajamas, and the fact I was physically paralyzed made it all the more terrifying.

I don’t know whether this malevolent spirit grabbed my astral or physical wrists, but I can tell you its grip was undeniably strong. And if it was indeed able to rough up my spirit in this manner… that is a concern. Although I don’t believe this type of aggressive behavior can inflict any real harm to our spirit, it definitely poses a threat to our physical bodies. I mean this sort of intensely frightening encounter could potentially cause a heart attack. Fortunately my heart was strong and I maintained my courage fairly well overall, but I have to admit I didn’t sleep well in the nights to come. For a long time I worried there was an evil presence in my home.

Nothing more happened after that night, so I’m led to believe this was most likely just some unpleasant soul who was roaming or trapped in the lower realms. I won’t declare it was a demon, or incubus, or anything quite so sinister. Perhaps this entity was casually passing by when it noticed me coming out of my body, and decided to give me a good scare for its own amusement. I’ve also considered the possibility there are spirits who do this deliberately to keep us from entering the astral realms while we’re still alive. Maybe we’re not meant to toy with astral projection until we’ve attained a certain level of spiritual power and knowledge. Maybe these [ass]souls are assigned the task of preventing us from escaping our bodies, by whatever means available. Or, as I said, maybe it scared me just for kicks. I may never know the answer to that, and I’ve dismissed the unfortunate experience as being bad luck, or bad timing and little else. And to be honest I’ve encountered many individuals right here in the physical world who were ten times as hostile and menacing as whoever this frightful character was. I’ll just have to accept the fact not every soul is nice… not in this world or beyond. All I can do is follow the light and try to be one of the good guys.

It was once suggested to me I burn a white candle while practicing astral projection, to ward off nasty spirits like these, but I can’t tell you if it works or not. And I don’t want to scare anyone, but if you’re experimenting with astral projection, please be careful. You’re entering uncharted waters and like myself, you may lack the knowledge, strength and skills required to journey safely.

Artwork by Pat Brennan

Who am I?

I am that
I am that I am
I myself am the Swan

Soham (so ‘ham सो ऽहम्) is the Sanskrit for “I myself” or “It is I” or “He is I”.

The mantra is also inverted from so ‘ham (the sandhi of saḥ + aham) to ham + sa. The combination of so ‘haṃ haṃsaḥ has also been interpreted as “I myself am the Swan”, where the swan symbolizes the Atman. “Atman” is the individual soul or essence. The essence that is eternal, unchanging, and indistinguishable from the essence of the universe.

In the Bible, when God was asked what his name is, He answered ” I Am That I Am’. In Sanskrit, the most ancient of languages, the sound of the inhalation is termed So, and the exhalation is Ham. Combined, the word Soham is translated as “I Am He/That”. So, whenever you are doing this technique, you are calling on God. Every breath thus becomes a prayer and adoration. Soham is referred to as the “Mahamantra”, the Greatest Mantra, and is considered along with Om to be the most powerful of all techniques. The divine energy of Soham is limitless heavenly love and light. -source

Related info:

Soham (or Sohum) mantra audio example (mp3) courtesy of
Meditation on the white swan (Hunsani)

I am that I am (Vivekananda)

Have you ever seen a ghost?

You know I almost have to laugh when I say the word, because of the way most people think. The way we speak of ghosts as being spooky alien entities, when the reality is these strange and eerie creatures are really just US, minus our bodies.

Recently I began conversing with someone from my distant past. My first true love. We’d lost touch for many years, and in that time most of my memories of our time together faded into obscurity. But there are a few unforgettable memories which are forever etched into my mind. Those memories began resurfacing during our recent discussions, which brings me to the topic of ghosts. The one and only ghost I’ve actually seen, as opposed to simply heard and felt.

She and I were teens back then, living together. Well, one night we’d gone upstairs to bed and I’d fallen asleep next to her. Several hours later I awoke, partially out of my body. This is the condition I’ve mentioned in previous posts, where I’d be wide awake yet paralyzed. Kanashibari, as the Japanese call it (meaning bound or fastened in metal). Back in those days this was a fairly common occurrence for me, and at first I began trying to push myself completely out of body. Now, in all the times I’ve found myself in this peculiar state, I’ve only once been able to actually see my surroundings, and this was that time.

I was lying on my side, on the edge of the bed facing the bedroom door. I could see the room and I knew it was the wee twilight hours, just before dawn. The door was slightly ajar and the room seemed to be illuminated with a soft pale bluish glow. I continued trying to force my consciousness out of my body, and as usual I felt as though I were rushing outward at light speed. I was hoping maybe this would be the first time I was actually able to completely break free of my body’s grasp and plunge headlong into the astral realms. Unfortunately something stopped me in my tracks.

I began hearing sounds coming from below. As I strained to listen, I realized it was the sound of footsteps coming from the downstairs level of the home. My first reaction was to wonder who on earth would be romping around downstairs at this time of the morning, and I became somewhat alarmed, worried it might have been an intruder. Because of that concern I now wanted to get up and check things out, but I was unable to regain control of my body. So there I lay, fully alert and listening intently, my gaze fixed upon the bedroom door.

At first the footsteps were fairly soft and light, like those of a child. Then they became noticeably louder, and I realized that whoever was making the sound, was hopping on the steps at the foot of the stairs. I was a bit confused and disoriented, and baffled as to why a child would be hopping on the stairs in our home. The footsteps grew louder and louder as this unknown entity ascended the stairs toward our room. By now I was getting rather panicky and struggling to stand up, but I still couldn’t budge. All I could do was lie there motionless, listening and watching as the footsteps bounced their way to the top of the stairs and into the hallway just outside the bedroom door. I felt a distinct flash of terror because I knew whoever, or whatever, was out there… was about to come through the door.

Suddenly a burst of light appeared in the doorway. Not a human form, but rather a spherical shape. A glistening ball of light, or an orb. For a brief moment it glimmered with dazzling colors… shimmering like a living luminous opal. Although the entity’s appearance was much more beautiful than terrifying, I’d had all I could take. My fear overwhelmed me and a sudden surge of adrenaline enabled me to finally regain control of my body. I jumped off the bed with a gasp, all wide-eyed and huffing. And then it was gone. Or rather, I was no longer able to perceive its presence.

Looking back on that experience, my first true spirit sighting, I have chuckle because it sounds like a scene from a horror movie. Poltergeist perhaps. It’s like a spooky ghost story best told round the campfire. But the truth is, whatever I saw that night… be it a “poltergeist” or an “orb”, or the harmless playful spirit of a child (or maybe my girlfriend, out of her body as she dreamed?)… was only a small glimpse of reality. Another reminder of who and what we all truly are. Ghosts. BOO! 😀

Happy Birthday to Me

49 times round the sun, so many things I want to say to the world before the clock strikes twelve and my stagecoach becomes a pumpkin.

Not nearly enough time now to articulate my many complicated thoughts and feelings, so let me just simplify and say

I love you all. Impersonally, impartially. And I forgive you all. One day, we’ll all understand, almost everything. So let’s work on that goal together, shall we? In the meantime, please stop judging, hating, and hurting one another.

God bless each and every one of you, my many beautiful brothers and sisters.

Bellingrath Garden

Bellingrath Garden Swans

Although I’m not christian, I do believe Christ exists, and I’m not so politically correct I can’t wish a merry Christmas to those who celebrate his birth, and to anyone who simply enjoys the Christmas spirit.

So, merry Christmas! And happy holidays to all!

I’ve only seen the astral cord once, many years ago. A friend and I were traveling together and we’d stopped at a hotel to rest. My friend was exhausted and had fallen asleep on the bed next to me, while I remained awake and upright, sitting in a chair watching TV.

A short time after my friend dozed off, something odd caught my eye. I noticed a silvery streak on the wall mirror across the room. At first I dismissed it as simply being some kind of smudge or smear on the mirror’s surface, but it was so bright it kept catching my attention. The longer I looked at it, the stranger it seemed, and eventually I moved back and forth to change my visual perspective. That’s when I noticed the streak didn’t move in in sync with the mirror as I changed my position. So finally I got out of my chair and walked over to the mirror for a close inspection of the unusual mark. When I got within inches of the mirror, and tried to rub the streak, I realized it wasn’t actually a mark on the mirror’s surface, but rather a reflection of something behind me. So I turned, and to my amazement I saw a silver strand of light emanating from my sleeping friend’s forehead!

Of course I had to rub my eyes a few times, but it soon became apparent I was not imagining things. There it was, bright as day. A thin, silvery, smoky strand of light, energy, rising up from my friend’s third eye region and vanishing near the ceiling.

I stood there quietly observing this for quite some time, from only inches away. The cord was about the width of a very thin pencil. It wavered ever so slightly, and was undeniably aglow with soft light. At one point I was tempted to move my hand through it, but feared that might somehow harm my friend, or at the very least, disturb his rest… so I resisted the urge.

After maybe an hour of gazing in wonder, I just sat back in my chair and said to myself; Well there it is. The astral cord. Bold and bright, and irrefutably real. I’d always been inclined to believe the cord was real, but there’s nothing quite like seeing such things for ourselves, while wide awake, to confirm our beliefs. Unfortunately I did not have a camera with me, and I’ve always wondered if the cord would have shown up on film. It is, after all, astral energy, not physical. As such, it might only be visible to those who possess some psychic ability. Yet, the cord was bright enough to cast a reflection in the mirror… so who really knows?

When my friend finally woke, I told him what I’d seen. Naturally he was a bit skeptical, but I soon convinced him what I’d seen was very real, and that it was more proof positive that we’re all indeed immortal souls !  🙂

I’ve had a number of partial OBEs (out of body experiences) over the years. Not all of them were pleasant. In fact some were quite terrifying. But I’ll spare you those ghost stories for now, because I want to talk about wings.

One night many years ago, I began emerging from my body, fully conscious. Now, allow me to first try to describe the sensation for those who don’t know. Basically you feel as if you’re pouring out of yourself. As if you’re becoming millions of beams of light which are shooting outward in all directions. You feel as if you’re rushing through space at the speed of light, yet simultaneously lying perfectly still. It’s an undeniably intense sensation, which is likely compounded by paralysis. I’d rather not call it sleep paralysis, because modern science strongly associates this condition with hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations, which of course diminishes the validity of our OBEs. Legitimate OBEs have been confused with everything from lucid dreaming to hallucinations, to exploding head syndrome to alien abduction. So for now, let me just stay on-topic, and sum that issue up by saying that in this state, the body is indeed asleep and paralyzed, but the mind is awake, and you’re not hallucinating. Slightly dreaming? Perhaps, but not in my case. I was fully conscious, alert and aware of what was happening.

Okay, so I’d reached the point where I could feel my spirit emerging from my sleeping corporeal self. That’s when I heard wings gently flapping above my head. Although I was unable to see, judging by the flapping sound I’d say the wings were about the size of a fairly large bird, such as a crow or seagull.

Naturally I was nervous at this point, but I was a determined young man, and I continued to push myself onward, rather than freak out and jump off the bed.

The wings continued to flap, louder and louder, but not furiously so. These were strong but graceful wings, and to my amazement I suddenly felt light wisps of air softly brushing my face with their every beat.

Not knowing what else to think, I concluded a spirit bird of some sort had lighted upon my pillow, just above my head. It was perhaps some cause for concern, but I didn’t feel threatened, only fascinated. However, the experience eventually became overwhelming, and I forcibly regained control of my body and got up off the bed, thereby ending it.

I’ve read a good bit about astral projection, and I’ve read the accounts of many others who have heard these very same flapping wings. Unfortunately no one knows for sure what this phenomenon is all about. But I do recall someone suggesting that these wings aren’t really those of a spirit bird, or angel, or any other alien entity. They are in fact our very own spirit wings we hear.

However strange that theory may sound on the surface, it does make pretty good sense. Because if our consciousness and soul are one in the same, and our consciousness is centrally located in our physical brains, then it seems very likely that our outstretched spirit wings (if we could hear, see or feel them) would be found at the top of our heads. So if we’re lying on our backs and emerging from our bodies in this manner, and stretching our wings, it’s entirely possible we’d perceive our own spirit wings as being a bird on our pillow, perched just above our head.  We shouldn’t assume our true spiritual form is a carbon copy of our human body, only with wings on our backs. Our true spiritual form may very well be that of a bird, as has been suggested in vedic literature.

I’ll try to dig up more info about this when I’m able. In the meantime, thanks for reading and please comment or email me if you have something you’d like to share about this interesting topic.


Recently I was asked the following question by a friend, in an email.

“Is it possible to be born without a soul? Or does it get lost? One person in particular who I believe was soulless also had a creepy residence. Middle of the country with no birds singing, or is that just a coincidence?”

I’ve decided to address this question here, for discussion’s sake. So to her (Sylvan Swan) and my other readers, I’ll give the best answer I can, based on my beliefs.

I do not believe anyone is born without a soul. I believe that the soul (consciousness) animates the mind and body, and without it, no one would be born into this world. Without a soul, no human, plant or animal would or could exist. And I don’t believe our souls are created during conception, but rather we are eternal beings, and we have always existed, outside of time and space, beyond the cycle of birth and death. Neither do I believe the soul can be destroyed, any more than God or electromagnetic energy can be destroyed. For me, the individual soul (Atman) and God (Brahman) are in essence one in the same. We are the eternal life giving force which animates all things great and small.  Learn about Advaita philosophy if you’d like to know more.

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“The Hamsa Upanishad teaches an ascent through six mystical circles [chakras, lotuses, vortexes] on to the Brahmarandhra at the top of the head. This ascent is had by meditation of the syllable Om as it becomes audible within. Hamsa repetition may help that “thunder”, the medley sound called OM, to come to the fore. Then it is fit to keep it audible as long and often as you can.


This mantra-king (hamsa) has a symbolical interpretation – the individual Atman (soul) is conceived in the form of a bird, a Hamsa (goose, duck, swan).

It is told that the Hamsa and the Paramahamsa (Supreme Swan) are one – that is, the individual and the highest Atman (Spirit) are one and the same in essence.”


*Many thanks to and

Swami Vivekananda Jaipur

Swami Vivekananda in Jaipur

You may download The Yogas and Other Works by Swami Vivekananda here if you like. (pdf/ebooks)

These books are wonderful. They provide tremendous insight into the mind of beloved Swami Vivekananda and offer much of his wisdom and teachings to the world. It’s recommended they be read in the order posted.

Left click to open the books in your browser, right click to save to your computer so you can read them offline. If you can’t open the files in your browser, try updating your Adobe reader.


1. Jnana Yoga
2. Bhakti Yoga
3. Karma Yoga
4. Raja Yoga


Brahman is now considered to be the one Absolute Reality behind changing appearances. ॐ



“Soft-brained people, weak-minded, chicken-hearted, cannot find the truth. One has to be free, and as broad as the sky.”

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