The representation of thousands of stars on the planet's surface is only one feature among many in the planet's energy body. It's one of the 20 basic design features I mentioned above. Also present are many of the structures, "places," and processes found in the spiritual worlds and often described in the world's various religious, spiritual, and mythic traditions.
I've already alluded to the Grail Castles, but let's mention a few more. Not only are the individual stars represented, but there are miniaturized versions of the galaxy templated in the landscape, a bit like interactive celestial theme parks. The Celtic myths referred to this star-mapped landscape as Avalon and the Summer Country.
Hindu mythology talks of the cosmic mountain called Mt. Meru and its eight celestial cities arrayed around it. These eight celestial cities are present on the Earth, and so is the one archetypal Mt. Meru. The Persian mystics spoke of the cosmic mountain, Mt. Qaf, which is the same and different as Mt. Meru: that is here, replicated many times. Homer and Virgil recounted their heroes entering the Underworld and Land of the Dead through certain portals in the landscape; Vergil's Aeneas, for example, went through the caves at Cumae near Naples, Italy, to get into the Underworld. Hercules descended to the Underworld at Taenarum in Laconia in Southern Greece. These Underworld entrances are present on the planet, and there are almost two thousand of them; if you have the pluck you can pass through them and find out what's inside.
Both the Greeks and Norse myths say the major gods dwell in a special place, called either Mt. Olympus or Asgard; the Hindus called it Indra's City of Amaravati and the Sumerians knew it as the Ekur. These homes of the gods are present in multiple expression in the planet's grid system. The Greek, Chinese, and Vedic myths say the world originally emerged from a cosmic egg; there are cosmic eggs on Earth. The Chinese, Norse, and Hindu stories say that the world was generated from the body of a primordial giant, P'an ku, Ymir, or Purusha. Representations of this primogenitive cosmic giant or Universal Man are found in the planet's energy topology.
The Norse myths describe the massive Midgard serpent wrapped around the base of the Tree of Life; other myths claim dragons lurk in caves, grottoes, hills, glens, lakes, inside mountains. These stories are factual: dragons are present in the sacred sites matrix, though they aren't quite what you would think. The variously described ten "families" or choirs of angels are associated with the various features just mentioned.
There are even wormholes or "quick ways" by which you can travel almost instantaneously from one site to another across the planet. Many more correlations between the galaxy and Earth could be listed.
But by this time you are probably wondering: how did all this galactic stuff get here on the Earth? Was it brought? Did somebody come with a giant cookie cutter or stamp? Did people make their temples in imitation of these mythic archetypes? The full answer to this and many related questions is given in The Emerald Modem, which is meant to accompany The Galaxy on Earth. But the short answer is no, no, and no. The energy topology was here before the Earth was. It is in fact more the true Earth than the Earth we know is. It's the mold, the armature, the plan, the organizing field.
Imagine a transparent skin around the planet, like an aura. In this auric skin are all the features I've mentioned, and many I haven't. It is a multidimensional matrix teeming with galactic life. From out of this auric matrix emerges the physical planet, as if the galactic matrix births it. The planet retains copious birthmarks, imprints of all this teeming life of the galaxy.
In fact, the galactic matrix and the physical planet are one and the same, occupying the same space, but in different dimensions. Think of the Earth's visionary geography as lying close to the physical skin of the planet the way heat waves ripple just a bit above a hot summer landscape.
It isn't even correct to say the galaxy is imprinted on the Earth. It is present, to borrow a phrase from the Australian Aborigines, as a Dreaming in the Earth - as the Earth. Where there is a physical mountain, there is also a star; where there is a human settlement, there is an Avalon, or miniaturized galaxy; where there is a rounded hill, there is also a dragon sitting on a horde of gems; where there is a physical temple, there may also be the home of the gods.
It also is misleading to see this galactic skin as only situated on the Earth's surface. If you could see this with double vision, you would behold a galaxy and a planet occupying the same point in space. The globe of Earth is a miniature galaxy, brimming with stars and pulsating with lines of connection. Everything that is in the celestial worlds is here on Earth as part of its visionary geography.
The planets and stars are here; the constellations are here. The residences - the "celestial cities," as the Mahabharata calls them - of the gods, the temples of spiritual beings and the angelic hierarchy are here. The processes that they supervise, that is their essence, are here. And everything that's in the human body is here too. The organs, the chakras, the nadis, the myriad strands of connection popularly called ley lines. In fact, this is the whole point.
All of this galaxy on Earth is but a mirror of the spiritual organization of the human. It's all a magnificent planetary mirror. It's us, projected outside to make a world around us. Ironically, it's highly solipsistic: everywhere you go, it's you; you're walking in yourself; seeing yourself; catching yourself at yet another unexpected angle. However, as I said earlier, the you you're watching is the Big You, the cosmic you, the Self you always are, before you ever came here.
Henry Corbin, the marvellous scholar of Persian mysticism, put this revelation elegantly when he said a moment comes when "the soul discovers itself to be the earthly counterpart of another being with which it forms a totality that is dual in structure." These two parts are "the transcendent celestial Self and the earthly Self." The soul came from this transcendent Self in the original days of creation and long before coming to the Earth, but of course as souls we forgot all about it. "This Self had become strange to it while the soul slumbered in the world of ordinary consciousness."
Remembering the Self is what the Earth's visionary geography facilitates for us. That's why it's here: to help us wake from this long slumber of forgetting and, once awake, to not feel like a stranger. This is a crucial consideration. When you start to wake up, and sense a pre-existence in a spiritual realm, when the soul at last starts to find itself, it "experiences itself as exiled, terrified, and disoriented by and among the common norms," says Corbin. The soul discovers itself to be "alone in a world formerly familiar," he adds.
The soul feels itself to be a stranger in the world and starts looking around for a way out of here. That's where visionary geography comes in; that's where it is an act of grace. The way out of here is here, the world within the world, the holy terrain behind the mundane one.
Remember the meditative image earlier of the Earth spotted with many points of light. Think of the sacred sites you are familiar with, ones you have visited, seen in photographs, or read about. These are all parts of the large picture, but the large picture, I think you'll agree, is startlingly bigger and perhaps stranger than anything you might have thought the parts would add up to.
[Excerpted from The Galaxy on Earth: A Traveler's Guide to the Planet'sVisionary Geography, ©Richard Leviton, 2002, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Charlottesville, VA 22902]