Secret Star Trek, Part 4: Psychics, Soviets and Stigmatics

It all started with such a trifling thing; the teaser in the new Star Trek into Darkness film has our heroes saving a primitive race on the planet Nibiru and by doing so creating a cargo cult. This is exactly the kind of scenario we see when symbolism is injected into a fictional narrative intentionally and consciously; it draws attention to itself, awkwardly.*

But a strange detail-- the actual appearance of the Nibiruans-- reminded me of a minor entry in the old Trek canon. And that opened up a whole other can of worms. As you'll see here, whole cases of cans will be opened.

And those cans are filled with the real-world workings of parapolitics; psychics, spies, cults, and secret trade agreements made in steambaths overlooking the rocky shores of the Pacific...

One thing you are struck by if you stop and look at Star Trek: Insurrection (read plot synopsis on Wikipedia or in-depth analysis at Memory Alpha if you haven't seen the film) in the context of Star Trek canon it really doesn't make any sense. At all.

• The Enterprise crew would not break the chain of command and the Prime Directive to allow a small band of space hippies monopolize a energy field that could save the lives of billions throughout the Federation.

• The Federation would not form an alliance with a race that was essentially arming the Dominion (by selling them Ketracel-white) while the Federation and Dominion were at war, for Heaven's sake.

• Admiral Dougherty would not trust the Son'a to make good on their agreement after spending time with them and realizing what a bunch of double-crossing sleaze they were.

There are other nagging details scattered throughout the story that make me wonder what-- or who--exactly this story is supposed to be about. I think I may have cracked the code.

The only problem is I can't be sure who-- or what-- wrote that code. Or why.
Left to Right: Dick Price, Atum-Ra, Jenny O'Connor


If you want to stop a conversation dead in its tracks at Esalen simply mention The Nine or their psychic Jenny O'Connor.

Since Dick Price's death in 1985 there has been an unending effort to downplay and minimize the influence the British psychic had on Esalen's cofounder and onsite administrator. But the record shows Jenny and The Nine were involved in upper management decisions and were onsite from January 1979 to at least early 1983, if not later.

But by the mid 1980s, the people who were paying Esalen's bills had a different vision for the Big Sur institution and for the New Age movement in general. Flying saucers and remote viewers were on the way out and yoga, aromatherapy and new-model Democratic Party politics (read: rebranded Rockefeller Republican politics) were on the way in. Timothy Leary and John Lilly were out, Deepak Chopra and Tony Robbins were in. Jenny O'Connor was out, Shirley MacLaine was in. Fripp and Eno were out, Yanni and John Tesh were in.

The experimental phase was over and now it was time to go mainstream.

In other words, the New Age movement-- that eclectic mix of esoteric religion, extreme human potential, high weirdness, technofuturism and/or neoprimitivism-- was no longer the province of a small, educated elite centered in West Coast hotspots like Esalen.

A blanderized and bleached-out version was going to be packaged, processed and pre-shipped to every shopping mall in the world. Any trace of radical ideology or religious doctrine would be replaced by self-improvement hucksterism and narcissistic body consciousness.

Now go watch Star Trek: Insurrection again. Substitute the Ba'ku's magical radiation for the pre-80s New Age movement as typified by an idealized Price-era Esalen and subsitute the Federation for the Globalist establishment and blammo; all those plot points suddenly make sense.

So who then is the film's villain Ru'afo? I'll give you a hint: He's one rocky little feller.

At heart, a business is a myth, a family business all the more so. Esalen was founded on the myth of two Stanford boys (Dick Price and Michael Murphy) looking to create a center for the spiritual nomads wandering the wastelands of California. Murphy inherited his family's estate on the rugged coast of Big Sur and one by one gurus and masters came to teach to a new generation.

But from the very beginning Big Money got involved. It had to. Esalen became a hotbed of 24/7 Dionysian excess (including the inevitable suicides and accidental deaths) and lawsuits and official displeasure (particularly from the Nixon Syndicate) ensured a need for protection from legal ruin, if nothing else.

In this case, the big money often came from Laurance Rockefeller, who saw the spark of genius in Murphy's ambitious intellect. Rockefeller was not only the heir of a vast fortune and a brilliant investor, he was also interested in the spiritual ferment taking shape around the Bay Area. However a Rockefeller was still a Rockefeller, and needs must.

Murphy opened a dialogue with psychic researchers in the Soviet Union in 1980 and that led to a series of invitationals looking to overcome the barriers of the Cold War. Where Murphy saw kindred spirits, the Rockefeller Globalists looked behind the Iron Curtain and saw vast untapped oil fields, mineral deposits and other goodies to be plundered for pennies on the dollar. And with the arms race breaking Moscow's back, they saw the opportunity to get their hands on the booty (just like the So'na).

Dick at work on the grounds

Throughout history the Church often played the broker when two sides looked to make peace but the Vatican made itself a combatant in the Cold War with the election of John Paul II. The Protestant Churches were under the Rockefeller thumb (the family controls the World Council of Churches) and were often useful idiots but Esalen and the New Age offered another interesting possibility, given the Russian fascination with mysticism and the occult.

But the episode with The Nine did a lot of damage to Esalen's public image so Murphy-- who spent very little time at Esalen and hadn't done so since trying to create an Esalen North in San Francisco beginning in 1966-- came back to Big Sur to marshal his forces and get rid of Jenny and The Nine. Steve Donovan (not "Dougherty") was brought as a third chairman to add an air of corporate responsibility.

We'll never know how this would have played out given Dick's death that year. But if that tragedy sent Esalen reeling into a crisis of personal grief and existential confusion, it played out well for the Rockefellers. With Dick and the Nine out of the picture, the new New Age program could be rolled out at Esalen itself, to be made safe for middle class housewives all across the free world.

Another Rockefeller minion, the Rev. Jim Garrison (no relation to the JFK prosecutor, believe me), was set up at Esalen to man the Russia program and brought the walking human disaster Boris Yeltsin to America. Garrison later headed the Gorbachev Foundation- another Esalen/Rockefeller project- at the Presidio in San Francisco.

Later headquartered at the Presidio? Starfleet.

Garrison basically helped whitewash the Globalist "New World Order" project-- which is in reality nothing else but unfettered corporate dicatorship†-- with the usual New Age suspects like Maya Angelou and Peter Gabriel, while the usual Old Age corporate raiders like Pepsico, Chevron and ArcherDanielsMidland got away with murder.

And just to put the cherry on top, endless conspirasheep bleating about "New Age One World Religion" (sic) helped camouflage the good old-fashioned pillage. As per usual.


Gee, like who exactly?

Keeping in mind all of the well-documented connections we've made now, let's take a look at at the plot of the film and its parallels to the events taking place at Esalen during the Nine era. Remember this is a TNG film so you're going to see some truly wince-worthy character development, some archaic cultural touchstones that no one cares about today never mind hundreds of years from now and some truly awful-looking CGI.

That being said the parallels are striking. So much so that you have to wonder what is going on here. Whoever is involved here has a deep well of knowledge of Trek, Esalen and the Nine, a profile that can't fit more than a couple hundred people in the world today...

•  Screenwriter Michael Piller said the basic pitch for Star Trek 9 was the battle for the Fountain of Youth.
•  The hot springs at Esalen are described as a literal fountain of youth in their literature.

•  The Ba'ku homeworld exists in a remote part of space called the "Briar Patch," that is difficult to navigate and communicate within.
• Esalen is in Big Sur, a remote part of California that has extremely unreliable cellphone service...

•  The Ba'ku homeworld is Esalen. I mean, go there if you don't believe me.

•  The aliens on the Ba'ku homeworld are invisible and are spying on the people there.
•  The UFO phenomenon essentially behaves in the same fashion as a surveillance program.

•  The duck blind ST9 brings us back to the ST:TNG ancient astronaut allegory, "Who Watches the Watchers?"
•  The Nine claim to be the ancient astronauts.

  Star Trek: Insurrection is the ninth film in the series, and the title begins with the ninth letter of the alphabet (scroll down to see the nine crew members).
•  The Nine were listed as administrators in Esalen catalogs.

•  The story takes place while the Federation is at war with the Dominion.
•  The saga with Jenny and the Nine took place while the Cold War was heating up ('79-'83).

The Ba'ku: crunchy, food-growing hippies
Esalen: crunchy, food-growing hippies

•  The leaders of the Ba'ku village are Sojef, Tournel and Anij (played by Donna Murphy). Anij is an anagram for Jani, roughly homonymic with "Jenny."
•  During the Nine saga, Esalen's figurehead/leaders were Dick Price, Michael Murphy and Jenny O'Connor.

•  While Tournel is not unlike a younger, more idealistic Michael Murphy (with traces of Iberia in his eyes and coloring), Sojef more strongly resembles a more mature Dick Price; squinty eyes, arched brows, prominent nose, cleft chin, similar body type and hairline. Not to mention the rugged, back to nature disposition, coupled with the human potential frontier aspect of the Ba'ku. It's by no means an exact match but compelling given the variety of physical types available.

•  Anij acts as ambassador to the Enterprise, the ship orbiting her planet.
•  Jenny O. does the same with the Nine, the gods orbiting Earth.

•  Ru'afo brings in Admiral Dougherty to help win the Federation to taking the Ba'ku planet.
•  Rockefeller brought in Steven Donovan to Esalen to help Murphy take control of Esalen?

•  Sojef is assisted by the Enterprise in his struggle to maintain control over the Ba'ku homeworld.
•  Dick Price was assisted by The Nine in his struggle to maintain control over Esalen.

•  Ru'Afo and Dougherty want to collect the Ba'ku planet's radiation and distribute it throughout the Federation, but the planet would be drained of its lifeforce.
•  Rockefeller and Donovan wanted to use Esalen to create a mainstream New Age but by doing so essentially drained Esalen of its uniqueness (or essence).

• The Son'a use a spaceship to collect the radiation. The ship's solar sails make it look like a butterfly.
• After leaving Esalen, Steve Donovan bought a sailboat called the Yoni. The yoni is a reference to swollen labia, also often referred to as a butterfly.

•  The Son'a were Ba'ku who rebelled and left the Baku settlement for other worlds.
•  Murphy and his allies left Big Sur to live in San Francisco, leaving Price to run Esalen.

•  The Federation create a simulation of the Ba'ku village in order to move them off-planet.
•  Murphy and others created an ersatz Esalen in San Francisco. The simulation also parallels the phony New Age of the post-Dick Price era.

•  The Son'a do business with the Dominion, then at war with the Federation
•  The anti-Nine faction at Esalen was doing business with the Soviets, then in an escalating Cold War with the United States.

• The Son'a plot is foiled entirely by the actions of Gal'na, who left the Ba'ku with Ru'afo. Gal'na returns to his home at the film's conclusion.
Murphy created the Center for Theory and Research- a conscious return to Esalen's roots- in the old family house shortly before Star Trek 9 was released. Note the allusion to baths, as well as the fact that Murphy inherited Esalen following the death of his mother.

The parallels between the film and the real-life drama at Esalen are there, undeniably. The question is how did they get there? I have no good answer; no answer based in anything but speculation, that is.

We know who wrote this story
; Deep Space Nine co-creator Michael Piller, who went so far as to write an entire book about the development and writing of this film and mentioned nothing about Esalen, the Rockefellers or the Nine, even though he incorporated many of these very same themes into Deep Space Nine.

And if you look at this story in the context of the drama at Esalen, it starts to take on a partisan tone which makes little sense seeing that Piller was spending all his time working in television at the time. Writers are always on the lookout for story ideas and take what they can get, but this seems a bit emotionally-loaded and inside-baseball if in fact these parallels are more than coincidence (and there are too many of them for that).
So how exactly do we account for this? That is the nut we need to crack in the next installment of this series.  The answer cuts straight to the core of what this blog is all about. How? Well, twenty years ago a fan asked Alan Moore where he got his ideas. His ultimate answer to that was to become a ritual magician.

I believe that was the only sane, rational answer he could have made to that question. Writers are always on the lookout for ideas but ideas might be on the lookout for writers as well...



As we learned in the previous episode, Dick Price was killed in a freak accident while inspecting a water basin. The story goes that a small avalanche was started when heavy rains loosened rock in the surrounding hills. A boulder exploded and a fragment of it struck Dick in the forehead, killing him. With that in mind, let's examine the Stigmata of Dick in this particular ritual drama....

The gods must suffer as we do so we see Atum-Ra Picard take on the Stigmata of Dick after- what else- an avalanche. But this one was caused by a attack ordered by Ru'Afo, not a rain-loosened boulder. Anij/Jani/Jenny is mortally wounded but restored to life by the power of the gods.

On Earth, so must it be in Heaven, as above, so below. Ryker takes on the stigmata- on the mirror side- while fighting the Son'a.

Admiral Dougherty takes on the stigmata when he is inevitably double-crossed by Ru'fo-feller.

Who takes on his own during a temper tantrum. Notice the serpent-like headdress.

As we learned back in 2008, The Nine had no influence on Gene Roddenberry at all, no sir, except for the fact that we had nine main characters in The Next Generation cast and there were all kinds of channelers and psychics and disembodied alien gods all over the series.  Plus everything else he did that came directly from his experience with them.

Which is basically everything he worked on.

But with Wesley and Tasha Yar long gone, you may be asking yourself why are there only only seven senior crew members if the Nine figure so heavily in this story?

Well, meet Security officer Lt. Daniels (#8) and Conn officer Kell Perim (#9).

Perim is a fascinating name, reminding me of Purim with Mordecai (Marduk) and Esther (Ishtar/Hathor/Sekhmet). Daniels takes Tasha's place and Perim does the same with Wesley. Oh, by the way, Lt. Daniels...?

...another stigmatic, this time in First Contact. Which reminds me: the Ba'ku planet is in "Sector 441." Do the math.

And then we have this rather cryptic remark, putting Picard on the Council. Which, of course, he is not. Unless you mean the Council of Nine.

And then of course we have Data as John the Baptist again, which for the life of me I can't figure the meaning of.

* Even when done well, it often seems contrived. The good stuff is at most semiconscious.
† Anyone who tells you different is someone you should ignore.


  1. Zthis gets better and better! Fascinating stuff here, Christopher... and seeing thtat I was planning on going to Esalen with my sister next year, this trikes gloriously close to home. Thank you for this incredible series of blogs...will be doing my own digging as well.

    One question.. Sojef?? JOSEF? any signifigance in term of the myriad of characters in this thread of thought???

  2. Chris,

    Data-as-JTB is an enigma. Could it be there is another layer to this? Is JTB itself a metaphor for something else? I don't know, but it does have me thinking, and maybe that's a part of it - getting the viewer to think not of the person, but of the space they inhabited, and/or the other persons sharing the space. Bit of a rabbit hole.

  3. Of course, the Head of JTB is also known as the Head of Prophecy. In the Gnostic Secret Book of John, Jesus says "“Do you not know that the head of prophecy was cut off with John?”" JTB was also said by Jesus to be Elijah, and let's not forget about the myth that Templars had the Head squirreled away somewhere (Renne le Chateau?). Just some thoughts.

  4. Wireless Internet Technology is the head of John the Baptist (Data removed from the Body). Smart phones are the explicit manifestation of this, and will soon replace arcane "coinage" (little Baptist heads on platters).