Monday, November 30, 2009

The Exegesis: Disclosure and its Discontents



Well, another ‘disclosure event’ has come and gone. I haven’t really been keeping track of how many there have been, but it seems as long as I've been paying attention to the UFO phenomena people have been making remarkable predictions of upcoming disclosures that have yet to come to pass. I do remember that expectation was running very high in the mid-90s, and UFOs were everywhere in the media, but...nothing. I wasn’t plugged into the pre-Internet UFO community per se, but I know there were a number of predictions (made by people like Jeanne Dixon and Phyllis Schlemmer) that some kind of massive UFO landing was due in the late 70s and nothing came of that either, obviously.

Anyone who approaches the UFO phenomena with an open mind comes to realize that whatever it is, it’s a much deeper, much, much older and much more prevalent reality than what the mainstream media- at least in certain western nations- would ever have us believe. It’s only natural then to assume that people in government are aware of it, have access to greater knowledge about it than you or I, and are intentionally keeping it all from us. But there's also the possibility that the government knows about the phenomenon but also knows there's nothing it can do about it, which some of the evidence speaks to as well. And governments generally don't like to admit their impotence in the face of a superior power.



Disclosure advocates generally argue that the authorities are deeply worried that present social arrangements will be devastated through knowledge of - or contact with - an advanced ET culture. But all of this assumes that there’s some benefit from disclosing any knowledge of ETs to begin with. If in fact some transnational elite has been in contact with alien beings, there's no real advantage in letting the rest of us in on it. The same way any number of projects, alliances and arrangements are kept secret from the public. Secrecy is power, always.



Of course, there's also the ‘staged contact’ theory popular in conspiracy circles. The theory has it that some elite cabal is going to make things so unbearable- war, famine, plague, etc- that people will be desperate for a savior. Once humankind is on its knees, NASA and Hollywood will provide Earth's salvation in the form of prefab UFOs and actors dressed up as ET's.

Aside from the fabled Project Blue Beam trope, one of the foremost proponents of this theory is Dave Emory, who also pushes the 'Underground Reich' theory. That one goes that Nazi honcho Martin Bormann fled to South America and set up a whole Nazi government in exile that's been pulling all of the strings for the past 60 years while the rest of the world watches helplessly. According to Emory, UFOs are real but are just advanced Nazi antigravity-based aircraft. The problem with Emory's theory is that UFOs have been well-documented for thousands of years and have been photographed since cameras were invented. Flying saucers didn't just emerge from some German assembly line in 1945.

The problem with the staged UFO invasion/contact theory is that far too many people would think it was in fact staged. Folks these days are a pretty jaded, cynical lot, and Emory's citations of marginal (and often defunct) UFO cults don't point to any groundswell of messianic expectation. And given the untold trillions of dollars being spent to indoctrinate the entire developing world into militant fundamentalist religions, billions of people would automatically believe any extraterrestrial beings to be demons or fallen angels or space liberals or whatever else their religious leaders are training them to fear and hate, anyway. Beliefs which Hollywood is all too ready to corroborate with things like V and The Fourth Kind. Given where all the money is going these days, any kind of 'Blue Beam' event would much sooner be a staged 'Second Coming' or 'Rapture' than a UFO invasion.

For those in the secular community, there are legions of media skeptoids ready to ridicule and marginalize anyone who believes UFOs are anything but swamp gas and air balloons. So it’s safe to say pretty much everyone in the media and religious communities seem to be working at cross purposes with any UFO conditioning agenda.

Again, I confess I’m not an expert on UFOs- my interest is their place in the overall memestream, pop culture in particular. But from what I’ve seen - the photos and the footage you never see in the mainstream media- I don’t get the feeling that A., they’re necessarily extra-terrestrial as we understand the term, and B., they have any interest in revealing themselves on any kind of mass scale at all.

Now, I’m going to throw in all of the usual caveats here- it could all be some giant, millennia-old misunderstanding. But we have a fairly consistent body of evidence describing the same kind of phenomena over the years that we hear about now - and no disclosure, at least none we know of. We hear all of the usual stories about aliens being the modern version of elves and fairies, as well as the studious avoidance of the possibility that elves and fairies were simply misinterpretations of aliens.



If these UFOs and aliens aren’t simply some kind of perpetual human delusion (which I’m not necessarily discounting), than I’ve personally never seen any evidence to dissuade me from the ‘ultraterrestrial hypothesis’- that we’re dealing with some kind of parallel reality to our own. Those massive interstellar distances might not be daunting in sci-fi but are quite a bit more so in sci-fact. The sheer scale of sightings and the millennia over which they've taken place tends to mitigate against ETs jetting back and forth from Sirius or the Pleiades, at least in my opinion. Which by default bolsters the UT hypothesis, if one is so inclined.

I’m partial to the Igigi theory myself, since all of the sightings and anecdotes we’ve heard strike me as some kind of monitoring/surveillance. Abductions/contact/experience reports speak less to the old “take me to your leader” trope one might expect of extrasolar visitors, and more a kind of “let’s keep an eye on the Project” kind of behavior you'd expect of some stay-behind monitors. It sounds cold, but it all strikes me as the kind of contact that human scientists have with fauna in the wild, more than any kind of preparation for a massive landing at the UN.

There could have been earlier civilizations here or on Mars or Venus or the Jovian or Saturnian moons that could have been disrupted by planetary cataclysm. And what we call ‘aliens’ could be the survivors (or their servant class for that matter). Or an earlier civilization could have evolved past what we understand as biological life, and decided to leave the inner Solar System. Why? Well, the closer you get to the Sun the more apt you are to be wiped out by stray bits of rock or ice dragged in by Sol’s massive gravity pull.

Any kind of technological lifeform- ie., androids- would do better away from all of the moisture and heat of Earth, not to mention its gravity. We can only guess, since we can’t necessarily foresee where technology will go, just as even the greatest thinkers of the Renaissance couldn’t imagine cell phones or plasma TVs.

Personally, I believe that UFOs aren’t just figments of our imaginations. But the more I think about it- and mind you, I don’t spend all my time doing so- the less I see them as ETs. I certainly don’t subscribe to any of the religion-based concepts of the phenomena- fallen angels, spirit beings, demons, etc.. If anything, I believe the exact opposite. But I do think this is an age-old conundrum. The phenomenon can be ignored if one so chooses, or it can be entered into an overall exegesis of human reality.

But I do think it’s a waste of time waiting for any kind of governmental authority to ever tell us the truth about it, unless their hand is forced by some drastic change of the present status quo. And it would probably be redundant by then anyway.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Atlantis sinking again? (UPDATE)



Dubai's dream coming to an end? The sci-fi city seems to be built on a mountain (pyramid?) of debt, and strangely enough the economic turmoil in that citystate threatens the global economy with a new round of convulsions. Maybe identifying itself with the ill-fated Atlantis wasn't such a good idea after all? As with everything these days there's a story behind this story we're not hearing- Dubai is most assuredly a big tax haven for all sorts of power players, otherwise a measly 60 billion dollar default wouldn't be raising many eyebrows.

Dubai's wealth had no tangible basis that I could see, but they certainly saw themselves as the center of the world for a while there. The ancient Greeks understood the wages of hubris- nothing offended the gods more. It will be interesting to see what scurries out from all of the rocks that are sure to be lifted as this story unfolds.

UPDATE: An insider's view on what is being termed the "Dubai Disaster" can be read here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Alien Dreaming and the Widening Gyre: Sidebar

Hilariously NSFW

I have a lot of LA and SoCal readers- I wonder how many of them are in the film industry. And I wonder if one of them is Clerks director Kevin Smith. I did happen to notice that he titled his Batman series The Widening Gyre, quite coincidentally considering the connections I was drawing in the Alien Dreaming and the Widening Gyre series between UFOs (which I know he's interested in), The X-Files (which he's a major fan of) and hallucinogenic drugs (which he's a major user of).


This series began in March and Smith announced his series in May (and it was first published in August). It could be a coincidence*- a synchronicity, rather. I've not read the Batman series, so I don't know if there's any more Secret Sun-type material in it. Additional sync: the cover there is by the great Bill Sienkiewicz, whom I know from the old Kubert School days. Bill redefined the psychedelic approach to mainstream comics in the 80s (Bill's bravura collaboration with Frank Miller- Elektra:Assassin - gets my, uhh, highest recommendation).

An interview with Smith appeared on Harry Knowles' site last week where he talks about his disappointment with Zack & Miri Make a Porno, and his subsequent collapse into Mary Jane's warm, tingly embrace to soothe his wounded ego - and kick-start his creativity:
I started smoking weed like f**kin’ crazy after ZACK AND MIRI collapsed, and that really, kind of like, became a great filter. It didn’t filter out life; it just filtered out bullsh*t. It kind of opened up the third eye. I didn’t have that period in high school. I skipped it, I didn’t get stoned in high school, or I didn’t really have a college experience and sh*t like that. I was off making movies and whatnot.
"Opened the third eye"- interesting. Smith again:
But, honestly, I found I’ve been more…I mean, this is not news to anybody, I’m not telling you anything new…I’m far more creative now, you know. I’ve been writing this “Batman: The Widening Gyre” miniseries, and I’m stoned all the time when I’m writing it. And, I swear, I’ll write it, and then, it’s not so much blackout, but forget, so much so that the next morning, I go to read what I wrote, and it’s, like, I’m that f**kin’ little cobbler and elves came and f**kin' wrote it in the night, because I’m, like, "This is better than anything I’ve ever written before." I mean, like, I’ve done comics, but this is way better.
Hmm, elves or leprechauns? Again, I can't speak for the comic but I must say his podcast has gotten a lot funnier. I wonder if it will open his first and second eyes as well; his visual style has always been his primary weakness as a director. I just hope Smith's whip-cracking wife will keep him from going too overboard. There is such a thing as a weed casualty...


*I myself lifted the "widening gyre" line from Robert B. Parker, who lifted it from Yeats' The Second Coming. Bonus factoid: that poem is a pivotal plot point in the first episode of Millennium.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

TVOD: V is for 'Vitamin Regimen'




The latest episode of V did little to discourage my suspicion that the series is an allegory on Scientology.* The "vitamin shots" that the V were offering as well as the E-meter type diagnostic apparatus used to lure the "poor man's Tom Cruise" into their clutches are fascinating clues here. The paranoia and punishment of dissenters ties into the recent news stories on Tom Cruise's alleged violent threats against disobedient "managers" and the "Fifth Column" is eerily similar to Anonymous. The attempts to divide kids against their families (witness the storyline with Tyler and Lisa) is typical of most cults, and I can attest that Scientologist recruiters used that tactic on my friends and I when we wandered unknowingly into a "personality test" way back in 1983.

There is definitely a coordinated effort being waged worldwide against Scientology that includes governments, the media and private interests. Who the combatants are and what the battle is all about is unclear, but it's not just about some ditzy Hollywood cult. There are big players behind both sides, using the visible antagonists as surrogates. Of that I'm sure.

This is not my battle and I'm content to watch it all from the sidelines. But let me just say this- grassroots cults don't become widespread and powerful in a relatively-short periods of time. There are always players pulling strings behind the scenes, who know that belief is the most powerful weapon in the world.


* The first posting of this article was overly unambiguous, and contrary to this blog's own stated mandate of 'questions, not answers'. That happens sometimes- which is why I usually wait to post major articles. The thrust of the piece is the same, but the goal is to instigate discussion not end it.
I'm always interested in hearing differing opinions.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CERN- NOT a mere science project (UPDATES)



The 17-mile Large Hadron Collider at CERN is back online. There are all sorts of theories about the project, never mind the incongruous statue of Kali* at its front door (so much for scientific atheism). It's very telling that it's located on a border as well- very powerful symbolism there.

I'm not exactly sure what they're up to there but the sheer scale of the project tells me that this is not merely a science project - this is a device- meant to achieve a tangible and non-theoretical goal. There is something meant to be accomplished here, something powerful and compelling enough to justify the expense- and the risk- of this project. This is the kind of money you see spent on spaceships and weapons- not theoretical niceties about subatomic particles and the Big Bang.

Science Xtra: (CNN) -- New HIV infections have fallen worldwide by 17 percent over the past eight years, a testament to prevention efforts, according to a U.N. report released Tuesday.

Science Xtra II: Andre at Alien Project links us to a very interesting article on CERN by Linda Moulton Howe.

Semi-Science Xtra: David Downey reports that the Iraqi National Museum is building a website. 15,000 pieces were stolen during the invasion and only 6,000 have been returned. Which ones are missing, hmm? I can't help but feel a connection to the main story here.

Science Xtra III: Grey points us to this fascinating link: “Something May Come Through” Large Hadron Collider “Portal”
“We’re hoping to see supersymmetry and extra dimensions,” said Bertolucci, who also postulates that, though the discovery would be ground-breaking, the event he warns of would be rather small, if noticeable. “Of course, after this tiny moment the door would again shut, bringing us back to our ‘normal’ four dimensional world … It would be a major leap in our vision of Nature, although of no practical use (for the time being, at least). And of course, no risk to the stability of our world.”
That's kind of what I'm guessing this is all about.

Science Xtra IV:
Sr.Psicoplasma links us here: "A Black Hole Engine That Could Power Spaceships."

Science Xtra V: StrangeEye reiterates- "the Hindu god SHIVA as a deific religio-obfuscated representation of the chemical knowledge of HYDROGEN. Such as the 1008 names of SHIVA = Atomic Mass of HYDROGEN (1.008)"

17 President Xtra: "President Obama will vow to cut US carbon emissions by 17% by 2020, when he attends the climate summit in Copenhagen." - BBC



*Er, I meant Shiva- massive Freudian slip there.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Justice Pantheon of America



Man, these animated DC films are coming fast and furious. And here were get some tasty interdimensional memes along with the ever-popular alternate-reality hero versions, something that Batman Beyond and Justice League have done better than the comics themselves. There's something much deeper at work here- certainly what will be an irreversible migration of superheroes from page to screen, the alternate reality meme as a metaphor for pop culture itself and the end of the solo superhero story. The superhero team- or pantheon, more accurately- has replaced the heroic myth of the outsider. The Green Lantern and Wonder Woman films were both pantheon-based as well, with the titular characters as firsts-among-equals. Cultural polytheism in real time.

I used to gravitate towards loner characters myself, even if very few of them operated totally alone. Conan had BĂȘlit and Red Sonja and assorted knaves by his side, Batman has his Bat-entourage, even Kamandi had his freakish sidekicks- a talking dog, a metal-skinned mutant, a gender-bent energy-being in human form. And I never liked Captain America as much without the Falcon as with.

There's no true solo comic book hero now- they're all tightly wound into an arcane pantheon of demigods who parade in and out of each other's titles regardless of whose name is on the cover. And now that process is leaving the esoteric brotherhood of lifelong initiates (some call them "fanboys") and spreading into the culture at large. The rise of the superhero team parallels the rise of organized fandom- the Legion of Super Heroes was simply a mirror held up to fandom, and it was the Justice League of America that kicked off the superhero boom of the early 60s.

At the same time it was bands like the Beach Boys and the Beatles that revived rock and roll, which had been predominantly focused on solo singers in the 50s. The power of the pantheon continues to this day- acts like Nine Inch Nails, the Cure, Daughtry and Smashing Pumpkins are bands in name only- they are the provenance of their leaders. But rock still eschews the monotheistic memes prevalent in pop and R&B and country in favor of the pantheon ideal.

SYNC LOG: Whitley Strieber has a front page article up on multiverses too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Picture Parade: The Astral Annointing of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift and Michael Jackson were the big winners at tonight’s American Music Awards ceremony, with the former picking up five awards, including Artist of the Year, Favorite Female Artist in the pop/rock and country categories, and Favorite Adult-Contemporary Artist (the teen accepted her awards live via satellite from London) - Wall St. Journal

Endless Twilight in a Sleepwalking Nation



Could the Twilight craze spark a Mormon "Great Awakening" in America?
Stay tuned...


ITEM: Twilight: New Moon sucks the box office dry with a record setting opening:
LOS ANGELES - The vampire romance "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" sucked up $140.7 million in its first three days and pulled in a total of $258.8 million worldwide, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Be prepared for a deluge of articles on the Mormon subtext of Twilight. One blogger hit the nail on the head, in my view:
What I find most interesting about the concept of eternal marriage in the Twilight series is that Meyers seems to have created this allegory for Mormon marriage unintentionally. Her assumptions about marriage and the after-life are likely so unconscious that this theology surfaces in her books clearly but nonchalantly. It doesn't make the book a Mormon novel any more than a Protestant writer pens Protestant books. All writers -- even the authors of the Gospels -- are informed by their contextual circumstances, so why should Meyers be any different.
ITEM: Which leads back to our discussion on Mormons and sci-fi. I've been thinking about it quite a bit the past few days, though my thoughts haven't really gelled yet on the topic. But it's uncanny how it seems to dovetail with the idea of all of these sci-fi memes as aspirational rather than devotional modes of religion. If the evolutionary psychologists are right and religion is simply a way to ensure procreation and attentive child-rearing, seeing families making their collective pilgrimages to cons (read: shrines) certainly speaks to popculture as a post-modern, polytheistic secular religion.

Cons like NYCC have children's days on Sunday, where kids under 12 get in free. And of course Twilight has brought armies of young girls into cons, infuriating the older male fans. Almost as if armies of Christian families had descended on formerly Gnostic or Neoplatonic shrines in the Roman era. It's fascinating how many of those aging male fans are objectivists or militant atheists and/or skeptics, and how many of them are unmarried and childless.

If demography is indeed destiny, then the Fanboy as we've known him may be entering his own twilight.

ITEM: The missus and I did watch The People - There is not only a explicit current of AstroGnosticism in the film, but also this concept of apotheosis which is at the core of Mormonism. That idea of never-ending evolution towards godhood may account for the high premium placed on the work ethic, literacy, physical fitness and sobriety in Mormonism, all of which have vanished almost entirely from Evangelical Christianity in America. Mormons apparently believe they are destined for much better things than lolling around the Elysian Fields. Different motivation.

It's not a must-see, but students of the ongoing AstroGnostic revelation might want to read up on it, at least.



ITEM: If Twilight is waving the flag for Mormon eternal family values, then Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity has found its ultimate avatar in Sarah Palin. Never before has one person encapsulated such a broad-based movement with such totality than the former Alaska governor embodies her brothers and sisters. She isn't one of them- she is all of them. Given the thrust of the Republican Party and the Evangelical movement, she's a shoo-in for the GOP nomination in 2012. Tina Fey is going to be a very busy woman in the years to come...

Atlantis Reaches ISiS and a Child is Born...

ITEM:
While strange objects from space are turning night into day, the Atlantis Shuttle (flight STS-129) is working on the International Space Station. One of the astronauts-Marine Lt. Colonel Randolph Bresnik (born 9/11/67 in Fort Knox, KY)- became a new father during the mission. He and his wife adopted a Ukrainian child in 2006. Bresnik's wife hails from Pompton Plains, NJ, night across Interstate 287 from Wanaque Lake, site of a major UFO flap in 1966.

So many memes, so little time...

ITEM: Oh dear, was it the American Music Awards tonight? I see Rihanna was rocking the Leeloo look, and Adam Lambert brought a little of the old Jobriath vibe to prime time. I'm sure all of the social conservatives are beside themselves with glee. The Black Eyed Peas had an X-Force vibe happening and Pete Wentz had some strange Wehrmacht look going on. Funny when the outfits are the most interesting part of a music awards show.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

All Eyes on Utah



The big cosmic story this past week was the Utah meteor, which lit the sky up over several cities before crashing down somewhere in the Dugway Proving Ground. Which StrangeEye reminded us is also known as "Area 52," where all sorts of exotic military hardware is tested, including anti-satellite tech and other surface-to-space weaponry. Which brings us back to the old War-in-Space meme. Given its apparent target, was this a meteor or something else altogether? From The Daily Utah Chronicle.

Scientists have evidence that the massive meteor that turned the night sky into day for two seconds Wednesday night might have exploded in the atmosphere above the reputed Area 52—an extremely dangerous, mysterious patch of Utah desert.

Patrick Wiggins, NASA Ambassador to Utah and Robert Matson, senior scientist for Applied Science International, believe the cosmic rock blew up as it burned through the atmosphere above Tooele County, based on interpretations of recorded seismic activity information and the meteor’s perceived trajectory. The meteor pieces would’ve landed within a mile of where the meteor exploded -- but unfortunately, that means they would have landed in the Dugway Proving Ground—an area of the western Utah desert, bigger than Rhode Island, where the U.S. Army tests chemical, biological and radioactive warfare, an area that is rumored to be the new Area 51.

“It’s a restricted area,” Wiggins said. “I seriously doubt anyone can go out there.”

The U.S. Army tested thousands of bombs in the gigantic military reservation, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office. But the area is more colloquially known as Area 52 for all of the reported UFO sightings. Rumors circulate that the Dugway Proving Grounds is where the U.S. Government transferred all of the Area 51 alien research after public scrutiny drew too much attention.

Also read this: Dugway Beefs Up Security after Meteor Sighting



This is all very new to me, but given what little I've seen of Dugway, it would certainly seem a likely target in a... well, let's just say an exotic war.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

TVOD: Sanctuary and the Godly Blitzkrieg



It used to be that "Sci-Fi/Syfy Original Series" usually translated into Secret Sun-ese as "for the love of God, stay far away from your TV set." Over the years, that's slowly evolved into "what the hell, there's nothing else on."

Amanda Tapping starred in some Stargate things, which I didn't hold against her when checking out Sanctuary last night. The premise seems remarkably similar to the BBC's Torchwood series (which I still haven't done much on yet), but distinctly Canadian. I had no idea what was going on in the episode, but found it fairly easy to figure it all out, unlike some of these endless sci-fi serials. Not the best thing I've ever seen, but well-produced enough to keep my interest. Of course, the presence of Erica Cerra in last night's episode (not on Hulu yet) kept things interesting.

Cerra's next role is as Hera in the Percy Jackson film (see PJ-related Sync Log here). Which in turn merits its own Sync Log, since the missus and I originally planned to watch the old Clash of the Titans (Percy-Perseus, get it?) but opted for Sanctuary because she was working late. Synchronicity has a funny way of working around your schedule.



Speaking of which, there's the new Percy Jackson trailer, part of a godly blitzkrieg which will bring a new Clash, Thor and Hercules to the big screen. This is all part of the Digital Apotheosis- computer technology bringing the rich psychic tapestry of Mythology to life in ways not seen since the Mycenaean Age. It's going to be a lot of fun tracking what kind of aftershocks this will have in the culture at large, particularly as these stories become increasingly immersive with 3D and IMAX.

You kind of get the feeling that the gods are having the time of their lives these days, able to play out their eternal dramas across these giant movie screens without constantly being bothered by supplicants and petitioners whining for this miracle or that blessing, bla bla bla. But we can talk about all of that sometime in the near future.

UPDATE: Just to bring it all full circle, Reader Justin points us to an article linking the Twilight mythos to Etruscan mythology. Which I'm going to guess is unconscious. Bonus sync: the article is written by a Bija Knowles.

Friday, November 20, 2009

AstroGnostic: Trapped Here on this Alien World-UPDATED!!!



NOTE: Scroll to bottom of post for important update.

Well, here we are- it's
Twilight time again. The Gnostic vampire-superhero phenomenon is about to descend on multiplexes all across the planet, enrapturing tween girls in ways not seen since the glory days of N'Sync and the Backstreet Boys. And most significantly for our purposes, Twilight creator Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon- a member of the Church of Latter-Day Saints- and the Twilight books are widely seen as Mormon allegories.

Amie Charney (a Christian blogger) detailed the links, darkly warning that those dastardly Mormons "believe in deification – you can become a god or goddess through their various rituals and practices," preach a doctrine "called “eternal progression...where it is a core belief for even a god or goddess to learn (progress) for eternity," that Mormon is "all about the family" (horrors!) and worst of all, "a man and a woman make covenants to God and to each other and are sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity."

Wait- I'm missing the exact problem here.

What may really be bugging Ms. Charney is that Utah- Mormon ground zero- is an oasis of health and wealth in an increasingly sick and poor America. Utah is the second healthiest state in the nation, and the entire Bible Belt dominates the bottom of the list. The Bible Belt states also lead the country in poverty, murder, teenaged pregnancy, and divorce, among innumerable other ills.†

Someone once said, "By their fruits shall ye know them." Hmmm, that ring a bell with anyone? Not to pick on my Bible Belt cousins, but simply a suggestion to the Amie Charney's of the world that perhaps those Mormons aren't quite as dastardly as their foes would have us believe.

Mormonism also has its fair share of academic admirers, including esteemed Yale professor Harold Bloom, who considers it a bonafide American Gnosticism.* Speaking of which, there was an excellent article in the old Gnosis magazine that details Joseph Smith's Hermetic influences as well. And for better or worse (depending on your political affiliation), the most influential political personality in America right now is himself a Mormon.

All of that is all fine and good (if not confusing), but outside the Secret Sun mandate. No, what fascinates me is that Mormonism has produced more than its fair share of authors, particularly of the sci-fi/fantasy genre. Not surprising for a religion that many people accuse of being science fiction. Meyer is at the top of the list, followed by Orson Scott Card, Battlestar Galactica creator Glen A. Larson, and animator Don Bluth and many, many others. Sci-fi seems to be a particular passion of Mormons.



One of those Mormon authors is Zenna Henderson, who wrote explicitly AstroGnostic fiction in her "People" series of novels, which many see as Mormon allegory as well. In the stories, the People are aliens who leave their dying homeworld and escape to Earth. They try to integrate with the local population but receive the usual Earthling response given to higher beings- they were slaughtered. Fleeing, the People settle in a remote corner of the Southwest where they suppress their superior abilities and their memories of their homeworld.

Reader Morgan turned me on to all of this. I had never heard of Henderson or the People before. But I'm certain that Alexander Key did, since the whole story reminds me of the Witch Mountain stories. And I'm willing to bet that Battlestar Galactica is filled with parallels itself. It turns out that the People stories do have quite a following:
One interesting aspect about the People stories is the strong degree to which very different groups of people identify with it: Christians (including such different camps as Evangelicals, Catholics and Latter-day Saints), GLBT, Wiccans, and Jews have all recommended Henderson's People stories. The stories, with their exclusivity and isolation from the broader culture combined with extreme inclusivity and compassion for one's own tribe, have struck a chord with many people who feel pulled by two different worlds.


The People was made into a TV movie in 1972. The first thing I did as soon as Morgan mentioned it was look it up on YouTube and the second thing I did was order a VHS copy of it online. Next con I attend I'll be picking up the DVD if it's been bootlegged. The scene above tells the People's AstroGnostic creation myth in pictures, reminiscent again of Witch Mountain, but also of The Man Who Fell to Earth, another AstroGnostic classic. An outside schoolteacher (played by Kim Darby, who we'll get to in a moment) forces the children to recover their memories of their alien world, like the Gnostic Sophia herself.


Of course, Darby must then show up in the Ten Thirteen Universe, which she does quite dutifully as Kathy Lee Tencate, the Gnostic martyr who plays the role of Hecate (coming from the Greek root word for "a hundred") in the X-Files Eleusinian drama. Tencate teaches Mulder about the "walk-ins"- the core spiritual aspect of the Mythology- who protect endangered children by transforming their spirits into starlight (speaking of light- check out some of the other clips on YouTube- I love the way the Sun is shot in films from that era).





As if the awesome scale hadn't fully tipped over, none other than AAT enthusiast Bill Shatner shows up in The People. So now we've linked the walk-ins and the Nine and the Anunaki and all the rest of it into the mix. Which brings us back to the whole modern matrix of high weirdness running rampant in our culture and politics. Here we must wade through the increasingly murky waters of the Conspiracy Memestream, where you can find gold nuggets of truth as easily as catch a dose of mental malaria. Caution is advised...


That being said, I sincerely hope that every Secret Sun reader get a chance to read William Bramley's The Gods of Eden. Not that I necessarily endorse all of Bramley's opinions (the late Jim Keith argued pretty convincingly that the book is a Scientology text in disguise), but because it has a fascinating spin on world history and has been hugely influential, certainly in conspiranoia circles (Bill Cooper and David Icke are obvious admirers and Jim Marrs' Rule by Secrecy is a virtual rewrite of it). But it was Bramley's spin on the Joseph Smith revelation narrative that captured my attention. Bramley argues that it was exactly the kind of extraterrestrial intervention we discussed in the recent Dave Davies post:
Some critics dispute the accuracy of Joseph Smith’s stories, pointing out that Smith did not record his first vision on paper until nineteen years after it had happened. Under the circumstances at the time, this delay is understandable when we consider Joseph’s youth and minimal education. To the degree Smith’s accounts are accurate, they are worth looking at. Did he have a true religious vision as his followers believe, or was he, as others suggest, a victim of UFO tampering?

... Joseph appears to have been looking at a recorded image projected through the window into his room. The clue to this lies in Joseph’s words that Moroni had repeated the second message “without the least variation.” This suggests a recorded message...When Moroni returned for a third time that same night, Smith,
“heard him rehearse or repeat over again . .. the same things—as before....” (Joseph Smith 2:48-49).


Other Mormon writings also tend to support the likelihood that Joseph Smith had had a UFO encounter. The Mormon doctrines revealed by Smith state that there are many inhabited planets in the universe. This was quite a daring idea for an uneducated man of the nineteenth century. Smith added that God inhabits a human flesh-and-bones body (see, e.g., Doctrines and Covenants 130:22) and that God lives near a star called Kolob (see Abraham 3:1-3). In other words, God is a humanlike extraterrestrial living on another planet.

The dates extrapolated from the Book of Mormon for the arrival of the Palestinians to America are especially interesting because they coincide with the dates that historians have assigned to the emergence of the ancient civilizations of Mexico and Central America.
Now, again- massive caveats here. But there is this fascinating history of these kinds of encounters, just as flying saucer sightings have been recorded since writing began. And Bramley hits on a very important point- how this pyramid building craze died down in the eastern hemisphere only to reappear in the western one not long after. This brings us to the Graham Hancock/Robert Bauval milieu as well. All grist for a future mill.

In essence, though, Mormonism is telling the same basic story all the major religions are. Gods and angels in space, direct intervention in human affairs in antiquity, wrath, return, etc. The Gnostics did too- in a way- but throughout history Gnostics were slaughtered for the belief that mankind is not native to this world and was trapped here through an arcane series of cosmic machinations. That this world is a prison ruled by an insane "blind idiot god" and a mysterious race of demigods called the Archons (or Cylons, or Igigi, if you prefer) keep us trapped here.

Ancient Gnostics didn't quite understand the mechanics of it all (their literature is extremely confusing, at least to me), they only knew they wanted to get the hell out. For my money, Gnosticism doesn't make a tremendous amount of sense until you plug Intervention Theory into the equation. Then it all falls into place like a million puzzle pieces right before your eyes. In this light, Gnosticism isn't so much a creed than a methodology- and the details of the cosmology change as new knowledge is attained.


UPDATE:
Well, I got hit by sync after synch after posting this article (which is usually a sign that there's blood in the semiotic waters). But the most stunning one was turning the page on a book I had on my nightstand titled The Gnostics by Jacques La Carriere and being smacked in the face with this:
The fundamental difference that separates the Gnostics from their contemporaries is that, for them, their native `soil' is not the earth, but that lost heaven which they keep vividly alive in their memories: they are the autochthons of another world.

Hence their feeling of having fallen onto our earth like inhabitants from a distant planet, of having strayed into the wrong galaxy, and their longing to regain their true cosmic homeland, the luminous hyper-world that shimmers beyond the great nocturnal barrier. Their uprooting is not merely geographical but planetary. And to treat them as aliens in the political or civic sense - which is what happened - could be nothing but an absurd misunderstanding, like giving a Martian a temporary residence visa.

For the Gnostics, all men were in the same condition, although they were the only ones who knew it, and the human community as a whole is implicated in this universal exile, this galactic diversion that has caused us to be dumped on the mud of planet earth.

The Gnostics must have felt this exile even more acutely in that they themselves constituted marginal communities, strangers or ‘foreigners' in the narrow sense of the term, in the heart of a whole humanity of foreigners. ...Here there was an historical humus which justified the Gnostic feeling of exile, of being a planetary foreigner: `I am in the world but not of the world' is the most basic Gnostic formula.

So the problem is simple, and one begins to understand how the Gnostics saw it: man, then, is a lifelong exile on a planet which is a prison for all mankind; he lives in a body which is a prison for the soul; he is the autochthon of a lost and invisible world.
Damn. Add this all up and you're left staring at history's first flying saucer cult. What put of all these ideas in their heads in the first place is another matter, but it's not as if we don't have liturgies from other ancient traditions showing us encounters with strange godmen in flying disks, right?

Sure, it could all be a mythology. In fact, let's just say that it is for now. But boy, it sure is fascinating to see echoes of it (at the very least) emanating from what is a rock-ribbed, diehard conservative institution. Or how popular these themes of superior beings stranded in a primitive or hostile world are when packaged as entertainment. Like, oh, say, Twilight. Certainly somewhat less so is Titan AE, or Battlestar Galactica or Enders's Game, but fascinating nonetheless.

BONUS FACTOID: Joseph Smith was born in Sharon, VT, obviously settled from folks from my hometown since there's a Randolph and a Braintree right up Interstate 89.

†According to a recent survey, the Bible Belt is a mirror image of the Muslim world, when it comes to religious conviction (and paranoia, certainly).


*Bloom writes: "The God of Joseph Smith is a daring revival of the God of some of the Kabbalists and Gnostics, prophetic sages who, like Smith himself, asserted that they had returned to the true religion....Mormonism is a purely American Gnosis, for which Joseph Smith was and is a far more crucial figure than Jesus could be. Smith is not just 'a' prophet, another prophet, but he is the essential prophet of these latter days, leading into the end time, whenever it comes."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Stairway to Sirius: Shambhala Discovered?



This is pretty dramatic- NatGeo has a special on the discovery of what may be the legendary Shambhala, aka Shangri-La.

The unusual treasures have led Coburn and his team to suggest that the Mustang caves could be linked to "hidden valleys" thought to represent the Buddhist spiritual paradise known as Shambhala.

"Shambhala is also believed by many scholars to have a geographical parallel that may exist in several or many Himalayan valleys," Coburn said.

"These hidden valleys were created at times of strife and when Buddhist practice and principals were threatened," Coburn said. "The valleys contained so-called hidden treasure texts."



All of which reminds me of my old favorite Three Dog Night song, just to show how symbol-soaked the early 70s were, pop-culturally speaking. Then of course there is the Sirius connection to all of this, seeing that Alice Bailey associated Shambhala (or Shamballa, as she calls it) with Sirius:
Shamballa receives energy from various solar and extra-solar Entities or centres of emphatic and energetic life; i.e., from Venus, from the Central Spiritual Sun, from the current conditioning constellation through which our sun may be passing, from the Great Bear and other cosmic centres. Sirius, so important a factor in the spiritual life of the planet, brings its energies to bear direct upon the Hierarchy, and energy from Sirius does not normally enter our planetary life via Shamballa.

Shamballa is the head centre, speaking symbolically, of our planetary Life, focussing will, love and intelligence in one great and fundamental Intention and holding that focussed point throughout the entire life cycle of a planet. This great Intention embodies current purpose and expresses itself through the medium of the Plan.
For my money, anything that comes of the Bailey/Theosophic axis is by definition apocryphal, but others may not agree with me. And it's interesting that this expedition is from 2008, the Year of Sirius.

Astronaut Theology: Kinky



Kinks guitarist Dave Davies isn't just the pioneer of the power-chord riff, he's also an experiencer. His 1994 autobiography Kink tells the story of how Davies believes he was contacted telepathically by alien intelligences:
All of a sudden I began hearing these strange voices talking to me, in clear and unmistakable tones. Their voices were authoritative but warm and strangely comforting, which lessened my initial alarm. This was unlike anything I had experienced before. They felt as if they were a little distance above my head; that's how I perceived it at the time. For all I knew they could have been operating from thousands of miles away. I couldn't see them but I could hear them and, more importantly, I could feel them and smell them. There were five distinct intelligences and each one gave off his or its own particular odour.
The intelligences did not tell me who they were, but two of them said they had always been my spirit guides, and two others were entities that were not of this earth but were involved in missions here as watchers and nurturers of our race. The other intelligence was the projected consciousness of a man living in a physical body on earth. They communicated many things to me, most of which I have only just begun to assimilate now.
You can read more at his site on the Spiritual Planet. He also has articles by/about people like Israel Regardie, Philip K Dick and George King. Davies also runs a message board for people of a similar mystical bent. I must say I'm agnostic on it all but it's fascinating to me how many pioneering artists (and non-artists) have claimed to have strange and powerful metaphysical experiences. It could all be a by-product/malfunction of the creative mind or it could be that there are forces at work using these type of pioneering types to push the culture along. I'm open to both arguments.



Bonus 60s nostalgia-blast- The Byrds' abductee-wannabe anthem "Hey, Mr. Spaceman."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Newsday: 17th Edition (UPDATES)



ITEM: We've lost the great Edward Woodward, best known as The Equalizer, but rendered immortal for his role in The Wicker Man. Check out a memorial by Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz). UPDATE: Loren Coleman has a nice obit as well.

ITEM: Don't forget the Leonid meteor showers, peaking in the early morning hours on Tuesday. The Leonids were a plot point on an episode of the short-lived Point Pleasant TV show, starring the radiant Eloah-Isis-Beth Harnois.

Jake Kotze's latest videos have some boggling Kirsten Dunst syncs, herself born in Point Pleasant. Harnois' next role is in Mars Needs Moms, based on the Berke Breathed children's book. Co-starring is Joan Cusack, sister of the Superstar.

UPDATE: The worldwide anti-Scientology campaign hits Australia now:
CLAIMS of Scientologists forcing members to have abortions and imprisoning and torturing others have been tabled during a speech by a federal MP.
Interesting.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Remember Tony Alamo



One of my first exposures to conspiracy theory were the leaflets handed out by Tony Alamo's (born Bernie Lazar Hoffman) minions back in the 80s. I had seen similar material here and there drifting into my old church- apocalyptic conspiracy stuff from people like Hal Lindsey that would show up in bundles of tracts from time to time.

There was another episode where a strange friend of my grandmother had given my father a stack of Spotlights, darkly warning him that "the news was managed." It was pretty rough stuff, but it gave me an interesting look at pre-internet conspiracy culture, which was predominantly the province of Fundamentalists and Neo-Nazis.

But it must be said that the incessantly apocalyptic tone of the Lindsey-type material appealed to my religious indoctrination- the idea that all of history is this linear progression- this narrative- moving towards a specific event (I'm just surprised the world is still here- I think I've survived about 30 predicted Armageddons). I didn't know then that the Gnostics were the original conspiracy theorists- and the original Apocalyptics. For reasons too complex to go into now the two are are closely intertwined.

An Alamo jacket- kind of chilling in hindsight.

But Alamo's material was by far the most intense. One headline screamed "Did you know that Ronald Reagan and the Pope are a couple of Antichrist devils who are selling America down the drain?" all in capital letters. It was all the usual stuff- Communists, Liberals, the Pope, the New World Order, Satan's hordes- but done in such an extreme, over-the-top style that it was just that much more attention-grabbing than the LaRouche or Moonie stuff you came across. Those blasts of wall-to-wall text- the universal signature of the perturbed true believer- told the story. I later discovered that his cult also made pimped-out denim jackets that were in vogue for a while back in the 80s.

As some of you have read Alamo has been arrested and sentenced to 175 years in prison. It's the usual story- the charismatic cult leader sexually abusing his flock, a story that's become so commonplace as to be almost expected. Cults and sects and other authoritarian religious groups are breeding grounds for sexual abuse. The latest scandal is in Orthodox Jewish sects, which I'm sure will be blamed on the degenerate culture outside the compound walls. That's the usual excuse.

Anyhow, given the 17 meme and the 175 years in prison, I was fascinated that Alamo was arrested in Flagstaff, AZ, which sits smack dab atop Interstate 17. And what's 17 without a 33? Read on...
TEXARKANA, Ark. — Evangelist Tony Alamo used his stature as a self-proclaimed prophet to force underage girls into sham marriages with him, controlling his followers with their fears of eternal suffering.
But the judge who sentenced Alamo on Friday to 175 years in prison for child sexual abuse warned of another kind of justice awaiting the aging evangelist.

FBI agents and Arkansas State Police troopers raided Alamo's compound in nearby Fouke in September 2008. The FBI arrested Alamo five days later in Flagstaff, Ariz., charging him with violating the Mann Act, a century-old morality law originally aimed at stopping women from being sold into prostitution.

Five women, age 17 to 33, testified in July that Alamo "married" them in private ceremonies while they were minors, sometimes giving them rings. Each detailed trips beyond Arkansas' borders for Alamo's sexual gratification.

For his part, Alamo insists the girls are bewitched, another time-honored dodge. Note the date.

PRESS RELEASE
From Tony Alamo
July 17, 2009
Regarding Government-Vatican Persecution vs. Tony Alamo

It is a violation of the US Constitution for the government to attack any religion, especially Christianity!! My trial is government vs. the Bible. The five young women who are falsely testifying against me have all been convinced to do so by the FBI.

The FBI paid all of their tuition to go to a place called Wellspring, which is a deprogramming center. Deprogramming is a nice word for hypnosis, brainwashing, mind-control, voodoo, black magic. Their testimony is not to be believed because it is not true, and they are not in their right mind. They are under a hateful spell of witchcraft.

Sure enough, a few months back I took the family out to eat and when we came back to the car, there was a blast from the past waiting for me- a mini-bundle of old-school Alamo text-rants protesting his innocence (note the long-dead Susan Alamo gets a byline). I'm sure he's as guilty as sin. Despite what some might say, I'm also 100% certain that he was completely sincere in his beliefs as well. It's hard to fake that kind of gonzoid intensity for that long.

Alamo's sweatshop practices earned him a lot of criticism, but abusive cult sweatshops are as American as Plymouth Plantation. And there's plenty of justification in the holy books for polygamy and child brides and all sorts of practices you can find your ass in jail for these days- certainly in the Old Testament. The religious are forever disassociating themselves from the crimes of their brethren, even though what are now seen as crimes were once seen as doing God's work.

Here's a site maintained by Alamo cult survivors if you want to read more. And here's a fascinating Atlantic article telling the untold story of the current economic disaster we're in- the role of Prosperity Gospel preachers in pushing people towards mortgages they couldn't afford. Of course, the Bush Administration played a huge role in it, thinking they could turn all of those new homeowners into GOP voters. The Atlantic headline is a bit misleading- I have a friend who's part of the 'back-to-Judaism' movement in Fundamentalist Christianity who told me with utter confidence that "Prosperity Gospel is from the pits of Hell."

Sigh- all of these "One True Faiths." I can't keep track of them all anymore.


UPDATE: On the 17 meme theme, Joe Bloggs sends us to a link on this bizarre story:

An Iberworld Airbus A330-300 on behalf of Air Comet, registration EC-IJH performing flight A7-301 from Madrid Barajas,SP (Spain) to Santa Cruz (Bolivia) with about 170 passengers, did not land in Santa Cruz in Bolivia, but in Santa Cruz,CI (Spain), also known as Tenerife Norte or Tenerife Los Rodeos Airport.

The airplane departed Tenerife again after about 17 hours on the ground.

UPDATE: Quark Observer sends us a link to a video documentary on Wayne Bent, another apocalyptic preacher who had his way with minors in his cult.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Remember the LCROSS mission?


Well, the LCROSS mission was a smash success- today's headlines tell me so:

Nasa's experiment last month to find water on the Moon was a major success, US scientists have announced.

Scientists who have studied the data now say instruments trained on the impact plume saw copious quantities of water vapour.

Anthony Colaprete, chief scientist for LCROSS at Nasa's Ames Research Center in California, said a large debris plume rose at least one or two kilometres in altitude. It stayed just below the crater rim, which may have prevented astronomers from observing it from Earth.

OK, fair enough- but how did it prevent the orbital camera from observing it? Even stranger is that NAZCA NASA has released a number of computerized illustrations displaying a plume that their equipment failed to record. Yes, just like the CGI illustrations 'proving' the Face on Mars is natural. This is an example of the power of imagery bypassing cognition- most people will see the various illustrations and accept them as actual photographs.

I don't know what this mission was really all about, but the lengths they're going to rewrite its history tells me it's probably something extremely delicate. I'll refer you folks over to Mr. Hoagland for a dissenting view. Take what you can from it.

Remember that Dark Knight movie?


Let's change the subject - that warning from the board mods is a joke.
Click to enlarge.

Hey, remember that movie The Dark Knight? You know the movie that everyone saw but no one seems able to recall? The one whose IMDB board is filled with chatter having to do with everything but the movie? Is it because generally liberal-leaning superhero and comics fans are silently embarrassed about falling for what is essentially a neo-conservative propaganda film? It isn't just iMDb- no one on any of the comics or movie sites I checked seems to talk about what is one of the highest-grossing movies of all-time, one that came out less than 18 months ago. Very strange. Usually, these kinds of blockbusters continue to resonate for a while after their original run, but not this film.

Why is that?

Is it possible the poor reception that greeted Watchmen (which is cosmically superior to TDK, IMO) is a hangover from critics and fans uncomfortable with having championed a film that celebrated torture, vigilantism, broad-spectrum surveillance and jack-booted stormtroopers marching in the streets? That depicted terrorism as simple nihilism, and cross-dressing, sexually-ambiguous nihilism at that?

It's nothing I haven't seen in a million comic book stories, but I'm fascinated how situational some people's capacity for political outrage can be. It's especially ironic given how much Christian Bale resembles a young Bush cousin.

In hindsight, the whole 2008 Batmania phenomenon feels strange, even surreal. It didn't feel like 9/11, which the film was clearly trying to exploit. And for this old-school fan, it certainly didn't feel like Batman either. The Batman I read in the 70s and 80s was more like that in the classic Batman: The Animated Series. As played by Patrick Bateman, he's a prep school void.

I've never been hypnotized, but to think back on the whole Dark Knight phenomenon almost feels like some hypnotic spell, or even some bummer trip, like PCP or something. Like all of the color and vibrancy was sucked out of the world, both onscreen and off. But then again, I'm a huge Batman Beyond fan, so maybe I'm not the right person to ask.


The funny thing is I'm usually very forgiving of comic book movies. Hell- I even liked The Shadow. Though it may be because I saw it on a hot summer afternoon in an old-fashioned theatre that was air-conditioned to perfection. The Shadow is a criminally underused character, one who Bob Kane stole from lock, stock and two smoking .45 barrels to create Batman.

There is a new Shadow film in development- one I hope they don't screw up. I think the character has vast, untapped potential, particularly given his psychic powers and Blavatskian backstory. I know Jake Kotze keyed into the Shadow film as well, so maybe I'm not completely insane.

One film I'm not in a hurry to see in Inception, Nolan's new Matrix-like film. As with Dark Knight, I'm sure Inception will be a brilliantly-crafted piece of filmmaking, but something very cold and hard has crept into Nolan's work- or maybe I'm simply noticing what's been there all along. But it certainly doesn't entertain me.

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