Wednesday, April 14, 2010

AstroGnostic: Fantasy, Ritual and Transformation

If I were to create a new religion, I'd do so as a performance art exercise. Congregants would be told from the start that this was all fiction, it was all art. And believe me- I'd go whole hog with the liturgy. The smells, the bells, the chants, the vestments- all of that great ritualism that the Church stole from the Mystery religions.

But I'd make it absolutely clear that this was all fantasy. Because I believe that only as a role-playing exercise would people really let loose and put themselves into the ritual, heart and soul. And the Jungian in me knows that the ritual is the key to the transformation, not the purported "beliefs." And the movie geek in me knows that "act-as-if" is itself a transformative process.

There is an obvious precedent for this- The Burning Man Festival and its various offshoots. That too began as a performance art ritual, but has become a de facto pilgrimage for tens of thousands of Bohos. And one fact that's been gnawing at my brain the past few days is that the most successful new religious movement of our times- Scientology- was created as a "scientific" self-help program by a science fiction author, and only became a "religion" when Uncle Sam looked askance at said sci-fi author's scientific credentials.

It's always been my belief that the cult and New Age movements of the 60s and 70s were control-technique laboratories, seeing how most of their practices (and many of their beliefs) were later absorbed into the Evangelical and megachurch movements in the 80s and 90s. But there's been an interesting side effect in the process as well, in that many of the New Age beliefs that might induce cringing in a real world context make for amazing sci-fi and fantasy entertainment, whether in TV, movies or video games. Harry Potter and Heroes are the best examples of this, but by no means the only ones.

Here's a perfect example of the transcendent power of fictionalization- the Walk-In concept comes from Hinduism, but was revived in a different context by the UFO cults of the 70s. And it's also a concept that works great inside a fictional context, and not so much outside of it. Meaning that if someone came up to me and told me that they were not who they were born as, but were actually a ten-thousand year old extraterrestrial whose soul migrated through time and space and inhabited a new body while the previous host was experiencing a great personal crisis, I'd cringe over the encounter for years. But put that same tableau on screen in a sci-fi setting and man, I'm sold but good.

This episode of The Outer Limits is called "The Vessel" and presents us with a Walk-in situation, in which a cynical celebrity writer whose body is taken over by a Christ-like alien after a space shuttle explosion. There's an obvious influence from The X-Files- the alien is played by the same actor who played semi-regular hero-villain Billy Miles, who underwent a similar but more malevolent soul exchange. The effects are pretty rudimentary, but the story (as well as the luscious Vancouver scenery) here blows my mind. Even more interesting is the fact that this ep first aired on April 13th, the day the Apollo 13 drama began with an oxygen tank explosion.

Keep an eye out for some tasty little easter eggs of the Secret Sun variety. Non-US readers can view the ep here.


  1. Hey Chris, interesting observations. I think the challenge in creating the kind of religion you describe lies in the ability to recognise the element of mythic make-belief without wholly starving those mythic elements of the power they normally derive through literal belief - and hence winding up with a kind of spoof religion like Discordionism. But I do think we definitely have a profound apetite for this kind of thing, which we nowadays satisfy, as you say, via sci-fi and fantasy.
    I think the power of role play is also fascinating - and largely derives, I suspect, from the anarchic recongnition that all social existence is role play through and through. So to be involved in playing a role which, unlike say a job interview, makes no bones about being a fantasy, and is actually fun, is very liberating for people. Goes back to the saturnalia and Lord of Misrule, and all that good stuff!

  2. In creating this illusory 3D reality (matrix) we live in, using subliminal, subconscious messaging, this group entity conjured up and controls all power and energy, and in turn, the reverent respect of their illusory master creation called humanity. This adoration by humanity gives the luciferian group and their chosen elite the riches and servitude of this world and ABSOLUTE CONTROL OF THE ETERNAL PARADISE STATE. Because they, themselves, chose thinking and lying above awareness and wisdom, this 3D illusion is their reality.

    However, it is a reality fragmented, corrupted and filled with all manner of duality. They see this reality as superior to the reality of wisdom. Wisdom does not exhibit 3D manipulation through shape, colour or sound, so ultimately, wisdom is a reality of peace.

    Wisdom knows this. Wisdom is not thinking about how to manipulate affairs so that events work out in its favour. Wisdom performs none of this. Wisdom just knows that we are being manipulated. To stay connected to wisdom through awareness, we need simply to stay in the moment. This involves doing NOTHING. This involves NO PRAYERS, NO MEDITATION, NO MANTRAS, NO RITUALS, NO JOINING, ... NO THING.

    All practices, be they MEDITATIVE or PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES, are exercises in remaining OUT OF THE ONE ETERNAL MOMENT. This is not to say that meditating is bad or wrong, just as physical activity is not bad or wrong. On this site it will be repeated many times, that there is no such thing as good or bad, or right or wrong. However, these exercises avail no benefit in reconnecting to the wisdom state. Only emotional detachment, which is to place NO REAL WORTH or REAL VALUE in anything 3 dimensional, is true reconnection to reality.

    There is no such thing as TIME and SPACE, and to enter into activities where you confess, and admit, disconnection from wisdom, simply by entering into that activity whereby you hope to reconnect to wisdom, (or as some call it, ENLIGHTENMENT), then you have not RECONNECTED WITH your original WISDOM STATE.

    (Enlightenment is a term that sounds and seems to speak of reconnection to wisdom, however wisdom and enlightenment have nothing in common).

  3. During my time with Del Close in Chicago, he taught two particular exercises which served to warm us up, but further, to get us into the spirit of our improvisation.

    One was what he called the Invocation, in which the group invoked and then became an agreed upon visualized object.

    The other involved simply chanting in the darkened space with one lit candle in the middle of the stage. Kind of like the mirror exercise, but with chants and movements flowing amongst multiple players. As soon as one player feels the group chant has reached the necessary peak, (s)he blows out the candle, the lights come up, and the first scene begins.

    Many called Del a guru, and while he was a Wiccan and a junkie, his strength was ancored in the creative process of theater.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. You know, Chris, it's never just art and it's never more than art.

  5. Ds 8 8 8, Wisdom and enlightenment are not the same? Surley you jest? The soothing sounds of Enya always take's me futher. This topic Chris is the future of syncromysticism. Can we seekers emulate/invoke the Gnosis needed to bring forth the Minds eye into focus. When us beings are focused no-thing is impossible. The mote in my eye is the insanity of the Roman religion. The base/ignorant need for redemption/salvation. The synchrosphere is a constant reminder of the symbols that are or are not needed in our progression thru this time and space. What matters most is our connectedness, and having some fun! I really appreciate CK and his exploration of our sacred mission. Hail Isis, shine forth brave and sincere souls! Dennis from Up-river.

  6. FYI - The idea of the walk-in was delivered in pretty much perfect form in Lovecraft's 1936 short story A SHADOW OUT OF TIME with the time and space travelers, the Ythians, who project themselves into available bodies on any world at any point in time.

  7. Is there any purpose to this episode other than entertainment.

  8. Would the person be fully possessed or would the entity allow the person to experience there own world threw there own eyes? How come some people are more susceptible to walkin's then others, I hate to think how many Jesus, Mohammads, Guan Yin's Zoroaster, Buddhas and Anton Levays the World has flushed away without truly knowing these special beings.


  9. "Would the person be fully possessed or would the entity allow the person to experience there own world threw there own eyes?"

    Russell T Davies of Dr Who fame and producer/writer of Torchwood: Children of the Earth also produced a nice two part BBC episode called the Second Coming with Christopher Eccleston playing Steven Baxter, a man who realizes he is the second coming of Christ and who performs massive impossible miracles.

    In it, he knows he's plugged into a massive divine godhead, but he is still forced to conceive of things based on human perception. Essentially, he is a filter for the divine and never able to be both omniscient and humanly conscious at the same time. It's a nice metaphor for the vastly more "aware" sub-conscious compared to the much smaller pinpoint self-awareness of our personal consciousness.

    Also interesting in this connection another Dr. Who writer, Stephen Moffat, wrote a BBC mini Jekyll which updated and expanded upon the original Jekyll and Hyde short story. The actual mini0series loses its way a little bit through, I think, but the interpretation of Jekyll and Hyde as similar but absolutely separate people not sharing the same body but in fact sharing the same "space" at different intervals was very interesting and unusual.

    It wasn't clear enough but it reminded me of Alan Moore's Qys transfer technology in Miracleman.

  10. Tristan- I guess I was thinking back on Dragon*Con and the rest. You see people in costumes that stay in character the entire weekend. it's funny how I keep conflating Dragon Con and Burning Man in my mind.

    Dark Star- What you're describing reminds me very much of Zen, which I'm sure you're aware of. Thank you for that- worth pondering.

    David- Del Close. Wow, there's a name I haven't heard in a while. Thanks for that- you brought back memories.

    Nick- Speaking of Zen...

    Dennis- Well, it seems like the mask is being ripped off of the old paradigm. It's so surreal, but if feels like springtime.

    Anony- Maybe I'll reread that tonight. I have Lovecraft on my bedstand. Cheers!

    Fabian- I don't know if walk-ins actually exist literally or more or a metaphor, so I can't answer that...

    Anony101- Wow- I'll have to look that up. Cheers for the heads up.

  11. i had the same idea! Starting a new religion as performance art! Lacking in testicular structure, I never attempted it!
    DIg this- while researching the Eleusian Mysteries I stumbled on this article-"The entheomycological origin of Egyptian crowns and the esoteric underpinnings of Egyptian religion"- in other words- mushrooms and egyptian religion. Not sure if even Robert Graves went that far.
    Also a great quote form Gorgias- the Greek philosopher: it seems to relate to religion (not necessarily spiritual experience)

    Gorgias explains: “Speech is a powerful master and achieves the most divine feats with the smallest and least evident body. It can stop fear, relieve pain, create joy, and increase pity” (Gorgias 31). It is here that Gorgias compares the effect of speech on the mind with the effect of drugs on the body

    Can you spell HYPNOTISM?


  12. Chris, what are you waiting for? Create that religion! To be honest, this is essentially what I've done. The things I practice (don't like the word "believe) are fantasy--or maybe they're not. But who cares? Nothing can ever be proven either way, so a debate about what's real and what isn't is really a waste of time. I like the ritual and play-acting (I prefer "dramatization"), so I take those elements that I like wherever I find them because, well, they're fun and they make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

    As far as your own disbelief about walk-ins and such--I can't say if any of that's true, but then there are many things that we "sane" humans assume is real when it really isn't. Time, for example. We live in a world of clocks and dates, and it's all a human construct. Sure, "days" pass as do "years," and humans have a life-span, but I think you get my point. Time is relative, and yet we swear by our perspective of it.

    Besides, all religions are made up anyway, so why NOT make up one of your own? Better to live in a world of your own making than in one made by someone else!

  13. Dennis said...
    Ds 8 8 8, "Wisdom and enlightenment are not the same? Surley you jest?"

    No I'm not jesting. :)

    "Nonduality is the philosophical, spiritual, and scientific understanding of non-separation and fundamental intrinsic oneness.

    For thousand of years, through deep inner inquiry, philosophers and sages have came to the realization that there is only one substance and we are therefore all part of it. This substance can be called "Awareness" or refered to as Consciousness, Spirit, Advaita, Brahman, Tao, Nirvana or even God. It is constant, ever present, unchangeable and is the essence of all existence."


  14. middleworld said..."Can you spell HYPNOTISM?"

    Good point middleworld. The 3D World (Matrix) we live, people are HYPNOTISM. It's based on the ancient art of magic & deceiption and it's called KABALLAH!


    Energy Is The Light – Light is the Corruptor!

    This plan will be stopped, and will be stopped once and for all. The vicious cycle of war, death, greed and the like is doomed to failure. Realizing that this horror is only hypnosis, simply the manipulation of our minds through the manipulation of light, then it ends. Light is energy and it’s this thing called energy that is the culprit behind war, death, greed, etc. It is energy that must be destroyed, or more accurately, energy must be ignored as having any value. Of course, every scientific thinking person knows that energy can’t be destroyed and to even suggest such a thing is basically blasphemy. This is the hypnosis!

    Energy is simply a thought form. Thoughts are always lies. Lies can be destroyed with awareness. Therefore energy can be destroyed with awareness.

    To say that energy can’t be destroyed is tantamount to saying that lucifer, the light bringer, is indeed the great god, and that the doctrine of energy (light) not being able to be destroyed, is the eternal truth. However, science is seance, and the source of all scientific thought permeates, like everything else in this 3D realm, from the characteristics of a beam of light.

    Awareness of what this entity is, not only harmlessly and painlessly, annihilates its power, but it liberates all of humanity, never to be imprisoned again. That even includes the Bush family, corrupt as they are. They just don’t understand how they’ve been manipulated and do sincerely believe they’re doing the will of god and the very best thing for the world. Mind you, that world they envision is minus many millions of souls sacrificed, so that they can reign with their god.

    Remember this, the lucifer entity is light. Everything is formed of light which is energy. Therefore, if you see something in a 3 dimensional form, you’re looking at energy, light and the luciferian entity.

    Again I ask you to be aware of this. We’re not just up against human governments and the rich and powerful elite. We can only stop this lunacy by realizing we are up against a corrupt entity whose only power is hypnosis. That’s all it has! It’s hypnosis only affects us if we cling to the belief that this 3 dimensional realm has any worth. The real worth is realized when we take it all back, when we become aware that the 3 dimensional space is not even a fraction of the joy, beauty, power, wisdom and ecstacy of our original spiritual state. The light maker, the energy maker, the luciferian thought form, does not want you to be aware that light corrupts and kills. Light is, in itself, death. In other words light is darkness. This is the pupil, the hexagram of the all seeing eye, it is black when all the light energy is left together. This colour black, is the origin, the Matrix Womb of the thought form and the actual garden of creation.

  15. I think light is also vibration at it's essential core. In the bible it says that in the beginning was the word, not light, so vibration, sound was first and it is all there ever was. If this is a matrix reality, then light is nothing more then the result of sound. Were are not interacting with light, we are interacting with vibrations, String theory anyone? So the illusion is not light, it is sound, frequency, the Sollfleggio scale comes to mind...
    I don't like to reference the bible being that it is really many books within books warped in mysteries that are considered sacred. But it is interesting to note that there are 72 names of God, and those 72 names produce vibration, so light is the after effect of sound..