Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Secret Sun Year in Review, Part Two

Read part one here.

As much as I've tried to make the blog a haven from the media noise machine, I couldn't keep Samsara at bay forever. But events conspired to dovetail the horrors outside with revelations I'd discovered in my studies.

The rise of the Islamic Caliphate in Iraq has horrified the entire world, and the nominal protection previous regimes gave to ancient religious minorities in the war-torn country evaporated under the Caliphate's fundamentalist bloodlust.

As many of you know Iraq was home to the Mandaeans, an ancient Gnostic sect dating back to Biblical times, a people who many believe are Palestinian Jews and the original followers of John the Baptist. The Mandaeans are believed to have fled Roman persecution following the Judean wars and settled in Iraq, surviving two millennia of conquerors, plagues, wars and persecution. Exactly how a small sect of pacifist Gnostics did so was an open question.

Iraq is also home to the Yazidi, a Kurdish sect of mysterious provenance, which some have linked to Zoroastrianism. The Yazidi were big with the pulp writers for their reputation as "devil worshippers," a reputation based on a misreading of their Byzantine cosmology. 

The Yazidi are insular and xenophobic, perfect targets for scapegoating by the Islamic State thugs. Well, not so much anymore- the Yazidi have joined forces with the Kurdish Peshmerga and kicking some serious Islamic State punkass as of this writing.

But I spent most of my free time over the summer with my nose buried in Gnostic texts, having made the inconvenient observation that there seem to be a lot of unidentified flying whosits in Gnostic texts, just like there are in most ancient religious writings. 

As I processed this material I wondered about Ancient Aliens, and wondered if it was analogous to Howard Beale's talk show after his meeting with Arthur Jensen. Does anyone still watch the show or is it kept on to cement the association between a potentially subversive (in the classical sense of the word, not in its current degraded form) topic and Giorgio Tsoukalos' perpetual self-parody?

Because if you happen upon the Mandaean scriptures, it's impossible for any honest person to not admit that they seem to be very interested in spaceships, luminous beings identical to any number of UFO encounters and interstellar travel.

This description of a Mandaean "ship of light" reads like any number of UFO reports:
The fishers see him, become scarlet for shame and remain standing in their places. They say to him: "Whence comes it that thou dost fish without finding? Thy ship is not like our ship; it shines by night like the sun. Thy ship is perfected in æther, and wondrous standards are unfurled above it. Our ship sails along in the water, but thy ship between the waters. 
"The waters," remember, are the Biblical term for the cosmos. As we saw in another post on the Gnostics, the Mandaeans believed they were literal aliens, trapped here on here in meatsuits, and that the luminous "Uthras" are their celestial brothers:
To your first earth, ascend, to the place from which you were transplanted, to the fine abode of the uthras. Bestir yourself, put on your garment of radiance and put on your resplendent wreath. Sit on your throne of radiance, which the Life set up for you in the Place of Light. Rise up, inhabit the skinas, among the uthras, your brothers.
They believe that the Uthras are also protective beings, which puts the Mandaeans' long tenure in a very dangerous neighborhood in a new light, certainly.
They, the uthras, washed him in the Jordan they placed their right hand on him. They baptized him with their baptism and strengthened him with their pure words. They washed him and protected him in the Jordan...
Given the time of year, it's appropriate to look at the Gnostic Revelation of the Magi, another blatantly obvious contact narrative, one which the academics can't seem to lift the scales from their eyes long enough to recognize.
And when we [the Magi] bathed in the Spring of Purification with joy, and we ascended the Mountain of Victories as we were accustomed, and we went up and found that pillar of light in front of the cave, again a great fear came upon us.   
12:3 And again, we saw that heaven had been opened a like a great gate and men of glory carrying the star of light upon their hands. And they descended and stood upon the pillar of light, and the entire mountain was filled by its light, which cannot be uttered by the mouth of humanity. 
12:4 And (something) like the hand of a small person drew near in our eyes from the pillar and the star, at which we could not look, and it comforted us. And we saw the star enter the Cave of Treasures of Hidden Mysteries, and the cave shone beyond measure.   
12:5 And a humble and kind voice made itself heard by us, which called out and said to us: “Enter inside without doubt, in love, and see a great and amazing vision.” And we were encouraged and comforted by the message of the voice.  
The kind of familiar cloud imagery we see in ancient texts was seen in The Gospel of Judas, another well-publicized Gnostic text, a cloud that behaves like no cloud a meteorologist has ever studied:
Look, you have been told everything. Lift up your eyes and look at the cloud and the light within it and the stars surrounding it. The star that leads the way is your star.” Judas lifted up his eyes and saw the luminous cloud, and he entered it. Those standing on the ground heard a voice coming from the cloud… 
In Fragments of an Alien Faith, Part 2, we looked at the Fatima Miracle of the Sun and its echoes of a passage from another Gnostic text. That led to a review of the Mithraic Liturgy of the Paris Codex, another face-slappingly obvious contact narrative that inspired Jung's theories on the Collective Unconscious, and the similar stories in the Book of Enoch.

I've long suspected that the Watchers of that text were the victims of identity theft since the Watchers actually taught human beings an entire corpus of useful arts and sciences and their antagonists, the angels of Yahweh, basically taught people to sit around and be terrified. And the descriptions of air and space travel in Enoch seem a bit too well rendered for your usual Biblical visionary hokum, which is almost certainly why both Rabbinic and Church authorities gave the book the ol' 86.

As it turns out, Biblical scholars have discovered that Enoch was in fact a hijacking by apocalyptic cultists, a fact which was almost certainly known by contemporary religious authorities. Looking for Biblical authority to shoehorn the borrowed mythology into, the Jewish mystics glommed onto Genesis 6, familiar to anyone who's followed Christian UFO demonology. From Ha'aretz:
The myth of the Watchers, familiar to us mainly from Jewish texts, started out as an Aramaic myth in Lebanon. Most of its elements are best understood against the backdrop of Lebanese folklore and local artistic landmarks, which played an important role in historical memory as early as the Hellenistic period.  Jews learned about the myth through apocalyptic circles, only then connecting it with the biblical story of the “sons of God and daughters of man” in Genesis 6.
But as it turns out there's no actual basis in scripture at all- it came from these mystics puzzling over then-ancient religious sculptures and what sound like Phoenician contactee accounts. The alien connection was set in stone (no pun intended) from day one:
The ancient, engraved images looked to the later observer like a vestige from the world of the Watchers (Aramaic: ‘irim ), primordial angels who, according to popular mythology, descended to earth in hoary antiquity and bequeathed civilization to mankind.  
If you will, these are aliens, in a way resembling those recounted by Erich von Däniken in his pseudo-scientific book, “Chariots of the Gods.” 
And this:
Babylonian mythology already told of ancient sages who were half-man and half-fish who emerged from the sea and bequeathed civilization to mankind. This old myth was revived in new garb in Lebanon, Syria and the Land of Israel in the Hellenistic period. 
In its Jewish form, the myth bore a new aspect: the Watchers conveyed forbidden knowledge, brought to human beings in an original sin. The bearers of the knowledge in the present version were not ancient fish who emerged from the sea but the mysterious angels who descended from heaven.
And even though I am very much not a Sitchinite, you really have to wonder about the whole Enki-Enlil rivalry and how it demonized the accumulation of knowledge in the eyes of the elites of the time. Not in a literal sense, mind you, but how the basic mythforms influenced the evolution of human societies from the earliest days of human settlement.   


Monday, December 29, 2014

The Secret Sun Year in Review, Part One

I started blogging again after a ten-month break with the piece "These are Gnostic Times." This was a confession as much as an article, and I do try to make everything I post here read as much like a proper article as much as possible.

In it I talked about some of the challenges I've been dealing with, and how they've impacted on the blog. At the time I was still toying with the idea of relaunching the podcast, an idea I've abandoned for several reasons, one of which is technical (the wifi in my house simply isn't up to the task) and the other of which is that I simply don't think there are enough people out there I find unusual enough to put in the kind of work and resources that a podcast would require. 

The truth is that I'm a classic introvert and find podcasting kind of exhausting. As I continue in my own research I don't really have any interest at all in arguing my convictions. This blog has been a research project as much as anything else, and as it stands right now I don't feel the need to find outside affirmation. I'm exploring mysteries right now the outside world can't help me with. 

Well, everything is cyclical. Who knows what the future holds?

Next we looked at how the New Age movement has quiet insinuated itself into the mainstream in 'Everything Old is New Age Again'. It's an open question which direction this will take as the Establishment defunds its Evangelical project and we see both the rise of secularism and rise of the "spiritual but not religious." 

Given the fact that atheists have close to zero birth rates and that Evangelical Millennials could well return to the fold (in some form) when they hit middle age, things could look very different in 20 or 30 years. Time Magazine declared that "God is Dead" in 1966 only to see the Religious Right roar back to life ten years later, in large part due to higher birth rates among the more seriously religious.  With the "New Atheism" literally dead and buried, we could see a resurgent (and almost assuredly unrecognizable) Evangelicalism battling the New Age for social dominance by century's end. 

Some believe young, vital Islam will simply wait for the aging, decadent West to collapse and bring Europe under its heel but I see serious winds of change for the current status quo coming; especially to Europe, but to the rest of the world as well, on that matter. It will not be pretty, and respectable people are willing to let pre-selected black hats do all the dirty work. 

And to the engine room of what will massive worldwide change? Let's just say the money you're saving at the pump is not the work of "market forces." Are you ready for .99 cent gasoline?

We looked at Channel Four's Utopia, an insidious bit of predictive programming disguised as conspiracy drama. Utopia's creator Dennis Kelly made the requisite noises that he "didn't believe in conspiracies" a risible and cowardly wordfart, considering he works for British broadcasting, a snakepit of some of the most despicable, heinous and inhuman conspiracies on the planet.

Next we looked at H.P. Lovecraft's obvious yet unacknowledged source for the Cthulhu Mythos, the contemporaneous work of fellow New Yorker Alice Bailey. This led to a meltdown in some quarters (though delight in others), invariably among self-appointed Lovecraft experts who read absolutely none of the material in question and didn't realize that contemporary work was far more likely to be an author's source than work published more than 40 years ago in those pre-Internet days.

 All the more so considering that most public libraries wouldn't be caught dead holding any of this material and that Bailey was publishing her work precisely because the Theosophical Society was going out of its way to bury the more sci-fi stuff Blavatsky had written (Bailey referred to her missionizing as "Back to Blavatsky") in order to clear the path for their chosen one, Krishnamurti.

I linked to the piece on my private FB page and my closed FB group (which I subsequently left- more on that later) but it seemed to strike a nerve and went viral. I wonder how many of the people who criticized it on Reddit actually read it (my guess is zero) and it was obvious that one particularly noxious internet troll who bashed it didn't actually read it before the knives came out.

I posted again on Lovecraft when I noticed that despite his oft-cited poverty he seemed to travel around a devil of a lot (and to very unlikely places, and places known for their Masonic Grand Lodges, a salient detail given the Masons' political intrigues between the wars) and for a poor, obscure pulp writer, he also seemed to have friends in the intelligence racket (Houdini, most famously, but also E. Hoffman Price). 

I decided to move on to other topics when a Lovecraft scholar informed me about Lovecraft's relationship with the underage R.H. Barlow, the (published) details of which definitely shine a new light on Lovecraft's writing and biography (certainly his sham marriage, and other mysteries now more easily understood).

In between we looked at UFOlogy's latest "death". Or is UFOlogy undead? With Hangar One, Unsealed Alien Files, Ancient Aliens, In Search of Aliens and The Unexplained Files all playing on cable, and UFO videos often getting hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube, it's a very strange "death" indeed. Sightings are at all-time highs, TV news continues to cover local flaps and encounters so I'm not exactly sure how the media define "dead." 

No, that's not true; pundits see everything through the prism of the publishing world and yes, UFO books are selling as poorly as everything else that's not a 'tween novel. And yes, UFO conventions aren't going gangbusters either. They're doing exactly as well as comic conventions would if you banned cosplay.

There's a serious undertone to all of this-- the clampdown of government secrecy on everything and anything, UFO information included. Just as with many matters of national security, all the serious UFO data-- and presumably all those pilot encounters and radar reports -- is reportedly being outsourced to Bigelow Aerospace, who are under no obligation to comply with Freedom of Information requests. There's been as least one major flap I can name off hand since 9/11; Stephensville, Texas, but we never got much in the way of anything official on it.

And as far as I know no one except Bigelow is putting any money into UFOlogy. There's still plenty of work being done in other countries, but someone decided to starve serious UFOlogy of data-- and money-- and all we ever hear is old news.

Speaking of Ancient Aliens they blew a major opportunity to do some serious work when they did their superheroes episode and got all sun, moon and stars about where superheroes came from, serving up the same vague "from the ether" origin story you'd expect from a PBS documentary. 

You know the type; those documentaries that serve up a parade of nauseatingly earnest schoolmarms telling you how superheroes arose from this nebulous psychological impulse and the creators themselves were just innocent bystanders.

Well, Ancient Aliens did the same, offering a little bit of Neo-Theosophical hoodoo for spin on the PBS pabulum. Had they done a bit of research they would have discovered that two of the most important comics creators, Jack Kirby and Otto Binder, were diehard Ancient Astronaut Theorists, and that Kirby did a number of AAT-themed comics (starting in the late 50s) and Binder co-wrote one of the most important AAT texts, Mankind, Child of the Stars.

Not to get too, too conspiratorial but I can't help but wonder if the producers did in fact know this (I've discussed Kirby on William Henry's show) but feel a need to preserve this myth of Von Daniken as the founding father of AAT (a myth the media is all too eager to play along with).

We looked at the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One and wondered if new and deadly alliances weren't gestating in the world around us. Just today I read that China has bailed out Russia, which had been under sustained economic attack after its annexation of Crimea. With this bailout China leaves no doubt at all where its loyalties lie and now the aging, corrupt Western alliance- its governments at war with their peoples- find themselves staring down two nuclear barrels now. 

If India tosses its hat in with Russia and China, that will make three, and nearly a third of the world's population. What are we sleepwalking into now?

And yes, I've mostly avoided most of the big news stories and done so quite intentionally. Oh, I have my opinions on them, oh yes, I do indeed. But they certainly wouldn't make anyone happy on either side of these (intentional) provocations that have been rolled out, one after the other. 

Suffice it to say all of this is going to end very, very badly for those who are being manipulated. All of what?, you may ask. 

Name it. Oh yes, my friends, just you name it. Let history be your guide.


Sunday, December 21, 2014

Would You Care to Trance?

Neurologists do a lot of work studying the brain and the effects of aging and maturity on its function. They don't tend to do much work in the way of consciousness, since the Archonic paradigm that dominates academia and the sciences doesn't allow for the existence of such a thing.

So what I mean to say is that if you feel that the world has become cold, gray, dead, inert, hopeless and meaningless you're not imagining anything at all; the Archontic philosophy that arose in the 18th Century has annihilated all meaningful resistance to its dominance so even the opposition to the ruling class is entirely Archontic; materialist, reductionist, mechanical, dialectic, dead, empty, anti-human.

We live in this William Gibson Reality, only without any of the cool bits. The attack on Sony Pictures was straight out of a Gibson novel (even the hackers' name) and yet another signal that the digital cuttlefish that controls information has a soft white underbelly that can be exploited to deleterious effect (the Cloud hack was an earlier shot across the bow), and the danger only grows.

The Transhumanist movement and the Singulatarian movement have most certainly run out of gas in the past few years, with Singularity prophet Ray Kurzweil getting a day job at Google, but the promise of a mechanistic Nirvana lives on in their hearts. I don't know how much currency it has in the greater culture; it seems that digital trivia and binge drinking (eg.,distraction and oblivion) seem to be the preferred methods of deliverance for the Millennials.

The ubiquity of digital media has made Archontic reality a literal Borgsong, an inescapable static that is rewiring our brains every day (and our DNA, according to some scientists) preparing us for the Skynet Apocalypse that seems nearly inevitable. But at the same time I sense a growing discontent, a silent, simmering dissent that can't even identify itself, its gripes, its goals.

But if you know the psychology of repression, you know that makes it all the more potentially explosive. The Archonic media gives constant voice to their preapproved pseudo-dissenters, not a single one of who challenges the materialist status quo, but human souls are starving and wounded and henceforth unpredictably dangerous.

As Timothy Leary once said we can't understand an interior process until we have an external model. The Archons and their simpering toadies (make no mistake, all of them live in a state of perpetual misery and self-loathing) recoil at the truth of this but the fact is that our Skynet is just an inferior simulacrum of our interior supercomputers and the nonlocal superconsciousness that makes up the Collective Conscious/Unconscious.

This isn't a "belief"on my part, it's a conviction.

Archontic pseudo-reality is all about turning off this signal, using the tired tools of ridicule and pseudo-skepticism. And as it stands, consumer culture keeps people tranquilized enough not to care. But no student of history-- or science-- expects any status quo to remain in place forever.

All drugs-- chemical or digital-- run the risk of tolerance and inefficacy, and we're just one medium-strength solar flare away from the whole system going down for good.

I know entheogens are being talked up again, and I'm encouraged by the serious work being done with them, but I've been working with hypnogogic trance for a number of years now (which I briefly mention in this post) and I'm getting to the point where it's as powerful as any hallucinogen, but seems to more reliably tap into what I can only refer to nonlocal consciousness. 

I can only describe it as a kind of remote viewing in that I'll drift along in that fuzzy stream of semi-consciousness and then find myself in the middle of the ocean or on top of a skyscraper in a stark moment of clarity.

In another time people might have called these moments "astral travel," in that I very often visualize-- with great clarity-- places I've never been or seen before. Whether or not these visions are "real" in an objective sense is immaterial, the point is the experience itself and the effect it has on bridging the conscious and unconscious spheres.

It's not always entirely pleasant in a soft, floaty kind of way, but it's always profound. And it's kicked loose a roadblock on my creative impulses that I've struggled against for several years now, so I can't help but wonder if these moments of shock are helping to rewire my unconscious mind in a way that it has become more accessible to my conscious flow, which is really what hypnogogic trance is all about.

So this form of meditation isn't just for kicks: it's about positive change. I feel like I've turned back the clock on certain sectors of my own neurology, and that's vitally important for someone in my line of work.

How do you do it? It's almost laughably simple, but it requires a lot of experimentation on your part. What you need to do is sustain a state where you are semi-awake, able to access both your conscious and unconscious thoughtstreams. Similar to that state you experience after you've awoken from an afternoon nap.

I use a bunch of pillows to position myself so that I'm comfortable but in no danger of actually falling asleep. I recommend trance/ambient music (SomaFM's Drone Zone is excellent) and any kind of supplements that may relax you (Theanine, Valerian Root, St John's Wort) or maybe a glass of warm milk or tea. Again, you want to be relaxed but you don't want to fall asleep. It's simple but not easy, if you get my meaning.

My single-most played track ever, and
 a very powerful invocation for trance work

The encouraging thing about the process is that in my experience it is accumulative, in that your prior results accumulate and contribute to future results. It's a practice, in other words, not like a drug. It's not really meditation because the point isn't to quiet the mind, the point is to turn up the power of the mind as far as you can handle.

But you're doing something unique in that you're trying to unify the conscious and unconscious, sort of like a computer tapping into a network. It's psychedelic as hell, far more chaotic and nonlinear than dreaming (which is why I scoff at the theories of UFO abduction reports being the result of hypnogogia), and produces the occasional auditory hallucination (bells and tones, usually, but sometimes voices as well). It's gotten so I keep a notepad on my bedstand since interesting little phrases and riddles frequently pop up during the flow.

And it's my experience that there's another network available beyond your own conscious mind, though I'd really have to sit down and catalog the reasons why. I'd rather you experience this for yourself. If you're a willing psychonaut, get ready for a lot of work but also major dividends in the future.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

A Return to First Principles

OK, here's where we're going.

Ever since I started this blog, I knew I didn't want to spend the rest of my life doing someone else's laundry. I came into this having published a couple comics series (unfortunately during the bleakest years of the downturn) and having serious interest in a couple screenplays I worked on (one of which was apparently of very serious interest to certain parties, as longtime readers will remember).

I'm a fanboy, I will cop to that without hesitation. But I'm also a creator. For reasons too fraught to explore here, creativity has been a bit of a minefield for me in the past and remains so, but fortunately blogging for seven years has given me the tools to look outside the the snakepit and see the world outside and raid it for inspiration.

I had been toying with the idea of podcasting, but continuing, nagging technical problems (the latest are totally inexplicable issues with our routers that can drop our internet speeds to dialup levels at inopportune times) are now seen as portents.

Plus, there's the whole thing of me not really liking to talk all that much. Some people like to hear their own voices, some people feel the need to be the center of attention where ever they may roam. I always need to take a nap after I do a podcast, classic introvert that I am.

So, here's the thing; I have a script written for what I intend to be the first of three graphic novels. Don't ask how or why, when the Muses strike, you obey. So obviously the next phase of the Secret Sun concept is a return to first principles.

This isn't some vague plan, the script is done. And I've already started on the second volume. Not only is the script written, but I also have the script storyboarded (or thumbnailed, if you prefer). I use film language because I'm pretentious, but also because the storyboards are necessarily the format I'll be using for layouts.

And I use the storyboards to gather reference the way directors use boards to scout locations and the like. I'm also in the casting process (like I said, pretentious), which means I'm going through all my sketchbooks, which are filled with my sketches of random characters and types, and pooling them for the "actors."

Now here's another thing; I didn't intend to do any of this. 

It quite unexpectedly imposed itself on me. I had been planning on working on a new book. I just couldn't figure out a topic compelling enough to write about given the nightmare wasteland that is publishing these days.

The plot and themes are all 100% Secret Sun, and Easter eggs will be laid everywhere. I'm a huge believer in stay-in-your-lane, dance-with-the-one-what-brung-ya. In fact, there's a subplot that's leftover from an X-Files comic pitch I had been kicking around for a while.

Moreover, any kind of disclaiming or journalistic distance or whatever is kicked to the curb here; the whole point is Katie-bar-the-door,  no-holds-barred, no quarter asked or given, but I will be following a modified take on the Ten Thirteen maxim in that it's only as highly weird as it is real.

Now, here's the other kicker: I don't plan on making people wait around for months while I work on this. Ever since I first got online a million years ago (back when 2400bps was state of the art) I dreamed of doing an online comic strip. Now there's a million of them, but in fact I tried to get my first publisher (Sirius, in fact) interested in doing one back in 1995. They couldn't see the point. So I'm consciously formatting the story so it can run here as a strip and then be collected in an album format.

Now, there's a massive caveat and that's my work schedule. I'm in a fallow period now but things could heat up at the drop of a hat. But the gods smile on me; I recently received a call from a friend who I've been trying for years to get to work with me and he told me he's ready when I am.

To say I was happy to hear this news is like saying Obama and Holder are a tad hypocritical about the militarization of civilian police. So, a lot of pressure is taken off my shoulders- I finally have a drop-dead pro to watch my back with my freelance work.

In the meantime, I plan on curating some "classic" Secret Sun pieces until I have new strips to post (and probably concurrent with them as well). Not to be immodest, but I'm pretty stunned by the depth of material on this blog, and I think many of you will be as well. Now I can return to my original ambition- to be the Alan Moore who draws his own material....

So stay tuned...

UPDATE: Just did a page count- 72 pages. I began shooting for 48.

UPDATE 1/22: This project is continuing to grow and mutate. It seems to be writing itself, it's really an incredible process. I haven't been this excited about a project since the work that led to Our Gods Wear Spandex. I've also been doing some very interesting research for the story, which is why I've been revisiting some old topics here on the blog.

However, if it continues to grow, it may change format. My main priority is telling this story and not allowing it to languish. That may require certain logistical reconsiderations. Apparently Saturn is about to become an influence (don't force me to display my astrological ignorance), which will force me to be very sober and practical about my future plans.